27 November 2012

South Africa: Five Minutes - South Africa

Photo: Tami Hultman/allAfrica.com
The Kruger National Park has lost 362rhinos to poaching. Limpopo, KwaZulu-Natal and the North West provinces continue to be a target for poachers, collectively accounting for the loss of 186 rhinos.

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


The Public Protector has recommended that President Jacob Zuma reprimand agriculture, forest and fisheries minister, Tina Joemat-Pettersson, for violating the executive ethics code. Joemat-Pettersson was singled out for unlawfully using state resources for the return flights of her two children and their au pair to Sweden in January 2010. Madonsela said the department’s director general should recover in the region of R150,000 from the minister. Madonsela also said Joemat-Pettersson was guilty of reckless use of public funds in terms of her long-term stay in a luxury guesthouse during the Fifa world cup, which cost R420,000. “Minister Joemat-Pettersson's defence of ignorance of the costs involved, though accepted, is a cause for serious concern as she displayed a blank cheque attitude towards public funds,” Madonsela said in her report.


The Competition Commission wants to increase the fine the Competition Tribunal levelled against Telkom for uncompetitive behaviour. Reuters reports that the competition watchdog wants add to the R449-million against the telecommunications giant for uncompetitive behaviour. The Commission said in August that Telkom had used its dominant position to block competition from other service providers. The Competition Commission had tried to get a fine of R3.5-billion against Telkom, but the fixed line operator said it would be “catastrophic” and jeopardise it ability to do business. While Telkom is expected to appeal the decision, the Competition Commission in September filed papers cross appealing the Tribunal’s ruling, and asking that the fine be increased to R3-billion.


Cyril Ramaphosa has been nominated as the ANC KwaZulu-Natal’s candidate for deputy president in the upcoming elective conference in Mangaung.

The move is seen as a snub to sitting deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe, who last week won the endorsement of the ANC Youth League to run for president of the party. The ANC in KwaZulu-Natal didn’t contest secretary general Gwede Mantashe’s nomination, and Baleka Mbete retained her position as national chairman. Former party spokeswoman Jessie Duarte was put forward as deputy secretary-general and KwaZulu-Natal chairman Zweli Mkhize was selected as treasurer-general on the Zuma slate. A significant number of KZN branches nominated Motlanthe to keep his current position even though he’d been removed from the slate.


The Kruger National Park’s Operation Rhino task team has arrested two suspected rhino poachers in the game reserve. The poachers were detained in the N'wanetsi section of the Kruger National Park. Spokesman Ike Phaahla said shots were fired which led members of the task force to the discovery of two fresh rhino carcasses. The Operation Rhino task group, comprising rangers, SAPS and the SANDF went in search of the suspects and during the operation, came into contact with five “suspicious” men, who tried to run away as they approached. Phaahla said two men were arrested and the other three managed to escape under the cover of darkness back into Mozambique. The team recovered two hunting rifles, ammunition and four rhino horns.


KwaZulu-Natal premier Zweli Mkhize is investigating reports that his health MEC abused his position to commandeer an air ambulance to attend a funeral, an action that compromised a severely injured car crash victim. Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo, is expected to finally break his silence on his using Durban’s sole state-contracted medical rescue helicopter when it was needed for a critically injured accident victim. The Daily News reports that Mkhize’s spokesman, Ndabe Sibiya, said once Mkhize had exhausted all the internal processes on the issue that led to the death of 15-year-old Asheen Singh, the premier would make a pronouncement on what action would be taken. But the DA says Dhlomo should be fired immediately with “no excuses or delays”.


The ANC task team investigating charges of irregular nomination processes in its branches has its work cut out for it as allegations of vote buying were levelled against disgraced former local government and housing MEC, Humphrey Mmemezi. The Star newspaper reported that Mmemezi and others have been accused of offering large sums of money to ANC members in Tshwane to vote for President Jacob Zuma instead of deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe, Gauteng’s leading choice for the elective conference in Mangaung. The Star reports that Tshwane ANC regional chairman and mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa formally complained about Mmemezi at a tense provincial executive committee meeting (PEC) on Saturday. Gauteng Community Safety MEC Faith Mazibuko was also implicated in the alleged vote-buying scandal, which she denies.


KwaZulu-Natal police have confirmed the arrest of eight people after violent incidents in which shots were fired, people and cars were stoned, and a Sapa reporter’s car set alight outside a hostel in KwaMashu on Sunday. Colonel Vincent Mdunge said those arrested would be charged with public violence and malicious damage to property. Sapa reports that a car belonging to journalist Giordano Stolley who had been giving a lift to two other reporters, Bawinile Ngcobo from Isolezwe and Mpume Madlala from the Daily News, was set alight. The latter two fled their own cars when they too were pelted with stones. The trouble started when NFP leader Zanele Magwaza-Msibi’s convoy arrived at the hostel for a campaign meeting, and IFP members in the area took exception to her visit.


A bomb scare in downtown Johannesburg has led to the ANC's headquarters, Luthuli House, the Star newspaper and several other buildings in the area being evacuated. ANC spokesman Keith Khoza told Sapa that Luthuli House was evacuated due to its proximity to The Star’s building in Sauer Street. Khoza said Sauer Street was closed for about an hour while police searched the Independent Newspapers’ building where The Star is situated.

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