South Africa

FIVE MINUTES: South Africa

By Daily Maverick Staff Reporter 19 March 2013

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

ANCYL NEC, LIMPOPO PEC DISBANDED FOR BEING UN-ANC

The ANC’s decision to disband Limpopo’s Provincial Executive Committee (PEC) was due to it displaying “totally un-ANC behaviour and institutionalised factional conduct”, the party said in a post-NEC meeting statement. The province’s PEC will be replaced by an interim structure with a brief to convene a provincial conference within nine months. “… emphasis was made that it should not be a faction replacing another faction”, the ANC said. It also disbanded the ANC Youth League’s NEC, saying the decision was based on “continued ill-disciplined behaviour that brought the organisation into disrepute on numerous occasions”. An interim committee will take over and direct regional and provincial conferences of the ANCYL.

MANTASHE: ANC IS STRENGTHENING, NOT PURGING

The African National Congress is strengthening the organisation, not purging it, says secretary general, Gwede Mantashe. He was responding to allegations that the disbanding of the Limpopo PEC and the ANCYL NEC was part of a purge post-Mangaung and that the party was in a state of turmoil. Mantashe told reporters rectification was not turmoil. “When you correct your organisation you are not in turmoil; it means you are in a phase of strengthening the organisation,” Sapa reports. A national task team would be appointed by the national working committee to renew and rebuild the ANCYL and “give us a face that will appeal to young people… you don’t need to be rowdy to lead the youth league”, Mantashe said.

TOURISTS INJURED AS SCAFFOLDING COLLAPSES AT WATERFRONT

Scaffolding put up for Absa Cape Epic registrations at Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront collapsed on two Namibian tourists, seriously injuring them. The Cape Times reported that a rigging company hired by organisers of the mountain bike race was taking down the 12 metre long, five-metre high erection. Drikus and Danita Swanepoel received head and leg injuries. “All I remember was walking in front of the wheel and the next minute I woke up on the floor. My husband was next to me. We didn’t know what had happened. I was in so much pain,” she told the newspaper. A spokeswoman for the Waterfront said they would co-operate with the engineers conducting an investigation into how the accident happened.

STATE SECURITY BUDGET SHOULDN’T BE KEPT SECRET

The State Security Agency (SSA) should spend more time on ensuring it is well staffed and well managed than investing its time and energy on legislation such as the spy and secrecy bills. The DA’s spokesman on state security, Theo Coetzee, said it was time parliament was allowed to monitor the agency’s R4 billion budget. It is currently kept secret, and MPs are unable to measure whether its “programmes were necessary or acceptable in a constitutional democracy”. Coetzee said key positions left by head of domestic intelligence, Gibson Njenje, who resigned over a year ago as did head of foreign intelligence, Moe Shaik. “South Africa has the right to know that this R4 billion is being used properly and not to promote a secretive state,” he said.

LEGAL BODIES CALL FOR RELEASE OF HUMAN RIGHTS LAWYER MTETWA

South Africa’s General Council of the Bar of South Africa (GCB) has expressed its “grave concern” at the arrest of well-known Zimbabwean human rights lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa. Chairman of the GCB, Iam Semenya, called for Mtetwa’s immediate and unconditional release following “an alleged police clampdown on opposition parties before, during and after the referendum”. Semenya’s call was echoed by a group of African legal bodies including ICJ, PALU, SADC LA and SALC, which said Mtetwa was arrested after attempting to come to the aid of her MDC-T clients. Mtetwa demanded police produce a search warrant for the communication office of the MDC-T but was arrested and charged with “obstructing the course of justice”.

MOTLANTHE: SA NEEDS MORE NUCLEAR POWER PLANTS

Deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe says South Africa needs more nuclear power plants to meet growing electricity demand. Speaking at the Nuclear Africa 2013 conference, Motlanthe said South Africa needed to spread electricity production points around the country. He said nuclear power was ideal as plants could be built around the southern coastline and elsewhere. Motlanthe said this was a “strategically sensible approach, which requires us to use other energy sources in addition to coal”. Motlanthe’s position is unlikely to find favour with environmental activist NGO, Greenpeace, which says nuclear energy is “bad for Africa” and that government’s nuclear build programme is a threat “o our democratic, political, social and economic rights”.

CONCERNS FOR NUCLEAR SAFETY FOR RESIDENTS OF ‘WESCAPE’

A plan to build a R140 billion new city north of Cape Town, near Melkbosstrand, has raised concerns over nuclear safety of potential residents. The plan for ‘Wescape’ situates the city within five to 16 kilometres of Koeberg, which means it is subject to the nuclear power stations’ Urgent Protective Action Planning Zone emergency plan that requires evacuation within 16 hours of an accident. The Cape Times reports that the National Nuclear Regulator, Eskom’s Koeberg nuclear power station, and the city’s disaster risk management centre have objected the plan, saying said any emergency plan to evacuate a large number of residents would fail.

SABC FALLOUT CONTINUES AS SIX MORE BOARD MEMBERS RESIGN

Drama of the management kind continued at the SABC this week with the news that a further six members of the public broadcaster’s board had resigned. The Presidency said in a statement that President Jacob Zuma had accepted the resignations, which followed those of the chairman and deputy chairman last week. Chairman of parliament’s portfolio committee on communications, Sikhumbuzo Kholwane, told reporters the board was now likely to be dissolved. Communications minister Dina Pule was due to report to the committee on Tuesday. In the meantime, DA communications spokeswoman Marian Shinn said the resignations were “tragic news” for the SABC. “This must be heart-breaking for the pockets of excellence that still exist in the SABC and who keep the airwaves humming,” she said. They have been betrayed by a board, executive management and colleagues who have seen the SABC as a private playpen for enrichment.” DM

Photo: Kgalema Motlanthe

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