A round up of the day’s news from South Africa.
“THE WHOLE WORLD IS COMING TO SOUTH AFRICA”
More than 70 world leaders from US President Barack Obama to Iran’s Hassan Rouhani are flying to South Africa for events commemorating Nelson Mandela this week, an unprecedented gathering that will hail one of humanity’s great peacemakers. Cuban leader Raúl Castro, Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe and Britain’s David Cameron as well as former prime ministers John Major, Tony Blair and Gordon Brown will also join what is set to be one of the biggest meetings of global dignitaries in recent years. “The whole world is coming to South Africa,” foreign relations spokesman Clayson Monyela said, playing down concerns about organising logistics and security for such a large event with only five days’ notice following Mandela’s death.
NELSON MANDELA’S LAST DAYS WERE ‘WONDERFUL’, SAYS DAUGHTER
Nelson Mandela’s oldest daughter, Makaziwe Mandela, says her father’s doctors warned the family he was about to die. Speaking to BBC World News, Makaziwe said doctors told them there was nothing more they could do, and that she should tell family members wanting to say goodbye to make their way to his Houghton home. She said Mandela’s final days were “wonderful” as he had his family around him. “The children were there, the grandchildren were there, Graça was there, so we are always around him and even at the last moment, we were sitting with him on Thursday the whole day,” she told the BBC. Makaziwe Mandela praised his doctors, saying they were like “soldiers guarding the spirit of the king”.
RELEASE OF GOVERNMENT’S NKANDLA REPORT DELAYED
Government has postponed the release of the inter-ministerial task team’s report into security upgrades at President Jacob Zuma’s private home in Nkandla. In a statement, the Government Communications and Information System (GCIS) said in view of the preparations for Nelson Mandela’s state funeral, government would be “unable to release the report this week”. Cabinet last week said it would release the previously ‘top secret’ report into the public domain this week after ANC secretary general called for transparency around the Nkandla upgrades. GCIS said it would announce a new date “in due course”.
TEENAGER KILLED AS MOB TURNS ON SOMALI SHOPKEEPERS
Residents in Lindelani north of Durban have looted a Somali-owned shop after a shoplifting incident turned into a xenophobic attack, the Daily News reported. A teenager was shot and killed in the violence. Reports said the owner caught three teenagers trying to shoplift in the Bafana General Dealer store. They escaped, and allegedly returned with a mob to loot it. One of the teenagers was shot, and the mob blamed the shop owner. Spokesman for Somali businesses, Ahmed Mohammed said the Somalis were wrongly accused, but the mob then started looting other shops in the area. Police spokesman Captain Thulani Zwane said six people were arrested and charged with public violence. A case of murder was opened at the Ntuzuma Police Station.
PROSECUTOR, WITNESS REPORT INTIMIDATION BY KREJCIR
The prosecutor in the Radovan Krejcir case was threatened by someone close to the Czech fugitive, Sapa reported. In a statement read by investigating officer Mashudu Freddy Ramuhala, Louis Mashiane said he received a call from a private number. The caller told him if he knew what was good for him, he would not oppose Krejcir’s bail application. In another statement, one of the witnesses said one of Krejcir’s co-accused, Desai Luphondo, had called from prison to say they knew the witness was the responsible for their arrest and that they would “show him”. Krejcir, Luphondo and two Hawks policemen face charges of kidnapping, assault and attempted murder.
NEW WINE ASSOCIATION LAUNCHED
A new wine classification association has been launched to build South Africa’s reputation as a wine-producing nation and to promote the Western Cape’s site-specific wines, Fin24 reported. Businessman Johann Rupert and a group of leading wine producers have launched the Cape Vintner Classification (CVC). Rupert said there was a need for an organisation that could “unify wine farmers as individuals”. Founding principles for membership included the wine farm being in private hands, good wine being made and a focus on sound approaches to labour issues and the environment. Rupert said discussion about such an association had been in the making for eight years.
NO BAIL FOR THANDI MAQUBELA
Judge John Murphy has turned down a bail application by Thandi Maqubela, pending her sentence for the murder of her husband, acting judge Patrick Maqubela. Delivering his ruling in the Western Cape High Court, Murphy said her request was “not in the interests of justice”, Sapa reported. Maqubela was convicted of premeditated murder, fraud and forgery. Murphy said Maqubela was out on bail for longer than two years prior to and during the course of her trial, but that he refused to extend bail after she was convicted. He said the court was hesitant to grant bail after a conviction, and that it had to take into account she convicted of three serious offences.
MOODY’S MAINTAINS SANRAL’S NEGATIVE CREDIT RATING
International credit rating agency Moody’s says a negative outlook has been assigned to the South African National Roads Agency Ltd (Sanral). Moody’s Investors Service confirmed the credit rating of Sanral after the group implemented its controversial e-toll system on 3 December, Business Tech reported. The organisation kept a negative outlook for Sanral after the agency was placed under review for a downgrade in September. In order to receive an upgrade in its ratings, Sanral needed to show evidence of its capacity to bring in the cash from e-tolling operations, Moody’s said. DM
Photo: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon addresses the media during a visit to the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory to pay his respects and honour the anti-apartheid icon on Monday, 9 December 2013. An unprecedented number of world leaders are expected to arrive in the country to pay tribute to Nelson Mandela. (Picture SAPA)
"A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong gives it a superficial appearance of being right and raises at first a formidable outcry in defence of custom. But the tumult soon subsides. Time makes more converts than reason." ~ Thomas Paine