A round-up of the day’s news from South Africa.
ZUMA WILL GIVE PROOF OF BOND TO ‘AUTHORISED AGENCY’
President Jacob Zuma’s spokesman says the president does have a bond on his Nkandla estate, but that he would only provide proof to an “authorised agency”. In an interview with eNCA, Mac Maharaj refused to comment on an earlier report by the Mail & Guardian that Zuma had taken a bond of R900,000 in 2002. He repeated that the presidency would only “deal with the matter through proper institutions”. The presidency issued a statement saying it had “noted” weekend reports implying Zuma had misled parliament when claiming have a bond on the property. “We urge the media to respect the agencies that are investigating the various aspects of the security enhancements at the residence as speculations and rumour-mongering will not assist the process,” it said.
A ‘COALITION OF CORRUPT FORCES’ BEHIND LATEST LENASIA DEMOLITIONS
The SACP, Cosatu and Sanco have strongly condemned the latest round of demolitions in Lenasia, accusing a “coalition of corrupt forces” of undermining and attacking the integrity of the SA Human Rights Commission. The group said these forces were trying to portray the SAHRC as “representing lawlessness, anarchy and criminal elements who are looting government property”. The SAHRC is bringing an interdict application on behalf of the Greater Lenasia residents against the Gauteng Provincial Government and Department of Housing to court on Friday. “We believe that opportunists who may be putting structures on the ground at this moment are part of the same agenda to put the SAHRC in a bad light and to shift focus away from the court process,” the group said in a statement.
DEADLY SHOOTING AT WANDERERS TAXI TANK
Three people were shot dead and seven others wounded, two critically, in an attack at the Wanderers taxi rank in Johannesburg. A spokesman for Netcare 911 said paramedics arrived to find three people had died at the scene. Captain Pinky Tsinyane of the Gauteng police said it was believed the shooting was connected to taxi violence and that police were investigating a case of murder. The SABC reported that one of the men who died at the scene was a bystander caught in crossfire.
SA CONDEMNS ‘DISPROPORTIONATE USE OF FORCE’ BY ISRAEL
International relations minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane said the government was “gravely concerned” at the escalating conflict between Israel and Palestine. “We strongly condemn the disproportionate use of force by the Israeli government, which has resulted in a significant number of deaths and injuries on both sides, particularly among Palestinian civilians, including children,” Nkoana-Mashabane said in a statement. The ANC echoed her concerns, saying the “barbarity of the Israeli bombardment of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip” must be condemned. The ANC said the international community, especially the developed world, “should seize this moment to do everything in its power to end this senseless killings” and that both sides should exercise restraint.
THE HIGH COST OF CABLE THEFT
Cable theft is costing South Africa over R5 billion a year, police minister Nathi Mthethwa said, adding that it should be viewed as a “serious crime” that has the potential to impact on South Africa’s economic growth. Mthethwa said the police had plans to intensify the war on cable crime by training second-hand goods officers and the establishment of a non-ferrous metal committee at national level that included representative of government and business. Mthethwa was responding to a parliamentary question on what police were doing to combat cable theft. He said government entities such as Spoornet and Eskom had been particularly affected, as had private farms.
ANC TRYING TO ‘RAM’ E-TOLLS BILL THROUGH PARLIAMENT
The ANC is trying to “ram through” parliament the Transport Laws and Related Matters and Amendment Bill in its haste to implement e-tolls.
The bill has provisions that are essential to implement e-tolling and the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project (GFIP). The DA’s shadow transport minister, Ian Ollis, accused the governing party of pulling “every trick in the book to get it through Parliament so that the e-tolls can be implemented urgently”. Ollis said because parliament is rising on Thursday, it is rushing the process without adequate public participation. Cosatu and the South African Local Government Association made their presentations on Tuesday. “The DA cannot accept that this is an adequate process of public participation or that the Committee members will have sufficient time to consider the inputs received before the Bill is debated,” he said.
BODIES OF MISSING SA PILOTS FOUND IN MOZAMBIQUE
The bodies of two South African men whose plane went down over Mozambique have been found. Missing pilots Bryan Simms and his son Robert were found near Beira. “Yesterday afternoon, the Simms family received the news that the plane wreck was found in Mozambique by a local villager,” a note posted on the website operationsimms.co.za said on Tuesday. “Neither Bryan nor Robert survived the impact. We are awaiting positive legal identification.” The Simms went missing in late October en route from Malawi to Johannesburg’s Lanseria airport. Simms said in a radio message that the Beechcraft 58 was experiencing engine problems.
MINERS BROUGHT WEAPONS LATER IN LONMIN STRIKE
An evidence leading team has shown the Farlam commission of inquiry footage that shows striking miners didn’t bring traditional weapons to their protests until a later stage of their strike. The series of video clips, shot by members of Lonmin security and the police, showed protestors singing and dancing, without weapons, on 9 August. But on 10 August, the scenes showed miners with weapons such as pangas, spears, knobkerries, clubs, and sticks. The three-member commission asked the evidence leading team, headed by advocate Mbuyiseli Madlanga, to screen video footage captured between 9-16 August when 34 miners were killed by police at Lonmin’s Marikana mine.