South Africa

FIVE MINUTES: South Africa

By Daily Maverick Staff Reporter 18 November 2013

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

NZIMANDE PREFERS MARCHES TO COMMITTEE MEETINGS

Higher education minister Blade Nzimande’s repeated absenteeism at portfolio committee meetings has angered not just members of opposition parties, but the ANC too. Cope’s Nqaba Bhanga told the Sunday Independent he could not recall the minister attending a single meeting over the past two years. Nzimande chose to march against controversial painting The Spear instead of attending a key meeting and was responsible for postponing two meetings on his department’s green paper into post-school training – the second time to attend a Cosatu march. The DA’s Annelie Lorient said the minister delegates every meeting and was missing during the crisis at Walter Sisulu University, a “major problem”, Lotriet said.

HAWKS ARREST KREJCIR’S BUSINESS MANAGER IN FRAUD CASE

The Hawks have arrested Radovan Krejcir’s business manager, Ivan Savov, City Press reported. Savov was detained while at the scene of a bomb blast at Krejcir’s Money Point pawn shop in Bedfordview, said Hawks spokesman Paul Ramaloko, adding that he was charged with in connection with a R10 million fraud case involving global security company, G4S. Ramaloko said case was opened in February in Kliptown and that the crime unit had been investigating the case for a while. Savov is also a respondent in a South African Revenue Service case against Krejcir. Sars has place Krejcir’s assets – including 14 companies, 11 cars and his home – under the control of a curator.

EU PREPARES TO BAN SOUTH AFRICA CITRUS

The European Union is preparing a ban on South African citrus imports over fungal disease fears that could take orange juice off Europe’s breakfast tables next summer. The move follows the interception of 35 citrus shipments this year from Europe’s chief summer supplier that were contaminated with the fungal black spot disease, which growers in southern Europe fear could take hold in their citrus groves. As a result, the EU is drawing up plans for a ban that could be adopted by European governments by the end of November. EU trade chief Karel De Gucht told South African officials during a visit to Johannesburg this week that the contaminated shipments were “serious and problematic”. South Africa exports $1.3 billion worth citrus to Europe.

MANDELA ‘QUITE ILL’ SAYS WINNIE, BUT NOT LIFE SUPPORT

Winnie Madikizela-Mandela says former president Nelson Mandela remains “quite ill”, the Sunday Independent reports. Mandela is being treated at home after spending three months in hospital earlier this year. Madikizela-Mandela said his room at his Houghton home was “like an ICU ward” and that 22 doctors are in attendance. His former wife also reported Mandela can no longer speak because of tubes in his mouth to clear fluid from his lungs, but that doctors still hope he will recover his voice. Madikizela-Mandela dispelled rumours Mandela is on life support.

NUMSA, COSATU: SPLIT ON THE CARDS?

The National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) could be pushed out of the Congress of South African Trade Unions at a meeting of the labour federation’s central executive committee meeting, City Press reported. The union is a vocal supporter of suspended general secretary, Zwelinzima Vavi. Numsa’s ‘ill discipline’ was cited as the reason for its possible expulsion from Cosatu. Delegates to the three-day meeting are expected to discuss Numsa’s decision to suspend Cosatu second deputy president and Numsa show steward Zingiswa Losi in October. The union will hold a special congress in Bloemfontein next month where it will decide whether to support the ANC in next year’s election.

MADONSELA: MISTAKE TO GIVE SECURITY CLUSTER NKANDLA REPORT

The public protector says Thuli Madonsela says it was a mistake to hand over her provisional report on Nkandla to ministers in the security cluster, the Sunday Times reported. Thuli Madonsela said the ministers of police, justice, defence, state security and public works abused her gesture of “good faith”. Madonsela told the newspaper she would now be guided only by the Constitution and her conscience, and was prepared to go to jail if need be. Madonsela and her team have probed the spending of R206 million on President Jacob Zuma’s private home in Nkandla. The architect behind the project, Minenhle Makhanya Architects, was appointed privately by Zuma, but paid with state funds.

NKANDLA A ‘TINY ELEMENT’ OF STATE’S UNAUTHORISED EXPENDITURE

Outgoing auditor-general Terence Nombembe says the R206 million spent on President Jacob Zuma’s private home at Nkandla is a “tiny element” of the R28.7 billion blown by the state in “irregular and unauthorised” expenditure. A further R2.1 billion was racked up in “fruitless and wasteful” expenditure. Speaking to City Press, Nombembe said it was unfortunate that there is a spotlight on one tiny element of R206 million [President Jacob Zuma’s Nkandla residence] of the R20?billion plus”. Provinces were the main culprits, with Gauteng responsible for R6.7 billion in irregular expenditure while the Western Cape recorded the lowest wastage of R212 million. Nombembe said legislation needed to be tighter so as to hold people accountable.

ENVIRONMENTAL CRIME UNIT GIVEN R8.1 MILLION BOOST

SANParks’ environmental crime investigation unit (ECIU) has been boosted with a R8.1 million donation from the Asset Forfeiture Unit. Spokesman for the National Prosecuting Authority Nathi Mncube said the money would “enhance and support their ranger corps capabilities with much needed equipment, training and advanced technology for their counter-poaching operations”, Sapa reported. The cash was sized from a member of a poaching syndicate, former policeman Joseph Nyalunga, who was arrested in December 2011. Two 4×4 were also seized, the proceeds of which will also go to the ECIU. DM

Photo: Blade Nzimande (REUTERS)

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