South Africa

FIVE MINUTES: South Africa

By Daily Maverick Staff Reporter 30 January 2014

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


Robert McBride has been recommended by the ANC in parliament to take over as head of police watchdog, the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID), and has the “full confidence” of police minister Nathi Mthethwa. But DA police spokeswoman, Dianne Kohler Barnard, disagreed, saying the appointment was an indication that President Jacob Zuma’s ANC was “not serious” about fighting corruption or crime. In a statement, Kohler Barnard said the head of IPID should not be linked to a political party and should be “free of controversy”. McBride has had several brushes with the law.


The National Union of Mineworkers has blasted Dr Mamphela Ramphele’s decision to join the Democratic Alliance. Acting NUM spokesman Livhuwani Mammburu, said Ramphele was a “political tourist” who was “just a seat warmer and cheque collector who enjoyed cocktail and other elitist gravies while poor mineworkers continue to earn poverty wages”. The NUM said the Agang leader, who is now the DA’s presidential candidate, had failed to be an “agent of change” in mining industry during her tenure as chair of Goldfields. “This loud mouth has now joined the DA projecting herself as a messiah above the rest. She is no messiah. She is a political tourist, political opportunist and a rented black,” the NUM said.


The Reserve Bank has hiked up the repo rate to 5.5%. Governor Gill Marcus said the Monetary Policy Committee decided to increase the repurchase rate by 50 basis points to 5.5 % per annum. It has been unchanged at 5% since July 2012. The exchange rate, said Marcus, has resulted in a market increase in the upside risk to the inflation forecast. Since the last MPC meeting in November 2013, the rand has depreciated by about 7.4% against the US dollar. Though the recent rand weakness is part of a general emerging market phenomenon, it has been reinforced by factors including declining terms of trade, on-going labour disputes, and the higher-than-expected current account deficit in the third quarter. Inflation is expected breach the upper end of the target range in the second quarter of 2014, reaching a 6.6% peak in the fourth quarter of 2014.


About 1 500 members of the Relela village community went on a rampage on Tuesday evening, armed with petrol bombs and stones, to attack the police at the station. SAPS spokesperson Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi said two men were shot during the incident and 15 officers injured, three of them critically. Nineteen 19 police vehicles were damaged during the confrontation and nine people were arrested for public violence. The area has been the scene of violent protests since the brutal mutilation and death of a young woman, Kgomotso Rakgolane, last week. A teenage boy was killed earlier, allegedly by police. National police commissioner Riah Phiyega and Limpopo commissioner, Lieutenant General Fannie Masemola, visited the area on Wednesday.


South African National Parks (SANParks) has distanced itself from an “unfortunate advertisement” that refers to a hunt for “two troublesome lions” and which originated from the Kruger National Park. KNP managing executive, Abe Sibiya, said there was “no link between KNP and those that are involved with this hunting activity. KNP do not remove problematic lions from the KNP to be hunted elsewhere.” Sibiya said there was a “concerning trend” of fraudulently attaching the Park’s name “and those of key employees in unscrupulous hunting business ventures all in an effort to attract unsuspecting clients”. He said the park was pursuing criminal charges against those involved.


South Africa has been elected as a member of the African Union Peace and Security Council the day before the 22nd Ordinary Session of the African Union Assembly starts. The Pan African News Agency reported that South Africa and Niger were elected for a two-year term to the council. South Africa’s inclusion, after an absence of three years, is believed to be in recognition of the role the country has played in peacekeeping on the continent, particularly in the Democratic Republic of Congo. President Jacob Zuma has arrived in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, where he is attending AU summit. The theme is “2014 – Year of Agriculture and Food Security in Africa: Marking the 10th Anniversary of Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme”.


The nine Cosatu member unions calling for the reinstatement of suspended general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi say the trade union federation is in “deep crisis”, and that “denying the scale and extent of the crisis makes matters worse”. The group said Cosatu’s “paralysis” had allowed it to be “wilfully exploited” in such issue as e-tolling, youth subsidies and the “backslide” on labour broking. It also said the uncritical endorsement of the ANC’s election manifesto went ahead without engaging affiliates. The unions, which include Numsa, Fawu and Samwu, want a special national delegate conference to be convened, for the personal and political attacks on Vavi to end and for him to be reinstated.


The man negotiating for the release of Pierre Korkie, being held hostage in Yemen, has fled the country after al Qaeda militants refused to accept the South African government hadn’t paid R32.5 million for his release. Head of the Gift of the Givers Foundation, Dr Imtiaz Sooliman, told Sapa Anas al-Hamati and his family were in Dubai. He said al Qaeda was insisting al-Hamati stole the ransom money. The South African government said it wouldn’t pay the ransom as it was against policy to negotiate with kidnappers. Sooliman said the last communication with the men holding Korkie hostage took place on Monday. He said the relationship had “soured” but that he hoped they would renew contact. DM

Photo: Mamphela Ramphele (REUTERS)


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