South Africa

FIVE MINUTES: South Africa

By Daily Maverick Staff Reporter 1 November 2013

A round-up of the day's news from South Africa.

SIX KILLED IN ACCIDENT AT ESKOM’S INGULA SCHEME

Six people have been killed in an accident at Eskom’s Ingula pumped storage scheme site in KwaZulu-Natal. The incident happened in the incline high-pressure shaft that connects the top dam to the powerhouse, the power utility said. “About 15 people were working in the tunnel when a working platform failed and left several people injured,” Eskom said. KwaZulu-Natal premier, Senzo Mchunu, said although the circumstances surrounding the accident were yet to be established, “we commend Eskom for moving swiftly to assure the people of this province and the country that an investigation will be instituted”.  A rescue operation is still in progress.

NUM GIVES STRIKE NOTICE AT NORTHAM PLATINUM

The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) has given junior producer Northam Platinum 48-hour notice of its intention to strike after wage talks broke down, a union negotiator says. A government mediator granted NUM permission to call for a strike at Northam. “We have given them the notice and from today they have 48 hours to come back with another offer or we will strike,” NUM negotiator Ecliss Tantsi said. NUM is demanding that the company raise wages by between 22% and 43%, depending on the level of employees and raise housing allowances by 69%. Northam, a mid-tier producer, said it had improved its offer, which NUM rejected, to include increases of 7% and 8% in the first year, above the current inflation rate of 6%.

MADONSELA DISPUTES SIZANI’S CLAIMS ON NKANDLA

A spokesman for Thuli Madonsela says a statement by the ANC chief whip’s office on the public protector’s upcoming Nkandla report contained “misleading and unfortunate” comments, Sapa reported. Oupa Segalwe said Madonsela had previously made recommendations to Parliament that it resolve where Public Protector reports involving the ethical conduct of the president should be submitted.  He was responding to a claim by Stone Sizani’s spokesman, Moloto Mothapo, that she had not approached Parliament for clarity on the matter, nor proposed the necessity for a legislative intervention. The DA asked Madonsela to investigate the spending of R206 million from the public purse on Zuma’s private home.

RIGHTWING FARMER MAKES CLAIMS ABOUT STEENKAMP MURDERS

A rightwing female farmer has claimed an AWB group was involved in the murder of Griquatown farmer Deon Steenkamp and his family. A minor is currently being tried on charges of murder, rape and defeating the ends of justice. Despite the claim by Cornelia de Wet, the trial of the minor will continue next week. De Wet told the Diamond Fields Advertiser the Steenkamp murders were part of a plan to attack white farmers in an attempt to instil fear and incite racial hatred. De Wet was in custody for possession of explosives and ammunition. The boy is out on bail and in the care of a guardian.

DE LILLE CLAIMS NKOHLA CALLED IN SICK, BUT LED MARCH

The man believed to be behind the violent protests and looting that took place in Cape Town’s city centre called in sick so he could lead the protestors. Speaking in an interview with a radio station, executive mayor Patricia de Lille said ANC councillor Loyiso Nkohla called in sick and bunked a council meeting on Wednesday, the Cape Argus reported.  The ANC has denied it was behind the march but the Democratic Alliance has called for Nkohla’s dismissal for inciting violence. DA leader in the Western Cape, Ivan Meyer, said the actions by members and supporters of the ANC Youth League, led by ANC councillor Loyiso Nkohla and expelled ANC councillor Andile Lili, were “pure vandalism and thuggery”.

ZUMA SITS AS ZILLE IS ABUSED BY CROWD

ANC supporters refusing to let Western Cape premier Helen Zille speak marred an event celebrating the launch of the Saldanha Bay industrial development zone. President Jacob Zuma, who was due to address the crowd after Zille, did nothing to stop the disruption. Zille told Sapa she’d warned Zuma the night before that there would be disruptions at the event. “. Yet, when it took place today, the president sat and observed events unfolding without taking any action to stop the abuse,” she said. She said there was “nothing coincidental” about the “disgraceful disruption” of the launch.

TWELVE DIE IN KZN STORMS

At least 12 people have died in KwaZulu-Natal after heavy rains and flooding in the province. Two young girls, Fezile Mabika, 9, and Nelisiwe Gumede, 14, were crossing the Pongola River with a group of pupils after school when they were swept away, the Daily News reported. Spokesman for co-operative governance and traditional affairs department, Lennox Mabaso, said four pupils managed to swim to safety. The South Coast area of Ugu was hard hit, with at least 70 homes damaged and 295 people affected. More severe storms are expected.

RAMPHELE: WHITES MUST BECOME ACTIVE CITIZENS

Agang SA leader, Dr Mamphela Ramphele, says white South Africans are “making themselves into victims instead of claiming their citizenship and challenging Malema or whoever … to say ‘we are going nowhere, this is our country, we are going to contribute and stay'”, the Mail&Guardian reported. Ramphele, who was attending the 2013 World Innovation Summit for Education in Doha, Qatar, said white people were “as entitled as I am not to tolerate anybody disempowering you … it is tolerance of abuse that empowers the abuser”. She said South African whites needed to become committed and active citizens to claim their place. DM

Photo: Mamphela Ramphele (REUTERS)

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