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An interview with Winnie Madikizela-Mandela sparks controversy. Hip hop artist Jub Jub is accused of killing four teens while drag racing. Zuma heads to Zimbabwe to mediate between President Mugabe and Prime Minister Tsvangirai. Zuma survives a no-confidence attempt. On the Sharpeville Massacre's 50th anniversary, some feel not enough has changed since apartheid. The president's spousal budget nearly doubles. And South Africa hires extra shark spotters in advance of the World Cup.
Top News: Controversy raged over a newspaper interview with Winnie Madikizela-Mandela in which she sharply criticized former husband Nelson Mandela for agreeing to accept the Nobel peace prize alongside FW de Klerk, and called Archbishop Desmond Tutu a “cretin.” The interview published in London’s Evening Standard was conducted by Nadira Naipaul, wife of author VS Naipaul, when the couple visited Madikizela-Mandela at her home in Soweto last August. In a statement, Madikizela-Mandela said the interview was “fabricated” and would not respond to the content. Naipaul said she was standing by her story.
One of South Africa’s best-known hip hop artists was accused of killing four teenagers while drag racing through the streets of Soweto, allegedly while high on drugs. Jub Jub, whose real name is Molemo Maarohanye, and a co-accused face four murder charges and two charges of attempted murder. Police fired rubber bullets at crowds of schoolchildren who gathered outside the courthouse to protest his bail hearing, some of them throwing stones and threatening to kill the rapper. Jub Jub, which means “Marshmallow,” appeared on the South African version of “Survivor” earlier this year but left the program early because he was worried about a rash in his genital area.
President Jacob Zuma visited Zimbabwe on his first trip to the country as chief mediator between members of the troubled year-old coalition government led by President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai. Zuma, who took over from former South African President Thabo Mbeki as chief regional mediator on Zimbabwe last year, said that coalition members agreed to “a package of measures,” but he did not give any details.
Back at home, Zuma survived a no-confidence vote that opposition party Congress of the People – formed by former members of the ruling African National Congress – tried to bring in Parliament because they said the president’s “risky sexual behavior” and lack of action on official corruption showed “dangerously flawed judgment.” It would have been the first such vote against a ruling South African head of state since apartheid ended in 1994, but in the end the ANC, which holds a strong majority in Parliament, amended the motion and so it became a vote of full confidence in Zuma.
South Africa marked 50 years since the Sharpeville Massacre, a key moment in the struggle against apartheid. On March 21, 1960, 69 people died and 180 were injured in Sharpeville township, south of Johannesburg, when police opened fire on unarmed civilians protesting against laws that limited the movement of non-white people. The day is now commemorated as Human Rights Day in South Africa. However, some Sharpeville survivors feel that not enough has changed in the past 50 years, in particular the lack of basic services, such as running water and electricity, in poor communities.
Money: Zuma’s polygamy was in the news again when it was revealed that the presidential spousal budget doubled after he took office. The budget increased to R15.5 million (US $2.1 million) last year, up from R8 million (US$1.1 million) under former president Thabo Mbeki, according to a written statement from Minister in the Presidency Collins Chabane in response to the opposition’s questions. Zuma, who has three wives and 20 children, was criticized by opposition leaders for the cost of his large family to taxpayers.
New investment plans dropped sharply in 2009, with 52 projects worth about R54 billion (US$7.4 billion) announced, compared to 103 projects worth an estimated R157 billion (US$21.5 billion) in 2008, according to Nedbank’s Capital Expenditure Project Listing report. Last year was one of the weakest on record for new investment projects in South Africa, a drop attributed to the impact of the global recession.
The Wall Street Journal reported that mining companies in South Africa are facing production declines due to an increasing number of safety-related work stoppages. For example, last year South African government mining inspectors ordered AngloGold Ashanti Ltd to suspend parts of its operations 44 times, more than double the number of times in 2007. The firm had a 14 percent production decline in 2009 compared to a year earlier.
Budget airline kulula.com, known for its quirky advertisements, was ordered to pull an ad after FIFA, soccer’s governing body, complained that it had infringed on its trademark during the 2010 World Cup. The ad described the airline as the “Unofficial national carrier of the you-know-what,” and had pictures of stadiums, vuvuzelas (South Africa’s trademark horns) and flags. FIFA said the airline could not use these symbols in combination, describing the ad as “ambush marketing.”
Elsewhere: World Cup organizers announced that Shakira, Alicia Keys, Angelique Kidjo and the Black Eyed Peas will be among performers at the June 10 concert to kick off the World Cup. Also performing at the 30,000-seat Orlando Stadium in Soweto will be South African groups BLK JKS and The Parlotones, and Malian duo Amadou & Miriam.
South Africa, working on final preparations for the World Cup, has hired extra shark spotters for coastal areas amid fears that swimming tourists could be attacked.
Meanwhile, tourists nervous about South Africa’s high crime rate have sparked a “freak demand” for bodyguards during the month-long soccer championships, the Johannesburg Times reported. Personal security firms report being nearly fully booked with clients including celebrities, government officials and wealthy businessmen, as well as families with children.