Monday, August 22, 2011

Child protection register - 1 person listed


Sixteen months after it became operational, only one person deemed unsuitable to work with children has been named in the national Child Protection Register (CPR).
In a written reply to a parliamentary question tabled on Monday, Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini confirmed the register was "fully operational", with an allocated budget of R1.7m.

"Only one name appears on the Child Protection Register as a person who is unsuitable to work with children," she said.

"However, there are 64 names of persons who have been convicted of crimes against children, who still need to be found unsuitable to work with children by the courts that convicted them, as required by the Children's Act."

The CPR, which was created in terms of the 2005 Children's Act, consists of two parts.

Part A is a record of all the reports of abuse or deliberate neglect of a child, and all convictions of people on charges involving such abuse or deliberate neglect.

Part B is a record of people found to be unsuitable to work with children, and is supposed to be used to protect children from them.

The parliamentary question was posed by Democratic Alliance MP Patricia Kopane.

In a statement later on Monday, Kopane queried how it was possible that only one name appeared in the register.

"Last year, there were 4 000 reported cases of ill-treatment of children. And we know that South Africa is a world capital for 'baby rape' and the sexual abuse of minors - it is estimated that around 30 000 children per year are victims of sexual abuse.

"In this context, it is difficult to believe that only one person in the entire country is prohibited from working with children. The minister... has some explaining to do," she said.

The DA also wanted to know why it cost R1 725 849 to develop and maintain a CPR that contained but a single name.

"It is essential that we have a Child Protection Register to safeguard our children from those who prey on them. But it is impossible to do so if the register is in a shambles."

Kopane said she would be calling on Dlamini to appear before the social development portfolio committee to explain herself.

Ex-bodyguard ‘let down’ by Malema

August 22 2011

About R3.6 million is spent each year to guard ANC Youth League president Julius Malema.

But this money has never benefited Steve Mashala – who spent 10 months shielding Malema’s life without being paid.

Mashala, now jobless, has accused Malema of reneging on a promise to find him a job in the SAPS or Joburg metro police department.

Mashala, 36, said Malema used used him as his personal bodyguard and driver for 10 months before dumping him “for no apparent reason”.

He was the driver of the get-away car with Malema in it when the league leader’s entourage came under attack, apparently from Inkatha supporters at Mangosuthu Technikon, in 2009.

Mashala was in a Durban hotel with Malema when news came through about a possible attack and police had to supply them with back-up.

Malema’s state security was withdrawn, after Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa ruled that his life was no longer in danger.

During his hate speech trial in the Johannesburg High Court this year, Malema used private security outfit Mikeric Security and Training Solutions to guard him.

Mashala trained as an underground ANC cadre in Sekgosese Village in Limpopo in the 1990s while a pupil there. Malema had received similar training.

Mashala joined the SAPS in 1999 as a reservist, where he worked until 2006. He says that during that time, he secured the arrest and conviction of several high-profile criminals and testified against them in court.

Mashala came to Joburg after he failed to get a permanent post at Sekgosese police station in 2006. He continued applying for a job in the police, but failed.

It was then that he approached Malema for help.

“After I asked him for help, the president (Malema) replied: ‘We are going to work together. After that I will enlist you in the VIP unit’.

“He made it clear to me that he wanted me to work as his bodyguard. He said we needed to work together to ensure that Jacob Zuma becomes president of the country after the (2009 national) election. He again promised to enlist me in the metro police or SAPS.”

Mashala fought back tears as he explained the lengths he went to protect Malema in strife-torn political areas of KwaZulu-Natal. He was also at Malema’s side when he went to campaign at Orania, a conservative Afrikaner bastion outside Kimberley.

“I was working with a hope that I would secure a permanent job in the future. After the elections, I again raised my frustration with the president. He said I should not worry – ‘We are sorting it out’, I was told.”

Mashala said Malema promised him that former deputy minister of police Fikile Mbalula would give him a job in the VIP unit. But then Mbalula’s own bodyguard, known only as Eric, got the job.

Mashala has been jobless for almost two years. He said he was trying to survive by working part-time as a driver, but got fired as soon as his employers become aware of his past links with Malema.

ANC Youth League spokesman Floyd Shivambu has dismissed Mashala’s assertions.

He confirmed Malema offered Mashala a job before the elections when he desperately needed a driver. He denied, however, that Malema promised to enlist his accuser in the SAPS VIP unit. Malema could not be reached for comment.

Homes for Zuma’s Ministers

22nd August 2011

Houses bought to accommodate ministers and deputy ministers following President Jacob Zuma's 2009 Cabinet reshuffle cost taxpayers more than R180 million, according to a written reply to a parliamentary question, tabled on Monday.

The reply, by Public Works Minister Gwen Mahlangu-Nkabinde, reveals that her department spent R183,886,837 on a total of 34 houses in Pretoria and Cape Town for ministers and their deputies over the past two years.

“(In) Pretoria, 15 houses were purchased by the department since 2009 to date; in Waterkloof and Moreleta (Pretoria East). The total amount for all purchased properties is R68,195,116.

“(In) Cape Town, 19 houses were purchased by the department since 2009 to date... The total amount for all purchased properties is R115,691,721,” she said.

Dividing the total amount spent by the number of houses gives an average price of R5.4 million per dwelling.

The parliamentary question, posed by Democratic Alliance MP Erik Marais, asked for the “total purchase price in rands of each specified house purchased” for the additional ministers and deputy ministers.

In her reply, Mahlangu-Nkabinde gave totals for only the two cities.

In a statement later on Monday, DA public works spokesman John Steenhuisen said he would be submitting further questions to Mahlangu-Nkabinde to determine why it was deemed necessary to spend so much on the 34 houses, and why so many were needed.

“Official residences, when they are deemed necessary, should be reasonably costed and should serve some purpose. It is unclear why more houses were bought than is required by the six ministries (created by Zuma in 2009),” he said.

The DA demanded to know:

Why six ministries required 34 new houses;

• Why it was deemed necessary to spend an average of R5.4 million per house;

• Whether ministers had been paying market-related rentals for their secondary official residences in Cape Town, as prescribed by the Ministerial Handbook;

• Why deputy ministers should be entitled to their own residences in Pretoria and Cape Town; and,

• Why ministers had not made use of the ministerial estate at Groote Schuur in Cape Town instead of buying new houses.

Steenhuisen said spending R183 million on houses for ministers and deputy ministers could not be right when millions of South Africans continued to live in poverty.

This total was enough to build about 2000 RDP houses.

“I will be submitting follow-up parliamentary questions to the minister of public works to get to the bottom of this,” he said