A round-up of the day's news from South Africa.
DISTRIBUTION STOPPED ON BLACKLISTED HIV TESTING KITS
South Africa has stopped the distribution of SD Bioline HIV testing kits after reports that the World Health Organisation (WHO) had blacklisted them. Health minister Aaron Motsoaledi ordered his department on Monday to stop distributing the kits, health spokesman Fidel Radebe said on Monday. Radebe could not say how many of the 4.5 million testing kits bought by government had been distributed before media reports revealed last week that the WHO had ruled them unreliable in January. Treasury spokesman Jabulani Sikhakhane has told the media a decision was taken at the weekend to probe how the R22.5 million tender for the testing kits was awarded.
ARREST IN TEXTBOOK DUMPING CASE
A clerk at the Limpopo department of education was arrested on Monday in connection with the dumping of school textbooks in Giyani last week. Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi said the 44-year-old man was charged with malicious damage to property. The man will appear in the Giyani Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday. Mulaudzi said the arrest would not affect the charges laid by the Democratic Alliance against the department and a contractor over the books.
“We are still following the investigation into the books, and are still trying to link more people to this case.”
HIGH FLYING COPE MP SENT HOME
Cope MP Dirk Feldman has been soundly roasted after he reportedly tried to open the door of an SAA plane in mid-flight while intoxicated on Saturday. The National Council of Provinces MP was part of a parliamentary delegation en route to India. He was briefly detained by India’s security authorities and subsequently sent back home. Congress of the People chief whip Dennis Bloem said National Assembly speaker Max Sisulu and NCOP chairperson Mninwa Mahlangu had ordered Feldman “to go back home”. Bloem told Beeld newspaper on Sunday: “He had too much to drink and they say he lost his inhibitions.”
TWO NEW SPECIES OF VELVET WORMS DISCOVERED
A research group from Stellenbosch University have discovered two new species of velvet worms. News 24 reported that the research group from the department of botany and zoology at the university “found significant differences” in the worms, enough to qualify them as a new species. The elusive worms live in rotten logs, are nocturnal, and are an indicator of an ecosystem’s health, as they prey on small insects as part of the food chain. The same types of worms are found in Australia, New Zealand, and Brazil. The group compared sample worms to those from the Iziko Museum in Cape Town. They also used GPS to trace where samples were taken.
TIME TO REVISE WORN-OUT ECONOMIC THINKING
Finance minister Pravin Gordhan urged academics to help revise worn-out economic thinking that no longer fits a changing, crisis-ridden world on Monday. Gordhan told the 16th World Economic History Congress in Stellenbosch there was an imbalance between the locus of production and that of growth, and between political beliefs and the predominant reality. “The question is, is there an epochal transition, are we seeing a new configuration of political and social power?” Gordhan said history was essential to understanding society, but the challenge was to turn these insights into practice.
ANYONE RECOGNISE THESE STOLEN GOODS?
A man was arrested when he was found in possession of stolen goods at Cape Town International Airport on Monday morning, Western Cape police said. Warrant officer November Filander said the 38-year-old man was en route to Angola when airport police stopped him. In his luggage were laptops, computers, video cameras, speakers, digital cameras, iPads, cellphones, an amplifier and a DVD player, all worth about R500,000. Residents whose houses had been broken into in and around Cape Town were urged to come forward and identify their goods.
GANDHI COLLECTION BOUGHT BY INDIA
The Indian government has bought thousands of letters, papers and photographs which shed light on the life of independence hero Mahatma Gandhi, days before they were to be auctioned at Sotheby’s in London, a government official said on Monday. India paid around 60 million rupees or $1.1 million for the papers, which cover Gandhi’s time in South Africa, his return to India and his contentious relationship with his family. The auction that was to be held on 10 July has been called off. The documents previously belonged to relatives of Hermann Kallenbach, a German-born Jewish architect who met Gandhi in South Africa in 1904 and was impressed by his ideas.
GREENPEACE LAMBASTS ESKOM OVER PARTIES
The R36 million Eskom spent on its staff parties is “unacceptable”, environmental group Greenpeace has said. “It is completely unacceptable that Eskom spends money on parties, while the people of this country face skyrocketing electricity prices, and more than 12 million South Africans still don’t have access to electricity,” it said in a statement. “The latest revelation by City Press about Eskom’s spending spree confirms the arguments Greenpeace continues to make, that as Eskom has become increasingly commercialised and biased towards producing electricity for energy-intensive industry, overall accountability has decreased.”
ANC CHOOSING WRONG OPTION ON MINING, SAYS DA
The ANC appears to be choosing the wrong option again on policy decisions in the mining sector, the Democratic Alliance said on Monday. It was no surprise to find that international accounting heavyweight Ernst and Young identified resource nationalism as “the number one risk for mining and metals companies around the world”, DA spokesman James Lorimer said. Ernst and Young’s ‘Business risks facing mining and metals 2012/13’ report attributed the global risk to an “expanded footprint” of resource nationalism, that included a complex web of government interventions such as mandated beneficiation, banning exports of unprocessed raw materials, limits on foreign ownership, and super-taxes on large profits. DM
Photo: Speaker Max Sisulu (pictured) and NCOP chairperson Mninwa Mahlangu ordered COPE MP Dirk Feldman “to go back home” after he got drunk on a plane and tried to open its door mid-flight.
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