A round-up of the day's news from South Africa.
ZUMA SHUFFLES CABINET AHEAD OF 2014 ELECTIONS
President Jacob Zuma has reshuffled his cabinet for the fourth time, just nine months before the next general elections. Zuma replaced human settlements Tokyo Sexwale with Connie September and sacked embattled communications minister, Dina Pule. Pule was replaced with current deputy minister of co-operative governance and traditional affairs, Yunus Carrim, the man who presided over the disbandment of top crime-fighting force, the Scorpions. Rural development deputy minister Lechesa Tsenoli will take over as minister of co-operative governance, after Zuma sidelined current minister, Richard Baloyi. Current transport minister Ben Martins has moved to the energy portfolio, and will be replaced by Dipuo Peters.
ZUMA’S RESHUFFLE MAKES ‘LITTLE SENSE’ SAYS DA
Democratic Alliance parliamentary leader Lindiwe Mazibuko says the party is happy to see the last of communications minister Dina Pule, sacked by President Jacob Zuma in his latest cabinet reshuffle. But Mazibuko asked why other poor performing ministers weren’t ousted too, saying Zuma seems “determined to keep in the executive ministers who should have got the sack some time ago”. Mazibuko queried the ousting of human settlements minister Tokyo Sexwale, saying the move made “little sense” especially as agriculture minister Tina Joemat-Petersson and mining minister Susan Shabangu kept their posts.
“The reality is that this cabinet reshuffle by President Zuma proves that he is more interested in his political survival than ensuring that good governance is his top priority,” she said.
POLICE ARREST FIVE IN EASTERN CAPE FOR CIRCUMCISION DEATHS
South African police have arrested five people on suspicion of murder for botched circumcisions that led to the deaths of about 30 boys in coming-of-age rituals in the rural Eastern Cape province. Police spokeswoman Sibongile Soci said they were also investigating suspected assault, gross bodily harm and unlawful circumcisions that left 300 others injured across the province over the last week. The African National Congress called the deaths and injuries “tragic” and said the government must act immediately. “Authorities can no longer pay lip service to dealing with this disaster that afflicts our nation during the traditional initiation season,” it said in a statement.
SA CONDEMNS ‘SHAMEFUL ACTS OF VIOLENCE’ IN EGYPT
The South African government has condemned the removal of Mohammed Morsi as president of Egypt, calling it a “serious breach of the African Union Constitutive Act and other relevant instruments, including the African Charter on Democracy”. Deputy international relations minister, Ebrahim Ebrahim told reporters the South African government considered the event “a major setback for the advancement and consolidation of democracy in Africa”. The Egyptian military overthrew Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood party last week, saying it had failed the Egyptian people. Ebrahim said South Africa strongly condemned “the shameful acts of violence that took place in Cairo on 8 July that left more than 50 people dead and over 400 wounded”.
ANC NOW A VICTIM OF JHB’S BILLING CRISIS
The ANC has become another victim of Johannesburg’s billing crisis, receiving an account for over R3 million for rates, electricity and taxes. eNCA reported the party’s headquarters in Luthuli House was threatened with legal action, unless the bill was paid. But the party managed to sort it fast, unlike many residents of the city. Spokesman Keith said once the ANC had brought the billing error to the attention of the municipality, the problem was amended. DA national spokesman Mmusi Maimane said the ANC’s account highlighted the extent of the ongoing billing crises in Johannesburg. “It also exposes the absurdity of the Mayor’s continued denial that there is a crisis. Perhaps now that the crisis has reached Luthuli House, we will see a more proactive and speedy response from Mayor Tau,” he said.
OUSTED TLOKWE MAYOR THREATENS LAND GRABS IN ‘SKUNK CITY’
Ousted Tlokwe mayor Maphetle Maphetle has threatened land grabs if he is forced to leave office and newly elected DA mayor Annette Combrink takes over. At a meeting held to resolve issues between Maphetle and the DA, the former mayor refused to vacate his office, the Mail & Guardian reported. He also said last week’s council meeting, in which he was voted out, for the second time, was illegal and that the municipality would face a revolt by residents. DA North West leader, Chris Hattingh, said the party was “shocked at his attitude and lack of understanding of how things work”. He said the DA would apply for an interdict to remove Maphetle and his team. Maphetle said the first time the DA took over, it had turned Tlokwe into the “skunk city” of the world.
TREATMENT OF BLIND BUSKER OUTRAGES CAPE TOWN RESIDENTS
The treatment of a blind busker in Cape Town’s St Georges Mall at the hands of Metro police has outraged members of the public and government officials. The city’s executive director for safety and security, Richard Bosman, said the city was reviewing CCTV footage of the incident in which Lunga Nono’s guitar was broken and he was dragged off to a police fan. Nono told the Cape Times he was “playing to support my family” and asked that he just be left to work. Councillor JP Smith said Nono had “verbally abused” the police officers who had been tasked with enforcing a bylaw that regulates the hours in which informal traders can operate. Bosman said the city was investigating if excessive force was used. Cape Town guitarist, Tony Cox, has donated a guitar to Nono.
IFP QUESTIONS WITHDRAWAL OF MURDER CHARGES AGAINST NFP COUNCILLOR
The Inkatha Freedom Party has slammed a decision by the National Prosecuting Authority to withdraw charges against a National Freedom Party councillor accused of shooting an IFP supporter. The NFP told Sapa charges were withdrawn against Mzonjani Zulu as the NPA could not get video footage from the SABC. Zulu was accused of killing Siya Dlamini in October outside the Ntuzuma Magistrate’s Court. IFP spokesman Blessed Gwala said the judicial system had failed the people of South Africa. “If a person is shot in a shebeen, do you need video footage? If a person was raped in a sugar cane field, do you need video footage?” he asked. NPA spokeswoman Natasha Ramkisson said the prosecuting authority was “looking into the matter”. DM
Photo: President Jacob Zuma (REUTERS)
Some firing squads are all issued with blank cartridges with the exception of one person. This helps alleviate personal responsibility for the execution squad.