A round-up of the day's news from South Africa.
SEXUAL OFFENCES COURTS TO BE REINTRODUCED
Sexual offences courts will be reintroduced by the end of the current financial year, says justice minister Jeff Radebe. The 22 courts will “help address the growing challenge of sexual offences in the country, particularly against vulnerable groups”, Radebe said. A task team appointed to investigate the feasibility of such courts advised Radebe there was a “compelling need” for special courts to respond to the needs sexual offence victims. South Africa had 74 sexual offences courts in 2005 but most were closed due to what Radebe called “challenges” including lack of budget, capacity and training. NPA acting director of public prosecutions, Nomgcobo Jiba, said the NPA welcomed the resuscitation of the specialised courts and said as there is a Sexual Offences Courts unit within the NPA, there was a pool of prosecutors to resource the courts.
‘FAECES FLINGERS’ A DISGRACE, SAYS ZILLE
Premier Helen Zille says it’s time the poo protests taking place in Cape Town come to end after a group threw human waste during the Democratic Alliance (DA) constituency service day in Site C, Khayelitsha. She said the incident – in which printers, gazebos and documents belonging to the Democratic Alliance were damaged – was a “disgrace”. Zille said the “faeces flingers” were ANC Youth League members, according to the League’s interim chair. The incident followed an earlier one on Monday when four men dumped waste on the steps of the Western Cape legislature. The ANC’s Phillip Dexter condemned the protests saying if anyone involved belonged to the ANC they were “acting in their own capacity” and didn’t “represent the organisation in any way”.
SHOCKED PUBLIC PROTECTOR PAYS SURPRISE VISIT TO BARAGWANATH
The Public Protector is shocked at conditions at Gauteng’s Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital in Soweto. Thuli Madonsela paid a surprise visit to the hospital, her office said. Spokesman Kgalalelo Masibi said in a statement some wards were “in a state of dilapidation, with open electric plugs and hanging live wires”, adding that paint was peeling off walls and stains from leaking roofs were evident. Madonsela’s visit to the facility is part of her ongoing national stakeholder dialogue. “Overcrowded medical admission, paediatric and casualty wards bore testimony to the fact that the limited staff was struggling to cope with the ever increasing patient numbers,” Masibi said.
KHAYELITSHA POLICE COMMISSION CASE GOES TO CONCOURT
The lawyer acting for police minister Nathi Mthethwa says a commission of inquiry into policing in Khayelitsha near Cape Town, set up by premier Helen Zille, says she does not have the authority to allow the commission to subpoena the police, station commanders, and provincial commissioner. Advocate Norman Arendse told the Constitutional Court the province “cannot call the police or provincial commissioner to account”. Zille set up the commission to investigate alleged police inefficiency in Khayelitsha, where residents are being terrorised by vigilante killings and gangsterism. Zille’s lawyer, Sean Rosenberg, has argued that the commission of enquiry is not exercising power over the police service. He said that “absent any form of subpoena power, clearly the commission would lack any teeth and it would be indistinguishable, in most instances, from an investigation”, EWN reported.
BID TO IMPEACH CHIEF JUSTICE LAUNCHED BY ACCOUNTABILITY INSTITUTE
The Institute for Accountability has launched a bid to impeach South Africa’s chief justice, Mogoeng Mogoeng over what it calls “a racist and sexist attack against white male lawyers”. The Cape Argus reported that director Paul Hoffman laid a complaint with the Judicial Service Commission for alleged contempt of court, attempting to defeat the ends of justice or gross incompetence. The charges stem from a speech by Mogoeng given at Advocates for Transformation dinner in which he complained of the resistance to change by South Africans who benefitted from opportunities reserved for them by the apartheid system. Hoffman said the chief justice “climbed off his perch and descended into the arena of debate and contestation over political issues which are pending in the courts…”
REASSIGN NYDA FUNDS TO GET VALUE FOR TAXPAYERS’ MONEY, SAYS DA
It’s time for funds given to the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) to be reassigned to other departments who can address the concerns of the youth better than the “ham-handed attempts of this agency on the periphery of government”, says DA finance spokesman Tim Harris. He was responding to a report that showed the NYDA, funded to the tune of R392 million of taxpayers’ money, had underperformed in 14 of its 27 key performance areas. “… South Africans are not getting any value for their investment. It is time to pull the plug on the NYDA,” Harris said. In the meantime, deputy minister in the Presidency, Obed Bapela, has confirmed that the agency’s CEO Steven Ngobeni has been formally charged for financial misconduct and the chief operations officer is suspended.
‘JUSTICE MANIFESTLY SEEN TO BE DONE’ IN BIRTHDAY RAPIST CASE
Mlungisi Mtshali, the ‘birthday rapist’, has been convicted on 122 charges including rape, kidnapping and theft. Mtshali’s modus operandi was to tell his victims it was his birthday and take them for drinks before luring them to a room where he raped them. The justice ministry welcomed the conviction, and commended the women who “had the courage to come forward when the image of the accused was flighted on TV”. Justice department spokesman Mthunzi Mhaga said justice was “manifestly seen to be done and we hope that he (Mtshali) will receive a lengthy sentence that fits the crimes committed”. During the trial, Mtshali fired three lawyers, opting to defend himself.
POLICE QUESTION SUSPECT OVER RAPE OF BABY, SEVEN-YEAR-OLD BOY
Police in the Western Cape have taken a suspect into custody for questioning in the case of the rape of a four-month-old baby and a seven-year-old boy living in the same house in Ceres. Commissioner Arno Lamoer said police were interrogating the man, who was taken to a local police station around midnight on Monday. The baby girl has undergone reconstructive surgery. Lamoer told Eyewitness News that while they have someone in custody, police following up all possible leads as they are determined to make a breakthrough in the case. He said a special team was being set up to investigate the matter. The baby was apparently taken out of her parents’ bed while they were asleep before being raped on Saturday. DM
Photo: Helen Zille (REUTERS)
"I do not understand how holding a placard to protest against gender-based violence would be interpreted as insulting the modesty of a woman." ~ Beatrice Mateyo