A round-up of the day’s news from South Africa.
MANDELA REMAINS IN HOSPITAL IN ‘SERIOUS’ CONDITION
Nelson Mandela is in a “serious but stable” condition in a Pretoria hospital. The 94-year-old former president spent a second day in hospital with a recurring lung infection. Mandela was hospitalised early on Saturday after his health worsened. He has been hospitalised four times this year. President Jacob Zuma’s spokesman, Mac Maharaj, said Mandela’s condition was “serious”. Maharaj said earlier doctors said Mandela was “breathing on his own”, which was a “positive sign”. Mandela was “a fighter”, he added. Mandela’s wife, Graca Machel, has stayed at his bedside since he was rushed to hospital in the early hours of Saturday morning, cancelling a speech at a summit in London.
RAMAPHOSA TELLS BUSINESS TO ‘GET INTO THE SCRUM’
South Africans must stop whining about the country’s problems, says ANC deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa. Speaking to the Black Management Forum, Ramaphosa said while South Africans had a right to criticise, “we must move away from being the biggest complainers”. He said instead of complaining, business should come up with solutions. “Do not become an armchair critic, get into the scrum and show us what you can do,” the Sunday Times quoted Ramaphosa as saying. Ramaphosa said fingers were too often pointed at workers during unrest, while business did not acknowledge its role in the problem. He told business it was time to “wake up” so that South Africa can “move forward”.
ANC ACCUSED OF ABUSING RING-FENCED PARLIAMENTARY FUNDS
Former employees of the ANC caucus in parliament, dismissed after President Jacob Zuma came into power in 2009, have alleged abuse of parliamentary funding of around R60 million. City Press reported that details of the abuse would be revealed in the Labour Court this week when the employees fight to get their jobs back. The employees say they lost their jobs as the ANC caucus was under financial pressure after the ANC used fund from it party administration and constituency allowances during the 2009 election campaign. They were told the party’s reduced majority after the lection necessitated job cuts. Papers before the court say the expenditure was unlawful and contrary to ANC policies and rules.
MALEMA PLEADS FOR FARM AUCTION TO BE POSTPONED
Julius Malema has begged the curator of his cabbage farm in Limpopo not to put the R4 million Schuilkraal farm under the hammer. The former leader of the ANC Youth League wrote to Richard Masoanganye to ask him to postpone the auction of the farm, the Sunday Independent said. But Masoanganye, who confirmed to the newspaper he had received a letter from Malema’s lawyers, refused to be swayed, and said the 139-hectare farm would be auctioned on schedule. He said the “preservation order made it clear that anyone who has an interest in the farm should approach the courts within a specific timeframe”. Malema co-owns the farm with his business associate Lesiba Gwangwa. Both were arrested in September in connection with several multimillion-rand Limpopo state contracts that were allegedly fraudulently awarded to On Point Engineering.
SAPS SUSPENDS CASH HEIST INTELLIGENCE OFFICERS
The two South African crime intelligence officers implicated in masterminding a series of cash-in-transit heists have been suspended from duty. Captain Lesiba Tshabalala and Sergeant Sekonyela Willby Molefe, who are part of a group of six, have appeared at the Sasolburg Magistrate’s Court in connection with a heist involving millions in Vaalpark in February. Police spokesman Brigadier Phuti Setati said the South African Police Service had noted with serious concern the arrest and alleged involvement of the two police officers. “The SAPS also confirms that these members have been suspended without salaries,” said Setati. He said SAPS had started its internal investigation that would run parallel to the criminal investigation. The men have been charged with armed robbery and attempted murder.
ZUMA’S R800 LEASE HURTS THE POOR AND VULNERABLE
An application under the Public Access to Information Act (Paia) has revealed that President Jacob Zuma pays R800 a month to lease the 8.9-hectare land on which his Nkandla compound is built. DA spokesman on rural development, Mpowele Swathe, said the Board was required to administer the communally owned land in Nkandla for the “benefit, material welfare and social well-being of the members of the community”. Swathe said the land below market value “does not in any way benefit the Nkandla community”. “This is further evidence of how the ‘Nkandlagate’ scandal continues to hurt the poorest and most vulnerable members of the Nkandla community,” he said.
MAN JUMPS OFF CLIFF TO AVOID POLICE
The National Sea Rescue Institute has rescued a man who jumped off a cliff in Gordons Bay to avoid being arrested. NSRI spokesman Craig Lambinon said the man was involved in an altercation at a petrol station around 5.30am. He fled in his car, chased by police, traffic services and security guards, hitting parked cars along the way. When his car broke down on the R44, which runs along the coast, he reportedly jumped off the cliff. “When NSRI Gordons Bay rescuers arrived on the scene the man was a few hundred meters down a cliff on the coast road and needing to be rescued,” Lambinon said in a statement. The NSRI brought him down to safety, and the police arrested him.
ETHEKWINI METRO POLICE THREATEN TOP GEAR FESTIVAL
Durban’s Top Gear festival is under threat as members of the South African Municipal Workers Union (Samwu) threatens to disrupt the world-renowned event unless the Manase Report is made public. The ANC and the government are trying to keep the findings of Manase report into financial irregularities in the council under wraps. The Sunday Tribune reported Samwu regional secretary Jaycee Ncanana as saying unless the council acceded to their demands, which include the removal of metro police chief Eugene Nzama, the Top Gear festival was under threat as industrial action would see members “down tools and abandon duties at a critical time when tourists arrive”. DM
Photo: Cyril Ramaphosa (REUTERS)
Watermelons were originally cultivated in Africa.