South Africa

FIVE MINUTES: South Africa

By Daily Maverick Staff Reporter 14 August 2013

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

MACIA ACCUSED GIVEN BAIL

Magistrate Sam Makamu of the Benoni Magistrate’s Court has given the nine policemen accused of murdering Mozambican taxi driver Mido Macia bail of R5,000 each. Defence lawyers argued that circumstances had changed since they were initially denied bail as the state had completed its investigation. In an earlier hearing, the state argued that as investigations were incomplete, the officers could interfere in the probe and that their lives were in danger due to the public outcry over Macia’s death in police custody. The police officers are forbidden from contacting witnesses and would ordered to stay at the addresses they had provided the court. Macia died in police cells after being tied to the back of a police van and driven to the police station.

YENGENI NOT TARGETED BY AUTHORITIES

The City of Cape Town’s mayoral committee member for safety and security, councillor JP Smith, has denied authorities targeted ANC national executive committee member Tony Yengeni for driving drunk. Smith said traffic officials arrested 52 people of drunk driving over the weekend. He told the Cape Argus

officers had “spotted the Maserati driving erratically” and that it was missing at least one number plate. A screening device showed Yengeni was “substantially over the limit” on which basis he was taken to have blood tests. Smith said video footage of Yengeni before and after his arrest would be made available to prove officers had a probable cause for pulling him over. Yengeni will only appear in court in March next year due to a major backlog in police forensic laboratories.

COSATU’S DLAMINI DENIES GUNNING FOR VAVI

Cosatu president Sidumo Dlamini says he and the labour federation’s general secretary are not enemies. Speaking to the SABC’s Morning Live television show, Dlamini said he’d worked with Vavi for seven years and that there was “absolutely nothing which is personal between me and the general secretary”, Sapa reported. He also denied being a “factionalist”. Dlamini’s protestations came in the wake of accusations by Cosatu member union, the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa), that Dlamini had prejudged Vavi prior to central executive committee meeting convened to discuss Vavi’s admission of having an extramarital affair. Dlamini said he would discuss Numsa’s allegations at the meeting, to be held today.

PRESIDENT ZUMA SIGNS SUPERIOR COURTS BILL INTO LAW

The Superior Courts Bill has been signed into law in what President Jacob Zuma says is part of a move to take “Rigorous and urgent step” to ensure justice  “does not remain the privilege of the rich but is a fundamental human right enjoyed by all our people”. Zuma said the Act provided a legislative framework for the re-organisation and rationalisation of the structures of the High Court and their jurisdictional areas “with a view primarily to enhance equal access to justice”. He said the current 13 High Courts would be rationalised into a single High Court with a fully functional Division of the Court established in each Province. The construction of such courts in Limpopo and Mpumalanga would be completed soon.

NSRI RESCUES FISHERMEN IN DARING SAVE OFF ROBBEN ISLAND

Twelve fishermen have survived a shipwreck off Robben Island after members of the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) saved them in a daring midnight rescue in dangerous conditions. The Cape Argus reported that 19.6m Hout Bay fishing trawler Claremont lost power and was being battered against rocks off Robben Island. It ran aground on the rocks after making the emergency call. The NSRI launched four vessels to rescue the crew. , The NSRI’s Craig Lambinon said the rescue was a “mammoth effort – swimming, wading and hopping from rock to rock, in foul weather, pouring rain, with huge waves breaking over them – for more than an hour-and-a-half… These guys deserve massive praise”.

POLICE CONFISCATE HOMEMADE WEAPONS AHEAD OF MARIKANA COMMEMORATION

Police in North West have confiscated a number of homemade weapons from miners living at two of Lonmin Platinum’s Wonderkop and Karee hostels. Spokesman Brigadier Thulani Ngubane said police found “a lot of home-made sharp objects like knobkerries, assegais, and strong iron at two hostels on the platinum belt”, Sapa reported. Ngubane said the raid was part of an operation to “rid the area of any dangerous weapons to ensure we have a peaceful commemoration”. Friday marks the anniversary on the Marikana massacre in which police killed 34 miners. Ten others died in the unrest leading up to the 16 August killings.

POLICE TARGET HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVIST IN KHAYELITSHA

A human rights activist has been arrested for the fourth time in what the Social Justice Coalition believes is a targeted campaign to discredit her as the face of the Khayelitsha commission of inquiry into policing in the area. Angy Peter and her partner were late last year accused of the murder of murder of Rowan du Preez, before charges were withdrawn, the M&G reported. Peter is known in the community for following up complaints against police in the area, collecting affidavits from residents to give the commission, which has been stalled by police minister Nathi Mthethwa. “This is yet another blatant attempt to intimidate and to harass Angy and her family,” the SJC’s Joel Bregman told the newspaper.

SIGNS OF A POLITICAL COVER UP IN SEARCH FOR GADDAFI BILLIONS

The signs of a political cover up are beginning to show in the case of the missing Gaddafi billions, the Democratic Alliance says. Finance spokesman Tim Harris said a “growing cloud of secrecy surrounding the Gaddafi billions in our country is a major cause for concern”. Harris said the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) had requested a 30-day extension on the party’s Promotion of Access to Information application citing the unavailability of “relevant staff members”. Harris said he didn’t believe an extension was warranted “given that all that is required is a simple decision to avail the documents to the DA and the public…”

“Questions have also been raised regarding financial ties between the ANC, high-ranking members of government and Gaddafi,” Harris said. DM

Photo: Members of the mining community walk near crosses placed at a hill known as the “Hill of Horror”, where 43 miners died during clashes with police last year, during a strike at Lonmin’s Marikana platinum mine in Rustenburg. (REUTERS)

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