Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Shaik put into jail hospital....

Correctional Services says his 'health condition' made transfer necessary

Mar 15, 2011

Days after allegedly assaulting a fellow worshipper at a mosque in Durban, Schabir Shaik has been transferred to the hospital section of Westville Prison because of "his health condition". 


Slaziya Mtola, KwaZulu-Natal Correctional Services spokesman, said: "Mr Shaik, obviously because of his health condition, has been placed in the hospital section of the prison".
According to media reports yesterday, Reeves Parsee, Shaik's lawyer, said: "[He] is confused and saddened at his arrest, which appears to be based on allegations in the media. There is no evidence that he has violated his parole conditions, or proof of the allegations being levelled against him."
Shaik was arrested at his plush home in Morningside, Durban, on Monday after allegedly punching and slapping fellow worshipper Mohamed Ismail outside Overport's Masjid al Hilal mosque on Friday.
The Sunday Times reported that Ismail had to leave the mosque after doctors called him to assist with his five-year-old daughter, who suffers from nephrotic syndrome, a kidney condition.
The altercation was apparently sparked when Shaik's vehicle was allegedly blocking Ismail's vehicle at the mosque.
Shaik will be held for a period of 72 hours while Correctional Services officials investigate the alleged assault and make a recommendation to the parole board.
Yesterday, officers visited the offices of the Sunday Times in Durban and requested contact details for Ismail, who has not laid charges of assault against Shaik.
Reporters asked Ismail's permission to give his details to investigating officers, but he requested that they not do so.
The Times understands that another girl died of nephrotic syndrome in the same hospital as Ismail's daughter over the weekend.
He is said to be "terrified for his daughter's life", and doesn't want "anything more to do" with Shaik.
Shaik, formerly President Jacob Zuma's financial adviser, was released on medical parole in March 2009 after serving two years and four months of his 15-year sentence for fraud and corruption.
The parole board decided to release Shaik on the grounds that he was "terminally ill", but later cut his free time from six hours to four hours after he was photographed at a shopping mall outside his free time.
The incident involving Ismail comes just weeks after Shaik was accused of assaulting Sunday Tribune journalist Amanda Khoza while playing golf at the Papwa Sewgowlum course in Durban.
Khoza laid a charge of assault against Shaik that police are investigating.


Government Tender Fraud

Govt tender fraud registry only has 2 names in 7 years

March 16, 2011

COPE says it is appalled by reports that the National Registry for tender fraud has to date only added 2 names to its list since 2004. "If this was a joke we could have laughed at it but this is a national crisis requiring us to cry at what is happening". 

The Congress of the People is appalled by reports that the National Registry for tender fraud has to date only added 2 names to its list since 2004. If this was a joke we could have laughed at it but this is a national crisis requiring us to cry at what is happening.
COPE would like government to announce to the people of South Africa what has happened regarding the R25bn worth of public tenders that were being investigated for fraud and corruption. That was the quantum given by Minister Gordhan in his Medium Term Budget Speech.
Any government that was serious about eradicating tender manipulation by South Africa’s politically elite tenderpreneurs would have had a large number of names on that register. This government continues to fail the people by sheltering those who undermine our Constitution and our country’s laws.
That the ANC lacks the political will and administrative clout to act against its own supporters and funders is clear for all to see. A government can fool some of the people some of the time, but it cannot fool all of the people all of the time.
This government by its track record and actions is clearly People will no longer be lead around blindly. People are waking up to the fact that the ANC is promoting an elitist agenda that is marginalizing the poor.
Half of South Africa’s population is under 25 and 50% of them are unemployed. Government’s lack of resolve in putting many more people on the offender’s register is going to rob half of our youth of a better future.
Their future demands a better response from government.


Instability and Corruption

Mayor admits to bus service instability

Mar 08 2011 

Pretoria - Tshwane mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa admitted on Tuesday that there was instability and possible corruption within the city's bus service division.

In his state of the city address, Ramokgopa said the city's department of roads and transport would prioritise stabilising labour relations in the Tshwane Bus Service, with the help of the corporate and shared services department.

This followed recent protests which resulted in the death of a worker and the axing of over 900 workers, most of them bus drivers.

The city was also liaising with unions to stop the protests, he said.

"We are reducing the instability that is often brought about by labour unrest," he said.

"It remains the responsibility of all concerned to strike a fine balance between the constitutional rights of workers and the constitutional entitlements of our communities to good quality social services."

It was expected that the conclusion of disciplinary processes against some bus drivers would result in a better-managed division.

Ramokgopa acknowledged that the bus service and the waste management divisions had been marred by problems in the past.

"Concerted efforts are under way to get to the root of this pattern of behaviour (unwarranted strikes), so we can rid the city of this cancer that threatens to undermine the good work in other areas of our service delivery agenda," he said.

Tshwane residents have, in the past week, faced bus service disruptions and waste removal problems as members of the SA Municipal Workers' Union (Samwu) went on strike.

They were protesting against the disciplinary action taken against their members in the city's troubled bus services.

They demanded the sacking of Tshwane Bus Services director Bernard Mojapelo, which the city claimed had already been done.

On Thursday, the protest turned violent, leading to the death of Petros Msiza.

Two days later, the city dismissed 961 workers. Receipt of a letter in this regard was confirmed on Monday by Samwu deputy chairperson Veli Kubheka.

The union has vowed to fight tooth and nail for the reinstatement of dismissed workers, but Ramokgopa said there would be no compromise.

"Ill-discipline and poor corporate governance are non-negotiable. Management has prima-facie evidence," he said at a post-address media briefing.

His intention was to restore order and integrity to the institution.

Ramokgopa said strikers were using the fact that the country was readying itself for the upcoming local government elections in May as a bargaining chip.

"If it means losing elections for the people who undermine corporate governance, so be it."

He apologised to the residents being inconvenienced by the protests and the dismissals.

Samwu has since suspended its strike and some workers are back at work.

Another issue Ramokgopa raised was the creation of jobs though the development of industrial hubs in areas such as Rosslyn and Waltloo and the revitalised Babelegi industrial area.

Construction jobs and permanent industrial opportunities would be created through the attraction of investment to these areas, he said.

Ramokgopa said different departments, particularly the infrastructure development department, would explore ways of creating direct and indirect jobs through, among others, supporting cooperatives and expanded public works programmes.

He said a R53m project was under way to rejuvenate the city over the next two years.

The project would cover the precincts of Marabastad, Church Square and Pretoria Station, among others.

State Fails on Services

Manuel admits state fails on services

Mar 16 2011

Cape Town - South Africa has failed to deliver quality services to the poor, despite adequate funding, Planning Minister Trevor Manuel said on Wednesday.

"We must accept that despite the adequate allocation of funding, we fail to deliver quality services, especially to the poor," he said.

Manuel was addressing members of the European Union and South African legislative sector at the 2010 International Consultative Seminar in Cape Town. It focused on the role of legislatures in achieving the UN's millennium development goals (MDG).

While South Africa had a "sophisticated" infrastructure, a well-developed private sector and a stable macroeconomy, there was unequal access to quality education and healthcare.

The latter, combined with a high prevalence of HIV and Aids, explained why South Africa has not achieved some MDG targets.

He said legislators needed to recognise that the quality of democracy should be measured in a country's success in uprooting poverty, reducing inequality and broadening opportunities.

"As we tackle this we have to be conscious of the fact that poverty is far more than the lack of or deficiency in income." While progress, according to MDG indicators, showed that South Africa was exceeding MDG targets, in many instances it did not measure the quality of the services provided.

The country had met the target for enrolment ratios for primary education of 99.4%, and showed higher enrolment of girls than boys. This figure however did not measure education quality, how much time teachers spent teaching or the dropout rate.

The country also recorded "very high" functional literacy levels.

South Africa was placed at 137 out of 150 countries on a scale that measured proficiency in maths and literacy. On the African continent, South Africa was part of the bottom of the list.

"In fact we perform poorly, even by our own standards," said Manuel.

While these numbers were likely to be less prevalent in the leafy suburbs, they represented the reality of life for the majority of South Africans.

Soweto was an indication of the severity of the education crisis.

"If a large complex like Soweto still underperforms the rest of the Gauteng province on virtually every indicator... then there is of course (it's) a huge problem, because if we don't fix schools in the industrial heartland of South Africa, then the future for many of us is going to be very severely impaired."

He said parliaments needed to ensure tools for oversight and analysis were properly utilised. Relying on official statistics was not enough, and governments should not have to wait for protests to "know what is happening in the lives of the people".

He said several questions needed to be asked, such as "who is responsible and how can they be made to account? Will the MPs and legislators be bold enough to speak their minds and to deal with the complexity of these issues?"

Ministers should be held responsible for the outcomes on their performance agreements.

"I want to challenge members of parliaments and legislatures... we must hold each other accountable," he said.

Dysfunctional South Africa

SA 'on verge of being dysfunctional'


Johannesburg - South Africa is on the "verge" of joining the ranks of dysfunctional states as the effects of corruption debilitate all spheres of life, the chairperson of a constitutional watchdog said on Wednesday.

"In the changing circumstances of our times, a conservative assault on the Constitution from some of the most powerful in our society threatens to fatally undermine our capacity to overcome poverty and inequality," Sipho Pityana, the chairperson of the Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution (CASAC) said.

"It is now beyond doubt that corruption and patronage are so pervasive, rampant and crippling in our society that we are on the verge of being deemed a dysfunctional state..."

Legal, institutional weaknesses

Pityana said a study by CASAC had found three potentially crippling legal and institutional weaknesses in South Africa - a lack of effective monitoring and enforcement agencies, no institution with a clear mandate to drive educational campaigns on corruption and no "true" independence for organisations tasked with fighting corruption.

CASAC, he said, was proposing "a dedicated, independent agency" that would be responsible and accountable for the investigation of corrupt activities alongside "pro-active preventive measures" such as education of the public.

Pityana said the agency would need significant political support to ensure that it was well funded.

"If there is truly no political will to address corruption, no mechanism existing or proposed can succeed," he said.

JSC to discuss Judge Motata's fate


Johannesburg - The Judicial Service Commission (JSC) will discuss the fate of Judge Nkola Motata, who was convicted of drunken driving, at its next sitting in April

"The matter will be placed on the agenda for the next sitting of the Judicial Service Commission for consideration," said justice spokesperson Tlali Tlali on Monday.

"We are alive to the need to have this resolved as soon as possible," he added.

Special leave

Tlali was responding to a report in The Star newspaper on Monday that Motata was still on special leave and on full pay, despite the South Gauteng High Court turning down his appeal against his drunken driving conviction.

In November, two judges dismissed the appeal against his conviction and sentence, which is either a R20 000 fine or 12 months in jail.

No petition had been lodged with the Supreme Court of Appeal, reported The Star.

The judge crashed his car into the perimeter wall of a house in Hurlingham, north of Johannesburg, in 2007.

The owner, Richard Baird, testified against him in a highly publicised trial.

The JSC needs to decide when his special leave will end.

The Star reported that if the matter dragged on until February 2012, when he was due to retire, he would possibly then retire on a judge's full salary.

The JSC's next sitting is scheduled to take place from 4 to 13 April.

Judge on Corruption and Other Charges

Crooked judge causes new trials

Pretoria - Alleged criminals who had their cases heard by Louis Trichardt Magistrate Ronnie Rambau will be tried afresh after Rambau's arrest on corruption and other charges.

The North Gauteng High Court on Wednesday set aside the proceedings in the four partly-heard criminal trials before Rambau, a senior magistrate for Limpopo.

Judges Eberhard Bertelsmann and Roger Claassen referred the four matters back to the regional court to start afresh before another magistrate.

The four accused face charges ranging from robbery with aggravating circumstances to possession of firearms and corruption.

The judges said the cases must be given preference on the trial roll.

Where possible, the existing record of the earlier proceedings should be sought to be admitted as evidence that was common cause.

Rambau was arrested in February 2009 along with district prosecutor Estene Willemse and Musina attorney TE Lubisi on charges of corruption.

They allegedly accepted bribes to influence the outcome of certain court cases. The three have to appear in court again next month.

Conspiracy to commit murder

Rambau, presently on suspension, was arrested again in January this year on a charge of conspiracy to commit murder.

This came after an alleged hit list, containing the names of persons involved in his corruption trial, was handed to the police.

The list included the names of two magistrates and three state prosecutors.

Rambau was released on R50 000 bail and will have to appear in the Giyani Magistrate's Court again on April 25 in connection with that case.

The judges said Rambau was obviously unable to continue in the high office he held until the criminal charges against him had been finally disposed of.

Should he be convicted and the conviction upheld on appeal, Rambau would have to vacate his office.

Even if he was acquitted, he could still face the possibility of disciplinary charges and eventual removal from his position.

"It may well be argued that the mere fact that the trial magistrate in these .. matters has been arrested on charges as grave and as incompatible with holding judicial office as these, may be reason enough to vacate the bench to prevent further harm being done to the reputation of the judiciary at all levels," the judges contended.

"Whatever the eventual outcome, it is clear that Mr Rambau will be unavailable for the foreseeable future to preside over the ... trials."

The trials had been dragging along for several years, and it was imperative that finality be reached as soon as possible.

Though setting aside the trials would prejudice the accused and their right to a speedy trial, their position would be worse if they had to wait for Rambau's return to the bench, the judges concluded.