South Africa

FIVE MINUTES: South Africa, 05 December 2013

By Daily Maverick Staff Reporter 5 December 2013

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

CLASS, NOT RACE, HOLDING BACK RECONCILIATION

The 2013 Institute for Justice and Reconciliation’s (IJR) South Africa Reconciliation Barometer Survey has showed that class, not race, is the greatest impediment to national reconciliation. “It lists six overarching social issues, of which class was most commonly identified as the most divisive (27.9 %), with race dropping to fourth place (14.6 %),” the IJR said in a statement. The report focused on social, political and economic exclusion and indicated citizens felt less trusting of national leaders. There was a 10.8% decrease in citizens’ confidence in national government since 2012. There had been a 13 % increase in the number of citizens who believed the government did not care about “people like them”. It found citizens showed the highest confidence in religious institutions (67%) and the public protector (64.4 %), and the lowest confidence in political parties (45.2%) and the police (47.9%).

PUBLIC PROTECTOR: NKANDLA REPORT DUE FOR JANUARY RELEASE

The public protector says she plans to release her report into the multimillion rand ‘security upgrades’ to President Jacob Zuma’s private home in January, disputing the ANC’s claim that it would be released in March so as to impact on the general elections. The ANC has demanded Thuli Madonsela issue the report sooner rather than later. Sapa reported Madonsela said that as protector she had no role in politics and harboured no intentions of channelling voters in certain directions at next year’s polls. “It is not for the public protector to advise or influence the exercise of the people of South Africa’s rights to choose political parties they would like to govern them,” she said. Madonsela said she wanted to meet the ANC.

ROAD TO NKANDLA COSTS R290 MILLION

Transport minister Dipuo Peters has confirmed her department spent around R290 million of taxpayers’ money on a 32.4 kilometre stretch of road connecting President Jacob Zuma’s hometown Nkandla to neighbouring town Kranskop, The Star reported. Peters, replying to a parliamentary question posed by the Inkatha Freedom Party, said the KwaZulu-Natal transport department had spent R290 million on the construction of the road. But transport MEC Willies Mchunu said the road had nothing to do with Zuma. In a report in The Mercury in 2012, Mchunu said former President Thabo Mbeki identified Nkandla as an area needing development.

VAVI: THE POST-APARTHEID STATE IS A CAPITALIST STATE

Cosatu’s suspended general secretary says the ANC is dividing the working class. Zwelinzima Vavi told a Treatment Action Campaign / Section 27 leadership school the post-Apartheid state was a capitalist state, The Star reported. Vavi asked if it was not time to build a “broad anti-capitalist front”. He said “corrupt and self-serving oligarchs will always see you as an irritation and will not hesitate to hire assassins to murder us”. Vavi was suspended for having an affair with a junior employee. But he and several unions belonging to the labour federation believe he is being targeted over his outspoken opposition to the current administration.

DA: REFORMS NEEDED TO TURN AROUND CURRENT ACCOUNT DEFICIT

Government is failing to manage South Africa’s economy, a fact highlighted by the latest widening of the current account deficit to 6.8% of GDP, says Democratic Alliance finance spokesman, Tim Harris. “This deficit reflects a lack of competitiveness across the South African economy that arises from the high cost of doing business, red tape and a failure on the part of government to boost trade with the rest of Africa,” he said in a statement. Harris said finance minister Pravin Gordhan must announce reforms to help turn around the current account deficit including increasing actual spending on infrastructure to 10% of GDP; reducing increases in administered prices like electricity, communication and fuel costs that raise the cost of doing business.

SEKUNJALO LAYS CRIMINAL CHARGE AGAINST SUNDAY TIMES

Sekunjalo Investments has laid a criminal charge against the Sunday Times, its publishers, editor Phylicia Oppelt and journalist Bobby Jordan, the company said in a statement. The charge relates to a story on a provisional report by the public protector into the awarding of a tender to Sekunjalo for managing the department of fisheries’ fleet of patrol and research vessels. Sekunjalo said the newspaper was in “flagrant contravention” of certain sections of the Public Protector Act, as it was illegal to publish sections of provisional reports. The company denied it had “engaged in collusive tendering and/or bid rigging”.

ZILLE AND DE LILLE TO MEET CAPE TOWN LEADERS OVER SERVICE DELIVERY

Western Cape Premier Helen Zille and Cape Town executive mayor Patricia de Lille will meet a group of influential Capetonians after they issued a statement condemning a group of activists attempts to “promote a climate of hate” and also warning that inadequate service delivery was causing frustration and anger. The Cape Times reported the mayor and the premier would meet the group, which includes Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, Archbishop Thabo Makgoba and other prominent religious leaders, on Friday. The group of 86 said “constructive engagement” was the way to proceed, and made suggestions on how to improve the lot of the city’s poor.

KREJCIR A FLIGHT RISK, SAYS PROSECUTOR

Prosecutors say Radovan Krejcir is already a fugitive from justice from his home country, the Czech Republic, and could flee if given bail, Sapa reported. Prosecutor Louis Mashiane said he was a man “well-equipped to flee at any time. It is on record that the family have several passports, some with assumed names”. Krejcir and his co-accused – estate agent Desai Luphondo and members of the police’s Hawks unit, warrant officers Samuel Modise Maropeng and George Jeff Nthoroane – were applying for bail. They face charges of assault, kidnapping and attempted murder. Mashiane said Krejcir’s wife and child had left South Africa for the Seychelles and had only returned a day before his bail application. DM

Photo: Radovan Krejcir. (REUTERS)

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