Thursday, May 29, 2014

Clive Derby-Lewis and ‘Prime Evil’: Will the cells be unlocked?

No Fear No Favour No Political Prisoners in detention PLEASE.......


Spare a thought for the new Minister of Justice and Correctional Services, Michael Masutha. In addition to the already weighty portfolio he has just been handed, Masutha is faced almost immediately with a significant decision to make. The North Gauteng High Court ruled on Wednesday that the minister must look into whether to release Vlakplaas death-squad leader Eugene De Kock within the next 30 days. It’s being reported that Chris Hani’s killer Clive Derby-Lewis would probably be granted parole at the same time. Derby-Lewis has served 21 years of a 25-year sentence; De Kock, 20 of a 212-year sentence. Whatever Masutha decides, it could be a political hot potato. By REBECCA DAVIS.

Judge Thokozile Masipa, it appears, is not spending the month-long break in the Oscar Pistorius trial kicking back. On Wednesday Masipa granted anorder which gives the new Correctional Services Minister under a month to decide whether infamous Apartheid killer Eugene De Kock should be released from prison on parole.
This forces Masutha to make a decision that his predecessor fudged. Previous Correctional Services Minister S’bu Ndebele was recommended by the National Council for Correctional Services to grant De Kock parole, but failed to make a call on it before his Cabinet term expired. It’s not altogether surprising that Ndebele dithered, particularly as he approached the end of his post. The minister who signs off on De Kock’s release risks finding themselves unpopular in many quarters.
‘Prime Evil’, as De Kock was dubbed, has spent 20 years in prison since being arrested in May 1994 and sentenced in September 1996 to 212 years imprisonment for crimes including murder, culpable homicide, kidnapping and fraud.
De Kock has repeatedly cited what is sometimes known as the Nuremberg Defence in his application to be granted parole: that he was simply carrying out orders from above while commanding the Vlakplaas death squad under Apartheid. In an affidavit submitted in support of his application, De Kocksaid: “I am the only member of the South African Police Service that is serving a sentence for crimes which I had committed as part of the National Party’s attempt to uphold Apartheid and fight the liberation movements… I would never have committed the crimes if it was not for the political context of the time, and the position I was placed in, and in particular the orders I had received from my superiors.”
Masutha’s headache doesn’t stop there. City Press reported on Wednesday that if Eugene De Kock is to go free within the next month, it’s likely that Clive Derby-Lewis will do likewise. The newspaper quoted a source as saying “[T]he decision to grant both men parole simultaneously was made by President Jacob Zuma”. If true, this makes Masutha’s decision a double-whammy, particularly given the highly significant place occupied by Chris Hani in the pantheon of Apartheid martyrs. Both Derby-Lewis and his co-conspirator Janusz Walus were initially sentenced to death for the 1993 murder of Hani, subsequently remitted upon the abolition of the death penalty in South Africa.
Both De Kock and Derby-Lewis have previously voiced the desire to express remorse to the family members of their victims. In both cases, it has been clear that the pain experienced by the families is still raw, which adds an additionally torturous dimension to Masutha’s decision. In the run-up to the 20th anniversary of Hani’s killing (20th April 2013), Derby-Lewis asked to meet Hani’s widow Limpho. The New Age reported at the time that Derby-Lewis’s attorney Marius Coertze said: “He is very sorry about the whole thing”. It appears that Limpho did not consent to the meeting.
For his part, De Kock wrote a 2012 letter to the family of ANC lawyer Bheki Mlangeni, killed by one of De Kock’s bombs in 1991, begging for forgiveness. “Your forgiveness will mean a lot to me, but it can in no way wash away the pain I have caused,” he wrote. The Star quoted Bheki’s mother Catherine Mlangeni as saying he should rot in jail, while his widow said: “Whether the government releases him or not, it will never bring back my husband”.
De Kock is now 65, while 78-year-old Derby-Lewis’s health is fading. According to Derby-Lewis’s wife Gaye, the 78-year-old was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer in April this year, with chemotherapy scheduled for May. Medical parole has been denied to him twice, following applications in 2011 and 2012.
Questions will certainly be asked about whether the men’s safety can be assured outside prison. Derby-Lewis is being kept at the Kgosi Mampuru Correctional Centre, where he has twice been attacked by fellow prisoners. In the most recent incident, in late March this year, Derby-Lewis wasreportedly stabbed in his back with a piece of glass, together with Hani assassination co-conspirator Walus. A month previously, he “suffered lacerations to the head and hand” after being attacked by another prisoner with a spoon (presumably sharpened).
“It is safer to go to war than to be in the Kgosi Mampuru prison,” his lawyer Marius Coertze said at the time.
Minister Masutha will be aware that both the ANC and its alliance partners have previously spoken out strongly against the potential of parole for both men.
In April this year, 2,500 members of the South African Communist Party marched in central Pretoria to commemorate the 21st anniversary of the murder of Hani, a former SACP secretary-general. But the march had an additional motivation: to demand that Derby-Lewis be kept behind bars.  SACP spokesperson Alex Mashilo described Derby-Lewis as “a convicted murderer, who has no remorse and is unrehabilitated”, and who has “only told the partial truth about the assassination of Hani”.
The latter is a claim that has been made repeatedly by the SACP, who maintain that Derby-Lewis did not tell the full truth about Hani’s killing when he appeared in front of the Truth & Reconciliation Commission. Cosatu has also previously backed SACP’s position that Derby-Lewis’s release on parole should be conditional on his full disclosure of the circumstances around Hani’s murder. Conspiracy theories continue to circle about Hani’s killing; at an SACP 2007 congress, Gwede Mantashereportedly joined in the song ‘Thabo Mbeki, Tell Us Who Killed Chris Hani’.
On the other side of the political spectrum, also in April this year, rightwing Afrikaner group Front Nasionaal staged a small march on the offices of the Department of Correctional Services to demand the release of Derby-Lewis. Their petition cited the length of time served by Derby-Lewis in prison; that he is sick and old; that he is under threat from other inmates; and that the fact that he indicated his desire to meet with Hani’s widow means “his rehabilitation is complete”.
The group has not expressed their desire for Derby-Lewis’s release in political terms; they are careful to stick to a human rights discourse. But every now and then the mask slips a little. The group carried out another protest in early May. “During this action a Communist flag was set alight as a symbol of our protest against the non-co-operation of the Department of Correctional Services in this process,” they reported afterwards.
Prior to Wednesday’s court decision, the Front Nasionaal announced that they would be carrying out a further protest action this Friday, which would include the laying of a wreath in Church Street to commemorate the 19 victims of a 1983 car bomb. It’s not hard to read between their lines: they clearly feel a sense of injustice about the ongoing incarceration of Derby-Lewis’s ilk when former MK fighters who took lives during Apartheid are walking free.
It will be interesting to see what the DA’s position on the potential release of both men will be. In 2010, when it seemed possible that Derby-Lewis could be released on parole, the opposition released a statement calling for Derby-Lewis’s application to be rejected “until he has served at least 25 years of his life sentence”. Erstwhile Shadow Minister for Correctional Services James Selfe said that the fact that Hani’s murder had brought South Africa to the precipice of civil war “constitutes an aggravating circumstance that should be taken into account in rejecting his parole application”.
In the same year, the DA also insisted that De Kock should stay behind bars. “Releasing De Kock could never be in the public interest,” Selfe said at the time.
Minister Masutha’s predecessors in his role have adopted a tough stance towards Derby-Lewis in particular. In November 2008, Correctional Services Minister of the time Ngconde Balfour had some harsh words for Hani’s killer. “I will tell you, you will not go out [of prison],” Balfour said. “Clive Derby-Lewis…you can go to hell. You’re not going to go out until you do your time, it’s as simple as that.”
A number of prominent black commentators have recently made the case that De Kock and Derby-Lewis should be freed, however. Writing in February for Business Day, Jacob Dlamini suggested a pragmatic motivation for granting De Kock parole: “He can use his extensive network from the past to help the prosecuting authorities find missing bodies and to compel criminals to come clean. He can use his vast knowledge of how the security police functioned in the past to help close many cases.”
In late April, meanwhile, Pretoria News executive editor Fikile-Ntsikelelo Moya wrote a powerful op-ed calling for Derby-Lewis’s release. “Denying a man parole solely on the grounds of who he and his victim is, is unfair to all other families that have seen the killer of their loved one released on parole,” Moya wrote. “The most important reason Derby-Lewis must be released is that it would fit with what Hani lived and died for.” DM
Photo: Eugene de Kock at the TRC hearing in Johannesburg, December 1997. / Clive Derby-Lewis listens to questions during the Truth Commission hearing at Pretoria City Hall August 12, 1993
Read more:
  • The blood of Chris Hani and the eternal damnation of Clive Derby-Lewis, in the Daily Maverick








Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Thuli Madonsela and the ghosts of Zuma’s past, present and future

No fear No Favour No Discount for Crime..........

GREG NICOLSON South Africa 22 May 2014  09:51 (SOUTH AFRICA)

“You have experienced tough times and great times, been met with nurturers and detractors, but all these life lessons have been necessary to help you bloom,” Thuli Madonsela once wrote in a letter to her 16-year-old self. For the Public Protector, the tough times and the great times are sure to continue as she begins another investigation in Nkandla. President Zuma will, no doubt, be hoping that this time she doesn’t bloom. By GREG NICOLSON.

Madonsela’s investigation into the Umlalazi-Nkandla Smart Growth Centre will cover allegations that as chairman of Masibambisane Rural Development Initiative and head of a government whose departments are backing the initiative, Zuma has a conflict of interest. She’ll also look into allegations of procurement irregularities and preferential treatment for the Nkandla area. Masibambisane has facilitated plans to build a R2-billion town, dubbed Zumaville, only three kilometres from the president’s home.
“The public protector conducted a preliminary investigation into the matter to simply determine if there was a case to be answered,” said Salvation Mokgatlhe from the Public Protector’s office on Thursday. Zumaville is said to be SA’s first new post-Apartheid town.
In October 2012, Afriforum’s chief executive Ernst Roets announced the that Public Protector would investigate a complaint the organisation made into Zumaville, but the investigation is reported to have stalled as the Public Protector, swamped with cases and operating with a constrained budget, didn’t have the capacity to investigate. Afriforum, which lodged the complaint, told The Times this week that Zuma also stands to benefit because the value of his house will increase.
Plans for the town, first reported by Mail & Guardian in 2012, include a shopping centre, housing units, office blocks, and buildings to accommodate government services. Madonsela is reportedly wary about where the money comes from – whether it’s been diverted from other government schemes – as the state is set to spend R1 billion with another R1 billion from the private sector.
“How can President Zuma, through his private NGO, Masibambane, justify spending so much money on a single village, when across the province many people still do not have access to the most basic services?” asked the DA’s Lindiwe Mazibuko when the allegations emerged. The DA asked Parliament’s standing committee on public accounts to investigate and has also written to the Auditor General and the Public Protector requesting investigations into the money Masibambisane has received from government.
Sunday Times recently reported that plans to build the town are set to proceed after Zuma allegedly met local businessmen and assured them current challenges would be overcome. An architecture firm involved in the planning has filed court papers, claiming it’s owed almost R800,000 in fees from Kombani Consulting, which was contracted by the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform to work on the project.
While it’s unlikely Madonsela will finish her investigation any time soon, the Public Protector continues to be a thorn in Zuma’s side after the release of the investigation into upgrades to the president’s home, which found that Zuma benefited improperly and high-ranking government members acted unlawfully and were guilty of maladministration.
Madonsela has been critical of the Justice, Crime Prevention and Security Cluster’s decision to challenge the Nkandla report’s findings. Speaking onTalk 702 last week, she called the challenge premature. “It’s like going to court when there hasn’t been a board meeting on your matter and you don’t know how the board is going to view the situation. Maybe the board might be sympathetic to you or it might be sympathetic to the decision of your integrity unit.” Responding to accusations that her report lacked clarity and breached the balance of power between different arms of the state, Madonsela said the issues first needed to be taken up at Parliament when the report was debated, and if matters are unresolved, then and only then should they go to court. She doubts the court action will be successful.
As the ghosts of Zuma’s first administration are dragged into his second term, there’s also the issue of the ad-hoc committee on the Nkandla report. The DA has requested that it be re-launched in the new Parliament. “The ad-hoc committee on the president’s submissions in response to the Public Protector’s report on the security upgrades to his Nkandla residence was unable to complete its work given the limited time, scope and deliberate stalling by the ANC delegates on the committee, before the dissolution of the forth Parliament. Parliament is not a rubber stamp for Luthuli House,” said the DA’s James Selfe in a statement on Thursday. “Baleka Mbete [the new speaker] should prove to Parliament and the people of South Africa that her position as ANC national chairperson is not interfering with her obligation to Parliament.” The ANC’s Collins Chabane called the request “frivolous” because the ad-hoc committee had already recommended it be re-established. Critics will likely use Mbete’s decision as a guide to how she runs Parliament.
That’s not the end, however, to Zuma’s continuing scandals. This weekend, allegations emerged that in more than one instance he used his influence to secure business deals for his nephew Khulubuse Zuma. It’s alleged that in July 2010 Zuma met with an investor, which persuaded the investor to channel $2 million to Aurora, where Khulubuse was a director. There are also allegations that in a 2009 meeting with Democratic Republic of Congo President Joseph Kabila, Zuma influenced the decision to allocate two of the country’s oilfields worth a reported R100 billion to Khulubuse.
Such allegations follow Zuma like a shadow, one that’s sure to cast across the desk of the Public Protector. Once again, Madonsela is investigating the president. But if the state’s response to the Nkandla report is any indication, it seems unlikely that Zuma will ever feel the pinch. DM
Read more:







Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Search for man linked to Norwood arms cache

No Fear No Favour No Crime Intelligence Operator involved......?

Independent Newspapers
Johannesburg - Police are still searching for an eastern European man they believe could shed light on the Norwood arms cache, police said on Tuesday.
“His arrest will answer the questions we have about the guns,” Hawks spokesman Paul Ramaloko told Sapa.
He said the man's arrest was central to their investigations.
Three people were arrested on Thursday when police found more than 300 firearms, ammunition, and explosives at a house in Norwood, north of Johannesburg.
A Ukrainian couple and their domestic helper were arrested on allegations of renting out the weapons to hardened criminals for cash-in-transit heists and ATM bombings.
Police found R1 rifles, R4 rifles, R5 rifles, AK-47 rifles and about 300 handguns, detonators, a machine used to manufacture ammunition, packaged dagga, and explosives used for ATM bombings.
The three, Emma Shumler-Tishko, 62, her husband Mark, 59, and Endi Nkhoma, 26, appeared in the Johannesburg Magistrate's Court on Monday. The case was postponed to next week Tuesday for a bail application.
They face four charges - possession of unlicensed firearms, possession of ammunition, dealing in dagga, and contravention of the Explosives Act.

Ramaloko said the three would have to explain to the court why the weapons and explosives were on their premises. - Sapa



Just another SAPS Crime Intelligence project drawn to a close?



Saturday, May 24, 2014

Men arrested for cash-in-transit heist

NO fear No Favour No rigged Stats.........

Updated: Fri, 23 May 2014 09:49:41 GMT | By

Two men were arrested after an attempted cash-in-transit heist at the Birch Acres Mall in Tembisa, east of Johannesburg, on Friday, Gauteng police said.

Gallo Images

"About 10 men attempted to rob a security guard," said Lt-Col Lungelo Dlamini. Police were called to the 
scene and a shoot-out ensued. A security guard and one of the men were wounded in the shooting.
 "A 9mm pistol and two firearms that the men took from a guard were recovered," said Dlamini. The 
men's getaway vehicle, allegedly stolen in Midrand, was also recovered. Dlamini said police were still 
on the look-out for six to seven men. The mall was closed temporarily.



Nothing new to South Africa.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Syndicate kingpin caught with large arms cache

No fear No Favour No Communist Propaganda.........

2014-05-22 21:35

Police have found an arms cache in a house in Norwood, Johannesburg. (SAPS, Twitter)

Johannesburg - One of the country's most wanted criminals was arrested on Thursday in possession of more than 300 guns, ammunition and explosives at his home in Norwood, north of Johannesburg, national police commissioner Riah Phiyega said.
"The person we were pursuing today controls a huge syndicate and is also on our list of most wanted," she said.
Phiyega was at the scene in Norwood.
The man, his daughter and their domestic helper were arrested. They are aged between 26 and 53.
Police found R1 rifles, R4 rifles, R5 rifles, AK-47 rifles and about 300 handguns.
Detonators, a machine used to manufacture ammunition, packaged dagga and explosives used for ATM bombings were also found.
"I cannot say at this stage exactly how many guns are here. What I can say is that they are in their hundreds and they were found concealed in containers."
Phiyega said police would investigate the origin of the arms and ammunition, their intended use, and whether any of them had been used to commit an offence.
She congratulated the team of officers involved in the operation.
"I am very pleased with the result and I want to encourage them to continue with the hard work."
Read more on:    riah phiyega  |  johannesburg  | crime

News 24

Comments by Sonny

One does not have to speculate to realise that these 'firearms and

explosives'' were stolen from police safe keeping somewhere close to

SAPS Norwood?

Most of these firearms were handed in by the public to be destroyed by the


Is this being used by the commissioner of Police to stress the dangers facing

the incumbent President to be?

Another with hunt of 'suspects' out on bail who have disappeared under the

 police radar?

Monday this fleeing fugitive will have appeared in court and his

identity made known.

A similar case was reported recently on the KZN South Coast.

Police involvement is evident here.


'Huge' arms cache found in Norwood
Keep for later

 A “massive” arms cache discovered by police in Norwood, Johannesburg, on 22 May 2014. Picture: SAPS via Twitter.
A massive arms cache discovered by police in Norwood, Johannesburg, on 22 May 2014. Picture: SAPS via Twitter.
Mia Lindeque | a day ago

JOHANNESBURG – The South African Police Service (SAPS) said one of the country’s most wanted criminals was arrested in Norwood, Johannesburg, on Thursday night in possession of a “huge” arms cache.

The suspect, who has not been named, was arrested with two others at a house in the northern Johannesburg suburb with an array of automatic rifles and approximately 300 handguns.

Police also found detonators, a machine used to manufacture ammunition, packaged dagga and explosives used for ATM bombings.

In a statement issued by National Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega, the suspect is said to be in control of a “huge syndicate” and on the most wanted list.

“I cannot say at this stage exactly how many guns are here. What I can say is that they are in the hundreds. They [were] found concealed in containers.

“We are going to analyse this in detail to establish the origin of these arms and ammunition and, more importantly, what they were intended for and whether any of them have been used in the commission of an offence.”

The suspect’s daughter and domestic worker were also arrested.

“Today’s success is yet another example of what integrated and focused policing can achieve,” Phiyega



Thursday, May 22, 2014

The Fifth Parliament: New red overalls, same old president

No Fear No Favour No Dictator.........

Rebecca Davis South Africa  21 May 2014  09:51 (South Africa)

“Habemus Papam!” is the Latin announcement made by the Vatican when they present the new Pope to the world: We have a Pope! Habemus President was the ANC’s order of the day at the first sitting of the new Parliament on Tuesday, minus the white smoke. We have a president – the same old one, with the same old scandals hanging over his head. But the presence of the EFF’s 25 overall-clad MPs seemed to portend a changed spirit to this fifth Parliament nonetheless. There is a fresh (red) energy in the National Assembly. By REBECCA DAVIS.

It’s official: Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma will be president of South Africa for a second term. Nominating Zuma as president of the country, ANC MP Rosalia Morutoa declared it the will of “the African National Congress and millions of South Africans”. Of course, technically we have no way of knowing if the latter claim is true, since South Africans vote for a party rather than a president. But the mood among ANC MPs was, on the surface at least, celebratory; a jubilant chorus of “My President” accompanied Parliament’s dismissal.
Zuma himself was the picture of humility, humbly pressing his hands together as he confirmed to Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng that he accepted the nomination. The DA wasn’t about to let it slide without some gesture. Federal chairperson James Selfe rose to deliver the opposition party’s objection, calling the nomination “irrational” given the spectre of Nkandla hanging over Zuma’s head and his failure to adequately respond to two Public Protector reports on the matter. Zuma, the DA contended, was not a “fit and proper” candidate for the role.
Home Affairs Minister Naledi Pandor was playing defence for the ANC, icily countering that Selfe had failed to study the provisions of the Constitution in this regard. Mogoeng read briefly from the holy document to prove the validity of Pandor’s statement: having been sworn in as a member of the National Assembly without problems, Zuma was indeed fully eligible to stand as president, as was any other member.
There were no other nominations. “It looks like Honourable Malema is signalling his availability,” quipped Mogoeng, earning raucous laughter from the newly honourable member in question. But for this Parliament at least, it was not to be. With Zuma’s nomination seconded, all that remained was for Mogoeng to congratulate Number One on his election once more.
Photo: New EFF MPs pose for a photo during a voting break at Tuesday's first sitting of the fifth parliament (Rebecca Davis)
The election for the highest office in the land, in other words, proceeded far quicker than that for Parliamentary Speaker. Against the ANC’s pick of Baleka Mbete, the DA had resolved to put up their own candidate, former Eastern Cape premier Nosimo Balindlela, necessitating a vote. Malema and the 24 other EFF MPs did not participate, earning a protest from the FF+’s Pieter Groenewald. Mogoeng slapped him down, confirming that MPs present in the National Assembly did not have to vote for a Speaker if there was no candidate they wanted. Malema nodded meaningfully.
So much for solidarity in opposition, though the 25 EFF votes would have made no difference. It was a landslide victory for Mbete, with 260 votes to Balindlela’s 88. (The DA has 89 seats in this Parliament; the ANC, 249. Mbete clearly has some supporters in the smaller parties.)
Minutes after the close of Parliament, the DA had already put out a statement objecting to the election of Mbete, who the party fears will act as a “gatekeeper for Luthuli House”. Former Speaker Max Sisulu, who is reportedly very conscious of the need to uphold the respected legacy of his surname, had a reasonably even-handed approach, most notably manifested in his establishment of the ad-hoc committee to consider President Zuma’s response to the Public Protector’s report on Nkandla. The decision of whether to re-constitute the committee is now in Mbete’s hands – and the opposition, at least, is clearly unconvinced that she’ll do it.
These two elections made up the only real business of the fifth Parliament’s first sitting, after its 400 MPs were sworn in by Justice Mogoeng in a process that took up much of the morning. In other respects, the first day of the new Parliament is a bit like the beginning of a new school year. There are fresh faces and veterans, reunions and new encounters. Bells ring to call you in from break, and you get told off for talking too much.
And there are uniforms – at least for the EFF, who won the lion’s share of media attention by holding true to their promise to turn up in red workers’ overalls and hard hats, with some female MPs wearing domestic worker uniforms. Rival politicians may dismiss it as a gimmicky piece of political theatre. Some social media commentators saw it as disrespectful to the Parliamentary process. The EFF says it’s a way of signalling their commitment both to Parliamentary work, and to the workers they represent. However you choose to interpret it, it’s an undeniably effective way of making a statement, and ensuring that the party’s representatives are instantly identifiable in a sea of National Assembly faces.
The newcomers were in high spirits, dancing and singing before their swearing-in ceremony. During the voting break EFF members congregated in a smoking courtyard, posing for photographs between cigarettes. “Floyd [Shivambu] must stand at the back,” Malema said, marshalling his troops for the perfect snap, while Shivambu entreated photographers to email them the picture.
New MPs have every reason to be cheerful. For one thing, they’ll be earning a cool R933,852 per year, in addition to 42 free return domestic flights, free phonecalls and subsidised housing in the Parliamentary villages for MPs from out of town. They’ll also benefit from Parliament’s lavish food budget – up to R18 million per year, according to reports. The DA’s Ian Ollis complained last year that Parliamentary committees were being served seafood platters and lamb chops at 10.30 am.
Nice work if you can get it, indeed. But Mbete, settling into her Speaker role, reminded the assembled Parliamentarians of the gravity of their role: to “represent our people with dignity, purpose and honour”. Among new MPs, there was a sense of nerves as well as excitement.
It’s a little bit surreal,” said Zak Mbhele, 29, a newly-minted DA MP who previously served as spokesperson in the Western Cape Premier’s office. “I think I only remember about five seconds of taking the oath.” Mbhele said that over the next few months he would be aiming to “hopefully make a mark”, and perform as well as possible in Parliamentary committees.
Did the thought of the combative Parliamentary exchanges make him secretly quake?
I expect it, but I’m not scared of it,” Mbhele replied. “I’m quite capable of giving my own back.”
Many of these new young DA MPs had a close relationship with the party’s former Parliamentary leader Lindiwe Mazibuko. Mazibuko was in attendance for the first Parliamentary sitting – but in the gallery, as a spectator, a role she described as “bittersweet” to journalists afterwards. Speculation that Mmusi Maimane will replace her as head of the DA Parliamentary caucus remains just that, with a vote taking place only next Thursday.
I was looking forward to serving with her,” concedes Mbhele. “Definitely her absence will still linger.”
Clad in the regulation EFF overalls and beret, new EFF MP Lucky Twala – a former Umkhonto weSizwe fighter – was matter-of-fact about his new role.
We always knew this was our destiny,” he said. But he admitted that he felt a grave sense of responsibility in taking up the MP mantle on behalf of EFF’s constituents. “I am worried about the problems afflicting our nation,” he said. “There’s an expectation from our people that for the first time their voice will be heard in Parliament.”
What about the overalls and hard hats? An opening day flourish, or standard EFF Parliamentary wear from now on? Twala was adamant they wouldn’t be coming off.
The objective is to change the dress code of Parliament to what South Africa is: the poor,” he said.
There was a photo doing the rounds on Tuesday showing Zuma seeming to look on grimly as the EFF MPs were sworn in. Then again, he might just have been bored: the swearing-in process is long and tedious. But the EFF’s take-no-prisoners arrival in Parliament certainly seemed to charge the air with a new dynamic. Boys and girls, let the games begin. DM
Photo: President Jacob Zuma and ANC deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa take the Oath of Office during the swearing in of MPs as South Africa's fifth Parliament convenes for the first time in Cape Town on Wednesday, 21 May 2014.Picture: GCIS/SAPA