The police officer is a court orderly from Randburg Magistrate’s Court, the Independent Police Investigative Directorate said (Ipid). The Ipid said the officer allegedly smuggled an explosive device to prisoners who had appeared in court. It was detonated en route back to the Johannesburg Central Prison. Two prisoners tried to escape, but were recaptured. The arrested officer faces three charges of murder, 29 of attempted murder, unlawful possession of explosives, and aiding and abetting escape from lawful custody.
DA YOUTH LAYS COMPLAINT OVER ‘COCKROACHES’ TWEET
The DA Youth has accused the South African Students’ Congress (Sasco) at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University of “racist hate speech” and is to lay a complaint against its leader with the South African Human Rights Commission. Commenting about the Democratic Alliance’s intended visit to Nkandla, Sasco leader Sitha Gqomfa let rip on Twitter. “DA mischievous to visit Nkandla they will die KZN akudlawa pha [we are not playing] and they must die like cockroaches!!!” he wrote. DA Youth leader, Makashule Gana said the tweet was “yet another incident in a long history of racist hate speech uttered by Sasco leaders, who continually seek to polarise and divide South Africans along racial lines”.
IPID OPENS HAWSTON OFFICE TO PROBE POLICE BRUTALITY
The Independent Police Investigative Directorate is setting up an office in the fishing village of Hawston in the Western Cape to investigate complaints of police brutality after violent clashes between the police and residents. Residents have accused the police of being party to the death of a poacher, Steven Virgaji, who they say was taken into custody. But police commissioner Arno Lamoer said the man drowned while being chased by police and members of Marine and Coastal Management during an anti-poaching operation. Residents went on a rampage, torching police vans, settling alight the canine unit’s building and throwing petrol bombs at police. Lamoer said the police would not tolerate “criminality to protect criminal acts”.
‘HAM-FISTED’ ACTIONS LEFT TELKOM VULNERABLE
Telkom has lost its fifth CEO in seven years, leading to doubts about its sustainability. Nombulelo Moholi gave six months notice and will leave Telkom in May, a year before her contract was due to end. The government owns 39.8% of Telkom, and a further 10.5% via its pension fund. The opposition DA has accused communications minister, Dina Pule, of amateurish and reckless meddling in the listed company, saying her “ham-fisted actions” have exacerbated its problems. Earlier this year, government rejected a $385m bid for 20% of the company from South Korean group KT Corp, a decision the DA’s Marian Shinn called “inexplicable”. Shinn said parliament should debate the fixed line operator’s future, and the potential benefits of full privatisation.
MARIKANA FORENSIC EVIDENCE INTERROGATED
Police commissioner Riah Phiyega has initiated an investigation into whether evidence from the Marikana massacre was tampered with. Evidence at the Farlam commission of inquiry showed differences in photographs taken by the police on the day 34 miners were killed. Pictures show that weapons could have been placed near bodies of mineworkers as they were not seen in earlier photographs of the same scene taken earlier in the day. Advocate George Bizos said there was a “strong prima facie case that there was a deliberate attempt to defeat the ends of justice after the event took place” and proposed that the investigation not be left to the police alone as they were not impartial.
MPOFU CLAIMS SOME MINEWORKERS COULD HAVE BEEN CUFFED
Some of the 34 Marikana miners who died at the hands of the police could have been killed with their hands cuffed behind their backs. City Press reports that lawyer Dali Mpofu said during the cross examination of forensic expert, Captain Apollo Jeremiah Mohlaki, that two of the bodies seen in a police video looked as if they were lying face down with their hands tied behind them. It was a day of horror for families of the victims who were subjected to graphic photographs of those killed. The family of one of the victims, Thobile Mpumza, broke down when his bullet-riddled body was shown. This resulted in a resolution that bodies will in future be referred to only by the letters they were identified with by forensic experts who investigated the scene.
MPISANE TAX FRAUD TRIAL FORGES AHEAD
The fraud trial of businesswoman Shauwn Mpisane will proceed after the Durban Regional Court on Monday rejected a State application to review a ruling that stipulated it should go ahead. Magistrate Blessing Msani said the matter would not be adjourned again. Mpisane is accused of inflating invoices by over R5 million so as to cut her tax bill, and is also accused of violating the Close Corporations Act by remaining the sole member of Zikhulise Cleaning, Maintenance, and Transport CC when she had a previous fraud conviction. She has pleaded not guilty. The State wanted to add another 12 tax-related charges to the 119 charges she faces in her fraud trial. Msipane was arrested on further charges of corruption and defeating the ends of justice last month after she allegedly contacted one of the witnesses expected to testify in her trial.
THOUSANDS OF HEALTHCARE PRACTITIONERS SUSPENDED
Thousands of healthcare practitioners have been suspended from the Health Professions Council of South Africa’s (HPCSA) register for failing to pay their annual fees. The council said it had exhausted all avenues in trying to contact the 10,000 health care professionals, as fees were due on 1 April, and had been left no choice but to suspend them. Some 1,500 medical and dental practitioners will not be allowed to practice their professions, while over 6,500 emergency care practitioners were suspended. Almost 600 psychologists were also struck from the Register.
THAI RHINO HORN TRADER APOLOGISES TO SOUTH AFRICANS
A Thai national accused of illegally trading and exporting rhino horn has apologised to South Africans for his role in killing the country’s rhino. Chumlong Lemthongthai pleaded guilty to all charges against him in the Kempton Park Magistrate’s Court. In a statement read by his lawyer, Lemthongthai said he was aware he was acting unlawfully and apologised to the court and to all South Africans for his involvement in rhino poaching.