A round-up of the day’s news from South Africa.
UK SPIED ON SOUTH AFRICAN DELEGATES TO G20 MEETING IN LONDON
As the G8 conference opened in Ireland, the British government was rocked by allegations leaked by former US spy, Edward Snowden, that it spied on foreign delegates attending a G20 meeting in London in 2009. British intelligence services spied on South Africa and Turkey, among others, the Guardian newspaper reported. Spies used intelligence capabilities to monitor communications between officials, including intercepting emails as well as messages and calls made on BlackBerry devices. The newspaper claimed one document “summarises a sustained campaign to penetrate South African computers, recording that they gained access to the network of their foreign ministry”, “investigated phone lines used by High Commission in London” and “retrieved documents including briefings for South African delegates to G20 and G8 meetings”.
WELL KNOWN SA ARTIST APPEARS ON CHARGES OF MURDER
Well-known South African artist Zwelethu Mthethwa has appeared in a Cape Town court for allegedly beating a woman to death. Die Burger reported that closed circuit cameras captured footage of Mthethwa hitting and kicking a woman to death on the street in Woodstock in April. Police spokesperson FC van Wyk told the newspaper Mthethwa was also identified by an eyewitness. Van Wyk said the 52-year-old allegedly stopped his car, climbed out and walked over to the woman, thought to be a sex worker, and started hitting her repeatedly. Mthethwa reportedly appeared the next day in the Cape Town Magistrates’ Court, where he was granted bail of R100,000.
SANDF ON THE MOVE TO DRC
South African soldiers are on the move to the Democratic Republic of Congo, and are part of the ‘Force Intervention Brigade’, also known as the SADC Brigade, given a United Nations mandate to ‘stabilise’ the eastern DRC. Independent Foreign Service reported that 1,300 SANDF troops flew to Goma this weekend from Bloemspruit Air Force Base in Bloemfontein where they had undergone training at a combat school. The report said a full battalion and support company, a paratroop company, Special Forces and engineers were en route to the DRC. Monusco military spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Félix Basse said the brigade was ready to conduct offensive operations so as to “neutralise” armed groups.
DA COUNCILLOR SUSPENDED FOR ‘OFFENSIVE AND RACIST’ EMAIL
A DA councillor in the Eastern Cape accused of sending a racist email has been suspended. Stanford Slabbert wrote that President Jacob Zuma had more wives than brain cells, and said the African National Congress produced “dumb idiots who wait for handouts”, The New Age reported. DA leader in the Eastern Cape, Athol Trollip confirmed to Sapa that Slabbert had been suspended. He said the email was “very offensive and racist” and had contravened the party’s constitution. Slabbert faces a disciplinary hearing in July.
BREYTENBACH TO CHALLENGE REDEPLOYMENT AT LABOUR COURT
NPA prosecutor Glynnis Breytenbach’s lawyer Gerhard Wagenaar will file an application with the labour court against her redeployment, Sapa reported. “An application will be brought to the labour court this week, to set aside the decision by the National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP) to move her from the office of Specialised Crime Unit (SCU) to the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) in Pretoria,” Wagenaar said. In the meantime, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) confirmed that it had filed an application for the Labour Court to review the outcome of a disciplinary hearing, which cleared Breytenbach of all 15 charges levelled against her by her employer.
DA YOUTH DAY OUTREACH BANNED BY LIMPOPO EDUCATION MEC
The Democratic Alliance in Limpopo was stopped from carrying out a Youth Day outreach at a school in the province by education MEC Dickson Masemola. The party had planned to repair a high school. DA youth leader Mbali Ntuli said the team went to the Kgabo High School on Sunday to repair facilities at the school.
“It is a pity that, even on youth day, the MEC is putting politics above delivery,” Ntuli said. But department spokesman Pat Kgomo accused the DA of lying, saying they had not received a request from the DA about the event. Ntuli said staff, teachers and the governing body were “happy” to welcome them, but that the school superintendent told the group Masemola had told them the DA should not be allowed to help at the school.
GORDHAN MUST INVESTIGATE ANC CONNECTION TO GADDAFI BILLIONS
Finance minister Pravin Gordhan must investigate the so-called ‘Gaddafi billions’ hidden in South Africa, says DA finance spokesman, Tim Harris. He said while the party welcomed the announcement that the Libyan funds and assets would be repatriated, the link between the funds and high-ranking ANC officials should be investigated. City Press reported two Libyan factions were involved in a “billion-dollar fight” to find and repatriated money, gold and diamonds. One faction says ANC security head Tito Maleka and ANC-connected businessman Jackie Mphafudi are connected in the recovery of $1 billion of Gaddafi’s assets in South Africa, helping an “illegitimate” group. “This raises questions around government and the ANC’s financial ties with the former Libyan dictator, and whether there may have been any undue influence,” Harris said.
GRACA MACHEL THANKS SA, WORLD FOR MANDELA MESSAGES
Graca Machel has thanked South Africans for their support of her husband, former president Nelson Mandela. “So much love and generosity from South Africans, Africans across the continent, and thousands more from across the world, have come our way to lighten the burden of anxiety, bringing us love, comfort and hope,” Machel said. “We have felt the closeness of the world and the deepest meaning of strength and peace.” Mandela has spent 10 days in hospital since being admitted on 8 June for a recurring lung infection. The presidency, which is handling communication around Mandela’s health, has consistently said the world statesman was in a “serious but stable condition”.
TIME FOR ‘TEFLON TINA’ TO GO
It is time for President Jacob Zuma to “do the right thing” and relieve agriculture minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson from her duties, says DA agriculture spokeswoman, Annette Steyn. Steyn was responding to a report that alleged the minister had taken a kickback, worth R100,000, for arranging the sale of a farm. The Sunday Times reported the lawyer, close to the deal, as saying the money was paid directly into Joemat-Pettersson’s personal bank account. “Joemat-Pettersson is the ultimate Teflon Minister, she has hurtled from scandal to scandal without any real castigation. It is time for President Zuma to do the right thing and relieve her of her duties,” Steyn said in a statement. Joemat-Pettersson has denied the allegations, with her spokeswoman Palesa Mokomele calling them “unsubstantiated and regrettable”. DM
Photo: Finance minister Pravin Gordhan must investigate the so-called ‘Gaddafi billions’ hidden in South Africa, says DA finance spokesman, Tim Harris. (REUTERS)
"The soul is known by its acts" ~ Thomas Aquinas