SA Political Diary – Friday 15 July

By Simon Williamson 15 July 2011

The Pubic Protector had some sharp words for the police and public works officials, the national lottery paid R1 million for a Cosatu anniversary bash, and developing succession debate in KZN may have been the reason the news of two arrest warrants was leaked. Meanwhile, Sadtu and the Western Cape government remain at loggerheads. By SIMON WILLIAMSON.

As you are probably aware by now, the Public Protector made life uncomfortable for the national police commissioner general Bheki Cele regarding the new police headquarters in Pretoria and Durban. While Thuli Madonsela fingered the police department, the most serious claim was a call for action to be taken against minister of public works Gwen Mahlangu-Nkabinde. While Madonsela’s call for heads to roll was subtle and she couldn’t find evidence of criminal activity to pass on to the NPA, she did mention the required adherence to due processes to avoid these shenanigans in the future, as the really important thing is to avoid pissing taxpayers’ money away (unless, of course, it’s permitted by the ministerial genie (I mean, handbook). As a follow-up to the Public Protector’s announcement, the DA called for everyone’s resignation, the IFP urged action against all violators, and the presidency and the police department said they would study the report before commenting to the media.

Read more: Politicsweb, IOL, Daily Maverick

Minister of trade and industry Rob Davies admitted in Parliament that the National Lottery Board had given R1 million to Cosatu as a donation toward its 25-year anniversary celebrations. The money was to be split with R650,000 going to national artists, R50,000 to local groups, R250,000 to stage and sound and R50,000 towards a venue. The charities’ bank accounts must have been too full. The DA has called for an investigation saying government donating to its own tripartite alliance events is a neglect of the barrier between party and state. Who wants to quit their job and take up something in stage and sound?

Read more: Politicsweb
 
The Mail and Guardian has an interesting article up about how the arrest warrants for two KZN officials, Peggy Nkonyeni and Mike Mabuyakhulu, are the start of a campaign for succession to grab the KZN Premier seat from Zweli Mkhize – the notable dodginess being that the information was released five days (and counting) before the pair was arrested. Anonymous ANC members told the publication this was done to discredit them before the succession race really kicked in. The article also alleges the possibility of Mkhize moving out of the Zuma camp and into one which supports current minister of human settlements Tokyo Sexwale for the ANC leadership come Manguang 2012. The NPA in the meantime has said Nkonyeni and Mabuyakhulu will not yet be arrested pending further investigations – this does not invalidate the warrants.

Read more: M&G, Politicsweb


IN BRIEF

The ANC may find itself in a battle with Cosatu when a cabinet reshuffle to include Supra Mahumapelo, the ANC’s most senior member in North West, takes place in the provincial government. Cosatu doesn’t want this reshuffle, as it is merely to prevent two factions of power in North West.

Read more: Business Day

Julius Malema has panned critics of nationalisation of South Africa’s mines saying the status quo is not possible, and no one has come up with an alternative to his plans. Well here’s one, an “economic Codesa” idea, proposed by Business Day editor Peter Bruce, published on 11 July.

Read more: Politicsweb, Business Day
 
Tokyo Sexwale will appoint a task team to investigate the toilet controversy in Free State. The ministry of human settlements said, “Quite clearly many of these abandoned toilets-in-the-veld projects, which have been constructed as far back as 2000, require not a piecemeal approach as they are exposed, but a comprehensive approach.” The panel members will be announced next week.
 
Co-operative government and traditional affairs minister Sicelo Shiceka will not be returning to work, even though he has been on sick leave for six months. The reason given is that he is recuperating at home. The real reason is because of corruption allegations that hang over his head, or that Nathi Mthethwa has taken over his job while still acting as police minister, meaning it couldn’t have been that taxing in the first place. This is contrary a report in the Sowetan yesterday claiming Shiceka was returning to work.

Four Mpumalanga traffic policemen have been arrested on charges of corruption. They were apprehended when the police set up a trap and caught them taking bribes from a motorist.
 
Independent Newspapers journalists have opened a case against the IFP for assault and intimidation after being forced to delete photographs of IFP livery being removed from cars. The journos were writing a piece on the IFP selling its fleet of vehicles because it is broke – the beating the party took in the May local government elections hasn’t helped.

Floyd Shivambu claims he regretted the swearing incident with a Media24 journalist and that it will not happen again. The statement he released did say media in South Africa was provocative with the ANCYL and that his telling the journalist to “fuck off” did not reflect the league’s attitude towards the media.

Read more: Politicsweb

The long-running battle between Sadtu and the Western Cape education department shows no signs of a truce as two DA officials released statements about the union yesterday. MEC for education Donald Grant said the union misrepresented the facts of a future DA provincial proposal to have all educational staff sign performance-related contracts, and that it has no interest in increasing the standard of education in Western Cape. Wilmot James followed that up with a stern word for Jacob Zuma, saying he should forbid Sadtu using children’s education as a political bargaining tool.

Read more: Politicsweb, Politicsweb

Sadtu has criticised Business Day for quoting a union representative out of context after BD’s chief political correspondent, Sam Mkokeli, said Sadtu backed the nationalisation of mines. Nomusa Cembi, the person quoted, called this “mischievous and misleading” and said that Mkokeli was trying to find a story where there was none. Cembi told Mkokeli during the interview that the union supported whatever Cosatu supported (Cosatu is pro-nationalisation), but not that it specifically said mines. By our estimation, Sadtu has barked up the wrong tree here as the article in question said “South African Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu) spokesman Nomusa Cembi says the union supports the call to nationalise mines. He says the union’s stand is the same as Cosatu’s.” While the headline of the article may be a bit iffy, this is hardly a patently incorrect quote.

Politcsweb, the offending article in Business Day


Photo: Reuters

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