South Africa

FIVE MINUTES: South Africa

By Daily Maverick Staff Reporter 12 December 2013

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

‘CHAMPION’ SIGNER HAD HALLUCINATONS ON STAGE

A South African sign language interpreter accused of miming nonsense as world leaders paid tribute to Nelson Mandela defended himself as a “champion” signer, but said he suffered a schizophrenic episode during the event. The interpreter, Thamsanqa Jantjie, told The Star newspaper he started hearing voices and hallucinating while on stage, resulting in gestures that made no sense to outraged deaf people around the world. The government admitted Jantjie was not a professional interpreter but played down security concerns at his sharing the podium with world leaders including US President Barack Obama at the memorial. The African National Congress said while it had utilised Jantjie’s services in the past, it had not done so this time, and that the state had “procured” him.

GAUTENG ANC WANTS TO DISPEL RUMOUR AND LIES OVER ZUMA BOOING

The African National Congress in Gauteng wants the party’s national leadership to investigate the booing of President Jacob Zuma at the memorial service for Nelson Mandela in Johannesburg. In a statement, it reiterated its “strongest condemnation of the booing”, calling it “despicable and in bad taste”. The provincial executive committee said the ANC needed to conduct a “full investigation” so as to “establish the facts”. It said the truth needed to come out “to dispel rumours and lies being peddled in the public domain”.

DA TLOKWE MAYOR WILL STEP DOWN

The Democratic Alliance says its mayor of Tlokwe, Annette Combrink, would resign after the African National Congress retained six wards in local by-elections. North West leader Chris Hattingh said the DA, now the minority opposition in the council, would “not cling to power in the same way the African National Congress had when its mayor Maphetle Maphetle was ousted and ANC councillors did not vacate their offices”. ANC spokesman Jackson Mthembu welcomed the results, saying democracy had prevailed and that order and credibility had been restored.

WINTERTON FARMER DIES AFTER FARM ATTACK

A Winterton farmer has died in a farm attack, the second at his farm this year. Mohamed Engar and his wife were beaten, stabbed and tortured with a hot iron, the Daily News reported. Police spokesman Captain Thulani Zwane said five armed men accessed the Noodhulp Farm, ransacked the house and took money, valuables and a Volvo. The couple’s son, Ahmed, who works on the farm said the robbers were frustrated as there were few valuables in the house as the family had been robbed in February. The Engar’s domestic worker was shot twice and is recovering in hospital.

PHOTOGRAPH OF ‘DEAD’ MANDELA A HOAX

The Associated Press has confirmed a photograph doing the rounds on Twitter said to be of Nelson Mandela lying in state was actually taken at an ANC conference in 1991. The news agency said on Twitter, “Photo of ‘dead’ Mandela is actually #AFP image of him closing his eyes at ANC conference in Durban in July 1991”. Earlier, the Mandela family spokesman, Lieutenant-General Themba Mathanzima, told Independent Newspapers the family was “concerned” about the photo and said they would ask government to investigate. Trevor Samson took the photograph at the ANC’s first national congress held in South Africa in July 1991.

MBEKI SAYS BETTER LEADERSHIP NEEDED FOR COMPLEX STRUGGLE

Thabo Mbeki says fears “something will happen” because Nelson Mandela had died were groundless, Sapa reported. Speaking to the Calvary Methodist Church in Midrand, Mbeki said Mandela had advance ANC values such as non-racialism, non-sexism and common prosperity. Mandela had contributed significantly towards the struggle against apartheid and later peace and reconciliation, but he did so as an “outstanding” representative of an “outstanding” party – the ANC. Mbeki also said South Africa needed better leadership. He said the country was dealing with “a more complex struggle” and that to deal with it, “we need to raise the level of the quality of leadership”.

POLICE SEIZE MILLIONS IN CONTRABAND CIGARETTES

Police in the Western Cape have seized contraband cigarettes valued at over R1.9 million, Sapa reported. Head of Western Cape traffic police, Kenny Africa, said the man was arrested driving from the North West to Cape Town and was arrested at the Visserhoek weighbridge 20km outside Cape Town. “The man, driving a truck, was arrested during a routine check by provincial traffic authorities,” he said. Last week, a man was arrested on the N7 near Klawer after being found in possession of contraband cigarettes with a street value of R1.2 million.

SABC STOPS ‘INAPPROPRIATE’ ADVERTISING DURING MOURNING PERIOD

The public broadcaster will not accept “inappropriate” advertising during the mourning period for Nelson Mandela, BDlive reported. SABC spokesman Kaiser Kganyago told the advertising industry the adverts included those for alcohol. The prohibition would last until 16 December, Kganyago said, after which normal advertising would resume. He said many companies had voluntarily told the broadcaster they would withdraw advertising in this time, and that this included big alcohol companies. The alcohol industry traditionally invests massive ad spend during the festive season. DM

Photo: Thamsanqa Jantjie. (REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach)

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