South Africa

South Africa

FIVE MINUTES: South Africa

FIVE MINUTES: South Africa

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


Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe believes the ‘top secret’ report into spending on President Jacob Zuma’s private residence at Nkandla should be made public. Speaking on Power FM radio, Motlanthe said there was “no reason” for the report to be kept secret. He said the “clamour and outcry” initiated the investigation into the costs of what government has called “security upgrades” meant there was no need to “shroud” it in secrecy.  “Once there is a shroud of secrecy, it gives rise to speculation, it gives rise to suspicion, it gives rise to mistrust,” Motlanthe has been reported as saying.


Agang South Africa has called on President Jacob Zuma to “come clean” on Nkandla and “account to South Africa” issues exposed in a Mail & Guardian investigation. The party recently launched by activist and former vice chancellor of the University of Cape Town, Dr Mamphela Ramphele, said the revelation that Zuma was “much more intimately involved with the project than he has cared to admit, and the extent to which government officials were prepared to bend the rules to please him” meant he couldn’t continue to claim ignorance. In a statement, the party said attempts to cover up the abuse of public money “to make the President live like a king in the face of grinding poverty” was a “scandal of mega proportions”.


South Africa has to stand up to Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and make sure the country’s next elections are free and fair, says DA deputy spokesman on international relations, Bill Eloff. He said Mugabe’s recent comments showed he was “hell-bent” on forcing elections on 31 July before agreed-to constitutional reforms are in place. Leader of the South African facilitation team, Lindiwe Zulu, raised Mugabe’s ire by trying to enforce a later date. “An ordinary woman says ‘No, you can’t have elections on July 31?’ Really, did such a person think we as a country would take heed of this street woman’s stupid utterances?” Mugabe said. The DA said President Jacob Zuma must “hold the line and accept nothing short of all reforms agreed to…”


A medical affidavit quoted in an Eastern High Court application for the urgent exhumation of the remains of three children of Nelson Mandela was never written, the Sunday Times reports. A lawyer acting for 16 members of the former president’s family, David Smith, told the judge Mandela’s health was in a “perilous state”, that he was in a “permanent vegetative state” and that doctors wanted the family to let him die. Now it has emerged this was not true. Smith said attorney Wesley Hayes was the source of the report, but has declined to say who provided that information. The chairman of the Eastern Cape Bar Council, Gerald Bloem, told the newspaper it was “disturbing” and “odd” that a status of urgency was sought on the basis of a medical report that was not furnished. Mandela’s grandson Mandla Mandela, who lost the high court bid to keep the remains of the children at his Mvezo compound, is to file a complaint with the council.


King Zwelibanzi Dalindyebo, leader of of the abaThembu tribe to which the Mandela family belongs, has removed Mandla Mandela from his position within the tribal authority until he apologises for his role in the family feud playing out in the eyes of the world. Sapa AP reported that Dalindyebo said Mandla Mandela had been expelled from “all rank of duties”. The king said Mandla had not only angered the tribal authorities but also his own family. “So as long as the family does not need him in their premises, we don’t need him in the Madiba clan at all.” The family row erupted over Mandla Mandela removing the remains of three of Mandela’s children from their graves in Qunu to Mveso, where he is chief. Traditional body Contralesa said the king has no right to remove Mandela.


A close friend of former President Nelson Mandela’s, Denis Goldberg, says the fight between members of the former president’s family on where he will be buried boils down to tourism rights. Goldberg told City Press, “The unsavoury aspect to me over the fight about where Mandela will be buried seems to me to be about tourism rights”. Mandela’s oldest daughter, Makaziwe, who has spearheaded the family’s battle to have the remains of Mandela’s children reburied in Qunu, recently told New African magazine stories of the family making money out of the Mandela name was due to a “media with an agenda”. But this week it emerged that Mandela’s grandson, Zondwa, registered a company called ‘Mandela 95th Birthday’ last October, and another company, called ‘Mandela IS’. Another grandson, Ndaba, launched a social networking site called ‘’ to focus on Madiba’s upcoming 95th birthday celebrations, the newspaper reported.


Strike action at De Beers has been averted after the mining company and the National Union of Mineworkers reached an agreement of a 9% wage increase. De Beers head of employee relations, Wayne Smerdon, told Sapa said the terms of the settlement apply to jobs in the A, B and lower C band bargaining unit. He said mining operations “continued without interruption at all three of De Beers South African diamond mines”. The NUM had planned to down tools, as workers were demanding 13%, while the company offered 6%. De Beers also said it would engage with workers on the issues of home ownership and committed to developing a “mechanism” for home ownership for employees in the housing gap market.


The South African National Defence Force owes South Africa’s telecommunications authority, the Independent Communications Authority of SA (Icasa), R189 million. The bill is for the spectrum the army uses to communicate, the Business Times reported. The massive bill follows Icasa’s dispute with Vodacom and Wireless Business Solutions, which owns iBurst, over another outstanding bill of R60 million. Parliament’s standing committee on public accounts (Scopa) has told regulator to “firm up and take charge in enforcing compliance from licensees”. Chairman Themba Godi said Icasa had “shown strange governance arrangements and has been weak in capacity building and regulating general licence fees”. DM

Photo: Mamphela Ramphele (Greg Nicolson)


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