South Africa

FIVE MINUTES: South Africa

By Daily Maverick Staff Reporter 30 June 2013

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

OBAMA ‘DEEPLY HUMBLED’ BY ROBBEN ISLAND VISIT

US President Barack Obama says he was “deeply humbled” by his visit to Robben Island with First Lady Michelle Obama and their two children. Writing in the visitors’ book, Obama said his family was “deeply humbled to stand where men of such courage faced down injustice and refused to yield. The world is grateful for the heroes of Robben Island, who remind us that no shackles or cells can match the strength of the human spirit”. Obama met Mandela’s family in Johannesburg, giving them a message of support. He also spoke to Mandela’s wife, Graca Machel, who remained at his side in the Pretoria hospital where he is being treated, expressing the hope that “Madiba draws peace and comfort from the time that he is spending with loved ones”.

FAMILY FEUD PREVENTING MANDELA FROM LETTING GO

A family feud is preventing former President Nelson Mandela from letting go, some elders and chiefs from his family believe. The Sunday Times reported that this was part of a submission made to the Mthatha High Court to have the remains of three of Mandela’s children moved from Mandla Mandela’s Mvezo home to Qunu. Elders from Mandela’s clan told the newspaper the ancestors were angry with Mandla Mandela for reburying the bodies of Mandela’s children at Mvezo and could have “cursed” the family causing his on-going ill health as his “soul is not at peace”. Mandla Mandela will oppose the court’s interim order. In a statement, he said the way the family was handling the matter was “contrary to our customs and a deep disappointment to my grandfather and his ancestors”.

BATTLE FOR THE LEADERSHIP OF THE MANDELAS

Nelson Mandela’s family, led by his daughter Makaziwe, have hired the lawyer who has been fighting his grandson, Mandla Mandela, on behalf of his first wife, Tando Mabunu-Mandela, in their five-year divorce battle. Wesley Hayes had half the money in Mandla Mandela’s bank accounts frozen, and had the sheriff attach cattle and at least two vehicles after he failed to pay maintenance and legal fees. In a report, City Press said Makaziwe and Mandla are at loggerheads over the leadership of the Mandela family. The battle manifested in the family’s successful court bid to have the remains on Nelson Mandela’s children returned to Qunu. Makaziwe is believed to have the support of the family, including that of Mandla’s half brother, Ndaba.

QUEEN WANTS WESTMINSTER ABBEY SERVICE FOR MANDELA

The British government has asked South Africa for permission to hold a memorial service for former president Nelson Mandela at Westminster Abbey after the elder statesman dies, the Sunday Independent reports. In what has been described as an “historic move”, as Mandela would be the first African and first non-British citizen to be honoured in this way. Queen Elizabeth ll has requested to attend the service, should South Africa agree to the proposal. The report said Westminster Abbey officials have already contacted the South African High Commission, and that the request is believed to have come from the Queen herself. Head of communications at the Abbey confirmed the church has held preliminary talks with the Commission.

OBAMA INVOKES MANDELA AT YOUTH TOWN HALL MEETING

US President Barack Obama told students at a university in Soweto, “Building the future you see, realising the vision you have not only for your own country but for the world – it will not be easy”. Shouting “Yebo Mzanzi!” as he entered the room, Obama’s town hall style meeting was linked via video to other African countries. Obama used Nelson Mandela as his point of reference in advising the youth to take education seriously, that it was the “best investment” a country could make in its future. “But as you go forward, think of the man who is in our prayers today. Think of 27 years in prison. Think of the hardship and struggles and being away from family and friends,” Obama said.

CONCOURT ASKED TO FORCE ZUMA TO APPOINT A NDPP

The Council for the Advancement of the SA Constitution (Casac) has asked the Constitutional Court to force President Jacob Zuma to appoint a permanent national director of public prosecutions (NDPP). Nine months after advocate Menzi Simelane’s appointment was set aside by the Supreme Court of Appeal, Zuma has yet to appoint an NDPP. The civil society organisation, in its founding affidavit, said the president has failed to fulfil his constitutional obligation, the Sunday Independent reported. Casac said this failure was “inexcusable and contrary to the requirement contained in the Constitution that all constitutional obligations must be performed diligently and without delay”.

NPA QUESTIONS WHY MOTAUNG CASE STRUCK OFF ROLL

The National Prosecuting Authority is questioning why the corruption case against Bobby Motaung, Kaizer Chiefs’ boss and one of three men alleged to be involved in dodgy deals in the building of Mbombela soccer stadium, was dropped. The prosecutor in the case, Advocate Patrick Nkuna, told the Nelspruit Magistrate’s Court he had received conflicting instructions from NPA bosses as to where the trial should be heard. He said there was “war in the NPA” and hoped his job would not be on the line. Magistrate Roelf Smith struck the case from the roll, saying he could see no progress in the matter. The NPA told City Press the conflicting instructions, labelled a “miscommunication” by the NPA, were being investigated and Nkuna asked to give his version of the events.

DA YOUTH ACTIVIST’S HOME TORCHED IN CAPE TOWN

A young political activist in Gugulethu has lost all his clothing after his home was set alight. Police spokesman Lieutenant colonel Andrew Traut confirmed a case of arson was opened after Democratic Alliance youth activist, Luzuko Mngqibisa, reported the culprits had left a note calling him a “dog of Helen Zille” and threatening to kill him. Mngqibisa told the Sunday Independent a broken bottle and fabric was found inside his home, and black gloves, which smelled of petrol, were found outside, along with the note, which also told him to “leave our people alone”. Neighbours helped him put out the fire, but his clothes, in bags by a window, were destroyed. DM

Photo: U.S. President Barack Obama delivers remarks at the University of Cape Town, June 30, 2013. (REUTERS/Jason Reed)

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