Monday, 12 October 2009 | Week #43 | Day #292 | Days Remaining in 2009: 73
Reitz Racists Let Off The Hook
University of Free State vice-chancellor Jonathan Jansen is facing a barrage of criticism for letting four students accused of racism off the hook. This weekend Jansen announced that, with a view to reconciliation and healing, the university would withdraw criminal charges against the students, who made a video showing black cleaners on their knees eating meat that had been urinated on.
The decision to pardon the four men, all residents of the now closed UFS Reitz residence, received support from some unlikely sources: SASCO (the ANC-aligned SA Students’ Congress) threw its weight behind Jansen saying the students, despite the gravity of their offence, should not be denied their right to education.
The ANC Youth League (ANCYL) said sarcastically yesterday that Jansen had become a “Nelson Mandela wannabe’’. “Jonathan is making a big mistake. We believe those who do wrong should be held accountable,” said ANCYL spokesman Floyd Shivambu.
Mthethwa Money Madness Continues
Opposition parties reacted with fury yesterday to disclosures that Minister of Police Nathi Mthethwa has splurged another R570,000 of taxpayers’ money on luxury hotel accommodation – ostensibly while curbing crime and on election duty. The new revelation comes two weeks after Mthethwa was exposed for spending more than R235,000 at a hotel in Cape Town.
His spokesman, Zweli Mnisi, yesterday refused to comment on the latest of his boss’s extravagances to be revealed – this time at Durban’s 5-star Hilton hotel in December, February and April. Mnisi said Mthethwa was in KwaZulu-Natal in December on "official duties" and taking part in road shows intended to reduce festive-season crime. His April stay at the Hilton, was, Mnisi said, due to the national elections.
"This gives the lie to his explanation that he did not know that the Table Bay Hotel [Cape Town] was expensive and appeared to cement a view that he has a cavalier attitude towards taxpayers’ money," Cope‘s first deputy president, Mbhazima Shilowa, was quoted as saying.
The DA said the police department’s long list of luxury indulgences did not only contradict President Jacob Zuma’s calls for austerity and prudence, but flew in the face of common sense and the commitment to put the public before personal gratification.
"If one adds the hotel extravagance to the cars bought by Mthethwa and his deputy, Fikile Mbalula, it goes up to over R3.7-million of public money being spent on personal opulence," Shadow Minister of Police Dianne Kohler Barnard said.
She asked how Mthethwa could justify his behaviour while police officers, who often put their lives at risk, earned next to nothing each month. (Times Live)
Zimbabwe: One Step Forward, Three Steps Backward
The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T) yesterday said it has not quit the inclusive government but severed ties with Zanu PF, which it accuses of acting in bad faith and in contravention of the Global Political Agreement (GPA).
It said that position would stand despite the release of Deputy Agriculture minister-designate, Roy Bennett and would remain so, until President Robert Mugabe resolved all the outstanding issues stalling the inclusive government. The move is set to further widen the differences between the two main parties to the government and raise the possibility of a "two governments-in-one" scenario.
Clarifying the "disengagement", a senior MDC official and deputy minister of information Jameson Timba said his party had disengaged from Zanu PF and not from the inclusive government. "The MDC has disengaged not from government but from Zanu PF with respect to two state organs (Cabinet and Council of Ministers) where it interacts with Zanu PF," Timba said. (AllAfrica.com)
Airbus Bill Is “Wildly Exaggerated”
Airbus Military, manufacturers of the A400M aircraft at the centre of a procurement controversy, has denied taxpayers would have to fork out R47-billion for the planes.
In a statement issued yesterday, Airbus Military confirmed it was in talks with Armscor regarding developments with its A400M programme, but said the reported figures of how much it would cost for the government to acquire the eight aircraft it has ordered is "wildly exaggerated".
Armscor chief executive Sipho Thomo told Parliament on Wednesday that Airbus had told them the cost has escalated from R17-billion to R47-billion. He said that about R3-billion had already been paid to the company to secure the planes, and a further R1.1-billion was due at the end of the month. This has prompted opposition parties to call for the scrapping of the deal.
Airbus said it had briefed Armscor about the aircraft delivery schedule, likely cost impact and possible price adjustments. (Times Live)
In Brief – More News Highlights:
- The ANC has failed in the Western Cape – Jacob Zuma: You have failed in the Western Cape, ANC leader President Jacob Zuma told members of the party’s provincial general council at a meeting in Cape Town yesterday. ”Comrades in the Western Cape have failed over the period, and no-one can argue that you have not," he told the council members who had gathered from branches across the province to thrash out a way forward, following their defeat at the polls in April this year.
- Bull vs. Cheetahs in the Final: Rugby’s 2009 ABSA Currie Cup will be contested between the Blue Bulls and the Free State Cheetahs after both teams won their respective semi-final matches away from home. The Bulls narrowly triumphed over Western Province 21 – 19 in Cape Town, whilst the Cheetahs overcame the Sharks in Durban, winning by 23 – 21.
- Button and Brawn take the F1 crown: Briton Jenson Button was crowned drivers world champion on Sunday when he finished fifth in an incident-filled Brazilian Grand Prix won by Australian Mark Webber. Button, who has led the championship all season after winning the opening Australian Grand Prix in March, had started 14th on the grid, but drove with courage and determination to achieve his goal and send the Brawn GP team into wild celebration. "We are the champions" Button sang from his cockpit after crossing the finishing line and capturing the title with one race to spare. His success also ensured that the Brawn team, created out of the ashes of the defunct Honda team last winter, clinched the constructors’ world championship.
Johannesburg 7-Day Weather Forecast:
Have a great week everybody! JoBra is away…..