A round-up of the day’s news from South Africa.
COSATU, DA AT LOGGERHEADS OVER EMPLOYMENT TAX INCENTIVE BILL
Cosatu says it is committed to resisting the passing and implementation of the Employment Tax Incentive Bill and will make “an urgent political intervention through the alliance to stop it going ahead”. It said the bill would “translate into a fundamental attack on the security of employment of workers, decent work standards and collective bargaining rights”. But DA finance spokesman, Tim Harris, disagreed. He said Cosatu was the “ultimate labour market insider” and that “labour market outsiders have ultimately paid the price – particularly our 5.6 million unemployed young people”. Harris said the DA would “stand against any opposition from Cosatu both inside and outside parliament”.
DIEPSLOOT TENSE AFTER DISCOVERY OF TODDLERS’ BODIES
The gruesome discovery of the bodies of two toddlers, aged two and three, in a toilet has sparked the fury of residents in Diepsloot north of Johannesburg, who have taken to the streets in protest. The toddlers were found less than 100 metres from where the body of five-year-old Anelisa Mkhondo was found a month ago. Police have been deployed to the area, the SABC reported. Police spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Lungelo Dlamini said they were investigating a case of kidnapping and murder. The children were reported missing on Saturday. The ANC in Gauteng sent its condolences to the family. “We condemn the brutal killing of the two innocent children and we call upon the (SA Police Service) to act swiftly to apprehend the killer,” said spokesman Dumisa Ntuli.
MADONSELA PROTECTS MANDATE IN PARLIAMENT
Public protector, Thuli Madonsela, faced a grilling from certain members of parliament in the justice portfolio committee on the scope of her powers. Former ANC chief whip, Mathole Motshekga, asked Madonsela to explain her understanding of ‘state affairs’, Sapa reported. He said it was regrettable that there was confusion over the role of the public protector after 20 years. Madonsela later told eNCA she had to take MPs on a “trip down memory lane”, to remind them that the executive and chapter nine institutions had been investigated by the office of the public protector before her time. She said there was nothing strange about chapter nine institutions overseeing each other.
MAIMANE ACCUSES ANC OF ORGANISED CAMPAIGN ATTACK
The DA’s Gauteng premier candidate says he was attacked by “ANC operatives” when campaigning in Mokgoko Park in Ga-Rankuwa. Mmusi Maimane said ANC members hurled rocks at the DA contingent as they addressed supporters in the area. “Community members there to talk about their hopes for the future of Gauteng were intimidated and pelted with rocks,” Maimane said, adding that television cameras had captured the attack. “It is clear that someone in the ANC planned the attack from A-Z, including transport and food for operatives,” he said. Maimane said he would request a meeting with Gauteng premier Nomvula Mokonyane to “discuss the climate of election campaigning”.
SA CONSUMERS CUTTING BACK ON SPENDING, SAYS MASSMART CHIEF
Overstretched South Africans are further cutting back on spending, hit by higher fuel prices and tighter credit says the chief executive of discounter, Massmart Holdings. Nearly half of South Africans failed to pay back their debts for three straight months this year, prompting banks to rein in lending, while a weaker rand currency has fuelled inflation and higher petrol prices. “The pressure on the consumer is increasing and it seems to be related to rising energy inflation and unsecured lending being pulled back,” Grant Pattison told Reuters on the sidelines of a consumer goods conference in Johannesburg.
LEGAL AID’S WORK COMPROMISED BY HIGH COURT RULING
Legal Aid says it will provide funding for the legal representation of the injured and arrested miners in the Farlam commission of inquiry. But, said CEO, Vidhu Vedalankar, this meant it would have to cut back its assistance to the poor and vulnerable in criminal and civil matters. Vendalankar said Legal Aid’s mandate was to provide assistance to the indigent and vulnerable. She said the decision by the North Gauteng High Court would “affect the sustainability of the organisation in providing access to justice in criminal and civil legal aid matters for the poor and vulnerable, unless special funding is forthcoming”. Legal Aid is taking advice on whether to appeal the decision.
REGISTERED AIRCRAFT IN SA WITHOUT CERTIFICATES OF AIRWORTHINESS
Less than half of all registered aircraft in South Africa – 5,300 out of 12,500 – have a Certificate of Airworthiness, parliament has heard. Now the Democratic Alliance wants to know the reasons why. DA transport spokesman, Greg Krumbock, said transport minister, Dipuo Peters, needed to establish if aircraft without certificates were in operation, and why they’re not being issued with airworthiness certificates. He said the issue had been a source of “great contention” between airlines and the Civil Aviation Authority, which, he said, has been operating without a general manager for air safety operations for quite some time now.
DURBAN JUDGE TURNS DOWN MPISANE APPLICATION
A Durban judge has turned down an application by power couple, Shawn Mpisane and her husband Sibusiso, to overturn a R70-million restraint order on their assets, the Mercury reported. Judge Sharmaine Bolton rejected the Mpisane’s argument that material information not provided to the court would have impacted on its original decision to grant the restraint order. The order had been granted against the Mpisanes last year and was initially for R140-million, but was reduced to R70-million. Shawn Mpisane faces 53 charges of fraud, forgery and uttering of a forged document. DM
Photo: Mmusi Maimane
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