A round-up of the day’s news from South Africa.
ANC ‘LOOKING FOR’ NINE MILLION UNREGISTERED VOTERS
The ANC is “looking for” nine million unregistered voters across South Africa, and in the Western Cape in particular, ahead of the 2014 general elections. Deputy secretary general Jessie Duarte told reporters the party was aiming for an increased majority and was “confident that we will win this election decisively”. She said it just the “wish of the opposition” that the ANC’s majority would decrease. Duarte said the party was working hard to win back the Western Cape and the Cape metro, going to door-to-door and working “primarily” in black communities. ANC elections chief Amos Masondo said the party was concerned about voter turnout.
TIME TO BRIEF PARLIAMENT ON TROOP DEPLOYMENT TO DRC
Two South African soldiers have been wounded in the DRC, according to Radio Okapi in Kinshasa. The news came in the wake of a call by the Democratic Alliance that Parliament’s Joint Standing Committee on Defence be briefed on the deployment of South African National Defence Force troops to the Democratic Republic of Congo. “This is a high-risk mission. We must be sure that the SANDF are properly equipped to execute the task assigned to them by the United Nations. We cannot afford a repeat performance of the military disaster in the Central African Republic,” said defence spokesman, David Maynier. The troops’ mission brought with it a “high risk of casualties”, he said, as well as the chance of “being drawn into a regional war”.
PUBLIC PROTECTOR, IEC CHAIR AT ODDS OVER PROCUREMENT REPORT
Public protector Thuli Madonsela says the procurement process followed by Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) chairwoman Pansy Tlakula and her team in acquiring offices premises in Centurion was “grossly irregular”. Madonsela said while the IEC’s decision to move did not constitute maladministration, the way in which it was done violated “procurement legislation and prescripts”. Tlakula only received the public protector’s final report (she’d received the preliminary version) at 4am, despite “many requests to and assurances from the public protector” that she would have it at least one day prior to it being published, Tlakula said in a statement. She accused Madonsela of gross procedural irregularities in the conduct of the investigation, errors of fact and law, and abuse of power, among other claims.
POLICE ARREST SERIAL CHILD RAPIST OPERATING IN LIMPOPO, GAUTENG
Police believe they have caught a serial child rapist who terrorised young girls in Limpopo and later, in Gauteng. The Thembisa man, who appeared in Soweto’s Protea Magistrates’ Court last Friday, is believed to have raped 22 girls and a 22-year-old woman before being arrested. Police said he started his reign of terror in 2007 in Limpopo, but fled to Gauteng as the investigation got too close to him, The Star reported. National Prosecuting Authority spokeswoman Phindi Louw said one of the serial rapist’s tactics was to ask the children for directions so as to lure his young victims into the veld, where he would rape them. His victims spanned suburbs from Thembisa to Midrand, Centurion to Soweto. His modus operandi alerted police to the fact that one rapist was responsible for the attacks.
HAWKS HAVE ‘DISMANTELD’, ‘CRIPPLED’ HIGH PROFILE GANGS
Police minister Nathi Mthethwa says the Hawks have “dismantled” and “crippled” a number of high-profile gangs since last year. Replying to a parliamentary question posed by Cope leader Mosiuoa Lekota, Mthethwa said the Hawks had also seized about R700-million worth of drugs and contraband with the help of communities, The Mercury reported. The police minister said 11 criminal organisations believed to be involved in drug-related crimes were investigated, and 89 arrests made. “Drugs to the value of approximately R2-million were seized. The DPCI arrested a further 334 suspects with narcotics to the estimated value of R95-million during the same period,” said Mthethwa. The Asset Forfeiture Unit was informed of the arrests so as investigate money laundering and confiscate assets belong to the gang members.
THREE RHINO POACHERS SHOT DEAD, SEVEN ARRESTED
Park rangers in the Kruger National Park shot dead four suspected rhino poachers this weekend. SA National Parks (SanParks) spokesman Ike Phaahla said rangers had made contact with a group of six suspected poachers when a shoot-out took place. Three poachers were killed and the other three arrested. Phaahla said rangers in Crocodile Bridge killed another poacher.
Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi, spokesman for the Limpopo police, said four suspected rhino poachers were also arrested at Hoedspruit. They will appear in court today on charges of illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition and charges under the National Environmental Biodiversity Act that includes conspiracy to poach rhino.
SWEAT PROTESTS OUTSIDE ARTIST MTHETHWA’S BAIL HEARING
Well-known South African artist Zwelethu Mthethwa was given bail of R100,000 after appearing in the Cape Town Magistrate’s Court on a charge of murder. He is accused of beating and kicking to death 23-year-old Nokuphila Kumalo in April at the Tollgate Industrial Centre in Woodstock. The incident took place in the early hours of the morning. Mthethwa’s car was linked to the crime through video footage that allegedly showed his car at the scene of the crime, the Argus reported. Prosecutor Mbulelo Koti said the police investigation was complete and the case was ready to be transferred to the regional court. Members of the Sex Workers’ Education and Advocacy Trust (Sweat) protested outside the hearing.
SAA WORKERS DON’T BELIEVE AIRLINE’S FINANCIAL PRESSURES
Members of the South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (Satawu) are sceptical of South African Airways (SAA) claim that it can’t give workers the increase they’re demanding due to its financial pressures. Technical service workers belonging to the union are on strike, protesting outside the entrance OR Tambo airport. Workers have increased their demands from 6.5% to 12% saying management had received “a lot of money this year” and workers, who had helped SAA in its turnaround strategy, should share in this money, BDlive reported. Satawu spokesman Vincent Masoga said shop stewards had seen SAA’s financial reports and reported it was “pure nonsense what SAA is saying about the current climate. They made a 10% profit but they want to operate from a loss-making position”.
KUNENE RESIGNS FROM EFF, FOR SURE
First businessman Kenny Kunene resigned as head of campaigns, mobilisation, and special projects for Julius Malema’s Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) and now he has resigned from the party. Spokesman Mbuyiseni Ndlozi confirmed Kunene’s departure and wished him well, particularly in his quest to lend a hand “in the resolution of the Cape Town gang wars”. Ndlozi said the EFF central command team was “particularly impressed by his charisma, fearlessness, and wisdom to dissect complex challenges” and hoped to work with him in the future. “We are, above all pleased that he remains committed in making this country work, particularly in the spirit of radical economic justice espoused in the policies of the EFF which he helped consolidate,” Ndlozi said. DM
Photo: Park rangers in the Kruger National Park shot dead four suspected rhino poachers this weekend. (REUTERS)
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