South Africa

FIVE MINUTES: South Africa

By Daily Maverick Staff Reporter 14 April 2013

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

TUTU WRONG ABOUT VIOLENCE IN SA. SAYS CABINET

Cabinet has dismissed claims by Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu that South Africa is one of the most violent nations in the world. Acting spokeswoman Phumla Williams said research had shown South Africans felt safer now than during apartheid. William’s response followed Tutu’s statement on receiving the Templeton prize that the violence in South Africa was “not what we were, not even in our days under apartheid”. Williams said Tutu “should be acknowledging the strides that government has made since the attainment of democracy, and alsot encourage religious leaders and other key stakeholders to work with government in combating crime”.

MOST SA SUPERMARKETS’ MEATS MISLABELLED, STUDY FINDS

Incorrectly labelled meat products have been found in most popular South Africa supermarkets, City Press reports. The newspaper named Pick n Pay, Shoprite, Fruit and Veg City, Woolworths and Spar as stocking meat products containing ingredients other that what was listed on their labels. But retailers believe the different meats were being transferred into the products via chopping boards, saws, hands and utensils. Shoprite Checkers CEO Whitey Basson said retailers didn’t “intend” to mislead consumers. Shoprite and Checkers products were tested, and of 32 products, 20 were wrongly labelled. A recent study by the University of Stellenbosch found nearly 60% of 139 products tested contained ingredients such as donkey, water buffalo, goat and pork.

CORRUPTION BUSTING INTEGRITY COMMITTEE HAS A BATTLE ON ITS HANDS

Former parliamentary speaker and current member of the ANC’s integrity committee Frene Ginwala says fighting corruption in the party will be a “battle”. Ginwala told the Sunday Times the party had become much more sensitive about corruption within its ranks. The integrity committee was set up to protect the ANC’s image, increasingly tarnished over allegations of sleaze against members.  Ginwala said the committee would need to keep up the pressure to ensure it is effective.  The committee had is guidelines approved last month, and his headed by Rivonia trialist, Andrew Mlangeni.  Ginwala believes there is a sense of “disgust” among certain ANC members as to how the party’s values have been undermined.

LIMPOPO PREMIER HAMPERING CORRUPTION INVESTIGATIONS

The Democratic Alliance is planning a vote of no confidence against Limpopo premier Cassel Mathale. This followed reports that Mathale was actively hampering corruption investigations in the province. The Sunday Independent said public service and administration minister Lindiwe Sisulu confirmed investigations into officials in Limpopo had stalled as Mathale had failed to sign off documents that would enable “at least” two heads of departments from being charged. Sisulu wants to fast track legislation that clarifies the roles of national and provincial leaders of provinces under administration. Limpopo currently has five departments under administration. DA MP in Limpopo, Desiree van der Walt, said the DA’s motion “will be a litmus test for the ANC. If they are serious about dealing with corruption in the province they will support our motion”.

‘PRESIDENTIAL HANDBOOK’ A ‘CYNICAL PLOY’ TO PROMOTE SECRECY

The ‘Presidential Handbook’ quoted by government officials to justify expenditure on travel, accommodation and entertainment relating to President Jacob Zuma and Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe is “simply a draft procedural framework and does not exist” says DA defence spokesman David Maynier. The DA requested a copy of the Presidential Handbook via the Promotion of Access to Information Act earlier this year. The Presidency’s deputy information officer, Dr Batandwa Siswana, has denied access to the ‘handbook’. Maynier said the “draft procedural framework has been shuffled around various government departments for more than six years. He said the Presidential Handbook was “nothing but a cynical ploy to protect the president and deputy-president from scrutiny and oversight by Parliament”.

PISTORIUS PARTIES WITH FRIENDS IN TRENDY BARS

Oscar Pistorius has been seen out in fashionable Johannesburg bars enjoying drinks with friends, the Sunday Times reports. The paralympian, accused of murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in February, successfully challenged his bail conditions recently, which at one stage prohibited consumption of alcohol. Family spokeswoman Anneliese Burgess told the newspaper that it was the first time Pistorius had been out with friends since shooting Steenkamp in his Pretoria home, but that he’d left the Kitchen Bar “when public interest became overwhelming”. She said the outing was a was a way of trying to reconnect with friends of his and Reeva’s – “and these were the people he went out with”.

MAN’S ‘SEDIBA’ ANCESTOR PROVIDES CLUES TO EVOLUTION

Research conducted by the Wits Evolutionary Studies Institute in South Africa, and published in Science magazine, has found a two million-year-old ancestor of man had a mixture of ape and human-like features that allowed it to hike long distances on two legs with as much ease as it could climb trees. The ‘Australopithecus sediba’ fossil was discovered in 2008 and has given researchers clues about the evolution of man. Project leader Lee Berger told Reuters the Institute had  “more complete specimens of fossils than for any other early hominin species that has ever been discovered. What this means is that we can make assessments of the anatomy and behaviour of this species with a great deal of confidence”.

MPOFU ‘IN A STABLE CONDITION AND IMPROVING’

While Dali Mpofu’s condition is improving, it is not yet known when he will be released from hospital. His wife, Mpumi Mpofu said he was in a “stable condition and improving”. Mpofu – the lawyer representing miners involved in last year’s confrontation with police at Marikana – in which 34 miners were shot dead, was stabbed last week while walking on a beach in East London. Police spokeswoman Brigadier Miranda Mills said no arrests had been made, but that investigations were continuing. Mpofu was in the city for a break before the Farlam commission of inquiry into the Marikana massacre continues next week. DM

Photo: Cassel Mathale (Greg Nicolson)

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