A round-up of the day’s news from South Africa.
ANC DEMANDS EXPLANATION FOR GUPTA WATERKLOOF LANDING
ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe says the ANC wants answers on how guests of the Gupta family, arriving in South Africa for a family wedding, were allowed to land a private jet at Waterkloof Airforce Base. It has demanded the South African National Defence Force explain why the aircraft was allowed to land at a “National Key Point”, and who granted permission for it to do so. “The African National Congress, driven by the concern for the safety and sovereignty of South Africa, shall never allow a situation where our ports of entry and National Key Points are penetrated with impunity,” Mantashe said in a statement. He said those who could not account for this event “must be brought to book”. The Guptas’ niece, Vega, is getting married at the Palace of the Lost City hotel at Sun City.
SA ‘INSULTED’ BY GUPTA MISUSE OF GOVERNMENT RESOURCES
The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) says South Africans have been “insulted” by the Gupta family using Waterkloof military base to land a private aircraft. “It is an absolute insult to the people of South Africa that private individuals can use a public facility for their social activities and that state officials should escort them,” said spokesman Patrick Craven. Earlier, the Gupta family’s spokesman, Gary Naidoo, said Waterkloof was used, as Lanseria airport “could not accommodate the size of jet chartered by the family”. He said permission was applied for and granted “to the Indian High Commission and not the family. These rights can be applied for by any foreign embassy. Naturally suitable protocol was used to receive and transport the foreign ministers to the wedding”.
SA HAS ‘BUREAUCRATIC CONFUSION’ OVER UK PLANS TO END AID
The government has lashed out at the British government for announcing it was to phase out development aid to South Africa. “This is such a major decision with far reaching implications on the projects that are currently running and it is tantamount to redefining our relationship,” said Clayson Monyela, spokesman for the department of international relations and co-operation. Monyela said Britain should have allowed consultations to take place. But Britain’s foreign secretary, William Hague, said discussions have been “going on about that for some months – it therefore shouldn’t have been a surprise.” Hague told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme there was “bureaucratic confusion about that perhaps on the South African side. But I am not going to fling accusations about that”.
FOURTEENTH SOLDIER DIES AFTER CAR ATTACK
Another soldier who had been deployed to the Central African Republic has died in hospital. Brigadier Xolani Mabanga, spokesman for the SA National Defence Force (SANDF), said the soldier had been discharged from 1 Military Hospital on 19 April and went home to Bloemfontein. “He collapsed yesterday and was rushed to hospital where he passed on,” Mabanga said, adding that the soldier had gone to 3 Military before being taken to Pelonomi Hospital. The cause of death was unknown and would only be available once the post mortem was completed, he said. This brings to 14 the number of SANDF soldiers killed in the CAR on the 23 March attack when rebel fighters attacked them near the CAR’s capital Bangui. Another 27 were wounded.
MOTSHEKGA ‘PAINED’ BY UNSEEMLY UNDERWEAR DISPLAY BY UNIONS
Cosatu and teacher union Sadtu says they cannot apologise to basic education minister Angie Motshekga over protestors waving a pair of panties supposedly belonging to her, or take responsibility for the actions of the protestors, as they “don’t know where they were bought or by whom”. The unions also deny receiving a letter from Motshekga, which was published as an open letter in The Sowetan. Motshekga said she was “pained at this open display of denigration, sexual violence and objectification”. The unions said they had neither condoned nor authorised the “display of such items”. Motshekga, who is also president of the ANC Women’s League, said the display of women’s underwear was “unacceptable and can only fuel patriarchal prejudices in an environment that is already volatile for women”.
DE LILLE ACCUSES UNIONS, ANC OF FORGETTING WORKERS’ STRUGGLE
Cape Town mayor Patricia De Lille has told workers in the DA’s “frontier province” of the Northern Cape that as a clothing factory worker she learned “if you want something in life, you need to take responsibility for getting it. Nobody is going to do it for you”. She also said that to get on in life, “you need a government that gives you opportunities”. She said, “every time the DA proposed a policy to help the poor and unemployed, it is opposed by the ANC”, giving the Youth Wage Subsidy as an example. De Lille said while the ANC positioned itself as a party of the working class, the reality was different. “Where is the opposition from Union Leaders in this province to rampant corruption in provincial government from the likes of John Block and his top leadership in the ANC?” she asked. De Lille said the ANC had “forgotten what the struggle for worker’s rights was about in the first place”.
DA TRYING TO BE BEEF WHEN IT IS DONKEY, SAYS CRONIN
Jeremy Cronin has warned workers to be wary of vigilante trade unions and the DA’s attempts to rebrand itself. The deputy public works minister and SACP member, speaking at a workers’ rally in Durban, said the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) was a “vigilante union that had been formed by ill-disciplined former members of the National Union of Mineworkers”. He said mining companies were breaking the collective bargaining process. Cronin called on Cosatu to be unified and to not allow vigilante unions to undermine it. Cronin also accused the Democratic Alliance of “hijacking” heroes of the struggle. “They can try to turn themselves into prime beef, but they will always be donkey,” he said.
RHINO SMUGGLERS WALK AS NO VIETNAMESE TRANSLATORS IN COURT
A problem with supplying court interpreters who speak Vietnamese saw two men accused of rhino poaching walk free this week. The Cape Times reported the accused, Xuan Binh Dang, 25, and Huong Giang Chu, 32, were released from Pollsmoor Prison after being in custody for 30 months. They were arrested in 2010 with 12 full rhino horns. The department of justice told the court it could not secure two Vietnamese interpreters: one was not registered on the supplier base and the other’s tax certificate was not in order. Also, the computers had been offline since 1 April, which meant they could not issue any purchasing orders. The court struck the matter from the roll and the men were released after two-and-a-half years of awaiting trial in jail. They had not yet been asked to plead. DM
Photo: Patricia de Lille hugs a supporter in this Reuters file photo. (REUTERS)
"Take a chance, won't you? Knock down the fences which divide. Tear apart the walls that imprison you. Reach out. Freedom lies just on the other side." ~ Thurgood Marshall