5 November 2012

South Africa: Five Minutes - South Africa

A round-up of the weekend's news from South Africa.


Police barred DA leader Helen Zille and six other members of the Democratic Alliance from reaching the gates of Nkandla, President Jacob Zuma’s private home at the centre of a multi-million rand funding scandal. Police said they would not clear the roads to Nkandla of ANC supporters and local residents who gathered to prevent the DA from carrying out their “oversight’ inspection of Nkandla. Police formed a human chain across the road. Two water cannons, several armoured vehicles and a police helicopter were on standby. Zille said the DA had visited Nkandla "to see what a R250-million renovation with public money looks like". She said the use of taxpayers’ money to build the “five star palace ”meant Zuma had lost the right to call Nkandla a “private home”.


Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe has denounced the use of slates in ANC electioneering, while affirming the party’s branches right to vote for whom they choose. Speaking at the ANC Youth League’s 68th anniversary in Bizana in the Eastern Cape, Motlanthe said leaders who accepted deals to be on slates become “junior to the compilers of this slate”. This made them “weaker”, Motlanthe said, as they become subject to conditions imposed on them by those who compile slates. Supporters of a second term for President Jacob Zuma have said they would keep Motlanthe as deputy president, if he allowed his name to be used on the Zuma slate and didn’t run against the president.


Deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe has visited the family of Oliver Tambo in the Eastern Cape in the last week of the month that celebrated the ANC leader’s legacy. Accompanied by Tambo’s daughter, Tselane, who also spoke at the ANC Youth League’s 68th birthday rally in Bizana, Motlanthe said the ANC’s longest serving leader had kept the party together over 30 difficult years during Apartheid. “That is what we must emulate, all of us, the generosity, the spirit, the courage to stand for the truth all the time.” The Tambo family reportedly slaughtered a sheep in Motlanthe’s honour. Zuma visited the family last week, at the last minute, forcing Motlanthe to cancel a rally and his visit to the family for a week.


Lawyers for the Gupta family have served a notice of demand on the ANC in Western Cape to pay three years outstanding rent at their Sahara House property, or face eviction. The Weekend Argus reports that unless the party pays three year’s back rent within two weeks, it will be evicted from the seventh floor offices. The billionaire Gupta family are reportedly close to President Jacob Zuma, and own The New Age newspaper.

The ANC in the Western Cape is under financial pressure, and dealing with a burden of debt. The Sheriff of the Court has attached its furniture, and it’s telephone lines have been cut. It owes the Cape Town International Convention Centre R1.8-million for its elective conference held there in February last year.


The fishing village of Hawston has been rocked by violence after the local community attacked police who were pursuing perlemoen poachers. A building and cars were set alight, a policeman injured and a boy shot in both legs, police said. Spokesman Captain Frederick van Wyk said police were chasing a car they suspected was being driven by poachers, which crashed into a ditch. Van Wyk said members of the community fired shots, and threw stones and petrol bombs at the police, who have opened cases of arson, public violence and malicious damage of property. The two men in the car were found with 55 perlemoen and 12 crayfish and were arrested and charged with possession of abalone and crayfish.


Rhino poachers have struck in two provinces in the past week. Eleven rhino were found at the Hartzhoogte Game Lodge in North West Province, with two dead and nine dehorned but still alive. The nine animals were taken to a place of safety. In another incident, three dehorned rhino were found “in distress” at a game farm in the Eastern Cape near Kenton-on-Sea. Police spokesman, Captain Paul Ramaloko, said a driver was taking tourists on a game drive when he noticed “three rhino in distress”. The driver called the police and a veterinarian. Ramaloko said in a statement when police arrived, they found one of the rhino had died, and the other two were in a critical condition.


A foreign exchange student has left South Africa after being attacked and robbed at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. The Sunday Tribune reported that Raken Fastings, from Norway, was stabbed 24 times by her attacker, who was trying to steal her laptop computer. According to the newspaper, her attacker was a student who had approached her while she was working in a classroom in the Shepstone Building. Fastings was stabbed in the neck, face and shoulders. Her attacker got away, dropping the laptop in his bid to escape. The student has returned to Norway.


Former employees of Ilanga newspaper sabotaged its Sunday edition by disconnecting the server hosting the issue. Nineteen members of staff were dismissed on Friday as a result of taking part in a wildcat strike earlier this year. Two of those workers evaded police at a demonstration outside KwaZulu-Natal’s oldest newspaper on Saturday, entered its premises, and managed to delete copy for the Sunday edition. Managing director Arthur Konigkramer said senior staff managed to recreate the newspaper. Journalists went on strike earlier this year to protest low salaries and poor work conditions.

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