A round-up of the day's news from South Africa.
TWO GOLD PRODUCERS REACH AGREEMENT WITH UNIONS
Two gold producers, Evander Gold and Village Main Reef, have reached agreement with the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and the United Association of South Africa (UASA, the Chamber of Mines has confirmed. The mines offered an 8% increase in basic wage for category 4 and 5 employees, including rock drill operators, and a 7.5% increase in basic wage for category 6-8 employees, miners and artisans, and officials. A strike across gold mines began on Tuesday, despite a plea from President Jacob Zuma to find a solution, saying strikes hurt both sides. Chamber of Mines spokeswoman Elize Strydom said the deal showed unions and mining houses had a “mutual desire to achieve an affordable and sustainable settlement”.
OUTRAGE AT FIRE BOMB ATTACK ON LUTHULI HOUSE
African National Congress spokesman Jackson Mthembu says a “suspicious” fire at the party’s Luthuli House headquarters is an attempt “destabilise the ANC through acts arson and sabotage”. Mthembu said security personnel foiled the attack by putting out the fire. Cosatu express its shock. “We are shocked and outraged at the planting of a fire-bomb at Luthuli House,” said spokesman Patrick Craven. DA national spokesman, Mmusi Maimane, condemned the attack. “Such incidents undermine the spirit of our democracy and the freedom of political parties to campaign without fear of intimidation,” Maimane said. Police are investigating.
DEFENCE MINISTER ‘ZIG-ZAGS’ AROUND TRUTH OF TLOKWE VISIT
The Democratic Alliance has accused the defence minister of a cover up over her use of a military helicopter to Tlokwe where she was handling ANC business. Defence spokesman David Maynier said in her response to his parliamentary question, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula obscured the purpose of the flight, saying it was “to deal with a public security matter”. She also refused to give the names and positions of those who accompanied her. And she refused to say whom she met in Tlokwe. “What this suggests is that the Minister did, in fact, use a military helicopter for what amounted to a party political engagement in Tlokwe,” Maynier said. “The Minister is clearly zigzagging her way around the truth about her visit to Tlokwe.”
SEVEN SANITATION PROTESTORS SUSPENDED FROM ANC
The African National Congress has suspended seven Western Cape members of the party over recent sanitation protests in which faeces were flung around various sites around Cape Town. Democratic Alliance leader in the province, Ivan Meyer, said he believed the suspension came in the wake of the DA unequivocally identifying the perpetrators, Sapa reported. “I am convinced that if it were not for the investigation by the provincial government and the unequivocal identification of the culprits, the seven would probably still have been members of the ANC,” Meyer said. One of the men, Loyiso Nkohla, is an ANC councillor.
BLUE LIGHT DRIVER HAD NO TRAINING
The ‘blue light’ driver involved in a crash in Krugersdorp in which a young man was seriously injured didn’t pass an advanced driver’s course, the Magistrate’s Court heard. Former Gauteng MEC Humphrey Mmemezi’s driver Joseph Motsamai Semitjie is facing charges of reckless and negligent driving and failing to assist an injured person. Semitjie told the court he was given authority to drive the vehicle by his superior, who had tested his driving skills, Sapa reported. Semigjie said he was not given any test to write in his training as a VIP driver.
VAVI’S WIFE HIRES SPOKESMAN TO GIVE HIM ‘SPACE AND TIME’
The wife of suspended Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi has hired a spokesperson for the family while Vavi pursues legal means to be restored to his position. Noluthando Vavi, who said she loves and supports him, said John Dludlu would take the role of spokesperson giving Vavi “space and time” to prepare for the upcoming legal challenges that include “disciplinary action” against him for having an affair with a junior employee of the labour federation. Dludlu is a former journalist and head of communications for Absa.
DA ‘JUMPING THE GUN’ ON ELECTORAL BILL, SAYS ANC
The DA and nine other applicants have filed papers in the Western Cape High Court to allow South Africans living abroad to register and vote overseas. The party, said the ANC, is “jumping the gun”. ANC chief whip Stone Sizani said the DA’s decision was “baffling” as Parliament is still considering the Electoral Amendment Bill. The chairman of the DA’s federal council, James Selfe, said the party wanted to ensure South Africans had the right to vote nationally and provincially. “As it stands, the Independent Electoral Commission’s bill will only allow for overseas voters to vote for the national list and not the regional list,” Selfe said.
EASTERN CAPE SERIAL KILLER GETS 625 YEARS
The sentence handed down to Eastern Cape serial killer Bulelani Mabhayi showed that the “wheels of justice” had turned, says acting CEO of the Government Communication and Information Service, Phumla Williams. Mabhayi had pleaded guilty to 20 charges of murder, six of rape and 10 of housebreaking dating back to 2007, said Brigadier Marinda Mills. He was sentenced to 20 life terms for each of the murders, five life terms for five of the rapes, and 10 years for the sixth, amounting to 625 years. “This sentencing shows that the wheels of justice have turned,” Williams said, adding community involvement was essential to “break the cycle of crime”. DM
Photo: Zwelinzima Vavi (SAPA)
Some firing squads are all issued with blank cartridges with the exception of one person. This helps alleviate personal responsibility for the execution squad.