South Africa

FIVE MINUTES: South Africa

By Daily Maverick Staff Reporter 22 April 2013

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

DA QUESTIONS REPORTED APPOINTMENT OF GUMEDE AS NDPP

The Democratic Alliance believes President Jacob Zuma’s reported choice for a new national director of public prosecutions (NDPP) is “out of step with the Constitution”. Justice spokeswoman Dene Smuts said magistrate Stanley Gumede is currently under investigation by the Magistrate’s Commission. She said the NPA Act requires conscientiousness and integrity. “The President’s views on suitability seem once again to be unacceptably subjective,” Smuts said in a statement, drawing parallels with Zuma’s doomed appointment of advocate Menzi Simelane to the same position. Smuts said the fact that Gumede had unresolved complaints against him “invites enquiry into the objectively ascertainable jurisdictional facts about his suitability for the highest prosecutorial post in the country”.

ZUMA CONSIDERING MORE TROOPS FOR CAR

President Jacob Zuma is deciding whether to send South Africa troop back to the Central African Republic (CAR). The Sunday Times said Zuma told reporters in Chad, where he was attending a summit, that he’d received a “passionate plea” to take part in a peacekeeping mission to the CAR as part of a multinational force. Spokesman for the department of international relations and co-operation, Clayson Monyela, said government was considering the request. Zuma said earlier this week he was extending the deployment of more that 2,000 troops to the Democratic Republic of Congo and Sudan.

LACK OF GENDER TRANSFORMATION IN JUDICIARY FAULT OF GOVT, SAYS JSC

The Judicial Services Commission has blamed government for the lack of gender transformation in judicial bodies. The Sunday Times reported that of 473 senior counsels in South Africa, only nine were black women and of those, four were African. Only 20 white women practice as senior counsel.  This disclosure follows a transformation row within the JSC over white men being passed over for appointment to the bench. The JSC said government failed to support women in the judiciary, but government blamed “exclusive clubs” for hampering progress. A paper prepared by the democratic governance and rights unit of the University of Cape Town accused the JSC of overlooking “fit and proper” women candidates.

MANTASHE ACCUSES DA OF ‘DESPERATE PROPAGANDA ATTEMPT’

ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe has accused the Democratic Alliance of opportunism after it used an image of former president Nelson Mandela embracing Helen Suzman as part of a campaign. Mantashe, writing in the City Press, Mantashe said the opposition’s efforts “to appropriate Nelson Mandela as an icon with no political identity but a neutral person who can be in a poster of any political party is a clear desperate propaganda attempt”. He said the “assumption it makes is that because Mandela once posed with Helen Suzman he therefore has a DA identity” and that it was the “duty of each South African to separate her role from the opportunistic propaganda of the DA”.

MINER STABBED IN ANGLOGOLD LABOUR UNREST

Small groups of workers have stopped miners at two AngloGold mines in South Africa from reporting for duty. One miner is in a critical condition after being stabbed in the latest labour unrest to hit the sector, the company said. AngloGold, Africa’s biggest bullion producer, said the disruptions occurred at its Mponeng mine near Carletonville, west of Johannesburg, and its Moab Khotsong mine 160km southwest of the commercial capital. “Small groups of workers have prevented most others from going to work in a dispute over Saturday working arrangements,” the company said in a statement. “Regrettably, one employee on his way to work at Moab, where about 1,000 reported for work, was stabbed and is in a critical condition in hospital.”

MALEMA’S JHB HOUSE DUE FOR AUCTION IN MAY

Julius Malema’s half-built home in Sandown will be auctioned in May, a spokesman for the auction house charged with selling it says. Pieter Geldenhuys told the Sunday Times the house was “focused on the entertainer’s market and is at an excellent address” and that the “design is hi-tech and very tasteful”. The house was attached by the South African Revenue Services and is being sold to recoup R16 million in taxes from the former president of the ANC Youth League. Plumbing, floors, ceilings and glasswork is yet to be completed. Malema bought the house in 2009 for R3.6 million and demolished it before beginning construction on a completely new home.

NEW SAA CEO TO STEER TURNAROUND STRATEGY

South African Airways has a new CEO. Monwabisi Kalawe will take charge of the airline’s latest strategic turnaround plan, meant to map its way to sustainability over the next 10 years. But analysts say it remains under capitalised by its shareholder, the South African government, and needs a new capitalisation plan. Kalawe is working out his contract as executive chairman of the Compass group before taking over SAA. He worked at the Airports Company South Africa (Acsa) for six years and is a former CEO of Denel. Nico Bezuidenhout, who has been acting CEO since the departure of Vusi Kona, will return to Mango as its CEO. The turnaround plan, not yet made public, is believed to recommend integrating SAA, Mango and SA Express under one holding company.

HAIN OPTIMISTIC OVER SA FUTURE, DISMAYED OVER CORRUPTION

Anti-apartheid campaigner, former cabinet member of the British government and Labour MP Peter Hain, who lived and was educated in South Africa, says he remains optimistic about South Africa’s future. Hain, on a homecoming tour to South Africa in which he made a film on the Marikana massacre for the BBC, South Africa: The Massacre that Changed a Nation, said South Africa was “an amazing and beautiful country to visit, with an infectious spirit of energy and liberation”. But, he said, he was “dismayed to find rampant corruption – and bitter resentment directed towards the African National Congress which freed the country but whose leaders are now widely accused, by their own supporters, of self-enrichment”. Writing Britain’s Telegraph newspaper, Hain said when he interviewed President Jacob Zuma, the president dismissed the criticism of the current ANC, and blamed “negative” media reporting. DM

Photo: Gwede Mantashe (Daily Maverick)

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