Friday, June 10, 2011

Vigilante Mob Kill Woman


A vigilante mob allegedly killed a woman they accused of stealing a cellphone in Mgojweni, 30km from Mthatha, Eastern Cape police said on Friday.

Lieutenant Colonel Mzukisi Fatyela said a group of women attacked the woman, 27, with sticks and stones at 19:00 on Thursday.

Police arrested three women, aged 28, 30 and 40, in connection with the murder.

They were expected to appear in court soon.

Police Fire Rubber Bullets


Police shot rubber bullets at protesters in Noordgesig, near Soweto, on Friday, the National Association for the Advancement of Affected People (NAAAP) said.

"Police started shooting and residents responded by throwing stones," NAAAP founder Mark Trimble said.

"There is a stand-off between police and the community. There is a lot of tension and it's difficult to calm the community," he said.

Captain Katlego Mogale confirmed rubber bullets had been fired at protesters.

She said the public order police, Orlando police and Metro Police were on the scene and had managed to calm the situation. They were continuing to patrol the area, she said.

Trimble said NAAAP was trying to calm the situation.

Waiting to hear from the City

Protesters were waiting to hear from the City of Johannesburg as there were rumours that the electricity had been reconnected.

"We are waiting to hear from the City, we heard the power is on but we think it's only because of Albertina Sisulu's memorial that it's happening," Trimble said.

"They're probably doing this to ease the protest but then we'll wake up tomorrow and the power will be off again."

The NAAAP was formed in 2004 and convened in 2006.

Trimble said the organisation believed that all South Africans had been affected by bad service delivery for too long.

He said NAAAP had been working with government and offering solutions.

Shooting at protesters

"We have been working with government for free but the problem is they don't listen to the people... Service delivery has been government's biggest gripe," he said.

On Thursday, the NAAAP accused police of assaulting and shooting at protesters.

Trimble said those injured were planning to lay charges against the police.

Mogale said: "If that's the route they want to take then they must take it".

Residents of Noordgesig protested on Wednesday after spending two days without electricity. They were joined by residents from Newclare, Westbury, Riverlea and Eldorado Park.

City power reconnected the power following the protest, but it went off again shortly after that.

Other issues

The protesters also used the opportunity to demonstrate against frequent water shortages, poor service delivery, lack of housing and inflated billing by the City of Johannesburg.
City spokesperson Gabu Tugwana said it had committed to work with all the communities to quickly resolve the problems.

"The people of these communities need to ensure that there is no damage to the electrical infrastructure. There wouldn't be a need to switch off the power to repair it then."

Slam Government’s Advertising

June 10 2011 

The government's R1-billion-a-year advertising budget is a plan to bribe newspapers to publish only its view of news and affairs, the South African National Editors' Forum (Sanef) said on Thursday night. 
Sanef said it condemned the plan to allocate the budget in a way which favoured newspapers which assisted the government “in getting its message across” and which “told the truth about service delivery”. 

This meant newspapers would be bribed to become government propagandists or mouthpieces, it said in a statement. 

“This would be a serious offence against the freedom of the media clause in the Constitution, which the government has sworn to uphold. 

“Freedom means liberty and particularly conduct where financial inducement or threat plays no part.” 

Announcing the plan on Thursday, government spokesperson Jimmy Manyi reportedly appealed to the media to not only criticise, but report on important information which South Africans deserved to know. 

He voiced concern that some media organisations criticised information from the government instead of reporting it to the public. 

While the government welcomed media criticism, it was also important for the media to “pass on” government information, especially on service delivery, he said. 

“We have content, please pass it on... Government is serious about information getting to the people, we don't apologise about that.” 

Manyi said approval of the strategy would result in “a return to government's centralised approach to media buying”. 

“Government Communication and Information Services (GCIS) will procure media space/airtime for national departments in order to realise economies of scale. Government, through the GCIS, will monitor and enforce adherence to the government brand,” he said. 

Sanef said journalists and newspaper managements would view with “abhorrence” this attempt to coerce the press, which would contravene the Press Code of Conduct and the Advertising Standards Authority's rules. 

The plan ignored the consequences for the government's reputation overseas, especially among investors, and that of the news media, which was highly regarded internationally. 

Another result being overlooked was the effect on the European Union, which was steadfast in upholding media freedom and would reject as unacceptable any government bribery of the press. 

“That would mean the end of any prospect that Planning Minister Trevor Manuel would become a senior officer of the International Monetary Fund,” Sanef said. 

It reminded the government that several attempts to use the threat to withdraw advertising as a means of punishing newspapers for being outspoken and critical of official malpractice and corruption in South Africa had failed. 

In Botswana, the Supreme Court had forced the government to abandon such practices, it said.

“Sanef calls on the government to drop this scheme immediately and to revert to accepted professional principles in the placing of advertising before further harm is done. 

“It is also urged to refrain from persisting with its hostility towards the press.” 

In 2007, the then-minister in the presidency Essop Pahad said he was considering stopping the government's advertising in the Sunday Times, after critical reports about the then-health minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang. 

Later that year, the possibility was raised of a media appeals tribunal to replace the existing self-regulation of the media. 

In 2010 a working paper on the issue was published, but earlier this year ANC spokesperson Jackson Mthembu said the ANC would stick to the current model if the press council imposed measures that “discourage irresponsible reporting”. 

KZN health crackdown

June 9 2011

Forty-seven KwaZulu-Natal health department officials have either been fired, have resigned or will appear in court on charges of corruption, the province's MEC Sibongiseni Dhlomo said on Thursday. 

“What is very striking is that these officials are alleged to have siphoned millions of public funds that could have been best utilised to train more nurses or recruit more pharmacists,” Dhlomo said in his service delivery report to the provincial legislature. 

On the poor condition of KwaZulu-Natal hospitals, he said their CEOs needed to meet expectations for progress to be seen. 

“We do not require hospital CEOs to know the Pythagoras theorem. We are not asking for extraordinary things. All we ask for is for reduced waiting times, cleaner hospitals, easily available medicine and efficient security for hospital staff.” 

In response to Tuesday's murder of Dr Senzosenkosi Mkhize at Middelburg Hospital in Mpumalanga, allegedly by a patient, Dhlomo said KwaZulu-Natal's doctors were equally at risk. 

In May a member of the emergency medical rescue service was killed when he responded to a distress call in Escourt. 

“A young man had stabbed his parents and the other members of the family called an ambulance. When they arrived and were trying to help the stabbed mother, the assailant stabbed our member of staff to death.” 

Radebe 'didn't know'


Justice Minister Jeff Radebe on Thursday said he did not know how South African Ratel armoured infantry carriers may have ended up in strife-torn Yemen.

Radebe was responding to a question from Democratic Alliance MP David Maynier, who has circulated a Reuters photograph taken this week, showing Yemeni soldiers, who had defected to opposition forces battling the regime, sitting on a Ratel in Sana'a.

Maynier asked Radebe, who is chair of the National Conventional Arms Control Committee (NCACC), whether he was aware of this, and whether the committee was investigating a possible violation of the end-user certificate by another country that had bought Ratels from South Africa.

"There is no evidence that these infantry vehicles were exported directly to Yemen, but my question again is, is the minister aware of this case and is this case being investigated by the NCACC's inspectorate as a possible violation of user certificate agreements?" Maynier asked.

Radebe replied: "On Yemen, I'm unaware of any rerouting that has happened there. If Mr Maynier has any information he can tell us, but also we will find out from the inspectorate."

Yemen is gripped by bloody political turmoil as government troops battle Islamic militants and separatist tribesmen.

The NCACC's annual report for 2010 shows South Africa exported R373.8m worth of conventional arms to Yemen last year.

This included R239m of Category A weaponry, defined as "sensitive major conventional implements of war that could cause heavy personnel casualties".

The NCACC approved arms sales of R68.9m to Libya last year. A breakdown shows Libya bought R1.9m worth of Category A weapons, R10.7m of Category B weapons (such as assault rifles) and R56m of Category C (support items like radios) equipment.

Pro-democracy protests

Radebe hastened to add, however, that South Africa had not exported arms to nations affected by pro-democracy protests that had swept through North Africa and the Middle East this year, including Libya.

"Since the revolution started in North Africa in December, January this year, we have put on hold many of those things and in fact we have denied applications that have come before this committee, but that would be for another time because our main preoccupation for now is really 2010.

"The other countries that we have put on hold in the period under review ... where we denied countries such as Gabon, Syria, Yemen, Namibia and Zimbabwe."

He added: "In terms of the export to Libya, it is indicated there, and the report indicates what category of weapons was sold there, but I need to emphasise that this was in 2010. We have not exported anything in 2011."

Radebe took exception to repeated demands from Maynier to say whether last year's arms sales to Libya included sniper rifles.

"He did not answer the question. He could answer it with a simple yes or no. So my question stands," Maynier said.

Radebe indicated he was not at liberty to disclose the exact nature of the hardware sold to Muammar Gaddafi's regime, but referred to fact that the categories are indicated in the NCACC report.

"I have answered Mr Maynier, so him saying that I did not answer his question is totally wrong. I cannot answer the way he wants me to answer and he has the answer in front of him, if he has the annual report.

"It is totally irregular for him to want me to answer in the manner in which he wants, like he is a principal. I'm not a school boy."

Asked about the approval of the export of R8m worth of arms last year to Syria, which is now seeing a crackdown on opposition protests, Radebe said the weapons had in fact been sold to a United Nations peacekeeping operation "that happened to be there".

"It had nothing to do with a direct authorisation to the Syrian government. It was for a United Nations procurement, nothing else."


Macho Mike June 9, 2011 at 23:12

Eish Mr Radebe, everyone knows how the Ratels ended up in Yemen!
Hau, the Ratels were driving up the N3 when they got highjacked! The highjackers made the soldiers drive them up through Africa, passed Uncle Bob who was sleeping,through Zambia, around Lake Malawi, then over land to Kenya. Here the highjackers decided not to go through Somalia incase the highjackers themselves were highjacked by the ship highjackers, so they gooied a left and motored up through Sudan. When they hit the Egypt / Libya border, they heard reports that the area was full of k*k, not only bacause Zuma was visiting, but there was a war. They gooied a right and drove as fast as they could, until they ran out of fuel. And they then discovered they were in Yemen, and got attacked by some rebel soldiers who stole the Ratels.
The Ratel drivers and highjackers were recently seen hitchiking just south of the Congo, trying to get back to SA, to report the matter to the Police, who have yet to open a case doket because thieves broke into the cop shop and stole all the documents and pens recently.
And that Mr Radebe, is what happened i belief.