A round-up of the day’s news from South Africa.
MOTSOENENG PULLS SABC SHOW THE BIG DEBATE
Hlaudi Motsoeneng has struck again, this time pulling the SABC’s popular talk show, The Big Debate, just hours before its second season was about to air. City Press reported the public broadcaster’s controversial acting chief operating officer instructed commissioning editors at SABC 2 to withdraw the series and also not to air repeats of programmes already flighted. Host Siki Mgabadeli told the newspaper her team was trying to secure a meeting with Motsoeneng to establish the reasons for his decision. She said three episodes had been shot: one on the costs of telecommunications, another on the Marikana massacre and a third UN-funded episode in the US. Mgabadeli said on Twitter, “I am angry that SA may not see debates on the right to communicate, workers rights, maternal health.”
KOHLER-BARNARD CONSIDERS LEGAL ACTION AGAINST SIZANI
Democratic Alliance MP, Dianne Kohler-Barnard, says she will not allow the “irresponsible actions” of ANC chief whip, Stone Sizani, to go unanswered. Sizani repeatedly accused Kohler-Barnard of violating her ethics committee oath of confidentiality by disclosing sensitive information relating to the investigation of disgraced former communications minister, Dina Pule, on her Facebook page. She was unanimously cleared of all Sizani’s charges. “I consider Mr Sizani’s comments to have been libellous and a vicious personal attack on my integrity and ethical behaviour,” Kohler-Barnard said. The Democratic Alliance discussing what legal action should be taken against Sizani for his “defamatory attack”.
‘FREE AND FAIR’ BY-ELECTIONS IN TLOKWE IN DOUBT AS IEC ASKS FOR POSTPONEMENT
North West MEC for local government and traditional affairs has cancelled by-elections in Tlokwe scheduled for later this month. Manketsi Tlhape’s decision follows a request by the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) which said various concerns had been raised by political parties and candidates, and that these concerns would impact on the viability for the conduct of free and fair elections in wards 1, 4, 11, 12, 13 and 20 of Tlokwe Local Municipality. The Municipal Electoral Act states voting can be postponed “if the Commission is satisfied that it is not reasonably possible to conduct a free and fair election on that day”.
JUDGE ESSA MOOSA TO OVERSEE COMPLAINTS ABOUT THE HAWKS
Police minister, Nathi Mthethwa, has appointed a retired judge to investigate complaints about the Hawks. The minister has tasked Judge Essa Moosa with receiving and investigating complaints from the public, if they can provide evidence of a serious and unlawful infringement of his or her rights caused by a Hawks investigation. Moosa will also investigate complaints by members of the Hawks of “improper influence” by political (or other) parties in the course of their investigations. Mthethwa’s spokesman, Zweli Mnisi, said Moosa’s appointment would “strengthen the investigative capacity of the directorate” as organised crime, serious economic and transnational crimes as well as corruption, undermine democracy and have a negative impact on society.
TWO POLICEMEN KILLED IN CAPE TOWN SHOOTOUT
The South Africa Police Union (Sapu) says it is “sick and tired” of violent attacks against police officers. General secretary, Oscar Skommere, was responding to news that two police officers, Constable Viwe Mpambane, and Sergeant Mteteleli Damse, were killed in a shoot-out with suspected robbers in an informal settlement in Phillipi, Cape Town. Another policeman was wounded in the attack. Skommere questioned the effectiveness of the bulletproof vests issued to policeman saying there were instances of officers being killed wearing them. Police spokesman Andre Traut said the police were searching for people wanted in connection with armed robberies.
IDENTIKIT ISSUED, REWARD OFFERED FOR MAN SUSPECTED OF KILLING TODDLERS
Police have issued an identikit of the man suspected of raping and murdering two toddlers found dead in a toilet in Diepsloot. They have also offered a R100,000 reward for information leading to his arrest and conviction. But police spokesman, Brigadier Neville Malila, said police did not yet know the nationality of the man, but suspected he is either from KwaZulu-Natal or Swaziland, but said “but at this stage he could be from anywhere”. The suspect is in his early 30s, is slightly built and about 1.7m tall with a light complexion. He has a cut on the lower lip and has a red ring on his left hand and ropes on his left ankle
THREE MEN SENTENCED TO 20 YEARS FOR ‘WITCHCRAFT’ MURDERS
A KwaZulu-Natal judge has sentenced three men who battered to death two women they suspected of practising witchcraft to 20 years each, Sapa reported. Judge Rishi Seegobin in the Pietermaritzburg High Court said that in modern South Africa a person’s subjective belief that another practised witchcraft did not justify that person’s murder. He said the sentences should “reflect society’s indignation at the murders”. Despite prosecutor Xolani Nkelane asking for life sentences, Seegobin decided on lesser sentences because the men had pleaded guilty and were first offenders. Alice Dlamini and her daughter Nkhesikhona Xulu were murdered in August.
NEW RAIL NETWORK PLANNED FOR GAUTENG
Gauteng’s transport MEC has proposed seven new rail routes in and around Johannesburg and Tshwane in effort to encourage more people to use public transport. MEC Ismail Vadi said the routes were part of the province’s Integrated Transport Master Plan (ITMP25) and that he would be taking the plan to the provincial cabinet “soon”. The proposed routes include one from Tshwane East to Mamelodi, Naledi (Soweto) to Ruimsig via Roodepoort and Sandton to Honeydew, via Randburg. Vadi didn’t specify if Gautrain or the Passenger Rail Agency of SA would do the expansion. DM
Photo: A newly constructed and still tested Gautrain arrives at O.R. Tambo International Airport outside of Johannesburg April 20, 2010. (REUTERS)
Bladerunner (1980s version) is a visual feast due in large part to the Hollywood Actors Strike. This allowed the designers an extra three months to refine the sets and props.