A round-up of the day’s news from South Africa.
REPORT: EVIDENCE IN ARMS DEAL GATHERING DUST IN CONTAINERS
Investigators from the Arms Procurement Commission have been so overwhelmed by the amount documentation relating to the controversial R70 billion arms deal that over three million pages of evidence have not been read. A City Press investigation has revealed that millions of pages of documents gathered by the Hawks’ predecessors, the Scorpions, are sitting in containers the Hawks’ Pretoria offices. The newspaper reported that only about that only about 1.3?million pages that relate to the Scorpions’ investigations of corruption charges against President Jacob Zuma and his former ‘financial advisor’, Schabir Shaik, have been digitally scanned onto a hard drive that was provided to the commission.
DA: PULE MUST BE SUSPENDED DURING ‘HIT’ INVESTIGATION
ANC chief whip Stone Sizani should immediately suspend sacked former communications minister Dina Pule, says the Democratic Alliance. The call follows a report in the Sunday Times in which a man claims Pule’s boyfriend Phosane Mngqibisa, who benefited from the minister’s largesse while she was in the cabinet, had ordered a hit on parliamentary officials who investigated her. Professor Ben Turok and the registrar of members’ interests, Fazela Mohamed, were both given bodyguards for protection, Turok confirmed. The man told the newspaper who had proof, including recordings, SMSes and emails that proved Mngqibisa’s involvement in the planned hit. The ANC has called for a police investigation into the matter. Pule was found guilty by the committee of misconduct and lying under oath.
‘CALCULATING, DECEITFUL’ SA CONWOMAN GUITY OF 18 CHARGES IN UK
A South African conwoman, who fled South Africa in the 1980s, has been found guilty of several fraud charges in the United Kingdom. Yvonne Malone, accused of dumping the head of a pig covered in swastikas on the steps of a Durban Synagogue, was found guilty of 18 counts of fraud in the Reading Crown Court, the Sunday Tribune reported. Malone used the name ‘Yvonne Doyle’ in the UK after stealing the identity of a dead four-year-old girl. She stole the ID of Carol Ann Naylor, a physically disabled girl who died in 1951, to falsely claim nearly £350,000 (R5.37 million) in a string of benefits from the British government. She also assumed the identity of Bridgette Meally, who died in 1999, to claim a carer’s allowances for the crippled Naylor. The prosecutor described her as “calculating and deceitful”.
POLICE ARREST SUSPECTS IN LIRA ROBBERY CASE
Police have arrested two people on suspicion of robbing singer Lira’s house and making off with 10 South African Music Awards statuettes, R100,000 in cash, three laptops, a DStv decoder, and musical instruments worth R500,000. The suspects were arrested in Alexandra, said police spokeswoman Katlego Mogale, after being found in possession of some of the stolen goods. Lira’s husband, Robin Kohl, told the Weekend Argus the singer was “very emotional”. But it didn’t stop her from performing as a support act to US R&B singer R Kelly at Durban Moses Mabhida stadium a night after the robbery. “When you’re a performer,” said Kohl, “the show must go on… for now we are focused on giving the people of Durban their money’s worth in a great show.”
MANDELA ON ROAD TO RECOVERY, SAYS DAUGHTER ZINDZI
Former President Nelson Mandela’s health is improving daily and he is now able to sit up for minutes at a time, his youngest daughter, Zindzi, told the SABC. Mandela has been in hospital for two months for treatment for a recurring lung infection. Zindzi Mandela told the public broadcaster Mandela was becoming increasingly alert and is sitting up in a chair for a few minutes each day.
“Tata is determined not to go anywhere anytime soon, I cannot stress this enough,” she said. The presidency said the medical looking after Mandela had confirmed that although his health was improving steadily, “Madiba still remained in a critical condition”.
UN CALLS FIRED ANC SECURITY CHIEF OVER GADDAFI BILLIONS
While the ANC fired its security chief Tito Maleka the United Nations has turned to him for help in finding the missing Gaddafi billions, said to be hidden in South Africa. The ANC is believed to have fired Maleka as he knows senior ANC and government officials know the whereabouts of the sought-after Libyan assets. The Sunday Independent reported that a panel of experts advising the UN Security Council Libya Sanctions Committee has contacted Maleka asking for his assistance in locating the assets, said to include cash, gold and diamonds. In the meantime, Maleka is taking the ANC to the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration for unfair dismissal.
ZIMBABWEAN INVESIGATED FOR DEFRAUDING LOTTO
The Hawks are investigating a Zimbabwean-born businessman for allegedly defrauding the South African national lottery of R4.5 million. Mutumwa Mawere and his African Heritage Society was awarded the money to set up a “corporate heritage museum” in Rivonia that would promote South Africa’s heritage. Hawks spokesman Paul Ramoloko told the Sunday Independent Mawere was being investigated for using the lottery money to enrich himself and lying to the lotteries board when giving them feedback on how the grant was being used. He told the board a two-day workshop at a luxury hotel was about the museum when in fact he had hosted his book launch there.
DESPERATE NEED FOR MORE FORENSIC SCIENCE RESOURCES FOR POLICE
South Africa desperately needs more resources in its forensic science laboratories, says DA police spokeswoman Dianne Kohler Barnard. She was responding to the answer to a parliamentary question that revealed forensic backlogs have increased by 322% since last year. Police minister Nathi Mthethwa said the backlog in DNA and drug analysis is at 10,247 this year, a 7,818 increase from 2,429 last year. “With the DNA Bill finally set to be passed this year, we cannot afford to have it fail from day one,” said Kohler Barnard. “The DNA Bill currently requires DNA samples from all current Correctional Services inmates as well as newly arrested offenders. This could give life to hundreds, if not thousands, of ‘cold’ cases.” DM
Photo: Nelson Mandela (REUTERS)