A round-up of the day’s news from South Africa.
INVESTIGATION NEEDED INTO MANDELA AMBULANCE BREAKDOWN
Engine failure was the cause of an ambulance carrying a desperately ill Nelson Mandela to hospital breaking down, President Jacob Zuma’s spokesman, Mac Maharaj, has confirmed. CBS news reported on Saturday that Mandela fought for his life in the early hours of the morning when the military ambulance broke down, waiting for 40 minutes in icy weather for another to arrive. DA defence spokesman, David Maynier, said what happened was “symptomatic of the poor state of the South African Military Health Service” and that a board of inquiry must be convened to investigate the incident. “We have to be absolutely sure that the South African Military Health Service’s military ambulance service poses no future risk to the health of former President Nelson Mandela,” he said.
ANC DESTROYING THE ECONOMY, SAYS RAMPHELE
The African National Congress is destroying the continent’s biggest economy, says Dr Mamphela Ramphele. The anti-Apartheid activist and partner of Black Consciousness leader Steve Biko said at the launch of her party, Agang, that millions were still living like forgotten citizens and that the country had not come far enough, fast enough. Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, a strong anti-Apartheid voice and champion of the Free Mandela campaign globally, has backed Ramphele, saying she is a principled leader ready to take costly stands for social justice. “Nearly 20 years into our democracy the graciousness and magnanimity that characterised our political firmament have to a great extent been surrendered at the altar of power and wealth,” Tutu said in a letter in support of Ramphele.
UNION BOSS, WIFE IN SWEETHEART BEE DEAL WITH SASOL
A union boss from the Chemical, Energy, Paper, Printing, Wood and Allied Workers’ Union (Ceppwawu), a Cosatu affiliate, and his wife are pocketing R320,000 month from an empowerment deal with Sasol. The Sunday Times reported that Simon Mofokeng is also an employee and silent partner of Khotso-Batho Mining Services that has a coal-handling contract with Sasol worth millions. An investigation by the newspaper revealed he is also an employee and silent partner of Khotso-Batho Mining Services, which receives millions from a coal-handling contract with Sasol. His wife Maureen owns 90% of the company and is its CEO. The remaining 10% is in the hands of ANC spokesman in North West, Obakeng Malao. Khotso-Batho invoiced Sasol for between R2.7-million and R5.2-million a month over the past six months.
BREYTENBACH TO ACCUSE NPA OF A ‘WITCH-HUNT’ AGAINST HER
National Prosecuting Authority prosecutor Glynnis Breytenbach has accused acting national director of public prosecutions Nomgcobo Jiba of conducting a “witch-hunt” against her, City Press reports. Breytenbach will file an urgent Labour Court application on Monday after discovering her employers were investigating a further three charges against her. Breytenbach was cleared by a disciplinary hearing of 15 charges brought against her by the NPA. She believes the witch-hunt is designed to prevent her from prosecuting suspended crime intelligence boss, Richard Mdluli. The newspaper reported that Breytenbach said in an affidavit that investigating further charges against her smacked of a witch-hunt and that her employer appears to be “willing to do anything to prevent me from going back to my post and prosecutions I was handling.”
KZN HEALTH TO PAY FAMILY R2.2 MILLION OVER BOTCHED CIRCUMCISION
The KwaZulu-Natal health department has been ordered to pay the family of a boy R2.2 million for a botched circumcision done a hospital in Vryheid. The mother told City Press that while money can’t change what happened to her son, she is “happy that it’s over because it was a very stressful time in our lives”. Judge Achmat Jappie ordered that the department pay the family, who can’t be named so as to protect the identity of the child, R2.2 million within 14 days. The family’s lawyer Sonette Böning, of Cox and Partners Attorneys, said the summons was issued four years ago but “the liability was accepted three months ago”.
MANASE REPORT FACES SEVERAL COURT CHALLENGES
The controversial Manase report on corruption and mismanagement in the eThekwini Municipality is facing another legal challenge as 300 bus drivers, who are suing the city over the failed Remant Alton bus deal in 2008, believe it will cast light on their case. The Inkatha Freedom Party has applied to the Durban High Court for the report’s release as has civil rights organisation, AfriForum. The DA has also filed an application in terms of the Promotion of Access to Information Act for release of the report. Co-operative governance MEC Nomusa Dube, who commissioned Manase, recently issued a progress report on implementing Manase’s recommendation, but refused to release the report until the city had wrapped up its work. According to her report, no senior officials were to be charged over the Manase findings.
POLICE HUNT RAPIST, MURDERER IN KZN
Police in KwaZulu-Natal won’t confirm a serial killer is preying on women in the province, although they have admitted the modus operandi in the deaths of two women is the same. Independent on Saturday reported that two women were found murdered in Thongathi. Phindile Ndlovu, 44, and Philisiwe Simelane, 42, were raped before they were strangled. Both bodies were found with their hands and feet bound with cable ties. Captain Thulani Zwane said police were following “a few leads”. Ndlovu’s family said they last saw her when she left her Embo, Hillcrest, home to meet a friend she met on Facebook.
MANTASHE ACCUSED OF SPURRING DIPLOMATIC ROW WITH SWEDEN
ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe has set in motion a diplomatic row after he accused a Swedish woman of fuelling the Marikana crisis and destabilising the country, the Sunday Independent reported. Sweden has protested against Mantashe’s comments about Swedish national, Liv Shange, who is married to a South African man, Xolani Shange. Liv Shange is a leader of the international Democratic Socialist Movement (DSM and the Workers and Socialist Party (Wasp). The newspaper reported that both home affairs and the intelligence departments are investigation Shange’s immigration status. Mantashe two weeks ago blamed labour problems in South Africa’s platinum belt on foreign nationals, making particular note of Swedes and the Irish. DM
Photo: Gwede Mantashe (Daily Maverick)
"Take a chance, won't you? Knock down the fences which divide. Tear apart the walls that imprison you. Reach out. Freedom lies just on the other side." ~ Thurgood Marshall