A round-up of the day’s news from South Africa.
NUM GIVES DE BEERS NOTICE OF STRIKE ACTION
The National Union of Mineworkers has given diamond producer De Beers a 48-hour strike notice after mediation failed to resolve a wage dispute. NUM general secretary Frans Baleni told Reuters the “strike will likely commence on Sunday or Monday but we are open for negotiations to avoid the strike.” De Beers said in a statement it could also lock out union members. NUM’s dispute with De Beers is following legal channels and so is unlikely to unnerve jittery investors who are more focused on upcoming wage talks in the gold, platinum and coal sectors, which are seen as among the toughest ever. Talks between the NUM and De Beers went to mediation after the union dropped its wage hike demand to 13% from 17% while the company stuck to a 6% offer.
SOUTH AFRICA WANTS TO SELL RHINO HORN STOCKPILE
South Africa wants a one-off sale of some of its $1 billion stockpile of rhino horn to finance conservation and potentially flood a thriving black market. Environment minister Edna Molewa told reporters that South Africa, home to 73% of the world’s rhinos, would seek permission for the sale at the next major meeting of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species in 2016. “South Africa cannot continue to be held hostage by syndicates who are slaughtering our rhinos,” she said. But conservation groups fear the plan could end up increasing demand in major markets such as Vietnam, where the horn is sought after for use in traditional medicine, as well as enriching black marketeers. Poaching is increasing at such a rate that by the time of the meeting, the number of rhinos being killed or dying each year will exceed the number being born.
IT’S ALL ABOUT THE MONEY, SAYS MANDLA MANDELA
Money is the root cause of the fight between Nelson Mandela’s grandson Mandla Mandela and the rest of his family. At a media briefing held at Mvezo, Mandla Mandela accused his aunt Makaziwe and other members of the family of targeting him after he refused to join them in their quest to remove advocate George Bizos, human settlements minister Tokyo Sexwale and others as trustees of the Mandela Trust. He says the people who took him to court to have the bodies of his father and two other children of Mandela exhumed is the same “family that took my grandfather to court to get his money”.
ABATHEMBU CHIEF SAYS MANDELA FAMILY BEHAVIOUR IS SHOCKING
Chief Thanduxolo Mtirara, AbaThembu acting royal chairman, says the behaviour of some members of former president Nelson Mandela’s family has shocked elders. In an interview with SAfm radio, Mtirara said the family should resolve the feud internally. He said cultural customs were being overlooked as the drama played out in the public space. “It’s not only about removing the remains… they’ve lost the most important part of the ritual. The most important part is the spiritual side of it. What is important is the ritual that is done before the remains are removed.” Mtirara said Mandla Mandela was the rightful heir to the Mvezo chieftaincy, and that allegations that he wasn’t were an insult to the AbaThembu king. “He was rightfully installed by the king of the AbaThembu,” he said.
AMCU REFUSES TO SIGN GOVERNMENT’S STABILITY PACT
The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) has refused to sign a government-brokered stability pact aimed at defusing tensions in the mining industry ahead of wage talks. The mining companies have been shaken by unrest for the past 18 months, which is rooted in a turf war between Amcu and the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM). Amcu officials made no comment after leaving the meeting. Deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe, the government’s point man on the unfolding mining crisis, played down the significance of Amcu’s not signing, telling journalists the union wanted to consult its members first before signing. “Investors are not interested in this document. They are interested in a stable mining industry which operates within the framework of the law,” he said after the meeting.
ZUMA SAYS NDP WILL BE IMPLEMENTED, DESPITE CRITICISM
Government is forging ahead with the implementation of the National Development Plan (NDP), says President Jacob Zuma. Zuma met the authors of the plan, the National Planning Commission, this week, and praised them for doing a “sterling job”, BDlive reported. He said the blueprint for the country’s social and economic development would go ahead, despite next year’s general elections and criticism from ANC allies the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu), its affiliates and the South African Communist Party (SACP).
Zuma said the NPC was briefed to mastermind an “objective” plan, and not one to “make someone happy”. He said the NPC was asked to give ideas on implementation of the plan, and to continue its research for the remainder of its term.
POLICE LEASE SCANDAL DG FIRED, SHOWS ‘NO REMORSE’
The acting director-general at the public works department behind the R550 million police building lease scandal has been fired. Sam Vukela awarded the deal to Roux Shabangu after a brief meeting with Lieutenant general Hamilton Hlela at which police accommodation and parking were discussed. The Star reported that Vukela was found guilty in May of coercing junior members of staff to secure Pretoria’s Sanlam Middestad Building for police in 2010. Advocate Lesego Montsho, who presided over the case, said Vukela was unfit to continue with his job and criticised Vukela for failing to follow tender regulations. He also said Vukela had failed to show remorse, and was an “untrustworthy person”.
BY-ELECTIONS FOR TLOKWE AFTER ANC EXPELS COUNCILLORS
Tlokwe will hold by-elections after 14 ANC councillors who voted to unseat mayor Maphetle Maphetle were expelled, the ANC says. Democratic Alliance councillor Annette Combrink was for the second time voted in as the new mayor by her own party and members of the ANC in a move that outraged the ANC and its alliance partners. ANC spokesman Keith Khoza said the Independent Electoral Commission would make a decision on the date. A provincial disciplinary hearing voted to expel the group after they were found guilty of “acting contrary to the directives” of the party and violating the ANC constitution, the PDC said in a statement. The expelled members would be removed as Tlokwe councillors. DM
Photo by REUTERS
Stephen Hawking held a party for time travellers. He sent the invitation out the day after. Nobody attended.