South Africa

FIVE MINUTES: South Africa

By Daily Maverick Staff Reporter 19 November 2013

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

MALEMA: ‘I WILL NEVER STEAL FROM YOU’

Julius Malema has told his supporters he has never stolen from South Africans and that the African National Congress was trying to silence him by bringing fabricated charges against him. Addressing a crowd of Economic Freedom Fighters supporters, who hailed him as their ‘commander in chief, after his court appearance in Polokwane on charges of corruption, Malema said, “I will never betray you. I did not steal from you. I will never steal from you. I will never do that to you”. He described his former party as the “apartheid ANC” and said President Jacob Zuma was a criminal. Malema is out on bail of R10,000. His court case has been set down for September next year, but he intends making representations to a judge next Thursday and Friday in a bid to get the charges dropped.

ZUMA VISITS MANDELA, FINDS HIM ‘CRITICAL BUT STABLE’

Nelson Mandela remains in a stable but critical condition, says President Jacob Zuma, who has visited the former president at his Houghton home. Mandela is being treated at home for the lung infection that saw him hospitalised for nearly three months earlier this year. Zuma said in a statement Madiba “continues to respond to treatment” and that he’d “conveyed the well wishes of all South Africans and those of the peoples of the world to the Mandela family and assured them that nations are united in their thoughts and prayers for him”. Zuma said he presented Mandela with the Lifetime Award for Global Peace from the Mahathir Global Peace Foundation, which he received on his behalf in Malaysia.

DIRCO TAKES RESPONSIBILITY FOR ‘POSTPONEMENT’ OF MOTLANTHE AWARD

The department of international relations stopped deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe receiving an academic honour from the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing, not President Jacob Zuma, a spokesman said. Clayson Monyela was responding to reports that Zuma had a hand in withdrawing the honour, a claim that outraged his spokesman, Mac Maharaj, who said they were “baseless and ridiculous”. Monyela said the award was postponed “to allow for proper consultations”. Monyela said Motlanthe had led a South African delegation to attend the Fifth Bi-National Commission in China.

‘BIG GUY’ TREMOR SHAKES JOHANNESBURG

The Council for Geoscience says a magnitude four earthquake struck Johannesburg on Monday, but emergency services reported they had not received any reports of damage or injuries stemming from the tremor. Preliminary analysis by the Council detected the centre of the shock near the University of Johannesburg in Auckland Park. Manager of the Council for Geoscience’s seismology unit, Michelle Grobbelaar, told Sapa the tremor was “quite a big guy”. Grobbelaar said previously that after an earthquake, it was a rule of thumb that another tremor of similar magnitude could often be expected in the same region, but seismologists could not predict when this would happen.

CITY OF CAPE TOWN TAKES ON CONSTRUCTION

Contractors who made millions out of the construction of the Cape Town stadium through tender rigging and colluding on bids will not escape legal action by the City of Cape Town, the Argus reported. Deputy city manager Mike Marsden said a highly competent legal team, boosted by experts with experience in international collusion cases, had been formed to work on Cape Town’s claim against contractors. Earlier this year, the Competition Commission fined 15 companies for tending rigging and price collusion on projects that included the construction of World Cup stadiums. Marsden said the city would submit its claim early next year and would also work with the department of trade and industry on initiating better controls for the construction industry.

UNIONS WILL CONVENE SPECIAL CONGRESS OF DLAMINI DOES NOT

Unions supporting suspended Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi have given the labour federation’s president S’dumo Dlamini an ultimatum to convene a special congress before the end of the month, or they will convene it themselves. The Star reported correspondence from member unions behind Vavi told Dlamini Cosatu’s constitution “declares in clause 3.3.2.2 that ‘if the president fails to call a special NC (national congress), then the CEC (central executive committee) is empowered to nominate a convener of the special NC”. General secretary of the National Union of Metalworkers of SA signed the letter. In September, nine unions filed papers in an attempt to nullify Vavi’s suspension. In their correspondence to Dlamini, the unions want to look at re-electing Cosatu’s national office bearers.

NEF CEO AND OFFICALS CLEARED OF MISCONDUCT

The chief executive officer of the department of trade and industry’s National Development Fund and two officials have been cleared of corruption by an independent team of investigators. CEO Philisiwe Mthethwa, who is married to police minister Nathi Mthethwa, was fingered by a whistleblower in a report that alleged misconduct on her part and that of the officials. But a forensic investigation by Deloitte has cleared all three. The dti said it had no choice but to investigate the allegations as “they emanated from an apparent ‘insider’, and that some of them had been reported in the media”. The NEF was criticised for funding luxury boutique Luminance and for have to write off R290 million worth of loans.

WESTERN CAPE STARTS COUNTING THE COST OF FLOODS

The Western Cape is still counting the cost of the weekend’s flash floods, but Agri Wes-Cape CEO Carl Opperman says damage could run into millions. Opperman said farmers in the Overberg and Boland regions had been severely impacted as the storm struck in the deciduous fruit and grain harvest season. Some farmers had lost up to 90% of their produce, he said. Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille told BDlive the city had spent over R3 million providing relief to the more than 18,000 people affected by the floods. Two women are reported to have died when their car was swept off the Jonkershoek Bridge in Stellenbosch while they were on their way to church, a police spokesman said. A hospital had to be evacuated in Somerset West after the Lourens River burst its banks and there are fears the Breede River could still follow suit. DM

Photo: Julius Malema

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