A round-up of the day’s news from South Africa.
DEPARTMENT OF DEFENCE DODGING ISSUE OF ZUMA’S VIP JET
Opposition parties believe the cancellation of the department of defence’s first defence acquisition media briefing in four years is an attempt to keep details of President Jacob Zuma’s private jet secret. Chairman of parliament’s
defence portfolio committee, ANC MP Stanley Motimele, postponed the briefing until September. MPs, including the DA’s defence spokesman, David Maynier, said he suspected the department was “desperate to cover up details about certain major acquisition projects, such as the purchase of President Jacob Zuma’s new VIP jet”, The Mercury reported. The department wanted to hold the briefing behind closed doors, but opposition parties want it open to the public and the media.
ANC DENIES IT DEFENDED LINDIWE ZULU AFTER ZUMA STATEMENT
The African National Congress has denied it defended President Jacob Zuma’s top foreign relations advisor, Lindiwe Zulu, after the Presidency publically criticised her comments on the Zimbabwe election situation. Spokesman Jackson Mthembu said coverage that suggested the ANC had defended Zulu was “not true”. He said the party wanted to put on record that it respects and supports the
“intervention of the Presidency regarding the South African facilitation team”. Zuma’s spokesman Mac Maharaj said in a statement on Sunday that Zulu had made “unauthorised” comments that were “regrettable and unfortunate”. The presidency has been criticised for not defending Zulu against an attack from Mugabe in which he called her a “stupid idiotic street woman”.
JUDGE IN ANC’S TLOKWE CASE QUESTIONS ANC’S MOTIVES
A judge hearing the ANC’s Tlokwe case has asked why the party can’t wait three months for the council’s three-month moratorium on rescinding decisions to be complete. Judge Neil Tuchten, in the Pretoria High Court, said, “Why can’t this await the democratic process of three months? Why should I be asked to put back what has now become a minority party (the ANC) based on a technicality?” The ANC wants the court to nullify a meeting at which Democratic Alliance councillor Annette Combrink was voted in as mayor, unseating Maphetle Maphetle, who is accused of corruption. The judge questioned what “terrible things” could happen in three months. The lawyer acting for the Tlokwe speaker said anything could happen in three months but Tuchten said time was an issue because the ANC was unsure about its majority in Tlokwe.
EMA’S POLOKWANE HOUSE SOLD FOR R1.4 MILLION
Julius Malema’s Polokwane house has been auctioned for R1.4million and bought by town planner Tshimangadzo Makhokha. The former ANC Youth League leader and current head of political platform, the Economic Freedom Fighters, owes the South African Revenue Services million in taxes. It has attached several properties to recoup the R16 million in taxes owed by Malema. Sapa reported that Makhokha, who has a stake in Khoza Development Properties, said buying the house had nothing to do with the fact that Malema owned it. The auctioneer, Aggie Stroh, was satisfied with the sale, although he’d expected R1.5 million.
LIMPOPO MEC WILL IMPLEMENT PUBLIC PROTECTOR’S ON-POINT RECOMMENDATIONS
Limpopo’s new roads and transport MEC, Lehlogonolo Masogo, says he will implement public protector Thuli Madonsela’s recommendations resulting from her investigation into On-Point Engineering. The company, linked to Julius Malema, was awarded a R52 million contract by the department through fraudulent means, Madonsela found. Former Limpopo premier Cassel Mathale, who was recently recalled by the ANC, ignored Madonsela’s recommendations. Ntau Letebele, the department’s head, has resigned. But Masogo told The Star he would order an internal probe in the tender and that he would request a copy of the public protector’s report to “familiarise” himself with it.
SENIOR MEMBERS OF GAUTENG COPE DEFECT TO DA
Three senior members of the Congress of the People’s Gauteng provincial government and its national executive have left the party to join the Democratic Alliance. The move by Nozipho Didiza-Ndlela, former national secretary of the COPE Women’s Movement; former COPE Gauteng deputy secretary Norman Mohale and Vulindlela Xundu, the party’s former West Rand regional secretary represented a “an important shift for Gauteng in particular, which is going to be hotly contested in next year’s election”, said Mmusi Maimane, the DA’s national spokesman. COPE’s JJ Abrie said it was “always sad” when members leave the party, but that they would not be greatly missed as they were “not active in the structures for more than two years”.
KZN RELEASES MANASE REPORT IN INTERESTS OF ‘CLEAN GOVERNANCE’
The KwaZulu-Natal government has released the controversial Manase report to 11 media and civil society organisations. The 7,000 page forensic report into corruption in the eThekwini municipality, spurred by auditor general Terence Nombembe’s finding that it had spent R532 million irregularly, has been a bone of contention between the ANC and opposition parties in the province. Sapa reported that the document was handed to the first group who successfully applied for sight of the report through the Public Access to Information Act (Paia). Co-operative governance spokesman Lennox Mabaso said the public could now “make their own judgements as to the commitment of this government to… the promotion of clean governance, and the public will no longer be misled by petty politicking into thinking that the government is not transparent about its affairs”.
MANTASHE’S MATHALE COMMENTS AN ‘UTTER DISGRACE’
Democratic Alliance chief whip Watty Watson has lambasted ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe over his comments on redeploying former Limpopo premier Cassel Mathale to parliament. Mantashe said the move would take Cassel “out of the heat” and give him “space to breathe”. Watson said the remarks were “an utter disgrace and an insult to the institution of Parliament”. “Parliament is not a dumping ground for poor performing politicians, nor should it be seen as a place of reprieve,” Watson said. He asked if the ANC in Parliament saw the institution “as a retirement home for ANC politicians who have failed to perform in other spheres of government”. DM
Photo: Julius Malema (Greg Nicolson)
"I know of a cure for everything: salt water...in one way or the other. Sweat or tears or the salt sea." ~ Karen Blixen