South Africa

FIVE MINUTES: South Africa

By Daily Maverick Staff Reporter 19 September 2013

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

SPECIAL CONGRESS FOR DIVIDED COSATU

The Congress of South African Trade Unions will hold a special congress in two weeks time, reports say. The Mail&Guardian and eNCA reported that leaders of have agreed that such a move is necessary to deal with infighting, factionalism and divisions within the labour federation. President Sidumo Dlamini and general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi are reportedly at loggerheads, which deepened after Vavi’s suspension for having an affair with an employee. The M&G reported eight affiliate unions wrote to Dlamini demanding a special congress; Cosatu’s constitution requires letters from seven unions to convene such a meeting, at which new leaders could be elected.

CRONIN ‘NOT PROUD’ OF PUBLIC WORKS’ WASTED MONEY

The public works department has racked up R3.65 billion worth of irregular expenditure since President Jacob Zuma’s administration came to power in 2009. Deputy minister Jeremy Cronin told parliament’s public accounts watchdog, Scopa, over 40,000 transactions were identified as “problematic expenditures”, Sapa reported. Cronin said the department had “an enormous set of problems which we are not proud of”. He said the investigation took months of “trawling” through over 900,000 transactions. He said a whole range of actions would be undertaken, including criminal cases. He referred “smaller but untenable” cases such as renting wineglasses at R200 each for the presidential guesthouse.

STATE CALLS FOR LIFE SENTENCE FOR NAMIBIAN COP KILLER

The state is calling for a life sentence for a Namibian man convicted of killing two police officers in Hout Bay execution style. Fabianus Fillipus has shown no remorse, said prosecutor Samantha Raphaels, and had not shown the court any reason why the minimum sentence of life for killing a police officer. She said Fabianus hadn’t stolen anything from Pindiwe Nikani and Mandisi Nduku, making it clear “the accused was purely there to shoot and kill”. She asked the court to impose two life sentences for the murders, and five-year sentences for illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition.

A GOOD REPORT PRODUCERS SUE FILM & PUBLICATIONS BOARD

The Film and Publications Board is facing a claim of R28 million lodged by the producers of the film Of Good Report, The Star reported. The film was due to open the Durban Film Festival before the Board refused to classify it, resulting in it being banned. The FPB claimed it contained child pornography, a claim later refuted by its appeal tribunal, which said it had “erred”. In papers, the film’s producers are claiming R15 million for damages and R13 million “due to the (board’s) incorrect association of the film with child pornography”.

RHINO POACHING OPERATION NETS ‘HIGH VALUE’ INDIVIDUAL

A joint operation between SANParks and the police has netted “a sought after high value individual”, South African National Parks says. Spokesman Ike Phaala said the anti-poaching operation in the Cork Trust village resulted in the arrest of the man, suspected to be part of an active group of poachers operating in the Kruger National Park and surrounding reserves. The special unit found a .308 rifle, two 9mm pistols, ammunition, a SANParks field rangers uniform, hunting equipment and suspected rhino parts. In another incident, near Malelane, field rangers were involved in a shootout with suspected poacher. One suspect was wounded and arrested with the two accomplices

SLOW VOTING IN TLOKWE BY-ELECTIONS

Voting was slow in Tlokwe leading the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) to repeat messages on social media platforms that not all by-elections in the municipality had been postponed. Only 300 people had voted by midday at one of the area’s biggest voting station in ward 18, BDlive reported. The electoral court postponed six of the nine by-elections scheduled for Tlokwe over issues with independent candidates comprising former ANC councilors. The councilors were expelled by the ANC for siding with the DA over the ousting of its mayor, Maphetle Maphetle.

MINISTER URGES ‘CALM AND RESTRAINT’ OVER FIELDS HILL CRASH

Transport minister Dipuo Peters has urged “calm and restraint” over the tragic accident on Fields Hill outside Durban in which 23 people were killed by an out of control articulated truck. “We have faith in the ability of our law enforcement authorities to investigate thoroughly and unearth the real cause of the crash,” Peters said. Earlier, KwaZulu-Natal transport MEC Willies Mchunu lashed out at supporters of driver Sanele Goodness May for “condoning the killing of innocent people”, and called his employer – who blamed May for the accident – “insensitive”. Mchunu said owners of vehicles should be held accountable.

REPORT: GOVT FAILING TO DEAL WITH LABOUR UNREST

Government has all but lost control of labour unrest in South Africa, says the DA after the labour department released its 2012 Industrial Action Report. Labour spokesman Sejamothopo Motau said the failure to prevent protracted strikes is “costing workers billions in lost wages, the economy billions in lost productivity and continues to condemn thousands to devastating job losses, unemployment and poverty”. The report showed workers lost R6.7 billion in wages over the period, an increase of 500%. In 2012, most workers involved in labour unrest were from the ANC-aligned National Union of Mineworkers. The report recommended government take control of the situation, particularly in the mining sector, before it “becomes un-investable a result of the strikes”. DM

Photo: Zwelinzima Vavi (SAPA)

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