A round-up of the day’s news from South Africa.
MALAWIANS NOT IMPRESSED WITH ZUMA’S REMARKS
South Africa is trying to patch up relations with Malawi after a gaffe by President Jacob Zuma about the state of its roads that reinforced stereotypes of awful African infrastructure and South African arrogance. Deputy international relations minister, Marius Fransman, met President Joyce Banda to deliver a message from Zuma. But Malawians were not impressed. “Mr. Zuma needs a real quick shower to wash his mouth and clean up his stupid statements,” civil servant Richard Mhone told Reuters. Others accused him of hypocrisy, given that hundreds of thousands of Malawian migrants are working in South Africa. Zuma, addressing an ANC manifesto forum, tried to justify e-tolling by saying, “We can’t think like Africans in Africa generally. We are in Johannesburg. This is Johannesburg. It is not some national road in Malawi. No.”
MDLULI CASE POSTPONED, JUDGE AND ADVOCATE CLASH
An application for leave to appeal against a ruling in the Richard Mdluli case has been postponed indefinitely to give the national police commissioner, Riah Phiyega, time to file papers “in respect of issues that were raised in the matter”, Sapa reported. Deputy judge president Aubrey Ledwaba said he would meet with the parties in two weeks time to give directives on timeframes in which the papers must be filed. Earlier, Judge John Murphy and William Mokhari, SC, for the SA Police Service [SAPS], clashed over the question of whether Mdluli should return to work. Murphy told Mokhari to “take a seat” and that he did not wish to hear him anymore. Mokhari said he was not done arguing and refused. Murphy adjourned the court and left the courtroom.
CHABANE: COSATU IN ALLIANCE WITH ANC, NOT GOVERNMENT
Minister in the presidency, Collins Chabane, says Cosatu is in an alliance with the African National Congress and not the government and therefore has no right to demand the National Development Plan be scrapped. Chabane told journalists that should conflict arise, it would be between the ruling party and the labour federation and should not involve government. Cosatu and its member unions are adamantly opposed to the NDP, government’s blueprint for a 30-year growth plan. Chabane said the NDP was central to the government’s allocation of resources over the next three years. He said government was ready to start implementing the plan.
A debate on governance, organised by the Black Management Forum at a good governance conference in Midrand, saw opposition parties blame government for the high level of corruption in South Africa. Agang SA leader Dr Mamphela Ramphele said people don’t have trust in the government while DA Gauteng premier candidate, Mmusi Maimane, said rot had “set in at the top and will move to the bottom”. The UDM’s General Bantu Holomisa said tenders were at the heart of corruption in the country. African People’s Convention leader Themba Godi said problems relating to financial management were serious. National Freedom Party secretary general Nhlanhla Khubisa said money was “being squandered day in and day out. It is high time we exercise principles of good governance in our country”.
MINING BILL WILL ‘FORMALISE BRIBERY’, SAYS DA
The Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Amendment (MPRDA) Bill will formalise bribery, DA spokesman on mineral resources, James Lorimer, says. He said the department of mineral resources had not indicated a move away from “the plan to increase the discretion of the Minister and her officials”. Lorimer said department had responded to criticism with the promise that it will consult with the mining industry widely before it issues regulations. “There are two points to make here: Consultation does not mean the government will listen to objection; and effectively government is putting out a sign asking parties affected by regulation to make it an offer. This is the mere formalisation of bribery,” Lorimer said.
YOUTH WAGE SUBSIDY BILL TABLED IN PARLIAMENT
Finance minister Pravin Gordhan has tabled the Employment Tax Incentive Bill in parliament, saying it was a “step towards reversing alarmingly high levels of youth unemployment”. The bill proposes a youth wage subsidy to encourage employers, through tax incentives, to take on young people aged from 18 to 29. DA finance spokesman Tim Harris said the bill had been watered down but that the party would work with parliament’s finance committee to roll back changes. The ANC’s chief whip, Stone Sizani, said the bill was a “necessary and progressive interventions in the battle against the unacceptable rates of unemployment in our country, particularly among young people”.
SOUTH AFRICA WORRIED ABOUT VIOLENCE IN MOZAMBIQUE
South Africa is concerned about the outbreak of violence in Mozambique after Renamo ended the 1992 peace deal earlier this week. Minister in the presidency, Collins Chabane, said the Mozambican government has not asked the South African government for help. “It’s a serious worry, not only to us as a neighbour but also to the continent as a whole,” said Chabane. He said the stability of Mozambique was critical for economic growth in both the region and South Africa. Mozambique’s opposition party Renamo on Monday ended the peace deal with that country’s government, after the Mozambican army attacked its bush camp, raising concerns about security and stability in the country.
REPORT: SA SHOULD LOOK AT AGRICULTURAL TRADE WITH IRAN
The department of agriculture and the National Agricultural Marketing Council say South Africa should take advantage of limited food production in Iran and export its maize, sugar and vegetable oils to the country, Reuters reported. “(Iran) trade figures show a quick shift from wheat towards maize imports, which indicates a great opportunity for South Africa,” they said in a joint trade report this week. The report said although sanctions against Iran discourage South African exporters, a “close look at the Iranian market will prove beneficial in the long run.” While sanctions are aimed at discouraging Iran’s nuclear programme, they do not target food or animal feed shipments, but financial measures have frozen Iranian firms out of much of the global banking system, making it hard for them to pay for imports. DM
Photo: President Jacob Zuma (REUTERS)
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