South Africa

FIVE MINUTES: South Africa

By Daily Maverick Staff Reporter 23 July 2013

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


Former President Nelson Mandela is showing “sustained improvement” but his condition remains critical, says President Jacob Zuma. Mandela has spent seven weeks in hospital. In a statement, the presidency said Zuma had visited Mandela and “once again assured Madiba of the love and support of all South Africans”. Zuma also passed on a message from the Luthuli family, who wished Mandela a happy 95th birthday. Dr Albertina Luthuli, whose father was ANC president Chief Albert Luthuli, said she was “encouraged” by reports on Mandela’s improved condition, and that she prayed “that it be sustainable each day as time takes you forward”.


Anglo American Platinum has suspended dividend payments and warned it could not afford “unrealistic” wage rises, as it continues to battle loss-making mines and climbing costs. Amplats almost doubled its headline profit, but that was largely due to a weakening in the South African rand. The group continued to burn cash in the first six months of 2013. Amplats’ Rustenburg mine northwest of Johannesburg, which has seen violent wage protests, bled R1 billion rand in the six-months to end-June and the company’s chief executive, Chris Griffith, said Amplats could not meet union wage hopes. “The rand bailed us out, if that had not been the case we would have been in a lot more trouble,” Griffith told Reuters. “There is not a chance that we can give in to unrealistic wage demands.” He added the demands could spark further job cuts.


Public service minister Lindiwe Sisulu says government has recovered R300 million as a result of investigations into corruption cases reported on its anti-corruption hotline. Responding to a parliamentary question, Sisulu said 939 officials had been dismissed between April 2011 and March 2012 while a further 1,002 officials were found guilty of misconduct related to corrupt activities during the 2011-12 and 2012-13 financial years. Sisulu is in the process of creating an anti-corruption bureau that will investigate public service corruption in all three spheres of government. Part of the strategy is the creation of a central database that will list all offenders, preventing officials from moving around departments after being found guilty of offences.


The public protector’s investigation into the spending of R206 million on upgrades to President Jacob Zuma’s private home in Nkandla has received a boost as she has received outstanding information she needed for her probe.  Thuli Madonsela was recently given a copy of the controversial department of public works’ report that minister Thulas Nxesi classified as ‘top secret’. Madonsela’s spokeswoman, Kgalalelo Masibi, told Sapa a draft report will be “released to the concerned parties for comment as soon as all information is analysed and the investigation completed”. Masibi declined to reveal the source of the latest information, saying to do so would “undermine and jeopardise the investigation”. She also couldn’t put a date on when it would be released but said the draft report hadn’t yet been completed.


The Farlam commission of inquiry into the Marikana massacre has been postponed until lawyers for 270 minders wounded and arrested on the day find funding to cover their costs. The North Gauteng High Court last week dismissed an application by the miners’ lawyer, Dali Mpofu, for the state to fund the miners’ legal representation. Now they are turning to the Constitutional Court for relief.

Mpofu asked the commission to “hear our plea”, BDlive reported. “We would like to shorten the time within which we will, under pressure, draft the papers to the Constitutional Court and appeal to the Chief Justice to hear this matter expeditiously,” he said. Judge Ian Farlam granted the postponement to Thursday to allow interim funding for the victims to be found while awaiting a permanent solution through the courts.


Mandla Mandela says the actions of some of his relatives are destroying the legacy of his grandfather, Nelson Mandela. The chief of Mvezo told congregants at the eThekwini Community Church that the actions of his aunts, Zenani Dlamini and Makaziwe Mandela, who are trying to have trustees of various Mandela trusts removed, were “impairing” Mandela’s dignity and “amounted to abuse”, the Daily News reported. Mandla said Mandela started the trust so his descendants could go to school, “not for anyone to pocket it, or for anyone to use it for overseas trips”. He said it was not a mistake that Mandela had chosen who he chose to head the trust – Billy Chuene, George Bizos and Tokyo Sexwale.


KwaZulu-Natal’s co-operative governance MEC, Nomusa Dube, has asked for a 30-day extension to consult with an anti-corruption task team before making a full copy of the controversial Manase report available to the Democratic Alliance. The DA has filed an application for the report through the Promotion of Access to Information Act (Paia). The DA’s Zwakele Mncwango said Dube’s actions contradicted her own words as she’d told a media conference those wanting access to the report could file a Paia application. The report delivered the results of a forensic audit into corruption in the municipality that was commissioned after Auditor General Terence Nombembe said in his 2009/10 report that the municipality had irregularly spent R532 million.


The Hawks in the Free State are searching for robbers who used commercial explosives to blast open a safe at a Pick ‘n Pay in Welkom. Police spokesman Stephen Thakeng said the robbers climbed through the ceiling of neighbouring public toilets to access the supermarket before bowing up the safe and stealing an undisclosed amount of money, meat and other groceries. Sapa reported an employee discovered the robber after reporting for work at 5am and called the police. The shop’s alarm system had been tampered with and parts of its CCTV cameras were missing, said Thakeng. “The back door was found broken. Nobody has been arrested, thus the extensive manhunt initiated by the Hawks,” he said. DM

Photo: Former president Nelson Mandela is improving steadily (Reuters file photo


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