A round-up of the day's news from South Africa.
ANENE BOOYSEN ACCUSED NUMBER ONE WALKS FREE
The National Prosecuting Authority has dropped charges against one of the men accused of raping and murdering Bredasdorp teenager, Anene Booysen. Jonathan Davids walked out of the Bredasdorp Magistrate’s court a free man, Sapa reported. “The investigation revealed there was insufficient evidence to secure a conviction. The State will continue with its case against accused two, Johannes Kana,” said NPA regional spokesman Eric Ntabazalila. He said the NPA understood “the sense of shock and outrage that was induced by the incident, however, as the prosecution we can only prosecute successfully on sufficient evidence,” Ntabazalila said. Kana will appear in court on 3 June.
WESTERN CAPE HIGH COURT HALTS TOLL – FOR NOW
Western Cape high court judge Ashley Binns-Ward has granted the City of Cape Town an interim interdict against the proposed N1/N2 Winelands Toll Highway Project. Last week, the city’s lawyer Geoff Budlender argued that the South African National Roads Agency Limited’s decision to implement tolls was irrational as then-transport minister, Jeff Radebe, approved the project without reviewing the full costs involved. Sanral lawyer Chris Loxton said at the time it was “impossible” to know what the costs would be at this stage. Sanral was also ordered to hand over documents requested by the city relating to its decision-making process.
TSHWANE METRO POLICE OFFERS CLAIM DAMAGES OVER GUPTA AFFAIR
Two Tshwane police officers are claiming damages from police minister Nathi Mthethwa for wrongful arrest. The men, Peter van Vliet and Lawrence Lee Thorpe, are claiming damages of R100,000 each, Beeld reported. Both were involved in transporting guests to the Gupta wedding from Pretoria to Sun City, but were off duty at the time. They were arrested without a warrant for unlawful possession of their official firearms. But they claim to have declared the weapons, which were locked in a safe. The officers spent a night and day behind bars. Their lawyer, Anton Smith, said should the damages claim not be settled within 30 days, the men would sue the police.
SNOOP’S SMOKE ‘LOOKED LIKE WEED, SMELT LIKE WEED’
Hip hop star Snoop Lion (previously Snoop Dog) is alleged to have smoked dagga on stage at his concert in Johannesburg, ignoring a metro police warning that anyone in possession of drugs would be arrested. This followed reports that Snoop had smoked while performing at the Moses Mabhida stadium in Durban. The New Age reported a fan saying whatever Snoop was smoking “looked like weed, smelt like weed and I am convinced Snoop was smoking weed on stage”. Concert organisers G&G Events said they could not confirm or deny whether the star had enjoyed a joint while performing. The local Dagga Party said there was “nothing wrong with Snoop Lion “smoking cannabis on his own stage at his own show”.
MERCEDES BENZ STRIKE OVER, BUT NUMSA THREATENS ACTION IN SECTOR
A two-day wildcat strike at a Mercedes Benz plant has ended but the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) has demanded a big wage hike for the sector. “We are demanding a 20% increase across the board,” Numsa national treasurer Mphumzi Maqungo told Reuters. “If our demands are not met we will have no option but to go to the streets.” Car industry bosses have said they would not entertain Numsa’s demands, setting the stage for a showdown when a three-year wage deal worth around 10% a year expires at the end of next month. “It is common cause that the employers will not settle at 20 percent,” said Thapelo Molapo, chairman of the Automobile Manufacturing Employers Organisation.
CHROME MINERS HOSPITALISED AFTER CLASH WITH MINE SECURITY
Ten striking miners have been hospitalised after being hit by rubber bullets at chrome mine near Rustenburg. Sibonile Dube, spokesperson for chemical group Lanxess, which owns the mine, said strikers “started throwing stones at our security guards and my understanding is that the security guards shot rubber bullets, not live ammunition, in self defence”. Police spokesman Thulani Ngubane confirmed 10 miners had been admitted to hospital. “They were injured after security guards fired what are reported to be rubber bullets,” he said. Lanxess disputed the police’s version of events, saying two miners had been hit and three more injured in the confrontation.
CARL PISTORIUS ACQUITTED ON CULPABLE HOMICIDE CHARGE
Carl Pistorius has been acquitted on charges of culpable homicide. The brother of paralympian Oscar Pistorius, currently facing charges of murder over the death of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, was involved in an accident with biker Maria Barnard in 2008. She later died in hospital. Sapa reported the Vanderbijlpark Magistrate’s Court also acquitted Pistorius on alternative charges of reckless or negligent driving, and driving without reasonable consideration for another person using the road. His lawyer Kenny Olwage said Pistorius and his defence team were “satisfied with the end of it all. We are delighted”. National Prosecuting Authority spokesman Medupe Simasiku said the NPA accepted the decision of the court, and would not be taking further action on the case.
STATE SECURES STAKE IN INDEPENDENT NEWS AND MEDIA SA
The Government Employees Pension Fund has emerged as a 25% stakeholder in Independent News and Media South Africa, Business Day reported. The stake, worth about R500 million, forms part of the Sekunjalo media consortium’s bid to buy the group from its Irish owners for R2 billion. News of the state’s investment came to light in Sekunjalo Independent Media’s submission to the Competition Commission that laid out why it should approve the proposed buyout. It is a separate company from JSE-listed Sekunjalo Investments. Another stakeholder is the consortium, set up by Sekunjalo’s Dr Iqbal Survé, is the Mvezo Development Trust, which is run by Nelson Mandela’s grandson and chief of Mvezo, Mandla Mandela. DM
Photo: Snoop Lion (REUTERS)