South Africa

FIVE MINUTES: South Africa, 27 September

By Alex Eliseev 28 September 2012

A round-up of the day’s news from South Africa.

Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) has started “disciplinary procedures” against striking workers. “As indicated yesterday (Wednesday), disciplinary action against those employees participating in illegal strike action has commenced,” CEO Chris Griffith said in a statement. Workers at the Rustenberg mine went on a wildcat strike two weeks ago demanding a salary of R16,000 a month. Griffith has stood by his stance that Amplats would not consider the wage demand, saying it was “irrational and outside any form of bargaining”. The mine has an agreement with the union that wage negotiations would take place in six months time. Griffith said that with only 20% of the workforce reporting for duty, the company had been left with “no choice but to initiate disciplinary action, which could lead to dismissals”.

Police have arrested three suspects for the murder of former world heavyweight boxing champion Corrie Sanders, who died on Sunday after being shot by armed robbers who burst into his nephew’s 21st birthday party. The suspects, who are all Zimbabwean citizens, will appear in the Brits magistrates’ court on Monday on charges of murder and armed robbery. “The police confiscated a cellular phone, vehicle key, purse and cash that were allegedly robbed during the robbery and belong to the victims,” police said in a statement. Meanwhile, heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko says Sanders made him the fighter he is today, and his 2003 loss to the South African was pivotal in his success. Klitschko paid a personal tribute to Sanders when he spoke Eyewitness News radio from Germany.

Moody’s has downgraded South Africa’s credit rating by one notch. The international ratings agency said it was concerned about the ANC-led government’s ability to deal with economic problems and the faction fighting within the ruling party. “The rating outlook remains negative because of the uncertainty surrounding critical policy decisions that will be made at the upcoming National General Conference of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) party in December,” Moody’s said. “The ANC’s National Policy Conference at the end of June left many such discussion topics unresolved. South Africa’s medium- to long-term political and economic stability depends crucially upon how well the party is able to coalesce the on-going policy discussions into concrete and effective decisions by that time.”

Greenpeace Africa and the South African History Archives (SAHA) have submitted four requests under the Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA) in a bid to obtain information on the management of nuclear energy in South Africa. “These requests have been submitted due to the increasing lack of transparency and growing secrecy in this high-risk sector,” Greenpeace said in a statement. “The Nuclear industry is shrouded by secrecy and it is no different in South Africa; a country that has an existing nuclear power station and tonnes of nuclear waste. It is indeed alarming that very little information about the technology, waste and cost is publicly available,” said Ferrial Adam, climate and energy campaigner for Greenpeace Africa.

The ANC has condemned the attack on three of its members in KwaZulu-Natal, calling it “brutal and senseless”. One of the men, Mthembeni Shezi, died of his injuries on Thursday morning. The other two, Sbu Mpanza and Bulelani Mjoli, remain in a critical condition. The men were “sprayed with a hail of bullets by unknown attackers” during an ANC meeting, the party said in a statement. The ANC says it is gravely concerned over “the continuous killing of its leaders in KwaZulu-Natal”. The attack took place a month after Dumisani Malunga and Bheki Chiliza, the chairperson and branch secretary of the ANC Oshabeni branch on the South Coast, were killed. Earlier this year, ANC councillor Wandile Mkhize was shot dead in a drive-by shooting near his home in Manaba, Margate.

The South African Transport and Allied Workers’ Union (Satawu) has sent a delegation to Ekurhuleni to investigate problems being caused by striking truck drivers. The decision follows an outbreak of violence in which three people were injured, according to police spokesman, Kobeli Mokheseng. “There were calls coming in that a light delivery vehicle was burned, and truckers stoned two trucks on the R21 to Pretoria,” he said. The violence caused traffic to be diverted and roads closed in the area near OR Tambo airport. He said no arrests had been made and that police were “dealing with the situation as it is happening”.

Statistics SA has released the results of 2012 Victims of Crime Survey, which has revealed most South Africans are afraid of housebreaking. Statistics SA deputy director general Kefiloe Masiteng said about 59.3% of households perceived burglary as the most common crime. “Housebreaking and robbery came out to be the crimes that people are worried about,” said Masiteng. The study found that burglary was the most common crime, and had been experienced at least once by 5.4% of the households reviewed, followed by home robbery at 1.5% and theft of livestock at 1.3%. The number of households satisfied with the performance of the police declined on the previous year. The survey focused on people’s perceptions and experiences of crime, and their views regarding their access to the police and the justice system.

While President Jacob Zuma has accepted an invitation from United Nations Secretary General, Ban ki Moon, to serve in the UN SG’s Education First Initiative, the DA has poured scorn on the move. “Given the destruction of the South African school system under President Jacob Zuma’s government, the DA believes that he is not fit to serve on the panel of the United Nations Secretary General Education First Initiative,” the DA said in a statement. “The education panel is mandated to achieve ‘quality, relevant and inclusive education for all’. The appointment is ironic, given that the Department of Basic Education (DBE) revealed in a recent briefing on Education for All and the Millennium Development Goals in South Africa that it is unlikely to achieve its quality targets.”? DM

Photo: President Zuma by Reuters.


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