South Africa

FIVE MINUTES: South Africa

By Daily Maverick Staff Reporter 21 June 2013

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

ANC RECALLS CHIEF WHIP MOTSHEKGA

The African National Congress has recalled its Chief Whip Mathole Motshekga.  Secretary general Gwede Mantashe denied Motshekga had been demoted, saying his recall was due to the fact that he had not been elected to the party’s national executive committee at its Manguang conference. Mantashe said this was a “pre-condition” for the position of chief whip. Phumelele Stone Sizani replaced Motshekga. DA chief whip Watty Watson welcomed the ANC’s decision. “We trust that this is an opportunity to once again put the interests of the institution first. Under the tenure of Dr Motshekga, unfortunately, this did not materialise,” he said. The ANC said Sizani would bring “a wealth of political and legislative experience” to the job. Motshekga will remain an ordinary MP.

‘NKANDLAGATE’ REPORT CLASSIFICATION INVALID, SAYS DA

The reason given for the top-secret classification of the public works investigation into upgrades at President Jacob Zuma’s private home in Nkandla is invalid, the DA says. Parliamentary leader Lindiwe Mazibuko said minister Thulas Nxesi revealed it was classified in terms of Minimum Information Security Standards (MISS). MISS was created in 1996, but never passed through parliament and is therefore not law. Mazibuko said it was “clear that there has been a deliberate effort to conceal all the contents of this report – even those that relate to non-security items –as part of a concerted effort to shield President Jacob Zuma from accountability”. She said a redacted version of the report should be made public.

RAMPHELE SLATES GOVERNMENT’S  ‘CORRUPT, INEPT’ EDUCATION RECORD
The ANC government hasn’t made education a top priority, and corrupt and inept management of the education system has led to failure on a “massive scale”, says Dr Mamphela Ramphele. Speaking at the opening of African Education Week in Johannesburg, Ramphele said government had failed South Africa’s youth. “We have a second-class system that accepts second-rate results,” she said. The former vice chancellor of the University of Cape Town said her newly-formed party, Agang, would make good on one of the struggle’s core principles – quality education for all. She said Agang supported a 50% pass rate, would conduct teacher tests, enforce minimum standards for new teachers, allocate funds for rural schools and boost teacher numbers.

DENEL RELEASES NAMES OF SA VICTIMS OF SOMALI ATTACK

State owned arms company Denel has released the names of three employees – two South African and one Somali national – killed during an attack on a United Nations compound in Somalia. Morne Lotter of Oudtshoorn and Alan Simpson of Port Elizabeth lost their lives in the attack by Al-Qaeda-linked group Al Shabaab, as did Isak Mohammed Osman. Chief executive of Denel, Riaz Saloojee, said the company was doing everything possible to help the families of the deceased, and would repatriate their bodies at the earliest opportunity. “This is a very unfortunate incident, but Denel will continue to support all peace-keeping efforts carried out under the auspices of the United Nations and the African Union.

“In this instance our employees lost their lives while they were providing services to the UN’s peace-keeping efforts in the region,” said Saloojee.

WITS UNIVERSITY SAYS MANDELA DEATH STATEMENT A ‘TECHNICAL ERROR’

The University of the Witwatersrand was left red-faced this week after a pre-prepared statement on the death of former president Nelson Mandela was made public.  In a statement, the university said the statement was “hidden” on its systems but a “technical error made this available via the search function on Google”. “At no stage did the University issue this statement or publish it on its website,” it said. “The University regrets the mishap and will take all the necessary steps to get to the root of the technical error and to ensure that the responsible departments are held accountable for this incident”.

MALEMA ACCCUSES ZUMA OF CONSPIRACY AGAINST HIM

Julius Malema has accused President Jacob Zuma of being the mastermind behind a political conspiracy against him. “President Zuma has done everything to make sure that I lost everything and block whoever is linked with Malema,” the former ANC Youth League leader, who was expelled from the party, told the Polokwane Magistrate’s Court. “All charges, it’s a political conspiracy by [Zuma] and his administration,” he said. Malema was appearing on charges of corruption, fraud and money laundering long with business associates, Kagisho Dichabe, Lesiba Gwangwa, Helen Moreroa, and Makgetsi Manthata. The state alleges the accused misrepresented themselves to the Limpopo roads and transport department, leading to a R52-million contract being awarded to On-Point Engineering.

SA’S KHOI AND SAN COMMUNITIES MUST LODGE LAND CLAIMS

South Africa’s Khoi and San communities must benefit from the new cut-off date for lodging a land claim as part of reversing the legacy of the 1913 Native Land Act, says rural development and land reform minister, Gugile Nkwinti. Speaking at a New Age breakfast briefing, Nkwinti said “the Khoi and San people were the first lines of defending the land when the country was invaded by colonialists”. He said the “Khoi and San were left out of the process even though they were the first to be dispossessed of their ancestral land”. Nkwinti said their exclusion from the land claim process wasn’t deliberate, but “systemic”. A group of 60 people, claiming to be Khoi descendants, invaded flats in District Six, land they claim belonged to them. A court process is underway to evict them.

ZULU KING’S PALACES RENOVATED TO THE TUNE OF R15 MILLION

The KwaZulu-Natal government spent R15 million renovating King Goodwill Zwelithini’s palaces in the2012/13 financial year, Sapa reported. The province’s premier, Zweli Mkhize, tabled a budget of R63 million for the department of the royal household in the provincial legislature. Mkhize said R20 million of the new budget was allocated for “the overall maintenance of the royal household infrastructure, including the refurbishment of palaces”. He said many of the Zulu king’s palaces were old and needed “major reconstruction”. The allocation included domestic services for the palaces. DM

Photo: The ANC government hasn’t made education a top priority, and corrupt and inept management of the education system has led to failure on a “massive scale”, says Dr Mamphela Ramphele. (REUTERS)

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