A round-up of the day's news from South Africa.
DA APPROACHES COURT ON NKANDLA REPORT
The Democratic Alliance has made good on its threat to ask the courts to compel public works minister Thulas Nxesi to hand over a copy of his department’s report into state spending of R206 million at Nkandla, President Jacob Zuma’s private home. Parliamentary leader Lindiwe Mazibuko said Nxesi had ignored the DA’s Promotion of Access to Information application, and later, rejected it as the report had been given to the secret Joint Standing Committee on Intelligence. Mazibuko said ‘Nkandlagate’ was the “single biggest scandal involving the abuse of public money in President Zuma’s term of office” and illustrated how the ANC’s “culture of personal enrichment at public expense is one which begins at the very top of it’s most senior leadership structures”.
WOMAN DIES IN SERVICE DELIVERY PROTEST IN CATO MANOR
A teenage girl has been killed, another injured and two police officers attacked during a service delivery protest in Cato Manor near Durban. Spokesman Colonel Jay Naicker said police were “ambushed” by a “mob” of about 500 people when they responded to reports of a housing protest in the area. He said protestors threw stones, broke the windows of the police van and attempted to pull officers from the van. He said police heard gunshots coming from the crowd, and returned fire to escape the scene and call for back up. Naicker said it was not yet known whose bullets killed the woman. DA police spokesman Dianne Kohler Barnard said the protests had been going on for three days and “SAPS officers should have been fully prepared to deal with the possibility of violence”.
ZUMA IS THE FACE OF ANC ELECTION CAMPAIGN
The ANC says its Gauteng leaders ran “ahead of themselves” when announcing former president Thabo Mbeki would be used to attract middle class voters ahead of next year’s elections. Secretary general Gwede Mantashe told Sapa the statement was “unfortunate”. Gauteng premier, Mokonyane, who also heads the party’s mobilisation committee, said President Jacob Zuma was the face of the ANC’s election campaign and that “this matter should not have arisen at all”. The Gauteng ANC’s fear Zuma’s unpopularity with the middle class could impact negatively on urban voters. But Mokonyane said Zuma was “the face of the campaign and not the face of the campaign for a particular stratum of society”.
STRIKE AT AMPLATS CONTINUES
Around 2,000 striking miners from Anglo American Platinum have rallied to protest planned job cuts. Now in its fourth day, the strike at Amplats, outside Rustenburg, has hit production at the mining company, which is still reeling from labour unrest last year and has said it needs to drastically cut jobs to return to profit. Amplats wants to cut about 4,800 jobs. Officials for the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) told Reuters if mine management did not meet them “at least half way, the strike will continue”.
BODY OF ROSEMARY THERON FOUND
The body of a Cape Town woman who went missing in March has been found in a shallow grave at the Strandfontein Pavilion, the Argus reported. Rosemary Theron was well known in the city’s art circles as a stilt walker, clown and model maker, and was the mother of three children, between the ages of nine and 18. Her body was found after a man walked into the Fish Hoek police station, taking officers to her body. Spokesman André Traut said the man’s confession led to the discovery of her body, as well as the arrest of three suspects aged between 18 and 20.
SA STATE SECURITY SHARES TERRORISM INFO, SAYS SSA
South African security services share critical information about terrorism threats with countries around the world and in Africa, says spokesperson for the ministry of state security, Brian Dube. Dube’s comments come in the wake of revelations that the so-called ‘white widow’, Samantha Lewthwaite, who is wanted in connection with a deadly attack on a mall in Kenya, lived and worked in South Africa and travelled on a South African passport. Dube said South Africa does its own assessments based on the national interests, which form the basis of the state security. “As government we remain vigilant and take these incidences seriously,” he said, but did not give details on ongoing investigations.
ANC DIRECTS SECURITY CLUSTER TO STRENGTHEN SA SECURITY
South Africa’s security cluster must analyse the terrorism attack on the Westgate mall in Kenya to help protect the country from such actions, the ANC’s national executive committee says. In a statement issued by secretary general Gwede Mantashe, the ANC condemned the “dastardly” attack, but said it “highlighted the need for tighter immigration laws and processes, strengthening of the security features of the South African Identity documents and the monitoring of the movement of people in general and suspicious movements in particular”. It directed the security cluster to “work on the security of our country in liaison with relevant institutions in the continent and the world”.
DENEL WINS MULTIBILLION RAND DEAL TO MANUFACTURE COMBAT VEHICLE
State owned arms manufacturer, Denel, has been awarded a multibillion rand contract to manufacture over 200 armoured vehicles to the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) over a 10-year period. Contractor Armscor said the deal would significantly change the South African defence industry. The new Badger infantry combat vehicle would provide “much needed capability for troops involved in critical peace keeping operations in other African countries”, said defence secretary Dr Sam Gulube. Denel Group chief executive, Riaz Saloojee, said the contract “demonstrates government and the SANDF’s confidence in the ability of the local industry to provide frontline equipment”. DM
Photo: President Jacob Zuma (Greg Marinovich)
Stephen Hawking held a party for time travellers. He sent the invitation out the day after. Nobody attended.