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2 May 2013South Africa’s democracy would not be sustainable or successful if the plight of the working class, employed and unemployed, was not sufficiently attended to, President Jacob Zuma said on Wednesday.Speaking at the main Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) Workers’ Day rally in Kimberly, Northern Cape, Zuma said that the African National Congress (ANC) had a strong bias towards the working class and poor.“The ANC bias towards the working class does not mean we have abdicated our responsibility as a liberation movement to mobilize the broadest strata of society for fundamental transformation.“It simply means we have correctly understood that our democracy will not be stable, sustainable and successful if the plight of the working class, employed or unemployed, is not sufficiently attended to,” Zuma said.Workers’ rights such as the right to fair labour practices and the right to form and join trade unions were enshrined in the Constitution. “These are very important rights which must not be taken for granted.”Zuma said a tendency to divide workers or undermine collective bargaining among others should be guarded against.“Unity within Cosatu is paramount. We need a united Cosatu that is able to devote its attention to promoting the rights of workers. Thus we urge the labour movement to work seriously at uniting the federation and to resolve whatever differences there may exist.”Workers were the creators of the country’s wealth and they had to get an equitable share in the wealth, Zuma said, adding that attention needed to be paid to the plight of mineworkers and farm workers.“As we focus on miners and farm workers, we also remember those workers who tragically lost their lives in Marikana in the North West and related violent incidents. We have to draw lessons from Marikana.”The National Development Plan (NDP) was the country’s socio-development blueprint for the next 20 years, Zuma said.“We reiterate that those who have views about the NDP should feel free to raise them in the spirit of the democratic culture within the movement … Views cannot be suppressed. However, work is continuing to implement the NDP.”At government level, the Department of Performance Monitoring and Evaluation has already begun developing a draft medium-term strategic framework for 2014-2019, as the first five-year building block of the NDP.The intention is to submit the first draft of the 2014-2019 NDP-aligned framework to the 2013 July Cabinet lekgotla. This can then be refined so that it can be submitted to the new Cabinet for approval as soon as possible after the 2014 elections.This will enable departments to include the new targets in their individual five-year strategic plans, which they will be starting to work on later this year and in early 2014.Source: SAnews.gov.za
A week after businessman Abhijeet Nath was lynched by a mob in a central Assam village, the sister of his fiancée has recounted how the killers were allegedly casual about having bludgeoned him to death along with his friend, audio engineer Nilotpal Das.Apart from being nonchalant, the people who lynched the duo took pleasure in conveying the news of their gruesome death, Airin Gogoi wrote in a Facebook post.“I was arranging my office desk, shutting down the computer and was about to return from work. It was 8:05 pm, June 8. I received a call from my sister with a shaken and panicked voice. ‘Airin ba (elder sister), someone received Abhijeet’s phone,’ she said,” Ms. Gogoi wrote.“Bhontie (younger sister) told the man to give the phone to Abhijeet. No, the man replied in broken Assamese. Where is he, she asked. Dead, we killed him, he’s lying on the road, the man said. Please don’t speak like that; why did you kill him, she asked. Who are you, he asked. I am his wife-to-be, please don’t kill him, she pleaded. You cannot get your man, we killed him, he said and asked where Abhijeet was from. Guwahati, sister said. He can’t return to Guwahati, read about his death in the newspaper tomorrow,” she wrote.The man on the phone had treated Abhijeet and Nilotpal like some objects and seemed to derive pleasure from killing them, Ms. Gogoi wrote.“I was blank for a moment, called Abhijeet’s dad who was returning home from Morigaon, his workplace, for weekend. I narrated the whole thing, he was totally unaware. Being a father, his response was positive and told me not to worry and to console my sister. He said, ‘I will talk with Abhijeet’s mom whether he went to Karbi Anglong or not’,” she wrote.Ms. Gogoi said Abhijeet and Nilotpal had gone to Karbi Anglong to contact fishermen there for collecting a rare fish known as Channa stewartii. “A Mumbai fish breeder had told Abhijeet the fish is available only in Karbi Anglong. His room is full with aquariums. He was a dog lover. His dogs Spike, Aizen and Zendaya and his fishes don’t know he is no more,” she said.Ms. Gogoi said Abhijeet had called her sister about 6 pm saying they had set off for Guwahati. Abhijeet’s mother called him at 7 pm and someone picked it up. But there were some noises that made her think he was in a marketplace.“My sister called at 8 pm and got that terrible news,” she said.‘Rename waterfalls’Noted Assamese author Rongbong Terang, who belongs to the Karbi tribe, has suggested that the Kangthilangso waterfalls that the lynched duo visited on that fateful day should be renamed after them.“Let’s call the waterfalls Abhi-Neel Jalpropat,” Mr. Terang, former president of Assam Sahitya Sabha, said on Thursday. He rejected the suggestion of Tuliram Ronghang, chief executive member of Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council, that statues of the two men be erected at the village they were killed.“The statues will only remind people of the gruesome day,” Mr. Terang said.On Wednesday,Director General of Police Kuladhar Saikia said Mr. Das and Mr. Nath were set up by a man named Alphajos Timung, who had an axe to grind. The man had called up members of the lynch mob and sold them the story that the duo were escaping in a black SUV after kidnapping a child.Police said they have so far arrested 28 people for lynching the duo while 35 others have been arrested for spreading rumours and hate-mongering via social media.