A round-up of the day’s news from South Africa.
AMCU MEMBERS VOTE TO STRIKE AT TOP THREE PLATINUM MINES
Member of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union have voted in overwhelmingly in favour of a strike to take place simultaneously Amplats, Lonmin and Implats. Around 15,000 miners had piled into a stadium in Rustenburg in a display of force ahead of the industrial action. AMCU president Joseph Mathunjwa told the rally that Amplats would be served notice of the strike action on Monday and workers would down tools on Thursday. A regional AMCU leader, Madiba Bukhali, also told the rally the ANC had forgotten miners. He said they voted for Zuma, but that he “has built a huge house and forgotten his neighbours”, referring to the R206 million ‘security upgrades” at Zuma’s private home in Nkandla.
ZUMA GIVES POLITICIANS INCREASES, DESPITE CALL TO FREEZE SALARIES
Premiers, MPs, MECs and MPLs have had salary increases, backdated to April last year, despite an earlier call by President Jacob Zuma for a freeze on salaries and bonuses. Zuma in 2012 called on CEOs, as well as executive directors in the private sector and senior executives in the public sector to help renew investor confidence in South Africa by holding back on increases. Now the president has given politicians increases that will cost the taxpayer R45 million for the financial year ending in March, the Sunday Independent reported. The increases range from R43 000 for MPLs to R118 000 for deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe, speaker Max Sisulu and National Council of Provinces chair, Mninwa Mahlangu. Ministers got just over R100 000 and premiers more than R94 000.
DA: DEFENCE MUST ‘COME CLEAN’ ON BUNGLED SPY SATELLITE CONTRACT
The defence minister must “come clean” over the “bungled development” by defence intelligence of an imaging reconnaissance satellite, says DA military spokesman, David Maynier. The development of a Kondor-E radar, called Project Fluke, has already cost over R1.2 billion, but its whereabouts are unknown, Maynier said. A contract was signed in 2006 with NPO Mashinostroyenia, a Russian company but a flaw, which defence intelligence failed to identify, meant it would have no control over the satellite or be allowed to operate it from South Africa. The project went “horribly wrong”, said Maynier, and was then frozen. “The current status of the project is unknown. However, it appears to be on-going,” he said in a statement. Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula must explain how defence intelligence entered into the contract to develop the satellite “which has probably never been launched”.
MARIKANA COPS IN MOTHUTLUNG PROTEST UNIT
Policemen involved in the massacre of 34 miners at Marikana were part of the public order policing unit operating in Mothutlung where three protestors died this week, City Press reported. Residents of the area, where service delivery protests over lack of water took place, have reported one of the officers, known in Mothutlung as “the Marikana policemen”, to the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid). The newspaper reported a “few” more police officers in the core team had also been in Marikana. Residents claim the man shot and killed a 62-year-old freelance photographer, who only had a camera in his hands, “in cold blood”. DA police spokeswoman, Dianne Kohler Barnard, said all policemen involved in the Marikana massacre should be suspended until the Farlam commission completes its investigation.
MALEMA: ANC IN WESTERN CAPE A ‘SPENT FORCE’
Julius Malema says the African National Congress is a “spent force” in the Western Cape, and that the battle for the province will take place between his Economic Freedom Fighters party and the Democratic Alliance. City Press reported Malema, who is on his first visit to Cape Town as leader of the EFF, said his party wanted to “rescue” the people of the Western Cape and unite them. He said the DA government had “done a good job” of taking Western Cape from the ANC in 2009. “Helen Zille has done a good job but now we’re after her, the EFF is going to win the province,” he said. ANC leaders Marius Fransman and Songezo Mjongile should lead by example, and not spend “half their day” drinking at Cubana, he said.
PHARMACEUTICAL COMPANIES’ PLAN IS ‘GENOCIDE’
South Africa has slammed global pharmaceutical firms over a covert campaign against its planned overhaul of intellectual property laws to favour cheaper generic drugs. The country is in the final stages of implementing a new law that would allow generic drugmakers to produce cut-price copies of patented medicines. Reuters reported it had seen the $600,000 publicity plan by global pharmaceutical to mobilise local and overseas opposition to the changes. Health minister Aaron Motsoaledi said it was a “plan for genocide”. Trade union federation Cosatu said the plan was “tantamount to treachery”.
ZUMA MISSED LAUNCHES OF ANC MANIFESTO IN GAUTENG, KZN, WP
President Jacob Zuma has not delivered the ANC’s election manifesto to the provinces. Deputy president of the party, Cyril Ramaphosa, did the honours at the Gauteng launch while deputy secretary general, Jessie Duarte, was in Cape Town for the Western Cape leg. She said Zuma had other commitments. The president also missed the launch of the KwaZulu-Natal manifesto on Saturday. ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe and provincial chairperson Senzo Mkhize addressed the rally. The Sunday Independent reported Zuma’s spokesman, Mac Maharaj, saying Zuma was in a hospital in Durban at the time of the Western Cape launch for a “scheduled visit”. In the meantime, the DA has slammed R500,000 spent by Tshwane police escorting Zuma’s convoy to the Mpumalanga launch last week.
ANOTHER POLICE SUSPECT ARRESTED IN KREJCIR PLOT CASE
A fifth suspect in the plot to kill investigators working on a kidnapping case involving Czech fugitive Radovan Krejcir task team has been arrested. Police spokesman Lieutenant General Solomon Makgale said the suspect is a 34-year-old woman in the SAPS crime intelligence division. “It is believed that the woman played a key role in the murder plot by allegedly providing software to track the investigators,” Makgale said. Police also confiscated nine cellphones in the woman’s possession. The other four suspects were arrested last week in an operation in which police recovered firearms, police blue lights and sirens. The suspects were arrested for allegedly plotting to kill forensic investigator Paul O’Sullivan and crime intelligence officer Colonel Nkosana ‘Killer’ Ximba. DM
Photo: Radovan Krejcir (REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko)
Stephen Hawking held a party for time travellers. He sent the invitation out the day after. Nobody attended.