South Africa

FIVE MINUTES: South Africa

By Daily Maverick Staff Reporter 23 January 2014

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

PLATINUM MINERS DOWN TOOLS AT TOP THREE PRODUCERS

South African mines producing half the world’s platinum shut down on Thursday as the sector’s main union began a strike for hefty wage hikes their employers say they cannot pay. Members of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) walked out at Anglo American Platinum, Impala Platinum and Lonmin. AMCU has as many as 100,000 members in the platinum belt. “This is a revolution of the economy of South Africa, to benefit all who live in it,” AMCU president Joseph Mathunjwa told reporters after a mass rally at a football stadium marked by prayers, songs and dancing. Basic wages for miners are about R5,000 a month and AMCU wants that hiked to R12,500.

DA: ZUMA PUTS POLITICS ABOVE JOB CREATION

President Jacob Zuma put politics above job creation when decided not to attend the World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos this year, says Democratic Alliance parliamentary leader, Lindiwe Mazibuko. Zuma gave his reason for not attending, for the first time since he became president, as the upcoming elections. Mazibuko said his decision was a “major failure of economic leadership”. “The reality is that President Zuma is now in panic mode. He realises that South Africans are tired of playing second fiddle to his political survival in the ANC. If the ANC were really serious about creating 6 million jobs in this country, President Zuma would put politics aside, show leadership at these turbulent times and engage with other world leaders about ways in which we can grow our economy and get our people working,” she said.

POLICE ARREST MEN WITH ROCKET LAUNCHER

Police have arrested two men in possession of a head of a hand-held rocket launcher in Johannesburg. Police spokesman Brigadier Solomon Makgale said intelligence operatives had reported a sale of explosives was taking place in the city central business district. They found a South African and a Mozambican seated in a grey Mercedes-Benz, which, when searched, found the head of the launcher, valued at R8 million. They also searched a second vehicle and found three men with diamonds. The men were taken in for questioning, and the diamonds confiscated.  Sapa reported the two men arrested with the rocket launcher head would appear in the Johannesburg Magistrate’s Court on Monday.

DEFENCE MINISTER’S REACTION TO PROJECT FLUTE ‘ABSOLUTE RUBBISH’

Defence minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula has refused to shed light on what the DA calls the “bungled R1 billion satellite development project”, called Project Flute. Mapisa-Nqakula said she would not discuss matters of security in the public domain and that the country’s territorial integrity “should not be compromised simply to gain political points”. But DA defence spokesman David Maynier said the minister’s claims about state security were “absolute rubbish”. “Exposing a bungled satellite development project, which after eight years and spending more than R1 billion, has not launched a satellite, hardly compromises national security,” he said. Mapisa-Nqakula’s “attack” would not stop him asking hard questions, Maynier said.

GOVERNMENT STILL TRYING TO SECURE KORKIE’S RELEASE

The motive for the kidnapping of a South African couple in Yemen was not political, says deputy international relations minister Ebrahim Ebrahim. Yemeni authorities told Ebrahim, who visited Yemen to help with negotiations to free teacher Pierre Korkie, the kidnap was a case of “mistaken identity”. Korkie’s wife Yolande was released last week without any ransom being paid, but the militants have demanded R32 million for his release. They have issued an execution threat if the ransom is not paid within 21 days. Ebrahim said the government remained committed to trying to secure Korkie’s release and made a “passionate plea” to the kidnappers, which was broadcasted from Yemen’s television stations. He said Korkie’s health was deteriorating rapidly.

MORE PROPERTY DRAMA FOR ZINDZI MANDELA

Zindzi Mandela’s neighbours have complained to police several times about the noise emanating from her rented property in Atholl, The Star reported. A neighbour told the newspaper the police had been called out on at least three occasions since Christmas. The neighbours allege the “noise goes on all the time” and that there is shouting, and cars stopping and starting until the early hours of the morning. Mandela is embroiled in another property scandal. She has abandoned a house she owns in Houghton, which has become derelict and overrun with rats.

MTHEMBU’S REMARKS ON DA MARCH ‘IRRESPONSIBLE AND RECKLESS’

The Democratic Alliance has accused ANC spokesman Jackson Mthembu of making “reckless and irresponsible” remarks in reaction to the party’s announcement that it would march to the ANC’s headquarters at Luthuli House. Mthembu said in a statement while the ANC respects the right to assemble and protest, he also cautioned the DA against “taking the fight to Luthuli House” as “members and supporters of the ANC will view this as an arrogant attack on our movement and a disrespect of the democratic order…”. DA leader Helen Zille is to lead a march of 6,000 supporters to take the “fight for jobs” to the ANC.

PROTESTOR KILLED BY POLICE IN ROODEPOORT

Police have killed another protestor, this time in Roodepoort, where protests over housing took place on Main Reef Road. The man was shot after residents barricaded roads with stones and burning tyres, Lieutenant-Colonel Katlego Mogale told Sapa. “During the protest, a police vehicle came through… and they [protesters] came rushing towards the vehicle. The member, a warrant officer, allegedly fired warning shots. One of the protesters was injured and was certified dead at the hospital.” Mogale said public order police and Johannesburg metro police department were monitoring the situation and that the Independent Police Investigative Directorate would investigate.

MPOFU WANTS 60 MARIKANA POLICEMEN CHARGED WITH MURDER

Advocate Dali Mpofu, representing miners wounded and arrested during the Marikana massacre, said police involved in the killings should be charged with the murder of 34 people, Sapa reported. Mpofu was addressing police officer Brigadier Adriaan Calitz at the Farlam commission of inquiry into the massacre. He said every officer that fired on the protesting miners, a list of 60 policemen so far, should be charged. “Below you (on the list) will be the TRT (police tactical response team) shooters and above you are some of the most senior people, going right up, whom at this stage I am not at liberty to mention,” Mpofu said.

Calitz said he had had no intention of murdering anyone on16 August 2012 and said evidence showed there was no “element of murder”. DM

Photo: Zindzi Mandela (REUTERS)

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