A round-up of the day's news from South Africa.
TIME FOR ZUMA TO BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE FOR GUPTAGATE
Opposition parties have called for President Jacob Zuma to be held accountable for abuse of public resources after an air force official, in a sworn affidavit, directly implicated him in the landing of a private jet at Waterkloof Air Force Base. The Gupta family, who are friends of Zuma’s, hired the jet. DA parliamentary leader Lindiwe Mazibuko said the latest evidence was “so clearly contradictory to the stated government position that the matter must be resolved through a full and proper investigation into, specifically, the President’s conduct”. In a statement, the Economic Freedom Fighters said innocent military officers were being punished and facing expulsion “because we are being told they acted on their own in putting the country at risk and its protocols in disrepute”. Zuma’s spokesman, Mac Maharaj, said the affidavit was “hearsay”.
MCHUNU ‘SHOCKED’ AT CARELESSNESS OF TRUCK OWNERS
A roadblock on KwaZulu-Natal’s notorious Fields Hill set up to inspect heavy trucks travelling on the M13 has shocked the province’s MEC for transport, Willies Mchunu. Twenty-six people have died there in the space of a month. “I am shocked at the carelessness of truck owners,” he told journalists at the scene. He said he was “amazed at the lackadaisical approach of both drivers and owners – how do you start the engine of a truck with visibly smooth tyres?” Mchunu inspected 200 trucks during the operation that formed part of the launch of transport month.
PISTORIUS INVESTIGATORS GIVEN ACCESS TO HOME, TOILET DOOR
The international forensic team hired by Oscar Pistorius defence team were given access to the paralympian’s Pretoria home, as it is no longer a crime scene, police said. Pistorius stands accused of murdering his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp. Lieutenant General Solomon Makgale said in a statement the house where Steenkamp was killed was handed back to Pistorius “long ago”. He said the experts made arrangements to access the house so as to reconstruct the crime scene. “This has been the second time that this has been done during the presence of our investigating team,” he said. “The investigating officer and a ballistic expert from SAPS were present during the examination of the toilet door and the door was never handed over to them.”
KZN NEEDS COMMISSION OF INQUIRY INTO HOUSE DELIVERY, SAYS DA
KwaZulu-Natal premier Senzo Mchunu should appoint a commission of inquiry into housing delivery, the DA says. MPL George Mari told the Daily News allegations of unlawful evictions, illegal contractors, and a commission before further unrest should probe unfair allocations of houses and other corruption-based activity and even deaths take place. A schoolgirl was shot this week at the Cato Crest informal settlement after protestors mobbed a police van, leading the officers to fire into the crowd. Local residents from the Clare Estate Development Forum have called for the police’s tactical response unit to police the nearby Kennedy Road informal settlement, as protests were getting more violent. Chairman Dennis Pillay said vehicles were stoned, tyres burned and garbage thrown on to roads.
HLOPHE JSC TRIBUNAL TO GO AHEAD
The judicial conduct tribunal looking into Western Cape judge president John Hlophe must go ahead, says its president, retired judge Joop Labaschagne. He dismissed a joint objection from counsel representing Constitutional Court judges, Bess Nkabinde and Chris Jafta and joined by Hlophe’s lawyers, that there was no complaint against the judge president as a statement under oath or affidavit, the Mail&Guardian reported. Barnabus Xulu, Hlophe’s lawyer, said Labuschagne’s ruling was the “best scenario ever”. He said Hlophe wanted to clear his name. Hlophe is accused of allegedly trying to persuade Jafta and Nkabinde to find in President Jacob Zuma’s favour when he was accused of arms deal corruption.
IGNORE COSATU’S ‘HYSTERICAL’ REACTION TO IMF REPORT, SAYS DA
Finance minister Pravin Gordhan must disregard Cosatu’s hysterical criticism of the International Monetary Fund’s report on South Africa, says DA finance spokesman, Tim Harris. “While the protracted strikes in the motor and mining industries continue to place thousands of jobs at risk, Cosatu is more interested in hitting out at the IMF than responsibly resolving labour disputes and saving jobs,” Harris said. He said Cosatu represented the “ultimate set of entrenched interests in South Africa, and their blocking of policy reforms is the most damaging constraint to our country’s growth”. The IMF’s recommended government “tackle the key constraints that are holding back the economy” and “attack entrenched interests” to move to a higher and more labour-intensive growth path.
ZUMA APPOINTS NEW SABC CHAIR
Ellen Zandile Tshabalala has been appointed the new chairwoman of the South African Broadcasting Corporation’s board of directors, President Jacob Zuma has announced. Her deputy is Professor Mbulaheni Obert Maguvhe. Tshabalala served as chair of the SABC’s interim board when, earlier this year, it fell apart amid accusations of ministerial interference. The presidency said in a statement Tshabalala has “widespread experience and exposure in business development” and had held senior positions in various corporate companies. Maguvhe is a professor of education for the visually impaired and is a co-founder of the South African National Association of the Blind.
ANOTHER GUARD STABBED AT MANGAUNG CORRECTIONAL CENTRE
Another guard has been stabbed at the Mangaung Correctional Centre. eNCA reported that there has been a stabbing incident at the prison every day this week. A female warder was taken hostage by four inmates on Wednesday, and was rescued by police tactical response team. Andy Baker, head of G4S, which operates the prison, said the prisoners, who were arrested and will appear in court soon, didn’t harm the woman. More than 300 members of the Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union were fired recently for taking part in an illegal strike, leaving only 155 staff to guard almost 3,000 inmates. DM
Photo: President Jacob Zuma (REUTERS)
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