South Africa

FIVE MINUTES: South Africa

By Daily Maverick Staff Reporter 18 February 2013

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


An explosive report in two Sunday newspapers claimed a bloodied cricket bat was found at the home of Paralympic gold medalist, Oscar Pistorius, and gave details of a phone call the athlete made to his father. Pistorius has been charged with the premeditated murder of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp. The newspapers also said Pistorius was tested for drugs and steroids. But police did not leak this critical information to City Press and Rapport newspapers, Lieutenant-colonel Katlego Mogale told Sapa. City Press claimed in-depth interviews with sources close to the investigation gave them the news. Mogale told Sapa she could not confirm whether the leaked information was from the police docket and that police would investigate the source of the leak, which they regarded as “very serious”.


The African National Congress Women’s League has spoken out against the high levels of intimate femicide in South Africa. “The recent incident where South African Olympic star Oscar Pistorius is alleged to have murdered his intimate partner Reeva Steenkamp brings this type of crime once again into the spotlight,” the ANCWL said in a statement. The Medical Research Council recently completed a study that showed her partner murders a South African woman every eight hours. “ While this incident has shocked most South Africans and people around the world, it is not an isolated incident,” the ANCWL said, adding that it hoped the magistrate would “heed the call” to deny Pistorius bail. The ANCWL sent its “deepest sympathies” to “ the family of the bright young woman who had the world at her feet just a week ago, but that was all taken away from her in an instant.”


The screening of Tropika Island of Treasure, featuring the murdered girlfriend of Oscar Pistorius, was billed as a tribute to “an intelligent, beautiful and amazing woman” but women’s rights activists have criticised the decision. They are particularly concerned over an edited clip at the beginning of the SABC reality series that shows Reeva Steenkamp talking about her “exit” from the show. “I think that the way you go out, not just your journey in life but the way that you go out and you make your exit is so important,” she says. Reuters reports Rachel Jewkes, a gender and health researcher at the South African Medical Research Council, said the clips were particularly insensitive in a country where a woman is estimated to be killed by her partner every eight hours. “These sort of quotes don’t make you feel any better about the suggestion they are exploiting her death,” she said.


Public service and administration minister, Lindiwe Sisulu, wants civil servants banned for doing business with the state. She told the Sunday Times public servants should choose between serving the state, and being in business. She said cutting that “umbilical cord” could help create “a cadre of the public service who is concerned [with] and only concentrating on the job, and not doing the job but at the same time benefiting from the state. Sisulu also wants those found guilty of fraud and corruption of blacklisted from working for any government department. She intends launching an office of standards to be headed by a “super-director-general” whose job it would be to make sure director-generals and provincial heads of department deliver on their duties.


The Democratic Alliance has called into question the priorities of the minister for women, children and people with disabilities after reports revealed Lulu Xingwana spent R2.1 million on office furniture. “It is time she got her priorities right, and put the interests of vulnerable South Africans above her own extravagant taste in furniture and overseas trips,” said spokeswoman Helen Lamoela. She said Xingwana’s “lack of action in dealing with the growing tide of violence against women, and her lacklustre efforts at implementing programmes to promote the rights of children and people with disabilities, are a slap in the face of those who depend on her.” The minister’s spokesman told the Sunday Independent the minister had no furniture when the department moved into new offices and that she was still using the previous minister’s furniture in the ministry’s office.


An investigation into irregularities in the selection of candidates for the 2011 local government elections in over 400 ANC wards countrywide – 11 in KwaZulu-Natal – could see some councillors fired by the end of the month. The report, by a task team headed by Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, said the councillors had manipulated the outcomes of candidate lists. At a regional general council meeting in Durban, national executive committee member Joe Phaahla told 200 members of the fate of those councillors who had been fingered in the damning report, saying they would be asked to resign as soon as ANC process began. But provincial communication co-ordinator Senzo Mkhize told the Sunday Independent that councillors’ jobs were not on the line and that they were simply telling members about the report.


Basic education minister Angie Motshekga must report to parliament on the status of the teacher shortage crisis in the Eastern Cape, says DA education spokeswoman Annette Lovemore. “According to reports from the region, six schools, one in Buffalo City and five in Graaff-Reinet, have closed because of staff shortages. These closures are mind-boggling considering the estimated 7,152 excess teachers at certain schools who need to be transferred,” she said. Lovemore said Motshekga’s “complete inaction” stems from a standoff between government and the South African Democratic Teachers Union. Lovemore said Motshekga could start resolving the crisis by “standing up to Sadtu and putting the interests of learners above alliance politics”. DM

Photo: Basic education minister Angie Motshekga must report to parliament on the status of the teacher shortage crisis in the Eastern Cape, says the DA. (REUTERS)


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