ZUMA DISMISSES CLAIMS HE’S OUT OF TOUCH
President Jacob Zuma has rejected claims by critics who accuse him of being out of touch with the people of South Africa, and dismissed the influence of Julius Malema, saying he was “just talk”. In an interview with Reuters in Brussels, Zuma laughed when asked how he responds to those who say he has lost touch with the roots of the African National Congress and its voters. “They are actually wrong. I am with the people on a continuous basis in huge meetings… I am very much in touch with the people.” Asked how concerned he was about the criticism from Malema, Zuma smiled dismissively. “Malema is not in the ANC. He has been expelled. He has no influence. He has nothing to do with the ANC. He’s just talking out there. He is no longer a factor, that is why he would jump to any miners that would do anything.”
E-TOLLING COULD HAPPEN WITHIN A MONTH
Pieter Conradie, legal counsel for the Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (Outa), said e-tolling could start as early as a month’s time. He said the Constitutional Court’s ruling to overturn an interim order has given government the green light to implement the unpopular e-tolls. Earlier, the Constitutional Court found the High Court in Pretoria had not considered the separation of powers between the high court and executive when it gave the interim order to stop e-tolling. Cosatu has sworn to use mass action to protest e-tolls. “We are going to resist it with every power we have,” said Cosatu general secretary, Zwelinzima Vavi. “This is the first step, this will go everywhere if the government succeeds to ram it down the throats of the people of Gauteng.”
DA WINS IMPORTANT BY-ELECTION IN MITCHELL’S PLAIN
DA leader Helen Zille said she was pleased with the party’s victory in a ward it had won from the ANC, as well as with gains made in two other by-elections in Polokwane and Ekurhuleni. The DA won ward 88 that includes areas of Mitchell’s Plain and Philippi, growing from 40.6% of the vote in last year’s local government election (2011) to 52.4% of the vote. “The result in Mitchell’s Plain and Philippi demonstrates both that voters are increasingly willing to change their vote, and that they were angry and alienated by the ANC Youth League’s ‘ungovernability’ campaign in Cape Town; both factors resulting in growing support for the DA,” Zille said.
ZUMA OFFICIALLY DEPLOYS SANDF TO MARIKANA
President Jacob Zuma has officially deployed the South African National Defence Force to Marikana despite the fact that troops have been on the ground since Saturday. The presidency said the soldiers were deployed to support police “in the prevention and combating of crime as well as the maintenance of law and order in the Marikana area, North West province and other areas around the country where needed”. Zuma’s spokesman, Mac Maharaj, said the military would be deployed to areas where they are needed to combat crime. He told eNews Channel Africa that could include Cape Town, where Premier Helen Zille had requested military help in quelling violent gang wars. Zuma earlier rejected her request.
COSATU VOTES AURORA SA’S WORST EMPLOYER
Aurora Empowerment Systems, the mining company owned by, among others, President Jacob Zuma’s nephew Khulubusa Zuma and Nelson Mandela’s grandson Zondwa Mandela, has been voted South Africa’s worst employer. “They have broken every record in terms of dodging responsibility. They have starved workers; they have switched off electricity in hostels,” Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi said. Aurora, which has been liquidated, was appointed to take over the management of two of Pamodzi’s gold mines in Gauteng and the North West after that company was liquidated in 2009. But it was removed after the directors were accused of destroying the infrastructure at the mines and causing the loss of more than 5,300 jobs.
ORGANISED CRIME DOWN, SAYS MTHETHWA
Organised crimes such as carjacking, cash-in-transit heists and bank robberies have decreased, police minister Nathi Mthethwa has said. Mthethwa was commenting on 2011/2012 crime statistics released on Thursday. “Both motor vehicle theft and carjacking are more organised in nature and frequently linked to the export of stolen or hijacked vehicles across the borders of the Republic of South Africa,” he said. He said he was encouraged by the work of crime intelligence, working with various SAPS units. There has also been a major decrease in cash-in-transits, which dropped by 37.5% while bank robberies dropped by 10.3%. While carjacking decreased by 11.9% and house robberies by 1.9%, business robberies had increased by 7.5%.
He also mentioned the e-docketing system as part of curbing corruption within the SAPS.
DA SAYS CRIME STATS ‘COLD COMFORT’ TO VICTIMS
The DA’s shadow police minister, Dianne Kohler Barnard, said the party did not consider the “miniscule decrease in crime as an indication that the government is doing everything it can to keep South Africans safe”. Kohler Barnard said the “incremental changes are cold comfort to law-abiding citizens who live in fear of criminals”. She said four key categories of crime − murder, sexual offences, aggravated robbery and residential robbery − showed an average decrease of only 1.43%, compared to 5.7% last year. Virtually no decrease (only 0.26%) was experienced in aggravated robbery, compared to a 10.8% decrease in this category last year. Murder dropped by just 331 – with 15,609 citizens murdered last year