A round-up of the day’s news from South Africa.
AMPLATS ‘NOT CONFIDENT’ IT CAN SAVE 14,000 JOBS
Anglo American Platinum’s CEO is not convinced that talks between unions, government and the company would result in 14,000 threatened jobs being saved. Chris Griffith told parliament’s committee on mineral resources persistent labour unrest is jeopardising investment in South Africa. “If we keep having all these difficulties and we keep sending these difficult messages from South Africa … we are going to find it very difficult to ask for that money that we want to put in to maintaining our presence in South Africa,” Griffith said. A work stoppage on Tuesday, which followed violence between rival unions NUM and AMCU, added to the tension. Griffith said he was “not confident” that the negotiations would prevent the job losses.
FIGHTING ‘TOOTH AND NAIL’ TO PREVENT RHINO POACHING
Police have arrested five men suspected of being rhino poachers before they entered the Kruger National Park via the Phalaborwa gate. Spokesman Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi said police had acted on information received, and arrested the group in the parking lot of a shopping centre in Phalaborwa. The suspects had a 1.4 hunting rifle and silencer, eight pieces of live ammunition, a butcher’s knife and an axe. Limpopo provincial commissioner of police, Lieutenant General Simon Mpembe, said police in the province would “fight tooth and nail to prevent the poaching of rhinos”, adding that a reward of up to R500,000 was on offer to members of the public who provided information that led to the successful arrest and conviction of poachers.
MALEMA MEETS DEADLINE TO OPPOSE TAX APPLICATION
Former president of the ANC Youth League Julius Malema has opposed an application by the South African Revenue Services (SARS) for the sequestration of his estate. SARS spokesman Adrian Lackay said Malema’s lawyer, Nicqui Galaktiou was no longer acting for him, which had led to a delay in his filing notice of his intent to oppose the application. Malema’s new attorney, Tumi Mokwena, confirmed that he’d met the Monday deadline. SARS hopes to recover a R16-million tax debt from Malema, and wants to sequestrate his movable and immovable assets, including his homes in Sandton and Polokwane. The application is to be heard on Wednesday next week.
PISTORIUS SOBS IN COURT AS POLICE GIVE EVIDENCE
A witness heard “non-stop shouting” in the home of athletics star Oscar Pistorius shortly before his girlfriend was shot dead, the lead detective in the murder investigation has told the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court. Warrant officer Hilton Botha, a detective with 24 years’ experience, also told the court that police had found two containers of testosterone and needles in Pistorius’ bedroom. Pistorius sobbed as Botha presented his testimony about the death of Reeva Steenkamp, 29, who was in the toilet of the athlete’s home when she was shot dead. Pistorius said in an affidavit that he woke in the middle of the night and thought an intruder had climbed through his bathroom window and entered the adjoining toilet.
SOUTH AFRICANS’ CONFIDENCE IN JUSTICE SYSTEM ‘ERODED’
South Africans have lost faith in the criminal justice system, says Democratic Alliance correctional services spokesman, James Selfe. He told Parliament the nation is “correctly and entirely understandably outraged” over the brutal death of Anene Booysens, and dozens of other women and children who’ve died as a result of sexual violence. “Public confidence is eroded by perceptions that criminals escape the law; that arrests do not lead to convictions; or that prisoners escape easily from courtrooms or correctional facilities,” Selfe said in a speech. This was not a “perception”, Selfe said, but “a reality”. Also at issue was the fact that “the wrong people are put in charge of it”, Selfe said, referring to former police commissioners Jackie Selebi and Bheki Cele.
PURGE OF BLACK STAFF ‘COMPLETE NONSENSE’
The former ANC premier of the Western Cape, Lynne Brown, has accused the provincial government of “purging” black staff and “pursuing a refugee agenda”. Brown couldn’t give figures to substantiate her claim, but said the ANC would look “vigorously” at what happened black staff that spoke out against Premier Helen Zille. Zille dismissed her claims, saying blacks, coloureds and Indians made up 39,276 of the 50,521 staff members who were in top or senior management, were professionally qualified or skilled technicians. “Lynne Brown’s claims of a ‘purge’ of black people from the Western Cape government is complete nonsense,” Zille said. She told IOL 65% of employees who left the public service had resigned, 15% had retired, 7% had died, 5% had absconded or been dismissed, and the rest had been transferred.
SOUTH AFRICAN AIRWAYS MUST TURN AROUND, OR PRIVATISE
The acting CEO of South Africa Airways has told Parliament’s portfolio committee on public enterprises it had been led up the garden path for years regarding “turnaround plans” that never materialised. Nico Bezuidenhout said the troubled national carrier’s latest strategy was holistic, and would aim to establish a sustainable business over a 20-year period. But the Democratic Alliance is sceptical. “Given that nine similar plans have been put forward over the last 13 years, at a cost of billions to the public purse, this latest salvage attempt has to be the airline’s last,” said the party’s spokeswoman on public enterprises, Natasha Michael. SAA has lost R14.7 billion over the last decade. “The equation is simple. Turn SAA around in the next few years, or concede to privatise,” she said.
HATE CRIMES HARD TO FIGHT IN SA
Hate crimes are hard to fight in South Africa, as documentation is limited and inconsistent. New research by the Hate Crimes Working Group (HCWG) shows despite various advocacy efforts by civil society organisations, real knowledge, expertise and thorough documentation in addressing hate crimes is lacking across all sectors in all provinces. HCWG said it has developed a multi-sectoral draft monitoring form to capture data across several hate crime categories, including nationality, sexual orientation, race and ethnicity. Preliminary research led by Unisa’s Professor Juan Nel to pilot the monitoring form shows that the average age of victims is 31 years old, and most victims resided in a township area. Victims included mostly females (52%) followed by 47% males and 1% intersex. Regarding gender, 48% of victims identified as female, 45% identified as male and 7% identified as transgender. The majority of victims were heterosexual (69%), 29% were gay/lesbian and 2% were bisexual. DM
Photo: Julius Malema (Jordi Matas)
"Man is by nature a political animal" ~ Aristotle