A round-up of the day's news from South Africa.
ANC MUST DEAL WITH GOVERNANCE
The ANC needs to deal with the problem of governance and effective service delivery, treasurer general Mathews Phosa said on Wednesday. "The ANC cannot go into denial on that matter, but it's a challenge," Phosa said on the sidelines of the party's national policy conference in Midrand. "The big challenge for us is service delivery." Phosa said that once the ANC had passed the point of denial it could start to ask: "What should we do to ensure that we implement the good decisions which we have made? I'm saying unless we build capacity at local government level to be able to process, manage, and run the finances properly, to administer properly, we'll still have no service delivery," he said.
MEDIA AND SAPS FACE OFF AT ANC POLICY CONFERENCE
The media and the police faced off over access to ANC delegates at the party's national policy conference on Wednesday morning.
The incident led to an apology from Jeff Radebe, who apologised “on behalf of the ANC about some of the mishaps that happened [to journalists]”. Earlier, ANC spokesperson Keith Khoza told reporters they had to stay away from the conference hall while commissions were sitting, but could speak to delegates during tea and lunch breaks. During the lunch break, police walked up to reporters and photographers from various media houses and confiscated their accreditation tags.
SOUTH AFRICA WELCOMES FUNDS TO FIGHT POACHING
The department of environmental affairs has welcomed a $3-million (about R25-million) donation it received earlier this month from the Global Environment Facility to fight rhino poaching. The money will be used for, among other things, the "enhancement of forensic-based technologies", including DNA identification of rhino horn, the department said in a statement on Wednesday. The department would sign a memorandum of understanding with the University of Pretoria to "facilitate collaborations to thwart the ongoing scourge of [rhino] poaching"
GLENISTER CALLS FOR HAWKS PROBE
Businessman Hugh Glenister is calling for a probe into the way the government is carrying out a Constitutional Court order regarding the Hawks. The anti-corruption lobbyist said the Public Protector and the Human Rights Commission should conduct this. After much public comment on the draft SA Police Service Amendment Bill, intended to give effect to the court's ruling, the National Assembly's police committee made about 50 amendments to the bill. These were made with an apparent disregard for both the court's orders and input from the public, Glenister said in a statement on Wednesday.
TEXTBOOK DELIVERY ON TRACK, SAYS DEPT
The distribution of textbooks in Limpopo was on track on Wednesday, the department of basic education said. "Yesterday [Tuesday] books for Grades 1 to 3 were distributed and today [Wednesday] we are working on Grade 10," director general Bobby Soobrayan said. In May, the North Gauteng High Court ruled that the department's failure to provide textbooks violated the Constitution. The Democratic Alliance said many of the schools it was monitoring had not received textbooks by 11am. Soobrayan said the last boxes of books were being loaded into trucks at a central warehouse.
SOUTH AFRICA’S PEACE RATING DROPS
South Africa ranked 127th on Vision of Humanity's global peace index (GPI), dropping 29 places from number 98 place in 2007. The 2012 index, released earlier this month, was done on 158 countries and the 2007 index on 120 countries, according to Vision of Humanity's website. All regions excluding the Middle East and North Africa saw improvements in levels of overall peacefulness. Produced by the Institute for Economics and Peace, the GPI ranks 158 nations using 23 qualitative and quantitative indicators that gauge ongoing domestic and international conflict, safety and security in society, as well as marginalisation.
MONEY TO MONITOR RIVERS IN CAPE TOWN
About R18 million will be set aside to hire "wardens" to look after rivers and wetlands in Cape Town, mayor Patricia de Lille said on Wednesday. "The river warden system... is designed to serve as an early warning system for pollution and alien plant invasions," she said in a speech prepared for delivery at the opening of the Table Bay Nature Reserve. The wardens would raise the alert about any worrying environmental signs at 15 rivers, four wetlands and a variety of vleis. Over 450 people had already been employed, mostly young people from poor areas in the city. The system, formally known as the Kader Asmal Catchment Management Project, would be funded by De Lille's special jobs programme.
AFRIFORUM CRITISISES ZUMA’S LAND PROPOSAL
President Jacob Zuma's criticism of the willing buyer, willing seller land restitution process is misplaced, AfriForum said on Wednesday. "The ANC continually claims that the willing buyer, willing seller approach is too slow and cumbersome, yet the corruption and incompetence of the department of land reform is overlooked," AfriForum spokesman Cornelius Jansen van Rensburg said. In his opening address at the ANC policy conference in Midrand on Tuesday, Zuma called for a review of the policy, echoing the contents of the green paper on land reform.
MEMBERS WHO LEAK STORIES ARE LIKE ‘APARTHEID SPIES’
ANC members who leak stories to the media anonymously are like Apartheid spies, the Eastern Cape branch of the party said on Wednesday. "Anonymous and nameless people who leak information to the media hurt our ANC [in] the same way apartheid government spies, planted to infiltrate our movement, hurt our liberation struggle and our movement," provincial secretary Lubabalo Oscar Mabuyane said in a statement. DM
Photo: A ranger shows part of a rhino horn at the Kruger national park in Mpumalanga. The department of environmental affairs has welcomed a R25-million) donation to fight rhino poaching. (REUTERS)