Daily Maverick (Johannesburg)

9 November 2012

South Africa: Five Minutes - South Africa

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

KHAYELITSHA COMMISSION SUSPENDS INQUIRY

A last-ditch legal attempt by police minister Nathi Mthethwa to stop a commission of inquiry into allegations of police inefficiency in Khayelitsha has been successful. Spokeswoman for the commission, Amanda Dissel, said the commission had suspended its work pending the outcome of a legal challenge by Mthethwa and seven other police applicants. "In view of this application, the commission will not proceed with the public hearings," Dissel said. It was due to begin its work on November 12 and continue until December 14. A full report was due on February 24, 2013. Retired judge Catherine O’Regan and advocate Vusi Pikoli head the commission.

COMMISSION HEARS MINERS SPARED NOBODY

The Farlam Commission of Inquiry has heard more evidence from police Lieutenant Colonel Victor Visser, who showed the commission photos of the body of a mine supervisor who had been hacked to death. Visser said the miners had spared nobody, "Not the police, and certainly not their co-workers”. Visser told the three-member commission that by 14 August the death toll had risen to 10. Sixteen people were wounded. "The deceased people included mine employees, security and police officers." Visser said the following day, police investigated an ATM bombing at a Supermarket in Wonderkop, Rustenburg, and found a bullet from an R5 rifle that was linked to one of the police officers killed on 13 August.

OPPOSITION PARTIES HAVE NO CONFIDENCE IN ZUMA

The DA’s parliamentary leader, Lindiwe Mazibuko, has given notice of a motion of no confidence in President Jacob Zuma in the National Assembly, supported by seven opposition parties. Mazibuko said that under Zuma’s leadership, the justice system had been politicised and weakened; that corruption has spiraled out of control; unemployment has increased and that that the right of access to quality education had been violated. The ANC chief whip’s office jumped to the president’s defence, calling the motion “waste of parliament's time, playful, silly publicity stunt and therefore belongs to the rubbish bin” and tabled the ANC's notice of a motion proposing that Parliament reaffirm its full confidence in the able leadership of Zuma.

SA FACTORY OUTPUT SHRINKS AS STRIKES HIT ECONOMY

South African factory output shrank in September, its worst performance in six months, painting a bleak picture for Africa's biggest economy after a wave of strikes that began in the mines. Reuters reports that factory output contracted 1.1% year-on-year in September, more than the 0.5% reduction analysts had expected. "The industrial strikes have begun to take their toll on domestic figures," said Anisha Arora, emerging markets analyst at 4Cast Statistics South Africa said mining output fell 8.3% in September, its worst performance since April.

MTHETHWA APPOINTS OWN LAWYER FOR FARLAM COMMISSION

A spokesman for police minister Nathi Mthethwa has confirmed the minister has appointed his own lawyer to represent him at the Farlam commission of inquiry. Zweli Mnisi said Mthethwa, as the executive authority of the SA Police Service has a legal obligation both from a legislative and oversight framework. That is why he needs to get ongoing updates”. Mnisi said Mthethwa’s lawyers would only act as observers, and would not participate in arguments at the Commission. The Farlam Commission is investigating the death of 34 miners at the Marikana mine at the hands of the police.

DA OBJECTS TO PROPOSED MIDVAAL MERGER

The DA has urged residents of its Midvaal municipality to object to a proposal to merge it with nearby Emfuleni. Local government spokesman Fred Nel said the public had 21 days to lodge their objections. The Municipal Demarcation Board (MDB) announced on Wednesday that it had begun the consultation process with respect to 202 cases of possible municipal boundary changes. Nel said new metros would be more expensive to run as officials, mayors and councilors are paid more than those working for local municipalities. The DA said property, water and electricity rates were likely to increase as a result.

ZILLE LEAVES DE DOORNS AS PROTESTORS CHANT FOR MALEMA

Premier Helen Zille stopped her walkabout in riot-torn De Doorns on Thursday after a group of people became rowdy, chanting Julius Malema’s name. The area in the Hex River Valley has been rocked by protests by farmworkers over wages, causing the N1 highway to be closed. According to reports, the Western Cape premier had been walking around in Stofland, an informal settlement in the town. Zille was asked to address a group at a stadium nearby but some started calling for Malema and intimidating others trying to speak to Zille. Police said the situation was “still tense and potentially volatile, and it is being monitored”.

MOTLANTHE CALLS FOR END TO MIGRANT LABOUR SYSTEM

Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe says the migrant labour system, which had been inherited from the apartheid era, was still in use and was deepening rural poverty, dividing and breaking families, and has had dire consequences for women and children. Motlanthe was answering oral questions in the National Assembly on Wednesday. He said the tragic events at Marikana had their roots in the migrant labour system. He called on mining houses to consider a change in employment conditions that would see miners working for between five to six weeks at a time before being allowed to go home for about two weeks.

MOTSHEKGA PROMISES 2013 TEXTBOOKS WILL BE ON TIME

Basic education minister Angie Motshekga says textbooks for Limpopo schools will be delivered by Christmas. She told reporters deliveries to schools, final reconciliation of left-over stock, and further distribution to districts and circuits for possible school top-ups, will be completed by 7 December “I am confident that come the first day of school, all the learners and educators will have learning and teaching materials,” said Motshekga.

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