A round-up of the day's news from South Africa.
FIVE KILLED IN MINE UNION CLASHES
Five people including a police officer have been killed in clashes between unions at a South African mine operated by platinum producer Lonmin, the most deadly round of violence in an eight-month turf war rocking the sector. The clashes involve the dominant National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and the upstart Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU). Lonmin said the situation remained “volatile” at its Western Platinum mine, northwest of Johannesburg. “We are expecting the situation to return to calm given the level of security on site,” executive vice president Barnard Mokwena said. A machete was used to kill the policeman. Another officer attacked in the same incident was seriously wounded, police spokesman Thulani Ngubane said.
DA PREVENTED FROM JOINING E-TOLL CONCOURT CASE
The DA has been prevented from joining the Constitutional Court case on the Gauteng e-tolling project, the party said on Monday. “We were not admitted as friend of the court, and we not really given any reasons,” Democratic Alliance MPL Jack Bloom said. “The full reason as to why we were not allowed to join the case would be given in the court’s final judgment.” He said Treasury and SA National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) had objected to the DA’s inclusion because it was a political party. “They argued that a friend of the court does not side with one side over another.” On Wednesday, the court will hear arguments by Sanral and Treasury on why it should overturn an interim interdict granted by the North Gauteng High Court in April.
NO BAIL FOR KAZI MURDER ACCUSED
The two men accused of an assault on a man, who later died of his injuries, appeared without a public audience in the Krugersdorp Magistrate’s Court on Monday. The pair, charged with murder and assault, were denied bail and the matter was postponed until 21 August. The two are accused of killing 27-year-old Muhammad Fayaaz Kazi and assaulting his close friend, Anser Mahmood, outside a Chicken Licken outlet in Magaliesburg last Monday. Police told the family that the reason nobody was allowed into the courtroom was because the men still had to appear in an identity parade.
POLICE OFFICER KILLED EVERY 10 DAYS, SAYS PHIYEGA
A police officer has been killed every 10 days since national police commissioner Riah Phiyega took office, she said on Monday. “At least six officers have been murdered while on duty in the past 60 days that I have been in office. Statistically, that means one is killed every 10 days,” she told reporters in Johannesburg. Phiyega met with Gauteng commissioner lieutenant general Mzwandile Petros as part of her visits to provinces to find out what strategies were in place to fight crime. She said her department was doing everything it could to protect its 200,000 officers, but communities should also play their part.
FACEBOOK RAPIST PLEADS GUILT
The man dubbed the ‘Facebook rapist’, Thabo Bester, has pleaded guilty to robbing and murdering model Nomfundo Tyhulu. The Western Cape High Court heard that Bester got into an argument with Tyhulu, 26, while they stayed in Cape Town at a bed and breakfast in Milnerton on 21 September 2011. She was apparently upset about a previous girlfriend of his. They went to sleep, and Bester woke up in the early hours of the morning, decided he would stab her and steal her laptop and cellphone. Bester was previously sentenced to 50 years in prison for raping and robbing two models. (Sapa)
BILLIONS PUMPED INTO HELPING FARMERS
Government has had to pump money into almost 600 farms in distress from 1 April 2010 to 31 December last year, land reform minister, Gugile Nkwinti, says. Replying in writing to a parliamentary question from an opposition MP, Nkwinti said R1.3-billion was spent on helping 411 distressed farmers by April last year. By December, this amount had more than doubled. “In total, financial assistance to the amount of R3,585,223,614.79 was provided.” This included financial and technical assistance in the form of contracted strategic partners, mentors, and in some cases service providers to render services, such as water reticulation. Nkwinti has acknowledged that the state will not achieve its aim of transferring 30% of white-owned agricultural land to emerging black farmers by 2014.
PUBLIC PROTECTOR UNFAZED BY ANC, SACP CRITICISM
Public Protector Thuli Madonsela is unfazed by criticism of her attendance of a Women’s Day event organised by the Democratic Alliance. She told an internal audit conference in Johannesburg that her presence was part of her mandate, and was aimed at gaining and maintaining confidence from concerned parties. “I must indicate that we do not arbitrarily adapt our operations because one stakeholder or group wants things done their way,” she said. “Mine is always a principled decision that can stand the test of the standards set in the Constitution, particularly the requirements of independence, impartiality, and operating without fear or favour.”
NPA OFFCIAL TO BE QUIZZED OVER BREYTENBACH LAPTOP
An NPA official is will be cross-examined about suspended prosecutor Glynnis Breytenbach’s laptop when her disciplinary inquiry resumes in Pretoria on Tuesday. Khaya Xaba, a risk specialist at the National Prosecuting Authority, testified last Monday that he handed Breytenbach a letter of suspension on 30 April. He was supposed to collect her work laptop, keys, and access discs at the same time. However, Xaba and Breytenbach’s attorney Gerhard Wagenaar disagreed about the handing over of the laptop. Xaba allowed Breytenbach to keep the laptop so her IT specialist could delete files she claimed were of a personal nature from its hard drive. The laptop was handed to the NPA two days later.
CORRUPTION IN SCHOOL NUTRITION PROGRAMME IN KZN
At least 10 KwaZulu-Natal education officials are facing “imminent” suspension related to corruption in the department’s school nutrition programme. Provincial education department head Nkosinathi Sishi made the announcement in Durban. This followed the suspension of two department officials in June. Some 2.2 million pupils in KwaZulu-Natal benefit from the national school nutrition programme, which costs the province R1.2bn a year. Sishi declined to give further details, saying the investigations were continuing. He said it was too early to say how much the corruption had cost the department. DM
Photo: N1 Highway by Greg Marinovich
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