South Africa

FIVE MINUTES: South Africa

By Daily Maverick Staff Reporter 30 July 2013

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


The Chamber of Mines has declared a dispute with the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Workers (Amcu) over wage negotiations in the gold mining sector. “Amcu has rejected the gold producers’ revised offer of a 5% increase in wages and benefits. The producers have indicated that they cannot accede to Amcu’s demands, in respect of which Amcu has not moved at all in respect of its demands,” the chamber said in a statement. The next step in the labour talks is for all parties to take the dispute to the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) for mediation. Amcu president Joseph Mathunjwa criticised the gold firms and chamber for trying to force it into mediation with the other unions. “The Chamber of Mines from the onset never recognised Amcu as a bargaining agent. The Chamber of Mines is an architect of dividing workers,” he told Reuters.


The Democratic Alliance police spokesman says it is “disappointing” that police minister Nathi Mthethwa had used the killing of police officers in Cape Town as an opportunity to “score cheap political points”. Dianne Kohler Barnard said Mthethwa’s comments were “distasteful, insensitive and an insult to the grieving families of these police officers”. Mthethwa told Sapa that criticizing the police opens them up to criminal attack. Mthethwa is involved in a dispute with the province over policing in Khayelitsha, halting a commission of inquiry into the problem. Kohler Barnard said Mthethwa had chosen to use the “tragic killings of police officers in Mitchells Plain and Khayelitsha as an opportunity to score cheap political points by essentially blaming the Western Cape Government for their deaths”.

The woman who accused Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi of rape has withdrawn charges against him. “I am pleased that the grievance [hearing] has been finalised,” Vavi said in a statement. “”I hope that we all can put this saga behind us so that we all can concentrate on the real issues of the day – ensuring that we have a vibrant trade union federation that promotes South Africa and the interests of workers.” Vavi had admitted having consensual sex with the woman. He said she had backtracked on her claims two hours into a disciplinary hearing against him. He said he was consulting with his lawyers to see if action could be taken against her.


The Pretoria High Court has ruled that a council meeting in Tlokwe, in which ANC mayor Mapthetle Maphetle was unseated and replaced by DA lawyer Annette Combrink, was lawful. Judge Neil Tuchten said the council meeting and the decision to oust Maphetle was lawful and ordered that Maphetle vacate the offices before 10am on the day following the court order. The ANC said it respected the decision of the court. ANC North West spokesman Kenny Morolong said the decision was a “temporary setback” for the ANC. DA leader Helen Zille the ruling “means that the DA now officially governs Tlokwe, and will do so for the foreseeable future”. She said the “positive response from the residents of Tlokwe to the DA taking control of Tlokwe has been overwhelming.”


A court application by former president Nelson Mandela’s daughter for the removal of trustees as directors of Harmonieux Investment Holdings and Magnifique Investment Holdings has been struck off the roll. The application to remove George Bizos, Tokyo Sexwale, and Bally Chuene was brought by Makaziwe Mandela and Zenani Mandela-Dlamini. A spokesman for Norton Rose Fulbright, which represents the trustees, said after Ismail Ayob withdrew as the attorney for the Mandela children, the court directed them to provide a new address for service by Friday and to file further affidavits by 30 August, Sapa reported. Mandela’s grandson, Mandla, condemned the action as a “blatant disregard” for decisions made by Mandela while he was “strong”.


South African Academy Award winning actress Charlize Theron and President Jacob Zuma have met to discuss the country’s response to HIV/Aids and Theron’s role in the fight against the disease. Theron was in 2008 named by the United Nations as its ‘Messenger of Peace’, tasked with promoting efforts to end violence against women. Zuma said Theron’s UN humanitarian role continued to give South Africa’s fight against HIV a big boost. “She has been a pillar of strength in promoting our programmes. Today has been a very special day with this good citizen of ours joining us, she is representing South Africa in many respects. We believe the education of young people goes a long way to prevent any escalation of the disease. That’s what Charlize has been doing,” he said.


The South African Policing Union (Sapu) says police minister Nathi Mthethwa and police commissioner Riah Phiyega should resign. The union was responding to reports that an audit into how many police employees had criminal records found 1,448 police employees had committed crimes.  “(We) call on (them) to…do the honourable thing – resign from their positions,” the union’s leader Mpho Kwinika said in a statement. “We have been calling for a judicial commission of inquiry into the SA Police Service simply because there is no leadership and management in the police.”  The union questioned whether the figure included those employees who were given fines in court, and those found not guilty.


Agriculture Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson says there is a lack of progress in addressing farmworkers’ issues in the Western Cape. Joemat-Pettersson said little had been done since deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe and the agriculture department intervened in last year’s labour protests in the province. Joemat-Pettersson said farmworkers’ issues were not political and that at the “crux of the issue are service delivery issues”. She said the Western Cape had no programme to address rural development.

“At the crux of the issue are service delivery issues. There is no programme to address rural development in the Western Cape, and whatever programme there is, it is not adequately addressing the needs of farmworkers in the province. We have reached a point where we will have to intervene again in trying to resolve these issues.” The DA’s Gerrit van Rensburg said the minister’s claims weren’t true. “As a matter of fact, the Western Cape has in the short time span since 2009 become the national champion of rural development, and has developed an approach and framework which has been adopted by the national government.” DM

Photo: Charlize Theron (REUTERS)


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