(Image courtesy of Mail and Guardian)
Is **the ruling party broke?:** a claim made by the Mail and Guardian is that the African National Congress is broke. The publication says that it has been unable to pay salaries of some staff for the last two months, while suggesting that the organisation is running out of money due to receiving less cash from Parliament, following losses in the elections earlier this year. ANC Secretary-General, Gwede Mantashe:
I don’t know if ‘broke’ or ‘running a tight ship’ are the same. We haven’t not honoured our obligations, which include paying our members of staff. It’s a pity that the Mail and Guardian won’t tell you the names of those staff members making those claims. We are not selling units of production, we are a non-governmental organisation and we depend on funding from Parliament, which is proportionate to representation. When you spend on infrastructure - that is not reckless spending. You are spending on the future of the organisation
Why hasn’t President Zuma appeared in Parliament since #PayBackTheMoney?: DA Parliamentary Leader Mmusi Maimane has made a series of claims on Thursday, accusing President Jacob Zuma of ducking his responsibilities and not coming to the National Assembly to answer questions. Presidential Spokesperson, Mac Maharaj:
The President goes to answer questions in the National Assembly by arrangement with the Speaker. A new date is being negotiated with the Speaker, since the last appearance he made in Parliament, which as we all know was a shambles (referring to the ‘Pay Back the Money’ incident). The President has indicated he will appear four times a year before the National Assembly, but there is no such constitutional requirement – it was a voluntary move by the President.
What’s the mood in Meyiwa’s home town?: in Durban, the memorial service of slain Bafana Bafana Captain Senzo Meyiwa is underway, ahead of the provincial funeral planned for Saturday at the Moses Mabhida Stadium. EWN Correspondent, Vumani Mkhize:
It’s a chorus of music and dancing and a celebration of Senzo Meyiwa’s life. The hall is almost filled to capacity. We are expecting his family, the community, friends he went to school with. Personal messages and anecdotes will be delivered on the kind of person Meyiwa was.
What to make of proposals to amend the Firearms Control Act?: in the wake of the death of Senzo Meyiwa, there seem to have been several calls for laws around guns to change. The ANC has suggested there be a debate, while on Thursday, SA Football Association President Danny Jordaan spoke at the joint memorial service in Johannesburg. SA Gun Owners Association’s Martin Hood:
It’s illegal to possess an unlicensed firearm. The ANC has made technical announcements to amend the Act. The problem we have is that after 10 years of trying to embed this law properly in society, it hasn’t happened. Since 2004 - where a R43 million tender was issued (for the Central Firearms Registry), the state has spent R400 million to try and correct the database, to no effect. The existing firearms database is corrupt. Police are also a source of illegal firearms.
Madiba honoured at UNESCO’s 70<sup>th</sup> Anniversary: at the offices of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in France this afternoon a debate on the legacy of Nelson Mandela with Nigerian poet and playwright, Wole Siyonka. The debate is being led by our Arts and Culture Minister, Nathi Mthethwa:
We are honoured as South Africa to be celebrating this milestone. We will be sharing Madiba’s legacy, especially in light of the theme, which seeks to celebrate his fighting for unity and solidarity. (On why South Africa won’t grant the Dalai Lama a visa) individuals apply for visas to visit the country, you don’t have to hold a press conference before a person can come to South Africa. There isn’t any statement or stance from government saying ‘We don’t want the Dalai Lama here.
The latest on e-tv’s woes?: the sight of HCI CEO John Copelyn breaking down during the company’s AGM as Marcel Golding officially left the company as Chairman – also happens in the context of claims made about editorial independence, the buying of shares in the boardroom of HCI and now a claim around set-top boxes. TechCentral Editor, Duncan McLeod:
There are suggestions that perhaps the executive of e-tv allowed for positive coverage of a number of government projects, in return for lobbying on the set-top box issue. E-tv has been warring with government over if they should have an encryption system, for poorer households. Multichoice argue encryption is unnecessary and will potentially introduce unnecessary competition, since they argue that encryption would enable access to additional content, outside of a pay-viewer set up.
SA’s wealthiest not tax compliant?: a claim this week from Oxfam in its Inequality Report that there a huge number of rich South Africans that aren’t paying their taxes. SARS’ Adrian Lackay:
I think Oxfam is an internationally respected NGO and they’ve done very good research on corporate tax avoidance and profit shifting, so the last thing we’d like to do is create a public spat with them in the media. We’ve quantified the number of high-net individuals in SA –those with more than R 7 milllion/annum and whose personal wealth in our estimation is more than R75 million. There are currently 3000 individuals who fit that definition right now and we’ve been engaging them since 2012 to say ‘we believe there are outstanding issues, can we engage you to try and rectify your affairs’. There have been 6 cases with the NPA for deliberate and woeful non-compliance.