South Africa

FIVE MINUTES: South Africa

By Daily Maverick Staff Reporter 6 December 2013

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


Former president Nelson Mandela died aged 95 at his Johannesburg home on Thursday after a prolonged lung infection, plunging the world into mourning. Although Mandela had been frail and ailing for nearly a year, President Jacob Zuma’s announcement late on Thursday of the death of the Nobel Peace Prize laureate shook South Africa and tributes began flooding in almost immediately. U.S. President Barack Obama said the world had lost “one of the most influential, courageous and profoundly good human beings that any of us will share time with on this earth”. British Prime Minister David Cameron called Mandela “a hero of our time” and said “a great light has gone out in the world”.

Ordinary South Africans were in shock. “It feels like it’s my father who has died. He was such a good man, who had good values the nation could look up to. He was a role model unlike our leaders of today,” said Annah Khokhozela, 37, a nanny, speaking in Johannesburg.

A somber Zuma made a national broadcast to announce the death of South Africa’s first black president, who emerged from 27 years in Apartheid prisons to help guide Africa’s biggest economy through bloodshed and turmoil to democracy.

“Fellow South Africans, our beloved Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, the founding president of our democratic nation, has departed,” Zuma said in the nationally televised address.

“Our people have lost a father. Although we knew this day was going to come, nothing can diminish our sense of a profound and enduring loss. His tireless struggle for freedom earned him the respect of the world. His humility, passion and humanity, earned him their love,” he added.

Mandela would receive a full state funeral, Zuma said, ordering flags to be flown at half-mast. – (Reuters)


Transnet has appointed nine black owned companies to supply it with fuel over the next five years. The R15.5 billion deal, aimed at promoting the government’s black economic empowerment drive, is state-owned Transnet’s single biggest contract for goods and services, public enterprises minister Malusi Gigaba said. “This day will go down in history as the day black economic empowerment took a giant leap forward,” he said, adding that awarding of the contract was an instrument to address the injustices of the past and would assist in getting more black people into the economy. The nine companies awarded the contract are Afric Oil, Borutho Gas Supply, Gulfstream Energy, KZN Oils, Mzube Oil, NRW Trading, Tlhokaina 21, Women of Africa Fuels and Oils and Yem Yem  Petroleum. Eight of the nine companies are 100% black-owned, while five of them are more than 80% women-owned, with three being new entrants in the industry.


The public protector says Dina Pule should apologise to Parliament, the communications department, and the Sunday Times for her lies and unethical conduct, Sapa reported. Thuli Madonsela said the former communications minister insulted the newspaper and persistently denied that Phosane Mngqibisa was her “official companion”. She said Pule’s relationship with Mngqibisa “influenced his behaviour in the [ICT] indaba”. Mngqibisa was paid over R6 million for his involvement in the event. The DA’s Marian Shinn said Pule had an “ethical deficit” and could not be trusted to behave in the best interests of parliament.


Cabinet wants a report into spending at President Jacob Zuma’s private home at Nkandla released to the public. The inter-ministerial task team report was classified ‘top secret’ by public works minister Thulas Nxesi earlier this year. Acting performance monitoring and evaluation minister Angie Motshekga said cabinet had endorsed its recommendations and directed it be released. DA parliamentary leader Lindiwe Mazibuko said the move vindicated the party’s decision to approach the courts to have the report released. “We have long held that the classification of this report is invalid because it is not based in law, as such Parliament is not bound by it,” she said. Mazibuko said Nxesi’s “u-turn” was designed to “save face for President Zuma ahead of the 2014 elections”.


Eskom’s chief executive officer Brian Dames has resigned, and will leave the state power utility in March next year. Dames told eNCA he was leaving for “personal reasons”. Earlier, Eskom said Dames, since taking the job in 2010, had “substantially turned around the organisation”. Chairman Zola Tsotsi said he wanted to “personally thank Brian for his hard work, for taking the helm of Eskom during arduous times and successfully steering the company through many rough seas”. Eskom said Dames had “kept the lights in spite of a tight system”. Tsotsi said plans to find a successor were “well underway”.


Colin Eglin will receive a Special Provincial Official Funeral, President Jacob Zuma said in a statement. The late leader of the Progressive Federal Party and founder member of the Democratic Party in 1989 and the Democratic Alliance in 2000, passed away recently. Zuma has ordered the national flag be flown half-mast at every flag station in the Western Cape on Monday, the day of Eglin’s funeral.  “The country will remember Mr Eglin for his role in promoting human rights and justice in the country during the difficult period of apartheid colonialism. On behalf of government and the people of South Africa, we wish to convey our deepest condolences to his family and his political party. May his soul rest in peace,” said Zuma.


One of the men convicted of Chanelle Henning’s murder has told the Pretoria High Court her husband Nico allegedly asked him order the hit on her. Andre Gouws, a friend of Nico Henning’s for 24 years, told the court he’d been approached “to have her killed, and I took steps to fulfil his wishes”. Henning wanted custody of the couple’s child, and offered Gouws R1 million to carry out the hit. Gouws, who with former Nigerian Olympic athlete Ambrose Monye was found guilty of the contract murder of Henning, said he’d decided to tell the truth, as it was “the right thing to do”. Two men, Gerhardus du Plessis and Willem Pieterse, are serving 18-year prison terms after confessing to their roles in the murder.


A group of prominent Cape Town residents and religious leaders have met with representatives from the peoples’ rights movement Ses’khona to plan a march based on the historic 1989 March for Peace. The Cape Times reported Andile Lili and Loyiso Nkohla, dubbed the ‘poo protestors’, met at Bishopscourt, the residence of Archbishop Thabo Makgoba. The meeting followed a hard-hitting statement from Makgoba, Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, and 84 other signatories, in which they asked “a group of political activists’ to stop promoting a climate of hate and called on political leaders to step up service delivery to the poor. Imam Rashied Omar, chairman of the Western Cape Religious Leaders Forum, said a “highly disciplined” march would take place after Christmas.


The Democratic Alliance plans to lay criminal charges against agriculture, fisheries and forestry minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson after public protector Thuli Madonsela found she was guilty of maladministration, improper and unethical conduct in the awarding of a R800 million tender. Agriculture spokesman Pieter van Dalen said the minister had “made a last minute attempt to call on the minister of justice and constitutional development, Mr Radebe, to put a stop to the investigation”. Van Dalen said Joemat-Pettersson’s actions constituted interference in an investigation.” DM

Photo: A woman cries as she holds a candle and a flower outside former South African President Nelson Mandela’s house in Houghton, December 5, 2013. Mandela died peacefully at his Johannesburg home on Thursday after a prolonged lung infection, President Jacob Zuma said. (Reuters)


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