A round-up of the day's news from South Africa.
ACHMAT ARRESTED FOR CHAINING HIMSELF TO RAILINGS
Zackie Achmat and 18 other members of the Social Justice Coalition were arrested for holding an illegal gathering outside the Cape Town Civic Centre and chaining themselves to railings, the SJC says. They were protesting over the provision of sanitation to areas of Khayelitsha. General secretary of the SJC, Phumeza Mlungwana, said while it welcomed the City’s introduction of janitorial services to informal settlements, the SJC wanted clarity on how sanitation policy would be implemented and residents to be included in all plans. The city’s
Ernest Sonnenberg said the SJC had engaged in a “publicity stunt” and that the City had “extensive engagements” with the SJC as a result of a genuine desire to co-operate wherever possible. “The SJC also choose to ignore the fact that the Cape Town leads the country in terms of the provision of sanitation,” he said.
SOUTH AFRICA SINGS WITH ONE VOICE FOR MARIKANA MINERS
Civil society and opposition political parties marched to the offices of the presidency to demand legal funding for miners wounded and arrested at Marikana. Citizens4Marikana, a group of ordinary South Africans who came together through social media, organized the march, which saw leaders as diverse as EFF’s Julius Malema and the DA’s Mmusi Maimane joining forces with the IFP’s Mangosothu Buthelezi and Bishop Joe Seoka to demand justice for the miners. Maimane said political affiliation didn’t matter. “What matters is that South Africans came together to sing in one voice,” he said. President Jacob Zuma was not on hand to receive the memorandum.
WOMAN HIT BY HARD LIVINGS GANG ALIVE, IN WITNESS PROTECTION
A Cape Flats family were stunned to find out the daughter they thought had died was actually still alive and in a witness protection programme. The young woman was responsible for the imprisonment of notorious gang leader, Rashied Staggie. The Daily Voice reported that the young woman, who was recently shot five times by members of the Hard Livings gang ahead of Staggie’s impending parole, and whose boyfriend was killed in the attack, survived. Her mother had collected money to bury her. Mitchells Plain police commander Major-General Jeremy Vearey told the newspaper he took responsibility for everyone, including the media, thinking the girl had died.
ZUMA BELIEVES COSATU WILL RESOLVE NUMSA DISPUTE
President Jacob Zuma is concerned over tensions between the Congress of South Africa Trade Unions and its biggest member, the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa), although he said this was “normal”. Addressing the parliamentary Press Gallery Association, Zuma said he while he was concerned, he believed Cosatu would resolve the dispute, Sapa reported. Numsa wants suspended general secretary of Cosatu Zwelinzima Vavi reinstated, and is opposed to government’s National Development Plan. General secretary Irvin Jim has threatened not to campaign for the ANC ahead of next year’s elections should the NDP be included in the party’s election manifesto.
WAGE SETTLEMENTS WILL ADD BILLIONS IN EXTRA COSTS
Wage settlements in the gold sector will amount to R1.5 billion in extra costs for companies over the next 12 months, says the Chamber of Mines. Companies and unions agreed to wage hikes of up to 8% last week, ending a three-day strike in an industry that has produced a third of the bullion ever pulled from the earth but is now in almost terminal decline. The combined wage bill last year of the main gold producers was R22 billion. The workforce has since been trimmed and so the percentage increase of the settlement to the companies’ payroll costs cannot be calculated with certainty, though it is probably close to 7.5%. Inflation is 6.3% and so the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), which represents about two-thirds of the country’s gold miners, can say it delivered above-inflation pay hikes for its members, following a pattern of recent years.
NUMSA REJECTS INCREASED WAGE OFFER FOR PETROL ATTENDANTS
Petrol attendants and car repair workers will remain on strike after the National Union of Metalworkers of SA rejected an increased wage offer of 7.5%, the Mail&Guardian reported. Numsa has demanded a R30 an hour across the board increase by 2016 on actual rates of pay in all sectors and divisions for workers earning above R6,000 a month. Police spokesman Warrant Officer Kay Makhubela said incidents of intimidation had been reported at petrol stations in Soweto, and that some had closed as a result.
CHINA WANTS TO ‘DEEPEN’ RELATIONS WITH SA
South Africa is an important and strategic trade partner and China hopes to deepen relations between the two countries. Addressing a business seminar at the South African Expo in China, deputy director general in the Chinese ministry of commerce, Jiachang Cao, said despite the global financial meltdown, increasing trade between the two nations has not stopped. Jiachang said South Africa was a “strong leading force”, saying that both countries were influential developing countries. Deputy minister of South Africa’s department of trade and industry, Elizabeth Thabethe, called on Chinese companies to invest in South Africa.
“South Africa is ideally positioned for access to Southern African Development Community, with a combined market of over 250 million people,” she said. DM
Photo: Zackie Achmat (REUTERS)
The 2016 Rio Olympic medals are already showing defects including rusting and chipping.