African press review 17 August 2012
We focus on South Africa where an attempt by the police to disperse striking workers at Marikana's troubled Lonmin mine on Thursday ended in dozens of deaths.
Almost 4,000 striking workers at the platinum plant had vowed not to return to work until their demand for a pay rise of more than 100 per cent is met, according to the Johannesburg Star.
The Sowetan reports that talks with leaders of the radical Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union had broken down, leaving the police with no option but to disperse the miners by force.
Political parties have called for an urgent investigation into the shootings, according to Daily News Durban. The paper quotes African National Congress spokesperson Jackson Mthembu as saying that it must be determined who had caused the confrontation between police and striking miners.
Business Day notes that the violence puts South Africa’s structural flaws in the spotlight, after the credit rating agency Standard and Poor’s revised the country’s sovereign outlook to negative earlier in the year.
The tragedy broke out as South Africa’s main labour union, Cosatu, warned in a damning report that the ANC is increasingly being damaged by factionalism, patronage and corruption.
In a hard-hitting draft political report prepared for the federation's conference next month, Vavi also takes a swipe at his comrades in Cosatu. He claims that they are preoccupied with campaigning for ANC factions before the party's national conference in Mangaung in December, instead of addressing the challenges workers face.
The alleged infertility of Nelson Mandela’s grandson Mandla Mandela is headline news in The Sowetan.
The paper says the claims are contained in an affidavit filed at the Mthatha High Court by Mandla’s estranged wife, Mabunu-Mandela, as she seeks the nullification of their marriage. Mandla is the traditional chief of Mvezo, a throne abandoned by his grandfather, as well as being an ANC MP.
Tando Mabunu Mandela told The Sowetan that Mandla Mandela’s taking of a young KwaZulu-Natal woman, Nkosikazi Nodiyala-Mandela, as his third wife was an act of bigamy, not an attempt to give birth to an heir, as he claims. The Soweto-based newspaper also reports that Mandla Mandela is probably the problem, not his wife. It cites recent remarks by Mandla that the baby delivered by his French ex-wife Anais Grimaud last year was fathered by one of his brothers.
As thousands of Olympians return home to hectic receptions some of South Africa’s papers comment about the disappearance of a dozen African competitors.
The Sowetan reports that, even before the closing ceremony, some athletes from impoverished or conflict-ridden nations including Cameroon, Eritrea, Guinea and Côte d'Ivoire had been reported missing from the athletes' village. This is not the first time such reports have surfaced, the paper says, adding that there is a well-established pattern of sportsmen trying to use international competitions in foreign countries as springboards to a better life.