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‘What mut­ton curry?’

A 2010 meet­ing be­tween Vytjie Men­tor and

Ajay Gupta at the lat­ter’s Sax­on­wold home in Jo­han­nes­burg did not hap­pen, said Gupta in his af­fi­davit to the Zondo state cap­ture com­mis­sion. The meet­ing, Men­tor told the com­mis­sion in Au­gust, was held over a meal of mut­ton curry. Ajay took ex­cep­tion to this, say­ing that his fam­ily is of the Hindu faith and thus are veg­e­tar­ian.

Call to ar­rest Vaal River pol­luters

En­vi­ron­men­tal group Save the Vaal En­vi­ron­ment (Save) are tak­ing the govern­ment and the Em­fu­leni mu­nic­i­pal­ity to the Hu­man Rights Com­mis­sion to ex­plain their in­abil­ity to pre­serve the Vaal Rivier. The river’s pol­lu­tion level is crit­i­cal, with raw sewage and toxic ma­te­rial flow­ing into the Vaal. The in­quiry is due to start on Tues­day, but the chair­per­son of Save, Mal­colm Plant, has asked that those re­spon­si­ble for the cri­sis are tried in court and sent to jail.

Din­ers beat up rape sus­pect

Fol­low­ing the rape of a seven-year-old girl at the Dros steak­house in Sil­ver­ton, Pre­to­ria, last Satur­day the Dros group con­firmed in a muted press re­lease that the in­ci­dent took place. The child was raped in the men’s toi­lets at the restau­rant, for which a 20-year-old man was ar­rested. A wit­ness told The Ci­ti­zen that the mother found her daugh­ter af­ter she heard sounds com­ing from the toi­let. The mother, the wit­ness said, called for help from fel­low pa­trons. Din­ers as­saulted the sus­pect, who has since been charged with rape, pos­ses­sion of drugs, as­sault with in­tent to do bod­ily harm and in­tim­i­da­tion.

Ex­tra­di­tion treaty may see Ajay in SA

In a move that could force the Gupta brothers to re­turn to South Africa should they be charged, Min­is­ter of Jus­tice Michael Ma­sutha signed an ex­tra­di­tion treaty with his coun­ter­part in the United Arab Emi­rates, Sul­tan Saeed Al Badi. The treaty has been in the works since 2010, and Ajay Gupta, who was de­clared a fugi­tive from jus­tice ear­lier this year, lives in Dubai. Gupta is wanted by the Hawks for his al­leged in­volve­ment in state cap­ture.

SABC will re­trench legally, it says

The pub­lic broad­caster’s turn­around strat­egy does not fo­cus solely on re­trench­ments, the board’s chair, Bongu­musa Makhathini, told

MPs this week, say­ing le­gacy, gov­er­nance, reg­u­la­tion, pol­icy, com­mer­cial and op­er­a­tional is­sues would also be dealt with. The broad­caster re­ported a R622-mil­lion loss last year. If there are re­trench­ments, the SABC will fol­low Labour Re­la­tions Act pro­ce­dures to re­duce its work­force of 3 400 em­ploy­ees.

Fewer dead rhino, more ‘in­ci­dents’

Far fewer rhino are be­ing killed in South Africa. By this time last year, 691 rhino had been killed for their horns, said the depart­ment of en­vi­ron­men­tal af­fairs. This year the num­ber was down to 508. In the Kruger Na­tional Park, where about half of all rhino are killed, num­bers dropped from 332 to 292, de­spite a jump in the num­ber of “in­ci­dents” in which poach­ers were seen or recorded in the park. These “in­ci­dents” in­creased from 1 702 last year to 1 873 so far this year.

En­vi­ron­ment min­is­ter dies

South Africa’s long-serv­ing en­vi­ron­ment min­is­ter, Edna Molewa, died un­ex­pect­edly last Satur­day morn­ing. She was 61. A child of the North West, Molewa cut her teeth in decades of ac­tivism against the apartheid regime. She was the deputy pres­i­dent of the South African Com­mer­cial, Cater­ing and Al­lied Work­ers Union. Af­ter democ­racy, she be­came the first woman to chair the par­lia­men­tary port­fo­lio com­mit­tee on trade and in­dus­try. She be­came the pre­mier of North West in 2004, the first woman in the role, stay­ing un­til 2009. Molewa be­came the en­vi­ron­men­tal min­is­ter in 2010. The small depart­ment re­ceived con­sis­tent un­qual­i­fied au­dits dur­ing her ten­ure. She was in­stru­men­tal in in­ter­na­tional cli­mate ne­go­ti­a­tions, cul­mi­nat­ing in the 2015 Paris Agree­ment, where she was lauded for bring­ing peo­ple and coun­tries to­gether to cre­ate agree­ment when ev­ery­thing seemed to be fall­ing apart. Dur­ing the Zuma years she was head of com­mu­ni­ca­tions in the ANC Women’s League. Her fu­neral ser­vice will take place on Oc­to­ber 6.

Tai­wan finds a lone friend in Africa

Find­ing friends when you’re an en­emy of China is tough. Fewer than 20 coun­tries recog­nise the tiny na­tion-state of Tai­wan as a coun­try. Among them is Swazi­land, re­named eSwa­tini by King Mswati III with­out con­sult­ing his peo­ple or Par­lia­ment. Mswati used his ad­dress to the UN Gen­eral Assem­bly to say that Tai­wan should have the “op­por­tu­nity to par­take and con­tribute to the United Na­tions de­vel­op­ment sys­tem”. Tai­wan was once the dar­ling of the Western world. Cre­ated in 1949 dur­ing the Chi­nese civil war, it be­came home to the pro-cap­i­tal­ist govern­ment of Chi­ang Kai-shek. The main­land fell to the con­trol of Mao Ze­dong’s com­mu­nists. Both sides claimed to be the real govern­ment of China. Dur­ing the Cold War, most coun­tries, in­clud­ing South Africa, de­cided the is­land was the cap­i­tal of China. This changed as the Cold War ended and main­land China’s econ­omy ex­ploded. An in­crease in the amounts China could sud­denly loan coun­tries hap­pened at the same time as those coun­tries de­cid­ing that there was only one China and that China was run from Bei­jing. South Africa saw the light in 1998, recog­nis­ing Bei­jing and down­grad­ing re­la­tions with Tai­wan. eSwa­tini is alone on the con­ti­nent in not fol­low­ing suit.

Dlamini li­able for 20% of court costs

Batha­bile Dlamini, the for­mer min­is­ter of so­cial de­vel­op­ment, is per­son­ally li­able for 20% of the le­gal costs in­curred dur­ing the near-col­lapse of the South African So­cial Se­cu­rity Agency (Sassa), the Con­sti­tu­tional Court ruled this week. Dlamini could also be pros­e­cuted for per­jury, said the court, de­fer­ring the de­ci­sion to the Na­tional Prose­cut­ing Au­thor­ity. Non­govern­men­tal or­gan­i­sa­tions Free­dom Un­der Law and the Black Sash brought the case af­ter a 2014 ruling that a con­tract signed be­tween Sassa and Cash Pay­ment Ser­vices to dis­trib­ute so­cial grants was il­le­gal and in­valid. This led to months when grant re­cip­i­ents did not get pay­outs. The South African Post Of­fice has since won the con­tract to dis­trib­ute grants.

Chip pack­ets flood Royal Mail

Royal Mail has asked en­vi­ron­men­tal ac­tivists to stop mail­ing empty chip pack­ets. Un­der the hash­tag #Pack­etInWalk­ers, peo­ple have been post­ing pic­tures of them­selves mail­ing their empty chip (or crisps, as Bri­tain has it) pack­ets back to the man­u­fac­tur­ers, Walk­ers. The cam­paign was backed by more than 300 000 sig­na­tures. Walk­ers cre­ates 11-mil­lion bags of chips each day, and the coun­try con­sumes six bil­lion pack­ets a year. Ac­tivists want the pack­ag­ing to be more en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly. Walk­ers said its pack­ag­ing will be plas­tic-free by 2025. Un­til then, Royal Mail has no op­tion but to de­liver the pack­ets. By law, it has to treat the pack­ets as mail if they have an ad­dress and a stamp. It has asked that peo­ple put the pack­ets in en­velopes. But this would be less photo-friendly.

Rest in peace: Edna Molewa

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