South Africa

FIVE MINUTES: South Africa

By Daily Maverick Staff Reporter 16 April 2013

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

ZIMBABWE CLAIMS SA HAS APPROVED $100 MILLION LOAN

South Africa has approved $100 million in budgetary support to cash-strapped Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe’s finance minister Tendai Biti has told a news conference. Biti said the government had approached South Africa and Angola last year for $150 million after international funding dried up as a result of Western donors refusing to support President Robert Mugabe due to human rights abuses. Biti said he’s asked South Africa for a further $40 million to fund elections in Zimbabwe later this year. “Pursuant to discussions in September 2012, I’m aware the South African Cabinet has made a decision and it’s a positive decision,” Biti said. A South African Treasury spokeswoman said the two governments were “engaged in on-going discussions” about the loan and its terms.

ADVOCATE SMUTS ‘DID THE RIGHT THING’

Advocate Dumisa Ntsebeza says Izak Smuts, the advocate who resigned from the Judicial Service Commission after a public disagreement about transformation in the judiciary, did the right thing. Ntsebeza told SAfm radio, “If you find the institution to which you belong is doing things in a way that is so untenable, then the best thing for you is to leave that institution.” Smuts represented advocates on JSC, but criticised the organisation for its attitude towards appointing white male judges, saying it was unfair. Smuts said it was unfortunate that the subsequent debate had become “exclusively racial”.

KRUGER ELEPHANT OVERTURNS CAR, INJURING TOURISTS

An elephant in the Kruger National Park has charged a car, overturning it and injuring a Polish and a Chinese tourist. An emergency medical team which flew in by helicopter to the scene of the accident treated the tourists, before taking them to hospital. Park spokesman William Mabasa said the Polish man had broken ribs and the Chinese woman had no major injuries.He pointed out that while people used to elephants on the road give them space, “tourists sometimes don’t”. While over a million people visit the Kruger Park annually, accidents such as this one are rare.

TAXI ASSOCIATIONS CONCERNED ABOUT TAXI-DRIVER RAPISTS

Taxi associations are concerned that a series of rapes by taxi drivers is impacting on customer trust. The Star reported that over the past few months, courts have heard several cases of taxi drivers-turned-serial-rapists who picked up unsuspecting female passengers and raped them. Alpheus Mlalazi, general secretary of the National Taxi Alliance, said the attacks had affected the image of the NTA. He said he had written a letter to associations in the NTA to find ways of dealing with the problem. The South African Taxi Association has recommended that cameras be installed at taxi ranks and inside taxis.

LIMPOPO DENIES MATHALE HAMPERING CORRUPTION INVESTIGATIONS

The Limpopo provincial government has denied that Premier Cassel Mathale is hampering investigations into corruption by top officials to protect his interests. Director-general Rachel Molepo-Modipa said a story in the Sunday Independent was a “true reflection of malice”. She told reporters in Polokwane the allegations were “incorrect, misleading and devoid of the truth”. The newspaper quoted Public Service Minister Lindiwe Sisulu as saying Mathale’s legal team had questioned the legality of procedural documents compiled for investigations. But Molepo-Modiba said the allegations were “not reflective of what the law provides. Before a decision to charge an official can be taken, it is important that the process and procedures outline disciplinary procedures.”

NEW CONSTITUTIONAL COURT JUDGE APPOINTED

President Jacob Zuma has appointed a new judge to the Constitutional Court. Advocate Mbuyiseli Russel Madlanga SC, currently in the news as chief evidence leader for the Marikana Commission of Inquiry into the death of 44 people during a wildcat strike at Lonmin’s platinum mines, will take up the position in August. “I congratulate advocate Madlanga SC on this appointment and wish him all the best in this new role of promoting constitutional justice in our country,” Zuma said in a statement. “We also acknowledge and thank all the highly capably candidates who were shortlisted for this position,” he said. The run-up to the appointment of Madlanga was beset with drama as his rival for the position, advocate Jeremy Gauntlett, was eliminated, and no female candidates were put forward.

POLICE CAPTAIN FIRED FOR NOT TAKING RAPE REPORT SERIOUSLY

The provincial commissioner of the Western Cape police has fired a police captain for failing to take action against a reservist accused of rape. Police spokesperson Andre Traut said the commissioner “validated the findings of a disciplinary hearing to dismiss a police captain stationed at the Kwanonqaba police station from the service for not assisting a rape victim after the case was reported to him.” A woman reported the rape at the Herbertsdale satellite police station, but he captain dismissed her claims and failed to charge the accused. Traut said the captain’s behaviour was “inexcusable”. He said the police could not “allow victims of crime, especially those perpetrated against women, to be treated in this fashion.”

MAN ARRESTED FOR MURDER OF NHLANHLA GASA

A 25-year-old man has been arrested in connection with the murder of Durban businessman Nhlanhla Gasa. He is expected to appear in the Durban Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday, Sapa reported. The man was arrested in Groutville on the KwaZulu-Natal north coast on Saturday. National Prosecuting Authority spokeswoman Natasha Ramkisson said he would appear in court on Tuesday and face a charge of murder with aggravating circumstances. Gasa, a close associate of President Jacob Zuma and father of television star Noni Gasa, was murdered in his home in KwaZulu-Natal and his body dumped in the Tugela River. DM

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