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Week of 16 April 1999

Sanibona, Molweni, More/Middag, Dumela, ensovoorts. Hier volg die nuus in Engels.

- A new national sport -

"The only way anyone not yet registered, or without a bar-code ID can still vote is to commit a crime and go to gaol in SA," the Federal Alliance (FA) commented this week.

The Constitutional Court found that it was reasonable for the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) to deny those who do not have bar-coded identity documents the chance to register and vote. Judge Kate O'Regan (former UCT law lecturer) was the only dissenting judge.

The IEC released its regulations in terms of which citizens already registered who will be abroad at election time will be able to vote. It also began the process of registering prisoners.

The FA is continuing with its application to the Constitutional Court to pursue the rights of all South Africans abroad to vote.

The Free State Labour Party's leader, Martin Nel, announced the party was challenging the IEC's regulations in the Constitutional Court. He says the R100 000 and R20 000 deposits required to contest national and provincial elections respectively were unfair to small parties.

An IEC official said "It is becoming a national sport to sue the IEC."

- Corruption, corruption, corruption -

A government anti-corruption "summit" was held in Cape Town this week. The UDM, NNP and DP complained that opposition parties were not invited. DP leader Tony Leon said the decision was "a desperate attempt to confine the debate by keeping corruption in the family." 

The Heath (anti-corruption) unit withdrew its action against the minister of health, Dr Nkosazana Zuma, in relation to tender irregularities around the AIDS play "Sarafina 2". The DP asked whether in the light of this, ANC did not stand for "Another National Cover-up". Callers phoning Judge Heath's representative Guy Rich for comment got a voicemail message saying "I'm attending a stress-relieving course this week, so I'll be unavailable during the day".

The director-general of home affairs, Albert Mokoena, is being investigated for owning a basketball team and running it from his government office, in contravention of the Public Service Act, which says no offical may engage in outside remunerative work without permission. The office of Paseka Ncholo, the director-general of the public service, is conducting the investigation. The DP pointed out that Ncholo himself runs a diamond mining company and extensive family businesses. Even if Ncholo has permission, his other activities must hamper his official duties, said the DP.

- Freudian slips from our leaders -

PAC leader and (Methodist) Bishop Stanley Magoba said homosexuals suffer from "moral deviancy" and he would abolish gay rights if he came to power. He later retracted and explained that homosexuality "is not wrong, but communities, particularly the simplest, are not ready for these things". 

The IEC said it would employ priests rather than non-governmental organisations for election monitoring. Ministers of religion had credibility with the electorate, Ms Brigalia Bam, IEC chair, said.

Former NP minister of foreign affairs Roelof (Pik) Botha said this week that "the election will be the end of the NP. There's not the slightest doubt about it". When asked what he would do if Botha applied for ANC membership, deputy president Thabo Mbeki said "We will cross the bridge when we get to it".

The Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging threatened acts of terror in response to the TRC's denial of amnesty to Janusz Walus and Clive Derby-Lewis last week for communist party leader Chris Hani's murder. ANC Women's League president Winnie Madikezela-Mandela said in response "If they choose to be suicidal its their democratic right."

SABC TV presenter Max du Preez was sacked yesterday for not being sufficiently humble toward the new leaders of the SABC. "They say I am arrogant and show no respect," he said. His programme "Special Assignment"was the only actuality programme to win any awards this year.  He is consulting his attorneys.

- Its everywhere, its everywhere, but not on your TV screen -

Isaac Mofokeng, who shot Max the gorilla in the Johannesburg Zoo while running from police in 1997, was sentenced to 40 years imprisonment for a number of crimes, including rape. Five years related to his shooting of Max, who is worth R2,5m. The magistrate said Mofokeng was an "unguided missile" and a "timebomb". Mofokeng said he was sorry about the Max incident but not about the rape, for which he was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment. The prosecution asked that he be sent to the C-max prison.

A 67-year old UNICEF official was gang-raped three times in Pretoria. Five Mozambicans have been arrested. The South African Police (SAP) says more than 40 tourists have been assaulted in SA from 1 January to 15 March 1999.

The Indepenent Broadcasting Authority (IBA) said this week it would ban TV programmes containing excessive violence, especially against women.

Groete, tot volgende week se uitgawe.

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Jean Redpath 1999