FIVE MINUTES: SOUTH AFRICA, 15 August 2012
A round-up of the day’s news from South Africa.
LONMIN: VICIOUS ACTS HARD TO DEAL WITH
Clashes between rival unions at a major platinum mine have resulted in the death of 10 people, including two policemen. The violence at Lonmin is the result of a power struggle between the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and the recently formed Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU). Lonmin spokesman, Barnard Mokwena, said he did not know of any company “that has the competency to deal with such vicious acts”. "We are dealing with people who crossed security lines repeatedly," Mokwena said. Mokwena was responding to criticism that the company had failed to protect its workers. Mokwena said Lonmin had not closed the mine, as the company believed “the police are able to deal with this matter.”
COMMUNITIES UNHAPPY WITH MINE CSI, SAYS REPORT
There is a great diparity between the way mines in the North West Province of South Africa see themselves and the way communities see them. These are the findings of a report by the Bench Marks Foundation. "What we found again is that the corporate social responsibility programmes by the mines are top-down, designed by experts and imposed on communities," said John Capel, executive director of the Bench Marks Foundation. "There is very little evidence that communities are actually consulted about their frustrations concerning the impact of mining operations on their lives.” The mining companies reviewed were Anglo Platinum, Impala Platinum, Aquarius Platinum, Xstrata, Lonmin and Royal Bafokeng Mining.
JEWISH COMMUNITY ‘DEPLORES’ MINISTER’S STATEMENT
The South African Jewish community “deplores” a statement by deputy minister of international relations and co-operation, Ebrahim Ebrahim, which discourages South Africans from visiting Israel. “Only through visiting Israel and engaging at first hand with the various role-players and issues on the ground can people gain a better understanding of the situation there, yet it is precisely such visits that deputy minister Ebrahim is seeking to prevent,” the South African Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD) said in a statement. The SAJBD said the minister’s stance was “grossly discriminatory, counter-productive and wholly inconsistent with how South Africa normally conducts its international relations and contradicts its official policy of having full diplomatic ties with Israel”.
JUSTICE ZONDO APPOINTED TO CONSITUTIONAL COURT
President Jacob Zuma has announced the appointment of Justice Raymond Mnyamezeli Mlungisi Zondo to the Constitutional Court. Justice Zondo will fill the vacancy left by Chief Justice Sandile Ngcobo, who retired last year. The presidency said Zuma had chosen Justice Zondo after consultation with the Chief Justice, Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng and leaders of parties represented in the National Assembly. “Justice Zondo brings to the position an experience of over two decades in the legal field and on the bench, which will further strengthen the Constitutional Court in its work,” the Presidency said in a statement.
AFRIFORUM DONATES R100,000 TO OUTA IN E-TOLL CASE
AfriForum has donated R100,000 to the Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (OUTA) to help with its legal costs in the court case against the implementation of e-tolling on Gauteng highways. The Constitutional Court case, in which government is appealing the interdict granted by the North Gauteng High Court against the implementation of e-tolling, will be heard on Wednesday. AfriForum's CEO, Kallie Kriel, said “authorities have a misconception that they can get away with the misappropriation of public money, as is the case with the exorbitantly high e-tolling collection costs, because they believe civil society does not have the resources to call government to account in court”. Kriel said contributions from the public had made it possible to tackle malpractices in court.
PRESIDENT ZUMA SENDS CONDOLENCES TO IRAN
President Jacob Zuma has sent his condolences to Iran after two earthquakes shook the towns of Ahar and Varzagan in the northwest of the country on Saturday. More than 300 people died in the twin quakes. "In this time of sadness and bereavement, the Government and people of South Africa hold the bereaved families in their thoughts and prayers," Zuma said. He also wished the injured a speedy recovery. The Department of International Relations and Co-operation has received no information or reports that the earthquakes affected any South Africans in Iran.
THREE DEAD IN KHAYELITSHA SERVICE DELIVERY PROTESTS
Three people have died in violent protests in Khayelitsha. Mayoral committee member on safety and security, JP Smith, said the "senseless loss of life” was “unacceptable” and extended his condolences to the families who’d lost loved ones. A 30-year-old man died on Monday evening after protesters stoned his truck, which caused him to crash into a barricade on the N2, Smith said. This followed the death of a Golden Arrow bus driver, who died after his bus was stoned as he drove into an informal settlement. A man inside one of the houses died from his injuries three days later. About 350 residents of Khayelitsha's BM section protested on Monday morning over housing and sanitation, forcing the closure of a section of the N2 highway. They threw stones at police officers and passing vehicles, including Golden Arrow buses.
INVESTIGATION INTO THE SALE OF BODIES AT BARA
Police are investigating reports that the bodies of patients who died at the Chris Hani Baragwanath hospital were being sold by staff. The Sowetan newspaper reported that dead bodies from the hospital were being sold to unregistered funeral undertakers by mortuary staff. "Clearly there is something illegal happening there and we are getting the police to assist in the investigation," said Gauteng health spokesman, Simon Zwane. The paper said undertakers paid staff R50 for a list giving details of the deceased patients' names and those of their next-of-kin. DA MPL, Les Labuschagne, said the “continued absence of proper legislation and regulation of this industry allows illegal operators without proper facilities to trample on the dignity and respect of deceased inhabitants of the province”. DM
Photo: Mine workers who are on strike attend a gathering outside a South African mine in Rustenburg, 100 km (62 miles) northwest of Johannesburg, August 14, 2012. The world's no. 3 platinum producer Lonmin shut down its South African operations on Tuesday and its shares tumbled after violence caused by a feud between rival unions killed nine people at its main mine. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko