Weekly News Brief

Weekly News Brief
Stellenbosch - credits: velvetescape.com

HEADLINE NEWS THIS WEEK

South Africa woke up to the shocking news of the untimely death of  the CEO of controversial company Bosasa, now African Global Operations. Gavin Watson (73) died on Monday in a car crash. The crash happened close to OR Tambo International Airport. Watson and some top managers at his company – including former COO Angelo Agrizzi – were also implicated as having given government officials money and other lavish gifts in exchange for favours. His company is alleged to have pumped millions of rand into ANC campaigns.

Same day Monday, SABC soccer analyst David Kekana was also reported dead. Kekana’s family confirmed in a statement on Monday morning that the veteran journalist passed away on Sunday after a long battle with diabetes. He was 47. The father of two was best known for his known for his work on SABC Sport. But he also worked at various media houses before that, including Primedia and the Sunday Times.

Veteran journalist Ben Said also died. According to his employer eNCA, Said drowned on Monday at a beach in Mozambique, where he was holidaying with his wife and two daughters. Said had just recently returned to South Africa after working at television channel – TRT in Turkey. He was eNCA’s director of news.

Hundreds of mourners on Friday morning gathered at the House of Treasures Ministries in southern Joburg to bid farewell to businesswoman Dr Thandi Ndlovu. Ndlovu, who was given a special provincial funeral, died in a car crash in Rustenburg last weekend. National flags were flown at half-mast in Gauteng until Friday evening in her honour. Ndlovu was part of the African National Congress and its military wing, Umkhonto we Sizwe, from an early age.

On Tuesday, parliament’s justice committee decided the National Assembly’s rules committee must first adopt rules to govern the process of removing the Public Protector from office, before considering whether to hold an inquiry into her fitness for office. Committee members unanimously resolved to refer the matter to Speaker Thandi Modise, so that she can formally refer it to the rules committee. In terms of the Constitution, Parliament can remove the head of a Chapter Nine institution. But no specific mechanism is in place to affect this.

Hilary van Rooyen’s killer was on Thursday sentenced to 10 years imprisonment for murder and one year for stealing a cell phone. The Durbanville woman was murdered in her home in May 2017 and Reghard Groenewald, a friend of her son, was convicted of her murder earlier this year. Rooyen’s family are however disappointed at the sentence handed to her killer. They were visibly let down by the court’s decision.

South African Revenue Service (Sars) Commissioner Edward Kieswetter on Monday said the success of the country’s revenue service was interlinked to the well-being of South Africa’s democracy. Kieswetter was speaking at the Tax Indaba at the Sandton Convention Centre. The week-long meeting is aimed at finding ways to tackle a number of problems facing tax revenue and the economy. Kieswetter said the country’s growth was linked to the success of Sars.

The Commission for Employment Equity said workplace transformation remained sluggish in 2018 with its annual report showing that there was still an over-representation of white people in top and senior management positions. In the same breath on Tuesday, the report noted that the increase in representation of African and coloured groups in the middle to upper levels was marginal at below 1%. White males are still ranked high in top management positions at 56.4% in the private sector with the figure climbing to 80% in sectors like agriculture. Employment and Labour Minister Thulas Nxesi said the results clearly showed that there was still no transformation in some South African workplaces.

OTHER THINGS WE LIKED

Lobby group South African Women Fight Back has called on the courts to show no mercy toward men who are cruelly cutting women’s lives short. A handful of activists attended the first appearance of Kyle Ruiters at the Bellville Magistrates Court on Monday. He is accused of killing Lynette Volschenk in her flat in the Loevenstein area last week.

The days of walking to school for several kilometers in the dark are over for about 450 pupils from Limpopo. Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula on Friday morning handed over bicycles to more than ten schools in Vuwani. Transport Department spokesperson Ayanda-Allie Paine said that the donation formed part of government’s Shova Kalula bicycle project. “Shova Kalula mainly focuses on rural provinces like Limpopo, KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape, with beneficiaries comprising learners who walk between three and five kilometres to and from school on a daily basis.”

South African Airways (SAA) chief risk and compliance officer Vusi Pikoli on Thursday said he has managed to resuscitate corruption cases at the national carrier, which were reported to the Hawks but not acted on because of state capture. Parliament’s public enterprises committee was at Airways Park in Kempton Park to meet with the boards of SAA and SA Express. The former National Prosecuting Authority head was appointed to his position at SAA in February as part of the turnaround strategy at the national carrier.

Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane has withdrawn her application for leave to appeal the interdict ruling in the matter related to the South African Revenue Service (Sars) investigations unit. In July, the High Court in Pretoria ordered the suspension of the remedial action which required President Cyril Ramaphosa to take disciplinary steps against Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan. The minister is taking the report on judicial review.

National Assembly Speaker Thandi Modise has called on South African women to unite across the lines of class, race and ideology that divide them. Modise was delivering the keynote address at the start of the Women’s Parliament taking place in the National Assembly chamber on Thursday. The gathering’s theme was focused on tackling gender-based violence but also marked the launch of a series of provincial women’s parliaments aimed at reviewing the 1994 Women’s Charter.

Farmworkers handed over a memorandum to government calling for 67 pesticides to be banned. They said that the substances were making workers and their children sick. The march was organised by Women on Farms. Women from various farms in the province sang and held placards as they marched to Parliament on Wednesday. They said that the 67 pesticides they wanted banned had already been outlawed in the European Union.

Anti-crime activists have warned that if the theft of cellphone tower batteries did not stop, South Africans could be charged more by network providers. The theft of 20 batteries was recorded in the country last week. It is understood that syndicates had been targeting towers over recent months, stealing batteries worth millions of rands. Network providers were now looking for other ways to prevent the crimes.

ICYMI

Sue Williamson: ‘That Particular Morning’

Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg

August 31 @ 08:00 – 17:00