A round-up of the day’s news from South Africa.
PLAN TO ASSASSINATE ZUMA ‘HOGWASH’ SAYS ZANU-PF
Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe plotted to have President Jacob Zuma and Lindiwe Zulu, Zuma’s mediator in Zimbabwe, assassinated, according to reports. The UK’s Guardian newspaper said a report leaked by intelligence services in the SADC country claimed Mugabe had briefed a Lebanese “murder squad” to kill Zuma and Zulu, but make it look like an accident. The newspaper said nine Zimbabwean politicians had been killed in “mysterious” car crashes. The opposition MDC said the report should be taken seriously but the ruling Zanu-PF dismissed it as “hogwash”. Mugabe is reportedly angry at South Africa’s attempt to postpone elections. The report said Zuma and Zulu were “giving him a lot of trouble”. The Guardian said while it had seen the document, it could not be sure it wasn’t designed to embarrass the opposition MDC ahead of the elections.
CELE INTRODUCED DISGRACED TAX BOSS MAGASHULA TO MARIMUTHU
The relationship between disgraced tax boss Oupa Magashula and convicted drug dealer and Apartheid policeman Panganathan ‘Timmy’ Marimuthu began when they meet at a party hosted by Vivian Reddy, and were introduced by former police chief Bheki Cele, the Sunday Times reported. Magashula resigned on Friday after a South African Revenue Service (SARS) investigation into a jobs-for-pals scandal in which he allegedly offered a job to a chartered accountant in a recorded telephone conversation. Marimuthu, said to have “influence” over the tax commissioner, allegedly recorded the conversation. An investigation by SARS found Magashula had lied about his relationship with Marimuthu. Marimuthu made his fortune through construction tenders, for which Cele had oversight as KwaZulu-Natal’s then-MEC for transport, safety and security.
ZUMA NGO TO CO-ORDINATE R895M FOOD SECURITY PROJECT FOR GOVT
A non-governmental organisation chaired by President Jacob Zuma has been sub-contracted to co-ordinate a R895 million food security programme on behalf of government. Zuma’s cousin, Deebo Mzobe, runs the Masibambisane Rural Development Initiative NGO, City Press reported. The state food security programme, called the Integrated Food and Nutrition Security Initiative, will be approved by Cabinet later this month. Zuma held a meeting at his Mahlamba Ndlopfu residence in Pretoria to which cabinet ministers, unions and businessmen were invited. Public works minister Thulas Nxesi, labour minister Mildred Oliphant and water minister Edna Molelwa are reported to have been among the 50 guests. Agriculture minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson said R895?million would not be transferred to the NGO but stay within government departments to be “mobilised” by the Masibambisane campaign under the banner of the IFNS.
LIMPOPO PREMIER CASSEL MATHALE TO BE FIRED?
Limpopo Premier Cassel Mathale will reportedly be fired this week, cutting short a holiday in Italy to hear the news personally from President Jacob Zuma. A Sunday Independent report said Mathale landed at OR Tambo airport and was driven straight to ANC headquarters at Luthuli House, where Zuma told him his fate. Stanley Chupu Mathabatha is tipped to act as the province’s premier until after the 2014 general elections. Mathale’s position has been in doubt for some time as he supported Kgalema Motolanthe at the ANC’s leadership conference in Mangaung in December, presides over a provincial government in which five departments were put under administration by national government, and a provincial task team took over the running of the party in the province after its leadership was disbanded.
POLICE TO PAY BRITISH COMPANY R40 MILLION FOR STOLEN MONEY
Police minister Nathi Mthethwa has been ordered to pay a British company R40 million after money recovered from a bank heist at OR Tambo in 2006 was stolen from a police station. Over R100 million was stolen from a plane arriving from London, carrying a consignment of bank notes. Six men were subsequently convicted of the crime and the money seized and kept in a safe at the Benoni police station. But R14 million was stolen in what Judge Nigel Willis said was a “simulated break-in”. Police commissioner Riah Phiyega has instructed the case be revisited after charges were withdrawn against police officers suspected of being involved.
ZUMA DEPLOYS RAMAPHOSA TO DEAL WITH TLOKWE SITUATION
President Jacob Zuma has met with five of the 14 Tlokwe councillors expelled by the ANC after they sided with the DA in voting out mayor Maphetle Maphetle. Hundreds of residents on Friday marched for the reinstatement of the expelled councillors. The marchers lambasted the ANC for disregarding “rampant corruption” in the municipality. Zuma sent defence minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, who flew in on a military helicopter, to receive their memorandum. She told the crowd Zuma would honour his promise to resolve their problems. He has asked deputy president of the ANC, Cyril Ramaphosa, to deal with the issues in Tlokwe. Mayor Maphetle was ousted from his position last week, and DA mayor Annette Combrink took over for the second time in seven months.
CRIME INTELLIGENCE SLUSH FUND CASE MUST BE PROPERLY INVESTIGATED
It is time for public protector Thuli Madonsela to step in to investigate allegations of “massive” looting a secret slush fund managed by the crime intelligence unit, the DA says. Police spokeswoman Dianne Kohler Barnard said she was most concerned that police minister Nathi Mthethwa was aware of the allegations and evidence supporting them, but had taken no action. “If these allegations are true, the Minister is effectively part of a major criminal cover-up,” she said. The inspector general of intelligence has been handling the investigation and the controversial head of the unit, Richard Mdluli suspended, but is still awaiting internal disciplinary procedures, Kohler Barnard said. “It is time that this well-hidden can of worms is opened,” she said. “… The fact that this sordid issue has been left to run on for a decade speaks to corruption of magnitude”.
KIDNAPPED DENEL EMPOYEES FREED IN SENEGAL
Nine Denel employees kidnapped in southern Senegal have been released.
South Africa’s state-owned aerospace and defence technology said no ransom had been paid for the employees. The company said in a statement the nine employees were handed over to authorities on Saturday afternoon and would soon be reunited with their families. “The company will ensure that the former hostages undergo thorough medical examinations, counselling and be supported in their reintegration into their families and communities,” Denel said. The workers were part of a group of 12 employees abducted while performing humanitarian de-mining activities on behalf of the United Nations in the Casamance province of Senegal on 2 May. Three women who were part of the group were released at the end of May. DM
Photo: Robert Mugabe (REUTERS)
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