South Africa

FIVE MINUTES: South Africa

By Daily Maverick Staff Reporter 22 November 2013

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

MINISTERS DENY NKANDLA REPORT WAS ‘POLITICISED’

Security minister Siyabonga Cwele has denied the Justice Crime Prevention and Security (JCPS) Cluster politicised the public protector’s report into Nkandla. Earlier, Advocate Thuli Madonsela, at a press conference, told reporters she hoped the process of finalising the controversial report into massive state spending on ‘security upgrades’ at President Jacob Zuma’s private home would be “depoliticised”. Defence minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula said the security cluster never discussed trying to coerce Madonsela in a particular way. “I am not aware that we politicised the process.”

TAKING AND PUBLISHING PHOTOS OF NKANDLA ILLEGAL

Security minister Siyabonga Cwele and police minister Nathi Mthethwa have warned media not to publish photographs of President Jacob Zuma’s multimillion private estate, as it is a national key point. Mthethwa said media would be prosecuted, and face the full might of the law, if they disobeyed. “The continuing flashing of these pictures of a place which has been declared by the minister of police as a national key point is not correct – it’s in breach of the law,” he said. Mthethwa said Nkandla was declared a national key point in 2008. This was before Zuma became president.

COSATU ASKS NUMSA TO WITHDRAW VAVI CASE

Cosatu says it is not in the labour federation’s interest to go to court over the issue of suspended general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi. It has asked his main supporter, the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) and two other affiliates to withdraw their court action, Sapa reported. The organisation’s second deputy president, Zingiswa Losi, who was suspended by Numsa as a shop steward, told reporters Cosatu was waiting to see what Numsa, the Food and Allied Workers’ Union, and the SA Football Players’ Union would do in response to its request. Numsa has lodged a high court application challenging Vavi’s suspension. Vavi has filed papers to be added as an applicant in Numsa’s challenge.

FORMER KZN PREMIER SPENT OVER A MILLION ON PRIVATE PLANES

Former KwaZulu-Natal premier Zweli Mkhize should pay back the R1.2 million his government spent on private helicopters and planes during his term of office, says DA leader in KwaZulu-Natal, Sizwe Mchunu. Current premier, Senzo Mchunu, said in response to a question asked in the legislature that Mkhize used 45 planes and helicopters between 2010 and 2013. But his office told The Star this was not unusual as private aircraft were used to access the province’s many remote rural areas. The DA disagreed. “The expenditure on these private flights is completely inappropriate and excessive,” Mchunu said. “Premiers do not get to fly in luxury private jets at the people’s expense.”

MANTASHE MUST INVESTIGATE WC ANC, SAYS GROUP

A group of ANC members in the Western Cape has accused the province’s leadership of corruption, factionalism and cronyism, the Argus reported. The group wants secretary general Gwede Mantashe to intervene, saying the current leaders had misrepresented the state of the province to national leadership. Rashaad Carlsen and Hanif Loonat told the newspaper they were tired of defending an organisation that was “blatantly selling its own principles”. Marius Fransman is the current leader of the party in the province. In a statement, the leadership said the group were behaving like “agents provocateurs” that were disgruntled they hadn’t made party lists ahead of next year’s elections.

CABINET CALLS FOR ‘RIGOROUS’ INVESTIGATION INTO TONGAAT MALL COLLAPSE

Cabinet has called for a “rigorous” investigation into how multi-storey construction of the Tongaat Mall collapsed. Acting minister in the presidency, Lindiwe Sisulu, said there were labour laws to protect the rights of workers, adding that cabinet “condemned those responsible for the disaster”. A politically connected businessman, Jay Singh, who has tenders to build low cost housing, is the man behind the mall construction. The eThekwini municipality said it was aware Singh continued to build the mall despite a court order designed to prevent him from doing so. The Times newspaper reported labourers were not registered with the labour department.

ZUMA’S BODYGUARDS PULL RIFLES IN SOCCER TRAFFIC

Spectators at the South Africa versus Spain soccer game, which was attended by President Jacob Zuma, were shocked at the aggression displayed by the president’s protection unit. The bodyguards were reported to have banged on cars, telling them to move, while pulling out their R5 rifles in traffic leaving the stadium, The Star reported. Earlier, an EWN journalist opened a case of common assault against the VIP unit after a guard leaned out of a car to knock a camera from his hands. The South African National Editors’ Forum said civil servants, especially those accompanying the president, should “respect the rights and duties of the media and treat journalists with respect”.

SA CONTRIBUTES R4 MILLION TO PHILIPPINE RESCUE ORGANISATION

The South African government has contributed R4 million to the government of the Philippines in the wake of the typhoon that killed thousands and displaced millions. The international relations department said it had responded to a call for assistance from the Philippines, donating the money to Rescue SA, which is helping with rescue operations on the islands. Rescue SA has mobilised a 20-member rescue team comprising doctors, paramedics, fire, rescue and related professional personnel to the Philippines with the aim of the reaching isolated areas been ravaged by the Super Typhoon. DM

Photo: Gwede Mantashe (REUTERS)

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