South Africa

FIVE MINUTES: South Africa

By Daily Maverick Staff Reporter 30 April 2013

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


Head of scandal-struck PetroSA Dr Benny Mokaba has resigned. Chairperson of the Central Energy Fund (CEF) Dr Sankie Mthembi-Mahanyele said Mokaba’s departure was effective immediately. A recent investigation launched by energy minister Dipuo Peters into the procurement processes of the national oil company revealed executive override of internal control systems at PetroSA. The Mail & Guardian earlier reported that top management authorised in the region of R200 million in irregular payments. The M&G investigation also identified potential liabilities amounting to R800 million that raised questions about financial management at the state oil company. Those implicated include former acting chief executive Yekani Tenza, head of new oil and gas ventures, Everton September, and George Sabelo, a Johannesburg lawyer. Dr Mthembi-Mahanyele said the final report had been submitted to the minister.


Dr Cyril Karabus could return to South Africa from the United Arab Emirates by the middle of the week, his lawyer Michael Bagraim said. Karabus has been detained in the UAE for over eight months after being sentenced in absentia for the death of a Yemeni girl he treated for leukaemia in 2002. He was acquitted of all charges in March, but prosecutors decided to appeal. He has now been cleared of all charges, but is waiting for his passport to be returned to him. Bagraim said administrative wheels moved slowly, and the 78-year-old paediatric oncologist was frustrated. “He knows he is free but there is a glitch stopping him. The wait is frustrating for him knowing he can come home,” he said.


The Democratic Alliance in the Free State says it is to table new legislation to combat police brutality, to be called the ‘Tatane Bill’. Free State leader Patricia Kopane said the party was modelling the law on the Community Safety Bill passed by the DA in the Western Cape. It’s been two years since protestor Andries Tatane died at the hands of the police during a service delivery protest. Kopane said she had been in Ficksburg consulting with Tatane’s widow, Rose. “The Tatane family have given their full support to this Bill with the hope of preventing other families in the Free State from experiencing the pain of losing a loved one due to police brutality,” Kopane said in a statement. The Tatane Bill aims to make police more accountable to the safety needs of communities through a partnership between civil organisations and provincial government.


Shaun Mpisane, the Durban businesswoman about stand trial for allegedly inflating invoices by more than R5 million to cut her tax bill, was awarded R455 million worth of tenders. Mpisane, who also faces 53 charges of fraud, forgery, and uttering, was a beneficiary of the city’s controversial legislation that allows it to bypass normal tender processes. The Mercury reported Mpisane’s company Zikhulise Cleaning, Maintenance, and Transport was awarded three section 36 contracts between July 2012 and March this year relating to an Umlazi housing project. Treasurer Krish Kumar told the newspaper the contracts were as a result of an out-of-court settlement the city had with Zikhulise. Mpisane had sued the city claiming the project was stalled by officials questioning whether it should do business with her, as she had a conviction for VAT fraud.


An audit by the Social Justice Coalition in Cape Town has shown the City of Cape Town is being short-changed by the company hired to supply and care for chemical toilets in Khayelitsha. The Cape Times reported Mshengu Services, who were awarded the R140-million contract, have failed to fix the toilets to the ground, and were not being cleaned. Of the 346 toilets supplied, only 256 were found and 170 of them were damaged. Residents presented their findings to the city and provincial authorities. Premier Helen Zille’s spokesman, Zak Mbhele, said they commended the audit as an “exercise in active citizenship and civic action to reveal detailed information about problems the communities were experiencing”. He said Zille would take up the report with mayor Patricia de Lille.


A fraud investigation into a dodgy tender have left two state-of-the-art cancer radiotherapy machines worth R120 million lying idle at a Durban hospital. Opposition parties have accused the provincial health department of violating patient care as it had failed to pay the maintenance contract for the machines. The KwaZulu-Natal health department refused to pay a maintenance contract for two radiotherapy machines as it was allegedly investigating the R120-million tender for the machines. IFP spokeswoman Usha Roonpnarain said the party was “deeply angered” that cancer patients were refused oncology treatment at Addington Hospital. The DA said the legislature needed answers from MEC Sibongiseni Dhlomo and his HOD Dr Sibongile Zungu on all internal investigations involving Addington hospital.


Former president Nelson Mandela is “in good shape and in good spirits”, the ANC says. President Jacob Zuma, accompanied the ANC’s national office bearers, visited Mandela at his Houghton home today. In a statement issued by ANC spokesman, Jackson Mthembu, the ANC said it had received a briefing from the former president’s medical team. It said it was “satisfied that President Mandela is in good health and is receiving the very best medical care”. Mthembu said Mandela was “keenly aware of the goodwill that has been outpouring from the peoples of the globe as befitting his status as our icon”.


Police minister Nathi Mthethwa says the swift action by the police in preventing a robbery at Johannesburg’s Emerald Palace Casino has sent a message to criminals that police would not hesitate to protect citizens. Mthethwa said government was “working tirelessly to make life difficult” for criminals. Police on Sunday received a tip off that a gang was planning a casino heist, and confronted the robbers at the entrance of the casino. Fifteen men were arrested, and two shot in the confrontation. President Jacob Zuma praised their work, saying the operation “showed good intelligence capability, effective planning and sound execution in a public area that was fraught with potential danger to the public”. DM

Photo: Former president Nelson Mandela during his last public appearance at the 2010 Soccer World Cup. (REUTERS)


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