A round-up of the day’s news from South Africa.
GIFT OF THE GIVERS NEGOTIATING FOR KIDNAPPED SA MAN
Gift of the Givers founder Imtiaz Sooliman says negotiations with a group of kidnappers holding a South African teacher for ransom in Yemen are ongoing. Sooliman told Sapa a staff member in his Yemen office was in “constant contact” with Pierre Korkie’s captors. Korkie’s wife, Yolande, was released earlier this week with the help of the NGO. But the kidnappers on Friday demanded $3 million for the release of Pierre Korkie, to be paid within eight days. Sooliman said the aim was to first get the deadline extended, and then to “bring down the amount” the kidnappers are demanding. South Africa’s ambassador to Saudi Arabia is in Yemen to help bring Yolande Korkie back home. The Korkies were kidnapped in May last year.
NO MORE TENDERS FOR KZN INDIANS, SAYS BLACK GROUP
A black business group in KwaZulu-Natal has threatened to boycott the ANC unless the government stops giving tenders to Indians. City Press reported the Imbumba Business Group believes its members, numbering around 700, are being denied business opportunities in the province as an elite group of Indians run its economy. Another formation, the Mazibuye African Forum, has printed inflammatory pamphlets in which they accuse the ANC of making empty promises. It said it “loves the congress, but as black businesspeople, we are fed up with your Indians”. Its founder told the newspaper he was aware the pamphlet could “spark a war” between Indians and black people.
SECURITY SERVICES PROTECTED ZUMA FROM BOOING
President Jacob Zuma was protected from being booed at the launch of the ANC’s election manifest in Nelspruit. The Sunday Times reported extraordinary security measures were put in place such as pre-registering supporters and ensuring they sat according to the provinces from which they came. Security sources told the newspaper they knew which buses came from where and whom the passengers were, ensuring a partisan crowd were in place to cheer the president. High-level officials including security minister Siyabonga Cwele are said to have visited unhappy residents living near the Mbombela Stadium where the rally took place.
DA WANTS INVESTIGATION INTO USE OF SECURITY AGENTS FOR ANC BUSINESS
The Democratic Alliance has slammed the use of state intelligence operatives to protect President Jacob Zuma from those who might have booed him at the launch of the ANC’s election manifesto. Security spokesman Dirk Stubbe said it would ask Inspector General of Intelligence, Faith Radebe, to investigate whether intelligence agents and and police officers were used to “counter any moves by rogue elements within and outside the ANC who intend to embarrass President Zuma by booing him in front of the media”. The use of state intelligence operatives for political purposes is unconstitutional, and in contravention of state intelligence legislation,” Stubbe said.
ANC MEMBERS ARRESTED FOR STONING EFF SUPPORTERS
Police in KwaZulu-Natal have arrested ANC supporters after they clashed with members of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) in Nkandla, Sapa reported. Julius Malema and the EFF were handing over a house they had built for a neighbour of President Jacob Zuma’s. The house was constructed just 300m from Zuma’s private residence. ANC members threw stones and bottles at the EFF before police intervened using truncheons, rubber bullets and a water cannon to disperse the crowd and separate the groups. Police spokesman Captain Thulani Zwane said 30 people were arrested and would face charges of public violence.
ZUMA ANNOUNCED CRACKDOWN ON CORRUPTION
President Jacob Zuma announced a crackdown on corruption when he presented the ANC’s manifesto for elections this year. Zuma, who has ruled since 2009 and himself faces allegations of graft and abuse of power, announced the measures at a packed African National Congress (ANC) rally in Mpumalanga. Zuma made a point of pledging the anti-corruption drive when he presented the ANC’s 2014 elections manifesto to a partisan crowd in a soccer stadium in the city of Nelspruit. Taking aim at a major source of corruption in South Africa – government tenders often awarded to political allies, friends and family members – Zuma said his administration would create a “central tender board” to allocate all government contracts. Currently, government entities individually tender for services.
DA: ANC ELECTION MANIFESTO FAILS TO INSPIRE SA
The African National Congress’s election manifesto and President Jacob Zuma failed to inspire South Africans, says Mmusi Maimane, DA premier candidate for Gauteng and spokesman for the party. Maimane said in 2009 Zuma promised five million new jobs, and he now swore six million jobs would be created through the expanded public works programme but the “fact” was that 1.4 million people had lost jobs. “The unemployment crisis is the single defining failure of President Zuma’s five years in office…” Maimane said, adding that Zuma “could not provide one social-economic marker by which life has improved for South Africans since 2009”.
ARRIVE ALIVE: DALINDYEBO’S DAGGA HABIT NOT NEGATIVE
AbaThembu King Buyelekhaya Dalindyebo’s dagga-smoking habit does not have a negative effect on Arrive Alive’s road safety campaign, the organisation says. Dalindyebo is an ambassador for the campaign in his Eastern Cape district, Sapa reported. Spokesman Tshepo Machaea said Dalindyebo’s use of dagga “does not change anything”. “We understand that no one is above the law, but we are concentrating on the positive that he is bringing to the campaign because he is very vocal about speaking about drinking and driving,” Machaea said. DM
Photo: President Jacob Zuma (REUTERS)
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