South Africa

FIVE MINUTES: South Africa

By Daily Maverick Staff Reporter 12 June 2013

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

SECURITY STEPPED UP AT HOSPITAL WHERE MANDELA IS BEING TREATED

Former president Nelson Mandela remains in a “serious but stable” condition in a Pretoria hospital. A statement issued by the Presidency said President Jacob Zuma had received a “thorough briefing” on Mandela’s condition and that he was satisfied the medical team were doing their best to “make Madiba better”.  Police tightened security around Pretoria’s Medi-Clinic Heart Hospital where Mandela is being treated. Around a dozen police officers were deployed outside the building, which was cordoned off by barriers and police tape to keep a phalanx of domestic and international reporters and television crews from the entrance. Mandela was admitted to hospital in the early hours of Saturday with a recurring lung infection.

ANC MPS SOFTEN STANCE ON LABOUR BROKING

ANC MPs have softened their hard-core stance on the issue of labour broking, after initially demanding a ban on labour brokers. BDlive reported that MPs agreed to reduce to three months the length of time during which terms and conditions applying to workers placed by labour brokers can differ from those of other workers. The Labour Act stipulated a six-month period but parliament’s labour committee voted unanimously to amend the clause to three months. Meanwhile, chairman of the Free Market Foundation, Herman Mashaba, said there are an estimated one million labour broker workers in South Africa “whose jobs would be endangered by the proposal of ANC members of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Labour to change the Labour Relations Act definition of temporary employment from ‘six months’ to ‘zero months’.” However, the compromise is unlike to find favour with Cosatu, which wants an outright ban of labour broking.

EQUAL EDUCATION SUPPORTED BY EASTERN CAPE HIGH COURT

The Eastern Cape High Court in Bisho has ruled Equal Education’s new court application against the basic education minister as urgent. The NGO filed papers for the second time in two years asking the court to force basic education minister Angie Motshekga to publish norms and standards for school infrastructure. The Mail & Guardian reported the minister has been given two days to file notice to oppose. “The long history of broken promises and delays by the minister is evidence that without court action she is likely to keep delaying the promulgation of the regulations,” Equal Education said in its application.

The NGO says publishing the legally binding document is crucial because it will define what infrastructure at South Africa’s 25 000 schools should be.

CAPE TOWN COUNCILLOR TO SUE ZILLE OVER FAECES TWEET

Cape Town city councillor Nico Mzalisi says he will sue premier Helen Zille for defamation unless she apologises, on Twitter, for a tweet she sent saying he’d tried to dump faeces in a DA councillor’s home. “The ANCYL + the ANC ward councillor, arrived at DA councillor Patrick Ngqu’s house in Kosovo, Philippi, and tried to throw faeces inside,” Zille tweeted. The Argus reported that when asked who the councillor was, Zille replied that it was Mzalisi, who has denied the allegations. He said if Zille apologises, he would suspend court action. DA councillor Ngqu told the Cape Argus that Mzalisi and Andile Lili had instructed people to dump faeces at his home after media had left a public tour of dirty bucket toilets in Kosovo informal settlement.

SHUTTLEWORTH SLAMS SA’S ‘UNCONSTITUTIONAL’ EXCHANGE CONTROLS

Mark Shuttleworth is trying to recover a 10% exit levy of more than R250 million imposed on him by the Reserve Bank when he transferred R2 billion out of South Africa. The Pretoria News reported the billionaire IT entrepreneur has asked the Pretoria High Court to set aside the decision, saying it was unconstitutional and invalid and the decision to impose it, unlawful. His lawyer, Gilbert Marcus SC, said the levy decision was taken without giving Shuttleworth a fair hearing, and argued the existing system of exchange control in South Africa was unconstitutional. The Reserve Bank says the levy was in accordance with its policy, as set out in a circular, based on a 2003 budget.

MILITANT MALEMA SET LAUNCH NEW ‘FORUM’

Julius Malema is set to launch a new party political platform. The former leader of the ANC Youth League, who was expelled from the ANC, said in a statement the ruling party couldn’t provide a sustainable solution to South Africa’s developmental problems. He said the tripartite alliance and the opposition parties were “ineffectual”. He said South Africans should “stand up and be counted”. In an interview with The Star, Malema said the new forum would fight for social justice rather than reconciliation and would prepare an “onslaught against white male monopoly capital”. Radical militants inside and outside of the ANC should “come together and talk about an alternative platform”.

PUBLIC RALLIES TO HELP FUND FIGHT AGAINST E-TOLLS

Members of the public have joined the Democratic Alliance in donating funds to the Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (Outa) in raising funds to continue fighting the implementation of e-tolls in Gauteng. Outa said last week it was hampered in its opposition by a lack of funds. The DA then donated R1 million to the cause. “Just five days later we are able to announce that over R1.35-million was raised from the public, plus a further R1-million contribution on Friday from the [Democratic Alliance],” Outa chairperson Wayne Duvenage said in a statement. “We certainly did not expect this significant answer to our call and want to thank each and every person and organisation that took the time to contribute.”

DE LILLE OVERSEAS CLEANING OF CONTAINER TOILETS

Patricia de Lille has overseen the cleaning of container toilets in two informal settlements in Cape Town.  Sapa reported that the mayor of Cape Town went with a cleaning team to Barcelona and Kanana, where a strike by sanitation contractor Sannicare hit the area hard. De Lille said the team was accompanied by a “substantial contingent of law enforcement officers in order to protect them from possible attacks”. She said threats of violence against cleaning staff were “real”. Sannicare workers last month blocked the N2 highway with burning tyres and dumped faeces on the road. They were demanding to be paid the equivalent of a 16-hour workday, which the company said was against labour legislation. DM

Photo: Julius Malema (REUTERS)

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