A round-up of the day's news from South Africa.
NUM SHOP STEWARD SHOT DEAD AT LONMIN
A shop steward from the National Union of Mineworkers NUM) has been shot dead at a Lonmin mine, police and the union said, sparking fears of a renewed cycle of violence in the troubled platinum belt. Lonmin said the shooting, in which another union official was also critically injured, took place at the NUM offices at Wonderkop community, which is near the town of Marikana where police shot dead 34 miners last August. “Two people were shot,” regional police spokesman Sabata Mokgwabone said. “One died on the scene and another one was taken to hospital.” Both men were Lonmin employees, the company said. Neither NUM nor the police could say who was responsible for the attack
COSATU CONDEMNS ‘LAWLESSNESS AND ANARCHY’ IN MARIKANA
The Congress of South African Trade Unions says it is concerned over the “lawlessness and anarchy” prevalent in South Africa’s platinum mining belt. The labour federation was responding to news that an NUM official was shot dead at Lonmin’s Marikana mine. “Cosatu is concerned at the lawlessness and anarchy in the area, which has created a prevailing sense of impunity. No one is being arrested and not a single person has been convicted for any of these murders,” it said in a statement. Cosatu called on workers and the local community to “remain calm and do everything possible to prevent a new cycle of violence and death”. It said membership of any union or any party should never cost a life.
SIGN ARMS TRADE TREATY, SAYS TUTU
Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu says all nations should sign the Arms Trade Treaty adopted by the United Nations (UN), as the only people who benefitted from the trade were weapons manufacturers. “For thousands of years, people have invented and developed an extraordinary array of tools to settle arguments – and seize each other’s belongings – by causing each other physical harm,” Tutu said in a statement. “Now, for the first time, the international community is taking tangible steps to stop the blight.” The treaty, believed to be the first international treaty regulating the multi-billion-dollar global arms trade, has opened for signatures.
PUBLIC PROTECTOR TO PROBE TLOKWE’S MAPHETLE MAPHETLE
Public protector Thuli Madonsela will investigate Maphetle Maphetle, the controversial mayor of Tlokwe, Sapa reported. “The public protector will investigate and will add the complaint to the ongoing investigation against (the) Tlokwe municipality,” said Kgalalelo Masibi, Madonsela’s spokeswoman. A forensic report commissioned by the Democratic Alliance when it briefly managed the municipality last year, outlined abuse of the disaster management and poverty funds, and found the council irregularly bought a customised Mercedes, costing R736,000, for Maphetle. The party also laid charges against Maphetle last month. In November, African National Congress factions at the municipality passed a motion of no confidence in Maphetle, replacing him with the DA’s Annette Combrink. Maphetle was returned as mayor of the Tlokwe municipality in February.
MPOFU TO CONVENE GUPTA DISCIPLINARY COMMITTEE
Advocate Dali Mpofu will lead the disciplinary committee convened by the Saxonwold branch of the ANC to investigate Atul Gupta. The committee is charged with finding out if there are grounds to charge President Jacob Zuma’s friend with bringing the party into disrepute. The Gupta family were found to have used “undue influence” on government officials to land a private jet, chartered for a family wedding in South Africa, at Waterkloof Air Force Base. Branch chairman Sipho Sithole told Sunday World newspaper, “this matter has been referred to an internal structure of our ANC branch Ward 117 and that comrade Dali Mpofu is the convenor”.
POLICE ‘DISGUSTED’ BY LEAK OF GRAPHIC PHOTOS
Police are “disgusted” that graphic photographs of the scene of the murder of Reeva Steenkamp, shot by her boyfriend Oscar Pistorius, were leaked to the international media. “We are looking into the matter and, if someone broke the law, the law will take its course,” police spokesman Brigadier Phuti told The Times. Paralympian Pistorius is due to appear in the Pretoria magistrate’s court today. He is accused of shooting Steenkamp four times in the bathroom of his luxury Pretoria home, believing her to be an intruder. Phuti said police did not know the origin of the photographs. “This was unnecessary and we find it disgusting… It could be someone with a selfish interest and it should not have happened,” Setati said.
NPA REJECTS ANENE BOOYSEN ACCUSED GUILTY PLEA
Johannes Kana has pleaded guilty to the rape of Anene Booysen, but not her murder. But the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) rejected the plea, saying the facts “do not correspond” with Kana’s version of the events that took place in February. NPA regional spokesman Eric Ntabazalila said the NPA did not dispute that he raped Booysen, “but he is not giving a full version of what transpired at the crime scene”. Prosecutor Maria Marshall read the charge sheet, which said Kana “deliberately sexually penetrated” Booysen, and that he used his hand or another object to disembowel her. The case has been postponed until 9 June.
DA GIVES NXESI 36-HOUR DEADLINE TO EXLPAIN NKANDLA CLASSIFICATION
Public works minister Thulas Nxesi has 36 hours to explain which law he used to classify his report into the upgrade of President Jacob Zuma’s private home at Nkandla. Democratic Alliance parliamentary leader, Lindiwe Mazibuko, said the report was classified on legal advice drafted by the state law advisor. But Mazibuko said after a “thorough analysis, it remains unclear how the Nxesi could have classified this report in the first instance. In fact, it is the DA’s position that he is not empowered to do so at all”, she said. Nxesi has until the report is considered by the Joint Standing Committee on Intelligence (JSCI) on Wednesday to explain, or the DA “will move a motion in the committee that the report be referred back to the Minister for it to be made public and accordingly tabled before the appropriate public committee”. DM
Photo: Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu (REUTERS)
Bladerunner (1980s version) is a visual feast due in large part to the Hollywood Actors Strike. This allowed the designers an extra three months to refine the sets and props.