A round-up of the day’s news from South Africa.
LIBYAN INVESTIGATORS HUNT FOR GADDAFI’S BILLIONS IN SA
Libyan investigators have met with South African officials to discuss “locating, securing and repatriating” cash, gold and diamonds stashed in South Africa by late Libyan dictator, Muammar Gaddafi. The Sunday Times reported that the Libyan team believe four banks and two security companies are holding the $1 billion fortune. “There was a group that approached Treasury claiming to represent the Libyan government and we are in the process of verifying their claims about assets that are in South Africa,” Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan’s spokesman Jabulani Sikhakhane said. They suspect Gaddafi’s former chief of staff, Bashir Saleh, known as ‘Gaddafi’s banker’ is holding on to some of the assets. Saleh is on Interpol’s wanted list.
WHY HAS BASHIR SALEH NOT BEEN ARRESTED?
Parliament’s portfolio committee on police must convene an urgent meeting with the acting head of crime intelligence and demand clarity on the status of Muammar Gaddafi’s former chief of staff, Bashir Saleh, in South Africa. DA police spokeswoman Dianne Kohler-Barnard said Chris Ncgobo should explain why Saleh, on Interpol’s most wanted list, had not been arrested, and when he would be arrested. “The committee should also conduct an investigation into how and why someone on an international most-wanted list was invited to the ANC’s centenary dinner in Manguang in January 2012, and whether this was known prior to his attending it, and by whom,” Kohler-Barnard said in a statement. She questioned how is he able to fly regularly between South Africa, Swaziland and Niger, without being detained. This, she said, “points to someone with connections in high-places in the current government”.
DA OUSTS ANC-LED OUDTSHOORN COUNCIL – WITH HELP OF ANC
The Democratic Alliance has seized control of the ANC-led Oudtshoorn municipality, apparently with the help of five rebel ANC councillors. DA spokesman Mmusi Maimane said the Oudtshoorn council passed a DA-driven motion of non-confidence in the speaker, mayor and deputy mayor. “Five of the eleven ANC councillors, along with the COPE caucus, voted with the DA. After the Council meeting, the five ANC-councillors who supported the motion resigned and joined the DA,” Maimane said, adding that the councillors said they “fed-up with the bad service delivery, mismanagement and maladministration within the ANC-led municipality”. The ANC has disputed the takeover, saying the meeting was “unlawful”.
ZUMA’S CHOICE FOR HEAD OF NPA CHARGED WITH MISCONDUCT
The Magistrate’s Commission charged the man tipped to be President Jacob Zuma’s next head of the National Prosecuting Authority, regional magistrate Stanley Gumede, with misconduct. City Press reported that Gumede was served with the charge on Wednesday after a lobby group in KwaZulu-Natal pressed the commission to either charge Gumede, or drop the case against him. Zuma’s last choice for head of the NPA was found by the Constitutional Court to be unconstitutional and invalid. His spokesman, Mac Maharaj, said Zuma was considering appointing heads for the NPA and the Special Investigating Unit.
LIMPOPO TEXTBOOK COMPANY GIVEN GAUTENG EDUCATION CONTRACT
The company alleged to be at the heart of the Limpopo textbook delivery crisis has been awarded a multi-million rand tender by the Gauteng education department, according to the Sunday Independent. Public protector Thuli Madonsela is currently investigating EducSolutions over its role in the Limpopo scandal. The company was paid R404 million by the Limpopo government, before it terminated the contract in the wake of the crisis that saw hundreds of schools in the province not receive textbooks. Now Gauteng has awarded the same company a contract to provide textbooks and other learning materials in the province, with a spokesman saying this was due to its “good performance”. It is contesting the termination of its Limpopo contract.
KIDNAPPED SA COUPLE IN YEMEN NO CLOSER TO BEING RELEASED
A couple kidnapped in Yemen are no closer to being released, despite efforts by South Africa’s ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Mogamat Jaffer, to secure their release. It was taking the department of international relations and co-operation (Dirco) “longer than we originally thought”, a spokesman told the Sunday Argus. Nelson Kgwete said Jaffer had been doing “all he could” to free the couple from their abductors. The newspaper reported that a car used in the kidnapping, and the arrest of five people who had it in their possession, had failed to provide the clues authorities hoped would lead to the couple’s whereabouts. Although Dirco has refused to release the names of the couple, a relative said they worked for an NGO in Taiz and were on the way home to South Africa for a funeral when they were kidnapped.
FSB TO BE QUESTIONED BY PARLIAMENT OVER HANDLING OF FIDENTIA CASE
The Financial Services Board will appear before parliament to explain its handling of the case against Fidentia boss, J Arthur Brown. The DA’s spokesman on finance, Tim Harris, said the party – which had requested the FSB give answers in the case – said, “serious questions have been raised about how funds meant to support 60,000 families went missing and whether Mr Brown has received an appropriate sentence. They will now be put to the FSB before Parliament’s finance committee”. Harris said Judge Anton Veldhuizen, who sentenced Brown, had raised serious concerns over the handling of the Fidentia case by the state, pointing out that FSB chief financial officer Dawood Seedat, who had led the FSB investigation of Fidentia, only testified in aggravation of sentencing once judgement had already been handed down.
RHINO POACHER SENTENCED TO 11 YEARS IN JAIL
The Nelspruit Regional Court has sentenced a rhino poacher to an 11-year jail sentence. Abel Mashabane, was found guilty on charges of poaching and trespassing at the Kruger National Park. Special Forces killed one of his accomplices during his apprehension while a third man escaped. The environmental affairs department said a total of 50 poachers had been arrested in the Kruger National Park, but that 367 rhino had been killed since the beginning of the year, with the most – 147 – being slaughtered in the Park. SANParks communications, Paul Daphne said while the increasing number of suspected poachers being arrested in the Kruger National Park reflected the escalating number of people engaging in rhino poaching, it was also an indication that the anti-poaching measures put in place by SANParks were working. DM
Photo: Dehorned rhinos are seen at the Kruger national park in Mpumalanga province September 16, 2011. The rhinos were dehorned by a veterinary surgeon to prevent poaching. This week, The Nelspruit Regional Court has sentenced a rhino poacher to an 11-year jail sentence. (REUTERS)
Stephen Hawking held a party for time travellers. He sent the invitation out the day after. Nobody attended.