A round-up of the day’s news from South Africa.
SECRECY BILL BACK TO PRESIDENT ZUMA FOR ASSENT
The National Assembly has adopted the revised protection of state information bill, despite objections from opposition parties. It will now go to President Jacob Zuma for assent. State security minister Siyabonga Cwele congratulated Zuma on earlier identifying technical errors in the bill. DA parliamentary leader Lindiwe Mazibuko said the party fully supported correcting the technical anomalies, but said Zuma knows “there is much more to be fixed”. “And the Honourable President knows this because I submitted a legal opinion to him which detailed these problems in meticulous detail,” Mazibuko said. “We will not stop until it is brought completely in line with the Constitution. We are not fooled by the public relations tactics of the Presidency,” she said.
RAMAPHOSA EXPLAINS HIS ‘BOER’ REMARKS, NOT MEANT TO BE ‘
Deputy president of the ANC, Cyril Ramaphosa, says he never intended to cause offence with his comment that people should vote, or “the boers” would be back in power. In a statement, Ramaphosa said it was “unfortunate” that his comments offended some people. “They were never intended to be derogatory,” he said. He said in his conversation with a Seshego resident, he warned her of the danger of the country going backwards and “used a term that has commonly been used by black South Africans to refer to the erstwhile apartheid regime. It is a term that continues to be understood in that way”. “My comments were not meant to refer to a particular section of our population, and it is unfortunate if such an impression was created,” Ramaphosa said.
MTHETHWA RECOMMENDS MCBRIDE FOR POST AS IPID CHIEF
Cabinet has supported police minister Nathi Mthethwa’s recommendation that former Ekurhuleni police chief Robert McBride be appointed executive director of the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid). Mthethwa said McBride’s appointment would bring stability to the police watchdog body, and that Ipid would” investigate without fear, favour or prejudice”. DA police spokeswoman Dianne Kohler Barnard said the party would oppose the move in parliament. “McBride has in the past been involved in numerous scandals and does not appear to be suitable for the position,” she said, adding that the institution responsible for the oversight of the SAPS and metro police “should not be led by such a controversial figure”.
OVER ONE MILLION FIRST TIME VOTERS REGISTER WITH IEC
The number of registered voters aged 18 to 19 tripled from 167,535 prior to the weekend, to 434,370, says Independent Electoral Commission chairwoman, Pansy Tlakula. The IEC said over a million first-time voters registered during its first registration drive ahead of the 2014 elections. Their “commitment to democracy has helped boost the overall registration levels to almost 77% of eligible voters, up from 73.6% before the weekend”, Tlakula said. KwaZulu-Natal had the highest voter registration turnout with 620 864, followed by Gauteng with 572 395, Eastern Cape 339 614, Western Cape 295 497, Mpumalanga 197 551, Limpopo 178 800, Free State 140 304, North West 116 438 and the Northern Cape 50 756. The IEC has set a target of getting two million new registrations by the time the voters’ roll closes before next year’s general elections.
PIC OPPOSED TO CFR DEAL DUE TO CONCERN OVER FOREIGN CONTROL
South Africa’s state pension fund is opposing the takeover of drugs firm Adcock Ingram by Chile’s CFR Pharmaceutical because of concerns about foreign control and the share component of the deal, a source familiar with the fund’s thinking told Reuters. The Public Investment Corporation (PIC), Adcock’s largest shareholder with a 14% direct stake, has only given vague reasons for its rejection of the $1.3 billion deal, saying it was not in its “best interest”. Although South Africa desperately needs foreign capital and expertise, the government has a history of sinking cross-border deals if they are seen to threaten initiatives designed to raise the living standards of the black majority. Last year, it rejected a $385 million bid by South Korea’s KT Corp for a stake in fixed-line operator.
TWENTY-NINE DEAD IN MOLOTO ROAD CRASH
The transport minister has instituted a high level investigation into a fatal accident in Mpumalanga, on the R537 Moloto Road, in which 29 people died. Minister Dipuo Peters said the team would not only determine the cause of the crash but also find interventions to prevent further accidents on the notorious stretch of road. “This carnage must stop. It is completely unacceptable!” said President Jacob Zuma in a statement. “The fact that this particular road has gained notoriety in the deaths of our people means there’s something wrong that we need to address together.” He sent condolences to families who’d lost relatives. The accident involved a bus, two trucks and a bakkie. Residents told eNCA that government had been promising to fix the road for many years but that nothing had been done.
MADIKWE STARTS WINNING WAR ON POACHERS
Infantry-style tactics of concealment and ambush by armed park rangers are credited with turning the tide in the war against poachers of the endangered rhino at the Madikwe Game Reserve. “Since the training started in April, we have not lost a rhino that we know of,” said Declan Hofmeyr, chief of operations at Madikwe. Since April, Madikwe rangers have been undergoing military training overseen by a former British special forces soldier. They wear state-of-the-art gear provided by the Ichikowitz Family Foundation, a charity that supports anti-poaching initiatives on the African continent. Last year, Madikwe lost 18 rhino, and a further nine at the beginning of 2013.
JANE ALEXANDER SCULPTURE SELLS FOR R5.5 MILLION
South African sculptor Jane Alexander has sold her Untitled sculpture for R5.5 million at an auction, setting a new record for a South African sculpture. Untitled’s pre-sale estimate was set at R2-3 million before three buyers bid ferociously against each other until it was finally knocked down at R5.5 million – double the previous record set for a South African sculpture. Untitled is the companion work to Alexander’s famous Butcher Boys, housed in the Iziko National Gallery’s collection in Cape Town. Strauss & Co’s Stephan Welz said the company knew the sculpture would “generate tremendous interest” as works by Alexander rarely appear at auction. DM
Photo: Cyril Ramaphosa (Daily Maverick)