A round-up of the day’s news from South Africa.
MANDELA COULD BE GOING HOME ‘ANYTIME SOON’ SAYS ZINDZI
Zindzi Mandela says former president Nelson Mandela has made “dramatic progress”. Speaking to Sky TV, Mandela’s daughter said he could be going home “anytime soon”. Zindzi Mandela said she’d visited her father and found him “watching television with headphones,” Sapa-AP reported. “He gave us a huge smile and raised his hand… He responds with his eyes and his hands,” she said on the eve of Mandela’s 95th birthday. Zindzi said Mandela was gaining “energy and strength” and that she thought he would be going home soon. Mandela will be spending his birthday in hospital, where he has been since being admitted on 8 June. Earlier this month, the family in court papers said Mandela was on life support and near death.
KOTZE AND ACCOMPLICES GIVEN LIFE SENTENCES
Johan Kotze has received two life sentences and 25 years imprisonment for the kidnapping, gang rape and assault of his estranged wife Ina Bonnette and the murder of her son, Conrad. His accomplices – Andries Sithole, Pieta Mohlane and Frans Mphara – also received a life sentence each. “These brutal acts are degrading, disrespectful and infringed the rights of Ina Bonnette,” said acting GCIS CEO, Nebo Legoabe. Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa said he hoped Kotze’s sentence would serve as a warning to all the perpetrators of gender violence that their acts will be severely punished. DA spokeswoman Helen Lamoela said the Judge Bert Bam’s ruling was “appropriate given the horrific nature of the crimes they were found guilty of”.
NAKED CORPSE FOUND IN CAR OUTSIDE HOME AFFAIRS
Residents in Ekurhuleni passing a home affairs office in Katlehong were shocked to see a naked corpse in the back seat of a Toyota Condor. They reported it to the metro police, who arrested the driver of the vehicle, who was standing in the queue for a death certificate. The man, an employee of a funeral parlour in Tembisa, told police he forgot to cover the body when he stopped at the home affairs office to collect a death certificate. Chief Superintendent Wilfred Kgasago told Sapa vehicle was impounded and the body taken to the nearby Germiston government mortuary. “The man was charged under a regulation relating to the management of human remains as provided for in the National Health Act of 2003,” he said.
YOUTH DEMAND MPUMALANGA MINE SHARE ITS WEALTH
A group of unemployed youths in Barberton in Mpumalanga have marched to the Fairview mine demanding a share of the company’s wealth. Umjindi Community Forum leader Mandla Mamba said it “pains us to see helicopters coming in and out looting our wealth and leaving us in poverty. Their operations also damage our houses through tremors that happen due to mining activities”. He said the group was not associated with any political party, and handed a memorandum to the mines’ human resources manager. The group said the mine’s wealth should be shared, and that 70% of its employees should be local, with 50% of its management hired from the region. The mine owner has 14 days to respond to the Forum.
DA: MASIBAMBISANE’S GOVERNMENT PROJECTS MUST BE PROBED
Auditor general Terrence Nombembe should audit all government contracts connected to the Masibambisane Rural Development Initiative that is chaired by President Jacob Zuma, the DA says. Rural development spokesman Mpowele Swathe said Zuma could not, in his capacity as head of state, sit in meetings to lobby ministers for funds for his private organisation, and this constituted a “major conflict of interest”. A number of departments had awarded multimillion rand contracts to Masibambisane, he said, giving it an “unfair advantage over similar organisations”. Swathe said the agriculture department was involved in various projects and that the Eastern Cape department of agriculture had contracted with Masibambisane on various projects to the tune of R250million.
AMOUNT REDUCED IN CRIME INTELLIGENCE THEFT CASE
The prosecutor in charge of the theft case against two high-ranking crime intelligence police officers has told the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court the amount of money they are accused of stealing has been reduced. Gerrie Nel said crime intelligence unit chief financial officer Major General Solly Lazarus and the unit’s head of logistics Colonel Hein Barnard would now face charges relating to the alleged theft of R370,000 from the unit’s secret slush fund, Sapa reported. Lazarus and Barnard, who have been suspended from duty, were initially charged with theft, corruption and fraud involving R1.1 million. Earlier this year,
Lazarus and Barnard were ordered to not contact or discuss the case with politicians or Cabinet members. They were granted bail of R10 000 each in December.
DA CALLS ON RAMAPHOSA TO ENSURE MAPHETLE LEAVES OFFICE
The ANC has brought out its big guns in Tlokwe as ANC deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa and deputy secretary general Jessie Duarte met the party’s councillors in Potchefstroom. But the DA, which has twice unseated Tlokwe’s mayor Maphetle Maphetle with the help of ANC councillors, said Ramaphosa should ensure Maphetle vacate the mayor’s office after his visit. Maphetle, who has been accused of corruption by a number of organisations, has refused to leave office, saying his ouster was illegal. DA North West leader Chris Hattingh said it was “unacceptable that the ANC is prepared to go to court to protect Mr Maphetle against forensic audit findings of corruption, while important delivery projects, such as dealing with dangerous housing conditions due to unsafe dolomitic rocks, need to be delayed.”
GORDHAN’S COMMITTEE TO REVIEW MINING TAXES
Mining taxes in South Africa will be reviewed, says finance minister Pravin Gordhan. Speaking to reporters in in Pretoria, Gordhan said the review forms part of a broad investigation into the “appropriateness and effectiveness of the nation’s tax system”, Bloomberg News reported. In his budget speech earlier this year, Gordhan announced plans to form a tax review committee to aid government’s understanding on how the “tax system also make a contribution to inclusive economic growth, employment creation”. He said the mining sector needed to be protected to ensure its sustainability. Judge Dennis Davis will head the committee. DM
Photo: Pravin Gordhan (REUTERS)
"A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong gives it a superficial appearance of being right and raises at first a formidable outcry in defence of custom. But the tumult soon subsides. Time makes more converts than reason." ~ Thomas Paine