A round-up of the day’s news from South Africa.
DRC INTERVENTION BRIGADE STUMBLES AS SA IRKED LEADERSHIP CHOICE
Deployment of a new UN combat force, billed by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon as a peace enforcer for eastern Democratic of Congo (DRC), is being delayed by logistical difficulties and reticence from South Africa. Reuters reported that a 3,000-strong UN Intervention Brigade of Tanzanian, South African and Malawian troops with an unprecedented mandate for offensive operations has only just begun to arrive. Analysts say South Africa has also been irked by a perceived slight in the choice of both the brigade’s command, which has gone to a Tanzanian, and the overall UN military leadership in DRC, which went to a Brazilian general whose last job was tackling criminal gangs in Haiti. This led to some discussion over whether South Africa might pull out in protest, according to Jason Stearns, director of regional think tank the Great Lakes Institute.
REVIEW NPA’S ABILITY TO PERFORM WITHOUT FEAR OR FAVOUR
The decision to clear suspended senior National Prosecuting Authority prosecutor Glynnis Breytenbach of all charges has been welcomed by the Centre for Constitutional Rights (CFCR). Director Johan Kruger said in a statement that if the NPA and the National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP) “end up favouring and fearing politicians instead of the law” the criminal justice system would fail to function without prejudice. Breytenbach has always claimed acting NDPP Nomgcobo Jiba suspended her to stop her from prosecuting former police crime intelligence boss Richard Mdluli on fraud and other charges. “The rationality, legality, and constitutionality of the NPA’s conduct — its ability to fulfil its constitutional duty without fear, favour, or prejudice — are up for review in a number of matters,” Kruger said.
DIRCO LOOKING FOR ANSWERS ON KIDNAPPED SOUTH AFRICANS
The department of international relations and co-operation is still trying to confirm whether two tourists kidnapped in Yemen are South Africans. Spokesman Clayson Monyela said it was “very difficult to get information from that part of the world, but our people are working very hard to find out”. Reuters reported earlier that unidentified gunmen seized two South African citizens in the city of Taiz that police were trying to determine who was behind the kidnapping, according to an Interior Ministry source said. The source told Reuters the kidnappers had apparently mistaken the South African pair for Europeans or Americans but gave no further details on what they were doing in Yemen.
DA DISPUTES ANC’S CALL FOR OBAMA TO REJECT FREEDOM OF THE CITY
The Democratic Alliance has scorned the ANC in the Western Cape’s call for President Barack Obama to reject the Freedom of the City awarded to him by the City of Cape Town. The ANC said Obama should refuse the honour as Cape Town does not deliver to the poor. DA spokesman Mmusi Maimane said the ANC’s given reason was “completely without basis”. He said facts showed the DA-led City of Cape Town “delivers better quality services to more poor people than any other metro in South Africa”. He said in the past financial year, the City spent 57% of its R18 billion budget on direct service delivery to poor residents. Maimane said the ANC had “shamelessly” politicised an important and highly regarded civic award to a global leader who has led the way in peace making and human rights based leadership.
WIDESPREAD CONDMENATION OF LATEST XENOPHOBIC ATTACKS
Government and the opposition have condemned the latest outbreak of xenophobic attacks against foreigners in Gauteng. GCIS acting spokeswoman, Phumla Williams, said government had “noted with concern so-called xenophobic attacks on foreign nationals”. Williams said government strongly condemned violence “not only on foreign nationals, but also on South Africans”. DA spokesman Mmusi Maimane said xenophobic violence was “often driven by growing poverty and unemployment in South Africa and the perception that opportunities for South African’s are being lost to foreigners”. “We can never condone acts of violence or intimidation,” he said. Police said 45 people had been arrested for public violence, housebreaking and possession of unlicensed firearms in Diepsloot, north of Johannesburg.
NO MORE ANARCHY, VIOLENCE AND INTIMIDATION IN THE MINING INDUSTRY
Government will not tolerate anarchy, violence, intimidation and illegal strikes in the mining sector, mineral resources minister Susan Shabangu has told parliament during her department’s budget vote. Shabangu said while government respected workers’ “inalienable right to strike and the right to the freedom of association”, a “cruel blow” needed to be dealt to those who are “wilfully undermining the well-established system of collective bargaining that has been a critical component of the mining industry”. She called on stakeholders “to honour the letter and spirit of the law and the recently signed ‘peace and stability framework’ of the mining industry”. Last week, Shabangu and finance minister Pravin Gordhan met leaders of the mining sector to address the challenges faced by the industry.
‘INHUMANE, DISASTROUS AND FRANKLY DISGUSTING’
A Cape Town councillor has described the Home Affairs reception centre on the foreshore as “Inhumane, disastrous and frankly, disgusting”, according to the Cape Argus. JP Smith, mayoral committee member for safety and security, was responding to an incident outside the refugee centre when security guards hosed down angry people, some of who had been waiting for two weeks to renew documents. Smith slammed home affairs, asking, “Would you be expected to defecate on the pavement, because there are no toilets available? It is a reception area, when one ‘receives’ a guest to provide a service to them. This is not how they should be treated”. Provincial home affairs manager Yusuf Simons said the reception was “doing its best” but was hampered by capacity restraints after its lease for a much larger building was not renewed last year.
ZUMA’S SON PAYS WEDDING DEBT, FINALLY
President Jacob Zuma’s son, Edward, has finally paid the outstanding money he owed planner Paul Mann for his multimillion rand wedding. Zuma paid the R450,000 as he faced a sequestration application in the Durban high court, the Daily News reported. Lawyer Clinton Slogrove told the newspaper all he could say was that “the parties amicably settled the matter last night and that payment was made on Tuesday morning”. Last year, high court judge Anton van Zyl granted judgment for R1.5 million plus costs and interests against Zuma over the unpaid bill. Zuma at the time said he had no assets but acknowledged the debt. DM
Photo: Minister Susan Shabangu (Department of Mineral Resources)
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