Recent News stories
19 July 2010
And nine other key articles from the weekend press (July 16 - 18 2010)
10. The Sunday Times report on how Mbhazima Shilowa is struggling to hold his faction together within COPE:
The newspaper reports that "Shilowa's chief lobbyist, Andile Nkuhlu, has resigned and the party's general secretary Charlotte Lobe - who is one of Shilowa's most vocal allies - also wants to throw in the towel. ... Lobe - a key ally in the battle with Lekota - had to be persuaded to stay after she drafted a letter of resignation and threatened to hand it in to the party. Those close to her said she has taken strain as a result of the infighting and was no longer interested in managing the party's day- to-day affairs. Shilowa supporters fear, however, that if Lobe resigns she will have to be replaced by her deputy, Deidre Carter, who is closely aligned to Lekota. ‘We can't allow (Lobe) to leave. We will lose the office (of general-secretary) and we can't have that happening before the elective congress in September,' said an insider who is also a close Shilowa confidante."
9. De Wet Potgieter's feature in the Sunday Independent [NL] on the battle to clamp down on the production of "tik" by restricting the supply of ephedrine:
Potgieter writes that ephedrine, from which tik is manufactured, was upgraded to a Schedule 6 drug earlier this year which meant (inter alia) pharmacies are no longer able to buy or stock the drug in its raw form. "With tightening border controls making it increasingly difficult to smuggle the chemicals into the country, criminals have focused on hijacking stocks legally brought into the country and on armed robberies at storage facilities."
8. The Saturday Star front page report on how Minister of Higher Education, Blade Nzimande, had stayed at the Mount Nelson in Cape Town for 15 days last year:
The newspaper said that Nzimande's spokeswoman, Ranjeni Munusamy, "confirmed that the communist leader stayed at the Mount Nelson Hotel for 15 days, between June and October last year. ‘While Parliament was in session, Minister Nzimande had to stay at various hotels in Cape Town, depending on the availability of rooms and compliance with reduced government rates. (Nzimande) stayed at the Mount Nelson a total of 15 days at a total cost of R40 675,' she said." The Saturday Star added that "some in the ANC's national executive committee (NEC) questioned why the spotlight was being consistently placed on [Communications Minister Siphiwe] Nyanda and not on Nzimande. The matter reached the stage where a senior ANC official raised the matter about Nzimande and the unashamedly colonial Mount Nelson at the last NEC meeting."
7. The extract from Jay Naidoo's memoir - Fighting for Justice - published in the Sunday Independent [NL]:
Naidoo observes that the ANC's ascent to power in 1994 led to a change in political culture. "We had our hands on the levers of power, money in a budget, staff, resources and the conviction that this government by virtue of its democratic election was the only legitimate representative of the aspirations of our people. In the process of tackling so many challenges, we robbed the country of an enormous contribution that all other sections of society could make. The government would give people jobs, houses, social security, schools and clinics and knew what was right for the citizenry. People who had participated in the fight for change now became passive bystanders. At the same time, any criticism of the government was a criticism of the revolution. There were also those who felt that as exiles their contributions to the struggle had amounted to more than the efforts of those who were inside the country. In fact, one person openly said to me: ‘Guys like you and Cyril Ramaphosa have not been brought up in the ANC tradition. You have only recently joined the movement. You have not been schooled in the revolutionary theory of our liberation struggle'."
6. The Sunday Times interview with Atul Gupta, head of SAHARA computers and aspiring press baron:
Anton Fereira notes that the Gupta brothers "who immigrated to South Africa in 1993, are partnering with Mbeki confidante Essop Pahad - whose magazine, The Thinker, they fund - in launching their paper, which will be edited by former Business Day journalist Vuyo Mvoko. Gupta dismissed suggestions that the paper would be pro-ANC, but said: ‘We will be broadly supportive of the ruling government. What is wrong with that?' Gupta said he planned to shape editorial policy at the paper and would keep a hand on the tiller while it established itself."
5. The Mail & Guardian report on how Mamodupi Mohlala's 10-month tenure as director general of communications has seen a staff exodus from the department:
Jackie Mapiloko and Glynnis Underhill write that five senior managers "have resigned, citing her autocratic leadership in their exit interviews. Mohlala has suspended another six for alleged misconduct and corruption.In the same period the department has spent R1,3-million in legal costs and settlement agreements involving the chief director of human resources, Basani Baloyi, and the chief financial officer, Harry Mathabathe." A source at the department told the newspaper "She manages by fear and no one can take it any more. People feel it's better to be without a job than work for her."
4. The Mail & Guardian report on how communications minister, Siphiwe Nyanda, his deputy Dina Pule, and Director General Mohlala have all lived it up in Cape Town at taxpayers' expense:
Glynnis Underhill and Jackie Mapiloko report that "Invoices leaked to the M&G show the three government officials flew business class, stayed in five-star accommodation and charged hotel meals, room service, telephone, laundry and valet bills to the communications department. While dining alone during his stay at the five-star Mount Nelson hotel in September last year, Nyanda did not stint on life's finer pleasures, invoices reveal. The minister's meal on September 8 last year at the hotel's acclaimed Cape Colony Restaurant started with oysters, followed by a main course of springbok loin and was washed down with a bottle of mineral water and two glasses of Bordeaux-style red Meerlust Rubicon. The wine cost R330 and the meal for one took the bill to R700, tip included."
3. The Sunday Times report that the ANC Youth League had successfully managed to get nationalisation of the mines onto the agenda of the ANC's National General Council later this year:
According to Moipane Malefane and Mzilikazi wa ka Afrika ANCYL spokesperson Floyd Shivambu said the League was "not worried whether nationalisation should happen or not; the question is how we are going to manage it". He also suggested the ANCYL might encourage the ANC to replicate Zimbabwe's land reform programme, saying "many people are misreading what happened in Zimbabwe. There was nothing fundamentally wrong with their land reform programme. In South Africa we can do it without creating perceptions that we are abusing human rights. People who don't agree with the youth league are trying to divert attention and protect their interests. We can't be held to ransom by the interests of minorities. The best way to celebrate Nelson Mandela is to become more decisive in the struggle for economic freedom in our life-time."
2. The Mail & Guardian report on the latest extension of the Zuma family's business empire:
Stefaans Brümmer and Sam Sole report that "President Jacob Zuma met the boss of a South Korean shipping multinational before the Korean signed a major deal with Zuma's nephew on Monday... A spokesperson for Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering confirmed on Thursday that his company's chief executive, Nam Sang-Tae, met President Zuma in Pretoria shortly before Nam signed the shipping deal with Khulubuse Zuma's Impinda Group." The newspaper notes that Khulubuse "has made rapid strides in business since his uncle took power." Most recently, "Democratic Republic of Congo President Joseph Kabila awarded Khulubuse Zuma two heavily contested oil exploration blocks on Lake Albert last month. The contracts are controversial because Khulubuse has no background in the oil business and the exploration rights were taken from Irish multinational Tullow Oil and South Africa's Sacoil, which were originally granted them... Asked whether President Zuma had introduced his nephew's company to them, [the Daewoo spokesperson] initially said: ‘Yes, that's right,' but later said he was not sure."
1. The City Press article on how a Julius Malema company - Blue Nightingale Trading 61 - was cut in on a lucrative contract for the removal and treatment of medical waste from Limpopo's hospitals and clinics.
Mariechen Waldner and Piet Rampedi report that Malema is a business partner of Dr Christos -Eleftheriades of Thermopower Technologies, a company facing a series of charges for environmental violations. Eleftheriades's Medicare Process Technologies and Malema's company are partners in Tshumisano Waste Management, a consortium which won the Limpopo contract. "Blue Nightingale, of which Malema is the sole director, owns a 3% stake in Tshumisano....Eleftheriades said that the Tshumisano consortium paid Blue Nightingale a monthly dividend of R136 000." When contacted by the newspaper the ANCYL president denied everything.
Hat Tip JP