African press review 06 October 2014


Decisions taken by South Africa's Public Protector, Thuli Madonsela, are not legally binding, according to the country's Deputy Justice Minister John Jeffery.

Speaking at the University of KwaZulu-Natal at the weekend, the deputy minister said that the office of public protector was modeled on the institution of Ombudsman in other democracies. Jeffrey went on to say that ombudsmen around the world do not make legally enforceable findings, unless local legislation expressly provides them with quasi-judicial powers.

In March, Thuli Madonsela found that President Zuma had derived undue benefit from millions of euros of state-funded improvements made to his Nkandla homestead in KwaZulu-Natal. She recommended that he pay back a portion of the money. Zuma has not done so.

Dossier: Sharia wars - Boko Haram v the military in northern Nigeria

A parliamentary committee is currently dealing with the case.

The bodies of the South Africans who died in the Nigerian church collapse in Lagos on 12 September have still not been returned to their families.

According to Johannesburg-based financial paper, BusinessDay, post-mortems on all 116 victims were completed on Friday. Eighty-four South Africans were among those killed when the multi-storey guest house attached to the Synagogue Church of All Nations in Lagos collapsed.

The process of repatriation has been slowed by the fact that Nigerian officials have insisted on doing DNA testing themselves.

The South African government remains reluctant to estimate a date for the return of the bodies.

Also in BusinessDay, a warning that government must show stronger leadership if it wants business to invest in South Africa. That's according to one of President Jacob Zuma’s closest advisers, the investment billionaire Sandile Zungu.

Zungu, who is vice-president of the influential Black Business Council, made the comments after ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe lambasted the private sector for refusing to invest its cash in the country’s development.

Zungu says the government needs to give corporate South Africa a reason to invest.

As long as there is doubt about the government’s commitment to the National Development Plan, local business will not invest.

Although the development plan has been accepted in parliament and at the ANC’s policy conference, Zungu says business is still picking up mixed signals about it, with many investors asking if the government is genuinely convinced by the plan. The mixed signals are coming from the ANC’s alliance partners, Cosatu and the SA Communist Party, Zungu says.

Grace Mugabe is back in the news.

Zimbabwe’s first lady stepped up her efforts to move into the political mainstream by speaking at a weekend rally where she criticised members of the ruling party who want President Robert Mugabe to step down but are afraid to openly declare their views.

The first lady was speaking at her first rally since entering politics as leader of Zanu-PF’s women’s wing in August. Zimbabwe will never again have a president like the 90-year-old Mr Mugabe, who has been in power since the country’s independence in 1980, she told hundreds of supporters gathered in the farming town of Chinhoyi, west of the capital Harare.

In her first rally to establish an independent political career, Grace Mugabe’s speech mimicked her husband’s well-used tactic of criticising the western powers.

"Whites have never liked us," she said ."They will not even offer you tea with sugar if you visit their homes so let’s not be fooled when they come here with aid. It’s meant to hoodwink us. Personally I think Western aid stinks," she said.

Forty-nine-year-old Grace Mugabe is set to officially assume the presidency of the women’s wing at a congress in December. Critics have argued that the first lady’s move to politics was to ensure the continuation of power for the Mugabe dynasty.

Grace Mugabe also used the rally to defend her recent social studies doctorate from the University of Zimbabwe, saying she was focused on delivery rather than academic titles. The first lady has been criticised for receiving her degree only weeks after she enrolled for the course.

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