24 September 2012

South Africa: African Press Review 24 September 2012

Photo: Werner Beukes/SAPA
Julius Malema in the Polokwane Regional Court after he handed himself over to the Polokwane police on Wednesday morning before his court appearance.

Malema's in trouble over his tax. Or is it a government-orchestrated witch-hunt? Has Museveni done a dirty deal with a Chinese power company? Gambia tries to stop street-level medicine traffic. And love-life advice in Kenya.

South African papers today are leading with the troubles of sacked ANC youth movement leader Julius Malema.

This time the story is not related to the miners' strike.

The Sowetan reveals that the SA revenue service has obtained a 1.5-million-euro judgement against tjhe former ANC Youth League leader for unpaid tax.

The paper reports that the tax authorities were about to seize Malema's property and assets in Gauteng and Limpopo. The article quotes a tax law consultant and advocate who says that the judgement showed two things - Malema had a "hell of a lot of money" and he was in deep trouble.

The Mail and Guardian provides more details on the story.

The paper says that state ombudsman Thuli Madonsela has found that Malema made his millions from a fraudulent tender.

Malema's Ratanang Family Trust is one of two shareholders in On-Point Engineers which recently won a 4.8-million-euro tender with the Limpopo roads and transport department

But the story does not stop there. Malema's lawyer confirmed to the paper that an arrest warrant was issued against the former youth leader.

The paper quotes one of Malema's associates at the ANC Youth League, Iindiso Magaqa, who accuses the government of orchestrating a campaign to silence Malema.

"You will have noticed that after the Marikana issue, this thing of arrest has popped out because people were very aggrieved that [Malema] emerged as a leader who can go and listen to the people, and people have responded to his call for a mining revolution so we can share the economy of this country," said Magaqa.

Uganda's Monitor accuses President Yoweri Museveni of corruption in connection with a 1.5 billion euro deal.

Museveni has agreed to a secret deal for China International Water and Electric Corporation (CWE) to construct the 600-megawatt Karuma hydrodam, bypassing an ongoing government procurement process, the paper claims.

Dossier: Sharia wars - Boko Haram v the military in northern Nigeria

According to the paper's investigation, the secret arrangement was reached during a meeting between the president, top energy ministry officials and the Chinese company's representatives at State Lodge, Nakasero, almost six weeks ago, on 14 August.

Perhaps more surprisingly, presidential spokesperson Tamale Mirundi has implicitly acknowledged that the story is accurate.

"If it's true he gave the directive, it must be because of his commitment that Ugandans should have enough power within 36 months," he said. "Energy to the economy is like blood to the body. So the president does not want to hear of any delays on energy projects,"

The paper says that the process to source a contractor began almost two years ago and it had been planned that the selected winner would have been on site by the end of March this year.

However, the procurement stalled because of investigations ordered by the president's office into an energy ministry official's allegations - unproven to date - that some bid evaluators took bribes to influence the process in favour of a certain firm.

Gambia's Observer reports on the peddling of pharmaceutical products on the streets. It says the medicines board at the ministry of health has issued a strong warning to the general public "to refrain from buying any medicines from people going on in the streets and unlicensed premises as such products can be harmful to people's health".

And finally to my favourite love advice column in Kenya's Daily Nation.

"My wife confessed to having cheated on me once while I was away. This was after I found used condoms of a brand I do not use. Should I forgive her? " Dedan, one of the readers, asks the paper's love guru.

Here comes the love guru's answer: "If you were the one who messed up, and yet you truly loved your wife, would you want to be forgiven? If the answer is yes, then work at forgiving her. However, forgiveness acknowledges the injustice but makes a choice not to use it against the person. But where forgiveness is extended, it must be followed by responsible action. The fruit of repentance must be seen, because this is the only way trust is restored."

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InFocus

South African Youth Leader Charged with Graft, Granted Bail

South African Youth Leader Claims Innocence in Graft Case

Expelled leader of the ruling African National Congress' youth wing, Julius Malema, was granted bail after appearing in court on charges of money laundering - a charge that can ... Read more »