Today's Big Stories

Did the Zuma administration aid al-Bashir with his AU Summit exit?

Image of South African President Jacob Zuma in conversation with Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir. Credit: Reuters

Did the Zuma administration aid al-Bashir with his AU Summit exit?

There has been a statement issued this morning by government which says it disputes claims in the Sunday Times and Mail & Guardian newspapers that the Security Cluster Ministers arranged to give Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir safe passage. Last week, al-Bashir was allowed to leave the country as the High Court in Pretoria was considering whether he should be arrested. The Sudanese President is wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for allegedly arranging the massacre of people living in the Darfur region. Government's Acting Spokesperson, Phumla Williams:

We categorically denie that a team of Ministers convened a secret meeting where there was a plan to facilitate the passage of Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir. We also remain committed - this process unfortunately has ended up in court - and we need to respect the processes which will provide an affidavit over President al-Bashir's departure. I don't think we are trying to hide or trying to run away from the issues out there in the public. Let us respect the court processes.

Senior Researcher at the Institute for Security Studies (ISS), Ottilia Maunganidze:

I do think there's quite a lot of questions that remain, including how al-Bashir was able to leave the country if there was no support from government? Also, on Sunday night, his plane which wasn't at the Waterkloof Airforce was moved there and al-Bashir was said to have been escorted there. The issue of whether there was a secret meeting - what's important there is to look at the fact that whether or not the secret meeting happened or not, but also to look at how someone as powerful as al-Bashir was able to get into the country and also leave the country.

Investigation finds Mpumalanga hospital without water+food for patients

A front page report in the Sowetan newspaper this morning shows how patients at the Kwamhlanga Hospital in Mpumalanga have now water, are not receiving food regularly and in many cases, have not been treated at all. Mpumalanga Health Department Spokersperson, Dumisani Malamule:

The whole area of Mhlanga is experiencing a water shortage. I think the story has been a bit over-exaggerated, because as a Department, we have put in contingency plans in light of the water shortage, in the form of water tanks. We have also been providing food to the patients - they are being fed. The hospital is running, because we wouldn't be able to run the hospital if there was no water; we would have to discharge the patients if there was no water.

Why does the ANC celebrate the US-criticised Cuban Five?

Sunday saw the arrival in Joburg of a group of men known as the Cuban Five who were arrested in the US in 1998 and were then released last year. ANC Communications Manager, Keith Khoza:

They are hero's because we talk about Cuba's relationship in relation to developing countries and how it is they helped in the fight against apartheid and also in forming solidarity with other African countries. These people were spying on their own people, not another government such as the US; the judge decided to go with the pressure that came from a particular grouping in America, while there was evidence which supported that they were supporting on Cubans. There was no evidence of malicious activity against the US.

Mining sector wage talks start in Gauteng

In Gauteng today is the start of wage talks in the gold mining sector with the National Union of Mineworkers (Num) and the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) both demanding wage increases of between 80-100% for their lower-paid members. Divisional Head Mining & Resources, Cadiz Corporate Solutions, Peter Major:

There's no way they can afford these kinds of increases; the weak Rand is only a temporary relief - it doesn't make you a competitive industry. Years ago, we were at the point where we produced gold competitively, but now all we do is sit around that trade when the Rand goes up.

Stockbroker Frankel served on sexual abuse claims dating to 70's and 80's

More reports in EWN bulletins this morning note a series of claims made against the billionaire stockbroker Sidney Frankel that he indecently assaulted a series of children in the 1970’s and the 1980’s. EWN's Mandy Wiener:

We now have a civil claim that's been served to Frankel via his lawyer (Billy) Gundelfinger, served on Friday. EWN has conducted sit-down interviews with several of these plaintiffs, with abuse allegations dating back to the 70's and 80's at his game farm in Mpumalanga and at his Abbotsford home. The law at the time didn't provide for these alleged incidents to be listed as rape charges, but the law has since developed, but since they happened then, they would be able to pursue rape charges through a civil case, moving away from indecent assault to rape charges.

What would the grand 'Grexit' mean for South Africa?

In Brussels, Finance Ministers from the Eurozone are currently meeting to discuss a new plan to try and prevent Greece being pushed out of the Eurozone – amid fears of what’s been called a 'Grexit' (Greek exit). Economist at Nascence Advisory and Research, Xhanti Payi:

Many of us own investment products which may have some exposure or complications with European stocks. It is something that's quite significant, that we can't ignore down here in South Africa.


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