South Africa

FIVE MINUTES: South Africa

By Daily Maverick Staff Reporter 14 January 2014

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.

GROWTH IN JOBS IN THE INFORMAL SECTOR

South Africa’s skills shortage is not being met by a supply of highly skilled workers the Adcorp employment index reports. Figures for November and December last year show that South Africa’s skills shortage is “substantial”, Fin24 reported. At the same time, employment grew by 23,861 jobs over the same period, with 12,722 of those in the informal sector. Adcorp’s labour market economist Loane Sharp the temporary work sector created 5,922 jobs and that 5,271 permanent jobs were established. Sharp said the growth in the informal sector demonstrated its importance in the labour market.

WAS R98 MILLION IN BONUSES JUSTIFIED?

Despite only achieving 40 of its 102 targets for the year, the department of correctional services spent R98 million rewarding employees. DA correctional services spokesman James Selfe said while there are many “outstanding officials” in the department, “R98 million in bonuses for a department that failed to meet most of its targets raises a few eyebrows, and certainly some questions”. He said minister S’bu Ndebele should reveal whether the 6,693 bonus recipients were senior officials and whether they were performance based. “Bonuses should only be given to incentivise service delivery excellence and not to further mediocrity,” he said.

MILLIONS SPENT ON CAR HIRE FOR MINISTERS

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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