Daily Maverick (Johannesburg)

South Africa: Five Minutes - South Africa

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

HIGH-PROFILE BRANCHES NOMINATE MOTLANTHE

Several high profile branches of the ANC have nominated Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe for leadership of the party when it holds its elective conference in Mangaung next month. The Sunday Times reports that branch 42 in Boksburg, whose members include ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe, overwhelmingly nominated Motlanthe as did Cape Town’s Gaby Shapiro branch, whose members include deputy public works minister, Jeremy Cronin, and tourism minster, Marthinus van Schalkwyk. Reports say both men left the meeting before the nominations process began.

AMPLATS MINERS REJECT LATEST OFFER

Striking workers at Anglo American Platinum's Rustenburg mines have rejected the company's latest return-to-work offer. Amplats said it offered the 30,000 workers a R4,500 one-off payment and agreed to start wage talks ahead of the expiry of current agreements next year. The offer would lapse if workers do not show up for work on Monday. But labour leader Evans Ramokga told Reuters miners were not happy with the conditions on the offer, such as final warnings and threats of disciplinary action for dismissed workers. Amplats said it could not afford the wage increase demands being made. Workers want a salary increase of 4,500 per month, to R16,500, which would add about R2.6-billion to the company's wage bill, it said.

RAMPHELE THROWS DOWN GAUNTLET(T) FOR CONCOURT

Mamphela Ramphele and veteran lawyer Sir Sydney Kentridge are nominating Advocate Jeremy Gauntlett for a position on the bench of the Constitutional Court. The Sunday Times reported that Ramphele had confirmed that she would nominate him as he has the “qualifications, the skills and the experience as one of South Africa's most talented legal brains”. The Judicial Service Commission recently rejected Gauntlett as a judge for, among other reasons, not having the required “humility” for the job. Ramphele alluded to that decision, saying South Africa should be “celebrating the talents of someone like him rather than pulling him down as too tall a poppy”.

AGRICULTURE MINISTER HOPEFUL ON DE DOORNS SOLUTION

Talks between protesting farmworkers and farmers in the Hex River Valley have broken down amid threats of further violence, leading to fears that the strikes in the De Doorns area of the Western Cape will continue. But agriculture minister, Tina Joemat-Pettersson, said she believed there would be a breakthrough soon. She told SABC that that a crisis meeting would take place on Monday with role players “on a national level”, and that she hoped farmworkers would call off the protest by Tuesday.

Joemat-Pettersson said she wanted to take a proposal to the labour minister that included a sectoral determination for a change in the minimum wage of the farm workers. The workers want a wage increase of R150 up from R65 per day.

POLICE REPORT 78 MOB JUSTICE MURDERS IN KHAYELITSHA

Vigilantes looking for mob justice commit a fifth of all murders in Khayelitsha. City Press reports a total of 78 mob justice murders took place in the area in 14 months. This fact emerged in a report by the police themselves, and calls into question the decision of police minister Nathi Mthethwa’s decision to fight in court a commission of inquiry set up to investigate the state of policing in Khayelitsha. The commission, headed by retired Constitutional Court justice Kate O’Regan and Advocate Vusi Pikoli, suspended its work last week. The report slams policing in Khayelitsha on all levels, giving credence to NGOs working in the townships complaints that trust had broken down between the police and the community, and that they doubted the police could fight crime and keep them safe.

TWO CHINESE MEN ARRESTED WITH ILLEGAL PERLEMOEN

Two Chinese men have been arrested in Johannesburg for the illegal possession of perlemoen worth over R1.5 million. Gauteng’s Lieutenant Colonel Katlego Mogale said police stopped a bakkie being driven by a Chinese national while on a routine patrol. Mogale said the man “became cagey” when questioned about his cargo, leading to a search of his vehicle. Police said the man’s passenger offered police R10,000 “make the whole case disappear”. Both were arrested and will appear in court on Monday on charges of illegal possession of perlemoen and bribery.

HRC TRIES TO STOP LENASIA HOUSING DEMOLITIONS

The Human Rights Commission has launched an urgent interdict to stop the Gauteng housing department from continuing to demolish houses in Lenasia. The area has been rocked by unrest since the housing department started its plan to demolish 113 houses that had illegally built on land intended for government houses. The SA National Civic Organisation (Sanco) says political leaders should be involved in solving the crisis in the suburb. Deputy president Lemias Mashile said in a statement that the destruction of the houses should be stopped immediately, and the community and its leaders engaged in discussions. Thirty-seven houses were demolished on Thursday and another 14 a day later by the Gauteng housing department.

SISULU DENIES ABUSING AIRFORCE PLANES

Former defence minister Lindiwe Sisulu denies she abused her position and wasted public resources by undertaking 203 flights on a luxurious Gulfstream jet hired for her by the air force. Sisulu said in a statement that the information given by the current defence minister in answer to a parliamentary question by the DA’s David Maynier, was “incorrect and misleading.” "Official records in the Ministry reflect that Minister Sisulu undertook 35 official trips with South African Air Force hired planes (South African Air Force Reserve Squadron) between 2009 and 2012,” the statement said. “Records also reflect that the Minister used South African Airways for her ANC, private and other constituency duties," the department said.

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