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South Africa electoral body receiving ‘Special Vote’ application

South Africa’s Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) is receiving applications for a “special voting” privilege from prospective voters who would be allowed to vote before the scheduled May 7 general election date, according to Kate Bapela, spokesperson of the electoral commission.

Officials say April 17 will be the closing date for the submission of the special voting application.

The chief electoral officer will determine whether applicants meet the requirement for the special voting privilege as stipulated in South Africa’s Electoral Act.

Bapela says the categories of applicants who would be considered for approval include the sick, security officers, as well as electoral commission officials who will be working on the day of the election.

“South Africans who won’t be able to vote on 7th of May have an opportunity to make applications or make their case to the chief electoral officer who will then look at their submission, and may approve their request to vote before all of us go to the polls,” said Bapela.

“Special voting can be granted to people who are physically infirmed or handicapped or people who are pregnant, those are the people who cannot travel by themselves to the voting stations. Once that permission has been granted by the chief electoral officer, those who are traveling before the election date will be allowed to vote before they travel,” said Bapela.

She says officials from the electoral commission will visit the homes of sick prospective voters to enable them cast their ballot on Monday 5th May and 6th May between 9am to 6pm local time.

“The second group of people who for some reason would not be at the voting station on Election Day would then go to the station where they are registered. Once they get to the voting station, they would then be assisted on either Monday the 5th or Tuesday the 6th of May,” said Bapela. “This is to ensure that they don’t miss any opportunity to go and cast their ballot.”

Bapela expressed confidence that the electoral commission would be fully prepared to administer the May vote. She said measures have been implemented to ensure the credibility of the vote is not compromised.

“We are already doing the dry run for the results system. This is the system where the results would be uploaded from every polling station in the country. We are already testing that system, and we are already planning the training for journalists and political parties on what should be their level of understanding of the results system.”

She says the electoral body has been distributing electoral materials to all polling centers across the country in readiness for the May vote.

“For the voting officials we have got a special T-shirts to ensure that they get identified by the public. So, really we are at a high peak in terms of election preparations because as it is we are less than a month away from the 7th of May,” said Bapela.

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State prosecutor grills Pistorius on his testimony

In a sometimes ruthless cross-examination of Oscar Pistorius at his murder trial Wednesday, chief prosecutor Gerrie Nel scrutinized the athlete's story that he killed his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp by mistake on Feb. 14, 2013.

Here are some of the key points Nel raised on his first day questioning Pistorius:

INTENTIONAL OR MISTAKE

Nel began dramatically by urging Pistorius to face up to his actions and to look at a grisly police photo of Steenkamp's head and the wounds caused by the Olympian's shooting.

"Take responsibility for what you've done, Mr. Pistorius," Nel said, telling the athlete to look at the graphic photo, which caused a stir in court. Pistorius refused to.

Later, Nel pressed Pistorius on his mindset and intentions when he fired four times through a door into a toilet cubicle where Steenkamp was, asking him to say that he'd fired purposely at a person. Pistorius referred to the shooting as "a mistake" and "accidental" and repeated his claim that he believed an intruder was about to come out of the cubicle and attack him.

"You never purposely fired shots into the door?" Nel asked as he tried to establish Pistorius intended to kill. "I'm not denying that I shot at the door," Pistorius said, but added that he "never intended to kill anyone."

THE FANS

Nel pounced on inconsistencies in Pistorius' story about how many fans he said he brought inside in the pre-dawn hours when he heard a noise in the bathroom that made him believe there was an intruder. In his first court affidavit last year, Pistorius said there was one. Now he says there were two fans. Also, Nel showed a photo of a row of plug sockets where Pistorius said one of the fans was plugged in. There was no space for the plug. Pistorius suggested it wasn't important and Nel responded: "It's not insignificant, Mr. Pistorius. It will show that you are lying."

ON THE BALCONY?

In his bail hearing statement in February last year, Pistorius said he went out "onto the balcony" to bring the fans in on the night of the shooting. Nel noted Pistorius' story now was that he remained inside his bedroom and only went to the edge where the balcony meets with the room to bring the fans in. Nel suggested that Pistorius wouldn't have been able to hear a noise in his bathroom from out on the balcony and therefore changed the detail to suit his story.

PISTORIUS' CHARACTER

Through three days of defense-led testimony from Pistorius, he painted an image of himself as a committed athlete and religious man who sometimes felt fearful and vulnerable to crime and was therefore extra-careful. Nel immediately attacked that image and was granted permission by the judge to show a video where Pistorius was shown shooting a watermelon at a gun range with a powerful handgun and then saying, after howls of laughter from people with him, that the gun was a "zombie stopper" and the watermelon was "softer than brains." Nel said Steenkamp's head "exploded" just like the watermelon.

HIS TESTIMONY SCRIPTED?

Nel repeatedly said that Pistorius had some of his answers pre-planned and ready, and wasn't answering the specific questions the prosecutor was asking. Nel also asked the runner if his overall account was from his own memory or a "reconstruction" with the help of lawyers.

"You've got long arguments, long answers," Nel said to Pistorius, suggesting his testimony was overly-coached by his legal team.

"I can't change the truth," Pistorius responded.

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Pistorius breaks down sobbing, trial adjourned for a day

South African Olympic and Paralympic sprinter Oscar Pistorius broke down and sobbed in the witness stand on Tuesday as he described the moments when he shot dead his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, thinking she was an intruder hiding in the toilet.

The double amputee, who is accused of murdering 29-year-old law graduate and model Steenkamp, told a Pretoria court how he heard a window sliding open in his bathroom in the middle of the night on Valentine's Day last year. He said he was convinced an intruder was breaking in and that he needed to arm himself.

"That's the moment that everything changed," he said, his voice tense with emotion. "I thought that there was a burglar that was gaining entry to my home."

Grabbing a 9 mm pistol lying under the bed, he moved on his stumps down the passageway leading from the bedroom towards the bathroom and the would-be intruders, he testified.

According to his account, as he peered round the door of the bathroom, his right arm holding the 9 mm outstretched, his left steadying himself against the wall, he noticed the bathroom window was open, confirming his worst fears.

"I wasn't sure where to point the firearm," he said. "My eyes were going between the windows and the toilet. I stood for some time."

"I just stayed where I was and kept on screaming. Then I heard a noise from inside the toilet that I perceived to be somebody coming out of the toilet. Before I knew it, I had fired four shots at the door."

He said he continued to shout at Steenkamp to call the police, but slowly started to realize that she was not responding and might have been the one behind the door.

As he described to the court bashing in a door panel to gain access to the toilet, he broke down, sobbing uncontrollably in the witness stand, leading judge Thokozile Masipa to adjourn the hearing for the day.

If found guilty of murder, he faces life in prison.

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Ghost towns haunt South Africa's strike-hit platinum belt

Shad Mohammed's electronics and household store in South Africa's platinum belt has survived a series of mining strikes over the 14 years it has been serving customers in the dusty town of Marikana.

Yet with the latest stoppage now in its 10th week, he has sold just 10 phones instead of well over 100, and has had to branch out into deliveries to avoid giving up and going home to Pakistan, another statistic in a devastating industrial dispute.

"Our business is totally dependent on the mine workers," Mohammed, 38, said among shelves filled with cell phones, laptops and large pots. "If they don't work we really suffer."

Members of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) have downed tools at Lonmin, the main employer in the tough town of Marikana, and rivals Anglo American Platinum and Impala Platinum in a strike over wages, hitting 40 percent of global production.

The stoppage shows no sides of ending with the two sides still poles apart. AMCU wants a basic-entry level wage in three years of 12,500 rand ($1,200) a month, or annual hikes of around 30 percent, while the companies have offered increases of up to 9 percent and say they can afford no more.

The strike, the biggest in South Africa's mines in living memory, has so far cost companies and workers a collective 17 billion rand ($1.60 billion) in revenue and wages, according to a tally updated constantly on an industry website.

The central bank said last week the continuing stoppage was a key threat to economic growth, now forecast at 2.6 percent in 2014 instead of 2.8 percent. Exports from Africa's largest economy and its rand currency are also vulnerable.

Lonmin chief executive Ben Magara said on Thursday that collectively the industry was spending 67 million rand a day less than usual on goods and services, mostly in the local economies on the platinum belt northwest of Johannesburg.

All three companies have said they have declared force majeure with some of their suppliers and contractors, a legal term which allows companies to suspend payments and deliveries because of circumstances beyond their control.

GHOST TOWN

This has transformed bustling and crowded mining towns into ghost town-like skeletons of their former selves.

The narrow muddy roads in Nkaneng, Marikana's informal settlement, are dotted with small groups of men standing in circles, some wearing blue work trousers and green AMCU t-shirts.

Daniel Waza, a convenience store or "spaza shop" owner, sits on empty brown boxes in the middle of his small shop where fresh fruits and vegetables used to be.

"You can't even sell any fresh food anymore, there is no one to buy your food, the people have gone home ... some people have no money," he said.

By home he meant rural villages hundreds of kilometers away in areas such as the Eastern Cape province, where over a third of Lonmin's workers hail from. Others come from neighboring countries such as Lesotho and Mozambique.

Bob Ndude, an AMCU shop steward at Lonmin, said about half the miners on strike were sitting it out in their rural homes.

Kagiso Masiangwako, a manager at the Marikana branch of Johannesburg-listed credit furniture shop Lewis, said fewer people were frequenting the town's single main street.

"Our bosses say we are not working, but there is nothing happening here," he said.

In a January trading update, the group said "trading conditions remained challenging with labor instability across many sectors."

Lewis sells most of its furniture on credit and its Marikana unit has had few monthly payments made as a result of the strike, with no new sales since it started on January 23.

Masiangwako gestured at piles of papers on his desk listing customers who had repeatedly missed payments. He said while some attempt to make payments, others leave town and never return the furniture or finish paying it off.

In the nearby town of Rustenburg, a prostitute, who declined to be named, told Reuters "business is too slow" as a result of the strike.

Even her regular customers did not come as often as they used to, she said, before hurrying off into the night.

RISING CRIME

Three spaza shop owners in the township told Reuters they could no longer afford rent and would consider moving to Johannesburg if the strike continued for much longer.

Many spaza shops allow residents to take some food items such as bread and maize meal on credit.

"Since we don't have rands, we have to take care of the cents," said salon and food store owner Maria Marumong.

Marumong rents a shipping container across from Mohammed's electronics shop. The container is divided in half by a long brown board, with women's hair extensions and pictures of America pop stars' hairstyles hanging on one side and the smell of maize meal and sausages drifting in from the other.

"If I give up now it's going to be hard to start again," she said.

Mohammed's new delivery business just covers the 10,000 rand monthly rent and school fees for his children in Pakistan but he has been hit by rising crime.

"Crime is really bad in this area now," he said, pointing to a hole in the ceiling where a thief came in recently. "We saw the footage ... in 45 seconds, he took eight laptops and climbed out the roof."

Miners have had no income as the mining system works on a no-work no-pay principle, leaving many destitute.

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South Africa President Jacob Zuma to skip EU-Africa summit

South African President Jacob Zuma will miss a controversy-tinged EU-Africa summit in Brussels this week, the country's foreign ministry said.

Clayson Monyela, spokesman for South Africa's Department of International Relations and Cooperation, said on Monday that "the president has other commitments".

Pretoria would not say if Zuma's decision was taken in solidarity with long-time Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, whose government called for a boycott of the meeting after his wife, Grace, was refused a visa to attend.

The couple have been banned from visiting the European Union because of their role in rights abuses, but as head of state Mugabe is still allowed to attend international forums.

Zuma has battles to fight at home, where he has come under withering criticism for using $23m of taxpayers' money to upgrade his private family residence.

A damning report last week found that he unlawfully benefitted from the improvements.

Elections are due to take place on May 7 and although Zuma's governing ANC is forecast to win, the vote is expected to be the most competitive since South Africa became a democracy in 1994.

At the two-day EU-Africa summit, which starts on Wednesday, South Africa will instead be represented by Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Maite Nkoana-Mashabane.

South Africa's foreign ministry said the summit will "afford Africa and Europe the opportunity to further strengthen political and socio-economic cooperation between the two continents".

Mugabe, who is now aged 90 and has ruled Zimbabwe since independence in 1980, will chair the African Union next year, a one-year rotating post.

 

Source: AFP

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Oscar Pistorius trial adjourned till April 7

The trial of Oscar Pistorius for the murder of his girl friend Reeva Steenkamp has been adjourned till April 7, when the South African Paralympic and Olympic track star is expected to take the stand in his own defense in a high-stakes bid to prove his innocence and avoid life in prison.

Judge Thokozile Masipa postponed proceedings for more than a week due to the illness of one of the legal assistants who has been sitting at her side throughout the trial, one of the most high-profile in South African history.

Prosecutors took 15 days to lay out their case against the 27-year-old, arguing he deliberately killed girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in the early hours of Valentine's Day last year by firing four rounds from a 9 mm pistol through a closed toilet door.

Several neighbors testified to hearing a woman's terrified screams before a volley of shots, countering Pistorius' assertions that he mistook Steenkamp for an intruder hiding in the toilet cubicle in the middle of the night.

If found guilty of murder, Pistorius faces at least 25 years in prison.

The trial has gripped South Africa and millions of athletics fans around the world who saw Pistorius as a symbol of triumph over physical adversity.

The sprinter's lower legs were amputated as a baby but he went on to achieve global fame as the "fastest man on no legs," winning gold medals at the Beijing and London Paralympics.

He also won a battle against athletics authorities for the right to compete against able-bodied men, becoming the first amputee runner at an Olympics when he reached the 400 meters semi-finals in London 2012.

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Reeva Steenkamp told Pistorius in cell phone texts I'm scared of u...

Oscar Pistorius and Reeva Steenkamp argued fiercely in the turbulent weeks before he killed her, and the athlete's girlfriend told him she was sometimes scared by his behavior, which included jealous outbursts in front of other people, according to phone messages revealed at the Olympian's murder trial on Monday.

"I'm scared of u sometimes and how u snap at me and of how u will react to me," Reeva Steenkamp texted Pistorius, in a message read out in court by police Capt. Francois Moller.

In another message, Steenkamp wrote to the double-amputee runner: "I can't be attacked by outsiders for dating u AND be attacked by you, the one person I deserve protection from."

The messages suggested both lovers were experiencing emotional insecurity, though the exchanges revealed in court reflected prosecutors' efforts to portray Pistorius as an aggressor with a short fuse, matching earlier testimony from a former girlfriend who had said he sometimes shouted at her. In one message, the runner indicated Steenkamp had not told him the full story about smoking "weed," or using drugs, while she defended past conduct with the declaration: "I wasn't a stripper or a `ho,'" a slang term for prostitute.

The court adjourned with Moller expected to return to the witness box on Tuesday. He has not yet revealed if police recovered any phone messages or communications from the night of the killing on Feb. 14, 2013.

Moller said that from Steenkamp's phone he obtained more than 1,000 exchanges with Pistorius on WhatsApp and other phone messaging applications. Moller said he received as evidence two BlackBerry phones, two iPhones, two iPads and a Mac computer from Pistorius' house the day after the shooting death of Steenkamp.

The data on Steenkamp's phone would print to more than 35,000 pages, said Moller. Of the fraction of exchanges between the couple, he said that about 90 percent were what he called normal and "loving" exchanges.

In Steenkamp's message about being scared of the athlete, she also added: "You make me happy 90% of the time and I think we are amazing together."

She goes on to talk about Pistorius snapping at her about chewing gum and talking in an accent, and then writes: "I just want to love and be loved. Be happy and make someone SO happy. Maybe we can't do that for each other. Cos right now I know u aren't happy and I am certainly very unhappy and sad."

The long message was sent after the two attended a friend's engagement party and apparently left early because she said he got upset and jealous. As Moller read the message, Pistorius, who had been looking at a book of the compiled messages, closed his eyes. Tears fell to his lap. He wiped his eyes with a handkerchief and regained the composure he held through most of the day.

The runner apologized for his behavior in replies to Steenkamp's message, according to the testimony.

Moller also read messages exchanged after a shooting incident at Tashas restaurant in Johannesburg about a month before the fatal shooting. Boxer Kevin Lerena and Darren Fresco, a onetime friend of Pistorius, testified that the Olympian asked Fresco to take the blame for a shot that went off after the loaded gun was passed to Pistorius under the table.

In the phone message exchange, the 27-year-old runner explained to 29-year-old Steenkamp: "Angel, please don't say a thing to anyone ... the guys promised not to say a thing," he wrote. She then replied: "I have no idea what you're talking about ;)"

Pistorius has pleaded not guilty to a firearms charge related to that episode.

Earlier Monday a neighbor testified that she heard gunshots as well as screams from both a man and a woman on the night that Pistorius fatally shot Steenkamp.

Anette Stipp's testimony matched some evidence given by other witnesses who said they also heard a woman screaming around the time that Pistorius killed Steenkamp before dawn on Valentine's Day last year. According to Pistorius, he thought Steenkamp was in bed when he fired his 9 mm pistol. He did not describe any woman screaming.

The defense has countered that neighbors actually heard Pistorius screaming in a high-pitched voice after he shot Steenkamp. Pistorius has said he shot his girlfriend by mistake through a locked toilet door, thinking she was an intruder in his home.

Stipp said she heard what she thought were gunshots on the night of the shooting, and then heard the "terrified, terrified" screams of a woman.

Stipp recalled looking out from a balcony at two houses with lights on in the gated estate where her family and Pistorius lived.

"There was definitely a female screaming for quite a period," Anette Stipp said. She said she also heard a man's voice.

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Malawi presents preliminary voters list to public ahead of May 20 poll

Malawi’s Electoral Commission (MEC) plans to release a preliminary voters list on Monday to allow prospective voters to verify their information before the May 20 general election, says Sangwani Mwafulirwa, spokesman for the electoral body.

The electoral commission is compiling a voters list that would be used for the presidential, legislative and local elections. Mwafulirwa says the MEC seeks to produce a dependable voters list to be used for the poll.

“All people who registered will be required to go to the center where they registered and verify how their details are displayed in the register,” said Mwafulirwa. “If there is any anomaly, this is the period we would want them to correct it. If there are some people who relocated from the centers where they registered, this is the good time to put in transfers.”

During this period, Mwafulirwa says, the electoral body will replace any lost voters certificates that will enable the voters to participate in the general election.

“This opening up of the voters’ role will be in two phases. The first phase is running from 24th to 28th of March and the second phase is going to run from the 1st to the 5th of April,” said Mwafulirwa. “After this period whatever will be noted during this time, we are going to go back as the electoral commission to update our voters’ role then we will print the final voter register which will be used for the polling day.”

Mwafulirwa says the MEC is closely monitoring the ongoing campaigns to ensure the political parties adhere to the electoral act to reduce tensions and violence.

He also says the electoral body has a logistical working arrangement with the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to provide lamps for Malawi’s vote.

But some political observers expressed worry the working relationship between the two electoral bodies could undermine the integrity of Malawi’s election. They contend the Zimbabwe electoral commission was unable to administer a credible election after international observers questioned the results of Zimbabwe’s 2013 election.

Mwafulirwa disagreed that the credibility of the May 20 vote could be undermined. He says the electoral commission informed political parties and other stakeholders about the need to borrow gas lamps from the Zimbabweans.

“We have borrowed from the Zimbabwe electoral commission 10,500 gas lamps, which we want to use on the polling day. Why we decide to [do this] is because our stakeholders were complaining that the lighting system that we have in some of the polling centers is so poor that they cannot see clearly at night, and some centers were using generators and there were instances whereby the generators run out of fuel,” said Mwafulirwa.

He says the Malawi electoral commission has allocated funds to pay for the borrowed gas lamps.

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South Africa watchdog agency targets presidential costs

The head of South Africa's state watchdog agency came to talk about a scandal surrounding costly state upgrades to the president's private home, but she started with a summary of "Animal Farm," George Orwell's allegorical novel about oppression, revolution and corruption.

"We're not in `Animal Farm' in South Africa," Public Protector Thuli Madonsela said with a smile in a packed auditorium at the University of the Witwatersrand on Thursday, a day after releasing a 450-page report that concluded President Jacob Zuma had inappropriately benefited from state funding and should pay back some money.

All the same, the literary introduction was a warning about power abuse from Madonsela, a former high school teacher and human rights lawyer who helped draft South Africa's constitution after the end of white racist rule in 1994, and now stands at the center of a debate over corruption ahead of elections on May 7. The flashpoint of popular discontent is Zuma's Nkandla residence, where more than $20 million was spent for alleged security upgrades that, according to Madonsela, were financially "excessive and obscene" and had nothing to do with security in some cases.

"Everything was done cowboy-style," Madonsela said. She summarized the attitude of the managers of the Nkandla project as: `"If we need it, we will do it.'"

Her face framed by long hair, 51-year-old Madonsela often speaks with clasped hands. Her reserved, almost serene, demeanor belies what admirers say is an iron resolve to exercise the independence of her office, regardless of political pressure. A cartoon in Johannesburg's Star newspaper portrayed her as a gunslinger with a sheriff's badge at "High Noon," with the caption: "The story of a woman who's too brave to run!"

Madonsela's detractors, however, accuse her of posturing in the media and pandering to a political opposition that hopes to gain ground in the May vote against the ruling African National Congress, which has dominated politics since South Africa's first all-race elections in 1994. Already, several opposition parties have called for Zuma's resignation as a result of Madonsela's report, though the ruling party would likely block any impeachment attempt with its parliamentary majority. The youth league of the African National Congress said the public protector should resign, comparing her actions to that of a "kangaroo court" and saying she had "compromised herself to the bone."

South Africa has an active civil society, a relatively stable electoral system and the biggest economy on the continent, but entrenched poverty, crime and corruption are constant concerns. Many South Africans were shocked at media reports, since confirmed in Madonsela's report, that "security" upgrades to Zuma's rural home in KwaZulu-Natal province included a swimming pool, an amphitheater, a visitors' center, a clinic, a chicken run and an area for cattle. Construction was partly paid for with funds from inner-city development programs and some neighbors had to be relocated.

"In summary, government failed in complying with the principles - public power should always be exercised within the confines of the law" and in the public interest, said Madonsela, who worked in the trade union movement during the anti-apartheid struggle in the 1980s. She said the president was mistaken - but did not lie - when he told parliament that the government had not constructed any buildings or houses for him, noting: "He seemed to think that buildings and houses are only the ones that you sleep in."

Zuma, who appointed Madonsela to a seven-year term in 2009, has said he respects her office and will study her report. Madonsela interviewed the president during her investigation, recalling he said he wanted her to act according to the law.

Retired Archbishop Desmond Tutu praised Madonsela for investigating "without fear or favor" and said allegations that she timed the report's release to influence the election were "scandalous nonsense."

Madonsela, who was embarrassed when her son crashed her official vehicle early one morning in 2012, said she should be as subject to scrutiny as anyone else. Her office has issued reports critical of the fisheries minister, an executive at the state broadcaster, SABC, and the head of South Africa's electoral commission.

"We work in a cowardly way," she said, noting that she and her staff of 300 could be sued. "We don't want to do anything we can't explain. We try to stick with the law and with the facts."

At the University of Witwatersrand, where she once studied, Madonsela invoked a line from Orwell's work - "All animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others" - as a warning against creeping injustice. She had another message, too.

"We get the society we deserve. We create the societies we live in," Madonsela said. "We can't point fingers at anyone and say they are responsible for our fate."

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S.A. studying report on President Zuma’s home upgrade

South Africa’s government is reviewing a report which stated that President Jacob Zuma “unduly” benefitted from a $23 million public-funded security upgrade to his Nkandla home, according to presidential spokesman Mac Maharaj.

“The president has been consistently concerned about alleged impropriety around the procurement of the Nkandla [Mr. Zuma’s home] project, and for this reason, the president had appointed a government Inter-Ministerial Task Team whose report has been made public, and it has been presented to parliament, Maharaj said.”

President Zuma, last December, directed a Special Investigative Unit to probe the allegations which reportedly occurred at his rural home, according to Maharaj.

“President Zuma has been addressing the concerns highlighted by the investigation. He has already instructed the special investigating unit to look into that and to bring to book any criminal acts,” said Maharaj. “So steps are being taken. It’s not as if we are not concerned, but the validity of any particular finding is something I cannot comment on at this stage,” said Maharaj.

The report followed an investigation conducted by Public Protector Thuli Madonsela into security upgrades at Zuma’s home. South Africa’s ruling African National Congress (ANC) has defended Zuma following accusations his administration failed to judiciously use public funds in the upgrade of home.

The over 400 page-report recommended among others that Zuma pay some of the monies used for the upgrades.

Some political analysts say the report could undermine the dominance of the ANC in the upcoming May 7 general election.                                                         

Maharaj says the investigation is ongoing but due process must be followed.

“Other steps will follow,” said Maharaj. “The report of the public protector if it is acted upon unilaterally can run foul of various other laws. For example any findings against a person in the defense force cannot just be acted upon. It needs to go through the process as required by the Defense Act where the person is implicated, need to be brought to an inquiry, where they have the right to defend themselves.”

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