South Africa

FIVE MINUTES: South Africa

By Daily Maverick Staff Reporter 11 December 2013

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


US President Barack Obama hailed Nelson Mandela as a “giant of justice” but said too many leaders in the world claimed solidarity with his struggle for freedom “but do not tolerate dissent from their own people”. Obama, speaking at a memorial in Johannesburg for Mandela, made the comment in front of an audience of leaders that included Chinese Vice President Li Yuanchao, Cuban President Raul Castro and Zimbabwe’s president, Robert Mugabe. Obama shook the hand of Cuban President Raul Castro in an unprecedented gesture between the leaders of two nations, which have been at loggerheads for more than half a century. Castro smiled as Obama shook his hand on the way to the podium to make a speech at the commemoration for former South African President Mandela, one of the world’s greatest peacemakers who died on Thursday.


President Jacob Zuma was booed and jeered at a memorial to Nelson Mandela, first when he arrived at the FNB Stadium, when his face appeared on giant screens in the stadium and later when he prepared to address the thousands of mourners in Johannesburg. Organisers were forced to cut in with a choir to drown out the hostile reception. Some in the crowd accompanied the boos for Zuma with thumbs-down gestures and rotating hand movements, the sign for a substitution in a soccer match. The reaction of the crowd was in start contrast to the cheers that greeted former presidents Thabo Mbeki and FW de Klerk, and the resounding applause that heralded the arrival of President Barack Obama. Deputy president of the ANC, Cyril Ramaphosa, at one stage called on crowd to show “the same level of discipline” that Mandela had.


An angry Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu shouted at the rowdy crowd at the Nelson Mandela memorial held at Soccer City, Sapa reported. “I want to show the world we can come out here and celebrate the life of an icon,” Tutu said. “You must show the world that we are disciplined. I want to hear a pin drop.” When people started talking, the archbishop pointed them out, and said he wanted them to promise God to follow Mandela’s example. Tutu also addressed the crowd in Afrikaans, a gesture that was recognised by his Twitter followers.


Nelson Mandela’s life was about the service to others, says his grandson General Thanduxolo Mandela. “I can see Mandela is smiling from above from the equality of men, brotherhood and humanity displayed here,” he said, speaking on behalf of the family. Mandela’s grandchildren Mbuso Mandela, Andile Mandela, Zozuko Dlamini and Phumla Mandela also delivered their tributes to applause from the crowds gathered at the stadium. Andile spoke of reconciliation and walking in Madiba’s footsteps. UN secretary general Ban Ki-Moon said a “rainbow emerges from the rain and sun. I hope you will be able to see the rainbow still through the rain of sadness and sorrow of celebration. A rainbow cleans our heart”. He said Madiba was one of the greatest leaders of our time.



The six-week-old baby raped by a family member is doing well and will be moved from the Kimberley Hospital’s paediatric intensive care unit to a general ward soon, the Diamond Fields Advertiser reported. The baby girl, raped allegedly by her uncle, is recovering from emergency surgery to repair the damage done during the attack. She is now able to be breastfed, is breathing on her own and won’t need more surgery. Earlier, Northern Cape Premier Sylvia Lucas and the health MEC Mxolisi Sokatsha visited the baby’s mother and grandmother as they kept vigil at her bedside in the hospital’s paediatric ICU. “The baby looked beautiful… the mother appeared strong and calm,” Lucas said. “However, it is obvious that she is still terrified. When asked about the perpetrator, her first question to us was whether he was going to come out of jail because she now fears that their lives will never be the same.”


A Freedom Park man who was reported to have helped police identify members of a notorious gang is in critical condition in hospital after being stabbed. Police told The Star they were investigating whether the attack on Litha Gqobo was linked to the Golf Club Gang, a violent outfit who terrorised resident of Freedom Park. They would attack residents with golf clubs, robbing them and raping them while unconscious. Gibson Moloto, a member of the local community policing forum, told the newspaper he believed the attack was due to his and Gqobo’s help in putting a stop to the gang’s activities.


Durban’s Road Traffic Management Corporation have arrested three people at the Phoenix testing ground that issued the roadworthiness certificate for a truck involved in a crash that claimed 24 lives, Sapa reported. The men face charges of fraud and corruption. The RTMC, an anti-corruption unit within the police, arrested the men during a sting operation, said its deputy head Jody Pillay. He said the men would pass unroadworthy vehicles for R450 and that they company “just wanted to turn a quick buck”. He said the problem was countrywide. Pillay could not say if the men were involved in issue the roadworthy certificate for the truck that crashed into four minibus taxis and two cars when it lost control down Fields Hill, killing 24 people


A teenager on holiday in Durban has been killed after trying to save a woman being mugged near the Moses Mabhida Stadium. The Daily News reported that Nathan van Reenen, from George in the Western Cape, tried to catch the suspect, chasing after the mugger. He was stabbed in the neck, the knife cutting his jugular vein, and later died in hospital. His brother Luke told the newspaper Nathan had only been in Durban for a few hours and was “in the wrong place at the wrong time”. He said his brother was always willing to help people. But in this case, it was a “bad decision”. Police have not made any arrests but have asked the woman who was attacked to come forward.

Photo: Winnie Mandela (L), ex-wife of former South African President Nelson Mandela, chats with former Archbishop Desmond Tutu during the national memorial service for Nelson Mandela at the First National Bank (FNB) Stadium, also known as Soccer City, in Johannesburg December 10, 2013. (REUTERS)


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