A round-up of the day’s news from South Africa.
MAGISTRATE IN PISTORIUS CASE RAISES ISSUE OF ‘TRIAL BY MEDIA’
Magistrate Daniel Thulare has postponed the murder trial of Paralympian Oscar Pistorius until 19 August, the same day his victim, Reeva Steenkamp, would have turned 30. Thulare postponed the case after the National Prosecuting Authority asked for more time to prepare its case. Thulare also took a swipe at domestic and international media coverage of the case, branding it “scandalising, contemptuous actions”. “It appears there is a trial by media,” Thulare said, and urged police to investigate leaks to the media. In the most recent incident, photographs of the bloody bathroom where Steenkamp was shot were leaked to an international media company. NPA spokesman Medupe Simasiku said evidence gathered by police was secure and that prosecutors believed that the photographs “out there” were “not part of the system”.
POLICE CAPTAIN, SERGEANT IMPLICATED IN CASH-IN-TRANSIT HEIST
The Hawks have confirmed a police captain has been arrested in connection with a cash-in-transit heist. The crime intelligence officer appeared in the Sasolburg Magistrate’s Court and was granted R5,000 bail. He will return to court on Thursday with four others, including a police sergeant. Sapa reported that the men stand accused of robbing a coin security vehicle of R3 million. The van was travelling from a depot in Naledi Industrial Park when another vehicle crashed into it at a stop street. Two more arrived on the scene, and three men then shot at the security van, injuring a security guard in the process.
LABOUR MINISTER MUST CLARIFY MINING ‘PEACEKEEPING FORCE’
The Democratic Alliance has called on labour minister Mildred Oliphant to explain what she means by saying a “peacekeeping force” could be deployed deal with unrest in the mining sector. Labour spokesman Sejamothopo Motau said Oliphant should clarify whether the SANDF would be used in this case, and what the mandate for this ‘peace force’ would be. Motau said it was disappointing that almost a year after the Marikana massacre, “government has done little to get to the bottom of and solve the causes of last year’s crisis”. He said unrest was “placing severe pressure on an already struggling economy that is currently failing to grow fast enough to create the millions of jobs we need”.
ANC CALLS ON MEMBERS TO HELP IDENTIFY MARIKANA ‘THUGS’
The ANC says the “thugs” responsible for the latest violence in Marikana must be “identified and isolated” and has asked its members and structures in the region to help the police bring the perpetrators to book. “The criminal activities we have seen in Marikana, regardless of motivation, must be condemned across all sectors of society including by government, the private sector, organised labour and ordinary community members,” the party said in a statement. It said there was no justification for the violence as South Africa has a “solid, progressive and effective labour relations regime”. It said the police “ensure continuous and visible presence in Marikana until lasting calm is returned to the area”.
LONMIN SUSPENDS NUM SHOP STEWARDS FOR ALLEGED FRAUD
Platinum miner Lonmin has suspended eight National Union of Mineworkers shop stewards for alleged fraud regarding union membership. Spokeswoman Sue Lindsell-Steward said three of those suspended are already involved in disciplinary hearings, while another five face hearings this week. The shop stewards are accused of falsifying stop orders to make it seem as if members of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) had joined rival NUM, Sapa reported. Lonmin said about 200 such stop orders were submitted to Lonmin’s human resources department.
IS BOZIZE IN SOUTH AFRICA?
Ousted Central African Republic president, Francois Bozize, is believed to be in South Africa, German news agency dpa reported. A spokesman for the department of international relations and co-operation (Dirco), Nelson Kgwete, said the South African government doesn’t have “an official comment on the matter”, the agency reported. Bozize was said to have left Cameroon on Sunday, travelling to South Africa via Kenya. Bozize fled CAR in March as Seleka fighters entered the capital of Bengui. Fourteen South African soldiers were killed in the attack. The country’s new government has issued an international warrant for his arrest.
FRANSMAN ACCUSES DA OF BEING BEHIND ATTACK ON HIM
ANC Western Cape leader Marius Fransman has accused the governing Democratic Alliance of helping orchestrate an attack on him at a meeting in Oudtshoorn last month. The Cape Argus reported that Fransman had questioned whether the attack was part of the DA’s “early strategy” to take control of the Karoo town. The DA, with the help of five rebel ANC councillors, ousted ANC mayor Gordon April after a vote of no confidence on Friday. But the party’s deputy provincial leader, Theuns Botha, said he didn’t even want to respond to Fransman’s aspersions. “It’s just stupid of him to say that,” Botha said.
NEW DNA BILL NOT A ‘GOLDEN BULLET’ BUT WILL HELP FIGHT CRIME
Parliament’s police portfolio committee has announced it will hold public hearings on the proposed DNA bill, and that it hopes the new bill would be ready to go before the national assembly before it closes for the winter recess. South Africa currently doesn’t have a law that allows police to collect DNA samples or a national forensic database. Police officers also need to be trained in the collection of DNA. Chairwoman of the committee, Annelize van Wyk, the bill could make a difference in fighting crime. “With so many unsolved crimes, as well as high crime rates once this Bill becomes law will make a difference. This is not a golden bullet because one can’t solve crime by DNA alone. But it will improve conviction rates.” DM
Photo: Francois Bozize (REUTERS)
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