South Africa

FIVE MINUTES: South Africa

By Daily Maverick Staff Reporter 16 January 2014

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

AMCU THREATENS PLATINUM STRIKE

The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) says it will call a strike in the platinum industry if its members backed such action. Members voted in favour of a stoppage at Impala Platinum over wages, and the union is to canvas its rank and file this week at Anglo American Platinum and Lonmin. The three are the world’s top producers of the precious metal and account for more than half of global output. A simultaneous stoppage at the trio would hit a key South African export at a time when the rand currency is near five-year lows and deal a fresh blow to investor confidence in the continent’s biggest economy. AMCU President Joseph Mathunjwa told reporters a decision would be made next week.

SA DIPLOMAT IN IRELAND ACCUSED OF SLAVE LABOUR

South Africa’s charge d’affaires at the South African Embassy in Dublin has been accused of slave labour, the Irish Independent reported. Diplomat Thobeka Dlamini is accused of paying her former employee £1.66 (R24.64) an hour and allegedly forcing her to work 17-hour days. The domestic worker, privately employed by Dlamini in 2012, and who moved with the family to Dublin from Pretoria, also cared for the diplomat’s children. Dlamini told the newspaper the woman was paid three times more than what she was paid in South Africa. The woman has lodged a complaint with the Labour Relations Commission. Dlamini said she would invoke diplomatic immunity if she were investigated, the newspaper said.

HAWKS STING NETS KING OF BLING’S BROTHER

A sting operation by the Hawks and Gauteng detectives has netted the brother of William Mashobane ‘King of Bling’ Mbatha, Sapa reported. Mapogo Benson Mbatha was arrested at a tavern in Atteridgeville, west of Pretoria. Hawks spokesman Captain Paul Ramaloko said Mbatha was allegedly involved in several robberies on the East Rand and in the Vaal area. The man believed to be Mbatha’s accomplice, Shaun Geduld, was arrested in December. Ramaloko said police found “expensive jewellery and wristwatches, such as Rolex and Rado, to the value of R1 million, which were allegedly stolen from various house robberies”, all of which were seized by police.

AGANG: POLICE BRUTALITY POINTS TO GOVT RESORTING TO VIOLENCE

A third man has died in Mothutlung, near Brits, where service delivery protests have turned violent and police stand accused of brutality towards protestors. The man died after allegedly being pushed from a police Nyala. Residents are furious over water shortages that have persisted for over three months. “Along with the people of this country who thought we had seen the last of death and loss in the struggle for a better life for all South Africans, we are saddened and outraged at the tragedies in Brits and Pretoria, which so remind us of Marikana and Andries Tatane,” said Agang in a statement. The party said the Mothutlung deaths, couple with the killing of a Johannesburg hawker “point to a government that increasingly resorts to violence against its own people who in these instances, wanted only the basic necessities of that better life: water and work.” The Independent Police Directorate is also investigating the death of two other men earlier this week.

FITCH UPGRADES LAND BANK, OTHER SA FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS

Ratings agency Fitch has upgraded the Land Bank from AA to AA+ and has also affirmed Development Bank of Southern Africa (Sanlam Capital Markets Limited) and Gensec’s ratings. The rating actions follow a peer review, which included all of the Fitch-rated South African financial institutions except for the five major banks, the agency said. The ANC’s chief whip, Stone Sizani, said in a statement the Land Bank was “demonstrating healthy growth signs and has reclaimed its rightful place in the South African agricultural landscape”. Sizani said the positive rating on an “important state-owned entity like the Land Bank more broadly reflects Fitch’s confidence in the South African government’s willingness to support the entity”.

REPAIRING AND REPLACING LOOS COST CAPE TOWN R13 MILLION

Repairing stolen and vandalised toilets has cost the City of Cape Town over R13 million in just six months. Mayoral committee member for utility services, Ernest Sonnenberg, said the money was spent on replacing and repairing stolen taps, broken taps, stolen handles, broken standpipes, stolen hand-basins, blocked toilets, and damaged toilet structures. The money could have been better spent on improving water and sanitation conditions in informal settlements, Sonnenberg said in a statement. He said the city planned to install 1300 flush toilets in this financial year to the Imizamo Yethu, France, RR Section, Dunoon, Rasta Camp, and Lansdowne Road informal settlements. The number of toilets had risen from 14 591 in 2006 to more than 40 700.

SA MUST BREAK SILENCE ON CLAMPDOWN OF GAY RIGHTS IN AFRICA

The South African government must break its silence on the issue of homosexuality in Africa and the world, the Democratic Alliance says. Spokesman on international relations, Bill Eloff, said the recent signing of the Same Sex Marriage Prohibition and other Related Matters Bill by the President of Nigeria, Goodluck Jonathan, demanded a response. “As a leader on the continent, we must in particular take a stand on the shocking move taken by a number of states in Africa to clamp down on gay rights,” Eloff said. He said minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane must clarify the government’s position, whether she plans to raise the matter publically and add it to the AU’s agenda and whether the government will condemn such moves.

ZUMA AND EIGHT MINISTERS GET ‘F’ ON DA SCORECARD

President Jacob Zuma has been given an F for his performance in government while another eight of his ministers should be fired, the Democratic Alliance says in its cabinet report card. The ministers are rated according to their vision, performance, accountability and finances. Zuma, the DA said, had been the subject multiple scandals including Nkandla, Guptagate, Masibambisane and his refusal to hand over the spy tapes. Others who received low scores were Siyabonga Cwele, Bathabile Dlamini, Thulas Nxesi, Nathi Mthethwa, Susan Shabangu, Mildred Oliphant, Ebrahim Patel and Tina Joemat-Pettersson.

Aaron Motsoaledi and Derek Hanekom each received an A while Pravin Gordhan and Marthinus van Schalkwyk got Bs. DM

Photo: Goodluck Jonathan. (REUTERS)

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