South Africa

FIVE MINUTES: South Africa

By Daily Maverick Staff Reporter 2 October 2013

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

CONCOURT DISMISSES MTHETHWA’S APPEAL TO HALT ZILLE COMMISSION

The decision by the Constitutional Court to allow a commission of inquiry into policing in Khayelitsha to proceed affirms the role of the Western Cape government in conducting police oversight, says Helen Zille. The Court dismissed police minister Nathi Mthethwa’s appeal that inquiry’s terms of reference were vague and the Western Cape premier was not entitled to appoint a commission of inquiry with coercive powers over the police. The Concourt, in a unanimous judgment, said without coercive powers the commission would be unable to fulfil its mandate and dismissed the argument that the terms of reference were too vague or broad. Deputy chief justice Dikgang Moseneke said Zille was “obliged to take reasonable steps to shield the residents of Khayelitsha from an unrelenting invasion of their fundamental rights as a result of the alleged police inefficiency”.

RECORD NUMBER OF RHINOS KILLED IN 2013

The number of rhinos killed by poachers has hit a new annual record in South Africa, raising worries of a downward population spiral in a country that is home to almost all of Africa’s rhinos. As of the end of September, 704 rhinos had been killed by poachers, exceeding the annual record of 668 set in 2012, according to data provided by the Environmental Affairs ministry on Tuesday. The greatest threat to the estimated 22,000 rhinos in South Africa comes from those trying to cash in on the black market value of their horn, which sells at prices higher than gold. “We need people to be ashamed of this. The fact that our rhinos are killed is because there is a market out there. There are people who are coming to steal our heritage,” said Fundisile Mketeni, a top biodiversity official at the ministry.

THERON’S DAUGHTER CHARGED WITH HER MURDER

Rosemary Theron’s 19-year-old daughter and two men have been charged with her murder, the Argus reported. The body of Clovelly mother of three was found buried at the Strandfontein Pavilion this weekend after Theron had been missing since March. Phoenix Racing Cloud Theron, Kyle Maspere and Godfrey Scheepers appeared in the Simons Town Magistrate’s Court, which heard evidence would be led that Phoenix Theron had hugged her mother and said, “Sorry for fighting”, as her friend crept up behind the older woman and wrapped a rope around her neck, strangling her. The State alleges Phoenix and Maspere plotted to kill Theron while under the influence of drugs. Scheepers last week confessed his involvement in the crime, leading police to the body.

MBEKI ‘RECALL’ A ‘SIGN OF DESPERATION’, SAYS DA

Democratic Alliance Gauteng premier candidate, Mmusi Maimane, says the province’s campaign strategy to ‘recall’ Mbeki to help them win the middle class vote is a “a sign of desperation”. Speaking to Soshanguve residents as part of his Believe Bus Tour, Maimane said things had changed since Mbeki’s 2008 recall. “The economy is sliding and people are battling to put bread on the table. Jobs are being lost. The best opportunities always seem to go to the same connected insiders. And communities across Gauteng are taking to the streets to protest against corruption,” he said, adding that he was amazed that “you can kick a President out of office and then expect him to come back and campaign for you”.

CHAMBER OF MINES WARNS COMMUNITIES OF PENSION SCAM

The Chamber of Mines has warned Eastern Cape communities a con man is scamming money out of people who believe he is assisting them in accessing pension benefits of ex-mineworkers. In a statement, the Chamber said the fraudster was currently operating in the Jamestown area, and promising that the Chamber will be doing a presentation. This is not true and we advise communities not to attend these gatherings. The Chamber of Mines has made contact with the local authorities in the area to alert them to the matter and open a criminal case.” The Chamber said the man, known as Mr Khula, gives people estimates of possible huge payouts and requires them to pay fees of between R70 and R300.

DURBAN TEENAGER CAUGHT IN THE CROSSFIRE

The family of a teenager shot during a service delivery protest in Cato Manor near Durban described her as “an innocent caught in the crossfire”. The Daily News reported that Nqobile Nzuza, who had left her home early in the morning to watch the protest, was shot in the head and back as she was running away. Two policemen, who responded to reports of the protest, were mobbed by protestors and allegedly fired their weapons into the crowd. The Independent Police Investigative Directorate said it was investigating the shooting. DA police spokeswoman, Dianne Kohler Barnard, said the police have a “mandate to protect and serve the public. ‘Shoot to kill’ has no place in our democracy”.

NUMSA SUSPENDS COSAT DU’S SECOND DEPUTY PRESIDENT

The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa), embroiled in a battle with Cosatu over the fate of the labour federation’s general secretary, Zwelinzima Vavi, has confirmed it has suspended Cosatu’s second deputy president Zingiswa Losi. Numsa said in a statement Losi was suspended in her capacity as a full-time shop steward at Ford Motor Company. It said Losi would appear before a disciplinary committee and would not deal publically with the “merits and demerits of her suspension” as it was an internal and organisational matter.

PISTORIUS FLIES IN US FORENSIC INVESTIGATORS

Murder accused Paralympian Oscar Pistorius has hired forensic investigators from the US to help in his trial, Sapa reported. Spokeswoman for the Pistorius family, Anneliese Burgess, confirmed the team had arrived at the family’s home in Pretoria and would work with the defence team. Burgess said it was “standard practice” to work with experts when preparing for a trial. Pistorius is charged with the murder of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp but contends he mistook her for an intruder when he shot her in his home. He is also charged with contravening the Firearms Control Act. DM

Photo: Oscar Pistorius (Greg Nicolson)

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