A round-up of the day's news from South Africa.
‘FAILURE NOT AN OPTION’ FOR SAA, SAYS GIGABA
Failure is not an option for South African Airways, says public enterprises minister, Malusi Gigaba, at the unveiling of a long-awaited turnaround plan for the troubled airline. The plan aims to consolidate flight routes with a focus on domestic and African routes; merge state-owned airlines Mango and SA Express into one holding company with SAA; ensure government only uses SAA for all its travel requirements, as well as increasing efficiency while cutting costs. DA spokeswoman on public enterprises, Natasha Michael, said this was the ninth plan in 13 years and failed to say how much it would cost and whether jobs would be lost. “It appears that the SAA will continue flying around in circles with no end in sight,” Michael said.
SABC ANNUAL REPORT
The SABC has received a disclaimer of opinion from the auditor general as a result of “significant matters” for its 2012/2013 annual report, tabled in parliament on Tuesday. AG Terence Nombembe said the public broadcaster showed R106.3 million in irregular expenditure; expenditure of R1.58 billion without supporting documentation; and no evidence of the collection TV license fees worth R913.8 million. The SABC also failed to reach its performance targets with sponsorships were 50% (R368 million) lower; sale content was 66% (R62 million) lower; and advertising revenue was 4% (R190 million) below budget. DA communications spokeswoman Marian Shinn said new minister Yunus Carrim should check the legality of the letter appointing acting COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng as under his management “staffing, financial and editorial crises have escalated rather than improved”.
CASE AGAINST LT-GEN BETHUEL ZUMA ADJOURNED
The man who was set to become Gauteng’s new provincial police commissioner, Lieutenant-General Bethuel Mondli Zuma, has appeared in the Pietermaritzburg Magistrate’s Court on four counts for allegedly trying to evade a roving anti-alcohol patrol in 2008, Sapa reported. National police commissioner announced Zuma’s appointment but was forced to withdraw it when she learnt he faced criminal charges. Zuma faces charges of are failing to stop when ordered, drunk driving, attempting to escape from custody and defeating the ends of justice. He was driving an unmarked state car at the time. The case was adjourned.
JSC DISMISSES COMPLAINT AGAINST CHIEF JUSTICE
The Judicial Services Commission has dismissed a complaint against Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng brought against him by Institute for Accountability in Southern Africa director, Paul Hoffman, SC. The JSC’s Judicial Conduct Committee, comprising a panel of two members, said the Chief Justice’s “frankly expressed views were bound to sit uncomfortably with sections of the legal profession and the judiciary but that cannot be said to undermine the standing and integrity of the judiciary”. Hoffman brought the complaint against Mogoeng after a speech delivered to Advocates for Transformation, titled ‘The Duty to Transform’. The JSC found that given his position as head of the judiciary, “a public debate about transformation of the judiciary is one that he was not only entitled to participate in but also one that he could not avoid”.
NEW TASK TEAM TO INVESTIGATE FIELDS HILL
KwaZulu-Natal transport MEC Willies Mchunu has established a task team, in conjunction with the national government, to investigate how to make the section of the M13 near Fields Hill safer. This was after 22 people died when an articulated truck lost control on the steep hill, and crashed into five taxis and a car. The team will explore the possibility of restrict heavy duty trucks from using the road, the Daily News reported. An earlier report in 2011, commissioned by Mchunu’s department, exposed the danger of the road and recommended heavy trucks be diverted but was rejected. The department has refused to comment on the revelations contained in the newspaper’s expose.
NUMSA’S VAVI APPLICATION POSTPONED UNTIL OCTOBER
The Johannesburg High Court has postponed an application by the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) to have suspended general secretary of Cosatu Zwelinzima Vavi reinstated. Sapa reported the court was packed with union members from various organisations. Numsa’s application was postponed to allow intervening unions – including Sadtu, Popcru, Satawu and Nehawu – to file affidavits. Numsa will file an opposing affidavit in response. Craig Watt-Pringle SC, for the intervening unions, said the matter was “likely to be set down for October 8”.
CITY POWER SABOTEURS WILL FACE ‘FULL MIGHT’ OF THE LAW
City Power will not tolerate acts of sabotage by employees says the utility’s chairman, Reverend Frank Chikane. “While we respect our employees’ right to withhold their labour following the lawful processes, interfering or sabotaging the network is a criminal act that will not be tolerated,” said Chikane. He said the board supported City Power’s strategy to improve efficiency, part of which was the implementation of a shift model that led to workers downing tools last week, leaving large parts of Johannesburg without power for days. Mayoral committee member Matshidiso Mfikoe said City Power was not intimidated by such actions.
Those found guilty of these criminal activities will face the full might of the South African law,” said Mfikoe.
RAMPHELE: ARMY WON’T SOLVE GANG VIOLENCE
Agang leader Mamphela Ramphele has visited Manenberg on the Cape Flats, an area under constant threat of gang violence. Ramphele said sending the army the area wouldn’t bring an end to gang violence, the Cape Times reported. Ramphele said a corrupt government had forgotten the people of Manenberg for 20 years and that the solution lay in resolving its socio-economic problems. “These are social problems of inequality, of trauma, of humiliation. They need to be addressed at source,” she told the newspaper. Ramphele, who lived in Gugulethu in the 1980s, said she had been unaware of the extent of the problems in Manenberg until this week. DM
Photo: Mamphela Ramphele (REUTERS)
King Tutankhamun's ceremonial dagger is forged from meteorites.