InfoUpdate
An Information Service supplied by the KwaZulu-Natal Law Society

25 January 2013

This professional service draws attention to current items of news
 and members are directed to the hosts' websites

InfoUpdate 1 of 2013
Useful Links
and Items of Interest

Click on the underlined hyperlink where relevant

South Africa

African National Congress (ANC) - http://www.anc.org.za/

ANC gets new integrity commission - 20 December 2012
The ANC has announced a new integrity commission that will have power to dismiss any member, including public servants, for corruption. The ANC's commission on organisational renewal discussed matters ranging from disciplinary issues to sanctions to illiteracy within local, provincial and national government at the party's Mangaung conference. - News24 website

Free State ANC PEC members to challenge legality of Mangaung - 18 December 2012
There will be a court challenge to the legality of the ANC's national conference at Mangaung, two people involved in the process have told the M&G. - Mail & Guardian website

Elective processes : something is rotten in the kingdom of the ANC - 28 December 2012
The recent Constitutional Court judgment, declaring invalid the ANC Free State elective conference in June 2012, raises many questions about the integrity and fairness of internal democratic processes in the ANC. Although the judgment explicitly states that it does not relate to or affect the rights of delegates "who have been elected at properly constituted branch general meetings of the Free State province to serve as delegates at any other conference of the party", it does suggest that all may not be well with elective processes inside the ANC.  - Pierre de Vos on the Daily Maverick website

Cyril Ramaphosa the key to urban voters - 21 December 2012
By going for broke, Kgalema Motlanthe ensured the ANC had to face the scale of its Jacob Zuma problem, writes Nic Dawes. - Mail & Guardian website

12 January 2013
Statement of the National Executive Committee on the occasion of the 101th Anniversary of the African National Congress  January, 8th 2013, Durban, eThekwini
Politicsweb website
Keyphrase :
January 8th Statement 2013

See also :

Land issue could be 'revisited' : Zuma below

Headless SIU takes bite out of Zuma's credibility below

Minister splurges R3.7 million on ANC art - 13 January
Mineral Resources Minister Susan Shabangu successfully bid R3.7-million for a portrait of former president Nelson Mandela at an auction during the ANC's 101st anniversary gala dinner. The auction raised R21.4-million in Durban on Friday night. In his keynote address, Zuma said businessmen who supported the ANC would see their fortunes multiply. "We're not forcing people . . . you can support and be a supporter, but if you go beyond that and become a member, [and] if you're a businessman, your business will multiply. Everything you touch will multiply. I've always said that a wise businessperson will support the ANC . . . because supporting the ANC means you're investing very well in your business". - Times Live website

Zuma must retract comments on ANC and business : Lindiwe Mazibuko - 14 January
I will be submitting parliamentary questions to President Jacob Zuma to seek clarification as to whether his remarks that businesses which support the ANC will see their fortunes "multiply" is in fact government policy ; and if not, whether he will issue a formal retraction. These remarks, made during the ANC's birthday gala dinner, have the potential to severely compromise the principle of good governance, which our constitutional democracy fundamentally depends on. - Politicsweb website

Lindiwe Mazibuko can't relate to African traditions : ANC - 14 January
The African National Congress rejects with contempt the call made by Lindiwe Mazibuko that President Jacob Zuma retract his statement he made towards businesses that support the ANC. The ANC supports the call made by President Zuma that 'businesses that support the ANC will prosper'. It is a sad fact that Lindiwe Mazibuko is so naive when it comes to African traditions that she cannot relate to them. It is our tradition as Africans that if someone gives you something, in return you thank him/her and wish them prosperity and abundance. It is also a fact that the ANC is the only party in South Africa that has economic and business friendly policies. - Politicsweb website

ANC's defence of Zuma an insult to SAns : Lindiwe Mazibuko - 15 January
The ANC's desperate attempt to defend President Zuma's irresponsible remarks, that businesses which support the ANC will see their fortunes 'multiply', reveals how little the governing party cares about the fight against corruption. I will still be submitting my parliamentary question to Mr Zuma, asking him to clarify and retract his remarks. In terms of the rules of Parliament, the president will have to reply within a stipulated 10 day period. - Politicsweb website

A politick vitriolic : Mthembu vs Mazibuko - 17 January
South Africa is two weeks into the New Year and already the political stage is ablaze in a war of words, this time between ANC spin doctor Jackson Mthembu and DA parliamentary leader Lindiwe Mazibuko. The political vitriol makes for salacious and compelling reading, but does it get us anywhere closer to tracking government service delivery? No, we didn't think so either – and perhaps that's the plan. - Daily Maverick website

Excerpt :
"Asked whether the ANC had labelled the DA's Mazibuko as being "un-African", Mthembu denied the charge outright. "I am not sure I called her anything. All I said is that what the president has done is in keeping with the African tradition of saying thank you. I never referred to Lindiwe in any way in the statement - all I said was in our African culture when you are given something we respond with : 'may you please have abundance'. It is our culture and we always say so. I am speaking about an African tradition because I am an African born in Africa, of South African origin. Now, that origin does not have colour" "

See also : Careful, Mr Mthembu : the re-emergence of Apartheid's 'volksvreemdes' mentality below

Jo'burg's R1bn 'present' to Zuma benefactor - 18 January
Evidence suggests that a hotly contested smart electricity meter tender, to the value of R1.25-billion, was fixed to benefit Vivian Reddy's firm. A R1.25-billion contract to supply "smart" electricity meters to the City of Johannesburg was manipulated to favour Vivian Reddy, one of President Jacob Zuma's key benefactors, information obtained by the Mail & Guardian suggests. Reddy reportedly paid R450 000 for a table at the ANC's anniversary gala dinner in Durban last week, when Zuma made the controversial remark that "wise" businessmen who supported the ANC could expect that "everything you touch will multiply". There is no evidence suggesting foul play on the part of Reddy or Edison. - Mail & Guardian website

The Artful Dodger : the ANC's art investment game - 16 January
A few days ago, the media carried some incredulous reports about an auction held by the African National Congress that had raised some extraordinary amounts of money for the party – at a party. The idea, it seems, was that guests would buy ANC-themed artworks to help fill the party's coffers – after the guests had paid thousands for the privilege of attending the Friday night dinner in Durban with party leaders. According to published reports, the haul from the auction came in at over R21 million. The apparent highlight of the evening was a winning R3.7 million bid by Mineral Resources Minister Susan Shabangu – apparently on behalf of an anonymous "mining magnate" – to snag a painting of Nelson Mandela's head and shoulders, posed in front of some rondavels and an aloe. Media reports have been silent on whether the work's artist, Sifiso Ngcobo, actually received any money for his work – or whether he simply donated it for the greater good – and presumably to position himself for future commissions and tenders for artworks for public buildings, cultural exchanges overseas or other sponsorships. Ngcobo says he spent less than three weeks creating the work auctioned for the price of a nice home in Johannesburg's leafy northern suburbs. - Daily Maverick website

Excerpt :
"
President Jacob Zuma told the crowd the night of the auction, "We're not forcing people . . . you can support and be a supporter, but if you go beyond that and become a member, [and] if you're a businessman, your business will multiply. Everything you touch will multiply. I've always said that a wise businessperson will support the ANC . . . because supporting the ANC means you're investing very well in your business". As a result, the purchaser was investing R3 million+ in his business that night. Together with the fact the bid came on behalf of an unnamed mining tycoon, it can be inferred someone calculated there was access worth at least R3 million to be garnered on the back of a painting. The party also seems to have been prepared to arrange for a second copy of the work that could then go to the next-highest bidder, National Federated Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Joe Hlongwane. As newly elected ANC treasurer-general Zweli Mkhize told the gathering, Hlongwane's bid was simply "too good a bid to allow to go to waste"."

South Africa's power elite - 21 January
Meet South Africa's power elite. These are the people in the Zuma regime who have the power and the patronage. They are the most important people in South Africa because of their access to the right networks, ability to influence outcomes, their wealth or their ability to help others create massive wealth. - Daily Maverick website

15 January 2013
The ANC statement on the first National Executive Committee meeting held on the 11th January 2013
ANC website

Zuma's allies take key NEC posts - 18 January
The ANC chose continuity and expertise when it appointed new subcommittee heads of its national executive committee – more than 80% of them served on these structures in Jacob Zuma's first term of office. But the rewarding of political loyalty is noticeable, with 12 out of the 14 subcommittee heads being staunch Zuma supporters who ­campaigned for, or backed, his re-election. Below are the eight new members. Lindiwe Sisulu was re-elected. - Mail & Guardian website

See also :

DA : Statement by Lindiwe Mazibuko, Parliamentary Leader of the Democratic Alliance, calling on President Zuma to demonstrate leadership below

Lead by example and vacate directorships, Vavi tells Cyril below

Animal Rights

See : The fable of Jacob and the Dog below

Arts and Culture - http://www.dac.gov.za/ 

See : The Artful Dodger : the ANC's art investment game above

Black Economic Empowerment

Just scrap BEE : SAIRR - 15 January
"Already, far too much scarce capital, skill, entrepreneurial effort, and bureaucratic oversight have been ploughed into trying to make black economic empowerment succeed. But BEE cannot be made to work and should be scrapped, not ‘reformed'," says the South African Institute of Race Relations in a submission made last month to the Department of Trade and Industry on its proposed BEE codes of good practice. The DTI says it is trying to reform BEE by putting more emphasis on 'broad-based elements' such as procurement, skills development, and promoting new black businesses. This is intended to counter widespread criticisms that BEE has done little but enrich a small elite, 'without making South Africa a fairer and more prosperous place', as the minister of finance, Pravin Gordhan, has noted. - Politicsweb website

Business

See : Zuma must retract comments on ANC and business : Lindiwe Mazibuko above

Communications

Communications DG on special leave - 21 January
Communications director general Rosey Sekese has been put on special leave, the department said on Monday. Sekese's deputy Gift Buthelezi had been appointed acting director general until February 15, 2013. - Polity website

DoC to appeal etv ruling - 14 January
The Department of Communications on Monday said it would appeal the South Gauteng High Court's December decision to grant conditional access control over subsidised set-top boxes (STBs) to broadcasters. Last year, free-to-air broadcaster etv launched a lawsuit against the department and Communications Minister Dina Pule for appointing Sentech to manage conditional access to subsidised STBs. The court ruled in favour of etv, the South African Broadcasting Corporation and free-to-air broadcasters gaining control of the conditional access and ordered the DoC to consult with the existing broadcasters and the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa on the role each party has in its implementation, the department said in a statement. However, the DoC would lodge an appeal with the court on Monday after considering the "implications of the judgment on other broadcasters, particularly potential broadcasters". - Creamer Media's Engineering News website

Digital migration could be delayed for up to three years - 15 January
South Africa's migration from analogue to digital terrestrial television (DTT) could be delayed by three years if broadcasters and the Department of Communications failed to fast-track a decision on conditional access control over subsidised set-top boxes. The DoC, which was appealing the South Gauteng High Court's decision in December to grant conditional access control to broadcasters instead of DoC-appointed Sentech, said on Tuesday that the matter needed to be dealt with urgently or the country would miss its migration deadline. - Polity website

STB ruling could cost millions, delay migration roll-out : Tellumat - 17 January
Free-to-air broadcaster etv's court victory against the Department of Communications over the conditional access control over subsidised set-top boxes could have significant repercussions for the industry, contract manufacturing, communications and defence group Tellumat said on Thursday. The decision by the South Gauteng High Court allowing the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa to grant conditional access control to broadcasters instead of DoC-appointed Sentech could lead to significant delays, costs and service issues to changing STB management, Tellumat managing executive for STB Shaun Hendricks said. - Creamer Media's Engineering News website

See also : Electronic Communications Act 36 of 2005 [Government Gazete Update]

Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC) - http://www.cipc.co.za/

See : GG 36066 [Government Gazette Update]

Company Law

SARS set to join creditor queue - 18 January
The
South African Revenue Service will in future find itself on equal footing with other creditors when a company is placed in business rescue under the Companies Act, business rescue practitioners said this week. This follows a court judgment at the end of last year. The court held that the act did not create statutory preferences as set out in the Insolvency Act and that if the legislature had intended to prefer SARS above other creditors in business rescue proceedings, it would have explicitly stated so, Werksmans Attorneys said on Thursday. - Business Day Live website

Banks fighting shy of business rescue firms - 18 January
Local banks are scared to throw money at businesses that have already faltered and it is difficult to acquire security as there are generally no unencumbered assets for companies in distress, says law firm Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr's director of dispute resolution, Julian Jones. While post-commencement finance, or any new capital raised after filing for business rescue, is a problem in South Africa at the moment, a market that takes on higher risk will emerge over time, says PwC's national leader of business rescue, Stefan Smyth. - Business Day Live website

Specialist court needed to handle cases - 18 January
The
new business rescue regime in South Africa was adopted amid much fanfare but has been plagued by teething problems since, prompting experts to call for drastic changes. Long delays, a lack of turnaround specialists, abuses of the system by "holiday seekers" and the lack of post-commencement finance have resulted in more problems than solutions. Partner at Webber Wentzel, Lara Kahn, says many of the problems could be solved if a specialist court was created to handle the cases. Section 128(3) of chapter 6 of the new Companies Act allows the judge president of a high court to designate any judge of that court generally as a specialist to determine issues relating to commercial matters, commercial insolvencies and business rescue. However, it appears to have not yet been followed by any courts. - Business Day Live website

Conservation

The South African rhino crisis : a situational review - [December 2012]
African Indaba website

Report will advise on legal trade in rhino horn - 8 January
Former
home affairs director-general Mavuso Msimang, who has been set the task of researching ways of saving the rhino from poaching, is expected to report in the first quarter of this year. His report will also advise on whether South Africa should apply to trade in rhino horn under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (Cites). The trade issue has polarised many South Africans who have the rhino's best interests at heart. Water and Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa will have the unenviable task of deciding whether South Africa should apply to trade in rhino horn. - Business Day Live website

See also : News release : 'Our South African Rhino' National Press Club AON South Africa newsmaker for 2012 below

Contracts

Warning : headings may lead to headaches - 11 January
In the recent case of Sentinel Mining Industry Retirement Fund v Waz Props (Pty) Ltd, the Supreme Court of Appeal made use of the heading of a clause in a contract to interpret a clause - to one of the signing parties' dismay. Many contracts and/ or agreements fail to contain an interpretation clause similar to the standard "In this Agreement, clause headings are for convenience only and are not to be used in the Agreement's interpretation". Yet an interpretation clause like the one above is of vital importance, as was illustrated in the case of Sentinel Mining Industry Retirement Fund v Waz Props (Pty) Ltd (779/11) [2012] ZASCA 124, heard in the first instance in the South Gauteng High Court. - Polity website

See :

Supreme Court of Appeal
21 September 2012
779/11 [2012] ZASCA 124
Sentinel Mining Industry Retirement Fund and Another v Waz Props (Pty) Ltd and Another

South Gauteng High Court (Johannesburg)
18 November 2010
31309/10 [2010] ZAGPJHC 145
Waz Props (Pty) Limited and Another v Sentinel Mining Industry Retirement Fund and Another

Copyright and Intellectual Property

Can food recipes be patented in South Africa? - 14 December 2012
Spoor & Fisher on the Polity website

Correctional Services - http://www.dcs.gov.za/ 

Inmates set fire to their blankets - 19 December 2012
Inmates at the Groenpunt Correctional Centre set fire to their blankets yesterday, in protest against being left with no water since last weekend. Staff residences at the prison complex south of Johannesburg were also affected by the water cut after a main pipe burst. - The Citizen website

Injuries in S African prison riot - 8 January
Fifty rioting inmates and nine prison guards were injured at a South African maximum security lock-up after prisoners went on the rampage and set their cells alight, police said Tuesday. Police and prison forces moved in using stun grenades after the inmates of a section housing 750 men torched cells and barricaded themselves in a courtyard of the prison in the Free State province. The injuries were due to a stampede after officers moved in. - AFP on a Google server

Groenpunt inmates being moved after riot - 10 January
Around 510 inmates from Groenpunt Prison will be moved to other correctional service centres, an official said on Thursday. Around 350 of them had been moved so far and more would be transported to the different facilities on Friday, Free State deputy regional correctional services commissioner Grace Molatedi said. All those who were relocated were serving maximum sentences. - News24 website

14 January 2012
SAHRC investigating Groenpunt prison riots
Politicsweb website

Media 'detained' during prison visit - 17 January
Free State prison officials have detained journalists, confiscated their equipment and deleted photographs of warders assaulting a prisoner. This was all during a visit on Wednesday by Parliament's portfolio committee on correctional services to the Groenpunt maximum security prison outside Deneysville in the Free State, where inmates rioted last week. The media was invited to accompany the committee, reported The Star and The Times newspapers. During the visit, journalists witnessed prison warders beating a prisoner. ". . . we saw them passing the man around in a circle, brutally beating him". News photographers took pictures as it happened. - East Coast Radio website

Prison riots will not be tolerated : minister - 8 January
Riots instigated by inmates in prisons will not be tolerated, said Correctional Services Minister Sibusiso Ndebele. "Whilst the Department of Correctional Services is fully committed to the humane treatment of every detainee, acts of riots by inmates at correctional centres are not acceptable and will be dealt with firmly", he said. Ndebele said the rehabilitation of offenders, secure, safe and orderly custody were two sides of the same coin. - Times Live website

Corruption

See :

ANC gets new integrity commission above

Address by Founder of the Citizens Movement, at a Conference at Centre for African Studies at the University of Basel, Switzerland below

COSATU - http://www.cosatu.org.za/

See :

Teacher strikes may be barred below

Labour issues in the farming sector below

Lead by example and vacate directorships, Vavi tells Cyril below

Courts

See : Specialist court needed to handle cases above

Crime

US embassy names murdered official - 15 January
The US embassy on Monday named its Consulate General staffer who was murdered in Joburg early on Sunday as Christopher "Norm" Bates. A 29-year-old woman was due to appear in court on Tuesday in connection with his death. Embassy spokesman Jack Hillmeyer said Bates, an American citizen, had been the information management officer at the Consulate General in Sandton since 2010. - IOL website

Cyberlaw

South African cyber crime set to soar in 2013 - 7 January
South African companies are warned that cyber crime is set to increase in 2013 and will place their profitability, their competitiveness and perhaps even their existence at risk. An alarming fact is that South Africa hosts the third-highest number of cyber crime victims in the world, behind only Russia and China, according to the recently released Norton Cybercrime Report for 2012. - ITWeb website

Convention on cybercrime to be launched in Cape Town - 21 January
The first ever Africa Information and Communication Technology Convention on Cybercrime will commence in July 2013 with its main conference being held in Cape Town during September 2013. This awareness campaign will be a coordinated industry-wide effort to inform and educate African citizens on the safe and responsible use of ICT in order to minimise the inherent risks as well as increase customer trust. "As much as we would like to tackle cyber security from a purely technical perspective, the reality is that there is a major social component to it, and creating awareness of the problem in the broader society is paramount to reduce the risk of being a victim of a cyber crime", says Professor Willem Visser from Computer Science at Stellenbosch University. - Cape Business News website

Vodacom may have signed away WiFi rights - 17 January
An urgent court application, filed by WirelessG and six other applicants, argues that Vodacom has signed away its right to offer Wi-Fi in any of its operations. The agreement essentially states that WirelessG has exclusivity on Wi-Fi in any Vodacom operation. WirelessG is well known for its Wi-Fi developments, which include the first ever Wi-Fi in airplane service in South Africa and a converged Wi-Fi, 3G and ADSL offering. According to the legal document, which is in possession of MyBroadband, Vodacom entered into an agreement with WirelessG which gives them exclusivity on all Wi-Fi services and infrastructure. This means that Vodacom may have signed its right to a technology away. - Moneyweb website

Defence - http://www.dod.mil.za/ 

Investigator quits arms probe : report - 17 January
The integrity of the Seriti commission probing the arms deal has been questioned in a resignation letter penned by one of the commission's senior investigators, according to a report on Thursday. Norman Moabi, a lawyer and former acting judge from Pretoria, says in the letter, addressed to judge Willie Seriti, that he is resigning because of interference and because he has lost faith in the commission's work. According to Moabi, Seriti rules the commission with an iron fist and facts are manipulated or withheld from commissioners. - IOL website
Keyphrases :
Edward Mvuseni Ngubane
Judge Francis Legodi
Judge Hendrick Musi
Judge Willem van der Merwe

Amid accusations of a double agenda, Arms Deal commission loses senior investigator - 18 January
The Zuma-appointed probe into the Arms Deal has run into serious headwind even before the public hearings began. A senior investigator has reportedly quit – accusing the commission of having a double agenda. - Daily Maverick website
Keyphrase :
Edward Mvuseni Ngubane
Strategic Defence Procurement Package

Lesser conviction in BAE arms case - 18 January
An Austrian count was acquitted on Thursday of charges that he covertly helped Britain's biggest arms group BAE Systems distribute millions of euros to win weapons deals in central and eastern Europe. Alfons Mensdorff-Pouilly instead got a two-month suspended sentence on a lesser charge of falsifying evidence. "This is not a clean bill of health. The whole thing stinks", Judge Stefan Apostol told the count. BAE Systems, Europe's biggest defence company, was fined $450m by the US and Britain in 2010, following corruption investigations at home and abroad into arms deals in Saudi Arabia, Tanzania, Sweden, the Czech Republic and Hungary. In securing the Tanzania fine, the UK's Serious Fraud Office waived its right to investigate other allegations, including those relating to SA's arms procurement contracts, worth $30bn at the time. - Business Day Live website

Arms deal probe judge in firing line - 18 January
The chairperson of the Arms Procurement Commission, Judge Willie Seriti, must explain serious claims made in a startling resignation letter by one of its senior investigators that he is operating clandestinely with a "second agenda" or resign.This call was made by advocate Paul Hoffman of the Institute for Accountability in Southern Africa, who represented retired banker Terry Crawford-Browne in his court battle to force the government to set up an independent inquiry to investigate allegations of corruption in the multibillion-rand arms purchases. "Seriti is opening himself up to an application for his recusal if he doesn't adequately deal with the claims made in the resignation letter", said Hoffman this week. - Mail & Guardian website

22 January 2013
Arms deal inquiry evidence leaders express confidence in Judge Willie Seriti
Issued by the Commission of Inquiry into allegations of fraud, corruption, impropriety or irregularity in the Strategic Defence Procurement Packages on the Politicsweb website
Keyphrases :
B L Skinner SC
C Sibiya
I P Ngobese
L T SibekoSC
M J Ramagaga (Senior Attorney)
M Mphaga SC
M Sello
S H Zondi
S M Lebala SC
T N Aboobaker SC

No secret agenda, says Seriti - 23 January
Judge Willie Seriti, chairman of the Arms Procurement Commission, has broken his silence on claims made in a resignation letter by one of its investigators, denying that it was operating under a secret agenda incompatible with its mandate to uncover the truth. He on Tuesday accused Pretoria lawyer Norman Moabi of making "false allegations to deliberately tarnish the image and credibility of the commission, probably because of a personal grudge he harbours against me based on reasons he has not disclosed". - IOL website

'Army must secure SA first' - 8 January
Instead of South African soldiers being sent on deadly foreign missions, they should be used to guard the country's borders and provide security to citizens, said DA MP Shahid Esau yesterday. Last week, President Jacob Zuma ordered the deployment of 400 soldiers to the Central African Republic whose capital and president are under threat by heavily armed rebel forces. The troops include members of the elite Special Forces and Parachute battalion. - Times Live website

See also : Denel Aviation maintenance retrenchments confirmed below

Democratic Alliance - http://www.da.org.za/

23 January 2013
DA : Statement by Lindiwe Mazibuko, Parliamentary Leader of the Democratic Alliance, calling on President Zuma to demonstrate leadership
Polity website

ANC chief whip urges Zuma to ignore Mazibuko's 'nonsensical letter' - 23 January
President Jacob Zuma should ignore the open letter written by Democratic Alliance parliamentary leader Lindiwe Mazibuko, says the ANC's chief whip. "We have no interest in repeating the ANC's clarifications on the wild allegations published in the media, which Ms Mazibuko parroted in her letter", Mathole Motshekga said on Wednesday. "We therefore hope that the president will ignore her nonsensical letter with the contempt it deserves". - Mail & Guardian website

See also :

Zuma must retract comments on ANC and business : Lindiwe Mazibuko above

Labour issues in the farming sector below

Education - http://www.education.gov.za/ ; http://www.dhet.gov.za/ 

Nzimande establishes committee to boost varsity transformation - 23 January
To tackle the up-to-now slow transformation in South Africa's tertiary sector, Higher Education Minister Dr Blade Nzimande on Wednesday announced that his department had established a Ministerial Oversight Committee on the Transformation of South African Universities. He told a media briefing, in Rosebank, that the committee was one of the key interventions recommended by the Soudien Report – undertaken by the Ministerial Committee on Transformation and Social Cohesion and the Elimination of Discrimination in Public Higher Education, appointed by then Education Minister Naledi Pandor, in 2008, and headed by Professor Crain Soudien. The report found that transformation in the country's higher education system was "painfully slow", particularly in terms of racism and sexism, while redress was sluggish. It also found disjuncture between policy and the real-life experiences of students and staff, particularly in learning, teaching, curriculum and languages, residence life and governance. University of KwaZulu-Natal Vice-Chancellor and Principal Professor Malegapuru Makgoba would chair the committee. - Creamer Media's Engineering News website

Education department's legal woes far from over - 18 January
Storm clouds loom over basic education's "inadequate" standards and unmet deadlines, writes Victoria John. The wave of litigation that flooded the basic education department last year could turn into a tsunami this year, educationists and an already stormy start to 2013 strongly suggest. - Mail & Guardian website

Angie's new school norms a slap in the face - 11 January
Long-awaited draft school infrastructure standards are a shocking disappointment, educationists say. - Mail & Guardian website

Education department regulations 'inadequate' : DA - 20 January
Draft regulations on norms and standards for school infrastructure gazetted by Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga are inadequate, the DA said on Sunday. - The Citizen website

Angie Motshekga's education claims : the true score - 24 January
Hundreds of thousands of learners have exited the school system and are now trying to enter the job market with their Matric certificates in their hands. For most, their chances of employment are bedevilled by functional illiteracy and innumeracy. Despite this, the Minister of Basic Education, Angie Motshekga, wants us to believe that the education system is improving. - Daily Maverick website

Matric pass rate : on the road to Nobody - 24 January
I visited the village of Nobody in Limpopo recently. When the subject turned to education, the contents of the discussion came as no surprise. Our people are sick and tired of the press release interpretation of our country's matric results, they are sick of the dumbing down in schools, and they are sick of the lack of dignity imposed on our children. - Jay Naidoo on the Daily Maverick website

Unequal education : the problem with providing learning for all - 12 January
It is an uncontested fact that there are vast disparities in the quality of education provided to children at different public schools in South Africa. Although there are some laudable exceptions, the quality of education provided at schools in more affluent areas is generally far better than the quality of education provided at schools situated in poorer areas. Given the lingering effects of Apartheid town planning and racial dispossession, this means that schools formerly exclusively reserved for white children often produce the best results. How to address this injustice has become one of the most intractable but emotionally laden issues in South Africa. - Daily Maverick website

Interdict halts closure of Western Cape schools - 21 December 2012
An interdict halting the closure of 17 schools in the Western Cape was a "loss of opportunity" for learners, provincial education minister has said. - Mail & Guardian website

'Pay school fees' : appeal to parents - 23 January
Teacher's union Natu has called on parents who can pay their children's school fees - to do so. Officials say parents who can afford the fees, but do not pay them, reduce the resources available to families who need financial assistance. The union's Allen Thompson says schools cannot function properly without money. He has encouraged parents who don't work to approach their children's school if they are facing financial difficulties. - East Coast Radio website

See also : Teacher strikes may be barred below

Environment - http://www.environment.gov.za/ 

See : Medupi mining puts river in deep trouble below

Freedom of Speech

Careful, Mr Mthembu : the re-emergence of Apartheid's 'volksvreemdes' mentality - 16 January
The re-emergence of a virulent form of identity politics poses a serious threat to South Africa's democracy and the freedom of its citizens. Wherever one turns there are people who insist that there is one authentic way to be African, Afrikaans, Zulu, Xhosa, gay or lesbian, white, black, heterosexual, Jewish, Christian, Muslim, or atheist, and that if one does not conform to one of these essentialist stereotypes one is somehow inauthentic and fake, not worthy of being shown respect and of being taken seriously. Identity is thus used to try and silence critics, to enforce conformity and obedience within the group and to banish those who refuse to perform their "essential" identities from the policed group itself. - Pierre de Vos on the Daily Maverick website

Government - www.gov.za 

Lies, damned lies and advertising - 4 January
The state should only use public funds to put its view across if the media fails to do so, says Jacques du Preez. Does the media publish incomplete government communications because the information contained therein is inaccurate or misleading, or because the media is too subjective in its reporting? In the case of the former, the government has no right to present inaccurate or twisted facts by means of advertisements, using taxpayer money. In the case of the latter, the media has the obligation to publish honest and accurate communications from the government without selective editing. This will ensure that the government has no excuse to use taxpayer money to buy advertising space for a message that could have been communicated through a media statement. - Mail & Guardian website

Minister sought advice to 'short circuit' hearings - 14 January
Minister of Women, Children and People with Disabilities Lulu Xingwana was apparently so desperate to axe some of her staff that she hired a top labour law firm to advise her on how she could unprocedurally 'short circuit' their disciplinary hearings - and at what cost, says a report in The Sunday Independent. The Sunday Independent says it has seen the legal opinion Xingwana received. In the letter addressed to the Minister directly, Fluxmans Incorporated director Ari Soldatos tells the Minister : 'In essence, the convening of the short-circuited disciplinary process would prove to be not in accordance with a fair procedure.' - Legalbrief website

Minister's mistrust of state attorneys costs taxpayers - 21 January
Taxpayers are footing the bill for private lawyers briefed by Minister of Women, Children and People with Disabilities Lulu Xingwana because she does not trust the State Attorney's Office, claims a report in the Sunday Tribune. The paper says it has seen a document which shows Xingwana told officials in her department to 'find the money' when they said they did not have the budget for a private legal firm. Quoting from a letter by an official in the department to former DG, Nonhlanhla Mkhize, the Tribune says Xingwana personally selected a legal team from Fluxmans Attorneys to conduct the investigation into appointment irregularities. - Legalbrief website

The failure of our political systems is keeping the courts busy - 18 January
Last year ended with a flourish of judgments that tested the line between law and politics. - Mail & Guardian website

Are South Africans like frogs in hot water? - 20 January
It was very interesting to watch how South Africa reacted to last week's news of a ratings downgrade from Fitch. Overall, I would describe the reaction as 'meh' – almost no one seems to have even raised an eyebrow over the fact that South Africa's government debt is now rated one step above junk by all three of the world's major ratings agencies. In response to Fitch's announcement, government just rolled its eyes and issued a press release saying that it's committed to budgetary discipline, that the recently adopted National Development Plan (NDP) should address the slow growth issue and that most of the fault for the nation's problems lies with the troubled Eurozone anyway, so there. The nation's asset managers were similarly blase about the whole thing. - Moneyweb website

See also :

ANC outrage over FNB's 'Arab Spring' ad campaign below

R25m for breakfast below

Health - http://www.doh.gov.za/ 

Cadres make way for new hospital CEOs - 18 January
Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi on Thursday announced the appointment of more than 100 new CEOs for public hospitals, fulfilling his promise to ensure these positions are filled by qualified people. A review of hospital managers published by the Department of Health in 2011 found that some CEOs were political appointees, with neither healthcare nor managerial qualifications. Some provincial health departments had appointed former teachers to run complex bodies with multimillion-rand budgets. According to the review, 2% of hospital CEOs had matric as their highest qualification. Dr Motsoaledi introduced regulations stipulating the minimum qualifications and experience required of hospital managers. - Business Day Live website

McCord Hospital to close : report - 20 January
Staff at McCord Hospital in KwaZulu-Natal have received notices informing them that it would close in March, the Sunday Times reported. This comes after the provincial health department said it would no longer provide the hospital with an annual subsidy. - IOL website

We had no option but to close : McCord chief - 22 January
Almost all of McCord Hospital's patients paid cash for treatment and would not be able to afford higher medical fees which was why the hospital could not go into a private-partnership agreement. Kevin Smith, the acting chief executive of the 103-year-old hospital in Overport, told The Mercury on Monday that "lots of people" had offered to buy out the hospital in an equity partnership-type agreement. "If we went into such a partnership it would eliminate most of our existing patients. We can't see a rescue plan becoming a reality in the next two months so we are preparing to close. Once that is done then we can look at other options", he said. - IOL website

Cutting the McCord : Durban's hospital finally loses the battle - 23 January
The McCord Hospital in Durban is a 103-year-old institution ; home to the country's biggest HIV care and treatment programme. It is also one of KwaZulu-Natal's largest hospitals, with 140 beds and 400 staff.  After thwarting several attempts by the Apartheid government to shut down the facility for its defiance of the Group Areas Act, the McCord Hospital in Durban has finally been defeated by money troubles and will be closing its doors in March. Last year, a cutback in international funding forced the hospital to close its HIV/Aids clinic and now, the government is also withholding funds to the semi-private hospital. - Daily Maverick website

Nehawu vows to fight McCord Hospital closure - 24 January
The National Education, Health and Allied Workers Union says it will fight the looming closure of Durban's McCord Hospital. The union says the Health Department should take over the entire operation. - SABC website

Court orders nurses back to class - 15 January
The Labour Court in Johannesburg has ordered protesting student nurses at the Chris Hani Baragwanath Nursing College in Soweto to return to class, the Gauteng health department said on Tuesday. "The interdict states that students should with immediate effect stop the week-long illegal protest that has been happening at the college", said health department spokesman, Simon Zwane. He said the department obtained the interdict several days ago but only presented it to students on Tuesday. The students were demanding the removal of three heads of their department (HODs) at the college.
- IOL website

Protests close Bara nursing college - 16 January
The Gauteng Health Department on Wednesday took the decision to close the Chris Hani Baragwanath Nursing College indefinitely. This follows a week of illegal protests and class disruptions by students who were demanding that three heads of department be fired. The protests follow grievances that students submitted over the continued employment of the HODs in 2011. The department conducted investigations into the matter and a report was completed in 2012. However, proof of the allegations against the HODs could not be established. Owing to the failure of students to cooperate and listen to the department's call for normality, a court interdict was issued to the student representative council (SRC) at the college. - Polity website

Human Rights

Analysis : measuring racial hatred, one murder at a time - 16 January
To date South Africa doesn't have any legislative framework or policies that specifically deal with hate crimes. This means that hate crimes are not officially recognised by SA's law enforcement agencies or the judiciary, and there is no tracking of data or analysis of how and why these events happen, and what can be done to prevent them. But this could change, as following intense lobbying from activists over the past few years, the Department of Justice is now looking at developing specific policies to deal with hate crimes, which could extend to legislation to deal with the same. Whether it is xenophobic hatred, the correctional rape of lesbians, murderous attacks on gay men or racial brutality, South Africa could soon officially recognise prejudicial hate-based violence as an important first step in stopping the plague that terrorises our entire society. - Daily Maverick website
Keyphrase :
Skierlek

W Cape school denies Muslim siblings entry for wearing head dress - 23 January
Two siblings have been turned away from Eben Donges High School in Kraaifontein for wearing their traditional Muslim head coverings. - Mail & Guardian website

Mulholland column : ignorance squared is still ignorance - 8 January
"Common sense" can be a dangerous thing. People often invoke "common sense" to justify the commonly shared prejudices of those they happen to encounter in their small circle made up of family, friends and acquaintances. The danger of this kind of validation – where shared bigotries are accepted, simply, as self-evident – is starkly illustrated by a column on homosexuality published on Sunday in the Sunday Times Business Times by one Stephen Mulholland (who, apparently, used to be quite a big shot in the media industry before the internet era). - Daily Maverick website

See also :

Laws on teenage sex infringe children's rights, high court finds [North Gauteng High Court : Pretoria]

Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) - www.ifp.org.za 

I may not see out a full term : Mangosuthu Buthelezi - 11 January
After a year of continual centennial events, the ANC's humility may finally be making an appearance.
It seems the propaganda machine was only programmed to function for a year. In October 2009 Professor Kader Asmal warned that the ANC had "lost the moral compass". The IFP was quick to point out that it was not in fact lost, but was safely stored in my own pocket. The IFP called again and again for a campaign of moral regeneration in our country, and the ANC responded with the launch of the Moral Regeneration Movement, which was placed under the leadership of then Deputy President Jacob Zuma. The failure of that initiative will forever stand as proof that choosing the right person for the job is critically important. Knowing this to be true, I am excited about the year ahead for the IFP. - Politicsweb website

International Relations and Co-operation - http://www.dirco.gov.za/ 

Ravalomanana Constitutional Court appeal challenged - 11 January
A group of Madagascan citizens intends opposing a Constitutional Court application by former president Marc Ravalomanana appealing against a North Gauteng High Court judgment that limited his travels abroad. In his application filed last month, Mr Ravalomanana said he intended to stand for elections in Madagascar due in May, and the high court judgment prevented him from leaving South Africa, where he has been living in exile since 2009. - Business Day Live website

SA court finds Okah guilty - 21 January
Nigerian terrorist Henry Okah was found guilty of masterminding two car bombings in Abuja, by the High Court in Johannesburg on Monday. Handing down judgment, Judge Neels Claassen said the State had proved Okah's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Claassen said Okah's failure to testify meant evidence against him remained uncontested. Twelve people were killed and 36 injured in the car bombs on 1 October 2010, the anniversary of Nigeria's independence. Okah was arrested in Johannesburg the next day. South Africa has tried him as part of its international obligation, as the Nigerian authorities had not applied for his extradition, according to the prosecution. - iafrica website
Keyphrase :
Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta

Judicial Service Commission, and, Judiciary

Republic of South Africa
Judicial Service Commission

Media Announcement

Shortlisted Candidates for Constitutional Court Vacancy

On 23 October 2012, the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) published an advertisement calling for nominations of interested persons to fill a vacancy in the Constitutional Court which will occur when Justice Zak Yacoob is discharged from active service at the end of January 2013. The closing date for the nominations was set for 23 November 2012.

Following the closing date, the JSC has compiled a shortlist of candidates to be interviewed for the above-mentioned position as follows :

1. Judge Selby Alan Masibonge Baqwa

2. Judge Lebotsang Orphan Bosielo

3. Adv Jeremy John Gauntlett SC

4. Adv Mbuyiseli Madlanga SC ; and

5. Judge Brian Solomon Spilg

The organized legal profession and institutions with an interest in the work of the JSC are requested to submit comments on the abovementioned candidates to the Secretariat of the JSC by no later than 07 February 2013.

The shortlisted candidates will be interviewed on 22 February 2013.  Details of the time and venue for the interviews will be communicated to the shortlisted candidates in due course.

Issued by the Judicial Service Commission

Enquiries :

Adv D Ntsebeza SC
082-467 2490

Mr C P Fourie
082-881 1737

15 January 2013

'Boys' club' angers legal fraternity - 16 January
The legal fraternity is displeased that the five shortlisted candidates for the latest vacancy on the Constitutional Court bench are all men. At present, only two of the 11 Constitutional Court judges are women. - Times Live website

Not too late to fix ConCourt gender imbalance : Law Society - 21 January
The Law Society of SA and NGOs want the vacancy at the Constitutional Court to be advertised again, targeting women nominees, to correct the gender imbalance at the court. Law Society co-chair Krish Govender said the body was 'very concerned' that all five short-listed nominees were male, notes a report in The Sunday Independent. - Legalbrief website

Judicial transformation : South Africa's appalling non-commitment - 22 January
When the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) interviews candidates for appointment to various courts, many of its members seem to be passionate about its mandate to promote transformation within the judiciary. But this appears to be a rather narrow and stunted passion, often focusing on the replacement of old guard (white) patriarchs, with new order (white and black) patriarchs. Changing the racial aesthetics of the judiciary (within limits) often seems to take precedence over the need to change the prevalent legal culture, a culture which allowed most Apartheid-era judges to claim that their job was merely to apply the law – no matter how unjust, racist or oppressive – in a "neutral", "objective" and "impartial" manner. The way in which the JSC is currently dealing with the filling of a vacancy on the Constitutional Court does nothing to challenge this impression. - Pierre de Vos on the Daily Maverick website

ANC still has review of judiciary's powers in its sights - 14 January
The African National Congress's plan for a review of the powers of the three spheres of government is back on track after President Jacob Zuma said at the weekend that clearer boundaries and limitations had to be set for each sphere to avoid the undesirable duplication of roles.
This will include the contentious subject of the review of the judiciary's powers. - Business Day Live website

See also : Implications of Zuma vote case are vast below

KwaZulu-Natal - http://www.kznonline.gov.za

Six traffic post applicants die after fitness test - 29 December 2012
Six people have died from suspected dehydration after taking part in a KwaZulu-Natal traffic department recruitment fitness test, say SABC news. - Mail & Guardian website

See also : http://www.iol.co.za/news/south-africa/kwazulu-natal/kzn-cop-recruitment-test-kills-six-1.1446051#.UQEXKx1JMfU

Job fitness tests suspended after deaths - 30 December 2012
KwaZulu-Natal transport MEC Willies Mchunu has suspended all tests for Road Traffic Inspectorate jobs after seven people died, SABC radio news reported on Sunday. - News24 website

29 December 2012
ANC calls for intensive investigation into police training tragedy
Politicsweb website

Labour Issues - http://www.labour.gov.za/ 

Government 'planning to improve UIF benefits' - 18 January
After last year's controversial legislative programme introducing the regulation of labour broking, the Department of Labour's planned amendments this year are benign and likely to be welcomed by labour unions. The department's chief director, Thembinkosi Mkalipi, said on Thursday that two were in the offing - an improvement in the benefits of the Unemployment Insurance Fund and the incorporation of more than 500 000 domestic workers under the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act.  - Business Day Live website

Use of bargaining councils declining - 16 January
The use of bargaining councils to negotiate wages is decreasing in South Africa, the South African Institute of Race Relations said on Wednesday. A survey by the SAIRR found that the number of workers and employers who used bargaining councils to negotiate wages declined from 9.6% in the second quarter of 2011 to 9.4% in the second quarter of 2012. The total number of bargaining councils had fallen from 77 in 1996 to 46 in 2012 – despite several amendments to the Labour Relations Act of 1995, which sought to promote collective bargaining. The data, sourced from Stats SA, also revealed that the majority of all wage adjustments were decided solely by the employer without consultation with employees. - Polity website

Labour : bargaining council barneys - 18 January
Three cases have challenged the ability of centralised bargaining to apply decisions to non-parties. - Mail & Guardian website

Teacher strikes may be barred - 16 January
The ANC wants a law that will make it illegal for teachers to strike. Should it get its way, the ruling party is set to clash with its strongest ally - Cosatu. Briefing journalists yesterday, ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe said it was crucial for the government to improve the level of education. President Jacob Zuma told CNBC Africa on Monday that education must be regarded as an essential service. The South African Democratic Teachers' Union - which has more than 240 000 members nationwide - dismissed the ANC's call, saying it went against international norms. - Times Live website

Denel Aviation maintenance retrenchments confirmed - 15 January
Denel Aviation has confirmed that it will start to retrench the entire workforce of its Denel Personnel Solutions/Aero Manpower Group with effect from the end of March. This is because the South African Air Force will not be renewing its current contract with DPS/AMG, which lapses at that time. Denel Aviation is an aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul company and is part of the State-owned Denel defence industrial group. DPS has provided skilled maintenance personnel to the SAAF under the AMG contract since 1986. This will result in 538 employees losing their jobs. - Creamer Media's Engineering News website

See also :

Nehawu vows to fight McCord Hospital closure above

Court orders nurses back to class above

SAA flights not affected strike below

Minister must consider job losses in 1time deal : Solidarity below

Labour issues in the farming sector

Image : Eye Witness News website

Cosatu's call for fruit boycott 'irresponsible', says chamber - 7 January
Calls for an international boycott of export fruit from South Africa are irresponsible, the Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry said on Monday. "A boycott will simply create opportunities for our competitors in South America, Australia and New Zealand to move in and grab our share of the market", said the chamber’s labour analyst, Michael Bagraim. Last week, the Congress of South African Trade Unions' provincial secretary, Tony Ehrenreich, said Cosatu would call on the international community to boycott South African agricultural products, because they were produced in "slave labour conditions". - Business Day Live website

8 January 2012
FAWU calls for a peaceful yet militant farm workers strike actions and for presidentially-convened negotiations process to find resolution
COSATU website

Agri SA : Western Cape farmworkers' protest 'politically motivated' - 10 January
As farm protests flare in the Western Cape grape valley, Agri SA president Johannes Moller considers the unrests to be 'politically motivated'. Johannes Moller said the Congress of South African Trade Union was just trying to shift the blame by accusing the union of impeding negotiations. "Personally, I see the strike as politically motivated. There have been no farmworker strikes outside the Western Cape that I know about", he said. "It is odd, because we agree that the minimum wage is quite low, and should be increased", Moller added. Talk of sanctions being called for against South African fruit was bizarre, as he said farming was already facing a financial and labour crisis. - Mail & Guardian website

W Cape government : defuse farm protests Minister - 11 January
Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant must act decisively to stop violent farmworker strikes in the Western Cape, said the provincial government. - Mail & Guardian website

Labour department invites farm workers, farmers to the table - 13 January
The labour department is ready to mediate in the farm workers' strike if all parties return to the negotiating table, Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant said on Sunday. Farm workers were calling on Ms Oliphant, Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies, Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel and President Jacob Zuma to intervene in the strike. - Business Day Live website

Farm strikes to intensify, says Cosatu Western Cape - 13 January
Farm
workers in the Western Cape will intensify their strike in the coming week, the Congress of South African Trade Unions said on Sunday. "The farm workers have taken a decision to intensify the strike, because the farmers are not serious about the negotiations to find a solution", said Cosatu Western Cape provincial secretary Tony Ehrenreich. "Cosatu is calling on its members . . . not to handle the fruit and not to load any fruit onto the ships for export", he said. - Business Day Live website

De Doorns : a community enveloped by fear and anger - 14 January
The ongoing farmworkers strike in the Western Cape looks set to intensify on Monday, as negotiations between the strike coalition and farmers broke down again on Friday. This despite an official call by ANC provincial leader Marius Fransman for the strike to be suspended. The first three days of the strike last week saw numerous violent confrontations between police and protesters, cars destroyed, motorists stoned, roads blockaded, numerous injuries and at least 125 arrests across the Boland. - Daily Maverick website

Motsepe, Sexwale urged to intervene in farm workers' strike - 13 January
Congress of the South African Trade Unions secretary in the Western Cape, Tony Ehrenreich, has called on businessmen, Patrice Motsepe and Tokyo Sexwale, to take a leading role in the seasonal farm worker wage talks. Ehrenreich was briefing the media at Cosatu house in Cape Town. He says as prominent black farmers, Motsepe and Sexwale have failed to show leadership. Ehrenreich says other black emerging farmers have been co-operating. - SABC website

Farm protests : unions, DA plead for government intervention - 14 January
Labour protests across the Western Cape are due to intensify as various players in the saga, including ANC allies, plead for government intervention. "Cosatu is calling on the government to get more directly involved in the strike as a matter of urgency", the Congress of South African Trade Unions's Western Cape secretary Tony Ehrenreich said in a statement on Sunday. Talks to end the violent wage dispute were at a standstill after parties failed to agree on who should mediate the negotiations after three days of intense unrest last wee, which saw a total of 125 protestors being arrested on charges of public violence. - Mail & Guardian website

CCMA offers to intervene in farm workers' strike - 14 January
The Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration has offered to intervene in the strike by farm workers in the Western Cape over wage increases. "We have the authority to intervene and the skills and experience to mediate a solution", executive director Nerine Kahn said in a statement on Saturday (12 January). "We have offered our services - which we are empowered to do in matters of public interest - and trust that the parties will respond positively to our offer", she said. The CCMA said it was in a position to mediate a binding short-term agreement while the parties wait for a sectoral wage determination by the Labour Department. - BizCommunity website

Cape farmers vow 'to address social ills' - 14 January
While the farm-worker strike in the Western Cape looks set to intensify this week, the South African Table Grape Industry has committed itself to work with the government and labour to devise a fruit industry development plan that would "address the challenges of the socioeconomic environment in the Western Cape", South African Table Grape Industry chairman Johan van Niekerk said on Sunday. - Business Day Live website

In the eye of the winelands storm : Nosey Pieterse - 14 January
One figure has been central to the De Doorns protests : the president of the Black Association of the Wine and Spirit Industry and general secretary of Bawusa, the Bawsi Agricultural Workers Union of South Africa. Yet Reverend Pieterse is a man with a mixed reputation. - Daily Maverick website

Law Society of South Africa

Press release

14 January 2013 : For immediate release

Law Society Calls on Cape Attorneys to Assist to Resolve Farm Labour Conflict

The Law Society of South Africa (LSSA) calls on attorneys in the Western Cape to make their services and skills available to assist farmworkers, farm owners and the other related stakeholders to reach an acceptable resolution to the labour conflict in the Cape winelands. 'We are mindful of the tragic outcome of the Marikana incident and must be certain not to repeat the mistakes by allowing unrest and conflicts to remain unresolved', say LSSA Co-Chairpersons Krish Govender and Jan Stemmett.

Unrepresented farm workers in need of legal representation should be assisted on a pro bono basis.

They add : 'Attorneys are trained to mediate in labour conflict situations. They can make their skills and offices available to bring the various parties to the negotiating table and facilitate the discussions while providing the correct and relevant legal advice to support the parties. In this way we will be assured that the rule of law and due process are respected and followed'.

Mr Govender and Mr Stemmett warn that the current situation could easily extend the conflict well beyond the current nature of the dispute. There are reports that people with grievances outside the labour dispute may be escalating the conflict. 'Attorneys can assist in separating the issues and ensuring that they are resolved in appropriate forums and with acceptable and legitimate legal outcomes'.

Issued on behalf of the Co-Chairpersons of the Law Society of South Africa, Krish Govender and Jan Stemmett
Barbara Whittle
Communication Manager, Law Society of South Africa
Telephone : 012-366 8800 or 083-380 1307
E-mail : barbara@lssa.org.za
Website: www.lssa.org.za

Agriculture can be damaged : Labour dept - 15 January
High wage demands will damage the Western Cape's agricultural sector, a labour department official said in Grabouw on Monday night. "The harsh reality is that the agricultural sector can be damaged", Thembinkosi Mkalipi, chief director of labour relations, said after a public hearing on farmworkers' minimum wages. "It is our task to explain to the people what the real position is and to try and keep expectations in control". - Moneyweb website

Farmworkers' strike : no silver bullet for rural unrest - 15 January
Agriculture does not hold the solution to ending rural poverty, experts say, and improving lives will take more than a simple wage increase. A fundamental rethink of the farming sector is required if the impasse between farmers and striking workers is to be resolved. This is according to Professor Ben Cousins, National Research Foundation chair at the Institute for Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies. Cousins pointed out that recent research has shown that farmers capture only 18c on the rand value of table grapes. Levels of profit in the value chain are very low, he said but at the same time, it farmers and workers might be able to capture more of that value through collaborative projects. - Mail & Guardian website

Farmworkers' strike : Clanwilliam example may provide way out of the tight, ugly corner - 16 January
There was a glimmer of progress in the Western Cape farmworkers' labour dispute on Tuesday, in the form of a reported breakthrough in negotiations between farmers and unions in Clanwilliam which may set the model for the rest of the province. As news spread of the death of 25 year-old Letsekang Tokhwane, however, De Doorns residents continued to voice frustration at what they see as a heavy-handed response from police. The biggest news out of De Doorns on Tuesday was the fact that the death toll from the farmworkers’ strike has now reached at least three. Letsekang Tokhwane joins Wolseley tractor driver Michael Daniels and Ceres farmworker Bongile Ndleni, both killed last November, as the third victim of the Western Cape labour unrest. - Daily Maverick website

Farmworkers reach wage agreement in Clanwilliam - 16 January
Farmworkers in Clanwilliam have reached an agreement that could signal the end of the farmworkers' strike in the Western Cape, says Cosatu. "We have . . . the emergence of a good agreement with the farmers in Clanwilliam which we believe represents a model that will take us close to resolving the dispute sooner [rather] than later", Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) Western Cape secretary Tony Ehrenreich told reporters on Tuesday. He believed the agreement was a substantial step forward in the negotiations. The Clanwilliam farmers made an offer of R105 a day, which "many of the workers accepted". The farmers also undertook not to victimise workers and discipline them for participating in the unprotected strike, Ehrenreich said. - Mail & Guardian website

De Doorns : strike continues, in spite of Cosatu - 17 January
Cosatu's claim on Tuesday that they had reached a deal in Clanwilliam that could be rolled out to other farming communities now seems shaky without the buy-in of Agri SA – or indeed all Clanwilliam farmers. And despite Cosatu's announcement that they have suspended the strike for a week, De Doorns workers are having none of it. "Cosatu is not our boss!" yelled De Doorns farmworker Jurie Scheepers. "We are the people who suffer, not Cosatu! We are not happy with R105. We are not happy with what Clanwilliam is happy with!" A delegation from the Human Rights Commission visited De Doorns on Wednesday. The body says it will be following up allegations including the notion that police are colluding with farmers (a common perception in Stofland), and that police have used excessive force on workers. - Daily Maverick website

Excerpts :
"The agreement, which was portrayed as covering all Clanwilliam farmers, was actually a deal struck between Cosatu and a single farmer, Cape Orchids director Gerhard de Kock, who reportedly made the commitment on behalf of just 12 farms affiliated with the Cape Orchards company"
"BDLive reported that De Kock had not actually signed any agreement on the matter, but "had made a commitment to implement the new wage from the first quarter of this year". In response, he had been assured by Cosatu that farmworkers would return to work on Wednesday – but they hadn't"
"The Clanwilliam Deal, [Agri SA] said, was simply an example of an individual farmer negotiating with his own workers, which Agri SA has "consistently" argued in favour of. But such a deal certainly could not be regarded as binding on the rest of the sector"

Mawubuye farmers support winelands strike, demand land redistribution - 17 January
Some small-scale farmers in the Western Cape support the strike action currently taking place in the Western Cape. But it's not just about wages – they are demanding faster land redistribution, as well as support from the government for those new black farmers. The Cape Argus quoted Ismail Motala, a farmer in Wolseley, who said : "The majority of black farmers are in a very difficult, very precarious position. These protests have only exacerbated that situation". The Department of Labour is due to hold talks with representatives from all affected parties, where the minimum wage as part of the sectoral determination process will be reviewed. This is despite the fact that an inflation-coupled adjustment was due to be implemented in March 2013, as part of an agreement that was only implemented in March 2012.  - Daily Maverick website

Winelands strike : the farmers' perspective - 18 January
On Thursday reports indicated that most Western Cape farmworkers were back at work for the time being, with the exception of De Doorns, where thousands of people took to the streets in the afternoon. Cosatu has said the week-long suspension of the strike is to give negotiations a chance, and improve relations with farmers ; Agri SA continues to insist that farm-specific negotiations are the way forward, while the CCMA wants district-level negotiations. For their part, farmers say the issues are being presented over-simplistically. - Daily Maverick website

Cape strikes 'make farm job creation impossible' - 18 January
The Western Cape farm strikes made it impossible to create more jobs in the sector, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Deputy Minister Pieter Mulder said on Thursday. Mr Mulder, who is also the leader of the Freedom Front Plus, said he has had an increasing number of reports from farmers in other parts of South Africa saying they are mechanising. Mr Mulder said he tried to facilitate talks between farmers and workers during the first wave of strikes in November, but gave up after being accused of trying to make political capital.
His Cabinet boss, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson, has kept mum during the new wave of strikes. Her spokeswoman, Palesa Mokomele, said on Thursday that Ms Joemat-Pettersson had been heavily criticised and had decided to take a "step back". "Although the strike is in the agricultural sector, wages are a matter for the Department of Labour to handle", said Ms Mokomele. - Business Day Live website

A farmer's view : 'we're in this together' - 22 January
I am a fruit farmer in the Wolseley area and would like to clarify a few points about the so-called wage disputes happening in the area, from an employer's perspective. - Philip Dicey on the Business Day Live website

AfriForum lays complaints against farmworker leader Nosey Pieterse - 22 January
AfriForum this morning lay criminal complaints against Nosey Pieterse from the trade union Bawusa at the Lyttelton Police Station in Centurion.  Pieterse is the central figure in the so-called farm worker strike in the Western Cape. The complaints were brought in terms of Section 17 of the Riotous Assemblies Act. The relevant section determines that any person can be charged with public violence if his words, publications or mere actions can incite public violence. Such person is then guilty of a criminal offence. - South African Labour News website

Cosatu : we are calling the farmworkers' strike off - 22 January
"On the advice of workers, we are calling off the strike actions in all areas, so that workers can evaluate the victories that they have gained, and plan more carefully for the way forward", Ehrenreich said on Tuesday. He said Cosatu would be co-ordinating "the mother of all strikes against bad farmers" later in the year, should no agreement be reached on a better daily wage, decent farm conditions and a comprehensive land reform plan. - Mail & Guardian website

Farmworkers' strike may be over : but everyone's a loser - 23 January
Cosatu says the Western Cape farmworkers’ strike is over. The consistently more militant union Bawusa appears to agree – albeit seemingly more reluctantly.Cosatu trumpets that the protest action has changed SA farming forever. But has anyone really won? - Daily Maverick website

Labour issues in the mining sector

Image : Daily Maverick website

Barbed wire 'blamed' - 14 December 2012
Barbed wire that was deployed during dispersal operations on August 16, could have triggered events which resulted in the killing of 34 miners by police, the Marikana Commission of Inquiry heard. This was said by evidence leader Geoff Budlender yesterday, during the cross examination of Public Order Police training expert Brigadier Zephaniah Mkhwanazi. Budlender said it was not surprising that people experienced the barbed wire as 'threatening' because some thought they were being encircled. - The Citizen website

Ramaphosa breaks his silence on Marikana - 9 January
ANC Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa last night spoke for the first time about the Marikana massacre, President Jacob Zuma's Nkandla scandal and his own political ambitions. - Times Live website

Marikana evidence leader points to political pressure - 14 January
Evidence leaders at the Farlam Commission of Inquiry on Friday suggested there might have been political pressure on police to disperse miners gathered on the koppie on the day of the Marikina bloodbath. The commission listened to testimony to help it determine whether the police were justified in using maximum force when 34 miners were gunned down in August. - Eye Witness News website

Lawyer won't retract Marikana evidence statement - 21 January
At the Farlam commission of inquiry, Advocate Dumisa Ntsebeza would not retract his statement that police had possibly destroyed video evidence of the shootings that took place at the koppie on August 16. - Mail & Guardian website

NUM : a wage agreement could have saved lives at Marikana - 24 January
Lives could have been saved if a wage dispute at Lonmin's Marikana mine had been settled outside of national bargaining processes, says NUM. This view, by the National Union of Mineworkers health and safety national secretary Erick Gcilitshana, who was testifying at the commission's hearings in Rustenburg, was heard at the Farlam commission on Tuesday. Evidence leader Geoff Budlender asked him if it was true that lives could have been saved by a pay settlement. "I think so. I can't be confident in saying that", he said. - Mail & Guardian website

Marikana Commission : gung-ho Mangwashi Phiyega under scrutiny - 24 January
The appropriateness of police action on 16 August 2012 was once again the focus of the Marikana Commission of Inquiry – under particular scrutiny were comments made by national police commissioner Mangwashi Phiyega soon after the massacre that left 34 miners dead, in which she praised police action. - Daily Maverick website

See also : Ramaphosa begins his journey out of business into politics below

Anglo American pushed to quit South Africa - 13 January
International
investors have wasted no time putting pressure on new Anglo American CEO Mark Cutifani to cut the multinational miner's exposure to South Africa. Anglo will this week announce its long-awaited platinum review, which could indicate what the group plans for its South African business. Many analysts believe the company could be worth 20% more if it broke off the South African side of the business. - Business Day Live website

15 January 2013
Anglo American Platinum taking action to create a sustainable, competitive and profitable platinum business
AngloAmerican website

Amplats offers new non-mining job for every mining job lost - 15 January
Anglo American Platinum, which is setting out to create at least one new non-mining job for every mining job lost in its proposed downsizing, saw its own share price and the global platinum price rise after announcing the most far-reaching restructuring of its 58-year history, which proposes that two mines close, four shafts be mothballed, a mine be put up for sale and the 14 000 mining jobs earmarked for shedding be matched by the creation of at least an equal number of new non-mining jobs. In addition to redeploying one-third of 14 000 people back into the rest Anglo American group and the mining industry as a whole, Amplats is offering a new non-mining job opportunity, on top of a retrenchment package, to each of the employees who cannot be placed in another mining job and are forced to enter the non-mining space. The aim in reducing the employee complement to 45 000 is to be job neutral. - Creamer Media's Mining Weekly website

Amplat's plans to cut jobs, ounces - 15 January
Interview with Hilton Tarrant and Susan Shabangu (Mining Minister), Chris Griffith (Amplats), Peter Major (Cadiz) on the Moneyweb website

Excerpt :
"We've put in substantial plans to create additional jobs, create additional housing, offset some of the difficulties that have been highlighted post the Marikana review about housing challenges in Rustenburg"

Shabangu slams Amplats restructuring, says lacked proper consultation - 15 January
Mineral Resources Minister Susan Shabangu on Tuesday said her department had been blindsided by JSE-listed Anglo American Platinum's (Amplats) announcement that it would undertake a restructuring programme that would see 14 000 jobs lost. She said the company only consulted with the Department of Mineral Resources less than seven days ago, despite the major socioeconomic ramifications of its decision. - Polity website

See also :

Shabangu blasts Anglo Platinum - 15 January
Politicsweb website
Includes details of planned restructuring

Market watcher - 15 January
Interview with Hilton Tarrant and David Shapiro (Sasfin)
Politicsweb website
Market reaction

Fallout from Amplats restructuring plan - 16 January
Interview with Hilton Tarrant and Tom Kendall (analyst, Credit Suisse) on the Moneyweb website

Govt, unions blamed for Amplats cuts - 15 January
Government and unions could be blamed for the planned retrenchment of about 14 000 Anglo American Platinum workers, the Democratic Alliance said on Tuesday. "[This] . . . is a consequence of the toxic combination of a government that does not understand the economic realities of the mining industry, and trade unions more interested in their own power and money than the jobs of their members", DA MPJames Lorimer said. He said in a statement the DA would propose several changes to the recently tabled amendments to the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act. This involved a repeal of the imposition of limits on raw mineral exports and scrapping "super tax". - Creamer Media's Mining Weekly website

CCMA to help with Amplats - 16 January
The Commission for Conciliation Mediation and Arbitration is to help in processes related to Anglo American Platinum's announcement that it may have to retrench up to 14 000 employees. "[We have] received the referral form from the parties to facilitate the process. We are setting it down to process this week", the CCMA said on Wednesday. - Creamer Media's Mining Weekly website

Workers protest Amplats's retrenchment plans - 16 January
Overnight workers at Anglo American Platinum's Rustenburg operations refused to go underground to protest company plans to close mines.
Local media reported workers would be meeting later to plot wider strike action after Amplats, a unit of global mining group Anglo American, unveiled plans on Tuesday to mothball two South African mines, sell another and cut 14–000 jobs. Amplats, the world's number one platinum producer, said the initiatives were needed to restore profits. But the company also risks provoking a repeat of last year's violent wildcat strikes that left over 50 people dead. - Mail & Guardian website

Amplats miners end protest - 17 January
Anglo American Platinum miners have ended an wildcat walkout and want talks to prevent further action against the number one producer of the metal. "The strike was only for last night," Amplats labour leader Evans Ramokga told Reuters on Wednesday night. He added workers would press management to find a way to head off job cuts, which were equal to about 3% of South Africa's overall workforce in the mining sector. Amplats officials were not immediately available to comment. - Mail & Guardian website

As hurricane Shabangu looms, Amplats miners return to work - 17 Janury
After briefly downing tools, Anglo American Platinum miners are back at work. Somewhere in the war of words, miners realised an unprotected strike isn't their best option. Minister of Mineral Resources Susan Shabangu's outrage played a part in getting them back to work, but just how far will government and ANC anger go in the dramatically changing landscape of the South African mining? The ANC on Tuesday suggested government review all mining licences and consider revoking licences to mothballed mines before auctioning them publicly. Neither government nor mining companies have indicated whether they would bid for Amplats mines if they become available, but the restructuring announcement and resulting anger has already affected the market. Shabangu's comments may have contributed to ending the brief strikes at Amplats but if the market's reactions are anything to go buy she has hurt investor confidence in an industry already facing high costs and possible downscaling after a tumultuous 2012. - Daily Maverick website

Labour law, JSE regulations narrowed consultation with govt : Amplats - 17 January
Labour law and the regulations of the Johannesburg Stock Exchange prevented Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) from making full disclosure to government of the details of its now-controversial platinum review plan ahead of the formal public announcement. Amplats did consult with the Department of Labour, the Department of Mineral Resources and National Treasury ahead of this week's far-reaching announcement to close two mines, mothball four shafts, fix and sell Union mine and eliminate a potential 14 000 jobs. But it did so within the confines of its obligations under Section 189 of the Labour Relations Act and JSE rules of disclosure, says Amplats CEO Chris Griffith. - Creamer Media's Mining Weekly website

Amcu, the champion of nationalisation? Sort of - 18 January
Amcu finally scheduled a press conference for Thursday. "If Anglo persists with the retrenchments, it's a window for government to take those mines and nationalise them . . . See if nationalisation will work on a small scale. The issue of retrenchments is just a drop in the water", Sapa reported Mathunjwa as saying. "It is high time now that we as a nation stand together and find ways of ensuring that our mineral resources benefit the people of South Africa". - Daily Maverick website

Amplats mines 'belong to the nation' - 18 January
The ANC won't hesitate to push for Anglo America Platinum's licence to be revoked as punishment for the company's decision to retrench 14 000 workers. "What Amplats has done is an act of provocation", said Enoch Godongwana, chairperson of the ANC national executive committee's economic transformation subcommittee. He said Amplats was in "breach of agreement" with the government. - Mail & Guardian website

Amplats fallout rocks markets - 18 January
Analysts say Amplats, which is expected to post big losses, had no option but to scale back, writes Chantelle Benjamin. - Mail & Guardian website

Law provides for Amplats to apply for cuts during downturns - 21 January
A mining right holder is entitled to apply for the amendment of the mining work programme when there are downturns in the price of a mineral mined or other factors which make mining in a particular way or at a particular rate less feasible, says Bowman Gilfillan director Claire Tucker. Tucker explains that temporary changes in the rate of exploitation may not justify the termination of the right. It would thus appear that the current fall in demand for platinum and the large over-supply position legally entitles Anglo American Platinum to apply for a curtailment of its MWP. - Creamer Media's Mining Weekly website

Engage to end govt, labour, company trust deficit : ex Anglo South Africa head - 22 January
The controversy surrounding the Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) platinum review emphasised the need for more engagement and trust-building between government, labour and mining companies, former Anglo American South Africa head Kuseni Dlamini said on national radio on Tuesday. Speaking during an often-heated Xolani Gwala-hosted radio debate on SAfm's AMLive – in which ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe, Webber Wentzel's Africa mining head Peter Leon and Cadiz Corporate Solutions mining head Peter Majortook part – Dlamini said steps needed to be taken to deal with the issue of "the trust deficit" between government, labour and mining companies. "There's a need to really focus on building bridges and making sure that there's a respect-based, honest conversation between the different parties", he said, advocating that the platinum industry should model its downsizing on that of the gold-mining industry of ten years ago. - Creamer Media's Mining Weekly website

Mantashe : Anglo, Amplats 'stole' our money - 22 January
South Africa needs to take "bigger interest and control" of mines amid plans by Anglo American Plc and its platinum unit to cut output, Bloomberg reports Gwede Mantashe, African National Congress secretary-general as saying. "They have stolen our money", Mantashe said in an interview on SAFM. "They are a British company now. They have a responsibility to talk to South Africa on the operations". - Moneyweb website

SA govt not threatening mining firms : Zuma - 23 January
The South African government needs to "engage" with platinum and gold mining firms about proposed shaft closures and mass lay-offs and is not threatening them with licence reviews, President Jacob Zuma said on Wednesday. Zuma's comments strike a more conciliatory tone than the prevailing rhetoric from Pretoria in the wake of Anglo American Platinum's announcement this month of plans to mothball shafts and lay off 14 000 workers as part of a restructuring by parent company Anglo American. - Polity website

Amcu and miners seek interdict to re-enter hostel - 23 January
The South Gauteng High Court has been scheduled to hear an urgent application to grant miners access to Harmony Gold's Kusasalethu mine hostel. The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union and workers will apply to regain access to the mine's hostel, after they were locked out on January 3. On Tuesday, Judge Ndawoyakhe Tshabalala asked what the urgency of the application was, since Harmony Gold had offered to transport miners home. On January 3, miners were told the mine had been shut down until further notice in order to review operations after several illegal strikes. Miners were denied access to the hostel and many slept outside the gates. - Mail & Guardian website

Ruling reserved in AMCU hostel case - 23 January
Judgment in an application by miners affiliated with AMCU to gain access to Harmony Gold's Kusasalethu mine hostel was reserved in the High Court in Johannesburg on Wednesday. "I am aware that this is a matter of urgency. I will endeavour to finalise my judgment as soon as possible", Judge Ndawoyakhe Tshabalala said. He would not provide a date. During the application, Tshabalala expressed concerns for the safety of miners and the mine if access was granted. - Creamer Media's Mining Weekly website

See also : Minerals below

Land Affairs and Property - http://www.ruraldevelopment.gov.za/ 

Zuma's attempted miracle : turning land into legacy - 14 January
"Without land we cannot exist". Putting land reform squarely back on the agenda, President Jacob Zuma quoted former ANC president Dr AB Xuma in his Saturday 8 January address. One hundred years after the 1913 Land Act was passed and in the first year of his second term as ANC president, Zuma is ready to revamp policies on land reform and redistribution. It could help millions of struggling South Africans and become a positive chapter in Zuma's legacy. - Daily Maverick website

Land issue could be 'revisited' : Zuma - 15 January
The issue of land restitution could be revisited in the interests of socio-economic equality, President Jacob Zuma said on Monday. "Never shall we allow a situation where that issue will result in chaos", he said in an interview on CNBC Africa's Political Exchange. However, the issue could not be ignored either as 2013 marked a century since the introduction of the implementation of the Land Act, which deprived black South Africans of the land and cattle that formed the basis of their livelihood. Zuma said he felt the law dealing with land restitution was "biased against claimants" and he had come to realise that "even the crafting of the law was biased". Zuma said the Constitution allowed the government to take action to speed up the restitution process. - Creamer Media's Engineering News website

Will ANC now right the wrongs of stolen land? - 17 January
The opening passage of the African National Congress's (ANC's) January 8 statement, delivered by President Jacob Zuma on Saturday, evokes the Natives Land Act of 1913.  - Business Day Live website

Subsidy homeowners lack title deeds - 18 January
Beneficiaries of the government's subsidised housing programme have been deprived of the use of their assets - for example to raise credit - by the slow pace of registration of the title deeds for their properties, the South African Institute of Race Relations said this week in its latest annual survey. It says the lack of progress in the issuing of title deeds might have distorted the township property market, as some beneficiaries had sold their state-subsidised houses for way below the cost price because they did not have the document to strengthen their bargaining power. - Business Day Live website

Golf course halted - 8 November 2012
Johann Rupert and Morne du Plessis' proposed golf course development between Fisherhaven and Hawston on the cards for seven years has been withdrawn. Du Plessis informed the Hermanus Times last week that they had decided to withdraw their proposal due to objections raised against it. The Overstrand Municipality could keep the R2,2million deposit they had put on the land, he stated. "The main concerns and objections raised were focused on infrastructure a lack thereof, housing demand, economic development, market value of properties resulting in a rates increase, the need for a golf course, environmental concerns, and beach access. Some of the objections were out of the proposal's direct influence. Rupert and Du Plessis' proposal entailed building two links golf courses between Hawston and Fisherhaven on a parcel of land known as Middelvlei Farm (portions 2 and 3). Portion 3 is owned by the Overstrand Municipality and portion 2 by the Department of Public Works. A private and a public golf course were to be built, with the private golf course funding the public golf course. Robin Perrins, chairperson of the Fisherhaven Ratepayers Association, labels the withdrawal of the proposal "a tragedy". "There is, of course, every justification for the pleas for more sub-economic housing, but it is just so sad that there appears to be a lack of understanding and appreciation by the community leaders of the proposed development as an attempt to improve the quality of life in Hawston", Perrins said. - Hermanus Times website

See also : Mawubuye farmers support winelands strike, demand land redistribution above

Library Matters

Sabinet launches online access to Provincial Legislation - 23 January
A first for the legal fraternity – Provincial Acts and Ordinances, as they were at a particular point in time – available at your fingertips. Sabinet has released its Provincial Legislation product, Provincial NetLaw, consisting of more than 440 Acts and Ordinances still currently in force and applicable to all South African Provinces from 1910 to date. - Sabinet News website

Maritime Matters

Urgent court application results in recognition in SA of US bankruptcy law - 15 January
A court order granted late last year in response to an urgent application from corporate lawyers Bowman Gilfillan, acting on behalf of Overseas Shipholding Group, created new law in South relating to cross-border insolvency cases. Claire van Zuylen, a partner at Bowman Gilfillan, explained that Overseas Shipholding Group (OSG), listed on the New York Stock Exchange, is one of the world's largest oil tanker operating companies with over 118 vessels and assets of $4.15 billion. "On 14 November 2012, OSG and its subsidiaries went into bankruptcy in the USA under chapter 11 of the US Bankruptcy Code. OSG was however concerned that its vessels, which often passed into South African territorial waters and ports could be arrested by local or foreign creditors, particularly on a "sister ship" basis. We acted for OSG and its 180 subsidiaries in an urgent court application, granted on 7 December 2012", she explained. Bowman Gilfillan's application was to recognise the US bankruptcy in South Africa, and to apply with full effect the automatic stay provided for in section 362 of the US Bankruptcy Code in relation to OSG and its subsidiaries and assets. The firm also applied for a stay in South Africa against the commencement or continuation of judicial, administrative or other action or proceeding against OSG. - Polity website

Weak rates tip Overseas Shipholding into bankruptcy - 14 November 2012
Debt-laden Overseas Shipholding Group Inc , the world's No.2 independent tanker operator by fleet size, filed for bankruptcy protection on Wednesday as questions about its financial statements shut it out of credit markets. The company has also suffered as the United States and other industrialized economies shift toward domestic oil supplies and away from imports, sending rates for transporting crude oil plummeting. Many shipping companies have been forced to restructure. "The tanker market has been absolutely miserable for the last eight months", Overseas Holding Chief Executive Morten Arntzen told Reuters. He said the company was bigger than other shippers that had restructured, the bankruptcy could be more complex and the board would consider legitimate offers for its businesses. - Sharenet website

New anti-piracy system to change battle against pirates - 1 December 2012
A revolutionary new anti-piracy system that automatically repels attacks on ships could transform the battle against Somali pirates off the East African coast, according to shipping experts. The WatchSander system, originally designed for the US navy, works by "identifying pirate craft and distinguishing them from other non-threatening vessels". - The East African website

Marketing

ANC outrage over FNB's 'Arab Spring' ad campaign - 22 January
The African National Congress and some of its alliance partners launched a blistering attack on First National Bank on Monday, accusing it of treason and undermining democracy and the government.  It is not the only bank to have faced censure from the ANC. Last year, Nedbank chairman Reuel Khoza was taken to task for questioning the quality of SA's political leadership in the bank's annual report. FNB pulled some of its advertisements on Monday as the volley of criticism from the ANC, the South African Communist Party (SACP) and both organisations' youth structures mounted. - Business Day Live website

Video online at http://t.co/k078a3qr [YouTube]

ANC tears into FNB over 'political statement' - 21 January
First National Bank's adverts calling for change in SA has been slammed by the ANC, with its youth league saying the campaign bordered on treason. - Mail & Guardian website

FNB cans ad campaign - 22 January
Banking group FNB has pulled videos from an ad campaign following heavy criticism from the ANC and its youth league to its "You can help" brand campaign. L
ater on Talk Radio 702, FNB's chief marketing officer Bernice Samuels said : "Unfortunately we have decided to take them [the videos] down as the participants are fearing reprisals". Samuels said allegations of treason were levelled against the advert's participants. The campaign features children reading their hopes for the country. - City Press website

FNB's role in Nkandla undermines their campaign - 21 January
FNB launched their You can Help brand campaign in Soweto last week through a series of online videos, in which a number of stilted South African teenagers shared their views on the country. Naturally, the ANC had a minor heart attack about being called out on corruption, the lack of jobs and more by 17-year-olds who would be voting in the next elections. Indeed, let's talk about Nkandla. FNB partnered with young children and used them as a mouthpiece to lobby deserving shots at government for not honouring the South African people. But the bank itself is not entirely blame-free. - Verashni Pillay on the Mail & Guardian website

Beyond all (t)reason - 24 January
The response of the ANC, the ANC Youth League and the SACP to the FNB campaign resembles the attempts of Lady Macbeth to clean imaginary bloodstains from her hands. "What need we fear who knows it, when none can call our power to account?" - Pierre de Vos on the Daily Maverick website

Media

20 January 2013
News release : 'Our South African Rhino' National Press Club AON South Africa newsmaker for 2012
Politicsweb website

NPC defends decision to make rhino newsmaker of 2012 - 21 January
The National Press Club has defended its decision to choose the rhino as Newsmaker of the Year 2012, which came under heavy criticism on social media. - Daily Maverick website

SA Press to the 'National Press' Club : 'not in our name' - 22 January
Editors and senior journalists have publicly censured the self-proclaimed the National Press Club of South Africa. The top press people said the organisation formerly known as the Pretoria Press Club is disingenuous in that it is creating a perception that it has a mandate which is way beyond its reach. - Daily Maverick website

Save the rhino! Castrate a white dude - 23 January
Chris Roper ponders the National Press Club's decision to make the rhino Newsmaker of the Year 2012, and what this says about the media. - Mail & Guardian website

R25m for breakfast - 20 January
Transnet, Eskom bankroll Gupta big buck breakfasts.
Three of the country's biggest state-owned companies are paying millions of rands to bankroll business breakfasts hosted by President Jacob Zuma's close friends, the Gupta family. The Guptas, who own The New Age newspaper, have been hosting speakers like Zuma, Justice Minister Jeff Radebe and Public Enterprises Minister Malusi Gigaba for publicly broadcasted interviews. The revelation comes in the same week the National Energy Regulator of SA (Nersa) held public hearings into Eskom's proposed 16% tariff hike. Gupta family spokesperson Gary Naidoo said he found it "very strange and unethical" that City Press focused on their clients. - City Press website

Journalist quits over Ramaphosa article - 18 December 2012
An Independent Newspapers political editor has resigned following a report in The Star that businessman Cyril Ramaphosahad refused a nomination to be ANC deputy president. "I had no hand in writing the story", Gaye Davis said on Tuesday. "I did, however, early on Sunday evening, get confirmation from Mr Ramaphosa that - contrary to what the article was stating - he had accepted and signed his nomination form", she said in a statement sent to Sapa. Davis was stepping down to "publicly disassociate" herself from The Star's article. - News24 website

See also :

Media 'detained' during prison visit above

Lies, damned lies and advertising above

Pet dogs not for blacks : Zuma below

Competition Commission investigating media houses [Competition Commission]

Minerals and Energy

Energy - http://www.energy.gov.za/ 

Nuclear body defends role of technology in SA's energy future - 17 January
In response to a call made by Energy Intensive User Group (EIUG) chairperson Mike Rossouw for a review of South Africa's nuclear programme, owing to the EIUG's affordability concerns, the Nuclear Industry Association of South Africa (Niasa) has described nuclear energy as a competitive solution when compared with other baseload generation options. - Creamer Media's Engineering News website

How lecturers tore Eskom's tariff case apart in 25 minutes - 17 January
Professor Brian Kantor may no longer lecture economics at UCT, but he hasn't lost the art of a theatrical production. Together with David Holland, the former MD of Credit Suisse London, they had observers at this week's Nersa hearings whistling, cheering and clapping. Eskom is asking the National Energy Regulator of SA to approve its request for annual electricity increases of 16% until March 31 2018. Kantor and Holland did not speculate on the impact of the price hikes on the economy or job losses. Nor did they bemoan the absence of competitors or the lack of an up-to-date energy roadmap. Instead their presentation applied a laser beam to Eskom's contention that for long-term stability it needs to strengthen its balance sheet and earn an investment grade credit rating. - Moneyweb website

Eskom uses spy agency to counter labour unrest - 20 January
As yet another wildcat strike broke out at Eskom's Medupi project in Lephalale this week, evidence came to light that the state-owned utility has resorted to spying tactics to mitigate risks related to labour unrest. Documents and e-mails forwarded to Business Times reveal that Eskom contracted the services of intelligence support company Swartberg to spy on employees, communities, unions, political parties, green lobbies and government officials. - Business Day Live website

Medupi mining puts river in deep trouble - 11 January
Farmers have complained that sand being used  to build Eskom's mega-power station Medupi is still being mined illegally, which is destroying the main local water source. Two years ago farmers in Lephalale complained that sand mining was destroying the Mokolo River, which flows into the Limpopo River. But the government said the power station was a national priority and different rules applied. Medupi, due to be commissioned this year, will be the largest dry-cooled coal power station in the world at completion. - Mail & Guardian website

Minerals - http://www.dmr.gov.za/ 

See also : Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act Amendment Bill [Government and Legislation]

Mines must dig deep to stay viable - 11 January
First half of 2013 will remain tense as wage talks and possible job losses loom large, writes Chantelle Benjamin. - Mail & Guardian website

The mining sector in 2013, and the Amplats trading update - 14 January
Interview with Hilton Tarrant and Peter Major (Cadiz) on the Moneyweb website

Government blamed for decline in mining sector - 16 January
Anglo American Platinum's plan to shed 14 000 jobs is a clear indication of the state's inability to support economic growth, experts have warned. "There is no way government has done enough to aid in the sustainable building of the mining sector and big business in general", Peter Major, lead mining analyst at Cadiz Corporate Solutions told the Mail & Guardian on Wednesday. Major's views were echoed by economist Adenaan Hardien. "Government has not made doing business in South Africa easy", he said.
"If they are so keen on business investment, things need to change and industries need to be supported". Senior trader at Vestact, Sasha Naryshkine said that the recent gains on the JSE was a clear indication of the investment potential South Africa holds. - Mail & Guardian website

Perceptions and reality in the mining sector - 16 January
Interview with Hilton Tarrant and Mike Solomon (mining analyst) on the Moneyweb website

Editorial : digging a way out of our mining hole - 18 January
Amplats chief executive Chris Griffith's proposals may be rational, and necessary, but to expect a complete lack of political and regulatory push-back is absurd. But the detail of Mining Minister Susan Shabangu's response, and the even harder line taken by ANC policy czar Enoch Godongwana, reveals the profound confusion that is at the heart of the ruling party's relationship with the extractive sector. There can be little debate that weak policy, and weaker implementation, caused South Africa largely to miss out on the resource boom of the decade leading up to the financial crisis. There is a real risk that, in the much more fragile period we now find ourselves in, the damage wrought by global conditions will be exacerbated by the way the government and ruling party respond to the pressure the mining industry is under. - Mail & Guardian website

See also : Labour issues in the mining sector above

Continuous mining a win for workers, investors, govt : ex Anglo exec - 14 December 2012
The acceptance of the global practice of continuous operations by South Africa's beleaguered mining industry has the potential to create additional wealth that can be shared by all stakeholders, says former Anglo American executive and current Business Leadership South Africa executive memberMichael Spicer in a Chamber of Mines -sponsored mass-media article. In the last of a five-day CoM print campaign on how the mining industry can be positively restructured, Spicer draws attention to South African mines working 90 fewer days than their international counterparts - 230-to-260 days compared with 330-to-360 days. - Creamer Media's Mining Weekly website

State-backed diamond beneficiation firm to be liquidated - 11 January
Mineral beneficiation will only succeed in South Africa if it is supported by a pipeline of guaranteed raw materials and long-term funding that allows for marketing and retail development alongside production and beneficiation, said failed local diamond beneficiator Mohseen Valli Moosa, who has received R150-million in development finance from the State-owned Industrial Development Corporation and the provincially run Gauteng Enterprise Propeller for his now-closed company that is heading for liquidation. In a statement prepared for Mining Weekly Online, the one-time South African Member of Parliament and the brother of the former Cabinet Minister Mohammed Valli Moosa said that a decision had been taken to place the company WakeGem, which traded as African Romance, into voluntary liquidation. - Creamer Media's Engineering News website

SA miners comply with Zimbabwe indigenisation laws - 14 December 2012
Interview with Hilton Tarrant and Peter Major (mining consultant, Cadiz Corporate Solutions) on the Moneyweb website

Municipal Demarcation Board - http://www.demarcation.org.za/ 

See : Municipal merger on hold after violent Sasolburg protests below

Municipal Management and Procedure

Metsimaholo / Ngwathe

Municipal merger on hold after violent Sasolburg protests - 22 January
Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Richard Baloyi has postponed the planned merger of two municipalities in the Free State. Residents have opposed the proposed merger of the Metsimaholo municipality in Sasolburg with the Ngwathe municipality near Parys. They claim Ngwathe is badly run by allies of Free State Premier Ace Magashule and is beset by nepotism and corruption. - Mail & Guardian website

See : Municipal Demarcation Board's Media Statement of 23 January 2013

Sasolburg demonstrations Instagrammed - 22 January
Mail & Guardian website

Blood, smoke and tears : Zamdela's burning - 23 January
After two days of violent protests against plans to merge Sasolburg into the Ngwathe local municipality, Sasolburg's black township, Zamdela, was quiet for a brief spell on Tuesday morning. The roads were littered with the burnt-out carcasses of trucks, bakkies, buses, and debris from concrete blocks to tree stumps. But when Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Richard Baloyi failed to address them, both the disgruntled elders and angry youngsters formed a deadly mob that streamed out of the stadium and into the township. What followed was mass looting, arson and a two-hour siege of the local police station. - Daily Maverick website

Cops looted Sasolburg shops : residents - 23 January
Police looted shops during the violent protests in Zamdela, in Sasolburg, residents of the Free State town alleged on Wednesday. - The Citizen website

Baloyi explains suspension of proposed municipal demarcation - 24 January
Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Richard Baloyi says he had no choice but to suspend the proposed municipal demarcation that has led to rolling violent protests in Sasolburg, Free State. Baloyi told reporters in Pretoria on Thursday it would be suspended "until we are satisfied that the manner in which it is done is so transparent that it leaves no space for people to find faults in the process, or reduce that to a minimum". - allAfrica website

National Prosecuting Authority - http://www.npa.gov.za/

Breytenbach hearing at the NPA's Silverton offices

Twitter - https://twitter.com/#!/search/%23Breytenbach

14 January 2013
@MandyWiener
#Breytenbach There is a new chairperson. Eastern Cape advocate Selby Mbenenge SC has taken over from Sandile July

18 January 2013

@amaBhungane
Mrwebi decided on the withdrawal of fraud charges against suspended crime intelligence boss Richard Mdluli #Breytenbach

@AdriaanBasson
Trengove: You are the head of the unit. You recommended her suspension. How can you not know about it? #Breytenbach

24 January 2013

@ewnreporter
Glynnis #Breytenbach opens her case in her defence today. Kumba attorney Anthony Norton will be her first witness

@MandyWiener

As an aside, the Bargaining Council has ruled media will be allowed access to #Breytenbach hearing which happens next week.

#Breytenbach Norton: She said we shouldn't expect our matter to be prioritised and she had no regard for who my clients are.

#Breytenbach Norton: I didn't expect to feel warm and fuzzy but I did feel like a schoolboy. It was designed to put me in my place.

#Breytenbach Trengove: Steel yourself and tell us what kind of language she used. Norton very uneasy: I'm not comfortable repeating it.

#Breytenbach Norton: Chair, um, can I repeat it? It was things like 'Fuck You'. Chair: We understand, words with 'F' and 'k'.

#Breytenbach Norton: I spoke to Advocates Gilbert Marcus and David Unterhalter about whether there was anything untoward about assistance.

#Breytenbach Norton: The opinion was that there was nothing wrong with the assistance in drafting of affidavits.

#Breytenbach Norton: She and Hellens never huddled together. They never looked at a computer as claimed either.

#Breytenbach Norton: I saw Hellens and GB sat next to each other in back rows of court. Neither were actively involved in the case.

#Breytenbach Norton: Adv Nazeer Cassim told Adv Hellens he was not representing ICT director Archie Luhlabo.

#Breytenbach Zulu is done with cross exam. His senior Mokhari has some questions. Trengove quickly objects.

#Breytenbach Trengove: There is a very firm rule only one counsel per side can cross exam. Concerned it could set precedent.

@AdriaanBasson

Zulu suggesting Norton is lying about receiving evidence from anonymous attorneys about ICT case. Norton furious. #Breytenbach

Norton says he will sue counsel for NPA if they say he lied. Zulu: You are a witness, do not threaten me. #Breytenbach

@MandyWiener
#Breytenbach NPA wants names of attorneys who gave Norton information on ICT/Luhlabo. He says he will try call the person now. Adjourn.

@AdriaanBasson
NPA says #Breytenbach acted inappropriately by allowing Hellens and Cassim to offer Luhlabo indemnity. #Breytenbach

Lawyer's involvement 'covered up' : witness - 14 January
The role a lawyer played in a case Glynnis Breytenbach was prosecuting was covered up, a disciplinary hearing heard on Monday. "[Advocate Mike Hellens] role was disingenuous and disguised in Lt-Col van Wyk's affidavit", Ronald Mendelow, the lawyer for Imperial Crown Trading (ICT) said. "It was disguised because it was highly improper for legal counsel to draw up warrants and lodge affidavits". He was testifying on how Hellens had drafted search warrants on behalf of police officers. - The Citizen website

Mendelow concludes testimony at Breytenbach hearing - 14 January
The lawyer representing ICT Ronnie Mendelow has finally concluded his evidence at the disciplinary hearing against Glynnis Breytenbach. Ronnie Mendelow, who has given evidence against suspended prosecutor Glynnis Breytenbach for over four days since August last year, concluded with two 24-page documents summing up his clients' case against the advocate who was suspended by the NPA in April last year. ICT and Mendelow alleged that Breytenbach showed bias in the criminal investigation into alleged fraud and corruption in the high-profile mining rights dispute between ICT and Kumba Iron Ore subsidiary, Sishen Iron Ore Company. - Mail & Guardian website

Mendelow admits to false accusation in Breytenbach hearing - 16 January
The hearing into suspended prosecutor Glynnis Breytenbach started off with a false accusation made by Imperial Crown Trading lawyer Ronnie Mendelow. Mendelow is testifying for the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) against Breytenbach. Mendelow, who is under cross-examination by Breytenbach's advocate Wim Trengove, claimed on Wednesday that an affidavit he was questioned on, on Tuesday, had not been part of the court record and that it had been "planted" after the fact. However, following a short adjournment it was established that the affidavit had in fact been part of the court record. - Mail & Guardian website

Mrwebi 'insulted' by Breytenbach's 'attack' - 18 January
Glynnis Breytenbach's boss, advocate Lawrence Mrwebi, has said that his intelligence had been "insulted" following an "attack" by Breytenbach. - Mail & Guardian website

Breytenbach disciplinary hearing digs up mine dirt - 18 January
Fight over Sishen Iron Ore has taken centre stage in case against prosecutor Glynnis Breytenbach. - Mail & Guardian website
See also :
http://ht.ly/gUfzy 

#SAsMostComplicatedStoryYou ShouldCareAbout - 18 January
In the sweltering stuffiness of the sealed off room in the Victoria & Griffiths Mxenge building, which was an SABC studio in a past lifetime, it became increasingly evident that it was not merely Breytenbach on trial here. Rather, it was the mission statement of the NPA, so obviously emblazoned on the banners beside the chairperson, that was really being tried and tested in this hearing. When you strip it all down and remove the frills, you are in essence left with this: Glynnis Breytenbach is arguably the country's top graft and economic crime prosecutor. Until her suspension in April last year, she was the regional head of the NPA’s specialised commercial crimes unit and was prosecuting numerous headline-grabbing cases. On one side you have a politically connected mining house with directors who are set to make billions of rands from the Sishen deal. There are allegations of bias against a top level, crack prosecutor and general all round dodginess. On the other, there's an apparently shady cop who is seemingly being protected by prosecutions bosses because of his proximity to the president despite mounting evidence of fraud against him. What is at stake for the country, is the creation of a National Prosecuting Authority that does not have the capacity or the will to prosecute those who have political power. - Daily Maverick website

Special Investigating Unit (SIU)

Headless SIU takes bite out of Zuma's credibility - 16 January
On Saturday, while he was delivering the African National Congress's (ANC's) annual January 8 statement, Mr Zuma said : "We urge our institutions to continue their hard work (against corruption), and not to become complacent". However, despite Mr Zuma's request that institutions "continue their hard work", he has left the SIU without a permanent head for over a year. It is now 13 months since he removed advocate Willie Hofmeyr from that post, and appointed former judge Willem Heath. While there have been similar instances in which institutions have been left leaderless for long periods of time, such as the NPA, Mr Zuma's officials have always been able to point to legal reasons. In this case there is no such excuse. The head of the SIU is solely in the president's gift ; only he can make this appointment. - Business Day Live website

See : Statement of the National Executive Committee on the occasion of the 101th Anniversary of the African National Congress  January, 8th 2013, Durban, eThekwini above

Parliament - http://www.parliament.gov.za/ 

Heat is on for Parliament in 2013 - 18 January
The legislature faces a busy year, with laws from secrecy to e-tolling facing active opposition, writes Andisiwe Makinana. - Mail & Guardian website

Implications of Zuma vote case are vast - 18 January
The separation of powers doctrine is at the heart of the hearing on Parliament's no-confidence debate, writes Glynnis Underhill. The ANC chief whip in the National Assembly, Mathole Motshekga, has told the Constitutional Court he is entitled to hold the opinion that the motion of no confidence in President Jacob Zuma lodged in November last year by eight of the 11 opposition parties was "frivolous" and "constituted political posturing by the opposition parties represented in Parliament". In his affidavit, he said he was also entitled to act in accordance with his views in Parliament. - Mail & Guardian website

See also : ANC still has review of judiciary's powers in its sights above

Presidency - http://www.thepresidency.gov.za/ 

Lead by example and vacate directorships, Vavi tells Cyril - 18 December 2012
Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi has appealed to newly elected ANC deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa to lead by example and vacate his positions in various companies by putting his business interests into a trust while he served in the ANC leadership. He appealed to Ramaphosa to lead by example and vacate his positions in various companies by putting his business interests into a trust while he served in the ANC. - City Press website

Ramaphosa begins his journey out of business into politics - 23 January
Newly elected African National Congress (ANC) deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa has begun to withdraw from his business commitments in order to remove all potential conflicts of interest as he enters deeper into the South African political arena. The Shanduka executive chairperson said in a media release on Wednesday that he had advised platinum miner Lonmin plc and pulp and paper maker Mondi that he would not seek re-election to their boards at their upcoming annual general meetings. The AGM of Lonmin, where he is nonexecutive director, is scheduled to take place on January 31, and the AGM of Mondi, where he is both joint chairperson and nonexecutive director, is due to take place on May 3. The withdrawals, Ramaphosa said, would be in line with his announcement that he would review his business interests following his election into the ruling party's second-most-powerful position after that of ANC president and South African President Jacob Zuma. - Polity website

Pet dogs not for blacks : Zuma - 27 December 2012
Spending money on buying a dog, taking it to the vet and for walks belonged to white culture and was not the African way, which was to focus on the family, President Jacob Zuma said in a speech in KwaZulu-Natal on Wednesday. There was a new generation of young Africans who were trying to adopt other lifestyles and even trying to look like others, he said. "Even if you apply any kind of lotion and straighten your hair you will never be white", Zuma said. Instead, a person lost dignity and ubuntu, and was also likely to lose respect and love for his fellow human beings. He said black people should stop adopting the habits of other cultures. Zuma described people who loved dogs more than people as "having a lack of humanity". - IOL website

President's remarks on promoting Ubuntu - 27 December 2012
A lot has been made by Independent Newspapers journalists of a few remarks that President Zuma made in Impendle, KZN Midlands, about promoting ubuntu and maintaining respect and high regard for other human beings and African culture. The President in his wide-ranging address referred to what people should guard against, such as loving animals more than other human beings. He made the well-known example of people who sit with their dogs in front in a van or truck with a worker at the back in pouring rain or extremely cold weather. Others do not hesitate to rush their dogs to veterinary surgeons for medical care when they are sick while they ignore workers or relatives who are also sick in the same households. This is not to say that animals should not be loved or cared for. - Mac Maharaj on the Presidency website

The fable of Jacob and the Dog - 7 January
The president, in his ongoing quest to name and shame all behaviours that may be considered "un-African", has seized on pet care as a cause. But what motivated him? . . . At least until President Zuma's spokesman, Mac Maharaj, attempted to explain what his boss had meant to mean when he said what he meant, it seemed pretty clear the president was doing what he has done so often before : drawing upon his own sensibilities and personal preferences to define what is essentially and positively African – and, of course, what is opposite to it, alien, foreign, corrupting and degrading. - Daily Maverick website

Public Protector - http://www.pprotect.org/

14 December 2012
An egg-skull situation : report on an investigation into the allegations of negligence by the City of Ekurhuleni which allegedly resulted in prejudice to Mr Malahlela. Report 17 of 2012/13
Polity website

Public Works - http://www.publicworks.gov.za/ 

DA demands answers from Nxesi for R65m renovations bill - 20 January
The Democratic Alliance has said Public Works Minister Thulas Nxesi must explain how R65-million was spent renovating ministers' houses. The Sunday Times reported that Nxesi made the admission in response to a parliamentary question on December 14. The renovation bills reportedly included: R15-mllion on a Cape Town house allocated to Rural Development Minister Gugile Nkwinti, R10.67-million to overhaul a house earmarked for use by Transport Deputy Minister Lydia Chikunga, and just under R5-million to upgrade a house for Agriculture Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson. - Mail & Guardian website

Social Development

Sky really is the limit : the lowdown on Alex Crawford's reporting - 24 January
Earlier this month, Alex Crawford of Sky News ran a report claiming that Eastern Cape women were deliberately drinking alcohol during pregnancy in order to subsequently claim a disability grant for the child. The story went on to be picked up by a number of other high-profile international news outlets. But experts are clear : there is absolutely no research – and very little evidence – to support this alarming, and potentially destructive, claim. - Daily Maverick website

South African Police Service - http://www.saps.gov.za/ 

Court gives go ahead for Khayelitsha Commission of Inquiry - 15 January
It took less than five minutes for Western Cape High Court Deputy Judge President Jeanette Traverso, to hand down judgement that an application for an interdict by police minister Nathi Mthethwa, against the commission of inquiry into policing in Khayelitsha was dismissed with costs. Packed to its maximum capacity, the court room was filled with members from different civil society organisations. The commission was due to start on 12 November but was put on hold because of this court case. - allAfrica website

Khayelitsha policing inquiry : Zille and civil society 1, Mthethwa 0 - 15 January
Monday saw the Western Cape High Court dismiss an attempt by Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa to stop a proposed commission of inquiry into Khayelitsha policing. The judgment is a vindication for the civil society organisations which have for years been lobbying for such an investigation. It is also a boost for the autonomy of Western Cape Premier Helen Zille, who was found to be acting within her constitutional powers in appointing such a commission. - Daily Maverick website

14 January 2013
[Centre for Constitutional Rights] CFCR welcomes Western Cape High Court decision on Commission of Inquiry
Politicsweb website

KFC shootout : cop arrested for murder - 23 January
The Independent Police Investigative Directorate has arrested a police captain who killed a robber in a shootout at a fast food outlet in New Germany last year. Detective Constable Ajith Krishanlal was shot dead and Detective Constable Jerome Ngoma was critically wounded after responding to a robbery at the KFC in October. It was reported at the time that the Captain also responded to the scene and shot dead one of the robbers. The Directorate's Moses Dlamini says it was alleged that the suspect shot at the police captain first, before he returned fire. He says however their investigation has revealed that this version is untrue. "He's appearing in court today on charges of murder and defeating the course of justice". Meanwhile, 22-year-old Elvis Shasha pleaded guilty to armed robbery and murder relating to Krishinlall's death. - East Coast Radio website

See also : Labour issues in the farming sector above

Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI) (Hawks, formerly Scorpions)

Murder-accused Durban cops heading to court in February - 18 January
Members of the Durban Organised Crime Unit (know as the Cato Unit), facing charges ranging from murder, unlawful possession of ammunition and assault, continue to face uncertainty about their fate as a court date is set for February to determine when they will stand trial. - The South African website

South African Revenue Service - www.sars.gov.za 

See : Taxation Issues below

Sport and Recreation - http://www.srsa.gov.za/ 

Soccer

Fifa "watching SA match-fixing scandal closely" - 11 January
The police and an independent commission are involved in investigating the match-fixing scandal that has immersed Safa in possibly its worst-ever crisis. This is the view held by Fifa as revealed by a spokesman of world soccer's controlling body on Friday. But, in a remarkable turnabout, Safa's national executive committee last week reinstated the five suspended officials who were implicated in the earlier Fifa match-fixing probe into five Bafana Bafana games prior to the hosting of the 2010 World Cup. - SuperSport website

Safa match-fixing : the case of the missing laptop - 11 January
Ex-football boss Leslie Sedibe has disputed Fifa report and says he returned his computer. Safa can't find it. - Mail & Guardian website

Taxation Issues

Companies may bear brunt of shortfall in tax take - 7 January
The warning bells for tax collections had already rung in October when Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan announced collections for the 2012-13 tax year were expected to be R5bn less than what was budgeted. The outlook for achieving even the revised target seems bleak, and tax advisers predict harsh times this year. Edward Nathan Sonnenberg's tax executive Ernie Lai King says he will not be surprised if the government decides to increase the tax rate for companies. Companies are sitting on a mountain of cash, and they are not investing. - Business Day Live website

Government to get tough on 'rogue' tax advisers - 4 January
The
government will this year usher in a new regulatory framework for the tax advisory industry, holding practitioners accountable for the advice they give taxpayers and, at the same time, ridding the industry of rogue practitioners. The framework calls for the registration of practitioners with a regulatory body before July this year, with the threat of criminal sanctions for those who fail to do so and who continue to submit tax returns or provide tax advice for a fee. - Business Day Live website

Tax advisers welcome 'more predictable' penalty system - 7 January
The new penalty regime under the Tax Administration Act is far more understandable and objective and creates more predictability than the previous regime, according to tax consultants who have welcomed the new system, saying it offers a large incentive for all taxpayers. Individuals and companies would escape any penalties if they disclosed noncompliance before being "caught out" by the South African Revenue Service (SARS). - Business day Live website

Tax experts claim '50% penalties' - 9 January
Several favourable changes have been introduced by the Tax Administration Amendment Act to ease the burden on provisional taxpayers, but tax practitioners have said that penalties of up to 50% of undeclared income are being imposed. The provisional tax system has been a bone of contention between the South African Revenue Service (SARS) and the tax fraternity, with some practitioners calling for individuals to be excluded. Individuals with additional sources of income and companies are considered as provisional taxpayers. - Business Day Live website

Possible confusion regarding Provisional Tax penalties explained - 16 January
The South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA) has observed that there is some confusion in the market place regarding the penalties that the South African Revenue Services (SARS) can levy, specifically with respect to provisional tax. Piet Nel, SAICA's Project Director : Tax, says it appears that the source of the confusion may be that taxpayers do not understand the difference between a penalty raised in the event of an understatement of the tax liability in a final tax return (which is levied according to a penalty table and can be from 25% to 200%) and the penalty in the event of taxable income being underestimated for provisional tax purposes. - Polity website

See also : SARS set to join creditor queue above

Transport and Roads - http://www.transport.gov.za/ 

Airways

SAA flights not affected strike - 22 January
SA Airways flights have not been affected by the current strike, the airliner said on Tuesday. "We have activated contingency plans aimed at ensuring that the airline's operations remain intact and that no customers and passengers are inconvenienced", said spokesman Tlali Tlali. - Moneyweb website

Minister must consider job losses in 1time deal : Solidarity - 23 January
Trade union Solidarity on Wednesday called on Transport Minister Ben Martins to consider embattled airline 1time's about 540 former employees in his decision on whether or not to allow UK-based FastJet to buy the airline. Last year, FastJet signed an option agreement to buy 1time after it was placed under provisional liquidation, in November. 1time submitted an application to the Air Services Licensing Council, a division of the Department of Transport, to be exempted from subsection 16(4)(c)(ii) of the Air Services Licensing Act of 1990 to enable FastJet to become its majority shareholder. The legislation stipulates that a local licence holder must be 75%-owned by South African residents. - Creamer Media's Engineering News website

Roads

Pulling the handbrake on illegal jamming - 7 January
Although the use of jamming devices to avoid detection by traffic officers trapping drivers using lasers is illegal, they are freely available for purchase online, and prosecuting those who sell them is tricky due to grey areas in the law. People who use laser jamming devices are acting in contravention of the National Road Traffic Act. This morning, a report emerged that a motorist was caught with a jamming device and is set to be charged with defeating the ends of justice. - ITWeb website

Over 1 400 festive season deaths - 10 January
More than 1 400 people died on South Africa's roads during the festive season, Transport Minister Dikobe Ben Martins said on Thursday. "According to the South African Police Service, it is estimated that approximately 1 465 people lost their lives", Martins said in announcing the preliminary road death statistics in Durban. He attributed the deaths to drinking and driving, speeding, dangerous overtaking, failure to use seatbelts and vehicle unroadworthiness. He said the deaths occurred in 1 221 fatal accidents between December 1 and January 8, and that about 40% had involved pedestrians, most of whom had walked onto roads while drunk. Martins called for a ban on alcohol advertising to prevent motorists drinking and driving. - Polity website

Brake on boozing - 11 January
"We want [the blood-] alcohol [limit] to be 0% in drivers", Martins said in Durban yesterday when announcing the preliminary statistics for festive season road deaths. Experts doubt such a move will help bring down casualties but Martins and his department are adamant. - Times Live website

Arno Carstens 'unsteady on his feet' - 23 January
The Cape Town Magistrate's Court has heard that local musician Arno Carstens smelled of alcohol and staggered on his feet when he was arrested for drunk driving a few years ago. Carstens has denied the allegations. His attorney Milton de la Harpe reportedly said he would lead expert evidence that alcohol did not smell and that one could stagger for many reasons. - East Coast Radio website

Toll Roads

Date set for Outa e-toll appeal - 22 January
The High Court in Pretoria will hear an application to appeal against e-tolling on Friday, the Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance said. The appeal follows a judgment on December 13 by the High Court in Pretoria, which dismissed Outa's application to have the electronic tolling of Gauteng's major roads scrapped. The court ordered Outa to pay the legal costs of the application. Outa said it also intended appealing this order. - Times Live website

Western Cape

See :

Interdict halts closure of Western Cape schools above

Court gives go ahead for Khayelitsha Commission of Inquiry above

Miscellaneous

25 September 2012
Address by Founder of the Citizens Movement, at a Conference at Centre for African Studies at the University of Basel, Switzerland
Mamphela Ramphele on the Polity website

Excerpt :
"Our inability to transform our public service and to establish a professional competent one as required by the constitution, has had a devastating impact on the quality of governance and change in the lives of the most vulnerable in our society. Those passionate about social justice should turn their attention to the importance of good governance, professionalism and intolerance of incompetence and corruption. Poor people are disproportionately affected by corruption and public service failures"

InfoUpdate : an Information Service supplied by the KwaZulu-Natal Law Society