South Africa(Xinhua) -- South
Africa’s ruling African National Congress (ANC) on
Thursday rejected a proposed motion by the opposition
Democratic Alliance (DA) for Parliament to establish an
ad hoc committee to investigate allegations of state
capture and undue influence over the government.
Such allegations are of serious nature and should not be
used for mere grandstanding in parliament, but should
instead be reported to competent authorities such as the
police or relevant chapter 9 institutions for
investigation, said the Office of the ANC Chief Whip.
Chapter 9 institutions refer to a group of
organizations established in terms of Chapter 9 of the
South African Constitution to guard democracy.
"Only the appropriate authorities have the expertise
to establish the truthfulness of such allegations to
ensure that if anyone is involved in such illegality,
they are made to face the full wrath of the law," said
This came after ANC MPs voted against the motion in
The DA wants the establishment of an ad hoc committee
which would have extensive powers—including powers to
summon any person and require any person or institution
to report to it—in order to investigate.
The DA accused the ANC of closing ranks in a
desperate effort to protect President Jacob Zuma, and
the Indian Gupta family from any investigation by the
The Gupta family, which allegedly keeps close ties
with Zuma, has been under fire for exerting undue
influence on Zuma in the appointment of cabinet
ministers. But the Guptas have rejected the allegations.
"State capture and undue influence over the
government is a serious offence, and if such allegations
are proven correct, then those responsible must be
prosecuted and convicted," the office said, asking the
DA to report the matter to the competent authorities
instead of engaging in publicity gimmicks in Parliament.
"Parliament is neither an investigative agency nor
professionally equipped to conduct criminal probes," it
'smear campaign' against newly appointed Public
CAPE TOWN South Africa
(Xinhua) -- The ruling African
National Congress (ANC) on Thursday expressed grave
dismay over the baseless and downright defamatory claims
made by the opposition Democratic Alliance (DA)
regarding the fitness of Adv. Busisiwe Mkhwebane to hold
the office of the Public Protector.
"We wish to join all patriotic South Africans in
condemning with the deserved contempt the party’s
malicious political campaign, whose real intention is
not only to assassinate the character of a qualified and
highly capable woman but also to tarnish the crucial
institution supporting our democracy," ANC national
spokesperson Zizi Kodwa said in a statement emailed to
"These reckless dirty claims are being peddled with
impunity without even providing a shred of evidence to
back them," he said.
On Wednesday, the National Assembly endorsed
Mkhwebane for her appointment as Public Protector. All
political parties except the DA supported her to take up
the position to succeed the current incumbent Thuli
Madonsela, whose seven-year non-renewable term expires
on October 2016.
The decision of the House will be send to President
Jacob Zuma for ratification.
Being independent of the government, the Public
Protector is tasked with the investigation of misconduct
in any state affairs and all spheres of government
including that of public administration in the country.
The DA objected Mkhwebane’s appointment, saying she
"is simply not the best candidate".
The DA said it cannot support the nomination of
Mkhwebane for the simple fact that her appointment would
be unreasonable as she was by no means the best
candidate for the position and was illogically preferred
over other qualifying candidates.
"Ms Mkhwebane may possibly turn out to be a capable
candidate for the position of the Public Protector.
"However, we contend that her qualifications and
experience make her unsuitable for this position," DA
Shadow Minister of Justice Glynnis Breytenbach said.
Responding to the objection, the ANC said the DA is
known to be anti-women and would go to great lengths to
malign their integrity just to prevent them from
advancing to positions of power.
"We have witnessed the same posture in the Western
Cape provincial government, where the DA shamelessly
appointed an all men and mostly white executive," Kodwa
The DA’s objection and its smear campaign against
Mkhwebane also smacks of racist undertones which regards
any black candidate before Parliament as incompetent and
unfit until proven otherwise, said Kodwa.
The DA must not be allowed to continue with its
spurious and damaging public claims without providing
evidence to support them, Kodwa added.
The ANC demands that the DA immediately retract and
apologize to Mkhwebane and all South Africans, he said.
imposed in South Africa due to severe drought
CAPE TOWN South Africa
(Xinhua) -- Minister of Water
and Sanitation Nomvula Mokonyane on Thursday urged South
Africans to respect water restrictions currently being
applied across the country as a way to fight against the
effects of a severe drought.
Water restrictions have been imposed in a number of
provinces, and most recently in the Gauteng Province.
A total of nine out of twelve water supply systems
are applying water restrictions, with the main aim of
managing water supply and distribution from the source
to ensure continuous water availability, the minister
told a press conference in Parliament.
The Department of Water and Sanitation has recorded a
significant drop in the country’s water storage and
quantity/dam levels despite recent rainfalls and floods
in some parts of the country.
Mokonyane said the department is looking at improving
the design of water infrastructure to ensure that it
adapt to unfavourable climatic conditions.
She urged citizens to "never overexploit but to
manage the little water at their disposal", saying that
if this is done, the country will be best equipped to
manage the effects of the drought.
Also on Thursday, Minister of Cooperative Governance
and Traditional Affairs Des van Rooyen said dams across
the country are at their lowest levels in years due to
South African dams
at lowest levels in years: minister
CAPE TOWN South Africa
(Xinhua) -- Dams across South
Africa are at their lowest levels in years due to a
severe and persisting drought, the government said in
its latest update on drought conditions in the country.
"Although some areas are receiving rains and flooding
experienced in some provinces such as KwaZulu-Natal, the
drought conditions have not improved, the dams across
the country are at their lowest levels in years,"
Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional
Affairs, Des van Rooyen said Thursday at press briefing
in Cape Town.
The country and the Southern African region have
experienced drought in its four forms: meteorological,
hydrological, socio-economic and agricultural, he said.
"When we briefed the country last year the national
dam levels were estimated at 64.3 percent of our normal
full supply. Since then we have seen a drop in our
storage quantity to the current 53 percent as at Sept.
5, 2016," the minister said.
This decline has necessitated the imposition of water
restrictions in a number of provinces, and most
recently, the Gauteng Province.
Although spring is coming, scientists say there is no
guarantee of sufficient rain during the coming season,
according to Van Rooyen.
As part of the on-going drought mitigation measures,
the Department of Water and Sanitation has deployed more
than six million litre motorized water tankers and to
date, some eight million litres of water has been
delivered to nearly 49,200 people in the provinces of
North West, KwaZulu-Natal, Free state and the Eastern
Cape, Van Rooyen said.
In addition, the department is also increasing the
water mix, especially ground water utilization and more
than 7,487 boreholes are now operational across the
Due to massive declines in natural grazing and crop
residue, massive livestock losses have been recorded
throughout the country, with statistics showing a 15
percent decline in number of cows between 2013 and 2016.
In terms of crop production, the average decline in
national planting area for maize was 30 percent, with
Free State and North West provinces experiencing drops
of 32 percent and 43 percent respectively.
"We call on all South Africans to make a concerted
effort to save water and use it wisely, as well as take
care of the public infrastructure within communities,"
the minister said.
South Africa gets
boost in power supply
JOHANNESBURG South Africa
(Xinhua) -- South Africa’s
power utility Eskom on Thursday synchronized unit 5 at
Medupi Power Station, which will add an additional 800
megawatts (MW) to the national grid.
The move is seen as a milestone to ensure stably
power supply in the country, which has been hard hit by
power shortages that led to constant blackouts over the
It is expected that the unit 5 will become
commercially operational by March 2018.
State-owned Eskom provides more that 95 percent of
the electricity consumed in South Africa. Lynne Brown,
Minister of Public Enterprises, congratulated the
company on tiding over difficult times.
This year Eskom announced a net profit (after tax)
for the 2015/2016 financial period of 4.6 billion rand
(about 331 million U.S. dollars).
"This has contributed to operational and financial
sustainability for the company, while the grid had
stabilized to such an extent that we have a reliable
electricity supply for South Africa," Brown said.
This year South Africa has seen Ingula Power Pump
station’s unit 3 and 4 becoming commercially
operational, while Medupi’s unit 6 led the way in the
second half of 2015.