A round-up of the day’s news from South Africa.
PISTORIUS TO HOLD PRIVATE MEMORIAL SERVICE FOR REEVA
Oscar Pistorius will hold a private memorial service for Reeva Steenkamp at his uncle’s home on Tuesday night. A statement issued by his reputation management company, Vuma, claimed to be in response to a leak to the media regarding the service. “Oscar specifically requested the memorial service as he continues to grieve and remains in deep mourning for the loss of his partner Reeva. Since it is such a sensitive issue, Oscar has asked for a private service with people who share his loss, including his family members who knew and loved Reeva as one of their own,” the statement said. It asked media to respect the family’s privacy.
DAVIDS PLEADS NOT GUILTY TO ANENE BOOYSEN’S MURDER
Jonathan Davids, the man accused of raping and killing Bredasdorp teenager Anene Booysen, has pleaded not guilty to her murder. Davids took the stand to testify in his bail hearing. He told the court he was at the same pub as Booysen on the night in question and that he’d greeted her around 10pm. Prosecutor Maria Marshall said a witness said he’d “made a nuisance” of himself, and that Booysen had told him to leave her alone. Davids had marks on his left arm and neck when he was arrested on Saturday evening, 2 February. Booysen was gang raped and disembowelled in the early hours of the morning, and left for dead at the building site where she worked. She identified her killer before she died, telling hospital staff ‘Zwaai’ and six other men were responsible for her injuries. Davids’ nickname was ‘Zwaai’. Davids and another man, Johannes Kana, are accused of her murder. Kana is expected to apply for bail at a later stage.
TLOKWE REINSTATES MAPHETLE AS MAYOR
The ANC in Tlokwe has ousted DA mayor Annette Combrink, replacing her with former mayor Maphetle Maphetle, the man unseated by his own party last November in a vote of no confidence. Maphetle won by 31 votes to 21. The ANC-led council earlier passed a vote of no confidence in Combrink. Councillor David Legoete, who brought the motion, said because Combrink was a member of the DA, she was bound by the policies of the party. He said it was “untenable” for the Tlokwe city council, with its ANC majority, to be led by a member of the DA. During her brief term as mayor, the DA found R143 million of irregular expenditure, and a further 152 million spent without authorisation. The DA is proceeding with a court application in April to set aside the no confidence motion, citing irregularities in the tabling of the motion.
SABC RELEASES ACTING COO MOTSOENENG FROM DUTIES
The SABC has released its controversial acting chief operating officer from his duties. Hlaudi Motsoeneng will return to his job as group editor of the provinces while the current head of radio news and current affairs, Mike Siluma, will take over as acting COO. SABC spokesman Kaizer Kganyago said in a statement that the SABC’s board wanted to “assure the public that the process of appointing a permanent chief operating officer will be concluded once all the legal impediments that has thus far prevented them from making the appointment are resolved”. No details were given as to why Motsoeneng has been removed from the position.
STELLENBOSCH UNIVERSITY TELLS A MEATY STORY
A study by meat scientists at Stellenbosch University has found South African meats contain a “fair share” of fraudulent products such as soya, donkey, goat and even water buffalo in 68% of the 139 foodstuffs tested. The research looked into minced meats, burger patties, deli meats, sausages and dried meats. “Our study confirms that the mislabelling of processed meats is commonplace in South Africa and not only violates food labelling regulations, but also poses economic, religious, ethical and health impacts,” says Professor Louw Hoffman of the Department of Animal Sciences. Professor Hoffman, Dr Donna-Maree Cawthorn and Harris Steinman of the Food & Allergy Consulting & Testing Services (F.A.C.T.S) in Milnerton conducted the research.
SOUTH AFRICA’S TEACHERS HOLD RECORD FOR TRUANCY
Basic education minister Angie Motshekga says South Africa has the highest rate of absenteeism among teachers out of all Southern African Development Countries (SADC). Motshekga told reporters at Parliament South African teachers averaged around 19 days per teacher a year. Other SADC countries put their rate at nine days per teacher per year. Motshekga said she and her department were greatly concerned about teacher accountability in terms of staff arriving on time and teaching for a full day. She said the department was considering introducing an electronic clock-in system for teachers. She said while the 19 days quoted was “pure absenteeism”, serious illness had also played a part in the high figure.
SA PROSECUTORS TO INVESTIGATE MASS RAPE IN ZIMBABWE
South African prosecutors will be investigating Zanu-PF for an alleged campaign of mass rapes in Zimbabwe’s last election. The Globe and Mail reports that this is the first time an African government has used domestic laws to investigate another African country under the emerging doctrine of “universal jurisdiction”. It is also the first time authorities have used universal jurisdiction in a rape investigation. The decision followed a request by Canadian activist Stephen Lewis and his organisation, AIDS-Free World. The NGO’s legal team has gathered testimony from 84 rape survivors who have identified more than 200 perpetrators. “This puts Mugabe on notice that the world is watching,” Lewis, the former Canadian ambassador to the United Nations and the former UN ambassador on AIDS in Africa, told the newspaper.
COMAIR LAUNCHES COURT CHALLENGE OVER SAA BAILOUT
South Africa’s last remaining independent domestic airline has launched a high court challenge against a R5 billion guarantee given to the floundering national carrier, SAA. In a statement, Comair said current and previous bailouts received by the airline, amounting to R11 billion, did not comply with either the Domestic Aviation Transport Policy or the Constitution, the SAA Act, the Promotion of Administrative Justice Act and the Public Finances Management Act. CEO Erik Venter said, “Comair’s sole objective is to attain a level playing field in the domestic aviation market to ensure that all airlines face the same risks and the same requirements to operate on sound commercial principles,” he said. “By receiving government bailouts SAA avoids this commercial reality and this negatively impacts on all current and potential airline operators.” DM
Photo: A study by meat scientists at Stellenbosch University has found South African meats contain a “fair share” of fraudulent products such as soya, donkey, goat and even water buffalo in 68% of the 139 foodstuffs tested. (REUTERS file photo)
Watermelons were originally cultivated in Africa.