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.

SANDF DEPLOYED TO MOTHUTLUNG TO HELP WITH WATER CRISIS

Soldiers are being deployed to Mothutlung to help the water affairs department deal with the water crisis in the area. Three people have already died in the service delivery protests, allegedly by police. A spokesman for the SA National Defence Force said the “first elements of 14 water bunkers with a protection element, escorted by military police, will reach the affected areas today [Thursday]”. Lieutenant Colonel Piet Paxton said the main aim of the deployment was to “render humanitarian assistance to the affected townships”.

MOLEWA KNEW OF IMPENDING WATER CRISIS, SAYS DA

Water affairs minister Edna Molewa was aware of a potential water crisis in Mothutlung and the Madibeng local municipality as long as four years ago, the Democratic Alliance says. Molewa was premier of the province before becoming a minister. Water spokeswoman Marti Wenger said replies to DA parliamentary questions showed water testing had not been carried out, a debt of over R36 million is owed by Madibeng municipality to the Magalies Water Board and that Mothutlung only scored 64% in terms of compliance requirements. Wenger said the heart of the problem was the failure of local governments to maintain their water infrastructure “due to poor (financial) management, corruption and an apparent lack of will”.

GAUTENG MOTORISTS FACING EXTORTION TACTICS OVER E-TOLLS

Motorists in Gauteng can send complaints about the province’s controversial e-tolling to the Democratic Alliance, which will then lodge them with the National Consumer Commission. DA Gauteng premier candidate Mmusi Maimane told residents in Shoshanguve it was clear that the e-toll billing system is not working. He said residents were being “unfairly bullied into paying their bills” while  “mounting evidence suggests that many of these bills are incorrect or are sent without due process or prior invoicing”.  Maimane said residents were “faced with obvious extortion tactics to enforce their compliance”.

DECISION TO PUT DOWN ELEPHANT ‘NOT TAKEN LIGHTLY’

The decision to put down an elephant that attacked a British couple in the Kruger National Park was not taken lightly, says managing executive of the park, Abe Sibiya. He said it was “vitally important” that tourists adhere to the rules of the park and change their behaviour while on game drives. Experienced rangers advised management that the animal was likely to attack tourist vehicles in the future, Sibiya said. “It is for this reason that we appeal to our patrons to act in a responsible manner and give such information as quick as possible rather than share it on social media platforms,” he said.

KZN MEC GETS TOUGH ON DEFAULTING COUNCILLORS

A KwaZulu-Natal MEC has laid down the law to councillors who default on their rates payments. Co-operative governance and traditional affairs MEC Nomusa Dube-Ncube has instructed municipal councils in the province’s 61 municipalities to start disciplinary action against any councillor found to have defaulted on his or her rates as this was a violation of the councillors’ code of conduct. An investigation by her department found councillors owed R1.5 million to municipalities throughout the province. ““While the number of delinquent local government leaders is relatively small, we nevertheless view their conduct in a serious light because they are bringing their municipalities into disrepute,” she said.

THIEVES STEAL PRICELESS CHERUBS FROM GALLERY

Thieves have stolen four priceless dancing cherubs from the top of an antique ormolu clock in Pietermaritzburg’s Tatham Art Gallery. The Daily News reported that staff discovered the theft when they went to clean exhibits on the second floor of the gallery. There are no cameras in the gallery, which is secured by two security guards. Assistant director Bryony Glarke told the newspaper the rare clock is one of the gallery’s biggest draw cards. Each angel, standing on one leg, are 25cm tall, and were positioned on a fluted dome. Each held a globe on the four corners of the clock’s ebony case. The missing angels were cast from bronze and then gilded.

ARMED ROBBERS ATTACK INVESTIGATING OFFICER IN BLOM CASE

Armed robbers have attacked the officer investigating the murder of Dustan Blom, the man found dead in the boot of his car at Montecasino, in an effort to grab dockets relating to the case, Sapa reported. Prosecutor Yusuf Baba told the Randburg Magistrate’s Court the attack took place on Friday. The criminals got away with the officer’s identification card. Three men appeared in court in connection with defrauding Blom to the tune of over R100,000. Brothers Louis and Heinrich Coetzee, and Ian Manyika and Alex de Kooker each face two counts of fraud. Jean-Pierre Malan and his girlfriend Maruschka Robinson, a former stripper, are charged with killing Blom.

MANDELA’S MVEZO TO GET ITS FIRST HIGH SCHOOL

Mvezo, the village where Nelson Mandela was born, opens its first high school today. Grandson Mandla Mandela said former president Nelson Mandela inspired the science and technology school as a result of the importance he placed on education. Mandla said it was the responsibility of the Mvezo Development Trust and the traditional council to invest in the children of the area who, up until now, had to travel to Mthatha to attend high school, Sapa reported. Community leaders, including Mandla Mandela, fundraised for the project, raising R3.2 million in Sweden, and a further R148 million from engineering company Siemens.  DM

Photo: The decision to put down an elephant that attacked a British couple in the Kruger National Park was not taken lightly, says managing executive of the park, Abe Sibiya. (REUTERS)

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