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.

FISHERIES DEPARTMENT REJECTS MADONSELA’S FINDINGS

Public protector Thuli Madonsela has “no substantive grounds for recommending disciplinary action” against the agriculture, forestry and fisheries minister, her department says. In a response to Madonsela’s report, titled ‘My way or no sea patrols’, the fisheries department said it rejected her findings that Tina Joemat-Pettersson had irregularly awarded a R800 million fisheries patrol services to the Sekunjalo Marine Service Consortium, which was later withdrawn. It said it had secured a legal opinion that agreed there were “anomalies” in the report that opened the public protector to further challenges on the report. “We are taking further advice in this matter,” said director general Edith Vries.

DA ASKS HAWKS TO PROBE JOEMAT-PETTERSSON

The Hawks have confirmed the Democratic Alliance has asked the unit to investigate agriculture, forestry and fisheries minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson. DA MP Pieter van Dalen said he’d initiated the probe after public protector Thuli Madonsela said the minister had interfered with the investigation and tried to have it shut down. The Cape Times reported that Hawks spokesman Paul Ramaloko said investigators were looking into the information provided by Van Dalen but that no charges had been formulated. Van Dalen said the response to the public protector’s report by Joemat-Pettersson’s department was a “last ditch effort” to protect her from being held accountable.

TAXI VIOLENCE CASE MOVED TO HIGH COURT

A prosecutor in the Sebokeng Magistrate’s Court is shielding four people accused of taxi violence, murder and attempted murder, Hawks spokesman Captain Paul Ramaloko says. Seven men from the Vaal Wits Taxi Association, accused of violence and murder, were arrested on different occasions in December, Sapa reported. The violence resulted in the deaths of two taxi bosses and a 15-year-old teenager. Four of the men have appeared in the Sebokeng Magistrate’s Court, but the case has been moved to the High Court in Johannesburg. The other three are due in court later this week.

UNION SLAMS NORTH WEST PREMIER’S ARROGANCE

The National Union of Public Service & Allied Workers has condemned North West premier Thandi Modise’s response to the killing of two protestors in Brits. Modise said it was unfortunate that the shooting occurred on the eve of a crucial meeting between her and water affairs minister Edna Molewa. The union asked how Modise could expect residents to “wait for her return from the festive season” while residents had been without water since October. It said instead of using her power to have the broken water pipes fixed, she used her power to buy a R1.3 million BMW and “arrogantly” ignored the “dire needs of her people”.

MARITZBURG COP SHOOTS PEACEMAKER, THEN HIMSELF

A man who tried to calm an angry policeman has been shot dead. The policeman from the Plessislaer police station in Pietermaritzburg then shot himself, the Daily News reported. Police spokesman Captain Thulani Zwane said the policeman, Gift Mchunu, was threatening his girlfriend’s sister in West Street in downtown Pietermaritzburg when Mfiswa Dlangisa tried to intervene, which led to an altercation between the two men. Mchunu shot Dlangisa twice, and then turned the gun on himself. Zwane said police were investigating.

DA: POLICE ‘TERRORISE THE PUBLIC, BRUTALITY ‘RAMPANT’ Police brutality is a “rampant problem” that needs to be dealt with, the Democratic Alliance says. Dianne Kohler Barnard said President Jacob Zuma had previously dismissed the party’s concerns, saying incidents were isolated and the “incidents we condemn are very few”. But Kohler Barnard said Zuma was wrong, and that he could no longer “bury his head in the sand while some police continue to terrorise the public”. She said the “tragic and senseless death” of two protestors in the North West province highlighted the need for Zuma to establish a full Judicial Commission of Inquiry into the high incidences of police brutality in South Africa.

MBEKI SLATES ‘HOMEBOY’ CULTURE IN GOVERNMENT

Thabo Mbeki believes tribalism in government perpetuates corruption. The Star reported that the former president, delivering a lecture at the University of South Africa, said the problem was “rampant” in the current administration. Mbeki told the audience tribalism, which he called the “homeboy” phenomenon, was a tool used by politicians to manipulate some people and reward others. He said when a minister from a certain region was appointed, so did the officials in that department. He said the ANC had vowed 102 years ago to “bury the demon of tribalism”.

HEARINGS INTO TONGAAT MALL DISASTER TO START IN FEB

A commission of inquiry will start investigating the Tongaat Mall disaster in February, the department of labour says. Two people died and 29 were injured when the three-storey construction collapsed. The commission, headed by the labour department’s manager of occupational health and safety, Phumudzo Maphaha, said commissioners had visited and assessed the site. “There were a number of issues that the commission will be pursuing with the contractors during the hearings,” said Maphaha. The investigation is expected to last six months. DM

Photo: Thabo Mbeki (REUTERS)

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