A round-up of the day’s news from South Africa.
SHOPPING MALL CONSTRUCTION COLLAPSES, TRAPS OVER 50
A two-storey construction site of a shopping mall in Tongaat, a sugar-growing area along KwaZulu-Natal’s north coast, has collapsed trapping over 50 people, eNCA reported. Netcare 911 spokesman, Chris Botha, told the channel that emergency services, including search and rescue specialists, were responding to the disaster. Botha said it would take time to search through the rubble to find the victims as the two-storey structure had completely collapsed, with concrete blocks lying on top on each other. He said sniffer dogs were on the site to help search and rescue operations.
TWO MEN IN COURT FOR POSSESSING URANIUM
Two men have appeared in the Durban Magistrate’s court charged with possessing a kilogram of uranium, police said. Mozambican, Sasa Esmael Vulay, and Sibusiso Solomon Mkhize, a South African, were arrested in Durban. “The investigation began when police intelligence revealed that two men were looking for potential buyers for narcotics and uranium,” police said in a statement. The two were also charged with possessing 90 ecstasy tablets. They will be detained until 3 December for a formal bail hearing. The South African Nuclear Energy Corporation confirmed the substance was uranium and said more tests were being carried out to determine its isotopic level.
NO BAIL FOR BRICKZ
A magistrate says kwaito musician and rape accused Brickz is likely to intimidate witnesses, resulting in a refusal to grant the musician bail, Sapa reported. Magistrate Piet Kotze said there was “convincing evidence and likelihood that the applicant will intimidate witnesses”. Brickz, whose real name is Sipho Charles Ndlovu, is alleged to have raped his 16-year-old cousin earlier this year. He intends appealing the decision. Kotze also said the musician had lied about a previous conviction to possession of cocaine. The case was postponed until 5 December.
DA OPPOSED TO SECRET BRIEFING ON CRIMINALITY AT SABC
The Democratic Alliance says it will not be party to a secret briefing on criminal prosecutions arising from a Special Investigation Unit probe into the SABC. Communications spokeswoman, Marian Shinn, said minister had asked that he brief the portfolio committee in a closed meeting. “Minister Carrim should be as frank as possible on the years-long investigation without infringing on the legal rights of those not yet criminally charged,” Shinn said in a statement. “Anything else will be deemed to be a cover-up or lethargy on the part of the SIU and SABC to adequately deal with the wide-ranging corruption that brought the SABC to its knees four years ago.”
MAIMANE OUTLINES PLAN TO FIGHT E-TOLLS – IF HE WINS
DA Gauteng premier candidate, Mmusi Maimane, has outlined his plan to fight the province’s e-tolls should the Democratic Alliance win the province in next year’s elections. He said he would do “everything in his power” to fight a system the people neither want nor can afford. He said although the final decision resided with national government it was incumbent on the province to fight for the best interests of its people. He said the ANC had “betrayed the people”. He said a referendum should be held to canvas views, an interdict obtained to stop further rollout of more e-tolling and an intergovernmental dispute declared that would force mediation with national government. “We will continue to fight against this system at every turn,” he said.
WESTERN CAPE SPENDS R13M A YEAR ON LEGAL FEES
Western Cape premier Helen Zille has confirmed her government has racked up over R13 million a year in legal fees for the past four years, the Argus reported. But she said the Western Cape government spent far less than other provinces and national government, an answer that didn’t impress opposition leader, Lynne Brown. “The premier must stop deflecting provincial issues by comparing it to other provinces. She runs this province and we hold her accountable for what happens here,” Brown said. Zille said the fees included legal opinions and litigation fees across 13 departments, as well as costs related to rationalisation, drafting and the quality control of provincial legislation.
MORE EXPLOSIVES DISCOVERED IN BUS AT BEIT BRIDGE
A bus travelling from Zimbabwe to South Africa has been impounded after police in Limpopo discovered explosives hidden inside an overhead luggage compartment. Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi said the stockpile of 13 blasting cartridges and 13 connectors cap fuses were uncovered during a routine search at Beit Bridge border post. He said the explosives were similar to those found in possession of a woman, Elita Sibanda, last month, who was found with 26 plastic cartridges and 100 detonators. Mulaudzi said no formal arrests had been made, but police were questioning possible suspects, including a woman who was found in possession of a mining certificate.
COSATU PRESIDENT HEARS THE ‘DRUMS OF WAR’
Cosatu president S’dumo Dlamini says the “drums of war” are being beaten as factions of the labour federation prepare for a massive internal power struggle. Dlamini, addressing a Cosatu central executive committee meeting, said there was “commitment to a war to remove some individuals who have been defined as enemies because they sit in the ANC NEC and in the SACP central committee”, the Star reported. Dlamini was referring to the National Union of Mineworkers of SA (Numsa) who are agitating for a special congress he believes is aimed at removing him and are vocal in their support of suspended Cosatu general secretary, Zwelinzima Vavi. DM
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