South Africa

FIVE MINUTES: South Africa

By Daily Maverick Staff Reporter 14 June 2013

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

NPA FILES FOR LABOUR COURT REVIEW OF BREYTENBACH FINDING

The National Prosecuting Authority has asked the Labour Court to review the outcome of a disciplinary hearing that cleared its prosecutor Glynnis Breytenbach of all 15 charges levelled against her. Sapa reported that NPA spokeswoman Nomilo Mpondo confirmed an application for review had been filed with the Labour Court. At the time, the NPA said the findings of the disciplinary hearing, convened in its Pretoria head office, “factually incorrect and legally unsustainable”. Breytenbach was due to return to work at the NPA this week, but Eyewitness News said she had not worked at all. The NPA said it would not discuss work matters in the media.

AMCU HOLDS OFF STRIKE TO ATTEND MOTLANTHE TALKS

The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) has postponed a planned strike at Lonmin to attend mining sector talks to be held by Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe, BDlive reported. “We figured it is important to afford the deputy president an opportunity of realising the challenges faced by ourselves and engage in the presence of other stakeholders in forging a good working relationship in particular with the employers,” Amcu said in a statement. President Jacob Zuma deployed Motlanthe to lead talks in the mining sector in a bid to avoid violent strikes during annual wage talks. Amcu said it was committed to “good industrial relationship at the workplace”.

JEFFREY WITHDRAWS COMMENT ON MAZIBUKO’S ‘SUBSTANTIAL WEIGHT’

The ANC chief whip’s office says it has “noted” the DA deputy chief whip’s intention to complain about “sexist and chauvinistic” attacks directed at the DA’s parliamentary leader, Lindiwe Mazibuko, by ANC MPS Buti Manamela and John Jeffery. Jeffrey said,  “… while the Hon Mazibuko may be a person of substantial weight, her stature is questionable” while Manamela is questioned her sense of fashion during a debate. Chief whip Mathole Motshekga said Jeffrey’s reference was “more to do with her influence and power associated with the position she holds than her physical weight” and that he would withdraw the statement after “reflecting on its ambiguity” and apologise to Mazibuko. But Motshekga said Mazibuko’s dress “showed total lack of respect to the debate and the decorum of the House”.

ZUMA DENIES RESPONSIBILTY FOR RAND’S POST-BRIEFING PLUMMET

President Jacob Zuma has denied being responsible for the sharp decline in the value of the rand after a media briefing designed to prop up the currency. Zuma, responding to the Presidency’s budget vote debate, said the markets were volatile on the day and that the rand’s dive was the result of a stronger dollar and lower commodity prices. Zuma admitted, however, that labour unrest and the weak GDP exacerbated the situation. But he warned opposition parties to stop making statements that could make the situation worse, saying they should “put the country first” and help government build confidence in the economy.

JUSTICE DEPT SHUTS DOWN NAME AND SHAME CAMPAIGN

The department of justice has shut down a ‘name and shame’ campaign for convicted drunk drivers in the Western Cape. Transport MEC Robin Carlisle said the campaign was responsible for a 30% decrease in road traffic fatalities. “The ‘Safely Home’ campaign has been pivotal in achieving a 30% decrease in road traffic fatalities in the province since 2009,” Carlisle said in a statement. It was run according to procedure, and relied on court records supplied in terms of the National Road Traffic Act to the provincial transport department. “The national department of justice initially simply ordered the courts to stop supplying the records, then later ordered them to supply a truncated record which excluded the offence and sentence of the culprit,” Carlisle said.

TSHWANE ORDERED TO SHOW OLD STREET NAMES

The City of Tshwane has been given six days to comply with a court order to show Pretoria’s old street names with the new ones after the High Court in Pretoria denied an application for leave to appeal against an interdict stopping the removal of Pretoria’s old street names. The SABC reported that Judge Bill Prinsloo dismissed the application with costs. The municipality told the court it would have to spend over R2.6 million to re-erect the old signs and argued there was no proof anyone had been harmed by the name changes. MP van der Merwe, for AfriForum, said the city only had itself to blame if it had to spend over R2 million to put back the names.

WESTERN CAPE HAS 373 BUCKET TOILETS OUT OF 88,000 IN SA

A parliamentary question has revealed that of the 88,127 post-1994 bucket toilets identified by national government across the country, only 373 or 0.4% are in the Western Cape. DA human settlements spokesman, Stevens Mokgalapa, says the reply shows “the ANC’s hypocrisy on this issue”. Mokgalapa said he hoped that the party’s political opponents would “one day be able to give credit where it is due and put service delivery ahead of petty politics”. He said if the ANC and its youth wing were genuinely concerned with poor sanitation across the country, they would be protesting poor sanitation in places like the Free State, Eastern Cape and Northern Cape where there are “tens of thousands of bucket toilets still in use”.
CORRECTIONAL SERVICES WELCOMES RULING ON WATERKLOOF TWO

The Department of Correctional Services has welcomed a court ruling that will see two of the so-called Waterkloof Four going back to prison next month. James Smalberger, chief deputy commissioner of incarceration and corrections, said on their return to Zonderwater Correctional Centre “they will merely continue to serve their sentences as if not released’. The ruling follows a public uproar after Reinach Tiedt and Gert van Schalkwyk, who along with two others were sentenced to 12 years in prison for beating a homeless man to death in 2001, were released in 2011. A full bench of judges set aside district magistrate Peet Johnson’s ruling of December 15, 2011, to convert the men’s prison term to correctional supervision. DM

Photo: Kgalema Motlanthe (REUTERS)

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