20 September 2012

Zimbabwe: African Press Review 20 September 2012

How many times has Morgan Tsvangirai been married? Is his party violent and corrupt? Why won't white workers join Cosatu? Why are big companies funding it? Will the SA government round up unofficial strike organisers? And how does Malema get to queue-jump?

In Zimbabwe, the privately owned daily NewsDay reports that the plot to arrest Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai thickened yesterday with the lawyers representing his jilted lover, Locardia Karimatsenga, piling the pressure on the police to act.

Karimatsenga's lawyer has written to the police commissioner-general demanding that Tsvangirai be dragged to court for criticising judgement by a Harare magistrate and a High Court judge who blocked his high-profile white wedding on Saturday.

The MDC-T leader resorted to a traditional ceremony after a magistrate cancelled the marriage licence on Friday.

High Court judge Justice Chinembiri Bhunu dismissed an appeal against the magistrate's ruling in the early hours of Saturday in a heavy blow for the PM, who had invited regional leaders to the ceremony.

Tsvangirai told his supporters at one of the ceremonies to celebrate his marriage - three years after he lost his wife Susan in a road accident - that no one, not even the courts, would choose a wife for him.

Locardia Karimatsenga claims that the prime minister married her last year in a traditional ceremony.

Tsvangirai is accused of perjury for allegedly lying under oath when he denied that he was married to Karimatsenga.

Meanwhile, according to the government-alligned Harare Herald, MDC president Welshman Ncube has accused Tsvangirai's MDC-T of being a violent and corrupt party. He ruled out prospects of the two parties collaborating in the forthcoming elections. The Movement for Democratic Change leader said hisgrouping differed with the other MDC faction on policy issues. But Ncube also accused MDC-T of perpetrating violence, an allegation he also made against Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF.

In South Africa, the Cosatu conference continues. Johannesburg financial paper BusinessDay reports that the Congress of South African Trade Unions' inability to attract white members was a "big challenge", according to the organisation's general secretary, Zwelinzima Vavi.

The federation's organisational report reveals that only one per cent of Cosatu members are white, 80 per cent black and one per cent foreign nationals. I'm sorry, but I have no idea about the colour or national origins of the other 18 per cent. Afro-Asians, perhaps?

Cosatu's membership increased by nearly 12 per cent since its last congress three years ago, with its current membership standing at at 2.2 million. Two-thirds of South Africa's workers are not unionised.

Among the items debated at yesterday's Cosatu conference session, the treasurer's report showed that African Rainbow Minerals is Cosatu's biggest private donor. Investec, Standard Bank and the financial group Sanlam are among other big corporate donors, and this lead to accusations that the labour federation is too close to business.

Cosatu's financial statements show that, in December 2011, the federation had a surplus of just over 92,000 euros.

South African mineworkers who are continuing strikes in the gold and platinum sector are facing dismissal.

Since February thousands of mineworkers have embarked on strikes with demands ranging from the recognition of their new union to the scrapping of funeral plan deductions from wages.

The government is now threatening to charge people who encourage unofficial strikes with incitement. Police arrested 22 people near Anglo-American Platinum's Rustenburg operations yesterday, after using rubber bullets and tear gas to disperse a gathering.

Amplats declared that workers who failed to report for duty were on strike, while Gold Fields has not ruled out dismissing about 12,000 workers at its mine in Driefontein, south of Johannesburg.

Also in South Africa, The Sowetan wants to know why former ANC Youth League president Julius Malema is still receiving special treatment.

The question was asked by the opposition Democratic Alliance in Limpopo and several voters at a by-election in Polokwane yesterday.

Resentment was evident when an ultra-confident Malema arrived to cast his vote at the local primary school in Seshego Zone 1 and went straight to the front of the queue.

After casting his vote, Malema told the media that no one was supporting him in his series of public addresses to churches, dissident ANC members and supporters, as well as to disgruntled mineworkers and soldiers.

On his alleged queue-jumping, Malema said he had just been lucky to arrive when there were few other voters present.

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