South Africa

South Africa

FIVE MINUTES: South Africa

FIVE MINUTES: South Africa

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


Unemployment is South Africa’s “Achilles heel” says a new report by Goldman Sachs titled Two Decades of Freedom. Launched at the Nelson Mandela Foundation, the report said the ruling African National Congress had helped build a black middle class, but failed to deal with massive unemployment. Finance minister Pravin Gordhan said South Africa experienced “too much despair and despondency”. DA finance spokesman Tim Harris commended the ANC for improvements such as the fact that 10 million South Africans have entered the LSM 5-10 demographic since 2001 and the drop in the number of people living below the poverty line. But, he said, this report “confirms that the ANC-led government has failed to tackle unemployment during its tenure”.


Mob justice is unacceptable, says police minister Nathi Mthethwa. He was responding to reports that six people in Khutsong were killed for allegedly being involved in gangsterism. Police said in a statement that about 400 men had gathered in an open field on Sunday to air their grievances about gangsters in the area and then split up into roving vigilante groups. A traditional healer was the first victim before residents moved on to attack members of a gang. Two were set alight, while others were stoned to death. Mthethwa said residents “cannot resolve crime through committing crime. It is simply unacceptable”, he said, adding that it was worrying that the perpetrators were often “perceived as heroes” by some members of communities.  “Police are in hot pursuit of these so-called ‘heroes’ because there is nothing heroic when you burn and kill people,” said Mthethwa.


A new South African investment law should come into force next year to replace a raft of individual, 20-year-old treaties but foreign investors are adequately protected and have nothing to fear, trade and industry minister Rob Davies said. The government let bilateral treaties agreed with European nations shortly before the end of apartheid lapse last month, to the concern of some foreign investors who are unsure whether the replacement law will offer the same protections. EU ambassador Roeland van de Geer, said the “unilateral” cancellation of the treaties “remains of great concern”. But Davies said the draft Promotion and Protection of Investment Bill, published last week, rolls over existing guarantees against state seizure of assets but narrows the definition of expropriation.  It also removes the explicit possibility of recourse to international arbitration in the event of a dispute.


Police have rejected claims by a rightwing woman that she played a part in the Steenkamp murders on a farm near Griekwastad last year, Sapa reported. There was “no truth” to the allegations, the investigating officer told the Northern Cape high court. A 17-year-old boy is on trial for the murders of farmer Deon Steenkamp and his wife Christelle and daughter Marthella. Cornelia de Wet , a member of the AWB, recently told the Diamond Fields Advertiser the murders were part of a plot to attack white farmers in an attempt to instil fear and incite racial hatred.


Violent service delivery protests in Bekkersdal are a case study of why the African National Congress fails to deliver because of mismanagement and corruption, says Gauteng DA leader, Jack Bloom. In a speech prepared for the Gauteng legislature, Bloom said the area had been earmarked for development as a presidential lead project when Mbhazima Shilowa was premier in 2004 with a budget of R1.2 billion. But, said Bloom, roads are still not tarred, the brick-making centre is incomplete, sewage runs in the streets, the multi-purpose centre is not operational, and other promised projects have not happened either”. This was because deliver was “compromised because of crony tenders that don’t deliver”.


Kwaito star Brickz will remain behind bars after a magistrate at the Roodepoort Magistrate’s Court postponed the case, City Press reported. Brickz stands accused of raping a 16-year-old girl. The award-winning kwaito star, whose real name is Sipho Charles Ndlovu, was remanded in custody after being arrested on Friday for raping the girl in Honeydew on 26 March. Spokeswoman for the National Prosecuting Authority, Phindi Louw, said as rape was a Schedule 6 offence “which is a very serious case”, the state would oppose bail on 12 November when Brickz will appear in court again.


An investigation has been launched into officials implicated in selling bodies at the Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital, health MEC Hope Papo says. “The department takes such allegations in a serious light and will not hesitate to take harsh measures against any employee who is found guilty of misconduct,” Papo said in a statement. Papo was responding to reports that a body was sold to an undertaker for R800 and officials were in possession of undertaker stamps without permission. Department spokesman Simon Zwane said the three officials who are implicated in this case have been relieved of their duties and transferred to different units as a precautionary measure.


The Congress of South African Trade Unions is a federation that belongs to workers and not a “medieval kingdom” that can be won or lost by its leaders, says the National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu). Fikile Majola said the union had noted “with concern” comments by suspended Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi on “winning back” the labour federation. Majola said some Cosatu leaders had  “appropriated to themselves an infinite right to lead”. Nehawu recently held its national executive committee meeting, at which Vavi was discussed. The NEC also committed to campaign for the ANC ahead of next year’s general elections. DM

Photo: Nathi Mthethwa (REUTERS)


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