South Africa

FIVE MINUTES: South Africa

By Daily Maverick Staff Reporter 7 June 2013

A round-up of the day’s news from South Africa.

NPA CLEARS BREYTENBACH FOR RETURN TO WORK

Glynnis Breytenbach will return to work at the National Prosecuting Authority next week. The prosecutor, cleared last month at a long-running disciplinary hearing of the 15 charges levelled against her by the NPA, will meet the acting national director for public prosecutions Nomgcobo Jiba on her return on Monday. The NPA said in a statement it was “in agreement that Advocate Glynnis Breytenbach should return to work after the outcome of the internal disciplinary hearing”. Spokesperson Bulelwa Makeke said the NPA had “issued a written communication to her today [Thursday] confirming this decision”. What isn’t confirmed is whether Breytenbach will return to her old post as head of the commercial crimes unit, or the cases she was handling at the time of her suspension.

‘ALMOST CONFIRMED’ AL-QAEDA MILITANTS KIDNAPPED SA COUPLE

Al-Qaeda militants are holding the South African couple kidnapped from the city of Taiz in Yemen last month. A top security official told AFP investigations were not “very encouraging” and that it was “almost confirmed” that the pair were in the hands of Al-Qaeda men. The hostages are being held in the mountainous region of Hazm al-Udain, 50 kilometres northeast of Taiz. The official said security forces had tracked them, but the results were “not very encouraging”. The couple had worked as teachers before starting work for a local investor five months ago, the official told the agency.

POLICE SEIZE MILLIONS OF ILLEGAL CIGARETTES

Police have confiscated millions of illegal cigarettes found in an LP Gas tanker in BelaBela (Warmbaths) that entered South Africa via the Groblersbrug border post with Botswana. The cigarettes, with a street value of R2.2 million, were concealed in hidden compartments within the tanker, which entered South Africa via the Groblersbrug border post between Botswana and South Africa. Police later said the tanker did not belong to LP Gas and that the driver had no supporting documentation for the vehicle or for the cigarettes. The driver was arrested, and the cigarettes seized by the police.

TWO TERMS OF MANDELA WOULD HAVE HELPED SA’S DEMOCRACY

South Africa’s young democracy would have had a better chance of succeeding had Nelson Mandela served two terms as president, says Dr Mamphela Ramphele. The leader of the newly formed Agang party said she wasn’t sure Mandela’s successors were “committed in the same way that he was”, Sapa reported. She said South Africa was “on completely the wrong track” and that “nearly 20 years after that beautiful day in our history, we are a country which has not lived up to the promise of that dream”. Ramphele’s party has registered, and intends fighting next year’s election.

TEACHER, PRINCIPAL SUSPENDED FOR ALLEGED RACIST BEHAVIOUR

The Free State provincial education department has suspended a teacher and principal at the Wilgehof Primary School in Bloemfontein where black children were subjected to racist comments. The teacher also displayed a photograph of former ANCYL leader Julius Malema alongside that of a monkey, and the old South African flag. “The department will not tolerate any racist behaviour at schools, and those found guilty will be dealt with according to the law,” said Free State education minister Tate Makgoe. The future of the teacher and the principal would be decided after an investigation, Makgoe said. The racist behaviour was reported to the Human Rights Commission by a white parent of children at the school.

DA YOUTH LEADER SAYS ANCYL PROTEST STINKS

Member of the ANC Youth League who threw faeces on the stairs of the Western Cape Legislature and at Premier Helen Zille’s convoy could be better deployed by “holding its governments to account for their 19-year failure to deliver proper sanitation in the rest of the country”. DA Youth leader Mbali Ntuli said the “’protests” were “part of the ANC’s plan to make the Western Cape ungovernable before next year’s elections”. Ntuli said the question was “why is the ANCYL protesting in Cape Town – which has the best sanitation in South Africa – and not in the rest of the country, where millions of people are forced to use buckets as toilets?”

DA: YOUTH EMPLOYMENT TAX INCENTIVE AN ELECTION PLOY

The Democratic Alliance has cast doubt on the National Treasury’s ability find support for its youth employment tax incentive to be tabled later this year. Finance spokesman Tim Harris said Cosatu had for the past three years successfully blocked any tax breaks for youth jobs. Harris said the Youth Employment Accord provides for “incentives approved by all constituencies”. Harris questioned how finance minister Pravin Gordhan intended getting support from all those constituencies at Nedlac. “Unfortunately, until prospects for the policy’s implementation improve, we remain convinced that this promise of jobs to young South Africans is nothing but a ploy to attract disillusioned young voters ahead of next year’s election,” Harris said.

NUM DENIES STEWARDS INVOLVED IN MEMBERSHIP FRAUD

The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) is crying foul over a decision by Lonmin to suspend eight of its shop stewards amid allegations of membership fraud. Lonmin has alleged NUM members fraudulently changed the membership of names on stop orders, from the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) to the NUM, to falsely bolster the NUM’s numbers. The NUM denies its members were involved. Union spokesman Lesiba Seshoka told the M&G Online Lonmin knew about this in August 2012 and that the issue was raised with Lonmin in the days leading up to the Marikana massacre. DM

Photo: Police have confiscated millions of illegal cigarettes found in an LP Gas tanker in BelaBela (Warmbaths) that entered South Africa via the Groblersbrug border post with Botswana. (REUTERS)

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