A round-up of the day's news from South Africa.
HAWKS MUST INVESTIGATE BRIBERY CLAIMS AGAINST MBETE, SAYS DA
The Hawks have an obligation to investigate allegations of corruption and serious economic offences, and should not leave these up to international organisations, the DA says. The US Securities and Exchange Commission as well as the US justice department could probe claims that ANC deputy chair Baleka Mbete took a bribe from Gold Fields, said mining spokesman James Lorimer. Hawks spokesman Captain Paul Ramaloko said they would investigate if asked to. Earlier, the Mail&Guardian reported earlier this month that Gold Fields hid a report by a law firm in New York that said a R25 million share allocation to Mbete in a BEE deal constituted bribery. The ANC has demanded a retraction of the story, saying it was “flimsy, unsubstantiated and is just an exercise in slander”.
TWO OF WATERKLOOF FOUR TO RETURN TO PRISON
Two of the ‘Waterkloof Four’ must return to prison next week, the North Gauteng High Court has ruled. SABC News reported that Gert van Schalkwyk and Reinach Tiedt, who were released on correctional supervision in December 2011, must return to prison while the matter is referred to the Supreme Court of Appeal. Van Schalkwyk and Tiedt, with Christoff Becker and Frikkie du Preez, were convicted in 2008 of the murder of a homeless man and the assault of another, in 2001. The department of correctional services is appealing the decision of a magistrate to grant the pair correctional supervision, saying an amendment to the Correctional Services Act was misinterpreted.
FIELDS HILL TRUCK OWNER BLAMES DRIVER FOR TRAGIC ACCIDENT
Gregory Govender, the man who owns the articulated truck that crashed into five vehicles on Fields Hill, killing 23 people, says he is “deeply sorry for the pain and loss that this tragedy” had caused. In a statement read by publicist Lisa Sukdev, Govender said the truck had recently gone through a full service and denied the brakes had failed, as claimed by the driver, Sanele May. He claimed May’s public driving permit was fraudulent. May faces 23 counts of murder. Earlier, the Pinetown Magistrate’s Court has set a new date for May to appear after his lawyer withdrew, as he acts for Govender’s company, Sagekal Logistics. May’s new attorney, Professor Mdletshe told the court that new evidence had been given to the prosecution that needed to be investigated by police.
NOTHING WRONG WITH PREMIER’S FAST FOOD CREDIT CARD BILL
There is nothing wrong in Northern Cape premier Sylvia Lucas spending over R50,000 on fast food using a government credit card, her office says. It was responding to a Sunday Times report that exposed how Lucas spent R26,565 on food in one month and a further R11,956 on food in Kimberley, where she lives. She asked the newspaper, “How would we have eaten if we didn’t use taxpayers’ money?” Her spokesman Monwabisi Nkompela told the Mail&Guardian Lucas’ usage of the credit card was in line with recommendations contained in the Ministerial Handbook. Nkompela said the expenses were incurred when the premier “convenes meetings or travels long distances” but more than R2,000 was spent at the local Spar, which Lucas told the Sunday Times, was “close to her home”.
SOMALI SHOPS LOOTED AND BURNT IN PORT ELIZABETH
At least 10 shops belonging to Somali nationals were been looted and burnt in Port Elizabeth over the weekend, Sapa reported. The spate of attacks led police to moving foreign nationals out of the area. Police spokesman Brigadier Miranda Mills said the violence started after a Somali man allegedly shot and killed a man outside his shop on Saturday night. The man was arrested and will appear in court. Seven people have been arrested. The ANC has condemned the attacks, saying “Any type of violence, including looting of shops owned by Somali nationals is illegal, wrong and has no place in South Africa”. It called on police to “stop the wave of violence”.
MAZIBUKO: ANC INSULTS DA LEADERS AS THEY’RE THREATENED
The ANC attacks and insults leaders of the Democratic Alliance because they have nothing else left to say, says the party’s parliamentary leader, Lindiwe Mazibuko. Addressing students at the Mangosuthu University of Technology in Umlazi near Durban, Mazibuko said the ANC was in retreat, as they know change is coming, and are desperate. “The truth is that the ANC can’t even compete on the issues that affect millions of South Africans every day,” Mazibuko said, adding that the ousting of the ANC mayor in Tlokwe showed people were “fed up” with the ruling party. “And so I say to the ANC, keep attacking us. The DA will keep delivering. We let our actions do the talking for us.”
GAUTENG HEALTH DEPARMENT CAN’T ACCOUNT FOR R12 BILLION
The Gauteng health department is unable to meet its contractual obligations and pay service providers within 30 days, says auditor general Terence Nombembe. The Star reported that the AG tabled the outcomes of his audit of the department, and found it cannot account for more than R12 billion – more than half its budget. Nombembe found irregular spending of R5.7-billion and wasteful spending of more than R408-million. It spent R270-million on security contracts that contravened supply-chain protocol, R825-million on unsolicited tender bids, and R120-million on infrastructure irregularities.
ZILLE LAUNCHES VIOLENCE PREVENTION FRAMEWORK
The Western Cape has launched a violence prevention policy framework that relies on all role players – from the police and justice sectors to the health department – to succeed. “The policy brings together a range of proposals focused on reducing and preventing violence in the Western Cape, which are all in line with our government’s ‘whole-of-society’ approach,” premier Helen Zille said in a statement. Zille said effective partnerships and combined efforts between all three spheres of government, civil society and communities was “the only way we will address the underlying factors that give rise to acts of violence in our society”. Alcohol was an underlying factor, Zille said, adding that illegal shebeens in communities must be shut down. DM
Photo: Helen Zille
Don't believe Han Solo's evasion of Empire TIE Fighters. There are many miles of vacuum space between each asteroid in a field.