Monday, June 13, 2011

Unchain Boeremag: Judge

Jun 13, 2011 

The High Court in Pretoria has ordered that four of the Boeremag treason trial accused may no longer be held in leg irons overnight. 


Judge Andre Louw granted the urgent court order on Monday following an application by the accused Mike du Toit, Herman van Rooyen, Tom Vorster and Rudi Gouws. 

He also ordered that Correctional Services must immediate return the four's laptop computers to them. 

The four complained that they were sleep deprived and unable to concentrate on legal argument by their counsel in court or to give proper instructions because they were forced to sleep in leg irons with the lights on at night.
They also complaint their laptops contained privileged instructions to their legal representatives.
They said Correctional Services had never given them any reasons for extending their period in isolation and shackles from seven to 30 days. 

Counsel for the four, Piet Pistorius, argued that the "draconian" measures were unnecessary, as the four were already being held in a high security section within the jail, where they were guarded 24 hours per day. 

"It is inhumane treatment to force an inmate to sleep in shackles at night," he said. 

Correctional Services opposed the application, saying the Correctional Services Act and regulations authorised them to restrain inmates who tried to escape in this manner. 

Solly Sithole SC argued on behalf of Correctional Services that the four were at the top of the list of high-risk inmates and were not the only ones who were kept in isolation and shackles.
"It's a question of branding of an inmate as a high risk inmate," he said. 

Louw said he had to accept if the four said they could not sleep properly at night. 

He said Correctional Services may have acted within the Act and regulations, but still had to justify the extension of the measures in terms of the Constitution, but gave no reasons for the extension. 

It also did not give any reasons why the accused's laptop computers should not be returned to them. 

Louw ordered that each party to pay its own costs. 

The four, together with the elderly Vis Visagie, staged a failed escape bid during a tea break at the High Court last month, but were all recaptured shortly thereafter. 

Visagie was rushed to hospital after collapsing at court the next day. He is still in hospital after undergoing heart surgery. 

Du Toit was also absent from court on Monday as he was being treated for injuries apparently sustained during the escape bid. 

Six of the other incarcerated accused have meanwhile also threatened to launch an urgent application as they had to appear in court in leg irons and lost all of their privileges along with the five who tried to escape. 

Van Rooyen and Gouws were previously on the run for eight months after escaping from the court cells in 2008. 

The State has asked for the conviction of all 20 accused on the main charge of high treason, arguing that a rightwing plot to violently overthrow the government was continuing to this day. 

R36m police day shindig

Jun 13, 2011

The Democratic Alliance has called for a forensic audit into the hosting of the past two National Police Day functions saying that the high costs were a "concern". 

"I shall today [Monday] be writing to the Auditor General to request that a forensic audit be conducted into the hosting of both this year's National Police Day and the Police Day of 2010," the DA's spokeswoman on police Dianne Kohler Barnard said in a statement on Monday. 

She said the DA noted with "extreme concern" the high costs of hosting this year's function. 

In a written reply to a parliamentary question in April about the cost of the function, Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa said that R36,3 million was spent on this year's function. 

Of this: R6m was spent on transport, 

R501,491 on accommodation, 

R44,574 on venue hire and 

R5m on expenses such as corporate gear, advertising and cleaning services.

She said that almost 

R12m was spent on entertainment and a further 

R12m on food and beverages. 

"... a questionable use of South African Police Service [SAPS] resources given that the ability of many police stations to carry out policing duties are inhibited by a chronic lack of basic resources. 

"We have urgent needs not being met, and indeed bills not being paid, by our SAPS -- and this event seems to be nothing more than an ego-boosting exercise for the National Police Commissioner." 

Kohler Barnard said that while the DA believed it was important to recognise the good work of police officers, it should be done in a more cost effective way. 

She said the DA believed that further investigation into the financial management of the event was warranted. 

72-year-old Woman Kills Robber


A 72-year-old woman living on her own shot and killed an intruder in St Francis Bay after she was tied up and threatened, Eastern Cape police said on Sunday.

Two men broke into her house through a window at 03:00 on Sunday and confronted her with a knife and screwdriver, spokesperson Marianette Olivier said.

She was blindfolded, tied up and forced to tell the men the pin numbers to her bank cards.

"While one of the men left with her car to draw money from her account, she managed to untie herself and got a firearm from the cupboard.

The man tried to grab her .38 Special and she fired shots, killing him. The second man came back, saw her standing with the gun and ran away."

A case of murder and house robbery was opened.

"No one has been charged with murder. We will do formal investigations, send a docket to the public prosecutor and then a decision will be made," she said.

Zapiro and Zuma


The Mail and Guardian said on Monday that it stands by its publication of Zapiro’s latest controversial cartoon which the ANC might take legal action against. 

Jacob Zuma

On Sunday, the governing party’s spokesperson Brian Sokutu said that it is seeking legal advice and is considering laying charges over the cartoon, which appeared in the June 10 2011 edition of the newspaper.
In the cartoon, President Jacob Zuma, with the word “govt” written on his side, is seen unbuckling his belt while Gwede Mantashe, with ANC written on his side, pushes a woman with a sash reading “Freedom of Speech” and a torch in her hand, towards him.

Gwede Mantashe

On the side lies another woman, blindfolded with scales at her side and her dress torn, and shouting “FIGHT SISTER, FIGHT”.

Already facing lawsuit

The blindfolded woman seemingly represents Lady Justice and is a reference to the 2008 cartoon of Zuma preparing to rape her while members of the ANC and its alliance partners held her down.

Zapiro, whose real name is Jonathan Shapiro, is already facing a defamation of character lawsuit for that cartoon - The Rape of Lady Justice - of R5m.


The Mail and Guardian’s editor Nic Dawes told News24 that the newspaper will not apologise for Zapiro’s latest cartoon and will not retract it either.

“The cartoon was strong, tough and disturbing and [an] attempt to deal with a disturbing [issue],” Dawes said.

Isn’t it ironic?

He said he found it ironic that the ANC was seeking legal action about a cartoon regarding freedom of speech.

The ANC’s Sokutu, however, did not see the irony.

He said that while the ANC “subscribes to freedom of speech and freedom of expression, “the cartoon was in bad taste and undermines the dignity of [President] Zuma.

“It borders on defamation of character and is a gross abuse of freedom of speech [and] is not in line with journalistic ethics.

“We are not against him [Zapiro] expressing himself, we are against the depiction [of Zuma].”

Iconic symbols

Zapiro, meanwhile, said that while he wasn’t officially informed of the ANC’s complaint regarding the matter, he takes the drawing of the cartoons very seriously.

“It is a no-brainer that the cartoon is metaphorical”, he added.

“These are iconic symbols of justice and freedom of speech that have been around for hundreds of years,” he said, in reference to the women in the drawings.

He warned that, with the proposed protection of information bill to which he is referring in the cartoon, he sees the nation “on a slippery slope towards authoritarian rule”.

In addition to the R5m lawsuit, Shapiro is facing another R2m lawsuit from Zuma for a 2006 cartoon.