South Africa

FIVE MINUTES: South Africa

By Daily Maverick Staff Reporter 11 March 2013

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


Former President Nelson Mandela has been discharged from hospital. “Former President Nelson Mandela has this afternoon, 10 March 2013, returned to his Johannesburg home following a successful medical examination at a Pretoria hospital,” presidential spokesman Mac Maharaj said. “The doctors have completed the tests. He is well and as before, his health remains under the management of the medical team.” Mandela was admitted to hospital on Saturday for what ANC spokesman Jackson Mthembu called a  “routine check-up”, but which was his second period of hospital treatment in less than three months. Earlier, Maharaj said there was “no need for panic. “Doctors are conducting tests and have thus far indicated that there is no reason for any alarm. We appeal for privacy for Madiba and his family”.


The family of the man who died in custody after being tied to a police van and dragged through the streets is to sue the police minister. Sapa reports the law firm of Jurgens Bekker has been retained by Mido Macia’s family “to represent them, to advise them and to institute civil proceedings against the minister of police for the unlawful death of Emidio Macia”, according to attorney Andrew Boernar. He said the family was to be consulted before they could calculate the damages incurred, and that the firm would attempt to recover its fee from the police ministry, not the family. Nine policemen have been arrested for Macia’s murder. An eyewitness filmed footage of the police dragging Macia behind the van.


The National Treasury has blacklisted On-Point Engineering and CEO of the Malema-linked company, Lesiba Gwangwa. The Sunday Times reported On-Point has been added to the department’s database of black listed companies. Government departments and state institutions have to consult the database before tenders can be awarded, effectively blocking the company from winning state business. On-Point is involved in a court case over a R52 million tender that public protector Thuli Madonsela found had been awarded without following proper guidelines and improperly benefitting to the company and Julius Malema as some of the money was transferred to Malema’s Ratanang Family Trust.


Hlaudi Motsoeneng, the acting chief operating officer of the SABC who was fired by its board two weeks ago, is refusing to leave his office, City Press reports.  A board member told the newspaper Motsoeneng behaved “like a demigod”, and disrespected the board and the SABC’s CEO, Lulama Mokhobo. A special investigating unit report into corruption at public broadcaster is believed to be at the heart of the struggle between the board and Motsoeneng, who has refused to hand it over. The board was due to deliver the report to the parliamentary portfolio committee on communications. The newspaper reports Motsoeneng used the report to threaten board members around the same time an advert for the position of permanent COO was placed. He told them at a board meeting they were not getting the report, and that there was “nothing” they could do about it.


The breakdown in governance and management at the top level of the SABC and the special investigating unit’s report into corruption at the state broadcaster must be addressed by the parliament urgently. DA communications spokeswoman, Marian Shinn, said she’d asked the chairman of the parliamentary portfolio committee to invite the SIU to give it an “impartial, unabridged report on the status of its investigation into SABC corruption, and the progress of various cases lodged with the SA Police Services”. Shinn said the crises at the SABC had drawn minister Dina Pule “into the fray” and her interference in executive appointments “demonstrates the lack of independence at the SABC and her inappropriate handling of the matter”.


The arms deal commission of inquiry has been accused of giving the ANC a “free pass” by not interrogating any officials or investigating its bank accounts. The Sunday Times reports Seriti commission has lost credibility by not scrutinising the ANC and some of its leaders, believed to be among the main beneficiaries of the controversial R70 billion arms deal. The newspaper quotes a letter by Judge Seriti, dated 26 February 2013, that says, “no evidence implicating the African National Congress has been brought to the attention of the commission”. Arms deal activist and former banker Terry Crawford-Brown asked why the ANC had not been given notice that several witnesses would implicate the party in corruption, and why the party had not been summonsed to explain its donations from and dealings with arms dealers and “alleged bribe takers”.


A pre-dawn attack on a family in KwaZulu-Natal has led to the death of all five adult males of the Mkhize family and a relative, and three young boys seriously injured. The Sunday Tribune reports that the men were shot execution style in Tshekani area near Greytown. The women in the household were spared. The newspaper said the family were accused of cattle theft, and that members of Isikebhe, a vigilante group said to execute those accused of cattle rustling, would be investigated. It also said a group of police officers that arrested Mhlengi Tonqo Mkhize two weeks ago for possession of an illegal pistol would be probed. Police spokesman Colonel Vincent Mdunge said a task team had been assembled to hunt down five suspects. A witness said the attackers had identified themselves as police.


Nine suspected rhino poachers have been arrested at a private game farm in Lephalale, Limpopo police report. “The suspects, whose names and ages are unknown, are from Mozambique and Zimbabwe. The suspects were arrested while they were burning a field inside the farm to lure the animals to a spot where they would then kill the rhinos and dehorn them,” the Limpopo police said in a statement. The suspects have been linked to another rhino poaching case in the same vicinity.  The suspects will appear before the Lephalale Magistrate Court on charges of Illegal hunting of protected game. Two other suspected rhino poachers Steve Mbombi, 21, and Roy Baloyi, 27, from Mozambique were arrested last Friday in the Kruger National Park. DM

Photo: Nelson Mandela


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