This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
WAlliS’S iTEMS AuCTiONED
Lingerie, handbags and luggage once owned by Wallis Simpson, the American divorcée who married British king Edward VIII, will be auctioned off in London next week. Items to be sold include a scarlet chiffon nightdress, complete with a full-length cape. – Sapa-AP
lEGEND jANE RuSSEll DiES
Gentlemen Prefer Blondes star Jane Russell died on Monday at the age of 89. The stunning beauty, whose eye-popping curves made her an icon for a generation of American troops at war, was discovered while working as a receptionist. – Sapa-AFP
Cops take right to strike fight to highest court
Dudu Dube The dispute between the South African Police Service and the Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (Popcru) over who should be allowed to strike and who should not was the centre of argument in the Constitutional Court yesterday. SAPS had lodged an application for leave to appeal against a ruling made by the Labour Appeal Court which stated that only police officers whose services are considered essential and are employed under the South African Police Service Act should be banned from going on strike. Those who work within the SAPS, and are referred to as “nonmember employees” – such as clerks, call centre agents, administrators and others – should be given the right to go on strike because they are employed under the Public Service Act and do not render essential services. Counsel for the SAPS Senior Advocate Gilbert Marcus argued that more than 18 000 people are involved in the SAPS operations every day, whether they are police officers or staff, and each one of them plays a role in providing essential services. The police argue that if “certain links in the chain are missing”, the mandate to combat crime will be disturbed and therefore endanger the lives of the public. They want the judgment set aside and the court to declare all employees of the SAPS essential service providers. “In the context of this particular case, it would be inappropriate to say the 10111 call centre is filled with civilians, that they are excluded from employees who provide essential service to the society,” said Marcus. However, Popcru is opposing the application, saying the differentiation done by referring to some as “employees” and others as “members” as it means that they should be treated differently. “The act differentiates when it talks about employees of the service, that they are not part of the service but they work for the service. I will submit that it is not such a strange thing to have employees who are not considered part of the structure,” said Popcru’s lawyer, senior counsel Hans van der Riet. He said a police officer has the power to enforce the law while an “employee” does not. “Members who are designated in other sections of the SAPS should not be banned from striking,” he said. Constitutional Court Justice Sandile Ngcobo reserved judgment.
World Cup was a pot of gold for SA tourism
Kuli Roberts apologises for ‘racist’ column
SuNdAy World columnist Kuli Roberts has apologised for writing a “racist” column about coloured people. Roberts wrote on social network Twitter: “I am truly sorry to all those I upset. No harm was intended.” The column was discontinued after the Sunday World and owner Avusa Media acknowledged the outcry over the column, headlined Jou Ma se Kinders (your mother’s children). Sunday World editor Wally Mbhele took full responsibility. – Sapa
The Ministry of Police is going to reenlist suitable former police officers as part of its plans to bolster its intelligence and detective services, the ministry said yesterday. Preference will be given to those who fill representive requirements in the area in which they are applying. Anyone who left under dubious circumstances, or is at retirement age or has medical issues, need not apply, the ministry said. It is hoped this move will reduce crime in the country. – Sapa
BIG BUCKS: SA Tourism says that hosting the soccer World Cup boosted the economy by R3.6bn last year.Picture: Gallo ImaGes
Tournament brought an increase of a million visitors last year
Siyabonga Mkhwanazi The hosting of the 2010 soccer World Cup was a bonus for South Africa as the tournament attracted an additional 300 000 tourists. Revealing the number of foreign tourists who set foot on these shores last year, Tourism Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk described 2010 as an exceptionally good year for the country as it recorded more than eight million tourists. This was a million more visitors compared to the number of tourists who visited the country during 2009, said van Schalkwyk. While tourism authorities were busy finalising the figures with regard to the revenue generated by the visitors last year, the 2010 soccer event boosted the economy by R3.6bn, said South African Tourism’s chief marketing officer, Roshene Singh. “The World Cup revenue was R3.6bn to the economy and in 2009 we had a revenue contribution of over R105bn. We are going to do the figures for 2010 and I am sure that, because the volumes are higher we will see that this figure will rise,” said an optimistic Singh. Van Schalkwyk said in spite of the global event, the country had done well in attracting more tourists and he attributed this success to the marketing campaign, which targeted emerging economies in Asia and South America. “The 15.1% growth in tourist arrivals in South Africa outperformed that of every other region in the world, including the arrivals growth of 13.9% for the Middle East, 12.6% for Asia and the Pacific, 7.7% for the Americas, 6.4% for Africa and 3.2% for Europe. We are delighted with these strong growth figures, particularly as it comes so soon after a global economic recession,” said the minister. He described the double-digit growth in tourist visits as exceptional work done by South Africa. “The World Cup is a huge bonus, but even without the World Cup we had exceptional growth. We had growth across all 12 months of the year and not only in June-July when the World Cup was on. We had growth of more than a million tourists. Even if we subtract the World Cup tourists – 309 000 – we had over 700 000 in terms of the hard numbers. We recorded increases from all our markets,” he said. Most of the visitors came from Central and South America (109%) followed by Asia (39.1%) with North America (22.5%) and Middle East at 19.3%. The increase from Africa was recorded at 12.8% and Europe at just 8.1%. Van Schalkwyk admitted that the number of visitors from South America had increased because of the soccer tournament. But he pointed out that they had started moving into the emerging economies because the traditional market in Europe had stagnated as a result of the economic downturn. “We had a much more focused marketing. It was much more targeted. We started to realise that even if we spend on the traditional market the numbers are starting to stagnate. We must move to the new markets,” he said.
No SA victims in quake
There were still no reports that any South Africans were affected by the recent earthquake in New Zealand, the department of international relations and cooperation said yesterday. Spokesperson Clayson Monyela said the department continued to monitor the situation in Christchurch by checking and verifying information with authorities on the ground every day. – Sapa
Lights must go on and stay on for Energy Indaba
Scott Smith The last few weeks have seen a number of countries in northern Africa and the Middle East experience increased demand for radical political change. Many of these are oil producing lands. Countries whose historical events, such as those in Egypt or Libya, affect the stability of those around them call into question the security of oil production and the world’s energy producing capacity. In South Africa, our petrol price increased by 46c per litre last night with suggestions that it may increase by another rand soon. What better time to be holding an energy indaba in the heart of South Africa’s economy – Sandton, Johannesburg. Delegates from around the world have descended on the Sandton Convention Centre from March 1-3 to discuss and tackle one of the most pressing questions of our time: “How do we keep the lights on?” or more particularly in the African context, “How do we put them on?” As Vicky Basson, KZN Energy Services says, “Access to modern energy does not guarantee economic growth but it is a prerequisite for it.” Chairman of the Energy Indaba, Brian Statham said that the indaba was launched in 2009 and set out to create an event that would focus on the issues affecting energy sectors across Africa. He said they wanted to tackle the multitude of problems around the delivery of energy in Africa. Secretary General of the World Energy Council in London, Christoph Frei, says this forum is the social network of global energy. A hive of minds working together to deliver cheap, clean and deliverable energy. Discussions over the next three days include: the impact of energy on African businesses, South African power system status, the relationship between government and private sector in offering solutions, a focus on renewable energy, addressing climate change, alternative energy sources for Africa, and energy management for Africa. One obvious point that was taken away from the first day of roundtables and discussions was that a robust energy policy is required in Africa that is cheap, accessible, and sustainable. With oil costs and prices of commodities such as wheat, maize and cotton exploding, the need for real solutions for Africa has never been more urgent.
Only a handful turn up for press hearings
IT WAS thought that more ordinary South Africans would talk to the Press Council of South Africa during its ongoing series of public hearings, press ombudsman Joe Thloloe said yesterday. “I was hoping that more public members would come to speak,” said Thloloe, after only a handful had come forward. The council ended its local two-day public hearings, in a bid to review its system, in Bloemfontein yesterday. The review was intended to help improve the quality of journalism in the country. The council was looking at possible changes to the press code, its procedures and constitution. Thloloe said he had the idea that many ordinary citizens thought the hearings were of a technical nature. “They are reluctant to come forward.” In Bloemfontein a member of the public admitted that he was scared to come forward because he might make a fool of himself. Thloloe said press freedom was vital for each citizen and the public should take advantage of the current public hearings. The council had received various written submissions which had contributed to the “depth” of the issues identified. At the public hearings the council wanted to hear the voice of ordinary citizens, along with those of academics, media institutions and media activists. So far the only group of students attending the hearings was a group of Masters students in Port Elizabeth. But Thloloe said there was no concern about the levels of public interest shown. “We are happy, we gave them a chance.” The next round of public hearings will take place in Durban tomorrow and on Friday. Written submissions can still be made to the council until March 15. The submissions will be considered during a two-day workshop of the Press Council of SA. A report will be tabled before the council on March 24. – Sapa
Case against Kalahari hijack plotters postponed for psychologist’s report
The fraud case against four people accused of collaborating with deceased businessman Sandile Majali to hijack mining company Kalahari Resources was postponed to April 4 in the Specialised Commercial Crimes Court in Johannesburg yesterday. “We are still awaiting a psychiatric report for one of the accused,” National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Mthunzi Maga said. “We also still have to determine the mental status of the other accused. “A trial date will not be set until that has been done.” Harry Sferopoulous, Elvis Bongani Ndala, Stephen Khoza and Linda Dlamini allegedly worked with Majali to hijack Kalahari Resources by listing themselves as its directors on the company registry, Cipro. The group allegedly removed directors Brian Amos Mashile and his sister Daphne Mashile-Nkosi from the Cipro database in August. The High Court in Johannesburg later ruled that Cipro reinstate the siblings as directors of the company. Kalahari Resources owns a 40% stake in Kalagadi Manganese, the mining company developing an R11bn manganese sinter plant in the Northern Cape and a smelter at Coega. The Industrial Development Corporation owns 10% of Kalagadi Manganese, while steel producer ArcelorMittal owns the remaining 50% stake. A mental assessment report on Sferopoulous by a Sterkfontein psychiatrist found him to be suffering from a bipolar disorder and unfit to stand trial. Ndala and Khoza still have to undergo their assessment. Dlamini was previously released on bail. Majali came into the public eye following his role in the Oilgate saga that saw him “donate” R11m of PetroSA’s funds to the ANC ahead of the 2004 elections. He was arrested in October before being found dead in a Sandton hotel in December. His memorial service was attended by senior ANC members. – Sapa
Estate Agency Affairs Board fires its CEO
The CeO of the estate Agency Affairs Board (EAAB) had lost her job, the board said yesterday. “The EAAB wishes to announce that the employment contract between itself and Mrs Nomonde Mapetla, the erstwhile CEO, has been terminated with immediate effect due to an irreconcilable breakdown in the working relationship between the parties,” it said. Mapetla’s contract was due to expire on July 15. “The board is steadfastly confident that, in the interim, the EAAB will continue to fulfil its statutory regulatory functions and duties in an effective and efficient manner.” Deloitte has been appointed to undertake a forensic investigation into all operational and governance issues affecting the organisation “as is usual under circumstances of this nature”, the board said. “The board, in the light of recent events, also intends to draft and adopt a transparent policy pertaining especially to its inspection and investigation activities. “The proposed policy will be published on the EAAB website for the information of all stakeholders.” Mapetla was suspended on February 17. – Sapa