A round-up of the day’s news from South Africa.
M&G CLAIMS SANDF DID AUTHORISE LANDING OF GUPTA JET
The South African National Defence Force (SANDF) did authorise the aircraft chartered by the Gupta family to ferry guests from India to South Africa for their niece’s wedding to land. According the Mail & Guardian, which claims to have seen official papers relating to landing of the plane at Waterkloof Air Force Base, the SANDF gave permission on the basis that it carried “central government ministers” from India. The newspaper said while three SANDF officials have been suspended over the scandal, their superiors did know about the flight. The M&G says while the documents “were provided by a source close to the matter, they have not been fully corroborated”.
ZUMA’S WIFE NO 5 ACCUSES AIRLINE OF STEALING HER JEWELLERY
Thobeka Madiba-Zuma wants R500,000 worth of compensation from SA Airlink. President Jacob Zuma’s fifth wife said uninsured jewellery worth that amount disappeared from her bag during a flight. Beeld reported that SA Airlink had conducted an extensive investigation, and found no evidence of tampering with Madiba-Zuma’s luggage. It said its staff were not to blame and had all undergone polygraph tests. Madiba-Zuma flew on the airline from Nelspruit Airport to OR Tambo International Airport and was driven by car to Bloemfontein to join Zuma at the ANC’s Mangaung conference. She said 36 pieces of jewellery had gone missing from a cosmetics purse inside her unlocked orange Cellini bag.
PRIVATE HEALTHCARE INDUSTRY TO BE PROBED OVER PRICING
The Competition Commission will investigate South Africa’s private healthcare industry, says economic development minister, Ebrahim Patel. He said early evidence showed high prices and market distortions that have come to light as government works on a plan for a national health insurance plan. “Various stakeholders have raised concerns about pricing, costs and the state of competition and innovation in private healthcare,” Patel told reporters. He said
competition authorities had ruled previously that the practice of setting common tariffs for medical procedures was uncompetitive. Patel said preliminary evidence showed that in some cases competition was “prevented, distorted or restricted”. The Competition Commission is expected launch its investigation before September.
ATTACK ON FRANSMAN WAS AN ATTEMPTED HIT
An attack on ANC Western Cape leader Marius Fransman was actually a plot to kill him, the Argus reports. Fransman was attacked at an ANC meeting in Oudtshoorn last week. Provincial spokesman Phillip Dexter said the ANC would act “swiftly and decisively” against those responsible. Fransman returned to the town on Monday. He said he’d received an affidavit from a party member who claimed a sub-regional ANC leader was inciting violence and had ordered a hit on him. Fransman said he would open a criminal case so that the allegations could be investigated. DA Western Cape leader Ivan Meyer said he “wouldn’t like to see blood flowing in this province like it did in KwaZulu-Natal, where ANC leaders were targeted in hits as a result of factionalism. I appeal to Mr Fransman to report this matter to the police.”
POLICE WILL INVESTIATE PULE AND THREE OTHERS
Police have confirmed they will investigate communications minister Dina Pule and three others, including businessman Phosane Mngqibisa, for alleged corruption, The Star reported. Last month, DA communications spokeswoman Marian Shinn submitted an affidavit at Cape Town Central police station, asking for an investigation of Pule and three others. Pule is also being investigated by Parliament’s oversight committee on ethics and public protector Thuli Madonsela regarding irregularities relating to the ICT Indaba hosted by her department. Spokesman for the communications department, Siya Qoza, said Pule would “co-operate fully with competent institutions in all investigations”.
ZUMA MOOTS MILITARY ‘INTERVENTION BRIGADE’ FOR AFRICA
President Jacob Zuma says the African Union needs a stronger military capacity to respond to instability on the continent, particularly in central Africa. Sapa reported that Zuma, speaking at Tuynhuys after talks with Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan, said an “intervention brigade” had become necessary in the light of instability in CAR, the DRC and Mali. “As we mark the golden jubilee [of the Organisation of African Unity], on the 25th of May, it is crucial to build a stronger and well-resourced African Union to take forward the promotion of peace, security, and the safe economic advancement of our continent,” Zuma said. “Part of the capacity by the AU is the establishment of the African standby force, for rapid deployment in crisis areas without delay.”
BORDER POLICE, OFFICIALS ARRESTED FOR DOCUMENT SCAM
Police have bust a border scam that saw police officers and immigration officials make over R100,000 a day by allowing people to enter South Africa from Lesotho without documents. Hawks spokesman Paul Ramaloko said nine police officers were arrested, along with seven other people, for fraud and corruption at the Caledonspoort border post, Sapa reported. The officials allegedly charged R150 for allowing people to enter South Africa illegally. “In some instances taxi drivers delivered passports at the port of entry to be stamped, in order to extend the days of holders in SA, at a fee of R150,” Ramaloko said. He said the scam had taken place over a long period of time. The officials were able to make over R100,000 per day. At one instance officials shared R200,000,” he said.
NO CRISIS AT CHARLOTTE MAXEKE HOSPITAL, SAYS GAUTENG HEALTH
The Gauteng health department has denied that 12 anaesthetists at the Charlotte Maxeke Hospital had resigned because of bad management and pay cuts due to overtime changes. Spokesman Simon Zwane said the current situation was “not as suggested by the Democratic Alliance”. DA MPL Jack Bloom earlier said hospital management had “mishandled the overtime issue that has led to the resignations of nearly half the anaesthetics department” and that a crisis was on the cards as other doctors were expected to resign too. But Zwane said the hospital had 19 theatres that operated on a daily basis. “The hospital has 21 filled posts, three have already left, six will leave at the end of May; there are 39 registrars with about half of these already senior registrars [who work as consultants] and there are six medical officers,” he said. “It is on this basis that the department has consistently denied a crisis.” DM
Photo: President Jacob Zuma and his wife Thobeka Madiba-Zuma. (REUTERS)