A round-up of the day's news from South Africa.
GOVERNMENT DEPARTMENTS CUT TIES WITH ZUMA NGO
The departments of rural development and agriculture have cut ties with President Jacob Zuma’s controversial NGO, the Masibambisane Rural Development Initiative, City Press reports. The NGO, run by Zuma’s cousin Deebo Mzobe, caused outrage when it was revealed that R900 million from various government departments had been earmarked for a food security programme to be run out of Masibambisane. Now agriculture minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson told the newspaper the NGO had “done their work”. She said the organisation was never an “implementing agent” and would not be for a new food policy, called Fetsa Tlala, that Zuma will launch later this month. She said the department would us a “reputable NGO, such as the World Food Programme. My money is going through the WFP, not Mzobe”.
OPPOSITION LIFE NOT A BOWL OF CHERRIES, HOLOMISA TELLS EFF
Voting is the only way to punish those who killed striking workers at the Lonmin mine in Marikana, Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema told those attending the launch of the party. Speaking in Marikana, Malema said a giant had been born, one that would walk immediately and “fights for your living wage” and was the “home for the hopeless”. UDM leader General Bantu Holomisa attended the launch, and welcomed EFF into opposition politics but warned them not to “delude” themselves that “life as an opposition is a bowl of cherries”.
HAWKS BOSS TO ANSWER QUESTIONS ON RENDITION
Hawks boss Lieutenant-General Anwa Dramat is involved in the rendition of Zimbabweans from South Africa back to their home country where they are tortured and killed. A report in the Sunday Times quotes internal police memos and a sworn statement from a border official that he facilitated illegal transfers of Zimbabwean prisoners. Dramat is said to have agreed to be interviewed by the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) this week after which a decision will be made whether to arrest him and six others. Dramat, in a report to police minister Nathi Mthethwa, said Zimbabwean prisoners were either extradited formally or, if in South Africa illegally, handed to home affairs for deportation.
KREJCIR DENIES BUSINESS ASSOCIATION WITH ISSA
Radovan Krejcir has denied being associated with Bassam Issa, a man who was shot and killed in a shoot out in Bedfordview and reported to be an “associate” of the Czech fugitive and businessman. Krejcir told Sapa he only knew Issa as a fellow resident of the Johannesburg suburb. He said he and Issa “didn’t have any deals or business together”. EWN reported Issa’s car was seen outside Krejcir’s gold exchange shop 10 hours before a gunman, who shot him at a robot near the Bedford Centre, killed him. The Weekend Argus reported police suspect a link between the hit in Cape Town on Sexy Boys gang member Leon ‘Lyons’ Davids this week and that of Issa.
THE BUSINESS OF ENERGY KEY FOR HOLLANDE, ZUMA
French president François Hollande is expected to grant Eskom a €100-million loan for the construction of a solar power station and a wind farm, the Mail&Guardian reported. Hollande is in South Africa for a two-day visit in which economic issues will take centre stage in discussions between him and President Jacob Zuma at a South Africa-France Business Forum. Government sees France as a “key development partner” and is the country’s third largest trading and investment partner in the European Union. The two countries will sign also sign an accord on developing South Africa’s nuclear power. Also on the agenda are the various conflicts in Africa, and in former French colonies in particular.
ZILLE: I AM NOT STEPPING DOWN AFTER ELECTIONS
Leader of the Democratic Alliance, Helen Zille, says she is not stepping down after next year’s general election. Zille said on Twitter, “Let me make one thing clear: I am NOT stepping down as DA leader after the election next year. So premise of ‘succession story’ is wrong.” Her brief statement followed a report in the Sunday Independent that quoted DA sources saying supporters of Lindiwe Mazibuko and Mmusi Maimane were pitting the two against each other as possible successors to Zille. The DA has dismissed rumours of escalating tensions within the party as “nothing but internal rumour mongering before an election”.
SAPS INCREASES CONTINGENT LIABILITY BUDGET TO R24 BILLION
Just over one third of the South African Police Services (SAPS) budget has bee set aside for “contingent liabilities”, an increase of almost R4 billion to R 24.3 billion. DA police spokeswoman Dianne Kohler Barnard said according the SAPS annual report, police project that legal claims by civilians are set to soar to R18.4 billion, “massive” increase of R3.6 billion. She said the increase was “unsurprising “considering that levels of criminality within our police organisations have increased by 37%, according to the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) 2012/13 Annual Report”. “Will the Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa act on this astonishing information – or do nothing?” Kohler-Barnard asked.
AMPLATS STRIKE OVER AS COMPANY, UNION REACHES DEAL
The strike at Anglo American Platinum is almost over as the company and union made a deal to end the two-week protest over job cuts. Amplats has granted “voluntary separation” packages to 3,300 employees it had previously sought to lay off, Reuters reported. Amplats CEO Chris Griffith told a state radio station the strike had cost the world’s top platinum producer 44,000 ounces or “nearly R1 billion rand in lost revenue”. “These individuals were offered voluntary separation packages before the strike. They did not need to lose two-weeks wages, they did not need to go on strike,” he told SAfm radio. DM
Photo: Julius Malema (REUTERS)
"A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong gives it a superficial appearance of being right and raises at first a formidable outcry in defence of custom. But the tumult soon subsides. Time makes more converts than reason." ~ Thomas Paine