South Africa

FIVE MINUTES: South Africa

By Daily Maverick Staff Reporter 6 September 2013

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

JAY NAIDOO ARRESTED IN SWAZILAND

Activist Jay Naidoo, a former general secretary of the Congress of South African Trade Union and cabinet minister in Nelson Mandela’s government, was arrested at a roadblock by police in Swaziland. Naidoo is reported to have sent an email as he was being detained, saying he was being taken to the regional commander for questioning, according to Eyewitness News. Naidoo was due to speak at a Swaziland Solidarity Network summit in the kingdom. Cosatu spokesman Patrick Craven told Sapa Naidoo was in Swaziland to investigate worker rights violations. The International Trade Union Confederation said Naidoo was to chair an international panel of experts about labour rights violations.

SOUTH AFRICA TO CONTRIBUTE $5 BILLION TO CRA

South Africa will contribute $5 billion to a $100 billion Contingent Reserve Arrangement (CRA) described as a “fighting fund to steady currency markets destabilised by an expected pullback of US monetary stimulus”. Russian President Vladimir Putin made the announcement at a Group of 20 Summit being held in St Petersburg. China will contribute $41 billion while Brazil, India and Russia will give $18 billion each. President Jacob Zuma, accompanied by international relations minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, is attending the Summit.

EIGHT MILLION HECTARES OF SA LAND UNACCOUNTED FOR

The chief surveyor general has completed a three-year audit into land ownership in South Africa in an attempt to find out how much land is owned by the state. But eight million hectares of land remains unaccounted for, the Democratic Alliance said. The audit found the state owns 14% of the country’s land, 79% is in private hands and 7% is unaccounted for. “Parliament and the public needs to know where the missing land is and who it is owned by,” said DA spokesman on land reform, Kevin Mileham. The audit process was meant to assist the state in its land restitution and reform programmes.

NUMSA: VAVI’S SUSPENSION IS ‘UNCONSTITUTIONAL AND UNPRECEDENTED’

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) has confirmed it has received court papers filed by the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) to have suspended Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi reinstated. Spokesman Patrick Craven said Cosatu’s lawyers were studying the application. Numsa said in it papers Vavi’s suspension was “unconstitutional and unprecedented”. The papers listed the Food and Allied Workers’ Union and the SA Football Players’ Union as co-applicants in its court action. Vavi was suspended for bringing the federation into disrepute after he admitted to having an affair with a junior employee.

THIRD WITS LECTURER FIRED FOR SEXUAL HARASSMENT

A third lecturer at the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) has over charges of sexual harassment. Vice chancellor Adam Habib said the university had adopted “a zero tolerance policy towards sexual harassment”.  Two other lecturers were dismissed on the same grounds in July and a fourth is still being investigated. “We hope that the swift action taken by the university in these three cases sets a clear example that sexual harassment will not be tolerated in any form on our campuses,” Habib said. He apologised to students who had been affected by the predatory lecturers.  “Wits should be a safe space and we will ensure that it is.”

ACT OF SABOTAGE STRIKES JOHANNESBURG POWER

City Power believes an act of sabotage is responsible for a massive power outage in Johannesburg which, it says, could take up to three days to restore. Over 200 workers downed tools over a new shift system being implemented although unions had signed off on an agreement in May. City Power said in a statement it had not been able to “timeously” attend to calls “resulting in a service backlog in these areas”. City Power has installed a back-up generator close to Nelson Mandela’s home, where the former president remains under medical care. Houses around Mandela’s house remain without power. City Power said full restoration of power to affected areas is “likely to take two to three days”.

MMEMEZI ORDERED DRIVERS TO SWITCH ON BLUE LIGHTS

Humphrey Mmemezi ordered his driver to switch on his car’s blue lights, Sapa reported. Mmemezi’s driver Joseph Semitjie is appearing in the Krugersdorp Magistrate’s court where he faces charges of reckless and negligent driving. The disgraced former Gauteng MEC for housing was late for a meeting on the day when the accident took place, seriously injuring a motorcyclist. “We did not use blue lights because we wanted to, the MEC told us to do so,” Semitjie’s then colleague and work partner Nomakhosi Onica Mashifane told the court.

TWENTY-FOUR RHINO POACHERS ARRESTED IN TWO WEEKS

Twenty-four alleged rhino poachers have been arrested in the Kruger National Park, North West, Mpumalanga and Limpopo over the past two years, says environmental minister Edna Molewa. “The law enforcement agencies, and rangers in the Kruger National Park, are commended for their actions and commitment to the fight against rhino poaching,” the department said in a statement.  The arrests bring to 191 the number of suspected rhino poachers arrested across the country since 1 January 2013. But the number of rhino killed this year now stands at 618. DM

Photo: Jay Naidoo (REUTERS)

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