A round-up of the day’s news from South Africa.
UITENHAGE ERUPTS INTO VIOLENT PROTESTS
Protestors in Uitenhage in the Eastern Cape have torched the Democratic Alliance’s offices, the home of an ANC councillor and a community hall after illegal shacks were demolished following a court interdict. People illegally invaded land in the KwaLanga area, and were forced to relocate after the shacks were demolished. eNCA reported residents were burning tyres and blockading streets, and that police had used rubber bullets and stun grenades to disperse the crowds. A local religious leader told the television channel the community was “fed up” and believed houses were being built in other parts of the province, but not in Uitenhage. Police spokesman, Warrant Officer Basil Seekoei, said the situation was under control and the public order policing units were in the area.
AMCU LOWERS WAGE DEMANDS AT IMPLATS
The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) has lowered its wage demands at Impala Platinum, bringing it closer to resolving weeks of deadlock that had been threatening a strike at the platinum producer.
The softening of its stance holds hope that strikes threats at the three largest platinum producers in South Africa, will be scrapped. “It is a clear indication that they are starting to accept some of the financial arguments that we are advancing and clearly signalling to us that they could consider something below what they have initially demanded,” Implats spokesman, Johan Theron said. AMCU, with members representing around 70% of the miners, has also lined up possible strikes at Anglo American Platinum and Lonmin, which together with Implats could hit at least half of global output.
DEPUTY HEAD OF THE SIU RESIGNS
The deputy head of the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) has resigned. Faiek Davids will leave at the end of December. The move has dismayed the Democratic Alliance, which said Davids “was pulling things together at the Unit, and that it was a much better place than it has been for the last two years”. The SIU said in a statement Davids would be missed by new head of the unit, Vas Soni, and that family commitments had played a role in Davids’ decision. But the DA’s justice spokeswoman, Debbie Schafer, said the party believed Davids was being “sidelined by the new SIU Head, Advocate Vas Soni, in favour of Miseria Nyathi. If this is true, then it is very concerning indeed”.
DIEPSLOOT BABY’S MOTHER ARRESTED, CHARGED WITH MURDER AND NEGLECT
The mother of a seven-month-old Diepsloot baby, found dead and mutilated in a shack in Diepsloot, Gauteng, has been arrested and has appeared in court on charges of murder and child neglect. The Star reported that the woman, who has been on the run since the baby’s body was discovered, was found in a tavern in Randburg. Police spokesman Captain Tsekiso Mofokeng said the woman was “just relaxing in the tavern, drunk”. He said she appeared “surprised” at her arrest and denied knowing her baby was dead. Her boyfriend was arrested a day later. Police are still awaiting the results of a post mortem to determine the cause of death.
MINISTERS DROP COURT APPLICATION TO INTERDICT NKANDLA REPORT
Ministers in the security cluster have dropped their application to interdict public protector Thuli Madonsela from releasing her report on the investigation into the R206 million ‘security upgrades’ to President Jacob Zuma’s private home. They nevertheless argued that Madonsela was not an expert in security and said in papers she “cannot be an arbiter on whether or not there exists a security breach from the contents of the provisional report”. DA parliamentary leader, Lindiwe Mazibuko, who asked the public protector to investigate Nkandla spending, said it was clear the interdict was “nothing more than a delaying tactic and an attempt to bury the truth about this scandal”. Madonsela this week made public her court documents opposing the interdict. In them, she said the State had made several attempts to stop her investigation.
CAPE TOWN BROTHERS ACQUITTED ON OR TAMBO HEIST CHARGES
Two men accused of planning one of South Africa’s biggest armed robberies, who were acquitted of being involved in the 2006 OR Tambo heist, will now claim R60 million in damages, Sapa reported. The heist involved 24 men who held up guards and police on board an SAA plane that was carrying moneybags from the United Kingdom. A court in Johannesburg acquitted Cape Town lawyer Rooshdeen Rudolph and his brother, Shaheed, on charges that included attempted murder and robbery. Rooshdeen Rudolph said they were “ecstatic and relieved”. Seven men were tried and sentenced for their involvement in the heist. Six are serving prison terms between eight to 22 years.
WESTERN CAPE OPPOSITION ACCUSE ZILLE OF RUNNING AWAY FROM QUESTIONS
Opposition parties in the Western Cape have accused premier Helen Zille of neglecting her duties in the legislature after she signalled she would be miss the November sitting. The Cape Argus reported ANC chief whip in the legislature, Pierre Uys saying Zille had “more interest in the National Assembly and other provinces than leading this one.” But Zille’s spokesman, Zak Mbhele, said Uys was well aware that this was the second time this year that the premier missed facing questions without notice. He said the first time was when Zille attended the president’s co-ordinating council meeting. Uys said, “Either she does not want to answer to the legislature or she can’t and therefore runs away. It is unacceptable that she treats with disdain this legislature who elected her and where the constitution says she must account.”
COSATU OPENS CRIMINAL CASE AGAINST CONSTRUCTION COMPANIES
Cosatu’s Gauteng secretary has opened a criminal case against corrupt construction companies. Speaking outside the Johannesburg Central police station, Dumisani Dakile told members of the labour federation, who embarked on a day-long march to protest against e-tolls and labour brokers, that the companies had “confessed that they are guilty of corruption and asked to be fined”, Sapa reported. Brigadier Ronnie Rajim confirmed that a docket had been opened, and that Dakile had “opened a corruption case against several departments”. Cosatu wanted the Auditor General to also investigate what happened to funds generated from the fuel levy and vehicle licences. DM
Photo: Helen Zille (REUTERS)
Some firing squads are all issued with blank cartridges with the exception of one person. This helps alleviate personal responsibility for the execution squad.