A round-up of the day’s news from South Africa.
TWO KILLED IN SERVICE DELIVERY CLASH WITH POLICE
Two people have been killed during a clash with police when residents of a village marched to a nearby town in North West province to protest about water shortages, police said. The protest took place near the town of Brits, which lies 80 km north of Johannesburg and near the country’s platinum belt, the scene of often-violent labour unrest the past two years.
The region has also been hit by drought. “Two protestors died and two were wounded when they marched to Brits and clashed with police. It is suspected that police fired shots but this is being investigated,” police spokesman Sabata Mokgwabone said. He did not provide further details. It was not clear if the police had used live ammunition or rubber bullets to quell the protest, which was triggered by a water shortage.
ZUMA DENOUNCES VIOLENCE AGAINST EFF IN NKANDLA
President Jacob Zuma says the governing ANC does not approve of violent action against people who are exercising their democratic right to freedom of political association. Speaking at a business breakfast hosted by The New Age, Zuma was reacting to news that 30 members of the ANC were arrested for public violence after they attacked a visiting delegation from the Economic Freedom Fighters in Nkandla. Zuma said booing is also part of the freedom of self-expression. The ANC members arrested in Nkandla have appeared in court and were given bail of R500 each. The case was postponed until 18 February.
NUM URGES FARLAM COMMISSION TO COMPLETE INQUIRY
The National Union of Mineworkers has called on the Farlam commission of inquiry into the deaths of 44 people at Lonmin’s Marikana mines to “expedite its inquiry so that justice is not delayed”. In a statement, spokesman Livhuwani Mammburu said justice for all those affected was the “best memorial” that could give closure to the families of the deceased. The commission is tipped to complete its investigation by the end of April, 20 months after the massacre. Rivalry between the NUM and the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) is believed to have contributed to the violence in the area.
President Jacob Zuma’s cabinet spent R10.8 million on car rentals between 1 January 2012 and 31 March 2013, despite the ministers treating themselves to expensive luxury cars at taxpayers’ expense. DA transport spokesman, Ian Ollis, said social development minister Bathabile Dlamini spent R642,904.97 and her deputy, Bongi Ntuli, a further R142,822.79. Public enterprises minister Malusi Gigaba racked up a bill of R283,166.41, and his deputy Bulelani Magwanishe spent R200,017.73. Ollis said the “continued splurging” by officials showed a lack of commitment to cutting costs despite finance minister Pravin Gordhan’s “belt- tightening measures”. He called for the new Ministerial Handbook to be published and implemented urgently.
LEKOTA: COPE IS FINANCIALLY VIABLE
The Congress of the People is a “strong, viable, vibrant and necessary opposition party” says leader Mosiuoa Lekota. Lekota was re-elected at COPE’s first national congress attended by over 700 delegates this weekend. Responding to reports that the party was in the midst of a financial crisis, Lekota said this was a “misperception” and “not the case at all”. He said while the party’s “true value” lay in its “human capital”, this did not mean “we [were] not financially viable”. He said the party would mount a strong challenge to the ANC in this year’s elections.
KREJCIR ASSASSINATION CASE POSTPONED
Four accused linked to a plot to assassinate police officers investigating Czech fugitive Radovan Krejcir have appeared in court, but the case has been postponed until next week. National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Nathi Mcube told reporters the postponement was in order to “iron out few issues” but did not specify what they were. He said the state would oppose bail for the three men and one woman, as “this is a serious case”. Two men and the woman were arrested in Sandton for allegedly plotting to kill forensic investigator Paul O’Sullivan and crime intelligence officer Colonel Nkosana ‘Killer’ Ximba, Sapa reported. A third man was arrested later. DM
Photo: Radovan Krejcir. (REUTERS)
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