A round-up of the day's news from South Africa.
OSCAR PISTORIUS CHARGED WITH MURDERING GIRLFRIEND
Olympic and Paralympic athletics star Oscar Pistorius will appear in court on Friday after being charged with murdering his girlfriend, a spokesman for the National Prosecuting Authority said. "He will be kept in police custody," NPA spokesman Medupe Simasiku said. The athlete, known as “Blade Runner”, was arrested after his girlfriend, model Reeva Steenkamp, was shot dead at his Pretoria home. “We found a 9 millimetre pistol at the scene. A 26-year-old man was taken into custody," said police spokewoman Katlego Mogale, declining to give any further details. Police are expected to oppose bail.
SABC WILL SCREEN REALITY SHOW STARRING REEVA STEENKAMP
The SABC will screen the reality television show that features Reeva Steenkamp, the 30-year-old model girlfriend of Oscar Pistorius, who has been charged with her murder. The show, Tropika Island of Treasure Season 5, was filmed in Jamaica and stars a host of South African celebrities. “As SABC1, we are deeply saddened by the tragic turn of events involving one of the players on our show, Tropika Island of Treasure Season 5. Our thoughts and prayers during these trying times are with the family and friends of the dearly departed Reeva Steenkamp,” said publicity manager Vukile Madlala in a statement.
NIKE ‘BULLET’ AD REMOVED FROM PISTORIUS WEBSITE
An advert featuring Oscar Pistorius has been removed from the star athlete’s website. The Nike ad, with the tagline “I am the bullet in the chamber” was taken down on Thursday, Sapa reports. Earlier, the international sportswear brand declined to comment on its future relationship with Pistorius. Nike SA spokeswoman, Seruscka Naidoo, said the charges of murder against Pistorius were a police matter. But she said the sportswear company extended its condolences to “everyone affected by this”. Pistorius has appeared in a number of Nike commercials since 2008.
COSATU CONDEMNS VIOLENT SEXUAL ASSAULTS
Cosatu secretary general Zwelinzima Vavi has expressed his concern over the brutal and violent nature of sexual assaults in South Africa. Sapa reports that Vavi, speaking a meeting of NGOs in Johannesburg, gathered to discuss a programme of action against rape, said the “violent nature of our society is of great concern”. He said this was not only about rape, “but the brutality and extreme violence that accompanies the crime”. Vavi said a survey by Cosatu had showed workers believe they get a more favourable response from employers if the “add a bit of violence”. Vavi said he suspected there was "not much difference between the violent nature of rapes and the violence that accompany strikes and service delivery protests."
LIFE IMPRISONMENT FOR MURDERER OF MOTHER, CHILDREN
A man who killed a Pretoria North mother and her children has been jailed for life. Sipho Masiqa, 36, was sentenced to life imprisonment on three counts of murder and to 28 years for robbery with aggravating circumstances, kidnapping and indecent assault. Thifhelimbilu Mashau died after Masiqa stole her car and kidnapped her, taking her to Ga-Rankuwa. Prior to that, he strangled and suffocated her eight-month-old baby, Avheani and four-year-old Adivhaho. The judge described Masiqa as “a dangerous and savage criminal who had to be removed from society”. Raymond Matshaba, 30, a friend of Masiqa, was sentenced to 15 years’ imprisonment for being an accessory after the fact to the robbery and murders.
MAIL&GUARDIAN WINS CASE OVER 2003 ZIMBABWE ELECTION REPORT
The Mail & Guardian has won its long-running battle with the presidency over a report into the 2002 Zimbabwe elections. The North Gauteng High Court has ordered the presidency to hand over the report after a four-year tussle with the newspaper. Justices Sisi Khampepe and Dikgang Moseneke, who were sent to observe the 2002 elections in Zimbabwe, wrote the report that is suspected to contain information as to the legality of the elections. Judge Joseph Raulinga said, “I am of the view that the public interest supersedes the harm that may ensue should the report be released.” The presidency argued contained privileged information that was given by Zimbabwean officials and that releasing it would damage diplomatic relations.
POLL REVEALS SUPPORT FOR YOUTH SUBSIDY
An Ipsos poll has revealed significant support for a youth wage subsidy. The Pulse of the People research, conducted between October and December last year, showed that 54% of South Africans agree with the idea of a youth subsidy.
South African voters were asked to give their opinions on the statement, "Paying a subsidy to young people is a good idea". Ipsos reports that in terms of geographic location, the Western Cape, Mpumalanga, Gauteng and the Eastern Cape buy most into the idea. “There is also unexpected congruence in the views of different political groups and even of population groups,” it said in a statement.
GAUTENG RAPISTS RECEIVE 1,047 YEARS’ COMBINED SENTENCES
Gauteng police report that rapists have been sentenced to a combined 1,047 years over the last three months. Lieutenant Colonel Lungelo Dlamini said a further 48 life sentences were handed down. Dlamini said the successes could be attributed to a “much improved co-operation between the members of the community, victims, prosecuting authorities and the police” as well as the re-establishment of the Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences Unit.
Dlamini said police urged parents to play a “bigger role in protecting children against the perpetrators, as most victims are in a greater danger within their families, the place where they should be safest”. DM
Photo: Cosatu secretary general Zwelinzima Vavi has expressed his concern over the brutal and violent nature of sexual assaults in South Africa. (REUTERS)