A round-up of the day’s news from South Africa.
MILITARY MOVES TO REINFORCE TROOPS IN CAR
Mutinous Central Africa Republic soldiers carried out the attack on the South Africa soldiers who had been training and equipping them over the past six years. The Times reported that the attacks were carefully orchestrated and planned by troops revolting against President Francois Bozize, and that weapons and ammunition supplied by South Africa was turned on the country’s soldiers. Now SANDF commanders have to reinforce soldiers stranded in the war-torn CAR. The newspaper reported that an Ilyushin-76, apparently leased from a Russian-linked aircraft company, took off from Pretoria’s Air Force Base Waterkloof last night destined for Uganda where the SANDF is building up its forces. Sources told the paper Entebbe was to be the “staging point” for an extraction and reinforcement mission to CAR.
ANC SUPPORTS CAR DEPLOYMENT
The ANC has condemned the “political posturing, which has occurred in the wake of the unfortunate deaths of 13 South African soldiers in the Central African Republic”. ANC chief whip Mathole Motshekga the party believed that “this is no time to score cheap political points”. The ANC said in a statement that the party supported President Jacob Zuma’s deployment of SANDF forces in the CAR, as it underpinned “the development and prosperity of Africa”, a “central objective of the Government’s international perspective and policy for purposes of advancing the African Renaissance”. The ANC paid tribute to the “brave and courageous heroes who paid the supreme price in the advancement of peace and democracy” and denounced “in the strongest terms” the coup that saw Bozize deposed.
MOZAMBICAN RAPISTS, ROBBERS GET HUNDREDS OF YEARS IN JAIL
Two Mozambican men, linked to 13 cases of rape and robbery in Gauteng, have received lengthy sentences from the Palm Ridge Magistrate’s Court. Sapa reports that Jozana Orlando Mathabele was sentenced to 366 years and George Sithole received a 287 years term in jail. Captain Jethro Mtshali said the men were charged with of a series of house robberies and the rape of several women in Rabie Ridge, Tembisa and Ivory Park in 2010. He said their modus operandi was to target vulnerable households, steal valuables and later take turns raping their victims.
SPY BILL: ILLEGAL TO SPY ON LAWFUL POLITICAL ACTIVITY
The Democratic Alliance says South Africa’s “democratic breathing space” has been extended due to the fact that the State Security Agency’s (SSA) domestic intelligence mandate will exclude lawful political activity, advocacy, protest and dissent. DA MP David Maynier said the ad hoc committee dealing with the General Intelligence Laws Amendment Bill –known as the ‘Spy Bill’ – has now completed its work. Maynier said the domestic intelligence mandate of the SSA has been amended to include “any threat or potential threat to national security” and that the definition of “national security” excludes “lawful political activity, advocacy, protest and dissent”. “This means the SSA will be now be prohibited, by national legislation, from collecting intelligence on lawful political activity in South Africa,” Maynier said. But, he added, proposed amendments on regulating foreign signals intelligence collection were rejected by the committee.
RAMPHELE: SA ‘ANYTHING BUT A CARING DEMOCRACY’
Agang leader Dr Mamphela Ramphele says South Africa has “anything but a caring democracy”. Ramphele is on a consultation campaign, visiting communities around South Africa to hear what people want. She told reporters at the Thusong Youth Centre in Alexandra it was a “sad common truth” that South Africa was supposed to have lived by ‘ubuntu’, that public services would be made available, and quality and respect for citizens would be a foundation of democracy, but that, “We have anything but that”. Ramphele said response to Agang, her newly launched political platform, had been “overwhelming”. She said South Africans are “tired of waiting. People are attracted to Agang because it’s not promising them the moon”.
DO THE RIGHT THINGS, ANC TELLS SEKGABUTLA
The ANC says fraud and corruption charges levelled against Miriam Sekgabutla, a member of the party’s national executive committee and former health MEC the Limpopo government, “have the potential to harm the image and standing of the ANC in its fight against crime and corruption”. It said while recognised Sekgabutla was innocent until proven guilty, the 53rd National Conference had “resolved that those who are facing serious criminal charges should on their own volition, in keeping with the core values of the ANC, step aside from participating in any ANC leadership positions and occupying public office pending the outcome of the court proceedings”. It said allegations against Sekgabutla were damaging, and that it hoped she would be “guided by her conscious to do the right thing”.
SA, CHINA SIGN MOU ON RHINO POACHING AS 188 KILLED THIS YEAR
Environment minister Edna Molewa has signed a memorandum of understanding with her Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi, to fight rhino poaching. The agreement comes in the wake of news that 188 rhino have been killed since the beginning of the year. Spokesman Albi Modise said 135 rhino had been lost in the Kruger National Par, 17 in North West, a further 16 in KwaZulu-Natal, 10 in Limpopo and 10 in Mpumalanga. “The signing of the MoU between the two countries comes only three months since the signing of a similar agreement with Vietnam in December,” Modise said, adding that the agreements are aimed at curbing rhino poaching through co-operation in law enforcement, compliance with international conventions and other relevant legislation on the basis of equality and mutual benefit.
PISTORIUS WILL ‘PROBABLY NOT’ ATTEND BAIL APPEAL
Oscar Pistorius will “probably not” be in court for his appeal against his bail conditions. His lawyer, Kenny Olwage, said there was no need for the Paralympian murder accused to attend the appeal. Pistorius is challenging his bail conditions, saying they’re unwarranted and unfair. His lawyers, in papers before the court, argued that he should be able to travel as Magistrate Desmond Nair, at his bail hearing, said the athlete wasn’t a flight risk. His legal team have also submitted that Pistorius should not have to report to the Brooklyn Police Station in Pretoria, or submit to compulsory drug and alcohol testing. DM
Photo: Mamphela Ramphele (Greg Nicolson)
All tortoises are actually turtles. Some turtles however are not tortoises.