South Africa

FIVE MINUTES: South Africa

By Daily Maverick Staff Reporter 12 March 2013

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

PISTORIUS FAMILY: OSCAR NOT SUICIDAL

The Pistorius family has denied Oscar Pistorius is suicidal, as claimed by a friend in a British documentary to be screened on BBC3 on Monday night. In the documentary, ‘Oscar Pistorius: What Really Happened?’ Mike Azzie tells the filmmaker “he is a broken man and that I would go as far to say that he would be on the verge of suicide. It really worries me”. In a statement from the family, Arnold Pistorius said Pistorius was in deep mourning, “but despite the tragic circumstances he is certainly not suicidal, as has been rumoured”. He said as legal expenses were “massive” Pistorius had sold some investments, including racehorses, a fact referred to in the documentary.

STATE WILL OPPOSE PISTORIUS BAIL APPEAL 

The National Prosecuting Authority has confirmed the state will oppose Oscar Pistorius’ appeal against his bail conditions. Spokesman Medupe Simasiku said Pistorius had filed an appeal, saying the conditions were unwarranted and unfair. His lawyers argue he should be allowed to travel, given that Magistrate Desmond Nair said he wasn’t a flight risk. They also contest that he has to report to the Brooklyn Police Station in Pretoria, be supervised by a probation officer and be subjected to drug and alcohol tests. He also wants to return to his Pretoria home. His lawyers said the “blanket order” that prevents him from speaking to other residents living at the estate was “unfair”. Simasiku said there was no court date yet but the state was preparing to oppose the application.

GIGABA REMOVES SAA CEO VUSI KONA

Public enterprises minister Malusi Gigaba has removed suspended South African Airways CEO Vuyisile Kona from the airline’s board. His spokesman, Mayihlome Tshwete, said Gigaba had adopted a resolution to remove Kona after convening a shareholders’ meeting earlier on Monday, a decision he regarded as prudent and in the interests of SAA. He said the move was in the interests of “stability and cohesion in its leadership”. Kona was put on “precautionary suspension” last month, a move the board said was based on allegations that it had a fiduciary duty to investigate. Tshwete said Kona’s “innocence or otherwise” had no bearing on the decision taken by Gigaba. Duduzile Myeni will continue acting as board chairwoman.

POLICEMEN IN MACIA CASE ‘DON’T DESERVE BAIL’

The state has argued against nine policemen accused of the murder of Daveyton taxi driver Mido Macia getting bail, saying they would endanger the public and attempt to influence and intimidate witnesses, some of whom were their colleagues. Senior prosecutor December Mthimunye said the autopsy revealed Macia had extensive internal and external injuries, and had died from a lack of oxygen. He was found in a pool of blood, with no pants on, in the Daveyton Police Station. “This is not a straightforward case of murder. There was a lot of concealment,” Mthimunye said. He presented an affidavit submitted by a local resident who said most residents believed the nine did not deserve bail.

MACIA WAS INVOLVED IN FATAL CAR ACCIDENT BEFORE HIS DEATH – LAWYER

Mido Macia, the Mozambican taxi driver who was dragged behind a police van and died in custody, was involved in a car accident that killed five school children just days before his death, the Benoni Magistrate’s Court heard Monday. Sapa reports Macia faced charges of culpable homicide, according to a lawyer defending the nine policemen accused of killing him. The defence argued that some of Macia’s injuries uncovered by an autopsy may been a result of the accident, after prosecutors earlier said Macia was brutally abused before and after his arrest late last month. No more details about the car accident were given.

SURVE TO INTERVENE IN KARABUS CASE IN UAE

Dr Iqbal Survé has stepped into the frame to help free South African professor, Cyril Karabus, from detention in the United Arab Emirates. The Cape Times reports that Survé – whose Sekunjalo consortium recently bought Independent Newspapers – has offered to “intervene in his personal capacity”, according to his lawyer, Michael Bagraim. Karabus is out on bail in the UAE where he was tried and convicted in absentia on charges of manslaughter and falsifying documents in the case of a three-year-old patient under his care at an Abu Dhabi hospital. Bagraim said Survé would speak to “individuals” he knows in the UAE.

NO ‘FREE PASS’ FOR THE ANC IN ARMS INQUIRY – COMMISSION

The commission of inquiry into South Africa’s controversial arms deal will not be bypassing the African National Congress in its investigations, spokesman William Baloyi said. He was responding to a story in the Sunday Times that said the ANC and its leaders would be given a “free pass” with officials not being questioned and bank accounts not being investigated. Baloyi said although no evidence against the ANC has been brought to its attention, the commission would certainly investigate anything that came to light. He said the commission was involved in the “first phase” of the hearings, and that the witness list was by no means conclusive as investigations were on-going.

FIVE UNPROTECTED STRIKES AT EXXARO MINES

Exxaro is dealing with unprotected strikes at five of its mines. The diversified resources group confirmed protests were taking place at its Matla‚ Arnot‚ Grootegeluk‚ Leeuwpan and Inyanda mines, according to I-Net Bridge. Exxaro is “engaging with unions and managing the situation to bring operations to normality as soon as possible”, it said. “The mines have implemented contingency plans to continue supplying coal to maintain the functionality of their respective power stations and other customers. Exxaro will continue to work closely with Eskom to ensure the availability of coal supply.” The mining group said strikes at Matla and Arnot in Mpumalanga are related to non-payment of performance bonuses due to the operations having not achieved performance targets while the action at Grootegeluk in Limpopo “involves a range of grievances”. Production has stopped at Leeuwpan. DM

Photo: Oscar Pistorius during his baila application. (Greg Nicolson)

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