South Africa

Five Minutes: South Africa

By Daily Maverick Staff Reporter 15 May 2012

A round-up of the news stories of the day.


Western Cape premier Helen Zille’s threat to take the Public Protector to court was a bullying tactic, the office of the ANC chief whip Mathole Motshekga said on Monday: “Zille’s threat is nothing short of a political manoeuvre designed to bully the Public Protector and thereby send a chilling message to chapter nine institutions that the party is untouchable”. Madonsela’s report was leaked to newspapers a week before a deadline for the province’s response. The Western Cape branch of the African National Congress said it was shocked at Zille’s “desperate attacks” on Madonsela.


In his first media briefing since being expelled by the ANC, former ANCYL president Julius Malema said he wanted to be a leader in the ANC. Malema said it didn’t matter “”what time it takes, I will lead the African National Congress”. Speaking at the National Press Club, Malema said that for a diamond to shine “it goes through a thorough process of being polished”. Malema said he had returned to Johannesburg, not because he was interested in reclaiming the league presidency alone, but because the youth league had summoned him from Limpopo, where he had been tending cattle. He maintained that the league’s top brass was politically targeted during the disciplinary hearings, saying it was unfair that they were not allowed to disagree on policy issues.


SABC cameraman Filane Chomane on Monday denied being unwilling to give police a statement on events that led to the death of Ficksburg protester Andries Tatane. Chomane was the second State witness to testify in the Ficksburg Regional Court in the trial of seven Free State policemen accused of killing and assaulting Tatane. Johann Nel, for the policemen, submitted that an investigator had said Chomane refused to make a statement to police after he was quoted in a news report on Tatane’s death. Nel told the court Chomane only agreed to make a statement after he was faced with the possibility of being summoned to appear before a magistrate to give his reasons.


Public Protector Thuli Madonsela has urged the newly appointed military ombudsman not to hesitate to make objective decisions against the SA National Defence Force. Speaking at the swearing-in ceremony for Lt-Gen Themba Mathanzima, held at the Thaba Tshwane military base in Pretoria, Madonsela said: “In the mafia if you are a member of the family. You do not make decisions against family. Family is always right in the mafia”. She said she hoped that would not be the case with Mathanzima. “If you do that you will render this office not an ombud office, but a lapdog.” She said she had recommended to Defence Minister Lindiwe Sisulu to have “a military person” appointed to handle grievances in the armed forces.


Musician Molemo ‘Jub Jub’ Maarohanye lied when he described the accident in which four schoolchildren were killed and two others seriously injured in 2010, a Soweto court heard on Monday. Maarohanye’s co-accused, Themba Tshabalala, started to testify in his own defence in their murder trial in the Protea Magistrate’s Court. Tshabalala said after “overtaking Molemo’s car we drove for a few seconds and that’s when the accident happened”. He said he “heard a knock on the right back of the car, the driver’s side at the back… My car lost control, started spinning and it capsized”. Tshabalala was giving evidence led by his lawyer, Mlungiseleli Soviti. “I am certain that it’s not true [that my car hit Maarohanye’s car]”, Tshabalala told the court.


A South African man, rejected by the South African Air Force, has won the Distinguished Flying Cross for competing dangerous combat missions in Iraq and Afghanistan as a pilot for Britain’s Royal Air Force. Pietermaritzburg-born Luke Fleming, who matriculated from Maritzburg College in 1995, won the honour for rescuing trapped British and foreign workers from an oil field in Libya at the start of the revolution. His plane came under attack by Libyan soldiers during the rescue. Queen Elizabeth II will award him the medal at a ceremony to be held at Windsor Castle.


The DA has announced the launch of a “comprehensive campaign” to highlight South Africans’ constitutionally enshrined human right to food and to try to improve food access and affordability. The party said ensuring food security by containing and reducing the cost of food was affected by “relatively low levels of competition” in the retail sector and inefficiencies in distribution as a result of South Africa’s declining transport infrastructure. It said “very steep hikes in administered prices” made safe and nutritious food out of reach of the majority of households. “Food price hikes of 14.3% (compared to 6.3% headline CPI) and the fact that the cost of food now consumes 39% of the income of poor South African households means that, in practice, the right to have access to sufficient food which is enshrined in the Constitution is quickly being eroded.”


Photo: WESTERN CAPE The ANC chief whip says that Western Cape premier Helen Zille’s threat to take the Public Protector to court is a bullying tactic. (Reuters)


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