A round-up of the day’s news from South Africa.
CWELE DENIES MAKING NKANDLA REPORT TOP SECRET
State security minister Siyabonga Cwele has denied he was responsible for classifying the government task team’s report into spending at Nkandla, President Jacob Zuma’s private home. Cwele said he’d noted “with concern” media reports that he’d classified the report ‘top secret’. His spokesman, Brian Dube, said it was “incorrect” that Cwele was responsible. “In terms of the prevailing classification regime, the author of the report is the one who classifies it. As the report is authored by the Task Team and owned by the commissioning Minister of Public Works, the Minister of State Security cannot classify or de-classify it or issue instructions to this effect,” he said. A justice and security cluster task team was appointed to investigate ‘security’ upgrades worth R206 million. Dube said the intention and advice was for this report to be tabled to the relevant committee of Parliament.
DEWANI’S MENTAL HEALTH HAS IMPROVED, COURT HEARS
The Westminster Magistrates’ Court in London has heard Shrien Dewani’s mental health has improved. Dewani is accused of masterminding the murder of his wife, Anni, while on honeymoon in South Africa in November 2010. He has been hospitalised with post-traumatic stress disorder, with his lawyers saying he was unfit to be extradited to South Africa to face trial. At an extradition hearing, expected to last five days, Hugo Keith QC, acting for the South African government, said Dewani’s post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression and risk of suicide had all improved. The Press Association reported Keith as saying, “There are more positive observations about how he wishes to return to fight the case against him.”
TWO MORE SUSPECTS ARRESTED IN TOP COP MURDER CASE
Two more suspects linked to the murder of Major General Tirhani Maswanganyi have been arrested, bringing to four the number of suspects in the case. The two appeared in the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court on Monday. Police said the two were arrested on Saturday and police have not ruled out further arrests, saying the investigation is on going. The 52-year-old policeman’s body was found two weeks ago in a bushy area next to the road near Hammanskraal, north of Pretoria. The motive for his murder is still not known. He was laid to rest last Thursday in Temba, Hammanskraal. Police minister Nathi Mthethwa, who attended Maswanganyi’s funeral, said the SAPS had “lost a dedicated and committed member”. He said Maswanganyi had dedicated his life to the fight against crime, and had led from the front.
PHIYEGA MUST PURGE CRIMINAL COPS, SAYS DA
Police commissioner Riah Phiyega’s decision to deal with criminals within the ranks of the South African Police Service has been welcomed by DA police spokesperson, Dianne Kohler Barnard. “All members of the SAPS, including those within its leadership, should be professional police officers who protect South Africans from criminals, they should not be criminals themselves,” she said. Kohler Barnard was responding to reports that police conducted a “criminality audit”. In a letter to top management, Phiyega said SAPS was “populated with murderers, rapists, fraudsters and other offenders” and that there were SAPS members behind bars who are still drawing monthly salaries. She said the audit painted an “unpleasant picture”.
ZUMA’S APPROVAL LEVELS DROP TO LOWEST SINCE ELECTED
A survey on President Jacob Zuma’s popularity among the South African electorate has shown his approval levels have dropped to their lowest point since he came to power in 2009. TNS South Africa said Zuma’s approval rating fell to 42% in the middle two weeks of May. In February, they stood at 41% compared to 55% at the same time last year. “Overall, sentiment towards the president has become negative,” the company said. The research was conducted among 2,000 people in seven metropolitan areas. “Historically, the net sentiment towards the president has been positive in general, but with many sitting on the fence,” the company said. “In 2009, up to 31% were undecided about the president. Those sitting on the fence fell to 14% in 2011.” But, TNS said, over the past year people who were undecided made up their minds.
ANC: MADIKIZELA-MANDELA’S COMMENTS ‘REGRETTABLE’
Winnie Madikizela-Mandela’s comments that the ANC and President Jacob Zuma had been “insensitive” when they visited former President Nelson Mandela in April were “regrettable”, says ANC spokesman Jackson Mthembu. The party was unaware that Mandela’s family were unhappy about the visit, which showed a frail Mandela and was televised around the world, he said in a statement. “As the ANC we are in contact on a daily basis with the Mandela family and these issues that have been publicly aired by Winnie Madikizela-Mandela have not been raised in any of these occasions,” said Mthembu. Madikizela-Mandela said in an ITV interview the family was hurt, and that it was “one of the most insensitive things for anyone to have done”.
TUTU: MANDELA UNITED THE NATION, IN PRAYER
Former President Nelson Mandela is an “incredible, incredible” person, says Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu. Speaking at the opening of an exhibition of Mandela photographs by Benny Gool and Adil Bradlow, which marked the start of a year-long tribute to Mandela by the City of Cape Town, Tutu said, “Now after a lifetime of service, of giving, even stricken as he is in hospital, Madiba is uniting the nation again, this time in prayer.” Tutu said Mandela’s ill health – he is entering his fourth week in hospital – was a “sombre moment in the life of our country”. But he prevailed on South Africans to take the opportunity to “reflect just once again on our promise to harness our collective energy”.
TODDLER DIES AFTER DRINKING DRUG-LACED ALCOHOLIC DRINK
A two-year-old child from Umlazi, Durban, has died after he was given a drug-laced alcoholic drink, Sapa reported. The 20-year-old mother of Phiwokuhle Mthethwa took him to a party, said a spokesman for the KwaZulu-Natal social development party. The child’s mother was allegedly drunk, and did not notice a man feeding her child the toxic drink. Police spokesman Thulani Zwane said no one had been arrested yet, and that police could not reveal the names of the suspects as the investigation into the child’s death continues. The province’s social development MEC Weziwe Thusi said the toddler’s death was “shocking”.
“A two-year-old child has been robbed of his life and someone must pay for it,” she said in a statement. DM
Photo: Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu (REUTERS)