South Africa

FIVE MINUTES: South Africa

By Daily Maverick Staff Reporter 12 July 2013

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

SANDF, US ARMY IN EASTERN CAPE WAR GAMES

The South African National Defence Force and US armed forces will conduct a joint exercise in the Eastern Cape, the SANDF says. Captain Jaco Theunissen said the militaries would share technical expertise during the exercise, which would start on 24 July and end on 5 August, and would involve 5,000 soldiers. Sapa reported. All branches of the SANDF will be involved – the army, air force, navy, and military health services. Theunissen said the exercise would recreate  “a human support intervention in an unstable country”, a simulation of what is “currently happening in a lot of countries in the world, especially in the African continent”. He said the war games would include scenarios of warring factions destabilising the country, and forces having to fight against rebel groups. The SANDF was recently involved in a fatal skirmish with rebel forces in the Central African Republic in which 15 soldiers were killed.

DE LILLE TELLS EHRENREICH OFF OVER BARGAINING PROCESSES

Mayor of Cape Town Patricia de Lille has told Cosatu provincial secretary Tony Ehrenreich he does not understand the bargaining process. De Lille was reacting to Ehrenreich’s threat to take her to the Equality Court over the City’s policy on pregnant firefighters. The South African Municipal Workers Union (Samwu), a Cosatu affiliate, has declared a dispute claiming discrimination against women firefighters, who it claims lose R40,000 a year of their operational allowances when they fall pregnant, the Cape Times reported. Non-operational men do not lose the allowance. De Lille said shift allowances for pregnant firefighters were not part of a 2007 collective agreement between the city, Samwu and the Independent Municipal and Allied Trade Union. She said Ehrenreich should be “expected to understand the collective bargaining process” and respect CCMA processes.

STATE SHOULD FUND MARIKANA VICTIMS’ LEGAL REPRESENTATION

The state should fund victims of the Marikana shootings’ legal representation, says lawyer Dali Mpofu, who is representing miners at the Farlam Commission of Inquiry into the massacre. Police shot dead 34 miners in August last year during an unprotected strike. Mpofu proposed interim relief be granted to the legal team representing the victims of the Marikana shootings, Sapa reported. He said it was “highly unlikely” the Commission would finish its work by the end of October and that victims had received no funding from Legal Aid or the state since the Commission started its hearing. Mpofu wants President Jacob Zuma and justice minister Jeff Radebe to approve payment for lawyers representing the wounded miners.

CWELE LAUNCHES CONCOURT APPEAL AGAINST INCREASED SENTENCE

Sheryl Cwele is appealing to Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng to have her sentence for drug trafficking reduced to its original 12 years, Beeld reported. The convicted drug trafficker and former wife of security minister Siyabonga Cwele, and her co-accused Nigerian Frank Nabolisa, were originally given a 12-year sentence in the KwaZulu-Natal High Court but when they appealed, the appeal court granted the state’s request that their sentences be increased to 20 years. But a legal loophole saw Nabolisa’s legal team appeal the increased sentence on the ground that it was unconstitutional, and win. Now Cwele has launched her own appeal.  She has asked the Constitutional Court to excuse the fact that the appeal was submitted late, but asked that she be treated in the same way that the court treated Nabolisa.

VAVI MUST EDUCATE EHRENREICH, SAYS DA

Cosatu secretary general Zwelinzima Vavi should educate his colleague Tony Ehrenreich on the competencies of the different spheres of government, says the Democratic Alliance. Labour spokesman Sejamothopo Motau was reacting to the “irresponsible and entirely ill-informed statement “ issued by Ehrenreich in which he threatened a wave of strikes over labour issues, public transport, electricity pricing, gangsterism and education. Motau said Vavi should direct Ehrenreich to engage with labour minister Mildred Oliphant as the person responsible for labour relations legislation as the provincial government had “absolutely no power or authority” to deal with labour and other issues raised.

“I would advise Cllr Ehrenreich to steer clear of the dirty politics of an ‘ungovernability’ campaign in the Western Cape similar to that of the ANC Youth League in the province,” Motau said.

EQUAL EDUCATION GETS COURT ORDER COMPELLING MINISTER TO COMPLY

NGO Equal Education has claimed victory in its long-running battle with education minister Angie Motshekga over decent school infrastructure. The out of court settlement, made an order of the court, says Motshekga must publish amended draft regulations for minimum uniform norms and standards for school infrastructure for comments by 12 September and publish regulations for minimum uniform norms and standards for school infrastructure by 30 November. “The Regulations shall prescribe Minimum Uniform Norms and Standards for school infrastructure, and the time-frames within which they must be complied with,” the court order said. Motshekga has claimed she has ‘discretion’ on whether to promulgate norms and standards, or not.

MLAMBO-NGCUKA NAMED HEAD OF UN WOMEN

The United Nations has named former South African deputy president Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka as the new head of the gender equality body UN Women. The move followed Chilean president Michelle Bachelet’s decision to step down to pursue another presidential bid. Mlambo-Ngcuka was deputy president of South Africa under Thabo Mbeki between 2005 and 2008. “Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka brings to this position a wealth of experience in advocating for women’s issues, with a combination of strategic leadership, consensus building and hands-on management experience,” UN spokesman Martin Nesirky said.

SHOWER MANDELA WITH LOVE, SAYS ZUMA

President Jacob Zuma has visited former president Nelson Mandela twice in two days, reporting that he is responding to treatment but remains in a critical but stable condition after more than a month in hospital. “We are encouraged that Madiba is responding to treatment and urge the public to continue providing support and showering him with love, which gives him and the family strength,” Zuma said. Mandela, whose 95th birthday is on 18 July, has been receiving treatment for a recurring lung infection that has led to four hospital stays in the past six months. The presidency said in a statement Zuma “found Mandela still critical but stable, and was informed by doctors that he was responding to treatment”. DM

Photo: Sheryl Cwele (REUTERS)

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