S.Africa: Mkhatshwa is out of ANC race

06.March.2010 · Posted in politics

The race for the ANC Gauteng provincial leadership has taken another twist.

Sowetan has learnt that that Tshwane speaker Father Smangaliso Mkhatshwa could be co-opted to the ANC’s national executive committee.

The move would rule him out of the leadership race. Premier Nomvula Mokonyane might go head- to-head with current ANC chairperson Paul Mashatile.

Mkhatshwa’s name was put forward by a lobby from the Tshwane and Ekurhuleni regions after they disagreed with Johannesburg region over people who should occupy the top five positions.

The Johannesburg region reneged on an agreement to allow regions to be represented in the top five posts.

ANC spokesperson Brian Sokutu yesterday said he was not aware of the possibility of Mkhatshwa becoming a member of the NEC.

Source: www.sowetan.co.za, 20100305

'Crass materialism' endangering the ANC – Vavi

06.March.2010 · Posted in politics

“Crass materialism” and “tender entrepreneurs” in the ANC leadership is endangering the ruling party, Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi said on Thursday.

“The new tendency is trying hard to take us back to the politics of labelling, back-stabbing, rumour and scandal mongering, marginalisation and the closure of state for free and democratic debate.”

This “small right wing tendency” is being led by materialists and tender entrepreneurs.

It was not supported by the majority of the ANC’s leadership but there were worrying signs that this tendency is succeeding in silencing most ANC leaders.

Vavi was referring to a group hoping to oust current ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe in the party’s 2012 elective conference.

“As we have said before this small group is impatient and is not even prepared to wait for the normal process of nomination and given a space they may move a vote of no confidence to those they regard as sitting ducks.”

ANC Youth League president Julius Malema has come out in support of current deputy Police Minister Fikile Mbalula to replace Mantashe in 2012.

Vavi said Cosatu supported the National Union of Metal Workers position on the matter.

Numsa has criticised ANC president Jacob Zuma for failing to defend Mantashe against an onslaught from the Youth League.

“Not just the President failed to defend the SG but the national executive committee as a whole. “It’s no longer a Numsa issue. Its a Cosatu issue.”

Vavi warned that the action of this group would catapult the ANC into “unprecedented crisis” and may destroy its unity and cohesion forever.

He however reiterated Cosatu’s commitment to the ruling alliance with the ANC and the SA Communist Party.

Vavi was speaking after Cosatu’s first central executive committee meeting of the year. He reiterated Cosatu’s disappointment at Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan’s budget speech and at Eskom’s approved tariff hikes for the next three years.

Source: IOL, 20100305

S.Africa: Cosatu boss blasts Julius

06.March.2010 · Posted in politics

Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) general-secretary Zwelinzima Vavi is prepared to lay down his life to prevent the country from degenerating into what he describes as a predator state where a few of the powerful loot the coffers with impunity.

Without referring to the ANC Youth League president Julius Malema by name, Vavi said the trade federation would expose a “tenderpreneur who, through political connections, wins tenders unfairly and provides shoddy services to communities while more genuine enterpreneurs are sidelined”.

Asked whether he was directing his scathing comment at Malema, he responded: “We don’t want to use names, we use politics. (But) any South African won’t be confused.”

Malema is under fire after revelations that he is an active director of four companies, one (SGL Engineering Projects) of which benefited to the tune of millions of rands through government tenders in Limpopo.

Said Vavi: “We may go down the lane of predator states, countries like Angola, some parts of South America and Nigeria, where society accepts the predator order that when there is a kill (tender or government business), it is the first family who must feed first followed by all in the hierarchical order informed by the laws of the jungle of survival of the fittest.”

He slammed SGL Engineering Projects for delivering “exceedingly bad service and shoddy workmanship” when it built two bridges.

“While individuals who are not public representatives have a right to run a business, we insist that these must be genuine … not a scheme to milk the public purse and leave the poor without critical infrastructure.”

Source: citizen online, 20100305

Vavi slams JZ over Mantashe attack

06.March.2010 · Posted in politics

Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) boss Zwelinzima Vavi has hit out at ANC president Jacob Zuma and the party’s national executive committee (NEC) for keeping quiet while ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe has been attacked by the likes of the ANC Youth League.

“Not only President Zuma but the whole NEC has failed to defend Mantashe,” Vavi said yesterday.

He was briefing the media on the outcome of a three-day Cosatu central executive committee meeting.

He said the tensions were not tantamount to the crisis of the alliance, but they were driven by a few individuals who wanted to capture the ANC for a capitalist agenda.

“The small right-wing tendency led by materialists and tender-entrepreneurs within the ANC leadership that we identified in the last CEC is threatening to take us back to the pre-Polokwane days,” he said.

Leading up to the ruling party’s 2007 Polokwane conference, the former President Thabo Mbeki camp stood accused of trying to break up the tripartite alliance by attempting to drive away the South African Communist Party and Cosatu.

Vavi said they would swell the ranks of the ANC to stop the anti- communists elements in their tracks.

“As we have said before this small group is impatient and is not even prepared to wait for the normal process of nomination and, given the space, they may move a vote of no confidence to those they regard as sitting ducks,” he added.

The ANCYL has made it clear that it wants Mantashe replaced by its former leader Fikile Mbalula in 2012.

Turning his attention to the steep electricity tariff hikes, he said Nersa’s decision was undemocratic because there had been overwhelming objection to the increase.

He also questioned the ruling party’s investment wing’s involvement in Eskom. “If this is true that the ANC company (Chancellor House) has invested in Eskom, then God help us all,” he said.

Source: citizen online, 20100305

S.Africa: Cosatu calls for strike

06.March.2010 · Posted in news

Cosatu is planning a national strike in protest against electricity tariff increases and the government’s intention to allow independent power producers in on the action.

The trade union federation, an ally of the ANC, also expressed outrage at the news that the ruling party holds a 25% stake Hitachi Africa, the company that won a tender to supply boilers to two new multibillion-rand power stations for Eskom.

In the latest sign of a widening gap between Cosatu and President Jacob Zuma, Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi stopped just short of accusing the head of state of implementing policies that were in conflict with the ANC’s.

Speaking at a press conference yesterday following a three-day meeting of Cosatu’s central executive committee, Vavi said the federation planned to embark on “strike action and street protests against increases which will devastate poor consumers, push up inflation” and lead to the loss of over 200,000 jobs.

He did not announce a date for the strike. Cosatu’s lawyers are submitting notice of the federation’s intention of embarking on strike action.

Cosatu said it had the full backing of other union federations, including the Federation of Unions of SA and the National Council of Trade Unions.

During the press conference, Vavi said Zuma’s announcement that independent power producers will be introduced to compete with Eskom would not solve the electricity crisis.

“We remain opposed to the privatisation of power-generating capacity and of the provision of electricity. Accordingly, we completely reject the introduction of independent power producers,” Vavi said.

“Privatisation is not an answer. It will increase and not decrease the prices. It will sideline those who want access to electricity, and will make the current price increases look like a Sunday-school picnic. We are going to the streets on this matter.”

Vavi said the labour federation was concerned about recent reports that the ANC’s investment arm, Chancellor House, had a 25% stake in Hitachi Africa.

“The problem with this is that the ANC will not be able to ward off genuine concerns that it might have decided to accept the extraordinarily high tariffs imposed on the poor and industry. Because it stands to benefit. If it is true that the ANC Company has invested in Eskom, then God help us all,” he said.

The Cosatu leader went on to accuse Zuma of “smuggling” privatisation into his state of the nation speech last month, saying it had not been agreed to by the ANC and its alliance partners.

Source: timeslive online, 20100305

S.Africa: North West learner drivers must explain licences

06.March.2010 · Posted in news

Some 70 North West learner drivers must provide proof before the end of the week that their learner licences are not fraudulent, Public Safety MEC Howard Yawa said on Thursday.

This follows a licence scam involving a cashier at the Rustenburg Local Municipality, which was discovered by management.

“Failure by the applicants to respond to letters written to them by the provincial department would automatically result in the cancellation of their learners and driving licenses obtained thereafter,” said Yawa in a statement.

The 73 applicants have until Friday, March 5, to respond to allegations that their learners licences were fraudulently issued at the Rustenburg Driving License Testing Centre last year.

The investigation into the alleged scam was concluded by the provincial inspectorate in December 2009.

The department has already suspended six examiners at different centres such as Koster, Hartbeesfontein, Carletonville and Fochville in its latest effort to root out corruption relating to the fraudulent issuing of learners and driving licences.

Two of the officials suspended as examiners were employed by the Merafong Local Municipality as management representatives.

“We will spare no effort to root out corrupt elements in order to safeguard the integrity of our licensing system,” said Yawa.

Source: www.thestar.co.za, also in Sapa online, 20100305

S.Africa: Tshwane is the worst metro in Gauteng

06.March.2010 · Posted in news

Tshwane is the worst metro in Gauteng, Auditor-General Terence Nombembe said in a scathing report on the province’s municipalities on Thursday.

Nombembe says the province’s municipalities still spend irregularly, and 78 percent of them ignore policies and regulatory requirements in procurements and financial transactions.

Only nine of the municipalities received unqualified audit reports. Mayor Gwen Ramokgopa’s City of Tshwane has failed to improve over the years “while other municipalities continue to get better”.

Housing Company Tshwane is the only municipal entity to receive a disclaimer this year. Tshwane spokesperson Dikeledi Phiri said she had no comment.

Though expenditures were eventually accounted for, municipalities often scrambled at the financial year-end to compile information for the AG.

Nombembe said in future he would ensure that municipalities had weekly and monthly up-to- date records.

Even where there were clean audits, Nombembe said, “there were concerns about a lot of information that was not provided”.
“Sometimes we had to go through a concerted effort to get information. The AG had to correct many mistakes during the audit process,” he said.

Premier Nomvula Mokonyane said in future the auditing of municipalities would be linked to performance outcomes.

“This will ensure we build public confidence in the municipalities,” she said.

Source: www.sowetan.co.za, 20100305

S.Africa: service delivery failure real

06.March.2010 · Posted in news

The government has admitted it failed certain communities in service delivery, the SABC reported on Thursday.

Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Sicelo Shiceka said in Pretoria: “We find that government has been lethargic at most and (at) worst doing nothing.”

A multi-pronged intervention programme would be initiated to stop service delivery protests.

Shiceka said the government wanted to change the state of affairs on a long-term and sustainable basis.

His announcement came after he had discussions with MECs of all nine provinces in his portfolio.

“What we’ve discovered (was) that in all the protests people have spoken to government in one way or another…whether through a memorandum, a march, or anything.”

Source: news24 online, 20100305

Togolese vote as Gnassingbe seeks second term

06.March.2010 · Posted in politics

Voting in Togo’s presidential election began calmly on Thursday against a backdrop of violence in previous polls and opposition allegations incumbent President Faure Gnassingbe may rig the outcome.

Hundreds died in post-election violence in the small West African nation after the 2005 presidential election and voting this time comes as the region is shaken by a coup in Niger, street riots over delayed Ivory Coast polls and instability in Guinea.

Polls in Togo’s seaside capital, Lomé, opened at about 7am, with queues forming outside voting stations.

It was too early to give any indication of the turnout but there were no reports of problems up country.

“I have just voted for a change in regime. We want jobs and a decent life, but we must look out for fraud as that is what leads to violence,” Achille Koto said after voting in the opposition neighbourhood of Be.

West African and European Union observers monitored the election across Togo.

Posters bearing the portraits of the seven candidates were hung across Lomé, but campaigning ceased two days earlier.

“We must all keep in mind that our chosen candidate may or may not be the one chosen by the majority,” the head of Togo’s electoral commission Taffa Taboin said at a press conference on Wednesday.

“We are committed to an election that is just, fair, transparent and without violence that will allow Togo to take its place among modern democracies.”

Gnassingbe, the candidate of the ruling Togolese People’s Rally , took power in 2005 after the death of his father Gnassingbe Eyadema, who ruled as a dictator for 38 years.

Gnassingbe’s 2005 victory set off protests in which the military killed between 400 and 500 people, according to UN estimates, triggering a refugee crisis in Ghana and Benin.

Source: www.sowetan.co.za, 20100305

South Africa a possible drugs gateway – UN

06.March.2010 · Posted in news

South Africa is in danger of becoming a major hub for drug trafficking, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime said on Thursday.

West African syndicates had recently become major drug traffickers after Central American cartels began using them due to difficulty with their traditional routes, the office’s Jonathan Lucas said at the release of the International Narcotics Control Board’s annual report.

“Increased surveillance on traditional routes had made them become unprofitable.”

He said if these new routes through West Africa were successfully dealt with by authorities, Central American cartels would again look for other alternatives.

“When they are diverted, will they come to South Africa? Maybe.”

There was also a danger the 2010 World Cup would worsen drug trafficking.

During the tournament law enforcement and customs officials would be under pressure due to massive tourist inflows.

“We are aware it is going to be a big problem for us,” said Central Drug Authority deputy chairman David Bayever.

He described trafficking cartels as “well-researched guys that know where the loopholes are”.

Despite these threats SA’s drug problem remained primarily a domestic one, with alcohol and dagga use being well above global averages.

“Cannabis use was three times the global average in South Africa and its alcohol consumption put it in the top 10 of countries.”

Bayever said drugs and substance abuse problems were the underlying causes of such ills as HIV and Aids, violence and crime.

“It is not the result of these problems, but the cause of them. In order to deal with these problems we need to handle substance abuse.”

Most of South Africa’s cannabis was grown in Lesotho, Swaziland and South Africa, said the office’s national co-ordinator Johan Kruger.

The region was actually a net exporter of cannabis to other countries.

Bayever said an additional problem would be the extension of school holidays during the World Cup.

In addition to being at risk for substance abuse, children may also be lured into prostitution.

“Our youth are going to be on holiday and they are going to be targeted to become prostitutes,” said Bayever.

Source: news24 online, 20100305