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Here’s what the ANC intends to ask its mayoral candidates

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ANC deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte will lead the party's top six in the process of interviewing prospective ANC mayors for metropolitan municipalities. File photo. Image: Gallo Images/Sharon Seretlo

Prospective ANC mayors will have to field at least 18 tough questions from a panel of interviewers on why they should be appointed to lead municipalities.

They will also have to demonstrate experience in leadership positions as well as have appropriate academic qualifications.

This is contained in a 23-page document outlining criteria and interview questions for mayors, formulated by the ANC to guide the party’s interview panels which TimesLIVE has seen.

This will be the first time the ANC goes on a widespread process of interviewing mayors after local government elections.

The prospective mayors will have to field questions on governance and oversight; financial management and budgeting; community engagement and citizen responsiveness; service delivery and performance management, as well as economic development and resource planning, among other things.

After the November 1 elections, the ANC will deploy several national executive committee members to the nine provinces to interview prospective district and local municipality mayors.

The party is yet to announce its mayoral candidates.

The party’s top six will be joined by Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and Phumulo Masualle to interview prospective mayors for the metropolitan municipalities.

According to the document, the panels will also interview councillors who want to become speakers and members of the mayoral committees.

“We cannot continue with the free-for-all approach, as we are faced with dire social and economic issues which require best-fit approach in selecting leaders in local government,” the document reads.

The ANC has formulated a stringent qualifying criteria for mayors, which includes having a tertiary level qualification and at least five years of local government or public institution experience.

Metropolitan mayors will specifically have to demonstrate previous experience in the public or private sector where they led a team of more than 100 employees. District and local mayors will need to have led a team of at least 50 people.

They will also need to prove a demonstrable record of discipline, with no evidence of criminal records or maladministration.

They will need a minimum of seven years of political and leadership experience, five years’ experience in strategic management of “complex development”, a keen understanding of social and economic drivers of local government including water, sanitisation, electricity and refuse.

Those who seek to be mayors will also need to possess knowledge of budgeting, financial management and sustainability issues, according to the document.

The interview panels will work on a key performance area document that determines scoring on a weighting criteria. For instance, political experience and leadership weighs a significant 20 points, while academic qualifications weigh five points, with ethical leadership and gender weighing 10 points each.

Some of the 18 question topics prospective ANC mayors will face include:

  • their understanding of what the ANC stands for;
  • instances where they had to stand in defence of ANC values “even though such a stand could have jeopardised your personal interests”;
  • the role and function of municipal executive leadership;
  • the role of a municipality in economic development; as well as
  • funding strategies they will implement should they be installed as mayor.

–TimesLIVE

Mbeki calls for a painful ANC renewal

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21/10/2021. Former ANC President, Thabo Mbeki addresses professionals and business as part of the Local Government Election Campaign of the ANC. Picture: Masi Losi

Former president Thabo Mbeki was sitting at home one day when he got a missed call from a Cape Town phone number. Upon returning the call, he realised he had reached the ANC’s Western Cape provincial office.

The person who picked up the phone at the office asked him who he was, to which he responded he was Thabo Mbeki. The person then shockingly proceeded to ask from which company he was calling him .

This is when Mbeki realised there was a problem in the ANC.

He relayed this story on Thursday evening in Johannesburg, as he engaged business people and professionals on the ANC’s election manifesto.

He was driving home a point he had made earlier about how the quality of the ANC membership had deteriorated over the years, and why the renewal of the party was critical.

“The last conference of the ANC in 2017 said there must be renewal of the ANC. You can’t have a membership like this … The population is losing trust in the organisation. The programmes of the movement that are being announced are not implemented. The ANC is being identified with corruption, all as a consequence of this negative tendency in terms quality of membership of the ANC. [The] conference said, therefore, there must be renewal of the organisation so that the ANC becomes what it ought to be.”

The party’s membership has “degenerated” so much that in these elections the ANC has, according to Mbeki, correctly involved the communities in the choosing of the councillor candidates.

People were now becoming members of the ANC for the wrong reasons, particularly wanting to advance their personal interests and for self-enrichment.

It was, therefore, not possible to entrust this degenerated membership with the important task of choosing councillors.

“How do you entrust an organisation like that, which is not renewed, with the task of producing the candidates that we want? You can’t. An ordinary and properly functioning branch of the ANC would not need to take special measures to understand the community in this ward.

“If you are an active member of the ANC properly, you would know what kind of candidate would be welcomed to this community. But because we don’t have branches of that kind, we had to get into these measures,” he said.

He said that the renewal process of the ANC was necessary, but it was going to be painful as a lot of people would be heavily affected.

The renewal process would, among others, leave people by the wayside, especially those who were not of the calibre the party wanted, Mbeki said.

“It’s going to be a very painful process because there are people who are very good at toyi-toying [protesting] and singing ANC songs – “viva” 20 thousand times – but are not ANC,” he said to applause.

“And the problem with that is that it’s not just the ANC problem, it becomes a national problem because the ANC with its weight and size, this is a governing party and if it misbehaves it has a very negative impact on the country,” he said.

TimesLIVE

Horror man beats wife to coma for denying him s.e.x

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Horror man beats wife to coma for denying him s.e.x. While a woman fights for her life in the intensive care unit, her family is horrified the man they allege almost killed her is walking free. The suspect was released on bail, which has infuriated the family.

The 28-year-old from Thabaleshoba Village outside Mokopane, Limpopo, was beaten to a pulp and left for dead, n@ked on the street on 21 September, allegedly by her boyfriend. She was beaten with a rock, allegedly after she denied her boyfriend s.e.x because he was drunk. He allegedly started assaulting her in their house, and continued outside after she fled through a window.

Her sister (37) said she feared the suspect would go to the hospital to finish her off. “She could be on her deathbed, but the suspect is already roaming the streets. We plead with the justice system to send him back to jail,” she said.

A witness said she tried to calm the situation but ended up watching helplessly as the suspect allegedly became increasingly violent. “He kept beating her until she fell to the ground on the road. Then he ran away. I’m frustrated as he might come back for me,” she said.

NPA spokeswoman Mashudu Malabi-Dzangi said the suspect was released on bail and would appear in court on 3 November. “The suspect is also prohibited from committing further offences or going to the village where the complainant resides.

“He was given bail on his second court appearance last week. The investigative officer was requested to get his profile so we can revoke bail, should it be found at a later stage that he has other cases,” Malabi-Dzangi said.

Zimbabweans criticised for taking SA Govt to court over exemption permits

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Mabhena Nqabutho

Some Zimbabwean nationals based in South Africa have criticised their compatriots who recently took that government to court, asking to be declared permanent residents as their Zimbabwe Exemption Permits expire on 31 December 2021.

The group which took the SA government to court falls under the Zimbabwean Exemption Permit Holders Association, which reportedly represents about 250 000 Zimbabweans.


They asked the Gauteng High Court to direct the Minister of Home Affairs to issue them with South African ID documents on the grounds that they are permanent residents in terms of the Immigration Act read together with the Identification Act.

They also asked the court to review and set aside the decision by Home Affairs not to renew residency permits “knowing that the holders of the permit have known no other home besides South Africa for more than 10 years”.

However, Chairperson of the Zimbabwe Community in South Africa, Ngabutho Nicholas Mabhena, believes this is not a wise move, as they expect an announcement from the government anytime from now to renew the exemption permits.

Mabhena asserted that the documentation of Zimbabweans in South Africa has always been a product of negotiations and not through litigation. He said:

We respect the decision of those that have taken the South African government to court even though we do not agree with them because the timing is wrong.

We have been negotiating since 2002 when the South African government agreed to issue Zimbabweans with asylum documents.

In 2010, Zimbabweans were issued with special permits which were renewed in 2014 and 2017. Now they are to expire on December 31, 2021.

All over these years, it has been through negotiations for the South African government to renew these permits.

We don’t think it’s a wise move at this late stage when we anticipate that an announcement is going to be made soon, for anyone to approach the courts.

They should have waited for the South African government to make an announcement on the future of these permits before considering going to court.

Mabhena is also a member of the executive committee of the African Diaspora Forum (ADF), a pro-migrant organisation.

More: CITE

Full Text: King Mswati 111 cornered into a national dialogue

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King Mswati 111

Swaziland has been burning for almost a year as Swazis demonstrate against the rule of the Monarchy calling for the opening of democratic space in the Kingdom.

Police and soldiers had running battles with citizens who took their frustration to the streets against the polygamous King Mswati 111. Chairperson of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Co-operation, Cyril Ramaphosa, President of the Republic of South Africa was compelled to intervene which resulted in a commitment to dialogue between the stakeholders involved. The world is wondering if this would mark the end of the only remaining absolute Monarchy.

South Africa Observer presents below the full statement by Ramaphosa over the impending dialogue:

STATEMENT BY THE CHAIRPERSON OF THE SADC ORGAN ON POLITICS, DEFENCE AND SECURITY COOPERATION, HIS EXCELLENCY MATAMELA CYRIL RAMAPHOSA, PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF SOUTH AFRICA, REGARDING THE MISSION OF THE SPECIAL ENVOY TO THE KINGDOM OF ESWATINI

  1. Following the escalation of civil unrest in the Kingdom of Eswatini, as the Chairperson of the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Co-operation, I deployed, Mr Jeff Radebe former Minister in the President’s Office, as my Special Envoy supported by representatives of the Republics of Namibia, and Botswana as the In-coming and Out-going Chair of the Organ respectively, assisted by the SADC Secretariat, to Eswatini on 21-22 October 2021.
  2. The Special Envoy paid a courtesy call on His Majesty, King Mswati III. Subsequently, amongst others, the Special Envoy met with members of Cabinet led by the Honourable Cleopas Sipho Dlamini, the Prime Minister, members of the Diplomatic Corps, civil society organizations, Members of Parliament, trade unions and members of the all society in Eswatini.
  3. During the engagements, all stakeholders agreed that the conduct of national dialogue should be the appropriate platform to address the current challenges facing the country. In this regard, they recognised the need for a peaceful and conducive environment for the dialogue to take place.
  4. In view of the fact that His Majesty King Mswati III has accepted the need for national dialogue, as announced by the INDVUNA YELULUDZIDZINI, on His Majesty’s behalf, it is in this context and development that I appeal for calm, restraint, the respect for the rule of law and human rights on all sides to enable the process to commence.
  5. I wish to reaffirm SADC’s solidarity and support to the people and Government of Eswatini towards the achievement of practical and sustainable solutions to enable peace to prevail in the country.

H.E. Matamela Cyril Ramaphosa

Chairperson of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Co-operation

PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA

22 OCTOBER 2021

King Mswati’s wives

Police rescue 11 kidnapped Ethiopians from Johannesburg storage facility

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Suspected Ethiopian extortionists have been bust in Johannesburg for kidnapping fellow countrymen across SA.  

Western Cape detectives and their Gauteng counterparts rescued 11 men from a storage facility in Meadowlands during a raid early on Friday.

Police spokesperson Col Andrè Traut said five of the victims were kidnapped in different parts of the Western Cape.

“The unrelenting efforts of Western Cape detectives to fight extortion in this province were rewarded with the arrest of two suspects during the early hours of yesterday morning in Meadowlands, Johannesburg,” Traut said on Saturday.

“An intensive investigation into the circumstances of a kidnapping case where an Ethiopian national was kidnapped in Harare [in Khayelitsha] on September 16 led detectives to Gauteng where they continued their search for the victim following demands for ransom for the victim’s safe return.

“In Gauteng our detectives partnered with Meadowlands police and conducted a raid at a storage facility in Hennessey Street in Meadowlands where a total of 11 kidnapped Ethiopian males were found.

“Five of the 11 victims are from the Western Cape. Two were kidnapped in Harare, two in Paarl and one in Worcester. The other six victims are from other provinces, and they were reunited with their respective families.”

Traut said the victims have been reunited with their families.

He said two Ethiopian suspects, aged 20 and 23, “who were guarding the storage facility at the time of the raid were arrested and detained”. He said they would appear in court on Monday then be taken to the Western Cape.

“The circumstances surrounding the extortion and kidnapping cases are still under investigation and the identities of the victims are not disclosed at this premature stage,” said Traut.

–TimesLIVE  

‘Please Call Me’ inventor wins new round in Vodacom case

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Public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane ruled in favour of ‘Please Call Me’ inventor Nkosana Makate, above. Image: SUNDAY TIMES

Public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane has found the auditors regulatory body guilty of maladministration in a complaint brought by the “Please Call Me” inventor.

Nkosana Makate, who is embroiled in a legal battle with Vodacom over the cellphone feature, asked Mkhwebane to investigate the Independent Regulatory Board for Auditors (Irba).

Makate accused the regulator of delay in finalising a complaint he had lodged with it in 2018, relating to the Vodacom matter. Makate reported the regulator to the public protector in January 2020.

He said he had asked the regulator to investigate the “liability disclosure of Vodacom (Pty) Ltd with regard to the ‘Please Call Me’ matter”.

Makate, among others, asked Irba to investigate “possible misstatement in the audited annual financial statements  of Vodacom … relating to the extent of liabilities disclosed”. He also asked the regulator to investigate “concealment of possible criminality to the detriment of shareholders, such as investors, pension funds” … and “misleading statements contained in Vodacom’s pre-listing statement [prospectus]”.

Makate said the regulator failed to provide him with regular feedback after he made the complaint. He said it did not give him “specific time frames upon which his complaint would be finalised”.

Mkhwebane ruled in Makate’s favour.

“We found that … there was an undue delay on the part of the Irba to finalise their investigation into Mr Makate’s complaint,” Mkhwebane said.

“It is, however, acknowledged that the investigation — from the time the matter was allocated to the senior investigator for investigation — was conducted and finalised within a reasonable period. The plan was approved or confirmed by the board during April 2020 and the investigation was concluded on 14 January 2021. That is nine months. However, the Irba failed to allocate the file to the investigator within a reasonable time. The file was only allocated after more than 22 months. That was close to two years of receipt of the complaint. Such a long delay is considered unreasonable, and constitutes maladministration.”

Mkhwebane criticised the regulator for a lack of “adequate internal processes and service standards in which investigation timelines are prescribed”. She said the regulator failed to “implement proper processes to ensure speedy resolution of complaints”.

“The Irba failed to provide Mr Makate with regular feedback on his complaint,” said Mkhwebane.

“He only got feedback upon inquiry about the progress of the investigation, or when negative media/social media communications came up. The Irba’s system of allocating files annually to the investigators is another contributing factor causing undue delay in finalising investigation files.”

As a remedy, Mkhwebane said Irba acting CEO Imre Nagy must develop a standard operating procedure manual and service standards to enhance the regulator’s rules when conducting investigations within 90 days. She said these should go together with “prescribed timelines within which the investigations should be conducted to ensure continuous communication with complainants and to ensure speedy resolution and turnaround time for complaints”.

Mkhwebane said the finance minister and the Irba must take “cognisance of the envisaged remedial action”.

TimesLIVE

‘Recipe For War’ – Ramaphosa Deploys Envoys To Eswatini To Help Stem Unrest

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King Mswatie and his 15th wife

SOUTHERN African countries have deployed envoys to Eswatini, formerly known as Swaziland, to try to stem the unrest that saw one person killed and at least 80 people wounded by security forces in the latest wave of pro-democracy protests.

The demonstrations in the kingdom have flared up recently, months after authorities loyal to the country’s absolute monarch quashed an earlier round of demonstrations.

President Cyril Ramaphosa, who currently chairs the security organ of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), ordered high-level envoys to fly to Eswatini on Wednesday to meet King Mswati III to discuss “security and political developments”.

The delegation includes Jeffrey Radebe, a former government minister and Candith Mashego-Dlamini, deputy minister of international relations and cooperation, as well as representatives from Botswana and Namibia.

The envoys will be accompanied by SADC Executive Secretary Elias Magosi and other senior SADC officials.

Ramaphosa spoke with the king by telephone as the violence escalated, Pretoria’s high commission said in a statement.

Gunfire was heard into the night on Wednesday in the Eswatini capital Mbabane, and the civil servants’ union NAPSAWU said at least one man had been shot dead earlier in the day.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called Monday on authorities in Eswatini to respect the rights of children after schools were closed and a new wave of protests against Africa’s last absolute monarchy was suppressed.

Oscar Nkambule, the president of the union, told the AFP news agency:

The army and the police killed one person at about 3pm (13:00 GMT) today.

Fifty of its members were taken to hospital in Mbabane, with another 30 admitted to hospital in the city of Manzini, including some with gunshot wounds, he added.

Hundreds of soldiers and police began fanning through both cities early in the day, firing tear gas at even small gatherings of people and unleashing volleys of rubber-coated bullets, AFP reported.

The kingdom again shut down the internet as images of the violence began circulating on social media.

Nkambule said that the violence began about 07:00 (05:00 GMT) and accused security forces of firing tear gas into a bus carrying protesting workers.

Videos shared online showed people jumping from the windows of a bus enveloped in white gas.

The internet went offline at 12:00, as students, transport workers and civil servants extended protests that have ground the tiny nation to a halt for more than two weeks.

Wonder Mkhonza, head of the Amalgamated Trade Union of Swaziland said:

“The king is fighting for a war, he is making the country ungovernable by deploying the armed forces.”

The internet shutdown made it difficult to share information about the protests, or to alert the families of the wounded and dead.

Heavily armed soldiers and police were seen on the streets, while one Mbabane high school caught fire, sending plumes of smoke billowing over the city.

At least 29 people have now died this year as police clashed with protesters in some of the worst unrest in the southern African country’s history.

King Mswati III has ruled the landlocked nation since 1986 and owns shares in all of the country’s telecoms.

He is criticised for living a lavish lifestyle in one of the world’s poorest countries and is also accused of stifling political parties.

News24

Investigating officer revelling in victory after killer cop Nomia Rosemary Ndlovu’s guilty verdict

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Sgt Keshi Benneth Mabunda and prosecutor Riana Williams received praise from judge Ramarumo Monama for the watertight case they produced

The police officer who got the ball rolling on ending serial killer Nomia Rosemary Ndlovu’s murder spree admitted on Friday there were times when he thought he wouldn’t nab her.

“I started working on this case in 2015. There would be a time when I would leave the file for two or three months, but then something would stir in me, saying, ‘Let me do something on this case’,” said Sgt Keshi Benneth Mabunda.

On Friday, his hard work paid off and he beamed with pride after Ndlovu was found guilty of killing six of her loved ones, including family members and her lover Maurice Mabasa.

The six were killed between 2012 and 2018, apparently for funeral and life insurance cover Ndlovu had taken out on them.

She was also found guilty of conspiracy to murder her sister Joyce and her five children and the attempted murder of her mother, Maria Mushwana.

The 46-year-old former police officer was also found guilty of  defeating the ends of justice and defrauding four insurance companies.

Earlier in the trial, SowetanLIVE’s sister publication TimesLIVE reported how Mabunda had explained that his suspicions around Ndlovu were raised when he saw her walk into an office opposite his carrying a pile of insurance policies she needed signatures on so she could submit insurance claims.

After years of hard work, Mabunda and the prosecutor in the case, Riana Williams, received praise from judge Ramarumo Monama for the watertight case they produced. 

Monama said had it not been for Mabunda, “the files would have been in the police station gathering dust”.

Mabunda and Williams made a formidable team, with Mabunda acting as the prosecutor’s right hand. The two would arrive at court with bags of documents, and steered each other through witness after witness.

Monama also thanked Ndlovu’s defence attorney, Vincent Soko, saying he was aware there were times when he looked like he wanted to give up.

The legal aid lawyer waded through the case, taking instructions from Ndlovu after each witness.

Despite her shaky testimony and questionable version of events, Soko last week stood before the court and pleaded for the charges to be dismissed, saying the state had provided only circumstantial evidence.

Seated in court on Friday were Ndlovu’s brother Director and Mabasa’s brother-in-law Justice. 

After the guilty verdict, an undoubtedly troubled Director tapped his foot, took out his phone and fiddled, trying to contain his emotions.

Justice said that for him and his family, Ndlovu was heading to jail carrying deep, troubling and dark secrets. Where did Maurice draw his last breath, and who were the people who had his blood on their hands?

He does not believe Ndlovu had acted alone when killing his brother, and neither does he believe the spot where they found his butchered body was the place where he died.

The National Prosecuting Authority welcomed the convictions, with spokesperson Phindi Mjonondwana saying they were hopeful the court would not deviate from the prescribed minimum sentence of a life term for each of the murder counts. 

If Mabunda has his way, this isn’t the last time Ndlovu will stand in the dock and hear the word “guilty” pronounced against her. 

Ndlovu allegedly ordered a hit on Mabunda in 2018 following her arrest. This plot was brought to the fore by one of the hitmen who Ndlovu had initially recruited to kill her sister. They agreed to carry out the killing, but turned to police instead.

The hitman learnt of plans Ndlovu was hatching from behind bars to have the investigating officer killed, allegedly believing he was the main reason she had been denied bail at the time.

For this, Ndlovu will face yet another criminal trial. 

While the court only convicted Ndlovu of the six killings involving her sister, her cousin, two of her nephews, her niece and her lover, Mabunda told TimesLIVE there could be more victims.

He was planning to head back to the drawing board to reopen other cases which may see Ndlovu face more criminal charges.

Ndlovu needs to prepare for a different life behind bars. After being kept as an awaiting trial prisoner for more than three years, she will soon make the switch to join other convicted criminals.

The former police officer, who was known to be generous and a fan of slot machines by her colleagues, was composed as she stood in the dock, hearing the guilty verdicts land one after the other.

In the absence of her acknowledging she played any part in killing the six, she has never apologised for her crimes. 

Justice, however, said an apology would never be enough, nor acceptable, for what she had done.

Monama highlighted the uniqueness and shocking nature of the case, saying the last the country had ever heard of something like this was 89 years ago when a nurse killed her two husbands and her son through poisoning.

Ndlovu returns to court on November 5 for pre-sentencing proceedings. 

TimesLIVE

ANC is on the Right path now, Motlanthe tells disgruntled voters

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Mohlante

Former president, and head of the ANC’s electoral committee Kgalema Motlanthe believes the ruling party is on a better path now than it was in 2017 — when he said it would have been best if it hit rock bottom and lost the national elections. 

He made the remarks on Friday while campaigning in Refilwe, Tshwane, where he urged disgruntled community members to give the ruling party another chance when they head to the polls on November 1. 

In an interview with BBC Africa, four years ago, Motlanthe said the ANC had become “associated” with corruption, and it had to lose the elections for the “penny to drop”. Asked on Friday if he shared the same sentiments now and if that was the message he would send to the electorate, he responded, “No”.

“2017 was a different time and place, and the context was quite different. This is 2021 now. The ANC is on the Right path of renewing itself. That is why we are here to say the electorate must give the ANC a chance. And the ANC will be able to meet its basic demands,” he said.

Motlanthe was accompanied by home affairs minister Aaron Motsoaledi and Gauteng education MEC Panyaza Lesufi. During a door-to-door campaign, community members did not mince their words as they expressed anger over unemployment, lack of service delivery and corruption, among other grievances.  They also took issue with ward councillors allegedly being imposed on them. 

“I hear everything you are saying, but I will never vote for the ANC. I don’t even know this person [ward councillor]. I will only vote for people I have seen, that walk on the same ground as I am, people that struggle the same way I do,” said an elderly resident, Anna Monama.

Some residents threatened that if disputes were not resolved soon, they would boycott the party.

“We don’t want this candidate. He was fraudulently placed on the list. We don’t know him,” one said.

Another added: “This is the reason why the DA won [Tshwane] in 2016. We want to vote for the ANC and we are working hard to correct this, but we can’t do it without your support. Please fix this thing.”

Responding to this, Motlanthe assured residents that disputes would be dealt with shortly after the elections.

“We have set a deadline of November 15 for the provincial list committee to resolve the disputes. If you are still unsatisfied, you can then appeal to the national electoral committee,” he said, adding that these disputes would be resolved by November 30.

Motsoaledi echoed similar sentiments. 

“We heard you and we understand. The problem we have is that there is nothing in the world we can do now to change the candidate list,” he said.

The party has been on a mission to resolve disputes which have led to violence and killings, in some instances.

The party’s head of elections, Fikile Mbalula, said if these problems were not resolved amicably, the ANC might as well kiss its chances of wresting the city from opposition control goodbye.

–TimesLIVE

ActionSA loses court bid to have its name on ballot papers

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ActionSA leader Herman Mashaba

The Electoral Court has ruled against ActionSA in its bid to have its name added to the ballot papers being used for the November 1 local government elections. 

The party expressed its dismay on Friday and vowed to continue its efforts to be visible to supporters.

“While we are disappointed by the outcome, ActionSA is dedicated to the rule of law and we respect the outcome of the court and the experience of the jurists who presided over our matter,” said party president Herman Mashaba.

“While our focus has been unfalteringly on the campaign, our attention turns to the extraordinary measures we will implement to ensure voters are able to locate ActionSA on the ballot papers.”

TimesLIVE previously reported the case arose after the party realised its name had been omitted from the ballot papers

It can only be identified by its logo — a predicament in which 14 other political parties find themselves.

Explaining this, the Electoral Commission said it was the party’s fault as it failed to submit an abbreviated name when it first registered as a party.

-TimesLIVE

Ex-cop Nomia Rosemary Ndlovu found guilty of killing relatives and boyfriend

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Former police officer Nomia Rosemary Ndlovu

Former police officer Nomia Rosemary Ndlovu has been found guilty of killing her five relatives and boyfriend and cashing in on their life insurance policies to the tune of R1.4m. 

Nldovu was also found guilty of defeating the ends of justice, defrauding Clientele, 1 life, Old Mutual and Assupol insurance companies,  incitement (hiring someone to kill her sister Joyce and her five children)  and the attempted murder of her mother Maria Mushwana. 

Ndlovu was found guilty of killing her boyfriend Maurice Mabasa, whose body had more than 80 stab wounds in October 2015, her cousin Witness Madala Homu, who was found with head injuries in March 2012, and her sister Audrey, who was found poisoned and strangled  in her rented room in Tembisa in June 2013.

She’s also guilty of killing her niece Zanele Motha who died after apparently being involved in a hit-and-run accident in Kempton Park in June 2016,  her nephew Mayeni Mashaba, who died in April 2017, on the same day he had arranged to meet Ndlovu in Daveyton on the East Rand.

Ndlovu’s last alleged victim was her nephew Brilliant Mashego, who was Audrey’s son. He died in January 2018 after allegedly meeting Ndlovu in Mbombela.

Handing down judgment in the high court in Johannesburg sitting in the Palm Ridge magistrate’s court, judge Ramarumo Monama  said one of the reasons that led to him finding Ndlovu guilty was, in each of the murders, she always seemed to be the last person to be seen with the deceased. 

He further said that Ndlovu also introduced the term “inkabi” to the court proceedings’ lexicon. 

“The speed with which she launched the claims after people have died corroborated with the evidence by would-be hitmen that she always promised to pay them once she had put in the insurance claims,” said Monama. 

Monama highlighted several similarities in the events that led to the deaths of the victims such as in the murders of Mashaba and Mashego. 

The  case was postponed to November 5 for pre-sentencing proceedings.

EFF will not only take over the wine farms in Stellenbosch, it will drink the wine, says Malema

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EFF leader Julius Malema delivers an address, 08 October 2021, in Ward 38 in the Madibeng Municipality, North West Province, during the political party’s election campaign. Picture: Alaister Russell/The Sunday Times

EFF leader Julius Malema has promised to get a new home for a blind Kayamandi woman who told the firebrand leader of her daily struggles living in a shack on a steep location and the risks this posed to her wellbeing.

Malema instructed the EFF leadership in the Western Cape to identify a house for sale, within a week, that the party could buy and modify to suit Bukelwa Sikhexe’s disability.

“I want to hear in the next week that we found a house that they are selling and not building. The one they are selling, we will buy it ready for her, and convert it properly to accommodate her disability,” said Malema at the end of a 48-minute fiery campaign speech.

He said it wouldn’t be right for someone facing such struggles to speak directly to a leader of a political organisation and for that leader to leave like they didn’t hear anything.

“Then you are no leader at all, you are pretentious,” he said.

While Sikhexe had told Malema of the risks she faced walking around while blind in her home, she had specifically asked him for fencing as she feared for her safety.

Malema took the EFF election campaign to the DA heartland of Stellenbosch on Thursday, addressing more than 1,000 supporters who had gathered to hear him speak in Kayamandi, a township outside the town.

The DA governs Stellenbosch – one of SA’s richest municipalities – with a 78% majority attained in August 2016. The EFF could only muster 3.7% of the vote five years ago, but Malema told supporters he would be happy if the party garnered five more votes than the last time.

Were the party to win on November 1, it would bring about a number of changes, according to Malema.

“Stellenbosch is a racist town and we want to change it because white people are very scared of the EFF,” he said. “Once the EFF comes into Stellenbosch, we are going to change it to a better place for all, whether you are white, whether you are coloured, Indian or African. The EFF wants people to stay together as one and respect one another.

“We don’t have problems with white people. We have a problem with white supremacy and white arrogance. We hit it on the head with a five pound hammer when we see it. We are not scared of white people and they know that very well.”

Among the changes the EFF would bring is expropriating farms belonging to white people.

“These wine farms, they are ours. Sizakuyisela le wine [we will drink this wine],” he said.

“We are going to take these farms and drink the wine. We must relax properly on those farms. When we take the land, they must know we want all of our land, including the dagga that comes with the land, it belongs to us. And when we take over SA, expropriation of land without compensation is going to start here because this is where they started stealing SA,” he said.

The EFF would also bring services to Kayamandi and ensure that it eradicates shacks and build proper houses with three bedrooms, a lounge, a dining room, kitchen and a flushing toilet, he said.

“Because only animals don’t have flushing toilets. The ANC and DA treats us like animals.”

Malema said water would also be among the priorities for an EFF government, as there would be no flushing toilets if there is no water.

“We need water, we need electricity and we must not wait for houses to get electricity. You can put electricity in each and every shack because our people need electricity not tomorrow, they want it manje [now] because our children can’t go an study under a street light.

“That is so painful. We need everyone to have electricity.”

He said Eskom could provide electricity to every household not only in SA but in the SA Development Community region. The power utility could install meter boxes. Everyone would buy electricity and that way, Eskom would make money and no longer be bankrupt, he said.

Poor people would be exempt from paying for electricity and water.

Malema said it didn’t make sense for the government to give people social grants because they were poor, and on the other hand charge them for water and electricity.

An EFF government would automatically exempt the people who receive SA Social Service Agency [Sassa] grants from paying for these services, he said.

“They are saying you are poor, here is R350, we are helping you to feed the kids but at month end, they give you a bill of R550 for water and electricity. They take the whole money and you still owe them, we don’t want that,” he said.

Malema also decried the deployment of unqualified, politically connected cadres.

Under an EFF government, red berets would not get anyone a position.

“We hire everyone – ANC, DA, EFF as long as you are South African and qualified, you will get the job.”

Malema said cadres have destroyed municipalities all over SA. “The problem of water is not a God [created] problem, it’s a problem of people who don’t know what they are doing,” he said.

He said it didn’t make sense that people who live in Camps Bay, where houses are built on the mountain, could have water, yet where it should be cheaper and easier to bring water, like in Kayamandi, it was a struggle to get such services.

Blaming apartheid would also not cut it, as the ANC government has been building houses since 1994, he said.

–TimesLIVE

‘Ramaphosa has forgotten about us,’ say Soweto residents after postponed visit

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ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa in Soweto on the local government elections campaign trail on September 18. Image: Thapelo Morebudi

But the lights are back on

Soweto residents are demanding answers from ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa who indefinitely postponed a scheduled visit last week Thursday at the eleventh hour, citing “pressing matters requiring the president’s attention”.

Ramaphosa was scheduled to return to Nomzamo Informal Settlement, Naledi and Chiawelo. It was thought that he was going to give the community feedback on their electricity issue which they had raised with him.

During his local government elections campaign on September 18, Ramaphosa promised residents that Eskom would attend to the rolling blackouts which left them in the dark for months. On that day, Ramaphosa received a hostile reception from the community but he managed to quell their frustration.

“On the whole, the matter of electricity was dealt with. We are going to ensure that Eskom does restore electricity. Some of the transformers have blown up and those are the technical issues that Eskom is going to deal with and we are going to be working together to make sure that Eskom deals with it,” said Ramaphosa on that Saturday. He promised to return to the community with an update.

The next week, the Sunday Times returned to check that Ramaphosa had fulfilled his promise of sending a team from Eskom to replace transformers – and found that work was under way to restore power.

Residents told TimesLIVE that they suspected that Ramaphosa did not come because there was a service delivery protest in Orlando East on the day of that scheduled visit. Gauteng police spokesperson Lt-Col Mavela Masondo confirmed this, saying: “There was a service delivery protest in Soweto’s Orlando East. The residents blockaded Sofasonke and Mooki Streets with burning tires and rocks. The police were able to disperse the crowd.””

However, ANC national spokesperson Pule Mabe said, “It’s not true. There was just a clash in commitments.”

One of the residents who were visited by Ramaphosa on the first day of his local government elections campaign, Nozibonele Mjuqu, said he was disappointed Ramaphosa did not show up.

“I received a call that he was supposed to come to us but he got sidetracked by the people who were protesting in Orlando. The community was striking there because they did not have electricity.”

While Mjuqu was disappointed that Ramaphosa did not honour his promise to return, he said he was pleased that some houses in the area now had lights. “Now all that needs to be done are the electricity boxes that they promised, but the lights are coming on. There are still a lot of houses that need to be switched on, so we have hope that he will come back.”

Mjugu said the electricity that had been installed was not strong enough. “We cannot cook, we don’t know whether that is a temporary measure because these people (Eskom), are slow,” he said.

In Naledi, Kabelo Mogosana said residents were still in the dark. “Ramaphosa was supposed to come but he didn’t and even now we still don’t have electricity. It has been four months now.”

Mogosana said the community was told that “Ramaphosa had personal issues that he needed to attend to. Last week Gauteng premier David Makhura came and he promised that we would have electricity by the end of last week. But we still have not heard from them and we don’t have electricity.”

The 29-year-old man said he had seen Ramaphosa campaigning in other towns, “but he has forgotten about us”.

“The elections are coming, we are not going to vote for the ANC, we want to give other parties a chance.”

Mogosana said the community is planning to close all the voting stations in the area until Eskom switches on the lights.

In Chiawelo, Victor Mamoremi said the community gathered at a school called Gazankulu Primary School, which is a stone throw away from Ramaphosa’s family home. “We were expecting that he was going to come back to tell us what Eskom is doing about the electricity situation but we saw him in Pretoria the next day.”

He said the community has made a decision that “they will not be ruled by a youngster”. Mamoremi was referring to the candidate councillor who will represent the community after the November 1.

“We have accepted that we will not be ruled by a youngster who does not even understand politics. We asked him what he is going to do about the 1994 issue when we applied for RDP houses. He told us that he was still in crèche in 1994, he cannot do anything for the people, what the hell is that? He does not know anything about politics.”

Mamoremi said at least Ramaphosa kept his promise to get residents electricity. “They brought us a new transformer, connected it and now we have electricity. There are [only] about eight houses around ward 11 that don’t have electricity.”

Now all the community wants, he said, is to cast their vote on November 1. “I am not going to vote for the ANC, I am voting for another party. I would rather give my vote to mayor Herman Mashaba (ActionSA) and give my councillor (vote) to the EFF. I am bored and I am not going to be ruled by someone who knows nothing about politics.”

TimesLIVE

250 000 Zimbabweans on special permits seek South African citizenship

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Advocate Simba Chitando

JOHANNESBURG – Nearly a quarter of a million Zimbabweans who were issued temporary residence permits in South Africa since 2009 are asking a court to grant them permanent residence, a pathway to citizenship.
Ahead of the expiry of the permits in November, the Zimbabweans are challenging the government position that the permits do not entitle the holder to apply for permanent residence in South Africa.
Under South Africa’s immigration law, foreigners can apply for South African citizenship through naturalisation if they have held a permanent residence permit for at least five years.
In April 2009, South Africa’s cabinet approved what was known as the Dispensation of Zimbabweans Project (DZP) in a bid to document Zimbabweans living and working illegally in Africa’s most industrialised nation.
Some 295 000 Zimbabweans applied for the five-year permits and just over 245 000 were issued, allowing permit holders to work, conduct business and study in South Africa.
Those permits started expiring in December 2014, prompting the government to introduce a new permit scheme called the Zimbabwean Special Dispensation Permits (ZSPs), which were valid for three years.
Nearly 198 000 ZSPs were issued, according to the Department of Home Affairs. When the ZSPs expired in 2017 they were replaced by Zimbabwean Exemption Permits, or ZEPs.
Advocate Simba Chitando, a lawyer for the Zimbabwean Exemption Permit Holders Association said: “The problem faced by many hundreds of thousands of Zimbabweans in South Africa is that they have been here for 10 years or longer under a variety of different permits, and it is generally conceded that they make a huge contribution to the South African economy, yet these permits do not allow them to enjoy the benefits that come with permanent residence, such as full access to banking facilities, or the right to accumulate pension savings.
“We argue that it is past time to grant permanent residence to those Zimbabweans who have been living and working in South Africa in a kind of no-man’s land. We believe it is reasonable to expect to be granted permanent residence when the ZEPs expire, which they do in November 2021.”
In a landmark case now before the Gauteng High Court, the Zimbabweans are asking the court to direct the minister of home affairs to issue them with South African ID documents on the grounds that they are permanent residents of South Africa in terms of the Immigration Act read together with the Identification Act.
They are also asking the court to review and set aside the decision by the department of home affairs not to renew residency permits “knowing that the holders of the permit have known no other home besides South Africa for more than 10 years”.
This decision was unconscionable, irrational, unreasonable and unconstitutional, according to the court papers.
Zimbabwean Exemption Permit holders have a constitutional right to an equal path to citizenship in South Africa, and that right is being withheld, the association says.
“It is further submitted that the holders of Zimbabwean Exemption Permits have a legitimate expectation for the renewal of their current permit, and for permanent residence, without any further conditions, and the right to apply for citizenship in the Republic of South Africa,” the Zimbabweans say.

— Zimlive.

Dr. Kiwanga boosted my bedroom performance to another level

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I am Brian from Nyeri County. The problem of having low libido had really became a menace in my life each time we had sexual intercourse with her she frequently complained she never reached her climax reason being my game was so low due to the low libido problem that I had.
What really shocked me is that things started becoming amiss just after I had gotten my new catch. Due to this she never had that much respect to me as she would say each time I left her hanging due to sexual urge she had.
As time went by, I started having thoughts of separating her since it was really a shameful thing not to meet your lover’s sexual needs. My plans of marrying her faded day by day as I told myself there was no need to even live together as one of marriage essentials needs was to meet each party sexual needs which I was a toddler in. However when I was reading online on ways to improve my sexual drive, I came through a testimonial of a man who was healed by a person named Dr Kiwanga.
According to the man, by the help of Dr Kiwanga herbal medications which he drank, he was able to revive his sexual game once more. The low libido problem he had been undergoing for a long time was no more as at times he even lasted for long hours having sex unlike before. I contacted Dr Kiwanga where I had gotten his number from the testimonial where I contacted him without hesitation. He gave me an appointment later. I visited his office where he gave me the same concoction which really had some impact as I felt. After I went back home we had sex
with my lover and unbelievably I stayed having sex for quite long than before which was clear indication Dr Kiwanga had solved my problems. I later contacted him to thank him for his assistance. Dr Kiwanga does a diagnosis on his clients by asking few questions to really understand clients’ problems and the right way to handle them unlike other herbal doctors. Many others who have been assisted by Dr Kiwanga say they have received powerful healing and now more to their daily life activities with nothing that really disturb them. He further solves life challenges like love issues, family problems, hardships in business, increase your luck in areas like winning lottery games and court cases, promotions at work and casting of dreadful nightmares which may be acting as a barricade to your daily sleep. His main
attribute is distance healing. Do not be limited with the geographical location you are in as they will always detach you to the healing elements.
For consultations call +254769404965 / E-mail kiwangadoctors@gmail.com or visit the website
www.kiwangadoctors.com.

Cheating in exams ‘simply not worth it’, Western Cape education MEC warns matrics

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MEC Debbie Schäfer

Serious repercussions ‘completely outweigh any perceived benefit to cheating’

Western Cape education MEC Debbie Schäfer has issued a stern warning to matric candidates thinking of cheating in the upcoming exams.

In a statement on Thursday, Schäfer said “a serious National Senior Certificate (NSC) exam leak almost led to the rewriting of certain matric exams across the country” last year. She said this illustrates the damage leaking and cheating can do.

Schäfer said cheating could have “far-reaching consequences not just for the learners involved but many others too”.

“We cannot afford a repeat of such a situation this year,” she said.

“Fortunately, there were no incidents of mass cheating in the Western Cape during the November NSC 2020 exams. There were, however, 17 candidates in our province who were disqualified for cheating – seven for possession of unauthorised material (crib notes) and 10 for possession of unauthorised electronic equipment (cellphones).

“Being caught cheating has very serious repercussions for the learner. If found guilty, they could be disqualified from the exam, and even be barred from writing one to three subsequent examinations.

“Criminal prosecution could be instituted, should it be found that the candidate is involved in the leakage of any examination question paper.

“These consequences completely outweigh any perceived benefit to cheating. It is simply not worth it.”

Schäfer said all candidates and their parents are required to sign a commitment which details the rules of the exams and spells out what can happen if they are not followed.

“It also explains that learners who are aware of irregular activities occurring (including leaked papers or questions), but fail to report it, will be considered to have colluded in the cheating. The candidates then sign the NSC Exam Pledge, a voluntary pledge to behave responsibly during the exams and to follow the rules,” she said.

“Candidates caught with unauthorised material, cellphones or engaging in any other irregular behaviour can thus not claim that they didn’t know this was against the rules, or to have ‘forgotten’ they were carrying unauthorised materials or devices.

“Our matrics are old enough to take responsibility for their actions, and old enough to make sure that they follow the rules of the exams.

“Parents too have a responsibility to discuss these matters with their children and make sure that they understand that infringements will have serious consequences.”

Schäfer added: “Our learners have worked extremely hard to get to this point – this is not the time to put this all at risk by breaking the rules. Let’s all work together to make sure our province’s exams proceed smoothly and fairly.”

TimesLIVE

‘Youngest’ self-proclaimed millionaire Sandile Shezi in court for fraud

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Sandile Shezi appeared in court today on charges of fraud

SA’s youngest self-proclaimed millionaire, Sandile Shezi, has appeared in court charged with allegedly defrauding his business partner.

National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) spokesperson Phindi Mjonondwane said Shezi appeared in the Wynberg magistrate’s court on Thursday. His case was postponed to November 24 and he is out on bail.

TimesLIVE reported on Wednesday that Shezi, who has been charged with fraud, handed himself over in the presence of his lawyers on Wednesday. He was charged for allegedly defrauding his business partner and shareholder in his business, Global Forex Institute, (GFI) out of R500,000.

GFI is marketed as a forex trading training institute, which helps people set up their own trading platforms.

A warrant of arrest was issued earlier this month for Shezi, who is reportedly SA’s “youngest millionaire”, and has no qualms about showing off his Mercedes-Benz G-Wagon and Maserati.

–TimesLIVE

Mabuza bemoans challenges worsened by Covid-19 as campaigning continues

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David Mabuza on the campaign trail. Tshwane. 'African National Congress (ANC) Deputy President David Mabuza says he will re-run for his position in the next ANC elective conference should he be voted by the delegates. Mabuza says however, this will entirely depend on the ANC – he won’t impose himself. The ANC 55th national elective conference is set to take place next year. Mabuza is currently in Mamelodi, Pretoria on campaign trail, as the local government elections are fast approaching. He spoke to the media, as he was conducting door to door campaigns in Tshwane. PHOTOGRAPH: ALON SKUY

‘Poverty has deepened, unemployment has grown’


Deputy president David Mabuza says campaigning this year has become so hard, with unemployment and poverty having risen in the country. 

Mabuza, who was speaking during his campaign trail at KaNyamazane outside Mbombela in Mpumalanga on Thursday, also bemoaned factions in the ANC saying through renewal of the organisation factionalism will be ended. 

“This campaign is difficult because the Covid-19 situation has created a serious challenge. A lot of people have lost their livelihood, a lot of companies have closed down, poverty has deepened, unemployment has grown. This is a situation that we understand and [we’re] working on it and I’m sure that once we get our people vaccinated to get our economy working… people will go back to work and SMMEs  will be back on their feet. I’m sure things will be right over time,” said Mabuza. 

He also said the ANC Mpumalanga will have to hold a elective conference to replace him after the elections if the country is not hit by a fourth wave of Covid-19. 

“The situation is the same countrywide because of the lockdown situation, there has not been elective  conferences. I’m sure beyond these elections, if we are not hit by the fourth wave, the province will have to hold a conference so that they can elect a chairperson.

“The ANC is in the process to renew itself, we are trying to deepen unity and I said when we were in Mamelodi that unity is a continuous process… We are mindful of the divisions that are there and we are going to attend to them and they have created a serious problem in the candidate selection process and we are going to attend to that post the elections,” said Mabuza. 

He said the issues raised by communities in KaNyamazane, including houses that were damaged by a storm, would be referred to the relevant authorities. 

Resident Thembi Mashego complained to Mabuza about her house which was damaged by a heavy storm, leaving it with a leaky roof. She said the government had promised to help them repair their homes but that this process was slow.

“My house is leaking when it rains since it was hit by the storm. We want your government to work for us because it seems like we are being lied to,” Mashego said.

Mabuza went to houses listening to people’s concerns and gifting them with ANC regalia including kangas and T-shirts. Using an ANC bakkie with a loudhailer, Mabuza called for the community to vote for the ANC in the municipal elections on November 1.

“People are complaining about houses that were damaged during the heavy storm and I’m going to report this to the provincial government. Also, the issue of crime to the provincial commissioner and also the issue of projects that are being stopped here because of money,” Mabuza said. 

Mbalenhle Mavimbela lands coveted role in The Wife

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The Wife lead stars Mbalenhle Mavimbela and Bonko Khoza with author Dudu Busani-Dube. Image: SUPPLIED

Newcomer Mbalenhle Mavimbela has landed the coveted lead role in new telenovela, The Wife, that’s inspired by Dudu Busani-Dube’s bestselling novel, Hlomu the Wife.

Sowetan can exclusively reveal that Mavimbela, who has appeared in Skeem Saam, will portray the role of Hlomu – a journalist who falls in love with taxi driver Mqhele and finds herself embroiled in his secrets.

Bonko Khoza has been cast as Mqhele. He previously starred in Necktie YouthProfessionals and Roots.

“When I found out Hlomu the Wife was being turned into a series I jumped at the chance to audition,” said Mavimbela.

“Funnily enough, a while back I did a TikTok pretending to be Hlomu the Wife and that I had ‘made it’, not knowing that I would end up playing the character. It was even trending.

“It feels like I’ve been keeping a secret from my fans and followers for months, and I couldn’t even post a hint. I’ve been watching fans ‘casting’ from the sidelines on Twitter and Facebook but haven’t been able to say anything.”

The wife will premiere on Showmax on November 11 and it’s produced by Gugulethu Zuma-Ncube and Pepsi Pokane’s Stained Glass TV, also responsible for UzaloeHostela and Ifalakhe.Image: SUPPLIED

The streaming service has ordered the soap opera for three seasons, each consisting of 40 episodes, and inspired by Busani-Dube’s books Hlomu the WifeZandile the Resolute and Naledi His Love.

The books depict the story of eight brothers from a crime family, but narrated through the lens of the wives they marry.

Kwenzo Ngcobo, Sipho Ndlovu, Abdul Khoza, Mondli Makhoba, Thulane Shange, Linda Majola, Bongani Gumede, Dumisani Dlamini, Siyabonga Shibe and Zikhona Sodlaka complete the star-studded cast.

“I got to spend some time with Mbali and Bonko on set and they are great – new, fresh faces,” said Busani-Dube. “They’ve already developed a chemistry and should do justice to the characters.”

Ncube-Zuma added: “Mbalenhle and Bonko are fairly fresh faces in the industry, there isn’t any one role or character that audiences can instinctively affix to them. As a result, they will truly embody and be known intrinsically as Hlomu and Mqhele. What solidified this decision was their undeniable chemistry, it was just electric.”

Drip Footwear founder Sehoana fears for his life after business partner killed in suspected hit

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Glenda Ndlazi

Glenda Ndlanzi, MD of the footwear company, was shot dead outside her home in Pretoria under mysterious circumstances

The founder of SA’s popular sneaker brand Drip Footwear Lekau Sehoana says he is scared for his life after the murder of his business partner on Monday.

Glenda Ndlanzi, MD of the footwear company, was shot dead outside her home in Pretoria under mysterious circumstances. Nothing was taken from Ndlanzi during the attack.

Sehoana on Wednesday told Sowetan that he was shattered by Ndlanzi’s killing and could not believe she is no  more.  

“I am not OK. I am grieving at the moment. I do not know why this happened and I am confused about it. I also fear for my life because I do not have any answers about this,” said Sehoana. 

Drip Footwear Lekau Sehoana

In a tweet he shared on Wednesday on his Twitter account, Sehoana said: “My life will never be the same… I am shattered.” 

Ndlanzi played a key role in Sehoana’s success and helped him build the brand which many people have been able to identify with. Her murder has left question marks.

According to a source, Ndlanzi was shot in the head in her driveway while attempting to access her place of residence. The gunman fired several shots before he fled the scene without taking any of her valuables.

Oupa Bopape

Gauteng police spokesperson Capt Kay Makhubele confirmed that a case of murder is under investigation and that no arrests have been made. “At the moment, the motive for the murder is something that falls within our investigations but we cannot comment on the matter,” said Makhubela. 

Drip Footwear’s spokesperson Thato Matuka described Ndlanzi as the rock of the brand. 

“She was instrumental in the development, establishment and growth of the Drip brand. Ms Ndlanzi was passionate, loyal and determined to see to building the brand.

“She was astute and sharp-minded, a calm leader and always looked for opportunities to innovate the business and took care of her staff,” said Matuka. 

Matuka said Ndlanzi’s contribution was immense. 

“When Lekau started the business, the only person he could reach out to was Glenda. Her contribution goes as far back as when the business started,” said Matuka.  

“The family is devastated and still in shock. They are trying to understand what is happening and why it happened.”

Matuka said he did not want to speculate on the reason for her killing, saying the family did not want to discuss the nature of her death as yet. He said details pertaining to Ndlanzi’s memorial service will be announced soon and pleaded for the family to be given space to mourn.

DA sets its sights on JB Marks municipality in battle for North West

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DA leader John Steenhuisen

DA leader John Steenhuisen says his party has identified the JB Marks municipality in the North West as a strategic target in the upcoming local government elections.

As he addressed party supporters in Potchefstroom on Thursday afternoon after a full day of campaigning in the town, Steenhuisen said he believed the DA could win the council.

The municipality has been hotly contested between the ANC and the DA. In the 2016 elections, the ANC narrowly won with 50.9% despite turmoil in its own ranks in the previous term, which saw its own members vote with the opposition to fire the mayor.

Steenhuisen’s visit follows that of president Cyril Ramaphosa, who was there to garner support on October 8.

“With your help, we can win here on November 1. In August of 2016, the DA won about 32% of the vote here, just 10% short of being able to form a majority government.

“The ANC went on to win the municipality with the slimmest of margins — 50.9%. Yho! That’s [almost a] fail. Five years later, what have they got to show for these five years in government? Absolutely nothing,” said Steenhuisen.

He said on his campaign trail he had met people who had raw sewerage running through their homes.

Steenhuisen further slammed the ANC over a billboard that claimed the municipality was the best-run in the land.

“That was the most shocking thing I have seen this whole campaign,” said Steenhuisen.

He said if JB Marks was the best-run ANC municipality, then the country was in deep trouble.

“Even the national Cogta minister has this municipality on the list of 64 municipalities which were regarded as dysfunctional. This municipality is one of 26 municipalities in South Africa that is under administration.

“If this is the best the ANC can do, well, that is the best incentive for South Africans around the country to go out and vote for a party that’s going to get things done.”

Steenhuisen said the ANC was making the elections about everything other than service delivery.

“They want to talk about race … They want to make the elections about Mr Ramaphosa. None of that matters.

“ These elections come down to one thing and one thing only — and that’s service delivery. It’s the only thing that matters in local government elections.”

TimesLIVE

Equal Education protesters denounce ANC at Ramaphosa’s Khayelitsha rally

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Protesters labelled the ANC's online-only school application policy as 'anti-black' during a protest against ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa, who was on the election trail in the Cape Flats on Thursday. Image: Esa Alexander

Members of lobby group Equal Education on Thursday infiltrated an ANC election rally in Khayelitsha on the Cape Flats, where party president Cyril Ramaphosa was on the campaign trail.

A group of Equal Education members attempted to stage a protest at an informal settlement in Khayelitsha, brandishing anti-ANC placards. 

The placards read, among other things: “27 years of broken promises, 27 years of unemployment.” Other placards say Ramaphosa’s government “shouldn’t let Covid-19 widen inequality”, while also slamming the online-only school application policy as “anti-black”.

Before addressing a crowd of ANC supporters, Ramaphosa demanded that the Equal Education posters be put down.

“Put down those placards, all of them, including those brown ones. I have read them. Or are these people even sober? They look a lot drunk,” said Ramaphosa in Xhosa.

Earlier, ANC presidency head Sibongile Besani slammed the protesters for invading their rally.

–TimesLIVE

Fidentia fraudster J Arthur Brown a ‘free man’ out on parole

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Arthur Brown has been released on parole. Image: Esa Alexander

Disgraced Fidentia boss J Arthur Brown has been released on parole.

Singabakho Nxumalo, spokesperson for the department of correctional services, said Brown was released from prison on Thursday. The pension fund fraudster has served seven years of his sentence.

“This decision was taken by the correctional supervision and parole board, having assessed Brown’s profile and other material submitted for the purposes of parole consideration,” Nxumalo said in a statement.

“Classified as a first-time offender with a positive support system, Brown’s parole placement is in line with section 73 of the Correctional Services Act. The act determines the minimum period of sentence that must be served before consideration may be given for possible parole placement.”

Nxumalo said Brown was supposed to be released in August 2019 “but he could not be placed on parole at the time as there was a need for further profiling”.

He said Brown takes responsibility for the offences he committed and was remorseful.

“Having completed all the identified programmes as per his correctional sentence plan, Brown was assessed and reports by specialists recommended parole placement,” he said.

“The victim-offender dialogue programme is to continue as there is a need to reach out to all his secondary victims. Brown will complete the remainder of the sentence in the system of community corrections, whereby he is expected to comply with specific set of conditions and will be subjected to supervision until his sentence expires on December 2  2028.

“Critical to highlight, parole forms part of the total rehabilitation programme in correcting offending behaviour and may include continuation of programmes aimed at reintegration while in the system of community corrections.”

TimesLIVE

SA accuses Zim of ‘killing’ Africa trade through Beitbridge truck delays

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HARARE – South Africa has accused Zimbabwe of “killing business” over border delays for haulage trucks at Beitbridge.

Queues stretching for as long as 10 kilometers have developed in South Africa since October 6 after a company awarded a contract to upgrade the border on the Zimbabwean side introduced shock new toll fees without notice.

Zimborders Consortium was granted a US$300 million contract to build new terminal buildings for trucks, buses and light motor vehicles without going to tender. The company has decided to do the construction in phases, with the freight terminal the first to be completed.

The company, headed by an alleged “acolyte” of President Emmerson Mnangagwa, Glynn Cohen, immediately started collecting new access toll fees of up to US$344, depending on the size of the truck.

South Africa’s home affairs minister Aaron Motsoaledi said Zimbabwe did not warn it of the changes, and many drivers were caught by surprise. Zimbabwe’s clearance processes also remained slow, he said.

Motsoaledi said Zimbabwe was making a “mockery” of African trade. Beitbridge is a gateway to other regional markets including Zambia, Malawi and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

“The congestion is being caused by the continued construction on the Zimbabwean side. It looks like their construction has now reached a difficult point without them making any arrangements for parking space, so they don’t allow lots of trucks from South Africa on their side because they have got no parking space where they will process their trucks,” Motsoaledi told eNCA on Tuesday.

“The second thing which has been there for a long time, but becomes worse during the end of the year when lots of people pass, is the absence of the registry clearance on the Zimbabwean side. You know it’s also exacerbated by the unavailability of clearing agents at night. On the South African side, they clear upstream and only require agents and it’s not happening on the Zimbabwean side.

“Thirdly, Zimbabwe has introduced a toll fee of US$201 for small trucks and US$344 for abnormal trucks and they demand this money in cash which means some truck drivers have to park their trucks. We have been negotiating with the Zimbabweans that even if we can’t stop them from levying that, at least they must accept electronic payments and up to October 17 they were still taking cash and we hope things will improve because we have spoken to them.”

Motsoaledi said he had tried several times to call his home affairs counterpart in Zimbabwe, Kazembe Kazembe, “and the response I get is that it has not been successful.”

He blasted: “The situation makes a mockery of the African Union free trade agreement (African Continental Free Trade Area). I’m sure you are aware the African Union signed this Africa free trade agreement with a lot of gusto and it was publicised all over. You know that Beitbridge is the gateway between South Africa and the rest of the continent.

“It’s a mockery that a country can make unilateral measures without even warning us. It’s extremely frustrating and it’s killing business between South Africa and the rest of the continent.

“One was hoping that Zimbabwe will be aware of the implications of the African agreement and what it means, but unfortunately it looks like it’s not so with our neighbours.”

Zimborders Consortium’s concession signed with Zimbabwe says the company will raise the finance for the border upgrade, and then run the facility for 17-and-a-half years while collecting toll fees to recoup its money.

Critics say the project was overpriced, and accuse Zimborders of only raising US$47 million, and then hoping to finance future construction from the toll fees it has rushed to impose.

“This is a huge extraction project that will cause major prejudice to Zimbabwe. Glyn Cohen is amongst a coterie of elite looters that are bleeding Zimbabwe or have bled Zimbabwe, aided and abated by Zanu PF’s patronage system,” claims former finance minister and MDC Alliance vice president Tendai Biti.

He added: “The Beitbridge border project, granted to an acolyte without tender, should not cost more than US$45 million.”

With an average 1,000 trucks passing through Beitbridge daily, and each paying an average US$201, that would translate to about US$73 million every year, or US$1.24 billion in 17 years.

Zimborders has not said how much buses and light motor vehicles will pay as access toll fees when the two outstanding terminals are completed. On average, 3,500 light motor vehicles and 120 buses buses pass through the border daily, which could push Zimborders’ revenues from toll fees alone to well over US$2 billion in the 17 years – a sweet deal.

-ZimLive

Former USA President Trump to launch his own twitter App to rival Zuckerberg ‘social media apps

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Donald Trump

Former USA President Donald Trump to launch his own social media app. The ex-US President says he will launch the app TRUTH Social which he says will ‘stand up to Big Tech’ companies, like the ones he’s already barred from using. It will be created through a new company formed by a merger of the Trump Media and Technology Group and a special acquisition company.

Donald Trump is readying to launch his own social media app early next year, after he was kicked off Twitter and Facebook. It is expected to be released early in 2022.

Trump said in a statement about the launch: “We live in a world where the Taliban has a huge presence on Twitter, yet your favourite American President has been silenced.

“This is unacceptable. I am excited to send out my first TRUTH on TRUTH Social very soon. TMTG was founded with a mission to give a voice to all.

“I’m excited to soon begin sharing my thoughts on TRUTH Social and to fight back against Big Tech.” The social network, set for an initial ‘beta’ launch next month before a full rollout in early 2022, is the first of three stages in the company’s plans.

It will be followed by a subscription video-on-demand service called TMTG+ that will feature entertainment, news and podcasts, according to a news release.

Source – Zimgazette

ANC to release names of Mayoral candidates after elections

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Vice President David Mabuza

Announcing ANC mayoral candidates ahead of the local government elections will only sow divisions in the party.

This is according to deputy president David Mabuza, who said on Wednesday that the party would only announce mayoral candidates after the November 1 election. He said announcing early would only “distract” the party.

“It’s obvious that if you decide on mayoral position before the elections you’re dividing your own people. Others will like the mayor that has been announced, others won’t.

“But it’s irrelevant. To get your people, focus on the campaign and announce [mayoral candidates] later,” he said.

Mabuza said the goal was to “get more focus so that we don’t distract ourselves”.

The ANC has learnt its lesson after it backfired immensely when it announced mayoral candidates in the past.

The party announced Thoko Didiza as its Tshwane mayoral candidate in 2016, leading to violent protests, especially in Atteridgeville, where residents felt Kgosientso “Sputla” Ramokgopa should have been selected.

Asked whether it was not better for people to know which mayor they would be voting in when depositing their ballot papers, Mabuza said what was important was for them to vote for the ANC.

“We have put up the faces of our councillors. They know our councillors, and the mayor is going to come out of those councillors,” Mabuza said.

It remains speculative who will be the face of the party in the municipalities, especially the metros.

In Johannesburg, caretaker mayor Mpho Moerane is seen as a front runner, but the party has flatly refused to confirm that he is its likely choice for mayor. Others have hinted at the possibility of fielding a woman for the country’s economic hub.

The DA is fielding Mpho Phalatse, while Action SA leader Herman Mashaba will stand as the party’s mayor in the city if it wins.

The ANC has also refused to name its mayoral candidate in Tshwane, even though it is going all out to reclaim the metro it lost to the DA in August 2016 — to the point of launching its election manifesto there.

Mabuza has also focused his campaign in Tshwane, and has visited several areas in the past few weeks, including Oliven, Atteridgeville, Soshanguve and Mamelodi.

Though he has visited other parts of the country, including the Free State and Mpumalanga, his sights are set on Tshwane.

Asked why that was the case, he said there was “no real reason”.

“Remember, I’ve been to Limpopo, I’ve been to Mpumalanga, North West, Free State. But I’ve spent most of my time here [in Tshwane]. It’s a metro; we’ve taken a decision that we want all our metros back,” he said.

According to Mabuza, the campaign message he has been delivering in Tshwane has resonated with the residents, whom he said agreed it was time to remove the DA government.

“Our campaign has gained traction. We can see people are now in the mood. They’ve understood that for us to change this situation we need really to take DA out of power. And our commitment, as the ANC, is that we are going to change this situation, come rain or sunshine. Our people’s situation has deteriorated; living here is not good for our people,” Mabuza said.

Tshwane is up for grabs and remains one of the most hotly contested of the three Gauteng metros — along with Johannesburg and Ekurhuleni — with the majority of parties pulling out all the stops for control of the council.

Tshwane has been run by a DA-EFF coalition since 2016, but things have gone south since the two parties fell out after the election of Helen Zille and John Steenhuisen into the higher echelons of power.

The EFF had wanted a quid pro quo arrangement, by which if it voted with the DA in Johannesburg, the DA would return the favour in Tshwane, and vice versa.

When those negotiations broke down, the DA struggled to run Tshwane as the EFF would not vote with it to pass budgets and elect the mayor, among other things, and in Johannesburg that gave the ANC the space to take over the city.

Meanwhile, the ANC has put together a team that will lead interview processes for mayoral candidates. For the eight metros, the team will be led by the ANC top six, who will be joined by national executive members Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and Phumulo Masualle.

Different teams, led by NEC members, will interview mayoral candidates for district and local municipalities. 

In the Eastern Cape there will be four teams which will be led by Aaron Motsoaledi, Bheki Cele, Obed Bapela and Thoko Didiza.

The two teams in the Free State will be led by Pemmy Majodina and Ruth Bhengu.

Joe Maswanganyi will lead the one team in Gauteng, while the five teams in KZN will be led by Nocawe Mafu, Noxolo Kiviet, Mmamoloko Kubayi, Dipuo Letsatsi-Duba and Tandi Mahambehlala.

There will be three teams in Limpopo led by Ayanda Dlodlo, Bathabile Dlamini and Joel Netshitenzhe, while in Mpumalanga the two teams will be headed by Gwen Ramokgopa and Pamela Tshwete.

In North West Pinky Kekana will lead one team while Lindiwe Sisulu will head another.

Collen Maine will lead one of the three teams in the Northern Cape, along with Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula and Regina Mhaule.

Nomvula Mokonyane and Alvin Botes will each lead their own teams in the Western Cape.

–SowetanLive

Unemployment and poverty are no excuse for rape: Julius Malema

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CIC Julius Malema

There is no excuse to justify raping women, including the frustrations of unemployment. In fact, how can one commit such a deed when one should be using that energy to look for work?

That was the view of EFF leader Julius Malema, addressing the people of Phokwane in the Northern Cape where he was on the local government campaign trail on Wednesday.

Malema said many people were making the excuse that they were committing crime because of desperation that comes with joblessness and poverty — which was understandable. But rape was worse than just a crime; it was in fact an act of treason that should never be tolerated.

“Once you defeat poverty, then crime will be defeated. But we are talking about crime, rape is not a [regular] crime, no-one should ever be entertained for making an excuse that they raped because of poverty,” said Malema.

“Rape is tantamount to committing genocide. Once you rape, we have nothing to listen to, we have no room for rapists.

“How do you get it up when you are jobless? You better use that energy to look for employment instead of raping women. Rape is treasonous, it is not something we are ready to listen to your reason,” he went on.

“Once you rape, you must know you have killed that person inside. The body might be there but that is an empty walking shell because you have destroyed it.”

Malema also condemned “black on black” violence, saying black people were already under siege all over the world as a result for their skin colour.

To this end, he launched a scathing attack on the police for shooting at unarmed protesting students demanding free tertiary education.

Such police, he charged, had small minds because the same students they shot at were  fighting for them too.

“Why would you shoot at students whose only crime is demanding tertiary education? Why would a normal policeman take his big gun with a rubber bullet and point it at the youth, who are saying, ‘we do not want to smoke drugs, we want to go to school’?

“These students are helping the same foolish cops who are paid peanuts. When free higher education is achieved, their children will benefit too, but they are shooting at protesting students. It must be the police uniform that makes them brain-dead because how is it logical that a financially struggling cop is the same one shooting at students who are trying to help them?”

Malema said the trigger-happy police were the same people whose ID cards are held at loan sharks because of debt and, as such, they cannot afford to pay for their children at universities. 

–TimesLIVE

Blacks, women must be aggressive in tackling this injustice in media – Mpofu-Walsh

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File image of author Sizwe Mpofu-Walsh during an interview. Image: Gallo Images / City Press / Leon Sadiki

Activist says demographics in the sector perpetuate apartheid ideals

Black people and women who continue to be underrepresented in the South African media must be aggressive in tackling this injustice.

This is according to activist and author Dr Sizwe Mpofu-Walsh, who delivered a keynote address during the 11th Annual Percy Qoboza Memorial Lecture on Tuesday.

Mpofu-Walsh said the injustice against black people and women in the media landscape is aggressive in its oppression.

The lecture was hosted by the National Press Club in partnership with the University of South Africa and Qoboza’s family in order to commemorate the events of October 19 1977, the day known as Black Wednesday.

On that day, the apartheid government banned Black Consciousness organisations, publications and people critical of the state at the time, including Qoboza, who was the editor of The World and Weekend World newspapers.

The theme of the lecture on Tuesday was “the role of the media in the digital age. How far will it go in serving as the voice of the dispossessed and as a channel of change and real democracy?

Mpofu-Walsh urged leaders in the media to deliberately and urgently chart a programme to address the shortage of black people and women in the media space.

He noted “notable exceptions which rise to prominence in public debate and we think that things are changing and moving in the right direction”.

“We have not been aggressive enough to attack injustice. We need to be aggressive against injustice because injustice is stubborn and aggressive in its oppression,” he said.

Mpofu-Walsh recently published a book titled The New Apartheid: Apartheid did not die; it was privatised. According to Mpofu-Walsh, the book explores how there are still remnants of the apartheid state in SA post-1994 and how a mere removal of apartheid legislation has not uprooted the economic, social and political order of the racist system.

“I believe firmly that apartheid did not die and that it was privatised. We need to turn our attention to the private realm, to those who wield private power, to understand how apartheid has taken a new life in the current moment,” Mpofu-Walsh said.

He said apartheid, which is essentially an ideology of minority control, still prevailed in SA’s media space.

“A situation where despite the demographic make-up of SA, and the predominance of black South Africans, in the spaces that matter where real decisions are made and real choices are taken, the demographic majority becomes a minority.”

Mpofu-Walsh added the majority is still the minority in the media space “both in terms of race and extremely crucially in our time in terms gender”.

“According to the latest published state of the newsroom report from the Wits School of Journalism, 49% of SA’s newspapers editors are black African. This is no reason for celebration. In fact, it is a shocking indictment on how little has changed in the South African mediascape in three decades. While 28% are white.

“How in our so-called miracle [at dawn of democracy] have we allowed a situation in which three decades later, we have a vast and disproportionate overrepresentation of white voices in our editorial spaces and a chronic underrepresentation of black voices. And I am afraid the situation gets deeper when we look at the question of gender. 67% of newspaper editors in SA are gendered as men and a meagre 33% as women.”

He said statistics have shown that black representation “is at a staggering and shocking 39%… white representation is at 30%, still nearly rivalling black representation.”

“In terms of gender we have 72% of men represented at the boardroom table and 28% of women. If we look at black women, we can half that figure.”

He said when the country celebrated the victory over apartheid it did so while the patterns of apartheid still existed and were a reality three decades later into democracy.

Virgin at 72, still no plans to break her virginity

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GOGO Malisebo Lebuso believes se_x is a demon and she fights it with the Bible!

The 72-year-old from Victory Farm, near Clocolan in the Free State, told Daily Sun she had won the battle against se_x and was still a vir_gin.

She said she lived a sin-free life and used prayer to ward off temptation.

Gogo Malisebo, who lives alone in a two-roomed shack, said: “I don’t need a man in my life. Poking is for the weak.

“I have had hundreds of men asking me out in my life and I turned them all down.

“I lived with my sister, who died six years ago, and we both abstained from se_x. I do have feelings but when they come, I take out my Bible, kneel and pray for the temptation to go away.

“My problem with sleeping with men started when I lived with my parents and I saw boys abandoning their girlfriends when they got preg_nant.

“I saw these girls getting beaten up by their boyfriends and vowed never to be in a relationship.”

The gogo said her shack had no windows because in the past, men would knock on her window and ask to sleep with her.

“Six years ago, three men came to my shack and broke the window,” she said.

“They wanted to rap_e me, but after I kneeled down and prayed they left.

“I then decided to remove my windows.”

Thando Mojali (74) has been asking gogo Malisebo to marry him for eight years without success.

“I offered her six cows for lobola but she refused.

“I was married but my wife died 20 years ago,” he said.

“I love her and I know she’s a virg_in. If she married me, I would be a good husband to her.”

– Daily Sun

Photos: SA’s hottest teacher Lulu Menziwa flashes her booty behind

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Lulu Menziwa strutting off her stuff

Lulu Menziwa

Lulu Menziwa1

She has become one of the most followed and celebrated celeb in Mzansi. Of late she has been making all sorts of trends from hot steamy bikini looks to dirty revealing looks. Well, this time around South African s_exiest teacher Lulu Menziwa pulled a shocker when she did the unthinkable given the fact that she is a teacher.

Lulu Menziwa2

She knows well how to flaunt what she has. No doubt she got the plug and the bling. Many still find it hard to believe that she is a teacher?

Lulu Menziwa3

However, of late she seems to have made it a point to set the internet ablaze on weekly basis. A week doesn’t seem to pass without our favourite teacher Lulu Menziwa aka Madam B serving looks. In the wake of her fame, she has been trending more often and making all sorts of headlines.

The celebrated fashionista and teacher recently left Mzansi in a frenzy after posting seductive pictures of herself showing off her B00TY.

SA’s ‘youngest’ millionaire, Sandile Shezi, arrested for ‘fraud’

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SA’s youngest self-proclaimed millionaire Sandile Shezi has been arrested by police.

Gauteng police spokesperson Capt Mavela Masondo said Shezi, who has been charged with fraud, handed himself over in the presence of his lawyers on Wednesday.

“I can confirm that he has been arrested. He will appear in Randburg magistrate’s court tomorrow [Thursday] on charges of fraud.”

Shezi, who is from Durban, was charged for allegedly defrauding his business partner and shareholder in his business Global Forex Institute [GFI] out of R500,000.

GFI is marketed as a forex trading training institute, which trains people to set up their own trading platforms.

A warrant of arrest was issued earlier this month for Shezi, who is reportedly SA’s “youngest millionaire”, and has no qualms about showing off his Mercedes-Benz G-Wagon and Maserati.

In an interview with the Sunday Times last week Shezi denied any wrongdoing.

-TimesLIVE

My boss frequently threatened to fire me until Dr. Kiwanga steps in with his magic

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Harassed worked feeling distressed

My name is Sam and I am currently working at a private organization in Nairobi as a clerk. Life working at the organization was good before a new boss was brought in the organization. He really seemed to be liaising with my cohorts. Many were the times he gave me a lot of work and tasks to accomplish. As time went by, he would use abusive language which really I did not like.
At times it would spark a fight between us. A week would not end without us going into an argument with my boss. I had no option but to stick to that job since it was really difficult to get other jobs since there was scarcity.
Before my boss would arrive I was freely enjoying work with my fellow work mates. Things would go amiss each time he was in the office. He used to roar at me. At times if one of my workmates had done a mistake he would turn to me as if I was the one who had contributed to that mistake. Time was really running and things were not changing. What really shocked me was that he would talk with no bias to other employees but when he turned to me things would change as he would talk any sought of insults and abusive language. During the organization
meetings, he rarely talked of positive thing I was adding to the organization but in most cases he talked about the ill part of my life in that particular office.
I was now looking for a solution and I was referred to Dr. Kiwanga by a friend who had once looked for help from the herbalist as he had once had the same problem I was having. He gave his contacts where I called the herbalist. I booked an appointment and after three days when I was on leave I made a point of meeting Dr Kiwanga. At his offices he foretold my problem even before I had elaborated to him. This was a clear indication that he was a passionate herbalist
about herbal medication. I was attended and assured a good relationship with my boss was to back soon as I returned to work. That week when I went back in the office, I was surprised since the atmosphere in the office was really good.
Unlike before, my boss would greet me and at some point he would offer free lunch to me. We had really been reunited with him through the help of Dr. Kiwanga. Time went by and he would seek my help and consultation before doing important office work. We worked together to thrive activities of the organization. Dr Kiwanga helps you long time illness in diseases such as prostate cancer, leukemia epilepsy among others just within three days. He ensures you get back luck in your life as will be able to be successful in all activities that you do to earn a living such as business.
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As we celebrate Press Freedom Day, we must reflect on the state of journalism

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Aggrey Klaaste

Don’t be silent when journalists are threatened or prevented from doing their job or are themselves in the wrong

By Themba Sepotokele

Aggrey Klaaste was no ordinary journalist. He was a revered and respected newspaperman and editor, notably of Sowetan where I cut my teeth as a cub reporter under his editorship nearly three decades ago. He was a cut above the rest and his peers and colleagues like Joe Thloloe, Thami Mazwai and Joe Latakgomo have on different occasions shared their experiences with the visionary editor. They have often used the might of the pen not only to communicate and converse with the world, but to bring apartheid to its knees.

As we commemorate Black Wednesday, the day on October 19 1977, when the apartheid regime banned 19 Black Consciousness organisations, and publications such as The World and Weekend World and detained scores of activists, including editor Percy Qoboza.

Since the dawn of democracy, the day has been celebrated as Press Freedom Day. From their respective days at The World, Golden City Post, Sowetan and New Nation, they used the might of the pen and the focus of their cameras not only to report events or cover stories, but also played a pivotal role in bringing apartheid to an end.

Klaaste pioneered and championed Nation Building. I count myself lucky as having to work under his editorship, having been mentored by the legendary Don Mattera, Monk Nkomo, Ike Segola and Joshua Raboroko, who took me under their wing.

At the launch of the Aggrey Klaaste Trust, I was moved when Sunday Times editor and former Sowetan editor S’thembiso Msomi said he realised the enormity of editing Sowetan when a staff member asked him whether he was aware he was walking into the shoes of a legendary editor. Msomi, Thloloe, Professor Anton Harber, Anna Majavu and Jerome Klaaste shared a podium at the launch of the Aggrey Klaaste Trust in Braamfontein, Joburg, as part of Press Freedom Month.

Actually, former Sowetan editors are privileged to have walked in the same pathway as Klaaste. They proudly described themselves as black first before being journalists.

As we observe Press Freedom Day, we must not only reflect on the role of the mothers and fathers of black journalism, but also on the state of journalism. We have to ask critical, sober and honest questions in the quest to clean and cleanse journalism of charlatans masquerading as journalists.

It is good and well that two journalists, Maria Ressa of the Philippines and Dmitry Muratov of Russia, have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, which on its own elevates journalism, the role of the media and the important role of holding those in power accountable.

This shows the power of a free, independent and critical media. Although there are pockets of excellence in South African journalism that hold those in power accountable, we should not turn a blind eye or deaf ear when some in the media are in the pockets of the high and mighty. We should not resort to an ostrich approach when some journalists become praise singers and self-appointed spokespersons of the mighty and powerful.

We should not keep quiet when some rogue and cowboy journalism rears its ugly head. We should not be silent when journalists are threatened, intimidated, assaulted or prevented from carrying out their duties. The media, as a fourth estate, like Thloloe always says: “It must be on the side of the downtrodden”.

In giving us the good, the bad and the ugly as a mirror of society, the media must also look hard in the mirror to deal with a myriad challenges it is facing, some which are self-inflicted and those the society is grappling with.

As we celebrate Press Freedom Day, we should also ask ourselves questions about the calibre of young journalists who think journalism is a ticket to stardom and behave like celebrities instead of being activists and advocates for a better society.

We should ponder and ask ourselves questions as to who is teaching journalism students at institutions of higher learning, what experience do they have in the media? Journalists should ask themselves as to whether they are on the side of the downtrodden or the mighty and powerful.

They should ask themselves as to whether we are doing enough to celebrate our own, such as Klaaste and Qoboza and many others who have been forgotten, or we only remember them during Press Freedom Day? Where are books about the doyens of black journalism? Why don’t we lobby that certain streets and buildings be named after the stalwarts of journalism?

One is grateful that Klaaste’s son Jerome has taken it upon himself to honour the legacy of his father, we should do more to preserve and promote the work and role of journalists. It’s a disgrace that 27 years into democracy, we still have not published a book in honour of doyens of black journalism.

We don’t have academic literature about black journalism, yet we are standing on the shoulders of giants. Black journalism did not start and end with Drum journalists like Henry Nxumalo, Can Themba and Casey Motsisi. One hopes through the Aggrey Klaaste Trust, black journalists can us the platform, not only to honour Klaaste, but all doyens of black journalism.

• Sepotokele is a journalist, communication strategist, media trainer and journalism lecturer

11 former military vets kept in prison as bail bid postponed to Friday

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CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA – JUNE 3: Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces, Thandi Modise during an interview on June 3, 2015 in Cape Town, South Africa. She spoke about Parliament’s frustrations at not being able to carry out its constitutional mandate adequately. (Photo by Gallo Images / City Press / Deon Raath)

Eleven former military veterans arrested for their roles in the alleged ministerial “hostage” situation last week will remain behind bars until Friday, when they will make their formal bail applications in the Pretoria magistrate’s court sitting in the Kgosi Mampuru prison.

Fifty-six people were originally arrested, but charges were dropped against three of them after they were identified at staff members at the Saint George Hotel, where the drama unfolded.

On Tuesday, 42 of the accused were released on R500 bail each.

However, the 11 might find it harder to be released on bail, or could face having to pay a higher bail fee.

“In respect of these 11 accused persons, with accused [number] 53 in absentia, the accused persons have relevant previous convictions, including murder [and] robbery. The state is averring a schedule 5 bail application against these men,” said state advocate Sanet Jacobson.

Accused number 53 is in hospital.

All accused are facing 27 charges: one count of conspiracy to kidnap and 26 counts for kidnapping.

The state has not ruled out the possibility of adding a charge of contravening the Protection of Constitutional Democracy Against Terrorist and Related Activities Act.

Defence minister Thandi Modise, her deputy Thabang Makwetla and minister in the presidency Mondli Gungubele were among those allegedly prevented from leaving a meeting at the Tshwane hotel on Thursday evening.

The police intervened after the veterans barricaded the doors with chairs and refused to allow the three officials to leave.

The Sunday Times reported that the group’s demands included the payment of R4.2m each to 9,000 veterans, at a total cost of more than R37bn.

Earlier on Tuesday, when the bail proceedings got under way, the accused men and women were divided into three groups: those with verified addresses, those with unverified addresses and no pending cases, and those with relevant previous convictions and pending matters.

Legal representative Dali Mpofu had argued that the bail amounts suggested by the state — of R2,000 and R3,000 — were too high as most of the accused were unemployed.

The state told the court they are relying on common purposes in the matter.

“Some went to the doors, some sang incitement songs. In terms of association, in terms of participation, I can’t inform the court at this stage that accused [number] 1 was the one who shouted at the minister,” said Jacobson.ADVERTISING

“The videos need to be analysed for that, and for that state needs time. So at this stage we cannot say ‘accused [number] 1 did this, accused this did that’. We are relying on common purpose and say everyone was actively involved.”

The state said it had verified the addresses of the first 13 accused, and it couldn’t verify the other addresses due to time and the fact that the other accused were from outside Gauteng.

“The task team didn’t sleep last night. They went physically to the addresses of the 13 people whose addresses could be confirmed,” said Jacobson.  

Mpofu also raised an issue of continuous assault of the accused. He said their cellphones were confiscated without permission and they were forced to hand over their pin numbers for investigation.

The matter has been postponed to Friday for the bail application of the remaining 11 accused, while the matter for the 42 who had been granted bail was postponed to February 1.

–TimesLIVE

Shed light on Zuma’s parole conditions

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Zuma and Dudu Myeni

The public deserves to know the terms of former president Jacob Zuma’s medical parole, especially after his Durban trip, which raised eyebrows at the weekend.

In the interest of transparency, the department of correctional services must release the parole conditions so that when he is seen in public the masses will know he is not violating them or getting preferential treatment.

We are interested in conditions he must abide by at home, not his health condition, which is confidential, as some might argue.

Zuma, who was granted medical parole, was seen for the first time in public since his release at Sibaya Casino in Durban on Friday with political allies Carl Niehause and former SAA chair Dudu Myeni.

Last month, he was released from his 15-month sentence for contempt of court after he failed to appear before the state capture commission as ordered by the Constitutional Court. The former statesman is currently serving the remainder of his jail  term in the “system of community corrections”.

Department of correctional services spokesperson Singabakho Nxumalo said Zuma had requested permission to leave his Nkandla home to leave town and this was approved by his monitoring official.

However, Zuma’s Durban trip was met with surprise and questions from the public, as when he was released we were told the Estcourt correctional facility could not take care of him as he was sick. And just the day before he was spotted he had declined to attend a prayer session in his honour citing “strict parole conditions”.

So what was so pressing in Durban that led to the conditions being eased?

This was a deja vu moment for SA as Zuma’s former financial advisor, Schabir Shaik, was also released on medical parole after a medical report said he was terminally ill but was seen playing a game of golf a few months later.

It has only been a month since Zuma was released on parole against the medical parole advisory board that “did not approve medical parole” as the former president was “in a stable condition”. And, already he is seen in public going about his own business.

Granted, he had permission as the department says, but that is not enough for the public to not be outraged and suspicious of preferential treatment. His public appearance so soon came across as someone who is making a mockery of the justice system.

Justice was said to have been served and a strong message was sent to the masses that nobody is above the law when he was sent to prison, but it also has to be seen to be served till the end.

Otherwise, such actions also taint the department’s reputation and credibility, and releasing the conditions of the Zuma medical parole might be their only chance as restoring the public’s trust.

-Sowetanlive

ANC T-shirts a hit as David Mabuza campaigns in Olivenhoutbosch

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Residents push and shove to get shirts and doeks

An ANC T-shirt and the party’s doek were the most sought-after items when the governing party’s deputy president David Mabuza campaigned in Olivenhoutbosch in Tshwane on Tuesday

While Mabuza delivered his message of hope and canvassed for votes for his party, those in attendance waited eagerly for the party’s campaign regalia.

At a local park where Mabuza addressed residents, he handed out T-shirts and doeks to residents who were pushing and shoving each other. This eagerness for an ANC shirt showed that despite the ANC’s well documented failings, the ruling party remain popular in its strongholds.

According to Kenny Masha, a candidate councillor for ward 106 in Olivenhoutbosch, this was a sign residents in this area would go out in their numbers to vote out the DA in Tshwane on November 1.

“What we are seeing here is the love people have for the ANC. That is why they have come here in large numbers and they want it to be seen that they love this movement. That is why they want these T-shirts and doeks the deputy president has brought, because they want to publicly identify with the ANC,” said Masha, who accompanied Mabuza on his campaign in the area.

Mabuza has spent a lot of time campaigning in Tshwane in the past few weeks. The deputy president told residents it was time to bring the ANC back in government in Tshwane as the DA has done very little for them, especially in Olivenhoutbosch.

“Almost every section of the tarred road in this area is filled with potholes, rubbish is piling up on street corners while only a few have proper housing with running water and electricity,” he said.

“I want you to work hard and work with our people so we can change these conditions people are living under.

“Our people don’t have houses to live in. Our people don’t have water. Water is life.”

He appealed to residents to trust the ANC will fix issues and that the mistakes the party made in 2016 which led to the DA winning Tshwane must be discussed and fixed by the ANC as a family.

“The ANC is your house, it is your home. Even when there are issues in the ANC, let’s sit down and fix them,” Mabuza said.

“The mistake that happened in 2016, many of you stayed away and did not go to vote, leading to the DA taking over. Have you seen any difference under the DA? Nothing.”

The deputy president was accompanied by ANC national executive committee members Aaron Motsoaledi and Joe Maswanganyi. He said he also brought Gauteng education MEC Panyaza Lesufi to take stock of schooling issues in the area.

The residents complained about the rotational schooling system, saying it wasn’t working, and appealed for more schools to be built — especially to accommodate disabled children.

Resident Agnes [she did not give her surname] said they wanted the ANC back in government in Olivenhoutbosch and Tshwane in general. She said the ANC must ensure the corrupt are removed to deliver services.

Agnes said she is renting a backroom in extension 13 but because she is unemployed she sometimes doesn’t have money to pay rent.

“We want houses. We registered for houses in 2000 but we have not received those houses. Here only friends of those in power are awarded houses built by the state,” she said.

Kwena Mokoatedi had a similar complaint about housing, saying she registered in 2006 but has not been awarded a house.

“I have approval, a unit number and block but I have to to rent a room. Do you hear that? I’ve been busy voting — and for what? I’m not going to vote. I will not vote for people who don’t care about me. It was the DA in charge but I’ve been voting for the ANC all this time,” Mokoatedi said.

“The ANC must take care of us and give us our houses in extensions 36 and 27 and remove those people from our houses because we have approval. They have brought people from other townships, including Alexandra, to occupy our houses.”

–TimesLIVE

Diplomats behaving badly: Dirco curbs access to duty-free booze, cigarettes

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An investigation has uncovered a racket whereby diplomats and their staff are buying liquor and cigarettes at greatly reduced prices and selling it at a profit. This deprives the fiscus of revenue and the authorities are clamping down. File photo. Image: 123rf/Jakub Godja

The government has had to implement strict measures to control the volumes of tobacco and alcohol foreign diplomats are bringing into the country.

Among the benefits foreign diplomats enjoy in SA is being able to buy alcohol and tobacco products at discounted prices as they do not pay the “sin taxes” that normal citizens do.

But a department of international relations and co-operation investigation found that some were reselling the booze and smokes to citizens at ridiculously high prices.

Dirco’s latest annual report reveals how it had to initiate measures to curb the abuse of diplomatic privileges.

“Duty-free shops have been identified as a high-risk environment where the abuse of diplomatic privileges has led to substantial losses to the fiscus. A number of foreign missions were identified, where diplomatic and consular agents abused the privileges accorded to them for personal gain, through the resale of duty-free alcohol and tobacco products in volumes far greater than those considered to be for personal or official use,” reads the report.

It said a section will be established within the department which will control the volumes of tobacco and alcohol allowed per diplomat and consular agent.

A quota system was approved in conjunction with the revenue service and will be implemented in mid-2021, said the report covering the financial year ended March.

In June, SA declared several diplomats persona non-grata after an intensive investigation into their flouting of diplomatic privileges. At the time, Dirco spokesperson Clayson Monyela said the affected diplomats were found guilty of illicitly trading in duty-free alcohol.

“This decision was taken in line with the Vienna Convention of 1961,” he said.

The Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations of 1961 is fundamental to the conduct of foreign relations and ensures that diplomats can conduct their duties without the threat of influence by the host government, said Monyela at the time. “However, in instances where such privileges are abused, the host country is obliged to take the necessary action in line with the convention.

“To this end, SA has given the affected diplomatic staff members and their families 72 hours to leave SA. They are expected to relinquish their diplomatic status by returning all the necessary diplomatic tools to Dirco.”

Monyela said further investigations of similar transgressions by other missions accredited to SA were at an advanced stage and that similar action would be taken if they were to be found guilty.

-TimesLIVE

Former spy boss Arthur Fraser opposes candidacy of Raymond Zondo for chief justice

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CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA – APRIL 19: New Correctional Services Commissioner Arthur Fraser during his appearance in Parliament on April 19, 2018 in Cape Town, South Africa. Fraser, a former director general of the State Security Agency, has accused the Inspector General of Intelligence Setlhomamaru Dintwe of misleading the public. (Photo by Gallo Images / Netwerk24 / Jaco Marais)

Former spy boss Arthur Fraser has formally objected to the nomination of deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo as a candidate for the position of chief justice.

In a letter, Fraser said Zondo was demonstrably not a fit and proper candidate to be the face and embodiment of the values enshrined by the constitution.

The contestation was based on how he was treated as a witness at the state capture commission of inquiry.

“I have reason to believe that his conduct was deliberate and sought to protect those I would have exposed to be the real culprits in capturing or attempting to recapture the state.

“I further have reason to believe that his deliberate conduct sought to protect the real origins of the idea of the commission as a foreign-sponsored concept,” said Fraser.

He added that “together with Mr Paul Pretorius SC (head of the commission’s legal team and evidence leader) he deliberately permitted no less than 10 witnesses to present falsehoods about me without affording me even one opportunity to state my version before the commission or to defend myself against any of the allegations made against me.

“I have reason to believe that deputy chief justice Zondo did this to endear himself with the political class so that he can secure the position of chief justice for which he is now nominated,” Fraser said.

The shortlisting panel scrutinising nominations by the public for the position of chief justice has received 564 submissions of public comment in favour of or in objection to nominees.

The period for public comment closed on Friday October 15.

Panel chairperson judge Navanethem Pillay has expressed the panel’s appreciation for public participation in the process.

Fraser said Zondo’s treatment of witnesses that were not suitable for the narrative of state capture by the infamous Gupta brothers showed his lack of independence and a lack of judicial integrity. “Such a person cannot and should never be entrusted with the highest judicial office in the land. His appointment would signal the death of our judiciary and would have a corrosive effect on our democratic values as a country,” he added.

Adding to the blows, Fraser said he had knowledge of people who were carefully selected to execute him.

“It is this information that deputy chief justice Zondo vehemently opposed to prevent me from exposing. It also sought to conceal and protect the role of old apartheid security intelligence networks in capturing the postapartheid state.”

–TimesLIVE

She is a taxi boss | Sister Nobuhle from Durban Gen’s Real Life side hustle revealed

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TV actor, businesswoman and Ukhozi FM radio presenter Zimiphi “Zimdollar” Biyela, who plays the role of Sister Nobuhle Nkabinde on e.TV’s Durban Gen has revealed her real-life side hustle. The actress is a taxi boss and at the moment she is running six minibus taxis which are currently operating in KwaZulu-Natal.

Zimdollar who has achieved great success in both the radio and television industries went into the taxi business to diversify her business. Although she confirmed her new side hustle, she was not at liberty to show further details on the venture. She said that she could not share too many details as she feared jeopardizing her new business.

Speaking to the online publication The Daily Sun, the Durban Gen actress said,

“I can confirm that I have taxis, but I don’t like to talk about it because as you know the taxi business has complications and a lot of uproar.

“I’m trying my luck in this business, but I will not give more details for now because I might open a can of worms.”

Sister Nobuhle From Durban Gen's Real Life Side Hustle Revealed...She Is a Taxi Boss
(Image Credit: Instagram) Sister Nobuhle From Durban Gen’s Real Life Side Hustle Revealed…She Is a Taxi Boss

With the actress’s entrepreneurial spirit, hands-on approach, and willingness to try new ventures, she is set to achieve greater things.

Sister Nobuhle’s candid character always gets her in trouble with fans but that’s just one of the things that make masses love to hate her.

Apart from her role as Sister Nobuhle on Durban Gen, Biyela also appeared on Uzalo and eHostela. She won the Best Supporting Actress Award at the Simon Mabhunu Sabela KZN Film and Television Awards in 2018. She also won the Best Actress Award at the Sebenza Women Awards last year.

Mayor Masina warns ANC to be ready for coalitions

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Ekurhuleni mayor Mzwandile Masina has told bigger parties municipalities are going to be ruled by coalition parties. Image: Gallo Images / Sharon Seretlo

Dominant political parties, including the ANC, will have to soon embrace coalition governments as they were inevitable and help to improve governance and municipal delivery if managed properly.

This was according to outgoing Ekurhuleni mayor Mzwandile Masina who said smaller parties had helped the ANC improve its governance of the metro since 2016 when it failed to secure a clear majority.

Masina was speaking with academics and bureaucrats during a webinar on the stability of coalition government as the country gears itself for fresh municipal elections on November 1, where some of the municipalities are expected to be fiercely contested.

Masina insisted coalitions were not avoidable as the electorate was increasingly disillusioned by dominance of single parties who sometimes failed to govern effectively.

“To understand this proposition, it demands a dedicated study into evolving patterns of voting, the changing demographics of voters and the collective thinking around the dominant party political system that is being rejected by the electorate across the board, including where the ANC continues to maintain majority support,” Masina said.

He said apparent rejection of single party dominance had been accompanied by the sentiment that this eroded the constitutional distinction between the party and the state in power. And that the prolonged control of governance by one party gave rise to “complacency, arrogance and corruption in the dominant ruling party, something which the ANC has been increasingly been accused of ”.

Masina, who wrote a book on tenure called “Future Realities of Coalitions in SA”, said political parties and stakeholders had to make sense of coalition and create space for them in their politics to ensure that they work to avoid the collapse and instability that marred many municipal councils since 2016, like Johannesburg, Tshwane and Nelson Mandela Bay.

He said one of the required legislation was the one that would help To ensure that parties that entered a coalition agreement had to be contractually bound by the agreements to make it difficult for them to opt out whenever they wished to.

Masina said the ANC had advocated for overall control of governance in Ekurhuleni while the roles of accountability in council were given to coalition partners, including the AIC, who had to keep the party in check in terms of implementation.

This, he said, had radically improved the ANC’s performance in government compared to the 2011 to 2016 tenure.

He however stressed that coalition pacts had to be made open to the public if the agreements were to enjoy credibility and longevity.

Prof Caryn Abrahams of the Wits School of Governance said SA was not necessarily a politically mature democracy for coalitions but that this was the reality it had to deal with.

“It is about our ability to deal with that inevitable reality rather than something that will hit us by surprise and figure out if we are mature enough to deal with,” Abrahams said.

Some of the political parties that have jointly worked together, including the DA and the EFF, vowed never to work together as they were ideologically opposed to each other and on how they wanted municipalities run.

Mapungubwe Institute for Strategic Reflection (Mistra) researcher Amuzweni Ngoma said while the “issue by issue” working relationship between the EFF and the DA in Johannesburg, Tshwane and Nelson Mandela Bay had collapsed, it had given and indicator that even ideologically different parties could establish coalitions in the interest of residents when there was maturity.

“That can be treated as a small moment where, when necessity allows it, political parties are able to cut across the ideological divide and try and find a meeting point,” Ngoma said.

-SowetanLive

Specialised rescue under way at diamond mine to find trapped miners

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Fears mounting for the safety of at least 12 missing miners after tunnel collapse

The rescue of at least 12 artisanal diamond miners trapped in collapsed mine tunnels in the Northern Cape will be fraught with difficulties.

The 12 were among dozens of miners working underground at the Nuttaboy Mine in Namaqualand when several handmade informal tunnels collapsed on Wednesday.

The diamond mine, owned by West Coast Resources, is on the outskirts of Springbok.

It is unknown how many illegal miners are alive or if any have died in the tunnels.

Ten miners died in 2012 at the nearby Bontekoe mine when a tunnel collapsed.

The Eminetra website is reporting that the alarm was raised after a miner, trapped in a shaft, managed to dig his way out on Wednesday.

Springbok mayor Marvin Cloete told the SABC that rescue operations had begun to free the trapped miners.

He said rescue operations were running during the day, but not at night.

“Rescue missions have already begun. The mine on the west coast has also helped to find the place where the incident happened,” Cloete told SABC.Rescuers at the entrance to a shaft at Nuttaboy mine in the Northern Cape. Several tunnels and shafts, which artisanal diamond miners had dug, collapsed last Wednesday trapping an estimated 12 miners underground
Image: SABC

Den Williams of Mines Rescue Services said they had dispatched people to the mine.

“They are currently investigating the incident and conducting an assessment.”

He said mine rescues were highly complex and fraught with danger.

“You cannot risk a life to save a life. Before a rescue is launched a thorough assessment has to be conducted.

“Assessments include investigating ground and underground conditions, ventilation, access routes and whether the rescue is because of fire or collapsed tunnels.”

He said collapsed tunnel and shaft rescues were extremely difficult.

“They require specialised stabilising equipment and systems, which are needed to support tunnel walls and roofs. This is required so one can gain access to sealed off areas.

“What makes tunnel collapse rescues very difficult is that you often have no idea of exactly where a miner is trapped. In the Northern Cape, tunnel sidewalls can easily collapse because of the soil structure.

“Collapsed tunnel rescues become digging operations. With these operations, which have to be done slowly because of instability, it often takes weeks to dig someone out.”

He said equipment which they typically use in a rescue include specialised lifting, cutting and digging machinery and sophisticated camera systems.

“We also use what is known as a trapped persons location device. It is similar to a sonar device and can pick up the slightest movement from a trapped miner. It can pinpoint a persons location to within a few metres of where the movement was detected.”

He said before rescues were launched assessments were done to determine how many rescue teams and what equipment was needed.  

“If we are dealing with underground fires, we usually have two teams at the incident site, with each team having its own specific tasks.”

He said SA had 950 mine rescue specialists, located at mines across the country.

TimesLIVE

Ace Magashule asks NPA for list of witnesses implicating him in corruption case

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Ace Magushule

Suspended ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule’s legal counsel has asked the state to provide a list of witnesses implicating his client in his corruption case.

Magashule and his co-accused appeared in the Bloemfontein high court on Tuesday.

Their case was postponed to November 3 for pretrial and for them to respond to charges preferred against them.

Magashule faces 13 charges including fraud, corruption and money laundering relating to a multimillion-rand tender awarded by the Free State government during his tenure as premier.

His legal counsel, Laurance Hodes SC, told the court his client had not received a list of witnesses the state intended to call.

“In relation to accused 13 [Magashule], we filed a section 85 notification contending there is a fundamental error to the charge and we oppose the charge,” Hodes said.

“We’ve additionally asked which people implicate him. The state isn’t prepared to commit themselves to which people. We believe there is an irregularity in the charge and we would like to pursue an objection to the charge in that regard,” he said.

Prosecutor advocate Johan de Nysschen said he would peruse Magashule’s notice and argue the matter at “some stage”.

“They will have to read the whole docket,” he said.

-TimesLIVE

Msibi, co-accused out on R20k bail each

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Msibi

Fired Mpumalanga agriculture land reform and rural development MEC Mandla Msibi and co-accused, charged with double murder and attempted murder, have been released on R20,000 bail each.

Msibi, Anele Mnisi and ward 45 councillor candidate Njabulo Mkhonto are accused of fatally shooting Dingaan Ngwenya and Lindela Lubisi and also injuring Sfiso Mpila outside Nelspruit Coyotes Chisa Nyama on August 22. 

The three, who joined other two suspects in the case, handed themselves to the police last Monday after warrants of their arrest were issued.

Delivering the bail judgment in the Nelspruit magistrate’s court on Tuesday, magistrate Suzan Monaledi said the accused were not flight risk as they are known to the community.

She said the state failed to prove that the lives of the accused would be in danger when they are released as the defence has managed to satisfy the court.

“The court is satisfied that the accused should be given bail. Bail is set at R20,000 for each accused. Bail conditions are that the accused do not interfere with the investigation and not contact the witnesses to this case. They do not leave Mpumalanga without informing the investigating officer. They should also report at the Pienaar police station on Mondays and Fridays,” said Monaledi.

The case was postponed to December 6 for further police investigation. 

Businesses in Standerton look at relocation due to power cuts

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Once a thriving town in Mpumalanga, Standerton has been run into the ground with all its municipal services and infrastructure collapsing over the years. Image: Antonio Muchave

Some business owners in Standerton are contemplating selling their assets and leaving the town owing to the collapse of the local municipality which has seen them struggle with billing and broken infrastructure.

Some businesses that contribute to the growth of the local economy through creating jobs have in fact been shut already because of the problems faced by the town.

Property and restaurant owner Corne Stoltz told Sowetan he had to put some of the guest houses he owned in the town in the market for sale because of ongoing power cuts. 

The Lekwa municipality under which Standerton falls has a long standing unpaid debt to power utility Eskom which has seen the area being hit by blackouts for months.

Stoltz said high municipal rates and faulty billing system which has not been fixed for years compounded his problems. As a result he converted some of the guest houses into private low cost rental accommodation.

“Things have gotten worse for businesses here. We are forced to put our businesses on the market and sell them for whatever that is left in their worth,” he said.  

Stoltz, who employs 12 people, said he fears that he might have to let go all his employees because of the ongoing unfavourable conditions for business in the area.

“The municipality is charging us deliberately high monthly rates so they can make up for the rest of the residents who have since abandoned paying for their rates and taxes,” he said.

“The same municipality forgets that we employ residents who will soon join the unemployment queue like the rest of the town and the country.”

Stoltz said the economy of Standerton would require many years to recover the financial losses it has suffered due to a number of problems related to the collapse of the local municipality.

Restaurant owner Lungelo Shabane said he was also considering selling his business and leave the town.

“I now open after 12pm because I have one or two customers during the day and maybe 5 or even none in the evening since the lockdown and because of the daily power cuts,” he said.

Shabane said his business has also been slapped with high bills that he had to go and fight over with the municipality.

“If I connect the generator I need to also buy diesel that will cost me R800 in a day for three customers, I’m working at a loss,” he said.

Shabane said because waste is not collected in Lekwa, he has to spend about R350 every week for a private service provider but he also pays for municipal rates and taxes.

“I still have to pay my 14 staff members which I can no longer afford,” he said.

“The municipality keeps bringing external candidates that do not even have the interest of the residents at heart. I know Standerton used to be one of the richest municipalities in Mpumalanga but all that has faded away in the hands of the ANC.”

Chairman of Lekwa Business Chamber Gary van Aswegen said business owners have suffered a lot in the past, but communication with the municipality has taken a positive turn since the appointment of an administrator to the collapsed town. 

“We as the business chamber have hope with the new efforts and talks with the administration. We have tabled our challenges because the business sector has seen the closure of about 20 small businesses,” he said. Van Aswegen said the businesses suffered overbilling from the previous administration. 

“Unemployment has increased because many people lost jobs when businesses closed down. The economy of the town will take about three years to recover, but the opening of business will help speed up that process.”

He said the challenge that was common for the closure of the businesses was the constant power cuts.

“The power cuts go up to 8 hours a day. No business would not feel that pinch in the pocket. The bigger businesses are barely hanging on.

Van Aswegen said one of the biggest chicken plants in Standerton, Astral, was suffering and they feared it would consider changing their location. 

“We as business people have to make means to maintain the main roads close to our areas of business. It’s difficult to even start a new business because no one wants to invest in such a troubled town,” he added.

–SowetanLive

Mamelodi reels as gangsters wreak havoc

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The recent spate of killings in Mamelodi, east of Preoria, which have left nine people dead have been linked to gang warfare between the notorious Boko Haram gang and its breakaway outfit.

This is according to police, who have assigned a team of several specialised units to investigate the killings that have rocked the townships.

“The police are aware of the recent murders that have been committed allegedly by a breakaway group from the so called Boko Haram, calling themselves Bafarasai,” said police spokesperson Brig Brenda Muridili.

Muridili said no arrests had been made so far as police appeal to the people of Mamelodi to come forward with any information that could solve the murders.

In the latest incident at Mams Mall, two men were shot and killed when they were ambushed while sitting in a red car which was sprayed with bullets. Graphic pictures of the incident have gone viral in Mamelodi, with locals sharing them via WhatsApp.

Bodies have been piling up since August 29, when two men believed to be members of Boko Haram were shot dead at Santorini night club in the township. Most victims were shot in the head.

In September alone there were two incidents on Monday the 13th and Saturday the 25th, where a man was shot dead in a drive-by shooting and two others were killed at Mamelodi Heights hostel.

Muridili said on October 10, four armed suspects entered a house at section G in Mamelodi, looking for Solomon Ntuli, 38, who is linked with Boko Haram.

“It is reported that at about 4.30pm, Ntuli was visiting his girlfriend when he was confronted by the suspects. The girlfriend’s mother was shot on the leg and arm while Ntuli was shot through the door. He died on the scene,” Muridili said.

She said the “suspects fled the scene in a silver-grey Toyota Corolla to the Heights Hostel, where they reportedly shot several times in the direction of the hostel”.

The name Boko Haram strikes fear in the hearts of many residents of Mamelodi, with many insisting that their names be withheld while others flatly refused to talk about the incidents despite having been at some of the scenes.

A resident with knowledge of the group told Sowetan that eight members of the group have now been killed while three of the main leaders of Boko Haram were currently in hiding.

The local said from the nine killings only one member known as Bruno belonged to the Bafarasai while eight others were members of Boko Haram, who the resident claimed to know very well.

The resident said Ntuli was killed a day after attending the funeral of another Boko Haram member known as Brock, who was shot and killed on Sunday October 2. 

“This is a war among rival gangs who are fighting to control projects in Mamelodi, they are just taking each other out,” the resident said.

Boko Haram, a vigilante group with about a dozen members, targeted businessmen and foreign shop owners for extortion in Mamelodi.

The group gained notoriety about two years ago as it wreaked havoc by hijacking social housing flats at a Mamelodi West hostel and through extorting money they call “protection fees” mainly from foreigner tuckshop owners.

A Facebook account named John Wick Mamelodi recently took responsibility for the killings and vowed to continue the spree. 

“I will be scouting at the village tonite (sic) be warned I want to finish the bokoharam…” stated one of the recent posts by John Wick Mamelodi.

In another post, the user posted: “I am still going to take them down one (by) one they touched the wrong territory.”

The account has since been deleted from the social network. Another resident who also spoke on condition of anonymity said they were now scared to even go shopping in the township.

“We are not surprised when we hear that there’s been another shooting in the township because we now expect it,” he said.

–SowetanLive

ANC banks on Ramaphosa’s smile to win the elections

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President Cyril Ramaphosa’s face — not those of ward candidates — is dominating   ANC election posters because the party believes he is its trump card to win on November 1. 

While other political parties have been selling their ward candidates to voters since campaigning started, most ANC posters and billboards feature the president.

A recent poll by the Institute of Race Relations showed that Ramaphosa is still the most popular political leader in the country and is more popular than the ANC.

In contrast, DA leader John Steenhuisen is less popular than his party.

The head of the ANC national executive committee subcommittee on elections, Nkenke Kekana, said the party was featuring Ramaphosa because it believes in him.

“Our plan was to start with the message. When others say ‘vote whatever’, we came up with the message. We just choose to use the leader in our posters because we believe in our leader.

“I think other parties are afraid of [using] their leaders. The blues [DA] are seriously afraid. If they can go for their internal research, their own internal research [about Steenhuisen’s popularity], I could just imagine. Their leader is actually not doing that well,” said Kekana.

He said the ANC plan was first  to push its key message, which would be communicated through Ramaphosa as the face of the national campaign.  The party’s  candidates would introduce themselves to voters through door-to-door campaigning before they were featured on posters.

“They are now hanging the candidate posters. So the candidate posters are now the last of our posters to be going up but it doesn’t mean that there hasn’t been any visibility. There has been a lot of visibility,” said Kekana.

He said parties that do not have the same muscle as the ANC put up posters and do little else. 

“Posters alone don’t win you a ward. It is good for the aerial battle,” Kekana said. It made the “party hacks” feel good “but without doing groundwork and voter contact there will be little support for you even if you put out posters”. 

The party has recently rolled out posters with targeted messaging in such metros as Tshwane. “You will see some of the posters saying  ‘building a better Tshwane’. So in all the metros, that is exactly what we are doing,” said Kekana.

Part of the reason the ANC was not putting up posters with mayoral candidates was that the candidates don’t appear on the ballot paper, only the party does.  

–Sunday Times

‘Network of corrupt officials’ as Unisa turns into ‘qualifications factory’

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.The timing of the appointment of Unisa vice-chancellor professor Puleng LenkaBula is raised in a new report into the management of the institution. Image: Thapelo Morebud

A once-proud national asset, the University of SA (Unisa), has become a “qualifications factory” where degrees and diplomas are churned out to dissatisfied students.

This, said professor Nico Cloete, a research professor in the centre of excellence in scientometrics and science, technology and innovation policy at Stellenbosch University,  is the view academics now have of Unisa.

His say comes in the wake of a damning report by a ministerial task team appointed by higher education minister Blade Nzimande to conduct a formal review of Unisa.

It flags, among other things, signs of a “deliberate and systematic plan, over an extended period, by a small but powerful group, to build a carefully constructed network of corrupt officials throughout Unisa”.

Cloete said Unisa’s reputation is suffering as it lags behind in the production of research, which is crucial for, among other things, the production of new knowledge. 

According to a higher education report, Unisa is ranked 12th in SA for its per capita research publications output in 2018 despite having 1,844 permanent academics. In contrast, the University of Pretoria, which is ranked No 1 for research output, has only 1,205 academics.

“Unisa is not regarded as a top research-producing university and has been surpassed by some of the historically disadvantaged institutions, like the University of Fort Hare,” said Cloete. 

Meanwhile, the ministerial task team report, dated August 30, paints a picture of an institution characterised by “poor governance” and “chronic management failures”.

“One of the most disturbing findings about Unisa was that, contrary to instilling an ethical culture, a core group within [the university council] is accused of having created an environment where corruption appears to be commonplace,” the report states.

“This corruption is supported and sustained by a culture of fear, victimisation, and vilification.”

The network of corrupt officials, it says, “has been expanding over the years and has extended to key departments such as SCM [supply chain management] and HR [human resources]”.

Unisa council chair Mashukudu Maboa  said he could not say because the council has not seen the report.

Higher education spokesperson Ishmael Mnisi said Nzimande is studying the report.

Some of the observations and findings in the report include that:

  • Gross incompetence and non-compliance is pervasive in certain departments;
  • The university council is wanting in almost every fundamental institutional governance requirement of an higher education institution; and
  • The council has failed in its key responsibility to safeguard the academic enterprise, which is the heart of the institution.

“What does concern the ministerial task team is that students are enrolled, subsidy said and NSFAS [National Student Financial Aid Scheme] funding expended on thousands of students who have very little hope of succeeding,” the report says.

It recommends that Nzimande appoint an administrator for up to two years, and that Unisa’s vice-chancellor, professor Puleng LenkaBula, should account to the administrator.

Unisa campus as viewed from Freedom Park. The commemorative garden, from where the visitor has a magnificent view of the Voortrekker Monument, the Union Buildings and the Unisa campus, has been created to celebrate the heroes and heroines of South Africa’s apartheid struggle past. Pic: Dudu Zitha. © ST.

In terms of the Higher Education Act, the council will be dissolved from the time the administrator is appointed.

LenkaBula was appointed vice-chancellor in November 2020, during the time of the review.

What does concern the ministerial task team is that students are enrolled, subsidy said and NSFAS [National Student Financial Aid Scheme] funding expended on thousands of students who have very little hope of succeeding

“Several external and internal experts were surprised that such a momentous appointment had not been deferred until after the completion of the review,” the report says.

“The task team was advised that the minister had initially made a similar appeal to council.”

Joe Samuels, the former CEO of the South African Qualifications Authority, said that “the problems identified are serious. The further deterioration of the institution should be prevented.”

He said the council doesn’t appoint itself, adding: “Those in power should seriously reflect on who they select and appoint to these critical governance structures. They should also ensure that councils have the necessary knowledge, skills, and experience to carry out their responsibilities.”

The suspended executive director of legal services at Unisa, Modidima Mannya, said the report confirmed what has always been glaringly obvious — a “self-serving council” and the abuse of power by certain members of it.

Mannya was suspended by LenkaBula in April for allegedly abusing his position and rejecting a proposal by her to participate in what she termed, according to him, “a mediation”.

He said in a statement that the report has also exposed “the nature and extent of the dereliction of duty by those entrusted with overseeing proper governance”.

–Sunday Times

DA is now campaigning for the ANC

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DA provincial leaders are said to be indignant that the party had approved new posters, which they say promote the ANC rather than conveying the DA’s campaign message.

The party this week started putting up posters that read: “DA or ANC:  Your choice.”

The DA was embroiled in a scandal involving posters it put up in Phoenix, Durban. Critics said the posters caused racial divisions in the area. These posters were removed. 

The Sunday Times has learnt that several DA provincial leaders were opposed to the new posters because they carried the name of another political party and amounted to free advertising for the ANC. 

“Why would you promote the ANC using your own resources,” said one leader, who asked not to be named. 

Some DA leaders expressed concern with what they called an “obsession with the ANC”. 

“When Mmusi [Maimane, a previous DA leader] was being criticised for poor electoral performance, it was said that he focuses too much on ANC criticism and not highlighting the party enough. We were all then surprised when posters with the name of another party appeared in our public posters,” said another leader.Insiders say the DA’s campaign manager convinced national leaders that having ‘ANC’ in its election material will not hurt the party at the polls.

“I saw that poster today. Fedex [the party’s federal executive] has not been sitting. We sat for the first time in two months when we were dealing with the posters saga. So I did see those posters. What’s interesting is that we had agreed in the review report after the 2019 elections that we are no longer going to frame the narrative by using the ANC; we are going to talk about what we do and it will end there.

“I am also surprised that we are going back now and speaking about the ANC. I know that there are meetings that sit with provincial leaders, and maybe that’s why we are not meeting as often,” said a DA insider who sits on the federal executive.

He said the executive had approved only three posters. “These posters now, I guess they were only discussed with the provincial leaders,” he said.

The DA’s acting national director of communications, Richard Newton, said the new posters had been accepted without opposition. 

“The posters were unanimously accepted at a fedex oversight meeting in April and also accepted at the April federal council meeting, after a few issues raised for discussion on the posters had been dealt with,” said Newton. 

Insiders told the Sunday Times that they lost the battle for scrapping the posters to Greg Krumbock, the DA’s federal campaign manager. 

“It’s a national strategy and it’s based on research. Provincial leaders were against it but the national leadership concurred with the campaign manager. He managed to convince national leaders that research suggested that the message would resonate with voters ahead of the local government elections,” an insider said.

The new posters, according to DA insiders, will go up only in urban areas. 

“The thought behind that is it may be offensive to rural folks but urban people will understand it. That makes no sense at all, but it’s from the strategists,” said another insider.

Asked why the posters would go up only in urban areas, Newton said they were designed to appeal not only to DA voters but to other smaller parties that were not represented in any numbers in rural areas. 

“Our message is the rural areas are designed more around the DA message of its proven service-delivery record and promise of good, clean governance and getting things done,” Newton said.

The DA also drew criticism this week for a radio advert attacking ActionSA leader Herman Mashaba.

In the advert, a woman’s voice says: “With all the new political parties, I was thinking of supporting Herman Mashaba. But so many illegal land invasions happened under his watch and he’s too close to the EFF. Independent polling shows that Mashaba’s small party has 1% support. If we split the vote by supporting small parties, the ANC will win and the EFF could become the official opposition. Only the Democratic Alliance is big enough to take on the ANC and stop the EFF. Let’s unite to win, vote DA.”

Mashaba said the advert portrayed the DA’s decline.

But DA spokesperson Siviwe Gwarube said the advert was part of the party’s normal campaigning.

“As is customary in any election, the DA will use election material like adverts to make a compelling case to the electorate to lend us their vote come election day. This is no different. 

“Part of an election campaign also requires shining a spotlight on our opponent’s weaknesses as a way of once again making a case for why the DA is the only party that can get things done. This is all part and parcel of the contestation of ideas and a feature of any political campaign,” said Gwarube. 

–Sunday Times

Medical parolee Jacob Zuma spotted in Durban casino

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Former president Jacob Zuma walks with Dudu Myeni as he leaves Sibaya Casino in Durban after a meeting on Friday. Image: Sandile Ndlovu

Former president Jacob Zuma was spotted out and about on Friday for the first time since he was granted medical parole, at Sibaya Casino in Durban.

The Sunday Times received a tip-off that Zuma was meeting close allies there,  among them former Luthuli House staffer Carl Niehaus and former South African Airways chair Dudu Myeni.

Zuma’s visit to the casino raised eyebrows because a day earlier he had told supporters gathered for his welcome-home party that he could not attend the event because of his strict parole conditions.

“Yes, I remain a prisoner, under very strict parole conditions. It feels like what house arrest and banning orders must have felt like during colonial-apartheid government,” he said on Thursday.

As questions began to be asked about his casino visit, his daughter Duduzile Zuma-Sambudla hit out at the media on Twitter.

“My father is not under house arrest and you are not privy to his parole conditions. My father can’t be your only newsmaker, there are taxi wars happening and ministers being taken “hostage” #WenzenuZuma,” she tweeted yesterday after the Sunday Times sent questions about the meeting to Myeni.

Department of correctional services spokesperson Singabakho Nxumalo said Zuma was granted permission to travel outside his district.

“We can confirm that Mr Jacob Zuma made a request to leave his residence to be in another town and this was approved by his monitoring official. We can therefore confirm that permission was granted. This is in line with his parole conditions.”

Nxumalo said Zuma was permitted to leave his Nkandla compound as long as “he reports his whereabouts and approval must be granted and then he can move”.

Nxumalo said he could not divulge information on Zuma’s request as it could lead to a breach in security. The details of medical parole are a matter between a parolee and the department, he said.

“We have to be concerned about his safety as well so that we can activate other monitoring officials to be on the lookout that there is a parolee in that area.”

In this case, it is not necessary for a parole officer to accompany the inmate to their desired destination. “If there is need to, then we can be there.”

Nxumalo said the general application for all parolees is that they are permitted to leave home, but “they should not take illegal substances. They can go to a restaurant, let’s say you want to have a meeting or an engagement, but we need to know where you are at all times.”

Suspended ANC member and the spokesperson of a disbanded MKMVA Carl Niehaus waits for an Uber ride after his meeting with former president Jacob Zuma at Sibaya Casino in Durban.
Image: Sandile Ndlovu

Contacted by the Sunday Times, Niehaus said: “I am not confirming anything to you, thank you.” He then ended the call abruptly. 

Myeni did not respond.

The casino is owned by Zuma’s friend, Durban businessman Vivian Reddy.

The Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution (Casac), which has been calling for Zuma’s medical parole conditions to be made public, said this shows why  its call is important.

Casac executive secretary Lawson Naidoo said: “The public need to know what these conditions are so we can be assured that they are not being transgressed, and that Mr Zuma is not receiving favourable or preferential treatment.”

Daily Antiretroviral drugs for HIV patients to be replaced by one jab in every two months

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Scots HIV patients to be given new jab once every two months and ditch their daily pills

  • Scottish HIV patients will receive jabs once every two months instead of pills
  • The £14,000-a-year antiretroviral treatment is as effective as the daily tablets 
  • Researchers combined drugs cabotegravir and rilpivirine as part of a study 
  • Patients in England and Wales have to wait to see if NICE will fund the treatment 

People living with HIV in Scotland will soon be freed from the burden of taking daily pills, thanks to a breakthrough treatment injected every two months.

Health chiefs have given the jab the green light after trials combining the antiretroviral drugs cabotegravir and rilpivirine proved they work as effectively as daily tablets in tackling the incurable virus that attacks the immune system.

Researchers found that nine in ten patients who receive this treatment reach the point known as ‘undetectable viral load’ – the goal of HIV treatment which means a patient not only stays well, but has such tiny amounts of the virus in their body they cannot pass it on.Dailymail.co.uk: News, Sport, Showbiz, Celebrities from Daily MailPauseNext video1:19 / 2:09Full-screenRead More

But HIV patients in England and Wales remain on tenterhooks as to whether they will receive the £14,000 a year treatment while the health watchdog, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), weighs up a decision to fund it.

Brian West, 63, a self-employed project manager from Edinburgh who was diagnosed with HIV in 1984, said having an injection every couple of months was the ‘nearest we will get to a cure in my lifetime’.Researchers have developed a new antiretrovial treatment for HIV which involves patients having a single injection once every two months rather than taking pills every day, pictured, It's a Sin, a TV show which showed the disease's impact on the gay community in the early 1980s+3

Researchers have developed a new antiretrovial treatment for HIV which involves patients having a single injection once every two months rather than taking pills every day, pictured, It’s a Sin, a TV show which showed the disease’s impact on the gay community in the early 1980s

He added: ‘It means that you can put HIV to the back of your mind. Some people aren’t good at remembering to take a pill every single day, especially as they get older, and for some people taking the tablet is a constant reminder of their HIV status.’

Campaigners have welcomed the decision to offer the ‘game-changing’ treatment by the Scottish Medicines Consortium, saying that giving people with HIV more treatment options means they are more likely to find an option that works well for them.

Matthew Hodson, executive director of the HIV information charity NAM Aidsmap, urged NICE to back the treatment in England and Wales. ‘Early trials of injectable treatment delivered great results,’ he said. ‘Many people living with HIV would welcome greater choice in the ways they can take their medication.’

A long-lasting treatment could make medication simpler for some people, and is also more discreet for people who feel unable to be open about their HIV status, campaigners say.Brian West, 63, a self-employed project manager from Edinburgh who was diagnosed with HIV in 1984, said having an injection every couple of months was the ‘nearest we will get to a cure in my lifetime’+3

Brian West, 63, a self-employed project manager from Edinburgh who was diagnosed with HIV in 1984, said having an injection every couple of months was the ‘nearest we will get to a cure in my lifetime’

Reducing the burden of taking pills daily may also reduce the emotional toll of HIV, while making it simpler could improve the numbers of people who stick to their treatment regime.

Medication is the key to preventing the cumulative damage HIV causes, leading to opportunistic infections, illnesses and a diagnosis of AIDS, which is ultimately fatal. Nneka Nwokolo, honorary consultant physician in HIV and sexual health at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, West London, and senior global medical director at ViiV Healthcare, which produces the new treatment, said that it is an exciting step forward. ‘It is a huge development for people with HIV as it increases choice,’ she said. ‘Many people with HIV struggle to take a tablet every day for lots of different reasons.

‘There cannot be a one-size-fits-all treatment, as people are different and their circumstances change. Being on the right treatment at the right time is crucial to end the HIV epidemic.’

Serious side effects were relatively rare and studies show 91 per cent of patients preferr the long-acting injection to daily tablets.

The new jab is a form of antiretroviral therapy (ART), which suppresses the virus that attacks the immune system.

The development of antiretroviral therapy, first delivered in a daily tablet, transformed the outlook and life expectancy for people with HIV. The virus is difficult to treat and, when it was first identified in the 1980s, it was seen as a death sentence.

Once the virus – carried in blood and other bodily fluids – enters the body, it infects cells by mixing its own genetic material with human DNA in the cell.

This produces a mutant cell, which spits out thousands of versions of itself in minutes, largely undetectable by the immune system. Due to this process, viral copies are fast-changing, so targeted treatments or vaccines quickly become useless.

But ART can tackle the virus at various points within its life cycle, stopping it from infecting cells, mutating rapidly and spreading around the body.

Cabotegravir blocks a process that is important for HIV multiplying inside infected cells, reducing levels of HIV in the blood.

Some drugs can also be taken in tablets as a preventative to protect people who do not have HIV but may be at high risk of being exposed. Researchers have looked at using cabotegravir injections in this way, known as pre-exposure prophylaxis, and the US drug watchdog is currently considering whether to licence it for this use.

About 105,000 people in the UK are believed to have HIV, and it is estimated that more than 5,000 of those have yet to be diagnosed.

Mr West was diagnosed with HIV almost 40 years ago when he lived in Australia. It’s an era which was highlighted by the Channel 4 drama It’s A Sin earlier this year, which followed five young friends growing up in the 1980s in the shadow of AIDS, when little was known about the disease and there were no treatment options.The first HIV treatments involved patients taking seven tablets three times a day and having to rely on a high fat diet with horrendous side effects+3

The first HIV treatments involved patients taking seven tablets three times a day and having to rely on a high fat diet with horrendous side effects

‘When I was diagnosed it was a death sentence, and I went home prepared to die,’ said Mr West.

For Mr West, whose treatment once involved having to take seven tablets three times a day, the ease of new treatment options is remarkable. ‘The tablets had to be taken with a high fat diet and the side effects were horrendous,’ he said. ‘They were difficult regimes, but they got us through the bad times and made sure I lived.’

The innovation gives Mr West hope. ‘Undetectable equals untransmissible,’ he says. ‘We won’t have any routes of HIV transmission left if we get everybody living with HIV on effective treatment, and the best way is to have a strong array of treatment options.’

–Daily Mail

Military vets were prepared to hold ministers ‘for days’

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Minister of Defence Thandi Modise

The military veterans who kept two ministers and a deputy minister hostage at a hotel in Tshwane this week were prepared to hold on to them “for days’’ until their demands were met — including the payment of R4.2m each to 9,000 veterans at a total cost of more than R37bn.

An insider with intimate knowledge of the veterans’ plans told the Sunday Times they had agreed before the meeting at the Saint George Hotel in Irene with defence minister Thandi Modise, minister in the presidency Mondli Gungubele and deputy defence minister Thabang Makwetla that this was their “opportunity”.

The unprecedented act of taking ministers hostage to secure demands has rocked President Cyril Ramaphosa’s government and shone a spotlight on a potential new source of instability, just short of three months after the July riots.

After the hotel standoff, security around Ramaphosa was ramped up when he visited Mapobane in Tshwane the next day to campaign for the ANC in the local government elections. Though he has not referred to the incident, his deputy, David Mabuza,  suggested yesterday that the government will not give in to demands it sees as unreasonable.

About 50 bodyguards, and other security personnel manning street corners and mingling with the crowd, were in evidence during Ramaphosa’s election rally. As soon as Ramaphosa arrived the bodyguards surrounded him, preventing the public and media from getting close to the president.

Acting presidency spokesperson Tyrone Seale declined to address the question of whether law enforcement agencies had picked up a security threat to Ramaphosa, saying only: “The presidency has no comment on your security question.”

On Friday, Modise, Gungubele and Makwetla were also closely guarded when they held a media briefing in Pretoria. The three were whisked away immediately after the press conference without entertaining any one-on-one interviews. Protectors were overheard saying the risk was high of a repeat of Thursday night’s events as some military veterans were said to be gathered at a restaurant 300m away.

Mabuza, who was appointed to lead negotiations with the veterans, yesterday broke his silence, telling news channel eNCA that the veterans should not “stretch us too far”.

“We have established a task team established by the president, we are in the process of addressing all the issues and we are attending to all registered associations. So there are people who are coming out of these associations, we are attending to them but they should not stretch us too far,” he said.

Ramaphosa’s office yesterday refused to answer detailed questions about the incident,  saying only that the hostage drama was being investigated by the police.

Before the meeting with the veterans broke down, Modise is said to have told them the government does not have the funds for R4.2m payouts.

“So [when] the meeting started and a report was expected from them, the sticky issue, among others, became the R4m, because government says we don’t have money. We know that our government is bankrupt for all intents and purposes,” said a military veteran who attended the meeting and asked not to be named. 

“But it was felt that government can’t just say that we are bankrupt, you must be able to say, ‘Guys, it makes sense or it doesn’t make sense, let’s look at various ways.’ It can’t just be carte blanche there’s no money let’s move on. You don’t negotiate that way. Then clearly it becomes a deadlock.”

Why the impatience from the minister? Why not isolate what we agreed on and what we don’t agree on? Not to say, ‘We don’t agree so I’m taking my bags and leaving.’ We can’t conduct ourselves in that way as leaders

Military veteran

According to the insiders, this was when the ministers packed their bags and made to leave — only to be blocked.

“That’s really what surprised many of us … why the impatience from the minister? Why not isolate what we agreed on and what we don’t agree on? Not to say, ‘We don’t agree so I’m taking my bags and leaving.’ We can’t conduct ourselves in that way as leaders. That’s where the comrades said, ‘But you’re acting strangely’ and we said, ‘You will sit there for as long as you can afford.’”

Asked how long they were willing to hold the ministers hostage, the insider said: “The insistence was ‘get hold of the president and let’s engage with the president’. They were dead serious to say we need the principal or the principals here. So whether it was going to be sitting there for a day or two days or five days, we don’t know. But the resolve was to make sure that the opportunity doesn’t get spoiled by the impatience from the ministers’ side.”

Asked yesterday if he had been missing in action, Mabuza said: “No, I’m not missing in action, I’m here. I’ve sent the ministers to go to them because I’ve met them many times, they are repeating the same thing; the president has met them many times, they are repeating the same things.”

Mabuza’s adviser responsible for the military veterans task team in his office, Gen Mulangi Mphego, told the Sunday Times the deputy president had not been scheduled to attend Thursday’s meeting.

He said the meeting was chaired by Gungubele. “So the deputy president was not going to be attending anyways. He was also elsewhere attending to another matter.”

On Mabuza’s security, Mphego said: “There is no security threat that we have registered or been alerted of. The best institutions to check that are the security institutions themselves.”

At the heart of the demands was for the military veterans to get housing and health care and for their dependants to be taken care of.

The meeting was cordial until the demand was made for a once-off payment of R4m to every one of the 9,000 veterans.

The veterans also want everyone to be included in the benefits schemes but this is not possible as some of them did not directly participate in the liberation struggle. The veterans include members of Azapo’s Azanian National Liberation Army, Umkhonto we Sizwe’s Military Veterans Association and the Pan Africanist Congress’s Azanian People’s Liberation Army.

However, some were in so-called self-defence units (SDUs), which had no formal training and at times formulated their own military tactics. Those in the SDUs were therefore not recognised during the transition and formation of the South African National Defence Force.

These are the veterans who have been most affected by being cut off without any income or benefits.

“As we speak, all of us were not able to work and accumulate retirement, buy houses and all of that, so we were volunteers for the struggle and still came home to nothing after 1994,” said one of the veterans, justifying the R4m demand.

“Even if we were employed in 1994 we would not have accumulated much by now. So it’s really to build some security net so that we are not reduced to beggars. This is what motivated the figure.”

​When the Sunday Times team visited the scene, signs of the three-hour drama could be seen in carpets scorched from stun grenades, upended tables, tablecloths strewn across the floor and broken chairs.

Hotel staff members who spoke on condition of anonymity said the meeting was arranged at the last minute, and that some arrived “looking for a fight”.

Inside the meeting room in the Parthenon conference facility was the hotel’s IT specialist, Lenny Mokoena, who was organising audio facilities.

“When the people arrived and the meeting started everyone, except a few, were fine. There were a handful of people in the meeting. I was not paying attention to what was being said but as the meeting went on you could hear from the voices that people were angry.

“Eventually someone, I think it was the defence minister, decided the meeting should end.”

He said when the ministerial delegation tried to leave, veterans who were outside blocked them. “There were so many people coming in. They closed the doors and made the ministers sit down.”

There was singing and protesting. People who had not been in the meeting were pushing their way in. They were not letting anyone out. It was loud and very confusing

Lenny Mokoena, Saint George Hotel IT specialist

He said he had been more nervous than scared. “There was singing and protesting. People who had not been in the meeting were pushing their way in. They were not letting anyone out. It was loud and very confusing.

“They were telling them to call Cyril [Ramaphosa] and the deputy president. They said no-one would leave until they spoke to them.”

He said when the police arrived tensions escalated. “Someone from outside was trying to talk to those inside. I don’t know who it was but it was police. They were talking for hours and the people inside were getting crosser.”

Moekoena said without warning there were loud bangs and police everywhere.

“I didn’t know what was going on. I just fell to the floor. Then the police were inside screaming, telling everyone to lie down and put their hands on their heads. People were hiding under the tables. I couldn’t see the ministers.”

He said he was eventually let go after he told the police that he worked for the hotel.

“When I left I could see someone lying on the floor. They looked like they were hurt. I saw another woman who looked like she had hurt her arm.”

Police sources said as task force members threw stun grenades into the conference room and stormed it through two different doors, the ministers’ protectors grabbed their charges and pushed them under the tables they had been seated at, shielding them with their bodies.

The ministers at the time the task force launched their assault had been sitting in front of two defence force and military veterans banners emblazoned with the word “Benefit”.

A senior member of the hotel staff, who asked not to be named, said they had been called just before 3pm and told to arrange a conference room.

“I told them there were none available, but they were insistent. They said this meeting had to take place. That there had to be a space made available. When I said there was not they hung up. They called back three or four times, until I told them there was only a large conference room.

“Without even looking at it they said they would use it. They said they wanted food, that there had to be food and that it must be served at 7pm. We organised finger platters with chicken wings, pies, fish, open sandwiches, wraps with different meats, cut fruit. There was cooldrinks and coffee for everyone.”

She said when the defence minister’s delegation arrived “you could feel the tension”.

“Usually these meetings are organised in advance. But this was last-minute.”

She said just after 7pm a colleague outside the room called her to say there was trouble.

“They said they heard people saying call the police, that there was a disaster and that those inside could not get out the room. I told them to leave and get to safety. I didn’t know what was going on but it sounded bad.”

She said police arrived soon after and began trying to talk to those holding the ministers.

A groundsman, who asked not to be identified, said he was asleep in his room in the property’s grounds when he heard two loud explosions and then people screaming.

“I didn’t know what was going on. I thought we were being attacked. When I came outside I saw so many police. I ran to see what was happening. They had so many guns with them.

“I saw people coming out to the ambulances. You could see they were hurt. Then the police brought out the people they had arrested. There were so many people that they arrested.

“This has never happened here before. I have worked here a long time and I have never seen something like this.”

Police spokesperson Brig Vish Naidoo said 56 people had been arrested and charged with various crimes, including kidnapping. He said three people were injured.

–Sunday Times

Dr. Kiwanga’s magic ring boosted my business

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This was the second time I was doing this business for I had once started a similar but it was not bringing maximum profit. This was a chance to try if the business would yield maximum profit but all was in vain. I really did not know what acted as a barricade to my business prospering.
My business partners kept telling me that luck was a tool their success in business.
In one of local radio stations, I happened to learn about Dr. Kiwanga where I took his number for further advice. He invited me to his offices for assistance for I really wanted to have some help since I was really exhausted in doing business each time without development. Dr. Kiwanga gave me magic ring in succeeding in business. I went back to my normal business activities this time round having some hope things would change. In the first week just after I had come from Dr. Kiwanga, my business had really showed the sign to be a succesful one.
Unlike before, I would make a lot of money within a day. Dr. Kiwanga really had some impact in my business through the business magic ring. Many were the times when my competitors wanted to know the secret behind my success in business. Some would say I was possessing external powers which ensured that my business was to another level.
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Who is Lalela Mswane

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Lalela Mswane

Lalela Mswane is the 24-year-old LLB graduate who has just been crowned Miss South Africa.

Just one look at her images and you can see why she managed to snatch the highly contested crown. She has a charming and determined personality.

However, her journey wasn’t always an easy one. On her road to shining as brightly as she is now, she battled with bullying and isolation. She was picked on for being too “tall, gangly, and thin,” making her high school years somewhat of an unpleasant time.

Fortunately, a change of environment began to change her perception too. New surroundings and new peers helped her to build up self-confidence.

“I now identify strongly with the quotation that says, ‘since the beginning of time you have had everything within you to achieve anything you want to. It was the world that convinced you that you did not.’, ” she says.

“As I have found, it is what is within you that dictates your future, not the people or events around you.”

This belief of being able to rise above difficult circumstances also extends to others, and she wants fellow South Africans to hold the same optimism and determination.

“Knowing your worth and knowing what you deserve in life sometimes means adapting and building something new. Being an unemployed graduate does not mean that you have to wait for an opportunity to knock. Sitting and believing that you are entitled to better because you have struggled and achieved will lead nowhere. Harnessing your talents and finding new life paths and opportunities could, however, provide a solution.”

Through her Miss South Africa engagements, she hopes to carry this message across and instill a renewed sense of hope and bravery amongst people.

“I approach these events hoping that something about the lessons I have learned, my conversations or actions will make a long-lasting impression with at least one person,” she says.

“My ideal is to be involved in ongoing projects rather than once-off visits so that I can build relationships and help where I can.”

When asked about her involvement in the Miss SA pageant, and the possibility of being crowned the next Miss South Africa, she says: “Now more than ever, the competition is about more than being just a beauty pageant. It is a platform for women. My competitors are phenomenal women from all walks of life who are aspiring to be heard.

Most importantly however, she believes that pageant is a platform for her to fulfill her passion for youth upliftment and social development.

Through Miss SA she aims to align herself with causes that tackle South Africa’s high unemployment rate and the plight of young people caught in this net.

She is currently acting through the development of the #BeReady campaign – to help empower youth development. Her vision is a site that will focus on developing practical alternatives to tertiary education with the help of the Department of Education.

These alternatives would be introduced in schools and focus on subjects such as agriculture, trades, manufacturing and other areas to prepare learners for careers in these fields.

“Not every learner qualifies to enter university. I believe that if you identify something that can become a passion before you leave school, you can identify opportunities and empower yourself in fields that normally would not have been considered,” she concludes.

Lalela Mswane crowned Miss South Africa 2021

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Lalela Mswane

  • Lalela Mswane was crowned Miss South Africa 2021 on 16 October at the Grand Arena, GrandWest in Cape Town.
  • She receives R1 million in cash, the use of a fully-furnished apartment at Central Square Sandton, and a Mercedes Benz C-Class sedan for the year of her reign.
  • The Miss South Africa live show featured top local artists, including the Ndlovu Youth Choir, Ntokozo Mbambo and Zakes Bantwini.

Miss South Africa 2021 is Lalela Mswane.

The 24-year-old from KwaZulu-Natal is a model and dancer and holds a Bachelor of Law qualification from the University of Pretoria.

“I possess the compassion, tenacity, leadership and people skills which render me a worthy title holder. With a willing heart, an open mind and an eagerness to learn and grow, it would be an absolute honour to reign as Miss South Africa 2021,” she previously told Channel24.

 

–Channel24

South Africa’s ex-president says he was unfairly imprisoned

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Former President Jacob Zuma

Former South African President Jacob Zuma claims he was sent to prison in July because the country’s justice system is unfair.

Zuma addressed his supporters on Thursday through an audio message at a prayer event in Durban, where many of his supporters arrived in packed buses. It was one of his first public comments since he was released from prison in September on medical parole.

“I remain a prisoner under strict parole conditions. It feels like what house arrest and banning orders must have felt like during the colonial apartheid government,” Zuma said in the audio message.

Zuma, 79, was imprisoned for defying a court order to testify at a judicial inquiry probing allegations of corruption during his presidential term from 2009 to 2018. Zuma has been implicated in wrongdoing by several witnesses including former Cabinet ministers.

He refused to appear before the commission despite an order by the country’s highest court, the Constitutional Court.

Zuma served nearly two months of his 15-month jail sentence at the Estcourt Correctional Center before he was controversially released on medical parole. Correctional Services Commissioner Arthur Fraser approved Zuma’s release against the recommendation of the parole board, which had said he should remain in jail as he was in a stable condition.

Zuma spent most of his sentence in the prison’s hospital wing and was later transferred to an outside hospital where he underwent surgery in August. Zuma’s lawyers have not disclosed the reason for the surgery or his medical condition.

Political analyst Xolani Dube said the prayer event for Zuma shows the extent of political divisions within the ruling African National Congress party, which will soon be contesting local government elections.

“It is nothing but a show of strength by the one faction against the other. They are using his (Zuma’s) charisma and character to fight the internal factional battles of the ANC,” said Dube.

Zuma still faces corruption charges in a separate case in which he is accused of receiving bribes from French arms firm Thales during South Africa’s controversial arms purchase in 1999. Zuma has pleaded not guilty to the charges and is applying for the lead prosecutor in the case, Billy Downer, to recuse himself from the matter. Zuma is expected to appear in the Pietermaritzburg High Court next week for that case.

–AP

Male church members demand the return of a beautiful, heavy duty female pastor

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Lady Pastor Jackline

All is not well at Africa Deliverance Community church as male church members demand the immediate reinstatement of their gorgeous pastor, Lady Jackline. The beautiful pastor is not only popular for her good teachings but also for her well shaped, voluminous body that is endowed with a huge behind.

The provocatively attractive pastor’s removal from her parish precipitated a threat of church services boycott from men who want her back at their pulpit.

In response to the relocation of Lady Pastor Jackline to another church, male members are even threatening to shut down their chapel in South Africa’s Limpopo province.

Church Chairman Joseph Nyambane said the men issued him with an ultimatum, to either reinstate lady Jackline or risk cancellations of their church memberships.

“They warned that they would prefer to go to other churches rather than sit in the church without Lady Pastor Jackline there,” said Nyambane,”We can’t ignore the physical blessing that the Lady Pastor exudes in her looks as one of the reasons why the male members of the congregation are so keen to have her re-elected to the position.”

Continued Nyambane: “If she is truly endowed and beautiful, then she is a figure that most men would love to see on a regular basis. However, if she is a distraction to her male congregants, rather than a blessing, it could be because of her wonderful teachings and services as the leader of the Church, and as a result, they believe that no one else could have performed as well as she did in the role.”

Male church members have refused to attend services as a result of the transfer of a “heavy duty” female pastor.

Lady Pastor Jackline dishing out as a sermon to her congregates

Video: Inside the room where minister Modise was held hostage

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Exclusive footage from inside the room in the St George’s Hotel in Centurion reveals the chaos after police rescued ministers Thandi Modise and Mondli Gungubele from a hostage situation which played out over three hours on Thursday evening.

Overturned tables and chairs were spread across the room and discharged stun grenades left burn marks on the carpet. Disgruntled military veterans held the ministers hostage, forcing police and security forces to intervene on Thursday evening.

This video takes you inside the room.

-TimesLIVE

ANC councillor candidate shot dead in Durban

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64439649 - bullets and pistol glock .40

An eThekwini councillor candidate was shot dead in Durban on Friday night.

ANC spokesperson Nhlakanipho Ntombela confirmed the incident.

“Yes, we can confirm ANC candidate comrade Siyabonga Mkhize has been shot dead. We still do not know yet the details as to what happened,” he said.

It is understood that the shooting took place near a primary school in the Cato Crest area, west of Durban. Further details were not immediately available.

TimesLIVE has reached out to the SAPS for comment, with a spokesperson saying that they were still awaiting information on the incident. This story will be updated.

Ntombela said the party would be meeting with Mkhize’s family and local ANC structures on Saturday, and would hopefully be able to provide more information following this.

“We send our condolences to the Mkhize family on behalf of the ANC,” he said.

TimesLIVE

56 war veterans to face kidnapping charges for holding ministers hostage

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Police seen outside the St George’s hotel where Defence Minister Thandi Modise, Minister in the Presidency Mondli Gungubele and Deputy Minister of Defence Thabang Makwetla were held hostage by former liberation combatants on 14 October 2021. Picture: Veronica Mokhoali/Eyewitness News.

Gauteng police said that 56 people belonging to the Liberation Struggle War Veterans are expected to face charges of kidnapping after they held ministers Thandi Modise and Mondi Gungubele along with Thabang Makwetla, hostage for over three hours at the St George’s Hotel in Centurion.

The war veterans had been protesting against the government’s failure to pay them reparations.

Eyewitness News was on the scene when the trio was freed by the special task force, with the assistance of military police at about 10pm on Thursday nightz

Scores of law enforcement officials swarmed the St George’s Conference Centre in Irene after a meeting between military veterans and the defence minister turned into a hostile standoff.

In a video leaked to Eyewitness News during the meeting, tensions ran high after veterans accused Thandi Modise of failing to address their grievances. Disgruntled members then blocked the doors.

When attempts to negotiate with the hostage-takers failed, special forces stormed the room. With police firing tear gas, escorting the two Cabinet ministers and deputy minister to safety.

As Eyewitness News gained entrance into the conference venue, several ex-combatants were detained, with police tight-lipped on the safety of the ministers or injuries suffered during the operation.

“What I do know, is they were whisked away by the protectors. I’m not sure to exactly where. We successfully penetrated the room where they were being held hostage, and there were no shots fired.” said the police’s Vish Naidoo.

However, sources inside the venue said that shots were fired when the task force and military police swooped in.

“It’s critical comrades, we are down now. They’ve shot some of us,” said one person who was inside.

Police have confirmed that at least three of the arrested people were taken for medical treatment.

–EWN

Defence Minister Thandi Modise and deputy held hostage by military vets

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Defence Minister Thandi Modise

Johannesburg – Defence Minister Thandi Modise and her Deputy Thabang Makwetla alongside Minister in the Presidency Mondli Gungubele were held hostage by disgruntled military veterans on Thursday night but were later released.

It emerged that talks between the Presidential Task Team and the ex-combatants broke down and both parties could not reach an agreement.

The drama reportedly unfolded at the St Georges Hotel near Irene in Gauteng with members refusing to release the officials until their demands were met – this includes a meeting with President Cyril Ramaphosa.

This event follows a sit-in protest by the irate veterans at the ANC’s Luthuli House headquarters early this week.

Detailing what transpired, Gungubele said they were about to leave the meeting when all the doors were closed by some of the military veterans attending the meeting.

“It is at that point we realised we were being held hostage. It is a situation that was averted by the security forces very effectively and successfully. We want to thank Minister Bheki Cele and all security forces and whatever branch was involved for a prompt and timeous intervention… We expect the law to follow its course in dealing with the behaviour of this nature,” he said.

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Earlier, IOL had reported that Deputy President David Mabuza was set to meet the veterans to discuss their grievances.

The military veterans who had staged a protest were from Azapo, PAC and the ANC.

IOL also understands that some of them were not from around Johannesburg and had to arrange a place to sleep on Wednesday night.

ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe, at the time, said the group was very cooperative, and the party understood their plight.

He added that there were no big fears of a security breach because the ex-combatants had come to the HQ with genuine concerns.

“They have been cooperative. The issues they are raising are part of their plight, and there is a planned meeting between themselves and the deputy president as being delegated to deal with these matters at the level of government,” Mabe said.

According to Mabe, there were already movements to gather the ex-combatants from different parties and address their issues as a collective and not per ex liberation party.

But Mabe’s comments on Thursday did not hold water.

Unconfirmed reports stated that special forces had descended to the area to calm the situation with Modise and Makwetla being evacuated to safety.

National police spokesperson Vish Naidoo said SAPS national spokesperson Brigadier Vishnu Naidoo 56 people were arrested including 7 women.

“At 7:15 police received reports of a hostage situation at St Goerge hotel. They have been charged with three counts of kidnapping. What I do know is that the three ministers who were whisked away by the protectors did not need medical attention. I don’t know where they are,” said Naidoo.

He did not divulge where we’re the protectors of the ministers when the hostage situation took place.

“3 suspects were treated after complaining about pain, one complained about an injury we are not sure how they got injured. This was a pre-planned meeting, I think what the police have done is extremely commendable. They contained a situation that might have been out of hand,” he said.

Naidoo said there were no shots fired and 3 officials were rescued from the hostage situation.

He said a postpartum would be done on the entire situation and if it is necessary to provide information on the outcomes of the postmortem they will do so.

The suspects will face charges of kidnapping.

Meanwhile, MK military veteran spokesperson Lwazi Mzobe disputed the reports saying the minister (Modise) was allowed to move around on her own.

“We were sitting with them (officials). This was not a hostage. What we wanted is that the President must come and address us,” Mzobe said.

Chairs were used to block the door, however Mzobe denied that the chairs were used to prevent the minister from leaving the venue.

“We did that so they don’t leave the meeting. We never broke the law. I don’t know how many people have been arrested,” said Mzobe.

Mzobe says the special forces want to arrest them because they are suspects.

“They say we are suspects and they want to arrest us. If they don’t arrest us, we are going to the Union Building so that the President’s address is. These criminals have failed to facilitate this meeting,” he said.

ActionSA leader Herman Mashaba said: “There is no respect for the rule of law in this country. People think it’s a joke but there are organisations watching this lawlessness in South Africa and biding their time and waiting for their opportunity. This government is completely unprepared,” he said.

*Additional reporting Itumeleng Mafisa and Noni Mokati

–Political Bureau

Safa shuts doors to unvaccinated fans for next Bafana match

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Bafana Bafana supporters

The South African Football Association (Safa) has condemned supporters who went to the FNB Stadium to attend Bafana Bafana’s match against Ethiopia on Tuesday without vaccination certificates or tickets and urged them to refrain from doing so for the national team’s next match in November.

While it was ecstasy for the supporters who had their tickets in hand to watch the crucial 2022 Qatar Fifa World Cup qualifier, which Bafana won 1-0 in front of 2,000 vaccinated fans, for others it was agony.

An entrance to the stadium had to be closed following a scuffle with police after fans without tickets tried to push their way into the Soweto venue, forcing those with tickets and vaccination cards to be diverted to another entrance.

Hundreds of fans, most of them Ethiopians, were turned away.

They claimed they didn’t know they had to get a ticket online first and believed they only had to arrive with a vaccination certificate.

The ticketless and unvaccinated fans said they came to the venue under the impression that about 100 tickets would be provided to them upon arrival at the stadium.

They claimed that arrangements were made with Bafana and Kaizer Chiefs fan and vaccination drive ambassador Saddam Maake at a vaccination campaign in Mbombela led by deputy president David Mabuza last month.

Some fans blamed Maake for what was seemingly a miscommunication, while others pointed the finger at Safa and officials.

Maake was adamant that the fans from Mpumalanga and elsewhere across the country were told in time to register online, but some of them decided against it.

The match, which was successfully used as a pilot project for the return of fans back to the stadiums, was the first to be watched live by spectators in the country since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic in March last year.

Attendance was limited to 2,000 fans, who had to be fully vaccinated, and applications for tickets had to be done online.

Safa communications boss Dominic Chimhavi, however, said the organisation had a successful pilot project and cautioned the public against sidetracking Tuesday’s success with a “handful of grievances”.

“The truth is that Safa, together with the Stadium Management SA and the departments of sport, arts and culture and health, were consistent the whole week that fans must apply for tickets online,” said Chimhavi.

“We blocked 40 tickets for the superfans from across the country and I don’t know where the 100 tickets those fans are claiming is coming from.

“The fans from Mpumalanga were ‘a bit mischievous’ to rock up at FNB Stadium without tickets or confirmation.

“Saddam, Mama Joy and other prominent Superfans are vaccination ambassadors for the country and have been to Gauteng, Mpumalanga, North West and KZN encouraging people to get vaccinated.

“This week they are in Northern Cape asking people to get vaccinated.”

 “The limited number of 2,000 was a small number but this was a pilot project.

“Overall, the pilot project was a massive success and we can only grow from there.”

The pilot project was witnessed by ministers of sport, health and justice, Nathi Mthethwa, Joe Phaahla and Ronald Lamola respectively, along with other top government officials and Safa Ethics Committee chair justice Sisi Khampepe.

Elephant tramples to death South African tourist in Zimbabwe

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Charging elephant

A 71-year-old South African tourist was trampled to death by an elephant “in full view” of his son at Zimbabwe’s Mana Pools National Park, the country’s parks agency said Thursday, days after another fatal encounter with an elephant occurred in a separate park.

A “tuskless” female elephant this week charged the tourist and his 41-year-old son as they took a morning walk in the park, Tinashe Farawo, spokesman for the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority, told The Associated Press.

Mana Pools is a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its splendid setting along the Zambezi River and surrounding flood plain teeming with elephants and other wildlife.

Michael Bernard Walsh, a veterinarian from Cape Town, was a “loyal tourist” who had been visiting Mana Pools “almost every year” for the past 35 years, said Farawo.

The father and son duo had left their car about 40 meters (44 yards) from the scene of the incident. “Because of age, unfortunately, the old man couldn’t escape to the vehicle.

His son watched as the elephant killed his father,” said Farawo.

“We are extremely concerned because two people have been killed in one week alone,” he said, referring to an earlier fatality in which an anti-poaching coordinator with a conservation group was trampled to death by an elephant in Victoria Falls in western Zimbabwe.

Clever Kapandura, an operations coordinator for the Victoria Falls Anti-Poaching Unit, a non-governmental organization, was part of a team of scouts deployed to investigate reports of a possible poaching incident.

“For some unknown reason” an elephant bull charged from about 120 meters (130 yards) away and seized the man and killed him, the organization said in a statement.

Zimbabwe’s national parks and environmental groups are reporting increasing cases of conflict between humans and wildlife in recent years.

More than 40 people have died from such conflicts in parks and other rural areas in Zimbabwe so far this year, said Farawo.

Like other parks in Zimbabwe, Mana Pools experiences hot, dry weather at this time of the year, limiting food and water sources for the thousands of elephants, lions, buffaloes, zebras, wild dogs, hyenas, zebras, elands and other animals.

As a result, the animals make forays into neighboring human communities in search of water, crops and livestock for food, said Farawo.

Zimbabwe has an estimated 85 000 elephants and neighboring Botswana has more than 130 000.

The two countries have the world’s largest elephant populations. The two southern African countries say they are struggling to cope with the booming numbers of elephants and are pressing to be allowed to sell their stockpile of ivory tusks that have been seized from poachers.

They say the funds raised from the ivory sales would be used for conservation and ease congestion in the drought-affected parks.

Other African countries, especially Kenya, are opposed to any sale of ivory.

“We are now sounding like a broken record, saying that our animals, especially elephants, are overpopulated and they are becoming a danger unto themselves by destroying their own habitat and they are also killing people,” said Farawo.

“We receive distress calls from communities almost every day.”

Zimbabwe’s parks agency said it has no plans to export baby elephants to China, denying recent reports by a wildlife conservation group.

Zimbabwe was criticised a few years ago for sending elephants to China where they were put in zoos.

– AP

Investigating officer tells court it will be dangerous to release Msibi as ‘politicians seek revenge’

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Supporters of MEC Mandla Msibi who is being charged with murder and attempted murder picket outside the Nelspruit magistrates court. Image: Mandla Khoza

The investigating officer in the double murder case against former  Mpumalanga MEC Mandla Msibi  has shed light into the shooting incident that claimed the lives of two ANC members outside a popular joint in Mbombela.

W/O Boy Bhila told the Mbombela magistrate’s court on Thursday that the shooting happened after arguments over the party’s candidates list verification meeting that was held at  Nutting House Lodge, outside Mbombela.

He said a car belonging to one Mr Nkalanga was shot at and they called their group and went to the police station to open a case.

 Bhila said Dingane Ngwenya, Sindela Sipho Lubisi and Sfiso Mpila went to Coyotes Shisa Nyama where they were shot at by a group of 15 people. 

“According to my witnesses, a group of plus or minus 15 people attacked the three [Ngwenya, Lubisi and Mpila] while they were in the car parking lot. They tried to run for their lives, but Ngwenya and Lubisi fell down while Mpila managed to run away, but accused number three [Msibi], according to my witness, shot him in the leg,” said Bhila. 

Bhila said accused number four (Anele Sonke Mnisi) is seen on CCTV footage  shooting Ngwenya, even though he was already dead. 

He said  Mnisi was also seen picking up cartridges at the scene. 

He said the accused must not be released on bail because their lives were in danger due to infighting in the ANC. 

Bhila said there were two groups fighting in the party, and releasing Msibi, 45, Njabulo Mkhonto and  Mnisi on bail would be putting their lives in danger as “politicians seek revenge”,

“If released on bail, it will not be right, the accused’s lives are in danger. As the police, it is our duty to protect people but police cannot protect someone 24/7. Number two, we also don’t know what the families of the deceased think or would do [to them]. This matter involves politicians and politicians like to  [seek] revenge,” said Bhila. 

Police said on September 17 2021, they arrested Joseph Charlie Ngwenya, 35, and Tshepo Matsane, 30. They both appeared in court at least twice before being granted bail of R20,000 each on October 8.

Outside the court, thousands or Msibi’s supporters chanted and sang Struggle songs, calling for  his release. 

Police used barbed wire to blockade Bester Street from the Mbombela police station  to the court. 

The bail  hearing continues. 

–SowetanLive

Money and relationships: ‘til debt do us part’

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Busi Selesho

Boundaries on lending and borrowing is important for friendships

BY NOMVELO MASANGO 

While money issues can ruin relationships with friends and loved ones, a few boundaries here and there do the trick.

In today’s economically-driven society, money has the power to make or break relationships. While it is said that money can’t buy you love, the role it plays in friendships and relationships cannot be denied.

According to research conducted by Statistics SA, a total of 23,710 divorces were recorded in the year 2019. The leading causes of these divorces included infidelity, lack of communication and you guessed it…finances.

While relationship coach Siyathokoza Nsizwane believes money should not be the determining factor in relationships, she’s also of the view that the importance of finances should not be downplayed.

“Money plays a big role in relationships. It’s a tool that we use to create memories with the people that we love. At the same time, it can also be a cause of conflict. So it’s very important for two people in a relationship to have an aligned view of finances and how they should be distributed,” she says.

Financial coach and author Busi Selesho shares similar sentiments. According to her, money serves as a scale which the world and society use for a variety of things.

“People treat you a certain way depending on where you live, what you wear and how much money you look like you have. It’s unfair but unfortunately that’s the impact which money has in most instances. This makes it very difficult to say money does not have an impact on relationships,” says Selesho.

The borrowing of money among friends and loved ones

In our journey of life, we are bound to experience rainy days. During such times, we may feel the need to call on those closest to us for financial rescue. According to Nsizwane, lending money to friends and loved ones is a way of being there for them and providing a helping hand.  However, she encourages the enforcement of healthy boundaries to avoid people taking advantage.

“It is important not to allow people to take advantage of your kindness. You must have boundaries and know when people are just using you; when they are making you a scapegoat for their personal mismanagement of finances,” she says.

From a financial perspective, Selesho does not encourage normalising the borrowing of money among friends and loved ones.

“The whole thing about borrowing money is that money is energy. As much as the banks make money from lending other people money, that’s a business for them. But if you want to mess up the energy between you and your friends or loved ones, start borrowing each other’s money.”

Selesho says a better option would be to assist the friend or loved one in making money rather than giving it to them.

“Rather accompany them to sell something or help them write proposals which will make the money. It’s best to be there for them by helping them make the money.

“You must also make sure you put your own money to good use and for all the right reasons. Money needs to have a purpose. You cannot have extra money idling for you to borrow others,” says Selesho.

Venturing into business with your lover

The past decade has seen an increase in small, family-owned businesses. More and more couples are venturing into business together. While this is a good idea and may grant couples various advantages such as the opportunity to embrace a more flexibile work/life balance, a lot could go wrong in the absence of caution and care.

“Going into business with your partner can be a great thing. You get to build something together, watch it grow and reap the fruits thereof. It can bring you closer,” says Nsizwane.

“But the challenge comes when you need to ensure there is no overlap between business matters and the relationship. In business, you are solely business partners. In your relationship, you are lovers. It’s important to not mix the dynamics of the two.”

A few points to consider when entering into business with your lover

  • Character is key: If you’re planning to go into business with your partner, you may have to re-evaluate their character. Sometimes, someone may be great as a lover but not so much as a business partner. You need to ensure that they share the same passion, work ethic and discipline in order for the business to thrive.
  • Don’t compromise on clarity: To ensure the success of both the relationship and the business, it’s important to have clarity on who does what. This way, you avoid stepping on each other’s toes. Designated roles in the business will prevent petty arguments which may affect you not only as business partners but as lovers too.
  • Always have a contract: While you may have known your partner for a very long time and probably trust them 100%, drafting a contract remains important. It does not need to be something very complicated. A simple document that sets out the basics such as how you will be working together, as well as how and when you will be paying each other can help with accountability and also save the relationship in the long run.

SowetanLive

Voicenote about ‘tropical storm’ is fake news, warns weather service

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Super Typhoon Yutu, strongest storm on Earth in 2018. Satellite view. Elements of this image furnished by NASA.

A voicenote warning South Africans about potentially dangerous weather is fake and people should stop circulating it.

This was the warning from the South African Weather Service (Saws), which on Thursday cautioned people against believing the voicenote that has been circulating on social media making claims of extreme conditions relating to tropical cyclones.

The voicenote is in isiZulu and was mostly circulated on WhatsApp on Thursday.

“The message is an adaptation of an old historic interview with Saws, dating back to the period earlier this year when tropical Cyclone Eloise affected Southern Africa. 

“We would like to distance ourselves from this hoax message, which is completely misleading and unfounded. The public is requested to refrain from further circulating the message, and also correct those who still do so,” said Saws.

The service has urged the public to only access weather information and weather warnings from reputable sources.

“In this regard, the Saws Act provides the mandate for Saws to be the single and authoritative source of weather warnings in SA.”

TimesLIVE

37 adults and children in suspected mass food-poisoning in Cape Town

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Thirty-seven people were taken to hospital on Wednesday night after a suspected  food poisoning incident in Cape Town.

ER24 spokesperson Russel Meiring said ambulances arrived in Seawinds, a suburb adjoining Lavender Hill, to find a crowd of adults and children gathered around two shacks shortly after 10pm.

“It is believed that a number of people had all eaten from a community-cooked batch of food before they began experiencing stomach cramps, nausea and vomiting symptoms,” said Meiring.

“Medics assessed the patients and found that 37 people, including several children, were complaining of severe stomach cramps, nausea and vomiting.

“The patients were treated and thereafter transported to nearby clinics for urgent care.

“The relevant authorities were on the scene for further investigations.”

TimesLIVE

How a Zimbabwe Tycoon made a fortune from a Trafigura partnership and spiralling national debt

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Kudakwashe Tagwirei

Kudakwashe Tagwirei, who is close to Zimbabwe’s president and his inner circle, leveraged his privileged access to fuel and mining markets to strike a lucrative partnership with commodities giant Trafigura. Sanctioned by the U.S. and U.K. for corruption, Tagwirei continued to do business by relocating his network to Mauritius.

Key Findings

  • Tagwirei has earned at least $100 million in fees from a partnership with Swiss-based Trafigura. Together, they have profited extensively by dominating Zimbabwe’s fuel market since 2013.
  • Trafigura quietly extended $1 billion in loans to the Zimbabwean government, at exorbitant interest rates.
  • As controversy grew, Tagwirei moved his business network offshore to Mauritius, where he secured a new near-monopoly fuel deal with the government. He is still active in mining and fuel deals in Zimbabwe.
  • Government officials appear on key company records and Tagwirei’s own correspondence, indicating that there might be more powerful people behind the network

When Zimbabwe’s long-ruling strongman Robert Mugabe was forced to resign in 2017, his downfall was greeted by jubilant crowds hopeful that decades of misrule and corruption were finally coming to an end.

His successor, Emmerson Mnangagwa, set off on an international tour to declare Zimbabwe “open for business.” Sporting a scarf knitted in the five colors of the country’s flag, he assured world leaders that all that was needed to jumpstart Zimbabwe’s moribund economy was new leadership and an infusion of foreign investment.

Four years on, Mnangagwa’s promised “New Dawn” has not arrived. Instead, Zimbabwe’s economy remains in tatters. Public debt — much of it illegally accrued — has ballooned, a lack of foreign currency and fuel shortages continue to cripple the economy, and the value of Zimbabwe’s local currency has plummeted.

The turmoil has not been without its winners, though. One man in particular has prospered from the state’s largesse: Kudakwashe Tagwirei, a tycoon known locally as “Queen Bee” because of his vast economic influence.

Under Mnangagwa’s reign, the businessman came to dominate Zimbabwe’s fuel, platinum, and gold sectors. Benefitting from opaquely awarded government contracts worth billions of dollars and preferential access to minerals as well as scarce foreign currency, Tagwirei’s network also got huge state loans he used to enrich himself while indebting the Zimbabwean public.

Those came from a surprising source that proved a key player in Tagiwirei’s network: Zimbabwe’s central bank. At least $3 billion in treasury bills issued by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe — which may have had no legal authority to do so — were awarded to Tagwirei’s group between 2017 and 2019, a parliamentary report said, with the group then funneling the windfall into a massive expansion that included a mining acquisition spree at bargain bin prices. As the country’s currency crashed, Tagwirei’s fortunes soared.

But it’s not clear if Tagwirei is the sole, or even the main beneficiary of this largesse. The presence of a handful of state officials in some of the network structures imply he is also a proxy for others. Since 2019 the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe’s governor, John Mangudya, was even named in Tagwirei-connected corporate trusts. Insiders say Tagwirei is close both to President Manangagwa and his deputy General Constantino Chiwenga.

Besides the government, one foreign company also played a critical role in Tagwirei’s rise over nearly a decade: Swiss-headquartered commodity trader Trafigura Group Pte Ltd. Trafigura formed a joint venture with Tagwirei as far back as 2013 that gave the company priority access to the country’s fuel infrastructure and supply business through Tagwirei’s local influence. Tagwirei’s links to Trafigura, his business successes at home, and U.S. and U.K. sanctions against him have attracted critical press coverage in recent months.

Now, using contracts, invoices and email correspondence between Tagwirei’s network, former Trafigura officials involved in the joint venture, and government officials, OCCRP can reveal new details of how Trafigura and Tagwirei’s partnership worked.

OCCRP learned that Trafigura paid Tagwirei at least $100 million in fees through early 2018 for his help in creating a dominant position in the Zimbabwean fuel market. Their joint venture, initially called Sakunda Supplies and later renamed Trafigura Zimbabwe, would do this by advancing massive cash prepayments and fuel to the government in exchange for significant control over the Zimbabwean market and priority use of the state’s fuel pipelines.

“Only one set of interests controls the fuel: Trafigura and Tagwirei,” Zimbabwe’s former finance minister, Tendai Biti, told OCCRP.

The joint venture would last until December 2019, when Trafigura bought out the soon-to-be-sanctioned Tagwirei.

But the partnership may have been too lucrative to discontinue.Only one set of interests controls the fuel: Trafigura and Tagwirei.– Tendai Biti, Former Zimbabwean Finance Minister

Instead, Trafigura sought to continue its relationship with Tagwirei via Sotic International Ltd., a new company that he had set up in Mauritius, and associated shell companies fronted by South Africa-based directors, several of whom were former Trafigura employees.

In an email to OCCRP, Tagwirei said, “Some of the questions you raise are an embarrassing demonstration of an apparent lack of understanding of the issues you purport to investigate … I unequivocally deny all the accusations and allegations you are making against me in your email.”

Wilfred Mutakeni, head of Zimbabwe’s National Oil Infrastructure Company, the regulatory agency that provided the joint venture its dominant rights, did not respond to a request for comment.Credit: Trafigura Pictures/CC BY-ND 2.0Trafigura’s offices in Johannesburg.

In a response to OCCRP, a Trafigura spokesperson said, “Trafigura exited our business relationships with Mr Tagwirei in December 2019, prior to US sanctions being imposed, through the purchase of [[Tagwirei’s stake]]. All commercial arrangements are conducted in full compliance with applicable laws and regulations. Trafigura is one of a number of suppliers to Zimbabwe, South Africa and Mozambique. There is no exclusivity or market dominance.”

Trafigura said OCCRP’s details were “factually inaccurate,” but declined to answer specific questions about advance payments, payments to Tagwirei, or the purchase price of his shares. The company said “commercial arrangements are commercially sensitive and as such, are confidential.”

A Captive Market

On Harare’s bustling streets, where centuries-old churches compete for space with modern high-rises, one building stands above its neighbors. Century Towers, an imposing glass structure perched next to one of the capital’s main thoroughfares, houses the main office of Tagwirei’s holding company for his share of the joint venture, Sakunda Holdings Private Ltd, on several floors – including the 15th. One floor below are the offices of Zimbabwe’s energy regulator.Credit: Christopher Scott/Alamy Stock PhotoCentury Towers in Harare.

This proximity hints at the closeness critics say allowed Tagwirei to make a fortune from preferential government contracts.

Tagwirei originally signed a contract in 2011 with the National Oil Infrastructure Company of Zimbabwe (NOIC) that gave him many of the rights he would later share with Trafigura.

In July 2013, Tagwirei and his companies Sakunda Holdings and Sakunda Trading agreed to sell access to their existing petroleum contract with NOIC to Trafigura, affording it 49 percent of the shares of a new joint venture.

They agreed to form Sakunda Supplies, based in Zimbabwe, which would hand Trafigura a host of benefits, including preferential access to the crucial Beira pipeline from Mozambique. NOIC, which had initially awarded Sakunda Holdings the deal in 2011, confirmed in a 2018 letter that Trafigura was entitled to all the benefits enjoyed by Sakunda.

Trafigura’s Deals with Sakunda and Tagwirei

Contracts that Tagwirei and his company, Sakunda Holdings, signed with Trafigura.

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In return, a service agreement between Trafigura and Tagwirei, ratified in 2014, granted a $12 million signing bonus and a further $12 million for Tagwirei when NOIC provided access to their pipeline and the project launched.

On paper, Tagwirei’s role in the new company was to provide his “significant market experience, network and contact base.” But an insider said Trafigura was simply paying for Tagwirei’s access to powerful figures in Zimbabwe.

“Trafigura provided everything: the capital, the fuel, the expertise,” said former Trafigura Zimbabwe director Christopher Fourie.

“Sakunda [Holdings] – by which I mean just a few front guys under Tagwirei – were the political connections to the reserve bank, the president. Their aim was to keep profits low in Zimbabwean operations and pay Tagwirei offshore,” said Fourie, who later served as CEO and shareholder of another one of Tagwirei’s companies.

“A Captive Market”

In November 2013, just a few months after the joint venture was formed, Trafigura made the first in a series of cash advances to the Zimbabwean government’s pipeline operator.

Confidential documents show that, over the course of the next six years, Trafigura and its joint venture came up with at least $1 billion in prepayments to NOIC.

In exchange, Trafigura Zimbabwe got priority access to Zimbabwe’s key oil pipeline. In 2018 the joint venture paid what appears to be a favorable price of $1.24 per barrel moved. It costs about $2.19 a barrel to transport oil through the Feruka pipeline from Beira in Mozambique to Harare. Meanwhile Trafigura Zimbabwe earned up to 40 percent gross profits for the supply of oil — all with sparse competition and all negotiated opaquely.

A December 2018 amendment of the joint venture agreement sets out credit facilities made available by Trafigura’s head office to the government of Zimbabwe, including loans of $50 million and $13.6 million.

The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe guaranteed NOIC’s repayments of the advances, which were to be made in foreign currency. The interest if NOIC were to fail to pay its monthly obligation was a hefty 16 percent, which was to be compounded against the full outstanding sum, repayable immediately and in full. Zimbabwe is chronically short of foreign currency and heavily in debt, and has struggled to repay its obligations.

“If these terms are correct, 16 percent is a very high interest rate,” said Natasha White, an oil researcher at U.K.-based advocacy group Global Witness. “High interest rates are usually conditions to buffer the risk of non-payment (and are where the traders make their money on these deals).”

Commodity trader prepayments to states and state-backed entities often feature deals based on political connections and lack a tender process, according to White. “This raises serious red flags regarding the government’s decision to enter into them,” she said.

The 2018 agreement specified a base monthly repayment of $5 million until April 2019 and $3.2 million from May 2019 until the total sum of $63.6 million was fully repaid. By the time of the December 2018 agreement, NOIC had received almost $400 million in advances from Trafigura itself, while the total advances of both Trafigura and the joint venture were close to $1 billion, according to an internal Trafigura Zimbabwe document.

Zimbabwe’s central bank governor John Mangudya denied this to OCCRP, claiming the “outstanding balance by 2018 was only $130 million.” He declined to provide term sheets, stating that loan agreements are confidential.

Internal Trafigura Zimbabwe communications underscored the value of the company’s pre-financing of Mnangagwa’s government: “[Trafigura Zimbabwe] expects to maintain its pre-financing arrangements going forward,” as these allowed for the company to maintain “its role as a price leader,” as well as its dominant market position.

According to an internal 2018 company report, Trafigura Zimbabwe was supplying up to 60 percent of Zimbabwe’s required monthly fuel imports. Tendai Biti, the former finance minister and head of the parliamentary committee investigating Tagwirei’s company Sakunda, said the joint venture has supplied more than 80 percent of the country’s total fuel supply. Trafigura Zimbabwe internally labeled their deal as a “captive market.”

In an email to OCCRP, Trafigura said “we do not recognise” OCCRP’s figures for the prepayments, but would not discuss pre-financing arrangements.

“From time to time, Trafigura has agreed credit terms related to the supply of fuel to customers in Zimbabwe and subject to usual commercial terms and confidentiality,” a Trafigura spokesperson said.

Mangudya told OCCRP, “All strategic imports are a priority to the Bank,” and that Trafigura provided “a $390 million fuel line of credit.”

A Potent Partnership

At the heart of the deal was the relationship between Trafigura and Tagwirei, who was paid over $100 million in fees through January 2018, with more than 40 percent of that money going directly to his Swiss and other offshore accounts, according to documents seen by OCCRP.

Tagwirei’s Fees

Tagwirei was paid over $100 million in fees by Trafigura, OCCRP has found. More than 40 percent of that money went directly to his Swiss and other offshore accounts.

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The payments made to Tagwirei raise a red flag, according to Global Witness’s Natasha White.

“Red flags include the personal involvement of politically exposed individuals in such deals. It would be extremely concerning if payments have been made into a personal account of Tagwirei by Trafigura, whether or not he was sanctioned at the time,” she said.

Reporters obtained internal emails discussing Tagwirei’s finances, which referenced an offshore account in Switzerland. He opened an account at Geneva-based Pictet Bank on April 17, 2014, about the same time he began to earn fees from his deal with Trafigura, according to a document signed by a bank official.

In addition to fees, Tagwirei received funds from Trafigura for “pipeline gain,” mineral deals, and project management, according to invoices obtained by OCCRP. He was paid in U.S. dollars through Trafigura accounts, including some held at New York-based Deutsche Bank Trust Company Americas.

Notably, Tagiwirei’s name may have been concealed from some payments based on invoices seen by OCCRP, due to correspondent banking practices. For transfers in the U.S., the recipient can be identified via the bank names and numbers of African banks where Tagwirei had an account, such as Zimbabwe’s Ecobank. These banks have correspondent links to U.S. banks to allow them to access U.S. dollars; Zimbabwe’s Ecobank, for example, is hosted by New York-based Standard Chartered Bank. By naming only the bank account number on the transfer rather than the account holder, Tagwirei’s name could have been omitted from compliance checks in the U.S.

Trafigura publicly cut ties with Tagwirei just before the businessman was sanctioned by the U.S. in August 2020. The U.S. said the move was made in response to the $3 billion allegedly misappropriated by his companies in connection with a flagship farming program called Command Agriculture.

Command Agriculture and T-Bills

Following years of hyperinflation and land grabs under Mugabe, then a devastating 2016 drought, Zimbabwe introduced the Command Agriculture program to bolster food security. The Central Bank funded the program using Treasury Bills — a form of short-dated, government-backed security — that ended up creating billions of dollars of debt and draining foreign exchange reserves. Taxpayers footed the bill.

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In December 2019, Trafigura announced it had bought out Sakunda’s 51 percent stake in Trafigura Zimbabwe without disclosing the amount it had paid for the shares. “This will bring improved clarity on Trafigura’s activities in the country,” the company said in a statement. Documents obtained by OCCRP indicate Tagwirei’s shares were worth “449 million” as of November 2018, but the currency is unclear.

Doing Business From Mauritius

Even before Tagwirei and Sakunda were sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury in 2020, plans were being laid to establish a new, clean corporate structure that could be used to continue the deal using the Mauritius-based Sotic International and other associated offshore companies.

Trafigura immediately started to do business with this new Mauritius network.

Excel sheets and invoices obtained by OCCRP show Trafigura contracted with and sold fuel to Sotic and its subsidiaries from 2018 onwards.

A 2019 deal between Sotic and NOIC signed by Mangudya, the central bank governor, as a guarantor for NOIC, allowed Sotic to effectively maintain control of the NOIC pipeline. The deal ensured the pipeline existed “solely at Sotic’s benefit” according to an internal email, and included “first rank priority pumping for all Sotic product.”

The Mauritius Connection

From 2018 onwards, Trafigura continued to do business with Tagwirei through Sotic International Ltd., a new company he had set up in Mauritius. Several shell companies associated with Sotic were fronted by former Trafigura employees.

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In an email to OCCRP, Mangudya claimed the pre-financing arrangement “was never consummated” and therefore there was “nothing to publicise.” However, a document obtained by OCCRP dated September 2019 shows NOIC asking for the payment from Sotic it was owed based on the deal’s “prepayment facility” guaranteed by the central bank.

Business as Usual

The fuel deal with Tagwirei’s new Sotic company is similar to the arrangement that existed with Sakunda until it was sanctioned by the U.S.

Prepayments worth $1.2 billion were again offered to NOIC, according to a contract between Sotic and Zimbabwe’s central bank governor on behalf of NOIC. The agreement allowed Sotic to effectively maintain control of the NOIC pipeline, ensuring it got “first rank priority pumping,” according to the term sheet.

Under the Sotic-drafted contract terms, Sotic would source foreign exchange of up to $600 million on behalf of the Reserve Bank, with the rest in RTGS currency, a local pseudo-currency that doesn’t trade on international markets and whose exchange rate is artificially set by the government. Minutes of a meeting reveal that $100 to $200 million would be provided by traders like Trafigura over a period of eight years after the initial drawdown.

The guarantor of the agreement was the Reserve Bank, with bank governor Mangudya listed as the contact person.

However, Sotic appeared to shortchange the country once more. By July 3, 2019, a payment of just 814 million RTGS (worth about $2.2 million) had been deposited by Tagwirei’s team into the Reserve Bank’s account — far short of the huge sums of foreign exchange required by the contract. Almost immediately, Sotic began to default on monthly payments. However, the documents show none of this seems to have affected Sotic’s priority status.

Sky-High Margins

A leaked internal Sotic email provides an insight into how the group of companies artificially inflated the prices of their products.

The email shows that a Sotic subsidiary sold a petroleum-based product to Sotic at $590 per metric tonne. Sotic then proposed to sell the product for $820 per metric tonne to Tagwirei’s Zimbabwean structure, Fossil. The January 2019 email notes: “got these numbers from [Tagwirei]…Think the plan is that Fossil sells to the end consumer at $877…”

By moving the product between companies in their group and increasing the price each time, Tagwirei’s network stood to make an estimated $460,000 extra profit on this deal alone.

Friends in High Places

While Tagwirei is often credited as being the mastermind behind his business successes, correspondence between him and others shows he might be a proxy for political interests.

Tagwirei’s businesses appeared to involve President Mnangagwa, or “HE” (His Excellency), as he was sometimes referred to and other government officials. In private WhatsApp correspondence obtained by OCCRP, Tagwirei claimed to beneficially own 35 percent of Sotic, saying the “government” owned the rest.

In email correspondence obtained by OCCRP about payment for a mining deal, Tagwirei seemed to reference Mnangagwa by saying, “HE wants that money to be paid after I show him the directors, owners of Sotic-Documents.”

By the time Sotic was formed, Tagwirei and his associates understood he was a liability and avoided formally linking the businessman to the new network. Documents show Tagwirei’s company formation agent and administrator of his Mauritius companies described how he had to use his pre-existing relationship with the CEO of Mauritian bank AfrAsia to open an account there for Sotic because of the negative press Tagwirei was getting. The new bank accounts allowed Sotic to hold accounts denominated in U.S. dollars and euros, despite the compliance risks associated with Tagwirei. These accounts allowed the company access to US banks through AfrAsia’s correspondent banking.

As the businesses were shuffled, so were the key figures in the network. Tagwirei took a back seat, at least nominally, and proxies including at least one political figure and several South Africans took up key roles.

As revealed by U.S. anti-corruption group The Sentry, and confirmed in documents and emails from May 2019, Zimbabwe’s central bank governor John Mangudya is named as the legal protector of Lighthouse Trust, a co-owner of Sotic at the time. Lighthouse Trust, in turn, was owned by four beneficiary trusts: Amphion (15%), Norfolk (15%), Leonidas (35%), and Alcaston (35%). Mangudya, once again, served as the protector in all of them.

A legal protector is a person appointed to direct or restrain trustees in relation to their administration of a trust. Neither the government nor the Central Bank have disclosed a business interest in Sotic, so it is not clear why Mangudya would play such a role in Sotic-related trusts.

In an email to OCCRP, Mangudya claimed he was not part of the trust structures and was not aware his name had been listed as their legal protector. When asked directly if Tagwirei fraudulently used his name, he declined to respond further. Sotic’s former CEO confirmed to OCCRP that the instruction to include Mangudya came from Tagwirei.

Ronelle Sinclair and Jozef Behr – Sotic’s former head of finance and Trafigura’s former head of Africa trading – were both trustees in the trusts that held part of Sotic.

Former Sotic CEO and shareholder Christopher Fourie said it was clear that Tagwirei retained control over Sotic. Whenever he raised legal or financial concerns, employees invoked Tagwirei.

In an email to OCCRP, former Sotic CEO David Brown claimed he had no involvement in transactions prior to June 2020 and therefore could not comment on irregularities pointed out by reporters. “These matters are largely driven by a disgruntled employee who is part of a history that might well have taken place,” he added.

He also denied knowledge of Tagwirei’s ownership of Sotic group assets prior to that date but added, “Mr Tagwirei is a very prominent business man in Zimbabwe and …an official advisor to Government and being as Government are shareholders in the mining assets, it is hard not to occasionally cross paths.”

OCCRP provided Brown with evidence, including several hundred emails beginning in 2019, and information on major mining deals. Despite stating in an email to other Sotic staff that “[Tagwirei] has asked that I take a greater role,” Brown denied this to OCCRP, saying, “I was not brought in by Mr Tagwirei.”

A representative for Sincler and Behr said they had resigned all duties and were off the board of Sotic International as of June 2020. “Since then, there has been no further association with the business of Kudukwashe Tagwerei.” She also confirmed Behr and Sinclair work for Suzako. A since-removed website for Suzako listed Behr, Sinclair, and Weber as the company’s executive team as recently as May this year.

Yet Suzako was part of Sotic’s network, according to court records. When Sotic CEO at the time David Brown filed an application in South Africa’s high court to stop his predecessor Fourie from talking to the press, he included the full structure of Sotic’s corporate network. The application was quickly withdrawn but not before the companies were disclosed. Sukako was clearly listed as a Sotic company.

While everyone seems to be working hard to separate themselves from Tagwirei and his companies, Fourie is a rare voice who acknowledges crimes were committed and has reported them to the South African reserve bank and others.

“They did not care about the law, about financial crimes being committed. All they cared about was seeing that [Tagwirei’s] orders were executed,” Fourie told OCCRP. “I spoke out against them and I am paying the price.”

-occrp

Boksburg scrap dealer caught by Sars investigators must pay R866,000

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A Boksburg businessman has to cough up R866,000 after he tried to export R2m worth of scrap metal to India last year.

Last week Gautam Lal, 40, was sentenced by the Durban magistrate’s court to five years imprisonment, wholly suspended for five years on the condition that he pays the state R866,000 over the next 20 months.

This was after he pleaded guilty to two counts of exporting steel scrap metal without obtaining an export permit, in contravention of the International Trade Administration Act.

He also pleaded guilty to two counts of making false declarations in contravention of the Customs and Excise Act.

According to KwaZulu-Natal National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Natasha Ramkisson-Kara, the offences took place in February and March last year.

“Lal, who is a businessman from Boksburg, specialised in the buying and selling of scrap metal. In February 2020, Lal attempted to export 10 containers of scrap metal, valued at about R1.1m. In March 2020, he attempted to export eight containers of scrap metal valued at about R922,000,” she said.

He planned on exporting the commodities to the Port of Mundra in India but did not have  an International Trade Administration Commission permit.

“Legislation requires that no goods of a specific class or kind may be exported from SA, except under the authority of and in accordance with the conditions stated in a permit issued by the commission,” said Ramkisson-Kara. “Further, he made false declarations by attaching false or incorrect tariff codes to the items due for export,” she said.

Lal was arrested after an inspection by the SA Revenue Service (Sars) customs investigation unit.

According to Ramkisson-Kara, in giving Lal the five years wholly suspended sentence, the court imposed the after conditions:

  • He must not be convicted of any offence involving a contravention of the International Trade Administration Act during the period of suspension
  • He pays a fine of R600,000 at the clerk of the Durban magistrate’s court in the next 20 months
  • An instalment of R30,000 has to be paid at the end of each month, with the first instalment due at the end of October 2021.

He paid Sars about R266,000 for penalties imposed against him.

“This successful prosecution, where an individual is convicted in their personal capacity instead of their company, is a first for KwaZulu-Natal. The matter was finalised by the regional court control prosecutor, Vaneshree Moodley,” said Ramkisson-Kara.

TimesLIVE

Tswaing municipal council dissolved just three weeks before local elections, NCOP approves

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The municipality faces not only service delivery problems but a political crisis which has seen it having two mayors, two speakers and two municipal managers representing two warring ANC factions.

With less than three weeks before the local government elections, the National Council of Provinces on Wednesday approved the dissolution of the Tswaing local municipality in the North West.

This follows last month’s decision of the North West government to dissolve the municipality, which faces not only service delivery problems but a political crisis which has seen it having two mayors, two speakers and two municipal managers representing two warring ANC factions.

This is Tswaing’s third intervention by the provincial government since 2010. 

Addressing a specially convened virtual sitting to approve the dissolution, the chairperson of the NCOP’s select committee on co-operative governance and traditional affairs, China Dodovu, said the dissolution would last until a new council was elected and assumes office after next month’s municipal elections.

The North West government will then have to ensure that a recovery plan is implemented.

Dodovu said a decision to dissolve the council invoking section 139(1)(c) of the constitution was taken by the provincial government last month and seconded by co-operative governance and traditional affairs minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.

He said the decision was taken because of exceptional circumstances that warranted a dissolution.

Among the problems highlighted by the provincial government were the collapse of service delivery where there was an interrupted supply of water due to lack of maintenance and nonpayment of water services, municipal inability to maintain a service delivery fleet, generally poor maintenance of operational infrastructure,  union members closing municipal offices, and the municipal public accounts committee not functioning.

The province said Tswaing could not meet its short-term obligations and owed creditors about R354m as at June 2021, with R54m owed to Eskom.

It also cannot pay third-party transactions to pension funds, staff medical aids and funeral policies of members due to “cash flow challenges”. It adopted an unfunded budget, the council heard.

The NCOP called on the North West Cogta MEC to ensure the appointment of a qualified and competent administrator.

“The appointed administrator, including the intervention team, should deal with all problems and challenges of the municipality, including disciplinary action of any employee, and where possible, opening of criminal cases on matters related to corruption and financial mismanagement,” it said in its recommendations to the provincial government.

The Western Cape did not support the dissolution, with Cathy Labuschagne [DA] saying dissolving a municipality less than three weeks before a local government election was no indication that the elephant in the room had been identified. She said there was no guarantee the three week dissolution would be successful.

Labuschagne said the constant replacement of administrators, their failure to successfully comply with their terms of reference, and the instability of the section 100 intervention in the North West raised concerns about the value of section 154 assistance from the national and provincial governments.

“Further than that, the deep-rooted endemic rot, the inability to address political issues of ill-discipline of councillors, fraud and corruption, financial mismanagement and maladministration confirms a dysfunctional council but without a doubt a collapse of administration,” she said.

Labuschagne said institutionalised corrupt and fraudulent business principles, the lack of delivery of basic and essential services, and the blatant theft of tax money should motivate Cogta to identify the elephant in the room.

She said the NCOP needed to ensure that the provincial government implemented section 154 support effectively at the earliest signs of mismanagement and maladministration, and if necessary, invoke section 106 of the Systems Act.

Political parties have to ensure their councillors are disciplined and well educated in the legislative values of local government, she said.

TimesLIVE

Eastern Cape premier Oscar Mabuyane in court bid to stop Hawks investigation

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Eastern Cape Premier Oscar Mabuyane has hauled the Hawks before the high court in the province in an effort to stop the police’s elite investigating unit from probing him.

In court papers filed last month in the Bhisho High Court, Mabuyane wanted the court to declare that the Hawks’ decision to continue with an investigation of him to be declared invalid, unconstitutional and unlawful.

The premier also wanted the Hawks’ apparent refusal to give him information “in its investigation file” to be reviewed and set aside.

Mabuyane, in his founding affidavit, raised issues with being investigated by Hawks officials stationed in the Free State in what he termed “a political witch-hunt driven by elements of the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation” (Hawks).

“I have been informed by a confidential source, who I have no reason to disbelief that certain political elements within the ANC who are opposed to my leadership are behind the investigation, and have tried to influence the DPCI,” stated Mabuyane. 

The application was filed on Sep. 14, three weeks before public protector, Busisiwe Mkhwebane, directed the Hawks to investigate allegations that Mabuyane received R450,000 to renovate his house from R1m allocated for the memorial service of the late Struggle stalwart Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.

An investigation was carried out by the public protector after receiving a complaint from Xolile Mashukuca, a resident of the Buffalo City municipality, that amounts of R2m and R1m were misappropriated by officials in the provincial government and in the Mbizana local municipality.

-SowetanLive

WATCH | Teddy Mafia’s son-in-law survives daylight hit

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The son-in-law of slain alleged Durban drug boss “Teddy Mafia” survived a brazen attempted assassination on Wednesday, his family confirmed.

The incident took place at about 10am in Shallcross, south of Durban.

Kesavan Isaac Naidoo, 41, the son-in-law of Yaganathan Pillay – also known as Teddy Mafia – was shot twice in the daylight hit on Table Mountain Drive. The incident was captured on CCTV, which was provided to TimesLIVE.

Pillay’s brother, Ronnie, confirmed the incident.

“Isaac was shot in both legs and his driver was shot in the hand. Both of them survived. They’re in hospital,” he said.

Pillay said Naidoo was in the back seat while his wife was in the front. The shooting, seen in the footage, takes place moments after they open the doors of their vehicle to get out.

In the footage, a white vehicle can be seen driving along Table Mountain Drive before it is stopped, partially blocking the left hand side of the road. Thirteen seconds later, Naidoo’s vehicle, a white Toyota Fortuna, pulls up.

The back passenger door of the Fortuna is opened, but it is not clear from the footage who the person was who opened it or if they got out of the vehicle. Naidoo’s wife is seen getting out of the front passenger side of the vehicle and walks towards the rear of the SUV.

Suddenly, four men alight from the stationary vehicle, three of them drawing firearms and running towards the Fortuna, firing multiple shots. The fourth man stands next to the white car.

As the bullets are fired, Naidoo’s driver accelerates and drives past the other vehicle. Naidoo is presumably in the vehicle as it speeds away, but this could not immediately be confirmed.

Pillay said Naidoo was doing “OK”.

Police have been approached for comment, and this story will be updated.

TimesLIVE

ANC fires murder-accused MEC Msibi, the party ‘unifier’

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Mandla Msibi former Mpumalanga MEC for agriculture, land reform and rural development being taken down to the cells by police. Msibi was relieved of his duties last night. Image: Mandla Khoza

The Mpumalanga MEC accused of double murder has been fired. 

Mandla Msibi, an ANC strongman who commands political support and has solid links to a grouping that controls the levers of power in the province, was relieved of his duties last night.

Msibi, who has been charged for fatally shooting Dingaan Ngwenya and Sindela Lubisi and injuring Sifiso Mpilo outside Coyotes Chisa Nyama in Mbombela on August 22, will also be asked by the ANC to step aside from his party role. But his allies fear a faction seeking to take control of the province could be left weakened by his departure.

Premier Refiloe Mtshweni-Tsipane wielded the axe on Msibi two days after he was charged with the serious crimes.

Msibi was the MEC for agriculture, rural development, land and environmental affairs. He is a member of the powerful provincial executive committee (PEC) and elections manager with support of lower structures of the party in Mbombela, where he previously served as a councillor and speaker, according to his allies.

Msibi is credited with propping up a faction known as “focus”, led by long-standing acting chairperson Mandla Ndlovu, and he is vying for the position of provincial treasurer of the ANC on the slate led by Ndlovu.

His arrest, although not new, “came as a devastating shock to the leadership and membership of the ANC ward 2 branch where Msibi comes from, according to ward secretary Walker Sikonela, who joined throngs of his supporters outside the Mbombela magistrate’s court yesterday.

One PEC member told Sowetan yesterday that should Msibi be asked to step aside, his faction will be left disorganised ahead of the provincial conference as Msibi is trusted with mobilisation and organising for the party and his faction.

“This man is a pulling factor, he speaks with all the factions and through him we hoped that the three factions vying for power were going to unite towards the elective conference. He is also an elections manager who is active in all parts of the province,” said the ANC member.

At the height of the riots that swept across KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng in July, Msibi appeared in a video circulated on social media speaking after organising comrades to sleep over at Emoyeni mall in his township to protect it from being looted. He could be heard at the time telling supporters that they would not hesitate to shoot anyone in the forehead who tried to disrupt the government.

Acting ANC provincial secretary Lindiwe Ntshalintshali said the PEC had taken a decision to apply the party’s step-aside-policy on Msibi with immediate effect.

Ntshalintshali said Msibi’s removal was purely based on an ANC policy.

“The PEC of Mpumalanga was the first province to take decisions on step-aside after the NEC resolution and we are reaffirming the step-aside policy that once you are formally charged by the National Prosecution Authority and appeared before the court of law, it’s automatic that you must step aside. In the case of Msibi, the stepping aside will be on ANC position as PEC member and elections manager as well as being MEC so that he can focus on the allegations levelled against him,” said Ntshalintshali.

However, according to ANC-insiders in Mpumalanga, Msibi’s removal from his post would likely cripple the ambitions of the current leadership of the party. 

“Msibi worked his way from the branches and his organisational skills are known in Pienaar where he comes from. He is aligned to current acting ANC provincial chairperson Mandla Ndlovu and had ambitions of using his networks to push his way to become ANC’s treasurer. His removal could easily influence the political landscape in this province,” said the ANC member.

Former ward 45 councillor Mandla Mamba said should Msibi step aside the ANC in Mpumalanga will lose a “unifier”.

“The ANC should be worried about Msibi being suspended and as a manager of the elections. It is going to be a hit to the party. When Msibi was appointed there was no contest or factional battle but it was his capacity that made him qualify. He is being targeted because he wants to take the ANC out of the pockets of people and there are those who want him down,” said Mamba.

Msibi is applying for bail in the Nelspruit magistrate’s court with other two co-accused, Njabulo Mkhonto, 28, and Anele Mnisi, 26.

Mtshweni-Tsipane spokesperson Sibongile Mkani-Mpolweni said the premier had not acted on Msibi earlier because she wanted to meet with him when he is granted bail to discuss his position.

Political analyist Dr Mcebisi Ndletyana said the premier could have not acted because she did not want to upset the ANC provincial leadership. 

‘Don’t allow racists to speak on behalf of us’: Patricia de Lille takes aim at the DA

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GOOD party leader Patricia de Lille said sex or skin colour should not stop one from standing against all forms of racism or unjust treatment. Image: Esa Alexander/ File Photo

GOOD party leader Patricia De Lille has taken a jab at her former party, the DA, urging voters to “not allow racists” to speak on their behalf. 

De Lille, on Tuesday, responded to the DA’s controversial election posters in Phoenix that read “the ANC called you racists, the DA calls you heroes”.

Speaking on eNCA, she said sex or skin colour should not stop one from standing against all forms of racism or unjust treatment. 

“In GOOD, we depart from the point that you don’t need to be black to fight against racism. You don’t need to be a woman to fight against gender violence and gender bias. You don’t need to be gay to fight against homophobia,” said De Lille. 

“We all need to fight against these evils. So the minority of racists, most of them you find in the DA, we should not allow those racists to speak on behalf of us.”

The DA came under fire for the posters, with many accusing the opposition party of fuelling racial tensions in Phoenix after 36 people were killed in the area during unrest and looting in July. 

The DA later took the posters down and issued an apology.

“In my sincere effort to honour the bravery and heroism of law-abiding citizens who were left to fend for themselves during the July riots and insurrections, the posters have regretfully caused hurt to some people. I am deeply sorry and apologise for this,” said DA KwaZulu-Natal chairperson Dean Macpherson. 

According to the opposition party, the posters were meant to honour those who stood up to protect their property during unrest.

Sowetan’s sister publication TimesLIVE ran a poll asking readers what they thought of the DA’s decision to take down its Phoenix posters. Most, or 42%, said the party should have stood its ground and not removed them.

Thirty-two percent said the damage was already done and called for heads to roll, and 26% said it was the right move.

Court evacuated during Mandla Msibi’s bail hearing after bomb scare

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The Nelspruit magistrate’s court where former Mpumalanga MEC Mandla Msibi is applying for bail has been evacuated due to a bomb scare.

Magistrate Suzan Monaledi had to adjourn the testimony of investigating officer WO Boy Bhila on Wednesday after she got a message that there was a bomb in the court building. 

Msibi’s bail hearing in the double murder and attempted murder case started on Monday afternoon.

“Listen everyone, can we please all leave the building. I have just received a message that there’s a bomb in the building. Therefore let’s all leave and we will be told when to come back,” Monaledi said just after 12pm, before police and security personnel evacuated everyone from the building.

The situation infuriated thousands of Msibi’s supporters who protested outside court and called for his release.

“They are lying. Whoever sent the message doesn’t want Msibi to be out [on bail],” said one of Msibi’s supporters, Lindo Mashego.

“We always said that they want him behind bars because he’s a good man. The state is being used to punish him.” 

–SowetanLive

Dr. Kiwanga’s business prosperity spell took my estate business to another level

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Mpumalanga premier fires murder accused MEC Mandla Msibi

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Refilwe Mtsweni-Tsipane

Premier Refilwe Mtshweni-Tsipane confirmed in a statement on Tuesday night that Msibi, who has been charged with murder and remains in police custody, was removed from his position as MEC for agriculture, rural development, land and environmental affairs “with immediate effect”.

“I am doing so in the light of his much-publicised detention … The decision to release MEC Msibi has been taken in consideration of the seriousness of the charges he is facing, as well as the affect that same will have on his work as an executive authority in government. After all, it is to be expected that he should dedicate a fair amount of time to the case he is facing,” said Mtshweni-Tsipane.

She appointed Cogta MEC Busisiwe Shiba to act in Msibi’s position.

“Mandla Msibi is a comrade of mine, whom I have known and worked with over many years. I hold him in very high regard and shall continue to so do until proven otherwise. In this regard, I can only hope that this unfortunate event will afford him the opportunity to reflect deeply.

“It remains for me to thank comrade Mandla Msibi for his collegiality and commitment during his tenure as MEC in the Mpumalanga provincial government,” said Mtshweni-Tsipane.

Msibi’s dismissal comes as he appeared in the Nelspruit magistrate’s court over the deaths of  two people and the injuring of another in a shooting incident on August 22.

On September 17, the police arrested two suspects, Tshepo Matsane, 30, and Charlie Ngwenya, 35. They both appeared in court at least twice before being granted bail of R20,000 each on October 8.

–TimesLIVE

Military veterans protest at ANC Headquarters

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Liberation Struggle War Veterans (LSWV) marched to African National Congress (ANC) Headquarters on Monday, 11 October 2021, regarding grievances as veterans. The veterans have also demonstrated in the past in ‘defense of its people, freedoms, and the future’ after claiming that the ANC government was failing in its duty to effectively run the country.

Pule Mabe, ANC National Spokesperson issued a statement in response to the recent protest saying a Presidential Task Team will meet the veterans on Thursday.

South Africa Observer presents the statement.

Protesters representing the Liberation Struggle War Veterans (LSWV) marched to African National Congress (ANC) Headquarters on Monday, 11 October 2021, regarding grievances as veterans. A delegation engaged with the LSWV, since they were informed that ANC Officials are deployed in the elections campaign.


The group demanded to see Officials. Deputy President David Mabuza, who chairs the Presidential Task Team on the issues of Military veterans, will meet them this coming Thursday of the 14th of October 2021, since the matters are being processed by government. The LSWV comprises military veterans from Umkhonto we Sizwe, Apla and AZAN LA.

The process started by President Cyril Ramaphosa to address the grievances of military and war veterans must be supported, so as to expeditiously address legitimate grievances of veterans.

The group was allowed to sleep in the offices on Monday night, so as to not contravene the Covid regulations.

On Tuesday evening, whilst discussions between delegations about practical arrangements were in progress, a breach of our headquarters took place. We have ordered the immediate evacuation of our offices, so that this breach can be attended to, with the help of the relevant health and security authorities.

Controversial from start to finish, chief justice Mogoeng’s term is over

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29 May 2019: Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng spoke to Sunday Times Political Reporter Qaanitah Hunter from this office at Constitution Hill. He spoke about how he likes to spend his free time and shared his thoughts on how the Judicial system could be transformed to benefit ordinary South Africans. Picture: Sebabatso Mosamo/Sunday Times

Chief justice Mogoeng Mogoeng retired as the head of the judiciary at midnight on Monday after 10 years in the hot seat.

Mogoeng has been one of the longest-serving chief justices since the dawn of democracy in 1994, having been nominated and confirmed for the post in 2011, after being appointed as judge of the court in 2009.

In the weeks after then-president Jacob Zuma nominated him for the top post in 2011, there was a public outcry, with some commentators remarking that he was not senior enough and that they believed Zuma should have nominated deputy chief justice Dikgang Moseneke instead.

There were also questions about some of the judgments he had written as a judge in the high court, where he found mitigating factors in cases of attempted rape of children.  

After his appointment as chief justice, Mogoeng took his role as head of the judiciary seriously.

In 2015, Mogoeng called a meeting with the executive to discuss matters of concern to the judiciary.

These included public utterances attributed to, among others, some members of the national executive.

The meeting came at a time when government ignored a high court order that then Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir be prevented from leaving SA after an AU conference in Johannesburg.

This was until the court could decide on whether Bashir should be arrested and handed over to the International Criminal Court in terms of an international treaty and South African law.

At an eight-a-side meeting, the parties agreed to, among others, that court orders should be respected and complied with.

Mogoeng became the head of the judiciary after the establishment of the office of the chief justice in 2010, a national department established for the administration of the judiciary.

Inside the courtroom, one of the most remarkable judgments he wrote concerned the status of remedial action by the public protector.

The case was about Zuma’s failure to comply with remedial action taken against him by public protector Thuli Madonsela concerning “security upgrades” at his home in Nkandla.

In that judgment, Mogoeng held that the remedial action taken by the public protector against Zuma was binding.

He also held that the National Treasury must determine the reasonable costs of those measures implemented by the department of public works at Zuma’s Nkandla homestead that did not relate to security, namely the visitors’ centre, the amphitheatre, the cattle kraal, the chicken run and the swimming pool.

Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution executive secretary Lawson Naidoo said Mogoeng started his tenure under some controversy and he leaves under some controversy as well.

Naidoo said Mogoeng was the only candidate nominated by Zuma for the post and that he seemed to leapfrog the more senior and experienced Moseneke. He said there was a level of cynicism when Mogoeng was appointed, but Mogoeng proved his detractors wrong when he set about to affirm the independence and authority of the Constitutional Court.

“He responded to challenges in the aftermath of the Bashir matter when the judiciary was coming under criticism. He can look at those things with pride,” Naidoo said.

However, Naidoo said Mogoeng’s recent extrajudicial pronouncements on Covid-19 vaccines and comments regarding Palestine and Israel’s relations were unwarranted and served to undermine respect for the judiciary.

“He leaves the (Judicial Service Commission) with a finding that he breached the code of ethics.”

There was a complaint that he was found to have contravened the code of judicial conduct. Mogoeng is seeking to challenge that finding.

“That matter is unresolved,” Naidoo said.

CAREER SUMMARY

Chief justice Mogoeng Mogoeng was born in a village called Goo-Mokgatlha in North West. He is married to Mmaphefo and they have three children, Johanna, Mogaetsho and Oteng.

The Constitutional Court website states Mogoeng started his professional career as a temporary interpreter and was later appointed high court prosecutor in Mafikeng. He did pupillage at the Johannesburg Bar and practised as an advocate at that bar from June 1990 until the end of 1991.

He left to join Mafikeng Bar from January 1992 and later served as the deputy chairperson of that Bar Association until his elevation to the bench.

In June 1997, he was appointed judge of the North West High Court and in April 2000 a judge of the labour appeal court. In October 2002, he was elevated to the position of judge president of the North West High Court.

Mogoeng was requested by fellow judges president to serve as a member of the five-member committee led by then chief justice Pius Langa. That committee investigated racial and gender discrimination within the judiciary and proposed the necessary remedial action.

He was appointed to the Constitutional Court in 2009 and subsequently elevated to the position of Chief Justice on September 8 2011. In that capacity, he led both the Constitutional Court and the judiciary. He also chaired the Judicial Service Commission (JSC), the South African Judicial Education Institute (SAJEI) Council and the National Efficiency Committee. In April 2017, Mogoeng was elected as the president of the Conference of the Jurisdictions of Africa for a period of two years. 

TimesLIVE

SA outlaws foreign ownership of security companies

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President Cyril Ramaphosa has signed into law the Private Security Industry Regulation Amendment Bill, which restricts foreign ownership of private security companies.

Parliament announced on Monday night that on September 23, Ramaphosa signed the bill, which seeks to strengthen control over the regulation of the private security industry, including security services rendered by SA to other countries.

The proposed law was passed by parliament in 2014, despite opposition from the industry, opposition parties and foreign embassies, who wrote to the police portfolio committee which was drafting the law. Its opponents warned that it violated the World Trade Organisation’s (WTO) General Agreement on Trade in Services and the requirements of the US African Growth and Opportunity Act because it would effectively result in expropriation and limit foreign investment.

The bill requires all security companies and manufacturers, importers and distributors of security equipment to be at least 51% owned by South Africans.

At the time, the police department argued that a restriction on foreign investment in a sector such as the private security industry was reasonable and justifiable in the context of broader national security, given the nature and scope of the industry, the technological advancements in the private security space and developments since September 11 2001.

The events of that day had had an impact on security concerns globally, with countries looking afresh at their intelligence, defence and security situations, government said. The police said at the time a recent trend in other countries was to totally prohibit ownership of private security companies by foreigners or restrict the extent of foreign participation and give a majority share-holding and control to its citizens.

When the bill was passed by the national assembly in February 2014, then police minister Nathi Mthethwa said it was necessitated by the tremendous growth of the private security industry since the promulgation of the principal act in 2001.

At the time, Mthethwa said there were more than 445,000 registered private security guards, compared with 270,000 armed statutory forces, which are the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) and the SA Police Service (SAPS) combined.

“As a result, members of the public are, on a daily basis, more likely to interface or come into contact with private security than they are with SAPS officers. SA currently has one of the largest private security industries in the world,” he said.

Mthethwa added that while the growth of the private security industry was not unique to SA, its growth in the country had outstripped other nations.

He said since the dawn of democracy in SA, the police had been under intense scrutiny by the state and public, and this was illustrated by the multiple oversight bodies and laws governing the police.

If private security firms leave – and some will after this bill is passed – there will be more demand on an already overstretched SAPS. In the end it will be the communities with the highest crime rate that will bear the brunt.

Dianne Kohler-Barnard

“This is not the case with the private security industry, whose accountability is purely market-driven. Both government and civil society have been concerned with the effective regulation of the industry and this amending bill seeks to address the challenges that have been experienced with regard to effective regulation,” said Mthethwa at the time.

Among the challenges, he mentioned a lack of resources, saying this compromised effective regulation, and the dependence of the regulator on the industry to fund its activities.

He said there was also a lack of proper accountability for firearms in the possession of members of the private security industry and a lack of accountability for security services rendered outside the republic by South African security companies, including allegations of mercenary activity.

Mthethwa said there were issues regarding criminality in the private security industry and a growth of foreign-owned companies.

These had made it necessary for the government to tighten up the regulatory framework for the industry, he said.

On limiting the extent of foreign ownership, Mthethwa said it was necessary because the line between private security companies and private military companies was becoming increasingly blurred.

He said private security companies were also increasingly being used in the field of intelligence and that it would be irresponsible for SA not to take seriously these concerns and ensure domestic legislation protects national and security interests.

Regarding the 51% South African ownership, Mthethwa argued that “you cannot say that you need to transform this industry and talk about everything else, except for ownership”.

The DA warned that the bill would lead to disinvestment and job losses in an industry that employs hundreds of thousands of people.

The party said private security companies freed up capacity for the SAPS to focus on areas where violent crime was at its highest and in communities that could not afford private security at all.

“If private security firms leave — and some will after this bill is passed — there will be more demand on an already overstretched SAPS. In the end it will be the communities with the highest crime rate that will bear the brunt,” said DA MP Dianne Kohler-Barnard.

Embassies, including that of the US, wrote to parliament expressing concern about the bill, she told the national assembly at the time.

At its December 2017 national conference, the ANC resolved that the bill should be enacted and implemented expeditiously and that regulations setting out minimum requirements for the registration and certification of security personnel be developed.

The party also called for restrictions on the use of private security companies to protect state-owned national key points.

Mabuyane, Madikizela to appear before ANC provincial integrity committee

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The Eastern Cape provincial executive committee (PEC) has instructed Premier Oscar Mabuyane, who is the ANC’s provincial chairperson, and its treasurer, Public Works MEC Babalo Madikizela, to submit themselves to the provincial integrity committee (PIC) following a damning report by the public protector. 

The ANC in the province held a special meeting on Monday to consider Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane‘s report on the investigation in the Mbizana local municipality and provincial government departments. 

In a statement on Tuesday, provincial party spokesperson Loyiso Magqashela said the meeting discussed the effect of the matters in the report on the standing of the ANC in society.

“It is in this context that the ANC special PEC meeting reaffirmed the decision and resolutions of its 54th national conference to steadfastly fight against corruption, perceived or real,” he said. 

“The special PEC received a report that both comrades are challenging the public protector report through a judicial review in court. The meeting welcomed the report and the action undertaken by both comrades. The ANC fully respects their legal and constitutional rights as South African citizens to seek recourse.” 

Mkhwebane released a report on Friday, which found that the Eastern Cape government, working with the Mbizana local municipality, misused the R3.3-million allocated for the memorial service, as well as other celebratory events, to honour Winnie Madikizela-Mandela in April 2018.

According to the report, Mabuyane renovated his private residence with some of the money.

Mabuyane, who was the provincial head of economic development, environmental affairs and tourism at the time; transport, safety and liaison MEC Weziwe Tikana; and Madikizela, then the human settlements MEC, “improperly benefitted from the misuse of public funds”, according to the report.

Magqashela said it must be noted that Mabuyane and Madikizela voluntarily offered to appear before the provincial integrity committee in May and June 2019, respectively. 

“They requested to meet the PIC and share their side of the story regarding allegations contained in the media. The PIC in October 2019 cleared both Mabuyane and Madikizela as it found that they were not guilty of any misconduct as was alleged. The PEC has further directed that both comrades should submit the report and update the PIC about the current developments for the PIC to make a judgment call.”

Magqashela said although the ANC respects the office of the public protector as a Chapter 9 institution, it was unfortunate that the report was released shortly before the local government elections, yet it was finalised two months ago.

“This stance and timing regrettable weaponised the belief that the PP [public protector] is a party to intra-party and external factionalism. We strongly appeal to all members of the ANC and broader society to give both Mabuyane and Madikizela space as they seek legal review of both the process and substantive facts around the PP report. The ANC PEC reiterates its position that once there are any new developments regarding this matter, it will act consistently and decisively,” he said. 

The South African Communist Party (SACP) has also called for Mabuyane and Madikizela to submit themselves to the integrity committee, saying that the report warrants serious consideration.

SACP provincial spokesperson Siyabonga Mdodi said the ANC resolutions and principles ought to be implemented regardless of who is involved, particularly during the renewal period. “The principled application of the ANC resolutions and principles must always be carried out in a consistent and fair manner.” 

The ANC in the Eastern Cape was the first province to advocate for the step-aside resolution, which ultimately saw the suspension of secretary general Ace Magashule and the removal of provincial level heavyweights Teris Ntunthu, Andile Lungisa, Phumlani Mkolo and Sindiswa Gomba, who faced court charges. Ntuthu was reinstated after the state’s corruption case against him was dropped. 

Mabuyane, a strong ally of ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa and party chairperson Gwede Mantashe, has been firmly favoured for a second term when the party eventually holds its conference in December. 

Mabuyane and Madikizela will probably go up against each other when the party has its provincial conference. The winner will be the sharpest indication yet of whether Ramaphosa and his allies have the backing of the Eastern Cape, the party’s third-biggest province. 

The Mabuyane and Madikizela matter dates back to August 2018, when Eastern Cape businessman Lonwabo Bam, received two tranches of payments — R1.1-million and R2.2-million — from Mbizana municipal manager Luvuyo Mahlaka, who paid the money into Mthombeni Projects, which is owned by Bam.

The public protector’s investigation was based on an affidavit deposed by Bam, who detailed that the money was deposited into his business account by Mahlaka at the instruction of Madikizela.

“A number of deposits and transactions or disbursements were subsequently made by Mr Bam towards various proxy bank accounts linked to senior and executive government officials, as instructed by Mr Madikizela,” the public protector said. 

The probe found that private businesses, including taxi associations, “improperly benefited” from the public funds, and senior officials did not leave themselves out of the ill-gotten loot. 

Mabuyane, for example, deposited R450 000 to Allan Morran Design Architectural Services, a private company that carried out renovations at his private house. Morran, according to the investigation, queried the payment as it was unknown to him. 

“At that point, Mr Mabuyane’s wife, Ms Siyasanga Mabuyane, advised Mr Morran, through an email, that the deposit of R450 000 was to be used for renovations of the [Mabuyane]  private house. Despite this, Mr Mabuyane denied any knowledge of the arrangements between Mr. Bam and Mr. Madikizela,” the report said. 

According to the report, Madikizela benefited to the tune of R350 000 through payments into the account of a company owned by his wife, Zona Zetu Siyazithanda Madikizela, while the provincial ANC scored R280 000.

Meanwhile, the Economic Freedom Fighters has opened a case against the two ANC provincial leaders alleging that they are part of a criminal network in the province. 

EFF chairperson Yazini Tetyana said the Eastern Cape province continues to suffer a serious economic decline, underdevelopment, gross unemployment, abject poverty and more than 60% youth unemployment while the government of the province has led the deindustrialisation of the province and the collapse of all labour-intensive sectors, and has institutionalised corruption in all spheres of government and public institutions. 

“The minimum resources available to the municipalities and provincial government should be used to resuscitate the provincial industrial activity and job creation, but the ANC politicians continue to squander the same resources for their selfish criminal ends,” he said.

IFP forced to remove images of Zulu king from its manifesto and posters

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NONGOMA, SOUTH AFRICA - MAY 07: Prince Misuzulu Zulu was named as the new Zulu King. (Photo by Gallo Images/Sunday Times/ Sandile Ndlovu)

The Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) has been forced to remove an image of Zulu monarch Misuzulu ka Zwelithini from its election manifesto and social media posters after the king threatened to take action against the party for doing so.

The use of the king’s picture by the IFP sparked an angry reaction from the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal and the Zulu royal house, whose spokesperson Prince Thulani Zulu, later instructed the party to remove the picture and stop involving the monarch in party politics.

The image was contained in the IFP manifesto, launched on 7 October in Durban, with the monarch’s image used adjacent to a heading stating that “We partner with traditional leaders.”

“We partner with traditional leaders by recognising just how vital traditional leaders are and how important it is to support and resource amakhosi, so that they can execute their functions of ensuring that communities’ needs are met and that everyone is treated with dignity and respect,”’ the manifesto states.

It then encourages people to vote IFP on 1 November.

The offending poster was also circulated on the IFP’s website and its social media accounts before the outcry from the king and the ANC forced the party to take them down.

By Monday, the poster had been brought to the attention of the royal house, sparking the statement by Prince Thulani.

“The office of the king wishes to state categorically that from time immemorial, the Zulu king and Ndlunkulu kaZulu (traditional prime minister) has never been used to advance political ideology,” Zulu said.

“This office humbly appeals to all political parties to refrain from using photos of the kings or any royalty related images in their election campaigns. This king is, and always has been, above politics,” he said.

“This is a warning to all political parties, otherwise this office may have to seek legal advice on this matter.”

The ANC also weighed in on the matter, saying that the IFP was attempting to make the monarch it “subject” by using his image for campaign purposes.

The ANC’s provincial spokesperson, Nhlakanipho Ntombela, said the party had noted the IFP’s “desperate attempts to confuse the electorate by using the king’s image in their election material shared in social media”.

He said the ANC called on the IFP to “refrain from reducing the Zulu monarchy to a level where it becomes a subject of the IFP”.

“They are not custodians of the monarchy. Just like us, they are subjects of the Zulu monarchy and should behave as such. The IFP should stop abusing the proximity of its former leader Mangsuthu Buthelezi to the king,” Ntombela said.

The retraction of the image comes days after the Democratic Alliance was forced to take down its “racist” posters in Phoenix proclaiming those involved in the killings in the area in the July riots as “heroes”.

It took place on Monday, the same day that parties in KwaZulu-Natal — including the IFP and the DA — signed a pledge to abide by the Electoral Commission of South Africa’s (IEC’s) electoral code of conduct in the run up to and during the local government elections.

The IFP said the pictures had been used “erroneously” and apologised to the monarch, the royal family and IFP president emeritus Mangosuthu Buthelezi in his capacity as traditional prime minister to the king.

“As part of the IFP’s local government election social media campaign, an infographic in support of traditional leadership was released with a photo of his majesty, the king of the Zulu nation. The photo was erroneously used,” the IFP communications directorate said in a statement.

It said disciplinary action would be taken against the staff members involved in producing and distributing the graphics.

“The IFP remains steadfast in its support of traditional leadership, as per South Africa’s democratic dispensation,” the IFP said.

ANC reprimands Mabuza for speaking about his next term

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SEPTEMBER 30, 2021. David Mabuza on the campaign trail. Tshwane. 'African National Congress (ANC) Deputy President David Mabuza says he will re-run for his position in the next ANC elective conference should he be voted by the delegates. Mabuza says however, this will entirely depend on the ANC – he won’t impose himself. The ANC 55th national elective conference is set to take place next year. Mabuza is currently in Mamelodi, Pretoria on campaign trail, as the local government elections are fast approaching. He spoke to the media, as he was conducting door to door campaigns in Tshwane. PHOTOGRAPH: ALON SKUY

The ANC has called its deputy president, David Mabuza, to order after he announced to the media that he was available for a second term. 

ANC head of elections Fikile Mbalula signalled to journalists on Monday that Mabuza’s announcement was a “stupid” distraction, as the party campaigns for local government elections.

While on the campaign trail in Mamelodi, Pretoria two weeks ago, Mabuza said he was fit and healthy and gave a strong signal that he would avail himself for a second term as deputy president of the ANC. 

In the same week, ANC and South African President Cyril Ramaphosa avoided the question of a possible next term when questioned by the media. 

“We have called him to order and everybody who is involved in that discussion, we are not there. We will have the whole year to discuss leadership, we are not there. So everyone who discusses that with you they are really taking us off the rails,” Mbalula said of Mabuza on Monday.

“We are focused now … so anyone who has got an uncontrollable desire for power and who decides to basically speak about leadership issues, they are completely off the rails and that must be very clear.”

ANC members are said to have already begun lobbying in the race for positions ahead of the party’s elective conference set to take place next year. 

The conference will be held against the backdrop of the ANC’s struggle to renew itself. Sources have told the Mail & Guardian that the race for president of the party will likely be uncontested, but ANC leaders are eyeing the position of deputy president and secretary general. 

ANC chairperson Gwede Mantashe has been touted as next in line to take over as deputy president, with treasurer general Paul Mashatile also in the running. 

“We will have enough time for people to speak on their desires, ambitions and their wishes standing or not standing and all of that is coming. Any political party as big as the ANC cannot be that stupid to discuss issues that don’t matter,” Mbalula said.

“The issue of who becomes the next president is a non-debate now. If we are stupid enough we can do what others are doing. It is very wrong for anybody in the middle of this campaign when we are left with two weeks, you raise a non-debate.”

Mabuza was elected as deputy president in the ANC’s Nasrec conference after his home province of Mpumalanga defected from the pro-Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma faction of the party and joined that backing Ramaphosa.

–MG

Enoch Mgijima local municipality building goes up in flames as the only fire engine not available

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22157720 - house fire in the hot weather.

The Enoch Mgijima local municipality in the Eastern Cape has allayed fears that the fire which engulfed one of its buildings on Monday night could have been intentionally sparked to destroy possible evidence.  

Pictures of the burning Art Gallery building started circulating on social media around midnight with many users wondering if it was not the work of an arsonist whose intention was to destroy possible evidence linked to the sports field investigation.

There is currently an investigation into the controversial R15m Lesseyton sports field which was unveiled last week.

However, municipal spokesperson Lonwabo Kowa dismissed these allegations, saying the cause of the fire was under investigation.

“It is not possible that the fire is linked to the investigation because that building didn’t even have a single piece of paper as it had not been in use since 2016 when the municipality was established,” said Kowa.

He said the building did not have any assets or machinery and that they were looking for possible tenants.

Kowa said they suspected the fire started around 9.30pm.

“The town’s only fire engine was not available as it have been in for service and is expected back on Wednesday. We have people who volunteers to put out the fire. I will still establish if there was a security on site when the fire started but our suspicions is that there wasn’t one,” said Kowa.

Provincial department of cooperative governance and traditional affairs MEC Xolile Nqatha, who also expressed disappointment at the state of the field, has demanded answers on the matter.

Sowetan

Police minister ordered to pay almost R600K to two women who were mistaken for robbers

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Bheki Cele, Minister of Police

  • Two women who were mistaken for robbers have won a damages action against the police minister.
  • The Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg found that their arrests were unlawful. 
  • The two women had only met each other the day that a woman accused them of robbing her.

Two women who were mistaken for robbers and arrested without warrants, have won a court action and have each been awarded more than R200 000 in damages.

The Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg granted the order against Police Minister Bheki Cele.

In the judgment, Judge Leicester Adams said Cynthia Morwanqana and Eunice Matshaka had never met each other before and were on their way to their hometowns in the Eastern Cape on a Friday in October 2014. 

They had to board the same bus at the terminus at Park Station in Johannesburg when their paths crossed.

Morwanqana was about eight months pregnant at the time. She was travelling all by herself and was carrying heavy bags, the judge said. Matshaka, a primary school teacher, was also travelling by herself and offered to assist Morwanqana with her luggage.

The women spent some time in each other’s company while waiting in the queue for their bus to arrive.

But things took an ugly turn when a woman who was robbed in January that year saw them together and accused them of robbing her of cash and other valuables worth about R30 000 in Centurion. She claimed that the woman fit the description of her alleged robbers.

Police officers at Park Station conducted a mini inquiry and asked one of the women to call the other one’s cellphone number. It did not register as a contact on her cellphone, which confirmed the women did not know each other.

Unsatisfied with the outcome, the robbery victim contacted her husband who, in turn, communicated with the Wierdabrug police station, where the charge of robbery had initially been laid, the judgment read.

The women were hauled off the bus while en route to the Eastern Cape and members of the flying squad arrested them in Vanderbijlpark. They spent several days in detention.

“The plaintiffs were shocked, dismayed and dumbfounded all at once – not to speak of the embarrassment of having been yanked off the bus in front of a busload of passengers, who no doubt saw them as troublemakers and the ones responsible for disrupting what should have been a leisurely and carefree bus trip to the Eastern Cape.”

During the case, the minister admitted that the women were arrested without a warrant. He, however, denied that it was wrongful or unlawful.

But the women contended that the evidence did not establish that the officer who arrested them had reasonable grounds to suspect that they were the ones who perpetrated the robbery.

They argued that the officer relied exclusively on the fact that the complainant had fingered them as the culprits.

Adams said the reasonable thing the officer could have done was to accept the explanation by the women that they could not have been responsible for the crime. 

“All that he needed to do was to obtain their full details and particulars, including their full names, addresses (home and work) and identity numbers, which would have enabled the investigating officer to verify their story. Even at 19:30 on a Friday night, he probably could have called the principal at the school at which the second plaintiff worked as a teacher to verify her story. This should have been done without arresting the plaintiffs.”I am, therefore, of the view that the minister did not establish that there were reasonable grounds to suspect that the plaintiffs committed the robbery. The arrests and subsequent detention were therefore unlawful.”

The judge added that the women said they were held overnight and that the conditions were intolerable.

“They were traumatised, understandably so,” he said.

“The cell was dirty, and the ablution facility was disgusting. Although they were offered something to eat at about 20:00 on the Friday night, both of them were not able to eat due to the stress.

He said the arrest and detention were “undoubtedly a traumatic experience”.

“I have come to the conclusion that, considering the length of period for which the plaintiffs were detained and the prevailing conditions under which they were incarcerated, it would be appropriate to award the first plaintiff (Morwanqana) the sum of R250 000 and the second plaintiff (Matshaka) an amount of R290 000 as damages for unlawful arrest and detention.”

–Media24

Dr. Kiwanga can cast a loyalty spell on your husband to remain yours alone

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MY LOVER REMAINED LOYAL DESPITE OTHER WOMEN DEVELOPING INTEREST IN HAVING HIM
My name is Catherine and I was dating Joseph whom our bond and relationship had gone to
another level as really there was love between us. He had a nice job which really made a lot of
women want to be close to him. Furthermore he was such a handsome tall dark guy which
really gave more women sleepless nights.
As time went by I happened to go through his phone and in almost every social media platform,
there were different kind of women that were keeping him on toes with seductive messages.
Especially on his face book inbox many wanted to have a relationship with them. I was not a
happy person due to this. I tried to get it right from him but he kept on assuring me that I was
the only person he truly loved and the other ones were just passing storms. I really did not
want any woman to be near him.
There was this one who kept pestering him which gave me difficult time and wrangles with my
lover Joseph since I was such a jealous fellow as I wanted no one in my territory. She at times
went to the extent of sending him nude pictures as a way of luring him to change the tune.
Reading of written materials online brought me to Kiwanga doctors where I was able to read
articles on how I was to cope with the situation. Dr. Kiwanga had helped several people cope
with similar situations through his spells to safe guard relationships.
I contacted him via his phone number and explained to him my situation. As he said a loyalty
spell was to be casted to ensure things remain okay on my side. He casted the spell a day after I
went to his work place. Unbelievably things started working as my lover had officially cut
communication with these women who kept on calling and texting him. He completely lost
interest in having other women and I was the centre of attraction all the days. Any person with
similar love problems should visit Dr. Kiwanga. He does self-introspection in the area of one’s
life such as challenges in jobs among others.
His spelling casting powers work within 24 hours and within the same day things get better. He
solves range of problems from winning court cases, winning lottery, protection of family and
property among others at any time. Many people have been witnesses of Dr. Kiwanga ability
and each particular time they say their lives had changed forever as everything that had went
amiss was solved. He also treats pressure, diabetes, ulcers, gonorrhea, syphilis, TB, manhood
problems among other just within a short time.
For consultations call +254769404965 / E-mail kiwangadoctors@gmail.com or visit the website
www.kiwangadoctors.com.

Numsa strike hits output at BMW plant

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Thousands of Numsa members protesting outside the offices of the Metals and Engineering Industries Bargaining Council in the Johannesburg CBD. File image. Image: SOLOMZI NDLOVU

Output at luxury carmaker BMW’s main vehicle assembly plant in South Africa has been hit by a wage strike in the engineering sector by the country’s biggest metalworkers union, a company spokesperson said on Monday.

“While our associates have been reporting for work, we have lost production since the strike commenced … as a number of suppliers to the plant have been affected,” Hailey Philander said.

She said production of around 700 vehicles was lost, but gave no further details.

The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) launched the strike last Tuesday after pay talks with employer bodies reached a deadlock, raising fears the action would spill over and block supplies of parts to make new cars.

BMW’s plant is at Rosslyn, around 60 kilometres from the commercial city of Johannesburg.

On Friday, Numsa said its members were considering a new proposal to end the strike. On Monday, the union was still collating feedback before making a decision.

Numsa, with around 155,000 members organised in the sector, wants an 8% across-the-board wage hike in the first year, and inflation plus 2% for the second and third years.

Industry body Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of Southern Africa (Seifsa) had initially offered 4.4% for 2021, inflation plus 0.5% in 2022 and inflation plus 1% in the third year.

“It is concerning for the whole autos manufacturing sector that the strike in the metals and engineering space has continued till now, but we know that negotiations to resolve are advanced and we hope a breakthrough is imminent,” said Renai Moothilal, executive director at the National Association of Automotive Component and Allied Manufacturers (NAACAM).

Spokespeople at Ford, Volkswagen and Toyota said they had not been affected by the strike so far.

–SowetanLive

Mpumalanga MEC Mandla Msibi charged with murder, jailed overnight

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Mandla Msibi. File picture Image: Supplied

Mpumalanga agriculture MEC Mandla Msibi has been charged with murder and is in jail.

He was arrested as part of the fallout over a scuffle at an ANC branch meeting in Mbombela earlier this year that led to two deaths. He will appear in court again on Tuesday.

This is not Msibi’s first run-in with the law, police confirmed.

Business Day reported that Msibi was involved in a scuffle during the meeting that left two people shot dead and two others wounded.

National police spokesperson Vishnu Naidoo says the senior official is alleged to have been involved in a shooting earlier this year that left two people fatally shot and a third wounded. 

“His arrest brings to three the number of people arrested in connection with this case. On September 17 2021 police arrested Joseph Charlie Ngwenya and Tshepo Matsane. 

“They both appeared in court at least twice before being granted bail of R20,000 each on Friday October 8.” 

Msibi, formerly the province’s co-operative governance and traditional affairs MEC, has also faced at least 10 criminal charges dating back three years. Previous cases included charges of assault, some of which are still pending.

BusinessLIVE

FNB recognised as one of the most valuable brands in Africa

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First National Bank in Rosebank. Image: Freddy Mavunda

The report ranks Africa’s top 150 brands by value and strength

FNB was once again recognised as one of the Most Valuable Brands in Africa in the latest Brand Finance Africa 150 2021 valuation report. The bank was also the highest-ranked banking brand in Africa.

The report ranks Africa’s top 150 brands by value and strength. Brand value is described as the net economic benefit that a brand owner would achieve by licensing the brand in the open market. According to the research, banking, telecoms and insurance remain Africa’s most valuable sectors, but cumulative brand values across the sectors have declined partly due to Covid-19.

“We are humbled to once again be acknowledged as the leading banking brand in the Most Valuable Brands category,” says Faye Mfikwe, FNB chief marketing officer. “The pandemic has highlighted the need for brands to become more relevant, trustworthy and reliable — and we are pleased to be recognised for our positive impact on society. The accolade also reaffirms the resilience of our business model, which is centred on building a contextual digital platform for customers, employees, and society at large.” 

Brand Finance Africa MD Jeremy Sampson says: “In a year that saw most African countries go into lockdown and significant unrest across the continent, a decline in total brand value for the top African brands is unsurprising. After the pandemic, African brands will need to search for opportunities to make up lost ground. By embracing new technologies and collaboration, the continent can propel its recovery and bounce back from the extraordinary situation the world has found itself in.”

The Brand Finance accolade comes shortly after FNB maintained its position as the Most Valuable Brand in SA for a second consecutive year in the BrandZ Top30 Most Valuable Brands by Kantar.

For more information, visit the FNB website.

This article was paid for by FNB.

Technologies have reduced rhino poaching in South Africa

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Rhino

Technologies such as long-range wide area networks, radioactive isotope injections, and the Postcode Meerkat detection system are helping to reduce rhino poaching in South Africa.

Rhino poaching reached a high in 2014, with poachers killing 1,215 animals.

Conservation efforts, including implementing the technologies listed below, have resulted in rhino poaching declining yearly, with 394 rhinos killed in South Africa during 2020.

South Africa is world-renowned for its wildlife species and tourist-attracting national parks, but animals such as African rhinos are under threat — and have been for some time now.

The good news is that the country has seen significant advancements in conserving this highly-poached species and has received generous donations from international players to assist with their protection.

Previously, the measures taken to protect rhinos removed most of the horn and positioned security teams to deter poachers.

These measures were not entirely effective as many poachers would still kill the rhinos to get what little bit of horn was left and ensure they didn’t have to track a hornless animal again.

The following technologies have helped reduce poaching in South Africa without removing the rhino’s horn.


Long-range Wide Area Network Masts in uMkhuze Game Reserve

Game rangers at uMkhuze Game Reserve in KwaZulu-Natal work relentlessly to protect the rhino population within the reserve.

Protecting rhinos from the threat of poaching is no easy task, and the Covid-19 pandemic made it more difficult than ever by impacting budgets and recruitment.

These rangers cover vast distances daily to keep rhinos safe from poachers.

The addition of seven long-range wide area network (LoRaWAN) repeater masts this year have made their job more manageable, and more importantly, safer.

Numerous white rhinos have been fitted with horn transmitters, and in combination with camera traps, the LoRaWAN system helps track rhino movements.


Radioactive Isotope Injections

A new approach to curb rhino poaching that uses nuclear techniques to inject radioactive isotopes into horns has been launched in South Africa.

The Rhisotope Project will investigate the technique’s efficacy to reduce the demand for rhino horns and increase detection at international borders.

“With over 10,000 radiation detection devices installed at various ports of entry across the globe, experts are confident that this project will make the transportation of horn incredibly difficult and will substantially increase the likelihood of identifying and arresting smugglers,” Rosatom said.

The project began on 13 May and saw the injection of harmless stable isotopes into the horns of two rhinos, which will be monitored to determine how the isotopes affect the horn and the animal.

The technique and training will be made freely available to conservation groups wishing to protect rhinos against poaching once proof of concept has been established.

Professor James Larkin injecting a rhino’s horn. (Credit: The Rhisotope Project)

Postcode Meerkat detection system in the Kruger National Park

The solar-powered Postcode Meerkat detection system is guarding the Kruger National Park’s wildlife against poachers.

The detection system is the outcome of a three-way partnership between South African National Parks (SANParks), the Peace Parks Foundation (PPF) and the CSIR (Council for Scientific and Industrial Research).

Primarily funded by Dutch, Swedish, and the United Kingdom’s postcode lotteries, the system consists of several radars, cameras, and sensors, including an infrared sensor to detect incursions at night.

Postcode Meerkat has been curbing poaching within the park for five years, and the PPF has indicated that it has almost eliminated rhino poaching in high-risk areas where the portable system is in use.

“Overall, more than 95% of poacher activity in Meerkat’s deployment areas is detected, 65% of suspected poachers were arrested and 80% of rhino poaching incidents were disrupted,” the PPF said in a statement.

“Rangers noted increased rhino numbers in hotspot areas.”

The Postcode Meerkat detection system in Kruger National Park. (Credit: Peace Parks Foundation).

Arrest warrant issued for, Sandile Shezi a “millionaire” Bitcoin trader

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Sandile Shezi appeared in court today on charges of fraud

Police are searching for 29-year-old cryptocurrency entrepreneur Sandile Shezi after an investor accused Shezi of swindling him out of R500,000, reports City Press.

The paper reported that the SA Police Service issued a warrant for his arrest this week and that a case of fraud was opened at the Sandton Police Station.

Shezi runs a company called Global Forex Institute and has hosted seminars where he teaches attendees how to trade in foreign exchange.

Arrest warrant issued for “millionaire” Bitcoin trader — Report
Sandile Shezi

Allan Ledwaba told City Press he was an attendee of one such event, which took place in 2016.

Shezi showed Ledwaba his trading accounts, which allegedly had over R89 million, and he was driving fancy cars such as Lamborghinis and Ferraris — which convinced Ledwaba to invest.

Ledwaba said he procured a R500,000 loan from his father, which he invested in Global Forex Institute.

“The agreement was that he would trade the money for me, and then every year he would give us profit and then the full amount we had invested thereafter,” said Ledwaba.

“But I became suspicious when I researched the name of the law firm used to draw up our contracts. I went to the law firm and spoke to the director, who said that they did not have a relationship with Sandile.”

To date, Ledwaba says he has only been paid R40,000 in profit, and Shezi bought a car for him for company branding purposes. He sold the car to try and make some of his money back.

Another investor, a former Limpopo school principal, said he gave Shezi R100,000 in 2018 and was told the following year that his investment had doubled in value.

Shezi allegedly convinced the principal to resign from his job and invest his pension payout to make even more money.

“I invested R1 million in 2019. He used to send us dividends every month, but, at the end of the year, he started saying business was hard and he was struggling to invest,” said the principal.

After asking to withdraw his money from the deal in March 2021, the principal claims he was paid out just over R100,000 — a far cry from his original R1 million investment.

Shezi’s legal team responds

Shezi’s lawyer, Lloyd Moonean, confirmed to City Press that he was aware of Ledwaba’s situation and said that his statements were defamatory.

“Our client relies on his good reputation and the good reputation of his company to attract customers and potential business,” said Moonean.

“Mr Ledwaba has previously defamed our client on social media to the extent that our client received numerous concerns and complaints about the same.”

Moonean also stated that Ledwaba’s sale of the vehicle which Shezi bought for him meant he had not adhered to the contract between the two parties.

“Our client firmly believes that the allegations made by Mr Ledwaba amount to misdirection and do not represent the whole truth of the matter.”

Moonean did not respond to the allegations of the former school principal.

MyBroadband tried to contact Shezi at several email addresses and phone numbers but did not receive a response by the time of publication. We also tried to contact HL Legal, where Lloyd Moonean is a director, but the firm did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

City Press

South Africa’s massive ‘sardine run’ leads fish into an ecological trap

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Shoal of sardine in transit

One of the world’s most spectacular marine migrations is the KwaZulu-Natal sardine run. The so-called “greatest shoal on Earth” takes place during the southern hemisphere’s winter. It involves the movement of tens to hundreds of millions of sardines from the warm-temperate waters of South Africa’s south coast to the subtropical waters of the east coast, over a thousand kilometres away.

This annual mass migration, first reported in 1853, is triggered by cold water upwelling on South Africa’s south-east coast. In this process, cold, nutrient-rich water rises up from the deep, creating a highly productive food web. The migration attracts vast numbers of predators: the sardine schools are followed northwards by seabirds, sharks, seals, dolphins and even large baleen whales. These devour as many of the helpless sardines as they can, which is made easier by the fact that their prey is sandwiched between dry land and the hot, tropical waters of the southward-flowing Agulhas Current, which exceed the sardines’ physiological tolerances.

To make matters worse, those fish that survive the predation still don’t have it easy: the journey is so strenuous that the sardines which eventually arrive on the east coast are emaciated. This goes against what scientists understand about animal migrations – such large-scale population movements normally provide some “selective advantage” by allowing animals to make optimal use of environmental resources.

Surely the obvious negatives of participating in the sardine run must be hugely outweighed by some fitness benefits to make it all worthwhile? The answer, our new research suggests, is “no” – and the reasons for the sardines’ behaviour lies in their genes.

A distinct east coast population?

One popular explanation for why the sardine run occurs is that the migration might be a relic of spawning behaviour dating back to the last glacial period, about 10,000 years ago. What is now subtropical Indian Ocean habitat may have been an important nursery area with cooler waters.

When the ice age ended, the sardines would have physiologically adapted to tolerate the subtropical conditions in this region, and evolved into a distinct east coast population that continues to spawn there to this day. These sardines mix with south coast sardines during summer, then separate from them in winter as they migrate up the east coast. The presence of sardine eggs in the plankton confirms that spawning does occur in this region.

Surprisingly, we discovered that sardines participating in the migration are not part of a distinct east coast population. Instead, they primarily originate from the colder waters off South Africa’s Atlantic west coast. Why would these sardines migrate to the opposite end of the country, only to end up in habitat that is obviously too warm for them? We suggest that the fish are drawn into what amounts to an ecological trap – a rare example of a mass migration that has no obvious fitness benefits.

Genomic analyses

Our research started from the assumption that the sardine run represents the spawning migration of a distinct stock of sardines that is physiologically well adapted to tolerate subtropical conditions.

Physical characteristics and other data indicate that sardines on the east coast are indeed distinct. But this may result from different environmental pressures, including the stress of participating in the migration. We knew that understanding the sardines’ heritable genetic traits would provide stronger evidence for this hypothesis – or debunk it.

So we used thousands of genetic markers from across the genomes of hundreds of sardines captured throughout the species’ South African range. Although most of these markers showed little differentiation, a suite of genetic markers with a signal of adaptation to water temperature showed regional differences.

We found evidence for two regional populations – but it was not the east coast sardines that were distinct. Instead, we found genetic differences within the species’ temperate core range: one population was associated with South Africa’s cool-temperate west coast (Atlantic Ocean) and the other with the warm-temperate south coast (Indian Ocean).

The strong affiliation with water temperature suggests that thermal adaptation maintains these regional patterns; each population cluster is adapted to the temperature range that it experiences in its native region.

The sardines participating in the run showed a clear affiliation with the west coast population. Not only are these sardines not well adapted to subtropical conditions, but they actually prefer the colder, upwelled waters of the south-eastern Atlantic Ocean.

Major riddles solved

This study solves some of the major riddles concerning the sardine run, which make perfect sense in the light of the new evidence.

Our findings explain why only a small fraction of the sardines present on the south coast participates in the run. The bulk of those sardines are native to this region and are adapted to warm-temperate conditions. Because of this, they show little interest in the cold, upwelled water.

An illustration explaining how sardine migration is influenced by genetic adaptations to water temperature
This illustration examines some of the factors at play in the sardine migration. Supplied by authors

The results also provide an explanation why no sardine runs occur in years when there is no cold water upwelling. The upwelling on the south-east coast attracts west coast sardines that have dispersed to the south coast, but that are not well adapted to the warmer water temperatures in this region. They essentially consider the upwelling regions in the south-east to be west coast habitat. For a short time, it is as if they are back home in the Atlantic – but when the upwelling ends and water temperatures rise, their fateful error is revealed.

At this point, the predators have gotten wind of their presence, and as the sardines try to escape, they travel ever farther north into unbearably warm subtropical habitat. The fate of the fish that survive the sardine run is uncertain.

Our genomic explanation shows that much still remains to be discovered about how marine life interacts with its environment. A great deal of integrative, multidisciplinary research is still needed before humans can efficiently and sustainably benefit from the incredible diversity of life and the resources available in the sea.

–Conversation

Democracy, faith, morals and politics

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Australia based, Zimbabwe Political Writer, Reason Wafawarova

I am a Zimbabwean immigrant living in Sydney Australia for the past 17 years, and I have observed over the years the relationship between democracy, faith, morals and politics in this part of the world.

Australia is a federation of Commonwealth States, and most people in the outer world know of the Prime Ministers of the country, notable would be characters like Bob Hawke, Gough Whitlam, Robert Menzies and John Howard.

Australia has six states and two territories that make up the Federation, with New South Wales being the biggest state at a population of 7.8 million of the 25 million people in Australia. I live in Sydney, the capital of NSW, which also happens to be Australia’s commercial hub or capital.

States have their own governments led by Premiers, and recently we had a change of leadership where a hardworking popular liberal single 50 year old female leader was replaced by an equally hard working 39 year old father of six devout Catholic with distinct moral values, notable among which are his opposition to things like same sex marriage.

The appointment of Dominic Perrottet to the role of NSW Premier after the sudden resignation of Gladys Berejiklian provoked an outcry in Sydney in particular. For me it was a deeply weird reaction when some people described the 39 year old politician’s assent as “scary” and “troubling”, and even “nervous” for one of the LGBTQIA members.

One social media activist was concerned that Perrottet’s conservative religious and family values “drive attitudes and often policies that may be severely at odds with the central demands of democracy.”

I come from Africa and we have been writing and debating a lot on the so called central demands of democracy, not least among them things like gay rights and free choice.

I find the idea that holding conservative Christian and family values is aberrant very weird in itself; weird in the sense coined by evolutionary psychologist Joseph Henrich in his book on “how the West became psychologically peculiar and particularly prosperous.”

Herich tracks how the European Christianity’s marriage and family program replaced intensive kin-based institutions with an institution that expanded trust relationships beyond family. Its the same way African Christianity dismantled traditional faith and polygamous marriage institutions and other facets of African traditional life.

The universalism European Christianity fostered created what Henrich called the Western, Educated, Industrialised, Rich, and Developed (WEIRD) world.

I have not lived in an other Western country, but I can say with a degree of confidence that Australians are individually among the WEIRD. It really does not matter that faith and religion are on a sharp decline in Australia, the fact still remains Australian views have been or are shaped by the social structures built by religious ancestors. These encouraged individualism, independence, the notion that strangers have the same inherent human value as those related to us, non-conformity, resistance to tradition and a whole number of attributes and characteristics recognised as democratically positive and plausible.

These characteristics are even viewed as aspirational, and most Australians believe they possess all these attributes, and I dare say many, if not most of today’s Australians have become so non-conforming that they have talked themselves out of religion entirely, specifically out of Christianity.

These people believe one can be moral, spiritual and good without attending religious ceremonies or worshipping a higher being. I saw this posted on a Zimbabwe Community Social Media discussion group and the views I read there show that even immigrants like Zimbabweans are fast getting caught up in this non conformity drive.

Australia, like many other Western countries is open to other peoples and cultures. The country’s immigration intake has made it the diverse, multicultural and multi-faith society it is today. Since the 1950s the overseas-born population has risen from 10% of the population to the current 33%.

This has increased the proportion of of non-WEIRD to WEIRD people, as more people come from countries like China, India, the Phillipines, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, South Africa, other African countries and also from Latin America.

Most of these countries are collective and conservative, and they tend to be more religious, more family oriented and less individualistic than societies that have been WEIRD for a very long time.

Immigrants like myself bring their cultural dispositions with them, and Henrich found out that generally these values are also held by their descendants over a couple of generations.

When immigrants settle in Australia, they make up distinct communities that are more socially conservative, family oriented and religious than the ordinary inner city WEIRDo Australian.

Politically these immigrant communities now hold a significant lot of electoral power. Although immigrants are of course not the reason behind Perrottet’s values and beliefs, it cannot be denied that his values and beliefs does attract the immigrant vote.

Henrich reports that immigrants from different countries living in the same country show higher levels of trust in people of faith, even if its faith different from their own. This has also been attributed to Trump’s immigrant support in the US.

Premier Perrottet’s values make him more trustworthy among the less WEIRD new Australians.

In retail political speak, Perrottet can connect with voters from many religions because he shares their values, most of them universal across religions.

Even NSW Opposition leader is also a devout Catholic who is also as family oriented as his rival in politics. The two politicians are the preferred idea of a politician in Western Sydney where most immigrants are located, and this is where the next federal elections could be decided.

By now the WEIRD people terrified of Perrottet should be waking up to the threat of the immigrant vote, or to the shocking discovery that Australian public does not revolve around their values or the lobbying thereof anymore.

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s Religion and Ethics presenter Andrew West noted that part of the reason Labour lost to the Liberals in 2019 was religious freedom, adding an observation that “Labour, and the broader left, need to understand that you cannot celebrate multiculturalism without supporting religious freedom.”

In many Western countries today, a devout Christian would have to fake or conceal their religious identity to be acceptable to the WEIRDos, and I note that Zimbabwean opposition leader Nelson Chamisa has been having fiery criticism over his Bible Verse tweets. We certainly do not have WEIRDOs in Zimbabwe, but we also certainly have a lot of borrowed reasoning from that country, particularly when it comes to the effort of associating and identifying with Western values. I

But the reason why most, if not all African leaders try and avoid the topic of gay rights is the perceived cost in terms of retail politics. You do not want to lose a whole election fighting for the rights of a minority whose values you also find hard to appreciate.

While no one expects politicians to adopt a fake religious identity, people expect the politicians to believe , to manifest these beliefs in private and in public, and to educate their children according to these beliefs.

This means respecting that people may have different views on social issues, such as same sex marriage, abortion, gender and things like voluntary assisted dying.

WEIRD people see these things as about individual choice. Less WEIRD people believe that individual choices affect the collective and so they tend to be more conscious about changing the social fabric.

There are no right or wrong answers on culture, and we should be tolerant enough to disagree and debate that there are others among us who will simply not embrace values they view to be unacceptable to them, much as they may tolerate co-existence with those who uphold those values.

I realise that many WEIRDOs believe individuals choices make up the “central demands of democracy.”

This is funny when one takes the elementary Aristotelian definition of democracy as the “rule of the people, by the people, and for the people.”

It reads to me like the central demand of democracy is the collective, not the individual choice. It is the collective that will determine and regulate individual choices, not the individual choices that will determine what the collective should choose and go by.

Reason Wafawarova is a political writer based in SYDNEY, Australia.

The Obamas celebrate 29 years of marriage but Michelle admits it hasn’t all been easy

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Barack and Michelle Obama have never been afraid to show their affection for each other. (PHOTO: Getty Images/ Gallo Images)When you’re looking for a perfect couple, the Obamas are definitely among the first who spring to mind – but it’s been hard work, they admit.

Kim Wendy Abrahams

As they celebrated 29 years of marriage recently, Michelle shared a throwback photo of her and Barack lounging on a couch in the early days of their relationship and another more recent pic of them in a similar pose.

“How it started vs how it’s going,” the former American first lady wrote in the caption. “Happy anniversary, Barack – love you!”

Barack (60) later shared an image of his own and used the opportunity to sing his wife’s praises.

“Over the past 29 years, I’ve loved watching the world get to know you not just as a daughter of the South Side but as a mother, lawyer, executive, author, first lady, and my best friend,” he shared. “I can’t imagine life without you.

Michelle (now 57) was 25 when she met Barack at the law firm Sidley Austin LLP in Chicago. She was assigned to mentor him when he arrived there to gain work experience while completing his legal studies.

But it got off to a bad start.

“He was late. Late. I was like, ‘Is he trifling? The black man’s gonna be late on the first day?’ ” Michelle said in an interview with Good Morning America host Robin Roberts to promote her 2018 book, Becoming.

But when he finally arrived she was impressed with “his rich, even sexy baritone and his strange, stirring combination of serenity and power”.

“Barack Obama has always walked like Barack Obama. Like he’s got all the time in the world. He had that stride. I was like, ‘Dude, you’re cute’.”

Still, Michelle had a game plan for her career and men didn’t factor into it.

“I’d made a declaration that I was off men. I was focusing on my career.”slide 1 of 1WASHINGTON - JANUARY 20:  (AFP OUT) US President BThe couple dance during the Western Inaugural Ball to Beyoncé’s version of At Last in 2009. (PHOTO: Getty Images/ Gallo Images)

But it wasn’t long before her resolve faltered. One summer evening they stepped out to get ice cream and Barack leaned in for a kiss.

“As soon as I allowed myself to feel anything for Barack the feelings came rushing – a toppling blast of lust, gratitude, fulfilment, wonder.”

In her book Michelle admits their marriage went through a dip because of the stress of their hectic schedules.

At one point she and Barack resorted to marriage counselling.

“There are so many young couples who struggle and think that somehow there’s something wrong with them,” she told morning show host Robin Roberts. “And I want them to know Michelle and Barack Obama have a phenomenal marriage and love each other but we work on our marriage. And we get help with our marriage when we need it.”

Counselling also taught her that her happiness wasn’t Barack’s responsibility – it was up to her. “I started working out more, I started asking for help. Not just from him but from other people. I stopped feeling guilty. It’s important for me to take care of myself. That’s not on Barack.”

–You

‘I am going to build my house, I want a big one’: Big banks target stokvel saving clubs’ cash

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Thandi Mkhabela, chairlady of the Save Act, an informal savings club known as stokvels, gestures infront of bank notes contributed by members, during one of their gatherings in Vanderbilpark, in the south of Johannesburg, South Africa, September 11, 2021. Picture taken September 11, 2021. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko

Thandi Mkhabela, chairlady of the Save Act, an informal savings club known as stokvels, gestures in front of bank notes contributed by members, during one of their gatherings in Vanderbilpark, in the south of Johannesburg, South Africa.
Image: REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko

Thandi Mkhabela’s money used to slip through her fingers.

Now the 34-year-old mother of four earns interest on monthly savings, has paid off debts and is planning to extend her house in a township just outside Johannesburg, without ever dealing with a bank.

Mkhabela’s improved financial footing came after she formed a savings club in June 2020 with 16 other women. Each of them contribute between R100 and R500 a month, and the club, known as a stokvel, offers three-month loans to members at an interest rate of 10% per month. At the end of the year they split the pot between them.

“Every month we use money for many things that are not necessary,” Mkhabela said, adding that without the support of the group she found it hard not to spend everything she had. “It helped me because now I am going to start to build my house — I want a big one,” she continued.

Mkhabela’s is one of hundreds of thousands of stokvels that make up a largely informal market worth more than $3bn annually, based on estimates from the National Stokvel Association of SA (Nasasa)

SA’s major banks have for years wanted to bring stokvels into the country’s mainstream banking system.

They have ramped up efforts as increasing competition, including from new fintech firms, forces them to look for new ways to win customers and tap underserved parts of the market.

An entrenched preference for cash, mistrust of banks and a lack of infrastructure in poorer communities have hampered past efforts to formalise stokvels.

Banks are hoping changes spurred by Covid-19, namely a forced shift towards digital financial services, can help them to overcome these traditional barriers, and they have accelerated plans to capitalise on them.

The country’s big four banks potentially capture only R12bn of the R50bn  stokvel market currently, Motlatsi Mkalala, head of consumer and high net worth at Standard Bank, told Reuters, presenting a huge growth opportunity.

Standard Bank, which already banks some stokvels via a more basic group savings account, is developing a new account with a lot of stokvel-friendly features to win over more of them and aims to launch it in the final quarter of 2021.

Rival FirstRand’s retail division, FNB, launched a fee-free account for stokvel customers earlier this year. Absa is also looking to enhance its stokvel product, its head of savings and investment Thami Cele told Reuters.

“We see it as an opportunity: we see them growing, starting to interact with banking … and wanting to do long-term investments,” Cele said. “We are more equipped to cater to that.”

FOOD TO FUNERALS

Stokvels, a word believed to come from 19th century cattle auctions or stock fairs, are an innovation of the country’s black population, which was locked out of the financial system under apartheid.

They are used to save for anything from funerals and groceries to holidays and cast-iron pots. Younger savers are also increasingly clubbing together to invest in the stock market or buy property.

In Mkhabela’s group, members who don’t repay debts on time are given an extra month, but then risk having goods repossessed. Members who don’t save lose out on any interest earned during that period.

But stokvels rely heavily on personal relationships and the trust, responsibility and peer pressure they cultivate.

Similar informal savings and loan associations are common the world over, from “village banks” in neighbouring Malawi to Mexico’s “cundinas” or China’s “hui”.

Standard Bank’s new account targeted at stokvels will offer different features depending on what the group is saving for. For grocery stokvels, for instance, the bank might provide easier ways to buy in bulk.

The bank also plans to offer discounts at retailers, funeral parlours and other places stokvels often approach with piles of cash, hoping to make a bulk purchase or to ask to set aside the money for the future.

Standard Bank is building up a network of partnerships with such organisations, which already spans 20,000 outlets, to promote the new account and create a stokvel loyalty programme.

It wants to double the balances it holds via its existing group savings product, Mkalala said, without giving a figure for those.

Absa and FNB plan to offer stokvel investment solutions, Cele and Raj Makanjee, FNB’s retail and private banking CEO, said. Absa hopes its efforts can help to increase its savings and market deposit share in SA to 25% from around 21.5% within three to five years.

Both Standard Bank and FNB, meanwhile, are looking at how to replicate stokvel’s informal lending and could roll out similar schemes in other markets in Africa. Mkalala said his bank was already planning such moves in places like Kenya.

THE BIGGER PLAY

Banking a stokvel offers multiple chances to make money. Targeting individual members with personal bank accounts, for instance, would open up a world of sales opportunities.

“That is the much bigger play from a cross-selling point of view … You can do much more with the members,” Mkalala said.

Stokvels benefit too, he said, including via better returns and enhanced security.

Stokvels have lost huge sums in single robberies, local media have reported, while informality can increase vulnerability to fraudsters.

Some stokvels put money in personal bank accounts, but this can create problems over access to the cash. If the account holder dies, for instance, clubs have to negotiate with the next of kin or the bank to access their funds, and they can be unsuccessful — a scenario that played out for some during the pandemic.

For Anton Krone, head of SaveAct, which helps set up savings clubs, shifting into the formal banking system isn’t necessarily a better option, and can lead to higher debts and other problems.

Andrew Lukhele, who chairs stokvel association Nasasa, said banks bring demands for documents, a constitution — not necessary for all groups — and more rigidity in how the money can be used.

Stokvels’ benefits also go beyond pure finance. They provide a sense of community or moral support in tough times through regular in-person meetings.

Bank executives said their products could cultivate the same qualities. Krone and Lukhele said they believed these elements could be lost in practice.

Some savers are also reluctant. Twitter users in Malawi criticised banks for trying to profit from village banks after ignoring their members for decades.

Mkhabela’s reasoning, however, is more practical:

“Bank accounts have too many charges, a lot of paperwork … We prefer to do it this way.”

Cape Town cop, wife and children perish in fire

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A Cape Town police officer, his wife and two of their children died when a fire gutted their home on Friday evening.

Provincial police spokesperson Brig Novela Potelwa said the incident happened around 9pm. Potelwa said only the officer’s 18-year-old daughter and grandchild survived. 

“Police reports indicate a tenant on the premises heard screams after 21:30 coming from the main house and went to investigate,” said Potelwa.

“The tenant tried to gain access to the house.  The bodies of  the 48-year-old police sergeant and his 38-year-old wife were discovered in the bedroom of their home in Ringwood Street, Wesbank, Mfuleni.

“Their two children, aged eight and four years, were found in the passage already dead. All deceased persons are suspected to have died of smoke inhalation. Meanwhile, the deceased couple’s 18-year-old daughter, who suffered burn wounds, is currently in hospital. Her 11-month-old child was also admitted to hospital for smoke inhalation.”

 Potelwa said the cause of the fire is being investigated.

“Western Cape provincial commissioner Lt-Gen Thembisile Patekile has conveyed condolences to the family of the deceased. The names of the deceased will be released once their next of kin have been informed,” said Potelwa.

TimesLIVE

Hawks to probe R15m stadium in Enoch Mgijima municipality

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The Lesseyton Sports Facility in Enoch Mgijima municipality. Image: Supplied

The Hawks have launched an investigation into the controversial R15m Lesseyton Sports Facility built in the Enoch Mgijima municipality.

The facility near Komani (formerly Queenstown) received massive backlash when it was unveiled this week.

Images posted on social media showed a dry, bumpy field, small metal stands, and soccer and rugby uprights.

Enoch Mgijima municipality spokesperson Lonwabo Kowa said earlier this week the project was justified, and that the council had made a significant investment in the rural village to support sports activities in the area.

Kowa said the R15m spent was not just for what was seen in the pictures that were circulating; not only were there construction-related expenses but also initial “survey, geotechnical and geohydrological tests” to determine if the site was suitable as a sports facility.

While the municipality has defended the project, Eastern Cape co-operative governance and traditional affairs (Cogta) MEC Xolile Nqatha demanded answers.

The Chris Hani District municipality — under which the Enoch Mgijima local council falls — has also expressed concern.

Spokesperson Buli Ganyaza said district mayor Wongama Gela would be taking up the matter with the local municipality

Hawks spokesperson Brig Nomthandazo Mbambo said the probe was launched after a complaint was lodged against the municipality.

“The Hawks would like to [offer the assurance] that the matter is receiving the necessary attention.

“The probe is still in its infancy stages, and as soon as all statements and necessary documents have been obtained and perused, the matter will be referred to the director for public prosecutions for decision [on whether] to prosecute,” Mbambo said.

–TimesLIVE

Ramaphosa intends using local government election campaign to unify the ANC

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ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa on a walk-about in the Promosa area in Tlokwe, North West. He encouraged locals to vote for the ruling party in the upcoming local government elections. Image: Amanda Khoza/TimesLIVE

President Cyril Ramaphosa plans to use the 2021 local government elections as a “unifying force” for the ANC. 

Speaking on the sidelines of an election campaign in Potchefstroom in the North West on Friday, Ramaphosa said the ANC must do away with factionalism.

“We are against factions and I am urging, as president [of the ANC], everyone to belong to one faction and that faction is a united ANC. That is the only faction that I know. This moment of the election, is a great moment for the ANC because it is uniting all of us,” he said.

With just a few weeks until South Africans go to the polls on November 1, Ramaphosa said he is using every moment he gets to encourage citizens to exercise their constitutional right to vote. On Friday, Ramaphosa spent the day in the North West where he conducted door-to-door canvassing to encourage the locals to vote for the ANC.

On Friday, his campaign began with a briefing from the interim provincial committee in the Promosa area in Tlokwe where he was brought up to speed with some of the challenges facing local municipalities and the provincial leadership.

Recently, the province was plagued by a leadership scandal when newly elected North West premier Bushy Maape replaced Job Mokgoro. Maape was brought in by the ANC to replace Mokgoro after the former premier fell out with the interim provincial committee.

Mokgoro took charge of the province in 2018 after the resignation of then ANC provincial chairperson Supra Mahumapelo, who was forced out of office after violent service delivery protests in the provincial capital Mahikeng

It was reported that five of the province’s worst performing municipalities have been dissolved by the cabinet. The interim provincial committee recently noted that there had not been a single stable municipality

Ramaphosa said a report on the state of the province was imminent.

“All these things we deal with on an ongoing basis. What we have insisted on is that, we want the divisions to come to an end. People must be united, work together and that is the message that national officials have to put to the leadership here and that all of us must join hands and run a very effective and winning election process. And that is exactly what we are going to do.”

Addressing a packed marquee later at the Tshepanang Day Care Centre, Ramaphosa told the community that, “I know you are tired of your municipalities in the North West, they are a mess. We want our municipalities to be turned around, they will be fixed, whether they like it or not. We will not have anyone working for the municipality if they are going to steal from the people.

“We want municipalities to work for the people.”

Ramaphosa also said the ANC was not intimidated by independent candidates. “If you are an ANC councillor or member and then stand in an election outside and against the ANC, you basically define yourself outside the ANC. The (ANC) constitution is quiet clear and in many ways, you have basically dismissed yourself from the ANC.

“You are telling the whole world that I am no longer ANC so then we take it that you are anti-ANC and we will campaign against you and we are not concerned about independents because the ANC brand is much stronger than an independent brand.

“So we go as the ANC to contest in the local elections. We are an organisation that has a history of good performance. Even where we have had challenges in some places, we have always sought to correct ourselves.”

He encouraged all ANC members to stand together and ensure that the party wins back most of the municipalities.

“Yes, we have always spoken about factionalism in the ANC. We are a political movement and there are people who will pursue different approaches to issues, different understandings to issues and in the end as they approach that, they create groupings.

“Everyone is rallying behind the victory of the ANC so whatever differences people have, or have had or will have in the future, are put aside and be united against one cause of getting a victory and in the cause of that we will be working together, we will be brushing shoulders against or with each other and we will be exchanging views and that in itself is going to unite us. So I am seeing a great unity of purpose and a great unity for the future.

“So I am using the election campaign as a unifying force and moment in the ANC and it is wonderful to see comrades who have held different positions working together, hugging each other and walking in the streets hand-in-hand and all those differences will hopefully just melt away.”

-TimesLIVE

Zimbabwe permanent secretary of finance splashes a R1 million on SA musicians

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Zimbabwe’s permanent secretary of finance George Guvamatanga threw a lavish 50th birthday party attended by business executives and media figures.

SA musicians Makhadzi and Mafikizolo were hired to perform at the birthday bash, dubbed “G.T.G 50”.

The extravagant outdoor celebration, featuring sushi bars and grilled lobster tails on the menu, was attended by guests in tuxedos and glitzy gowns.

Among several of the party videos that caused a stir after being shared on social media was one of Guvamatanga promising to multiply by five the payment promised to one of the artists.

“So whatever there was on that bill … I don’t want to disclose. I’m multiplying what was on that bill by five. Tomorrow morning you give me your bank details and by the time you get to SA that amount by five will be in your account my brother,” said Guvamatanga.

The shindig elicited an outcry from Zimbabweans on social media. The country faces inflation as high as 53% at year-end, a weakening of the local currency and price hikes of basic commodities.

Zimbabwean journalist and activist Hopewell Chin’ono said on social media: “I am not bothered with what people do in their private lives. But when I see the permanent secretary of finance George Guvamatanga living it up like this hiring SA bands for his birthday, I realise how detached these political elites are to the daily realities of life.

“These are the people who have come up with policies that have made life difficult for all of us, they tell you to tighten your belts, yet here is how they live! It is difficult for them to understand the economic pressures of life faced by Zimbabweans when you are able to flaunt such conspicuous consumption! Banana republic stuff!”

Zimbabwean government officials are known for hosting lavish birthday parties amid economic collapse. Last year in December the country’s information minister, Monica Mutsvangwa, hosted an extravagant 60th birthday bash.

–TimesLIVE

Dr Kiwinga chased away the office sex demon that has been tormenting me

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My name is Agnes. I live in Nairobi, Pipeline area. I am a secretary at a certain law firm in the
city. I wanted a very close relationship with my boss mainly for favors and other issues. So most
of times I offered him free sex to ensure he considers me in the firm’s important and lucrative
deals. My boss really seemed enjoying and I too. As time went by this affected my work rate for
really I would only think offering free sex to my boss. My mind was occupied with sexual
thoughts in most of the times I was required to perform a certain important task.
After sometimes I would remain lonely in the office and really cried to myself why I had been
doing that for so long. Since it had been a usual norm, my boss frequently wanted us to be
having sex every now and then despite me having contrary opinion. I had no option but to
adhere with what he told me. Most of the times my workmates complained that I had been
really wasting their efforts since I was not helping them do the office work. In the firm’s
meeting I rarely shared my thoughts and opinions as others did. The habit of sleeping with my
boss had really lowered my morale at large. After sometimes I was not able to work and I
wanted to have some leave to settle my mind and evade from my boss who frequently wanted
sex with me.
I tried to seek help from my close friends but none was giving me a viable solution on what to
do. Through a radio station I was able to learn about Dr. Kiwanga, a herbal doctor who was
to promoting his herbal medications. So many people were testifying about his ability to solve many problems problems including diseases. I got interested in what he was offering. I took his phone numbers. I needed help as there was danger that my HR would sack me since I was not doing my work except sleeping around with my boss. Dr. Kiwanga gave me a herbal concoction which cleansed my mind. All the sex romps with my boss stopped after I placed some herbal tablets in the office. I now feel rejuvenated and energetic to do my work.

All the sexual drive l had for my boss is gone.
Everyone was shocked at the rate at which I was working this
time round. My boss completely seized the habit of wanting sexual satisfaction from me. It was
a new dawn at my work place for I really got my peace of mind back. Thanks Dr. Kiwanga.
His spelling casting powers work within 24 hours and within the same day things get better. He
solves range of problems from winning court cases, winning lottery, protection of family and
property among others at any time. Many people have been witnesses of Dr Kiwanga ability
and each particular time they say their lives had changed for good as everything that had went
amiss was solved. He also treats pressure, diabetes, ulcers, gonorrhea, syphilis, TB, manhood
problems among other just within a short time.
For consultations call +254769404965 / E-mail kiwangadoctors@gmail.com or visit the website
www.kiwangadoctors.com.

Masters thesis converted into an PhD qualification

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Pretoria – Dr Michael Barnes has managed to “hit two birds with one stone”.

He will be walking away with two qualifications after his Masters thesis was converted into a PhD qualification.

Barnes, a University of Pretoria Masters student, received a pleasant surprise after submitting his dissertation for external examination, only for it to be so exceptional that it was converted into a PhD.

His dissertation, focusing on atmospheric dynamics, was, according to an international examiner from Oxford University, “a truly outstanding and exceptional piece of work” based on the depth and breadth of the work that was submitted.

Barnes said the thesis studied the dynamics of upper tropospheric weather systems called cut-off lows, analysing the properties of these weather systems that extend all the way to the surface compared to those that do not.

Although he paid his dues by juggling his studies and his job as a research scientist in the South African Weather Service’s marine research unit, where he is involved in the development of numerical models and associated forecast products and services, Barnes said getting the job done was no easy feat.

“At the time of completing my Masters, I was working full-time and found it exceptionally challenging. Working and studying at the same time is no joke because finding a work-study-life balance is not easy.”

Barnes said although he believed perseverance was key to making it, in his situation it also helped him that he had a friend from undergraduate studies who began and completed his course alongside him as he found that he struggled during his first year of study.

“Finding a friend who is starting their degree around the same time as you and is on the same path can also help you. Just having someone who understood exactly what I was going through was very helpful.”

Dr Thando Ndarana, BSc Meteorology programme co-ordinator and senior lecturer and Barnes’s superviser alongside Professor Willem Landman, the programme co-ordinator and professor in the department of geography, geoinformatics and meteorology in the faculty of natural and agricultural sciences, said they were impressed with his work ethic.

Ndarana said the reason he praised Barnes was due to the fact he had already published his first paper from his research in Atmospheric Research, a very high-impact and reputable journal, as well as the second article in Climate Dynamics, an equally reputable journal of the atmospheric sciences, even before he submitted his MSc dissertation for examination. Ndarana said both these papers closed a knowledge gap in the literature.

“The remarkable thing about Michael’s journey is he was working as a full-time researcher at the South African Weather Service, which is a technically demanding operational organisation.

“Over and above that he led the development of the operational marine forecasting system there and published five papers in high-impact journals that were based on this system. These papers had nothing to do with his academic research; meaning he needed to find time for the latter after working hours.”

-Pretoria News

South Africa has been removed from UK’s red list

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Minister of International Relations Naledi Pandor
  • South Africa has finally been removed from the United Kingdom’s red list.
  • This comes as part of the latest updates to the United Kingdom’s controversial traffic light system which regulates travel according to country-specific Covid-19 risk factors.
  • South Africa spent more than five months on the red list, with travel restrictions stretching as far back as December 2020.
  • Now, fully vaccinated travellers from South Africa will be allowed to enter the United Kingdom without needing to quarantine.
  • The latest update, which comes into effect on 11 October, also approves South Africa’s proof of vaccination.

South Africa will finally be removed from the United Kingdom’s restrictive red list which has prohibited travel between the two countries since May. 

The delisting will come into effect on Monday 11 October, the UK’s Secretary of State for Transport, Grant Shapps, announced on Thursday evening.

Only seven countries will now remain on the UK’s red list: Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Haiti, Panama, Peru, and Venezuela. All other countries – including South Africa – are now classified as “rest of world” or ROW.h

The change in South Africa’s status, which has been on the UK’s red list for more than five months – with travel already restricted between the countries from as far back as December 2020 – is part of the latest round of updates to the UK’s controversial traffic light system.

Previously, the only travellers permitted to enter the UK from the red-listed South Africa were British or Irish nationals and those with residence rights. These travellers have, however, been subjected to a mandatory ten-day quarantine in a state-managed hotel at their own cost of £2,285 (R44,800), regardless of their vaccination status.

This mandatory quarantine requirement has, in turn, had a devastating impact on South Africa’s already embattled tourism sector. It’s estimated that the economy has lost R790 million for every month South Africa has been on the red list, according to the World Travel & Tourism Council.

The UK has traditionally been South Africa’s biggest source of international tourists. Travel groups, tourism organisations, and government departments have spent months lobbying for South Africa to be removed from the red list, arguing that the data used to inform the restrictions was incorrect.

South Africa’s prolonged red list stay has been attributed to the UK’s Joint Biosecurity Centre identifying the Beta variant as an ever-present risk. This, despite South Africa’s Covid-19 caseload being driven by the Delta variant – also the dominant in the UK – for most of 2021.

South Africa’s removal from the red list comes as welcome relief for the tourism industry, especially within the context of the upcoming summer season.

UPDATE: From Monday (11th Oct) ?? I’ll be cutting 47 destinations from our red list – including South Africa, with just 7 countries and territories remaining ?? – all others will be included in the “rest of world” category ?? [1/3]— Rt Hon Grant Shapps MP (@grantshapps) October 7, 2021

Its new placement means that fully vaccinated travellers from South Africa will not need to quarantine when arriving in the UK. Travellers are still required to complete a passenger locator form and provide a negative Covid-19 test result.

Unvaccinated travellers will still be allowed to enter the UK but will need to quarantine at home or in their place of accommodation for ten days.

The UK considers travellers fully vaccinated if they’ve completed a course of an approved vaccine at least 14 days before arriving. Those vaccinated outside of the UK must be able to provide approved proof of vaccination.

In addition to its removal from the red list, South Africa’s vaccine certificates will also be regarded as valid proof of vaccination by the UK government from 11 October.

This coincides with South Africa’s department of health putting the final touches on a digital vaccine certificate which is due to go live on Friday.

(Compiled by Luke Daniel)

Workers ignore COSATU’s call for a one day strike

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A call by South Africa’s biggest labour group for workers to stage a one-day national strike on Thursday against budget cuts went largely unheeded, an employers’ group said. 

More than 83% of staff reported for duty, ignoring an appeal by the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) to stay away, a survey of 191 firms conducted by the National Employers Association of South Africa showed.

“I envisaged this Cosatu strike was going to be a major failure,” and no noticeable business disruptions were reported, Gerhard Papenfus, the association’s chief executive officer, said by phone.

Cosatu said budget cuts had led to an unacceptable wage freeze for civil servants and retrenchments by state companies, and it accused private firms of embarking on an “investment strike”, with many of them hoarding cash or taking it out the country. The federation’s demands included that the government reverse spending curbs, do more to create jobs, support the unemployed and accelerate the rollout of coronavirus vaccines. 

Cosatu made it clear to its members that it didn’t want them to gather in groups of more than 500 in line with rules aimed at curbing the spread of Covid-19, and was happy with the strike turnout, according to its spokesman Sizwe Pamla. Further strikes will be staged unless the federation’s demands are met, he said.  

A separate steelworkers strike, which was called by the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa, continued for a third day on Thursday, with workers downing tools in five of the nine provinces. That labour action has affected some mining, construction, engineering and metallurgical businesses and will eventually hit automakers if they can’t secure steel supplies. 

Mabuza backs Ramaphosa’s decision to fire police boss Khehla Sitole

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David Mabuza

  • Deputy President, David Mabuza supports President Cyril Ramaphosa’s decision to issue National Police Commissioner Khehla Sitole with a notice of suspension. 
  • Mabuza said he was sure Ramaphosa had thoroughly thought through the decision; and that it was not motivated by “petty conflicts” between Sitole and his detractors. 
  • Mabuza’s comments come after the office of the presidency confirmed that Ramaphosa had issued Sitole with a notice of suspension.

Deputy President David Mabuza has come out in support of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s decision to issue National Police Commissioner Khehla Sitole with a notice of suspension.

Speaking to the media while on the ANC campaign trail in Soshanguve, north of Pretoria, Mabuza said: “I always believe in his wisdom. He is a man that is really above petty conflicts, so if he saw it fit to suspend Sitole, then it was prudent to do so.”

He added that the decision rested solely with the president, but reiterated that he was fully behind Ramaphosa on the matter. 

According to the presidency, Ramaphosa wrote to Sitole on 20 September and informed him that the impending suspension was in relation to “allegations of the failure by the commissioner to assist the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID)” in its investigations.

“These allegations emerged publicly and became the subject of a finding by Judge Norman Davis in the Pretoria High Court,” said the statement. 

A scathing judgment, handed down on 13 January by Davis in the Gauteng High Court in Pretoria, found that Sitole and his two deputies, Francinah Vuma and Lebeoana Tsumani, had placed the interests of the governing party, the ANC, ahead of those of the country.Khehla Sitole alongside Police Minister Bheki CeleNational police commissioner Khehla Sitole alongside Police Minister Bheki Cele.PHOTO: Jaco Marais

News24 previously reported that Davis ruled that the three had effectively blocked a string of corruption investigations that were spearheaded by the IPID.

Among these was a probe into an aborted attempt by police to splurge R45 million on a spying device known as a “grabber” – at a staggeringly inflated price – on the eve of the ANC’s 2017 Nasrec elective conference. IPID investigators alleged that the purchase was merely a cover to launder money to buy off voting delegates and swing the outcome in favour of Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.

ANC intensifying efforts to regain Tshwane

Meanwhile, the ANC was leaving nothing to chance in its attempts to win back the Tshwane metro as Mabuza made his third visit to the city in the past week. 

He was back in the capital city on Thursday to drum up support ahead of the 1 November polls after he visited Mamelodi on 30 September and again mobilised the people of Hammanskraal to vote for the ANC on Sunday. 

The ANC deputy president admitted that there was infighting in the party, but assured communities that the party was undergoing a period of renewal where the leaders had now committed to “lead the party with integrity and serve the people”. 

“We will do better and fix a lot of things,” said Mabuza.

He added that the party was aware of the fact that “in 2016 people stayed away and never went to vote” but urged them to no longer take such a stance, but to go out in their numbers and vote the ANC back into government in the metro.

Ramaphosa to suspend Police Commissioner Khehla Sitole

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PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA - SEPTEMBER 03:

National police commissioner Khehla Sitole has been served with a notice of intention to suspend, according to reports.

It is understood that Sitole received a letter from President Cyril Ramaphosa last week, asking for representations as to why he should not be suspended.

The news of Sitole’s alleged notice of suspension was first reported last night by a broadcast channel.

According to reports, Sitole was found to have breached his duties as a police officer, in terms of the Independent Police Investigating Directorate (Ipid) Act, by intentionally delaying a number of Ipid investigations into corrupt procurement deals within the Crime Intelligence environment.

Requests for comment or confirmation of the suspension from SAPS and Ipid have not yet been responded to.

It is believed his imminent suspension is linked to an investigation into the R45 million “Nasrec grabber” issue.

Earlier this year, the national commissioner and two other SAPS senior officials lost their application for leave to appeal against an earlier judgment regarding the declassification of documents.

In January, Judge Norman Davis ordered the police to hand over several secret documents to the Ipid for the purpose of investigating suspected tender fraud and corruption within police ranks.

Judge Davis found that Sitole, as well as Francinah Vuma and Lebeona Tshumane, both lieutenant-generals, had breached their duties by failing to furnish Ipid with information and documents relating to their investigation into the alleged fraud and corruption. The three top cops challenged the ruling.

Ipid, who have been waiting for more than three years for these documents, and the SAPS, have been facing off in court as senior police management refused to hand over the “highly secret” papers.

Due to the ongoing court battle, the result is Ipid still has not received the documents to enable them to start the investigation.

Sitole and the others maintain the documents were classified and should not be made available to Ipid.

The cops insist that the documents in question need to first be “declassified” and that this should be done via a request to the chairperson of Parliament’s joint standing committee on intelligence. But the judge said this argument was legally unsound and that the officers were ignoring the duties imposed by law on them.

–iOl

‘When we lost our way, you took us to task,’ Ramaphosa tells Tutu on his 90th

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Archbishop Desmond Tutu

“At times when we have found ourselves losing our way, you have taken us well to task.”  

These were the words President Cyril Ramaphosa extended to Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu during his 90th birthday celebrations on Thursday.

He said that during the nearly three decades after the liberation of SA Tutu had provided “moral and ethical guidance” to the nation.

Tutu was a leading figure during the struggle for the liberation of SA from the apartheid regime.  

He received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984 and was later the chairperson of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. He was the second South African to win the Peace Prize after ANC president Albert Luthuli in 1960, also for his role in the non-violent struggle against apartheid.

“For nearly three decades, yours has been a voice of conscience, guiding us and motivating us to do better by our people,” said Ramaphosa.

In a 2013 Mail & Guardian article, Tutu said he would no longer be voting for the ANC, stating that SA was losing the moral high ground it had gained during its “altruistic” fight against apartheid.

“I have over the years voted for the ANC, but I would very sadly not be able to vote for them after the way things have gone,” he said at the time.

“We really need a change. The ANC was very good at leading us in the struggle to be free from oppression. They were a good freedom-fighting unit. But it doesn’t seem to me now that a freedom-fighting unit can ­easily make the transition to becoming a political party.”

In 2011 he called a press conference in which he lambasted former president Jacob Zuma’s government for failing to grant his close friend, the 14th Dalai Lama, a visa to visit SA for Tutu’s 80th birthday celebrations.

It was the second year in a row in which the Dalai Lama was denied a visa and speculation was rife that the South African government was pressured by China, which views the Dalai Lama as a dangerous political dissident, not to let him into the country.h

Ramaphosa said, in a statement by the presidency, that he acknowledged the “moral and ethical guidance Archbishop Tutu has provided to the nation after liberation.

“The president pays tribute to Archbishop Tutu for his role as a fighter in the cause for  human rights, for equality and for social justice in the 59 years since his ordination.

“You continue to remind us that fellowship, solidarity, charity and compassion for the vulnerable are values common to us all, and we should strive to live by them each day.

“We are further reminded that taking up the struggle for equality and social justice is not the responsibility of only government, civil society organisations or the clergy, but of us all,” he said.

Ramaphosa expressed his deep regard to Tutu for “a life that has been well-lived in honesty, integrity, fearlessness and service to humanity in South Africa and globally”.

He wished Tutu good health, fellowship and companionship with those close to him.

TimesLIVE

DA and ANC butt heads over ‘racist v heroes’ campaign posters in Phoenix

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Battle of the posters

As the race to the polls for local government elections heats up, racial tension in Phoenix after recent civil unrest is being used as a means of campaigning for political parties in KwaZulu-Natal. 

On Tuesday, reaction to the DA election posters were put up in Phoenix, north of Durban. Racial tensions within the community there erupted during unrest and rioting in Durban in July as 36 people lost their lives — 30 of them shot. 

DA provincial chair Dean Macpherson said the posters were going up all over the city and the intention was not to create further division among residents. 

“It’s a matter of fact that the ANC has called people all over the city of Durban racist. We disagree with this sentiment. We agree that they were heroes. They were the blue line between absolute anarchy and the sheer lack of law enforcement during July’s unrest. The citizens of this city were heroes.”

He said the DA in no way condoned lawlessness, which included the shootings and killings in Phoenix. 

“We’ve been very clear that anyone who has transgressed the law must go through the judicial process. The law must take its course and we see where that process goes.”

Macpherson referred to Phoenix brothers Dylan and Ned Govender and fellow resident Jeetendra Jaikissoon, who have been charged with the murder of an Amaoti resident in July.

ANC provincial spokesperson Nhlakanipho Ntombela has slammed the DA’s “racist” posters as an attempt to gain votes without “respect for human life”.

“The wounds are still bleeding after the recent massacre of people in Phoenix. We must all reject criminals and the massacre of innocent people. Therefore it is opportunistic of the DA to perpetuate crime and support people accused of murders. However, the ANC will continue with its project of building social cohesion through community, governmental and organisational programmes by different racial groups across the province. ”

Ntombela said what the DA had done in Phoenix was “undisputable” in undermining the ANC’s goal of building a united society.

“The ANC calls on the citizens to strive to end racial exploitation by the DA that plays with their emotions. We believe that members of the public should have a strong content that deals with social cohesion and need for racial harmony.”

Last week African Democratic Change (ADeC) leader Visvin Reddy also came under fire from the ruling party when his party held up posters calling on the courts to “free Phoenix heroes”.

Reddy accused the ANC of trying to divert attention from critical issues instead of taking responsibility for its role in the riots and looting.

TimesLIVE

Man returns home after 47 years to find his two wives remarried

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Peter Onyuka

A MAN dropped out of sight of his two wives in 1974, only to resurface this week.

He didn’t tell his wives where he was going and never communicated for 47 years.

The Kenyan Madala, Peter Oyuka, who is now 84 years expected to find his wife waiting for him.

He got a rude awakening last week, when he found that his wives moved on and couldn’t endure a life of living without a man for close to five decades.

The 84 years old bachelor is now in a catch 22 situation. He can’t get back his wives because they are married to other people and has no option of going back where he squandered his 47 years because he is too old.

According to Daily Star, Oyuka told people he left to search for greener pastures that would help take care of his two wives and five kids.

It is reported that Oyuka never told his family where he was going, and said he was saddened to find out his wives had given up on hopes of his return.

“I wish my wives were here to welcome me home. I wish them well in their marriages. However, I would like them to know that I’m still alive and that they should create time and visit me,” he said with tears dropping down his face.

According to media reports in Kenya, the madala expected his wives to remain intact while he spent most of the 47 years away from home in Tanzania, where he fell in love and had a child with another woman.

– Daily Sun

WhatsApp to disconnect services from old phones from next month

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Millions of people might fight themselves without WhatsApp services from November 1 if they do not upgrade their phones to the latest version.

  • WhatsApp has revealed its new device requirements for compatibility with Android, iOS and KaiOS devices.
  • It will be compatible with devices running on Android OS 4.1 and above and iOS 10 and above.
  • Here is a list of all the smartphones that won’t be able to use WhatsApp from November 1.

WhatsApp will stop working on some Android and iOS devices from November 1. The Facebook-owned messaging app keeps updating its software requirements regularly and shares it on its Help Centre. Starting from November 1, WhatsApp will only be compatible with devices running on Android OS 4.1 and above, iOS 10 and above or phones running on KaiOS 2.5.1 or above, which include the JioPhone and JioPhone 2.

If you wish to check the operating system version that your phone is running on, you can visit the ‘Settings’ on your device and tap ‘About Phone’ to find out. If you are using an older version of Android or iOS, you can update it to the latest version easily. But there are some devices that will not support any further updates and WhatsApp won’t be compatible with them. It is highly unlikely that you still own any of these devices since most of them are at least 10 years old. If you own any of these devices, it’s time you upgrade it to keep using WhatsApp.

Here are all the devices WhatsApp will stop working on from November 1.
iPhone
With Apple slated to release iOS 15, iPhones starting with iPhone 6s or newer will receive the latest version of iOS. iPhone 5 and newer can also be upgraded to iOS 10 and are compatible with WhatsApp’s current requirements.
Older devices that won’t be able to use WhatsApp within the next few weeks. iPhone 4s and older are on the list of the phones that will not be WhatsApp compliant from 1 November 2021.

Android devices
As per a report in Metro news, the older Android devices that won’t be able to use WhatsApp include smartphones from Samsung, LG, Huawei, Sony and others. Here is a list of all the Android devices that will become outdated for WhatsApp.

Samsung
The list of devices from Samsung that won’t support WhatsApp include Samsung Galaxy Trend Lite, Galaxy Trend II, Galaxy SII, Galaxy S3 mini, Galaxy Xcover 2, Galaxy Core and Galaxy Ace 2.
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LG
You won’t be able to use WhatsApp on these LG devices — LG Lucid 2, Optimus F7, Optimus F5, Optimus L3 II Dual, Optimus F5, Optimus L5, Optimus L5 II, Optimus L5 Dual, Optimus L3 II, Optimus L7, Optimus L7 II Dual, Optimus L7 II, Optimus F6, Enact , Optimus L4 II Dual, Optimus F3, Optimus L4 II, Optimus L2 II, Optimus Nitro HD and 4X HD, and Optimus F3Q.

ZTE
If you own any of these ZTE devices, you won’t be able to use the WhatsApp messenger. These include, the ZTE Grand S Flex, ZTE V956, Grand X Quad V987 and Grand Memo.

Huawei
You need to upgrade your device if you own any of these Huawei smartphones, Huawei Ascend G740, Ascend Mate, Ascend D Quad XL, Ascend D1 Quad XL, Ascend P1 S, and Ascend D2.

Sony
You won’t be able to use WhatsApp on these Sony Xperia smartphones — Sony Xperia Miro, Sony Xperia Neo L, Xperia Arc S.

Other Devices
Other Android devices that will not be compatible with WhatsApp include HTC Desire 500 and Lenovo A820.

Backup your chats
If you use any of these smartphones and are active on WhatsApp, we are sorry to say that you will need to upgrade your device to continue using the app. To prevent losing your chats, you can take a backup in Google Drive or iCloud depending on the device you are using.

MEC Maile to consult premier Makhura on adverse court rulings on Tshwane takeover

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Lebohang Maile

Gauteng MEC Lebogang Maile says he’s consulting the premier and the executive committee on a way forward regarding his department’s intervention in Tshwane.

Maile was responding to the three judgments handed over by the high court, supreme court and the Constitutional Court on his intervention in Tshwane which saw the municipality being put under administration which the apex court found to have been unlawful.

The court ruled that the Gauteng government’s decision last year to dissolve the City of Tshwane, even though there were “exceptional circumstances”, was still unlawful.

Addressing a press conference in Sandton on Wednesday, Maile said he will be consulting premier David Makhura and the province’s executive committee on the order by the Constitutional Court that he must invoke his powers to conduct a full investigation into the causes of the dysfunctionality in the capital which informed his decision to intervene last year.

He said the province derives “no pleasure in intervening in any municipality” as that on its own is a burden.

“I now have been directed by the ConCourt to investigate… I will take this to exco as I need the view of the premier and other colleagues in exco on how we move forward with regards to this,” Maile said.

He said the team of administrators sent to Tshwane were “technically proficient, qualified and skilled”.

“We would like to categorically refute and dismiss the constant, unfounded attacks on the competence and integrity of the team of administrators deployed in Tshwane for the duration of the intervention,” Maile said.

The high court on Monday ordered Maile to appoint a person or a committee to investigate the cause of the deadlock at the municipal council which made it unable to elect a mayor, pass a budget and vote on the appointment of a city manager, among others.

The Tshwane council, led by the DA, had been unable to convene and was dissolved after months of turbulence and instability, which saw council meetings continuously collapse as a result of councillors from the ANC and the EFF not attending or walking out.

Malema urges Zuma to enjoy his retirement and stay away from politics

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CIC Julius Malema

EFF leader Julius Malema says former president Jacob Zuma does not know when to stop and should decide whether he wants to stay in politics or enjoy his retirement.

In an interview with the SABC on Tuesday, Malema weighed in on the former president campaigning for the ruling party and urging the masses to vote for it in the local government elections on November 1.

“Zuma doesn’t know when to stop. He must accept he is a pensioner. Now he is busy recording videos, he is inviting us back into his life. We have not even commented about his parole.

“He must choose if he still wants to be an activist or if he wants to be a pensioner. If he wants to come back, then he will find us ready for him,” said Malema. 

The JG Zuma Foundation shared a video on Tuesday of the former president urging South Africans to vote for the ANC in the elections.

Zuma said South Africans who do not want to vote should “stand up” and vote for the ANC.

“It is time for the local government elections. I have been listening to a lot of people who have, for certain reasons, decided not to vote. I was touched by that and decided to appeal to those people to stand up and vote for the ANC, the party that brought us freedom,” he said. 

Malema explained that the EFF campaigning for leadership in KwaZulu-Natal had nothing to do with the disgruntlement of Zuma’s supporters who protested against his arrest in July and the internal squabbles in the ANC.

He said Zuma was no longer an issue in politics, as he was retired, and claimed that people in KZN had long called for the EFF to campaign in the province.

“The people of KZN want services, they are hungry. We saw during the protest in July that these people are calling for a caring government to come and look after them.”

–SowetanLive

Pathetic R15m sports facility met with scorn

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The unveiling of a R15m “state-of-the-art” sports facility with a patchy field, a broken goalpost and two steel grandstands has been met with scorn from local soccer teams, who described it as below par. 

On Tuesday, the Enoch Mgijima municipality in Lesseyton, near Komani in the Eastern Cape, was at the centre of a public storm after the unveiling of the Lesseyton sports field on Monday, with the ribbon cutting ceremony and pictures posted on Facebook.

The facility and subsequent posts celebrating its handover garnered outrage with provincial co-operative governance and traditional affairs (Cogta) MEC Xolile Nqatha requesting a full report from the council into the matter.

The council is expected to explain how the R15m was spent when it hired Thalami Civils to do the work in August 2018. According to the municipal website the original tender had an initial budget of R22.7m. The ‘shabby ’ opening of Lesseyton sports facility in Eastern Cape.

Mzwabantu Vunjane, chair of Swallows FC, which is one of the 14  soccer teams in the area meant to use the sports facility, told Sowetan that the view of most teams is that the pitch is horrible.

“I’ve seen that stadium and if we were to use it at its current status, it won’t last for more than three months. It’s just brown patches of grass that have not mended together because they have not been getting water. We don’t even consider it a sports field because we have been playing on far better turfs than this,” said Vunjane.

“We feel like the politicians used us for their own gain because we don’t even know the people that were playing there during the cutting of the ribbon on Monday. We deserve a far better service than this.”

Vunjane said they were not consulted about construction of the field and said it needed further upgrading.

Residents in the area also called for an investigation and answers from their council as to where the millions budgeted for the construction of a sports facility went.

They also felt that there was no value for money in the R15m paid due to the below-par standard of the facility. Independent Komani Residents Association’s Zolile Xalisa called on law enforcement agencies to look at investigating the municipality.

Xalisa revealed that a tender award document dating back to August 2018 showed that the construction of the field had been approved at a cost of R22m.

Speaking to Sowetan’s sister publication, the Daily Dispatch, a furious Xalisa said: “We are stunned by the municipality’s R15m stadium announcement, which proves what we have always said about corruption in the municipality.

“The money that was supposed to be used was R22m as budgeted for, hence we want law enforcement to investigate everyone who was involved in the construction of the facility. If they are accounting for R15m, then where is the other budgeted R7m?”  

Lungisani  Sakati of Zimbani FC said the builder should have used artificial grass. “That place is just a fenced piece of gravel because the grass is of poor quality. We have not seen any security guard. They need to close it and upgrade it before they can hand it over to us.  We can’t use it as it is,” Sakati said.   

ANC councillor Unathi Mlindazwe said: “The facility will keep our children far from drugs or anything that could tarnish their future. We are hopeful that the sports field will produce the next sports stars.”

After the uproar the municipality released a statement claiming that their initial Facebook post did not have enough information.

The red-faced municipality justified the costs, saying it was because of the work such as blasting, earth works, water reticulation installation and sewer systems that had to be done to prepare the grounds. The municipality said it had also erected 780m of palisade fencing, two blocks of ablution facilities with 14 toilets and eight showers, boreholes and a guard house.

Municipal spokesperson Lonwabo Kowa said the council regretted the manner in which the initial post was shared where minimal detail was provided.  

“Further investigations were also conducted to determine the suitability of the site to be developed into a sports field with associated structures – which include survey, geotechnical and geohydrological tests,” said Kowa.

The owner of the company behind the project, Luthando Jojwana, referred questions to the municipality when asked for comment.  In 2017 Jojwana and four employees were arrested for stealing R9,000 worth of bricks in the Eastern Cape.

It is alleged that the business person took the bricks from a municipal site and used them to finish off a job where he was part of a joint venture, building Centane taxi trank. 

ActionSA and IEC heading for a court showdown over omission of party name on the ballots

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ActionSA boss Herman Mashaba

The Electoral Commission of South Africa’s (IEC) decision to omit ActionSA’s name and only use its logo on the ballot paper, is an unnecessary distraction at a time when the party should be concentrating on ramping up its campaigning, says Party leader, Herman Mashaba.

  • ActionSA leader Herman Mashaba has bemoaned the IEC’s decision to omit his party’s name and only have it represented through its logo.
  • Mashaba said with less than four weeks to go to the municipal elections, ActionSA ought to be ramping up its campaign, not be filing court papers challenging the IEC. 
  • The IEC blamed ActionSA for the party’s name not appearing on the ballot, saying the party did not choose an abbreviation when it registered with the commission.

“It [the IEC’s decision] has made me angry; I am gatvol,” Mashaba told News24 while on the campaign trail in Duduza, Ekurhuleni on Tuesday. 

The ActionSA leader, however, vowed to ensure that this “injustice” against his party was resolved. 

“I want to assure South Africans that when they go and vote on 1 November, that both ActionSA’s logo and name are going to be on the ballot box whether the IEC and the ANC like it or not. We live in a democracy with laws and at the end of the day, we will make sure that both our name and logo appear,” said Mashaba.   Action South Africa supporters carry posters showi South Africa supporters at the party’s manifesto launch.Phill Magakoe / AFP

He added the his party’s lawyers were finalising the party’s court papers challenging the IEC’s decision.  

“Our lawyers are busy as I am talking to you; they are busy preparing to finalise and file our papers later this afternoon, latest tomorrow morning. That is why I am confident of this case that when we go to vote, the ActionSA name will be on the ballot box,” said Mashaba.  

The IEC said it was ActionSA’s own fault its abbreviated name was not on the ballot paper.

The commission said when it signed up as a political party, ActionSA elected not to register an abbreviated name or acronym. 

Space

“ActionSA, in their documents in which they applied for registration as a political party, and which must be publicly [sic] lodged in terms of the regulations, responded with a ‘Not Applicable’ in the space where the political party was required to indicate its abbreviated name,” the IEC said in a statement on Monday.

IEC Chief Electoral Officer, Sy Mamabolo had also insisted that parties with even shorter names had given the IEC both their name and acronym.slide 1 of 1Action South Africa supporters sing and chant duriAction SA supporters pictured during the party’s manifesto launch on Wednesday.Phill Magakoe / AFP

“For example, GOOD have registered GOOD as the name of the party and they’ve also registered that as the acronym of the party.”

However, Mashaba disputed this, saying there was no legal relationship or basis between the IEC’s registration paper and how parties appeared on the ballot paper.  

“Why do we have to use our acronym? As per the Electoral Act, if you have got your name that is under eight characters then this name ought to appear on the ballot. Why then would the IEC want us to still have an acronym?

“We are ActionSA, we do not have any other name and ActionSA has got eight characters, so why must the IEC expect us to reduce it any further. We made it clear, we said ‘no, you put ActionSA as it is because it is within the laws of this country’.

“If ever there was any confusion, why then decide to put us as a logo, instead of the name? When you look at our registration papers, we first registered as ActionSA, we did not register ourselves as a logo. When you go down on the registration paper that’s where you find the logo, but who gave then the right to register us as a logo. We are not a logo, we are a political party called ActionSA,” said Mashaba.

He also reiterated that his party wanted to be represented by both its name and logo.

Numsa members go on strike in nationwide shutdown of engineering sector

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NUMSA members during their march over better conditions of employment, today in Newtown, Johannesburg.

ANTONIO MUCHAVE

Hundreds of National Union of Metalworkers of SA members gathered in protest on Tuesday at the Mary Fritzgerald Square in Newtown, Johannesburg, as part of the first day of their nationwide engineering sector shutdown over salary increases.

Dressed in red Numsa T-shirts and some in red overalls, while carrying sticks, the protesters were singing and chanting Struggle songs as they held placards written: “We demand 8% increase across the board,” “Down with 4%,” “An injury to one is an injury to all.”

Numsa national spokesperson Phakamile Hlubi-Majola said the workers are demanding a 8% salary increase. 

“This is the first day of a national strike we have called for in the engineering sector. The metals and engineering bargaining council is a council that represents over 9,000 companies with over 300,000 workers. Numsa represents over 155,000 of those workers.

“We are fed up with where we are with wage talks right now. Employers are not making a meaningful increase. We are demanding 8% across the board for the first year and for the second and third year we are demanding a CPI (consumer price index) increase of 2%,” said Hlubi-Majola.

“They are only offering 4.4% for the first year and CPI increase of 1% for the second year and 0.5% for the third year. Our members were angry when they received that proposal. They may as well might have given a 0% increase.

“The majority of workers in this sector are lucky when they get a minimum rate of R49 per hour. What is a 4.4% increase? That is not good enough. In the time of Covid-19 for someone who earns R20 an hour that is frustrating. They might as well have given them a 0% increase. The workers have decided to embark on a strike and stop production until the employers take us seriously. This is a total shutdown of the sector until our demands are met.”.

Hlubi-Majola said Numsa has been in negotiations with all employer associations in the metals and engineering sector since early June

“Despite our many discussions and negotiations that we have had, the engineering employers have not compromised. We compromised. We initially wanted a 15% salary increase and we moved to 8%. Their starting offer was 0% and now they are on 4%. They have not moved an inch. This is completely unacceptable,” she said.

The protesting workers are heading to the offices of the metals and engineering industries bargaining council on 42 Anderson Street in the Joburg CBD.

The nationwide strike is also taking place in in Durban in KwaZulu-Natal, Gqeberha in the Eastern Cape, Belville in the Western Cape and Welkom in the Northern Cape.

–SowetanLive

Mboweni describes as ‘a great betrayal’ the looting of Covid-19 funds

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Former finance minister Tito Mboweni says it is imperative that perpetrators of corruption are pursued and face the full wrath of the law.

Mboweni, who was delivering an online lecture hosted by Rhodes University, described as a great betrayal the looting of limited resources that the government had pulled together to fight Covid-19, while referring to those who stole the funds as “rats and mice”.

“It is great betrayal that our efforts to save lives and support livelihoods were undermined by shameful and exploitive acts of corruption,” he said. “We put good systems in place to the best of our ability but the rats and mice always found a way to overcome this.

Mboweni was delivering the 7th Archbishop Thabo Makgoba Annual Lecture on values-based leadership on Monday night.

“Sadly, there are too many people in positions of leadership and power throughout the global political, economic and financial system who do not seem to realise the consequences of participating in or condoning corruption,” said Mboweni.

He said years of poor governance and leadership failures had compounded the economic crisis that has impeded the growth and advancement SA had envisaged in the early years.

“In SA and indeed in many other parts of the world, greed and corruption have created a credibility crisis in government at national, provincial and local level,” he said.

This was apparent in many spheres of the state, including the police and sections of the intelligence services, to the detriment of national security.

“We are faced with completely broken and dysfunctional municipalities and state-owned enterprises. This frustrates what should be our common objective to grow the economy,” he said.

Mboweni, who left government in August, said the pursuit of wealth rather than a commitment to serving the people has created a malevolent culture in society that is becoming more and more difficult to undo.

“I have just exited from a position of heavy responsibility in the heart of government. I once again feel like a war veteran, having had to lead the fight to protect public resources from abuse and waste.

“This was not an easy responsibility. The demands on the fiscus in SA, as is the case in other parts of the world, are immense, particularly in the context of high unemployment and poverty levels,” he said.

“We constantly have to balance the responsibilities to serve and protect the people of our countries in general and particularly the poorer sections of our societies with our broad objective to grow the economy and the tax base.”

He said one of the most surprising things about being finance minister were demands being made on the expenditure side of budget and very few suggestions being made about what to do on the income side of things.

“So spend, spend, spend, but where is the income going to come from for that expenditure, because the result is more borrowing, which means more debt, high debt service costs and getting the country more towards a debt crisis.”

Mboweni was tough on corruption in his speech.

He said the Covid-19 pandemic not only revealed the interconnectedness of the world, but that greed among countries and people was rife.

The rich countries sought to accumulate and hoard the vaccines for themselves and starve poor and developing countries from gaining access to these vaccines, and long struggles had to be fought before the vaccines began flowing to poor countries, he said.

“Within most countries, the greedy and corrupt saw an opportunity to enrich themselves through various schemes of looting.”

He said the pandemic had forced the government into taking difficult decisions to reallocate budgets to fund the fiscal relief package and support the health system. He said it was a great betrayal these efforts were undermined by shameful and exploitive acts of corruption.

Mboweni credited his upbringing in the Apostolic Faith Mission Church and Sunday school teachings for helping to guide him in distinguishing between right and wrong.

“Our consciences always tell us when we violate them and this happens more often than not. If your conscience says this is not right, it is most probably a bad thing you are about to do.”

“Do not steal!” should constantly ring in the head of anyone in a position of responsibility, he said.

If any leader in the national, provincial or local government, a company, or in a church, sports or any other community organisation used their position to steal, they contributed to the erosion of society.

Mboweni said political, social and class struggles around the world were characterised by values-based leadership, self-sacrifice and human solidarity, but from time to time those values were neglected or forgotten.

“In our formerly progressive organisations we witness political and factionalism with formerly good comrades adopting a scorched earth outlook — not due to a desire to serve our people better, but to abuse positions of power to plunder public funds.”

He said it was highly disturbing that many people who get caught out in the looting sprees resort to dangerous and populist rhetoric with some claiming victimhood while others see fit to incite violence.

“Such people are not leaders. History is replete with instances where countries descended into chaos due to the treachery by some people with corrupt intent exploiting their followers,” he said.

–TimesLIVE

Facebook down: Zuckerberg apologises for six-hour outage

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Facebook’s founder Mark Zuckerberg has apologised for the “disruption” caused after its social media services went down for almost six hours – impacting more than 3.5bn users worldwide.

The billionaire said sorry after an internal technical issue took Facebook, Messenger, Whatsapp and Instagram offline at about 16:00 GMT on Monday.

The scramble to bring it back online eventually succeeded at around 22:00.

But it is likely to increase scrutiny of the social media giant’s reach.

For hours, potentially billions of people found themselves without the social media tools they relied upon to keep in touch with friends and family. Others reportedly found they could not access services which required a Facebook login.

Meanwhile, businesses around the world, which use social media to connect with customers, were faced with the prospect of an unexpected financial hit.

Mr Zuckerberg himself was thought to have lost an estimated $6bn (£4.4bn) from his personal fortune at one point as Facebook shares plummeted, according to the business website Fortune’s tracking software.

Downdetector, which tracks outages, said some 10.6 million problems were reported around the world – the largest number it had ever recorded.

Facebook later said it had been brought offline by a faulty configuration change which not only impacted the websites and apps, but also affected the company’s internal tools.

Those tools included Facebook’s internal email and even employee work passes.

Some reports suggest that Facebook headquarters was in “meltdown”. Even “the people trying to figure out what this problem was” couldn’t access the building, New York Times technology reporter Sheera Frenkel told the BBC.

The New York Times reports that the problem was eventually resolved after a group managed to get into a California data centre and reset the servers. The company has not confirmed this.

Facebook has said it is working to understand what happened so it can “make our infrastructure more resilient”. Tech experts have described the issue as being akin to the social media giant falling off the internet’s map, so it could not be found.

The company said there was “no evidence that user data was compromised”.

The outage comes at a particularly difficult time for the company, which is finding itself increasingly under pressure over its reach and impact on society.

On Sunday, former Facebook employee Frances Haugen told CBS news the company had prioritised “growth over safety”.

On Tuesday she will testify before a Senate subcommittee in a hearing titled “Protecting Kids Online”, about the company’s research into Instagram’s effect on the mental health of young users.

-BBC

Kiwanga helped me to run away from my sexually abusive boss

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Working in an environment where your boss sexually harasses you at times may hinder you from performing all your duties effectively. My name is Wendy and I had been working in a certain textile company in Eldoret for a year now. Life in the office was good till a new boss came. I was the secretary to the manger and so most of the times we got into deep conversation with the new manager.

As time went by, he started buying me gifts and getting
me to work using his vehicle. I did not know he was sexually attracted to me since I was still young compared to my co workers.
One morning as I was in his vehicle to the work place he told me directly that I was such pretty lady who he had been dreaming to much. I was really shocked for such words coming from my boss really were disgusting. I assumed maybe he was joking but as days went, he would come at my work desk and hold my hands and at some point he would kiss me on my cheeks. Other workers knew what was really going one since the new manager did not hide anything. I really did not want to fall in his trap since my only motive of being the office was work anything else
was tertiary need. I was kind of an arrogant lady and at some point I would face him direct and lecture him for his behavior. Not even a single day I ever had sex with him. As time went, he continued luring me to his trap.
One morning I came to work as usual. When I reached my work desk, I saw an envelope. It really had a red seal and when I opened to read what the letter said, I had been sacked by the company. In my mind I knew things behind my work termination. I walked out of the office crying really hard for I had really lost a job.

A week later I learned about Dr Kiwanga through the website www.kiwangadoctors.com where I contacted him and booked an appointment. I met
him at his offices where he attended me. Three days later I got a job suggestion from another company where I had been offered a bit high pay than my usual company. Dr Kiwanga had really helped me. I could not withstand sexual harassment at work place. At some point I told myself the company to which I was working did a very good thing to sack me. In my new company, working condition was conducive for people there had respect. No one harassed mensexually. He protects you from your enemies who might have bad plans in your life. Through his experience in herbal medication, Dr Kiwanga helps you end acnes which destroy your beauty. He helps you solve problems related to large tummy and penis enlargement.
For consultations call +254769404965 / E-mail kiwangadoctors@gmail.com or visit the website www.kiwangadoctors.c

Vaccinating taxi drivers will help the industry back on its feet: Santaco

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The SA National Taxi Association (Santaco) is mobilising taxi drivers to join Covid-19 vaccination queues, a move it hopes will help the industry get back on its feet after enduring income losses over the past year.

Santaco spokesperson Thabisho Molelekwa said the association is partnering with the transport department to expand its role in mitigating the spread of Covid-19.

The taxi industry has complied with government restrictions, including reducing the number of passengers for long-distance trips to 70% of their capacity.

“We have made a call to all taxi drivers to register in their numbers for vaccination. The problem with the taxi industry is that we find ourselves a carrier and spreader of Covid-19 and we need to be wise,” Molelekwa said.

He said taxi drivers are at a higher risk of contracting and spreading Covid-19 because they work with multiple loads of passengers daily and this involves exchanging cash during trips.

He said the risk of taxi drivers spreading Covid-19 to passengers was a cause for concern.

Molelekwa said driver vaccination is not mandatory.

“Vaccination is voluntary. The country has not got to a point where vaccination is mandatory. We are looking at ways in which taxi drivers can be motivated to vaccinate without being forced,” he said.

Molelekwa said the taxi industry is still experiencing financial losses with long-distance travelling and commuting.

He said the industry continues to lose income because unvaccinated drivers are not permitted to travel with passengers beyond the border.

“When drivers offload passengers at the border, they lose more money on top of the regulations which require us to load 70% of capacity,” he said.

Molelekwa said tackling misinformation and conspiracy theories will present challenges for the vaccine rollout among taxi drivers.

“I cannot hide the fact that these mixed messages about the vaccine continue to instil fear in those who want to get vaccinated. We are not the custodians of vaccination messaging. We urge the government to speak more clearly and consistently.” 

Sasria pays out R5.8 bn to businesses affected by looting in KZN and Gauteng

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The SA Special Risk Insurance Association (Sasria) has paid more than R5.8bn in claims to businesses affected by the July unrest and looting in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng, the state-owned short-term insurer said on Monday.

KwaZulu-Natal was thrust into a state of chaos after supporters of former president Jacob Zuma protested about his arrest.

The demonstrations quickly escalated into unrest and looting which saw businesses being set alight and looted.

The SA Property Owners Association (Sapoa) said the unrest cost R20bn of KwaZulu-Natal’s GDP and R50bn of the national GDP.

Sasria MD Cedric Masondo said there are ongoing discussions about how the insurer can be “future proof ready and acknowledge the lessons learnt” from the unrest. 

“Sasria continues to play a key role in the insurance industry. We urge clients to continue and maintain their policies with Sasria and would like to assure them of our determined resilience to maintain our excellent relations”, said Masondo.

IEC hits back at ‘mischievous’ ActionSA for failing to register an abbreviated name

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Herman Mashaba

The Electoral Commission (IEC) will not amend its final draft ballot papers to add ActionSA’s name next to its logo for the November 1 local government elections, despite the party threatening legal action. 

It made the revelation on Monday afternoon, after failing to meet ActionSA’s 10am deadline to address the issue, or to meet in court.

The commission put the blame squarely on ActionSA.

“The use of registered particulars of a political party in the ballot paper design is intended to obviate ad hoc and arbitrary considerations. The unique identifiers are provided by each political party at the point of application for registration as a party.

“The absence of the abbreviated name of ActionSA on the ward ballots is because, at the point of registering as a party, ActionSA elected not to register an abbreviated name or acronym. ActionSA, in their documents in which they applied for registration as a political party, and which must be publicly lodged in terms of the regulations, responded with a ‘Not Applicable’ in the space where the political party was required to indicate its abbreviated name,” said IEC spokesperson Kate Bapela.

Herman Mashaba earlier argued that the party does not have an abbreviated name because its full name was already compliant with the IEC’s 8-character limit on abbreviated party names and, thus, the party’s name could always be always used in full.

The party has also contended that, according to the law, there is no provision which limits or empowers the IEC to rely solely on a party’s registration documentation for the construction of ballot papers — “our law remains silent on what information goes into a ballot paper”.

The commission, however, said that in terms of the electoral prescripts, it is empowered to determine the design of ballot papers to be used in an election using identifiers including: the name of the candidate, photo in case of an independent candidate, the logo (or distinguishing mark) of the party, and the abbreviated name of the party, where one has been registered. 

It also argued that Mashaba’s party was not the only one in that predicament as 14 other political parties appear on the various ballot papers without abbreviated names.

ActionSA said that it had been beset by issues with the IEC since its inception, claiming that, among other issues, a refusal to register – and to exclude – their candidates from a candidate list published last week.

Bapela dismissed the allegations levelled against the commission.

“The insinuation that the commission is acting without due impartiality is without foundation and is mischievous. The onus to choose party identifiers rests with the political party and not the commission and the scheme in the ballot design has been part of our electoral management practice since the inception of democratic local government in 2000,” she said.

ActionSA’s national chairperson,  Michael Beaumont, has since confirmed that the party’s legal team would take up the matter and was confident that it would emerge victorious in court.

“In this regard ActionSA has concluded a meeting with our legal team, who are bewildered by the commission’s refusal to remedy this issue. They have affirmed our position that there is no legal basis for the commission to refuse this request and are confident the courts will share this perspective.  

“The perspective is that, by refusing to remedy this issue, the IEC is in breach of its overarching responsibilities to ensure free and fair elections — a critical component of which is ensuring voters are able to identify their political parties in various ways that include the party logo, party name, acronym and party leaders. 

“It is deeply ironic that it was this very responsibility which lay at the heart of the commission’s refusal to register ActionSA” said Beaumont.

Mpumalanga flood victims abandoned at a dilapidated school hostel

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About nine destitute families whose houses were washed away when cyclone Eloise hit parts of Mpumalanga earlier this year have been left in a dilapidated school boarding house with no water and electricity for months.

The families, which include 10 children, previously lived in homes near a stream that floods during heavy rains.

They said they and other flood victims were moved to the Thembeka High School hostel by the Mbombela local municipality in January.

But city spokesperson Joseph Ngala said they had moved the families there as a temporary measure and they were told that they would have to go back to their homes when the rains stopped. 

The department of social development, on the other hand, said as far as they knew the families had rebuilt and moved back to their homes.

The families told Sowetan this week that they were desperate as they had no money to rebuild their homes in KaNyamazane, outside Mbombela.

The families are occupying five hostel rooms, some of which do not have handles on the doors while others cannot be locked. They use objects to secure the doors.

“At first they [social development] used to give us food but now they have stopped. Recently, we had them visiting us to talk about alternative places to stay but since then they haven’t come back. Here, we have problems of safety, there are no lights, no running [water] and also the gate doesn’t lock, which means anyone can get it any time and we can’t do anything,” said Lydia Ndlovu.

“We thought this was temporary as government was planning move us to a better and safe place but we see that our cries are falling on deaf ears and we have turned into refugees in our own country. When I walk down the road and see where my old house was, I cry.” 

Ndlovu, 23, lives with her brother. They are both unemployed.

Lidia Ndlovu who stays at the Thembeka high school and she says they are in need at help. Mandla Khoza

Portia Thusi, 21, who lives with her brother, said she recently acquired a certificate in information technology and was now pinning her hopes on getting a job so that they could find a place to rent. 

“We lost our parents when I was five years old. This left my brother and I as orphans and social workers moved us from the place our parents were renting and we went to stay in cottages [at] Thandulwazi Primary School. We lived there for 14 years.

“Due to the fact that I was a student and getting NSFAS [National Student Financial Aid Scheme funding], I was able to pay the R500 they demanded for rent but when they raised the rent to R1,500 last year we moved and built a shack next to the stream. During the floods we were then moved here. We do not have a home and we had hoped the government would help us. Now we find ourselves cramped here with other families like us,” said Thusi. She said her brother was also unemployed. 

Happy Nzimande, 32, who lives with her husband and two children, aged three and seven, told Sowetan that they had been living in hell since their house was washed away. 

“During the rain we lost everything. Our house was demolished by the rain and we escaped by the grace of God but I thought life was going to be normal but it is not. We live like pigs. My children are my biggest concern. My husband is doing odd jobs, which don’t pay much and I am unemployed. Sometimes we have nothing to eat.

“We are asking for help from anyone because we hoped the Mpumalanga government was going to help us but instead they stopped even giving us food. We live on donations. Each night is a struggle because we sometimes see men outside our windows and fear that they may kill or rape us,” said Nzimande. 

Grace Manyika, 58, said she had a chronic illness and not having food made it hard for her to take her medication on some days.

Sowetan visited her at noon.

“As we speak I have to take my pills but I rather not because I haven’t eaten anything for the day. That is dangerous, it can kill me. I don’t know if I have to die here to please my government,” said Manyika.

Social development spokesperson Centie Ngubane denied that the department had moved the families to the hostel and said it was local councillors that did so.

“The matter regarding the people that were displaced following cyclone Eloise in KaNyamazane was brought to the attention of the department by the City of Mbombela municipality on February 8 this year. The department provided social relief of distress to 23 households with 128 members identified to be affected by heavy rains and at risk as they were located in flood lines.

“The Mbombela municipality had already moved the people to Thembeka High School and social workers were dispatched because it became evident that the households involved desperately needed assistance in the form of cooked meals. The meals included a breakfast pack, lunch and dinner. These meals were provided for from the first week of February to 21 February and further to that the department also provided psychosocial assessments.”

He said after a couple of days of receiving support from social workers, it became clear that the families were already returning to their houses and only returning to the centre (Thembeka High) for registration during meal times.

Ngubane said the department stopped providing food as there were more people who were not part of the group of flood victims who were now coming to collect food.

Ngala said after the floods they went back and told the families that they would have to go back to their homes, hence only 19 people remained at the hostel.

“We also guided them on applying for an RDP house if they don’t have any place to go but you know people,” said Ngala.

John Steenhuisen sings praises of outgoing Midvaal mayor Bongani Baloyi

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The municipality he heads has been ranked the best Gauteng municipality for its clean audits and satisfactory service delivery. Image: Esa Alexander

DA leader John Steenhuisen has spoken glowingly about outgoing Midvaal mayor Bongani Baloyi.

Baloyi is leaving the municipality as its first citizen after serving two terms under the DA government. He will be replaced as a candidate in the upcoming local government elections by Peter Teixeira, who launched his manifesto at an event on Saturday.

Speaking at the launch, Steenhuisen said what Baloyi achieved in Midvaal was nothing short of outstanding.

“By being a present and engaged leader, and by living out our DA values in everything you did, you set an example which others found easy to follow. I remember when you took office here as a very young man back in 2013, there were many people who doubted whether you had the necessary life experience for this challenging job.

“Well, I assure you, no-one is doubting you now. Midvaal was fortunate to have you at the helm these past eight years, and you can be proud of the achievements of this municipality under your watch. We thank you for your exemplary service to the people of Midvaal, and we wish you all the best for the future,” said Steenhuisen.

Baloyi announced early last year that he would not be standing again as a mayor for the municipality.

But so far he has been coy about his future plans both in the DA and in government.

Under his leadership, the municipality bagged numerous clean audits, outperforming most of the municipalities in Gauteng and around the country.

Speaking to TimesLIVE after the event, Steenhuisen said Baloyi will have a future in the DA after his term.

“I am very encouraged that Bongani wants to have a future in the DA and we are in conversation about what that looks like and what he wants to do. You know he has an incredible track record here and he is a name to watch for the future.

“I think he has got some great things ahead of him … I am absolutely committed as a leader of this party to retain Bongani, his expertise. I mean, this is somebody who has run the most successful municipality in Gauteng. That is a formidable pedigree to have going into any future election.

“Certainly if we are looking at getting into national government at some stage, Bongani Baloyi is absolutely one of the people I would be looking to, as part of our team, to get into provincial or national government because of his huge experience that he has in terms of actually running a municipality,” said Steenhuisen. 

TimesLIVE

North West mayor dies in car crash

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Naledi local municipality mayor Neo Schalk died in an accident on Sunday morning. Image: Supplied

…..Wife admitted to hospital with injuries

Naledi local municipality mayor Neo Schalk died in a head-on collision on Sunday morning.

Family spokesperson Tshegetso Boekhouer said the accident happened around 3am when the couple was driving home from an after tears.

“Earlier they attended two funerals. They then stayed behind and enjoyed with their friends,” he said.

One of the funerals they attended was that of former Naledi municipal speaker Neo Mathibe. 

A close family member who spoke to SowetanLIVE on condition of anonymity said Schalk’s wife suffered a broken arm and other minor injuries.

“It was very early in the morning and they had just left Vryburg going towards Kuruman,” she said.

Boekhouer said the wife was in a stable condition in hospital.

Municipal manager Modisenyane Segapo said  Vryburg had lost Schalk at a crucial time when the ANC was relying on him to be the first person to win ward 7, which was dominated by white people.

“He was going to be the first ANC councillor to win that ward,” he said.

Segapo said Schalk rose to political prominence on July 29 1983 while he was a student at Bopaganang High School in the town.

He said Schalk made his name when he was involved in a student boycott where he advocated against Bantu education and high school fees.

“He was arrested and found guilty and got punished,” he said, adding that at that time the politics in Vryburg changed.

“Many students skipped the country to join Umkhonto weSizwe but Schalk remained.”

He became an ANC councillor in 1995, a position he kept until his death.

Schalk became a chief whip in 2000 until 2006 at the Naledi local municipality.

In 2006 he joined the Dr Ruth Segomotsi Mompati district municipality as a member of the mayoral committee responsible for technical services and infrastructure. 

In 2011 he became a speaker at Naledi municipality until he was elected mayor in 2016.

“He was just few weeks away from finishing his term,” Segapo said.

Provincial ANC spokesperson Kenny Morolong said the party had lost an outstanding leader and disciplined cadre.

“His commitment to the unity, rebuilding, renewal of the ANC was sincere and unquestionable,” he said.

Mandela family ditches ANC – Joins EFF

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The late Winnie Mandikizela-Mandea and EFF CIC kissing

The daughter of the late struggle icon Winnie Madikizela-mandela and her family snubbed an invitation from the Free State government to attend the renaming ceremony of Brandfort after her mother, forcing the event to be cancelled at the 11th hour.

Zenani Mandela-dlamini, born from the marriage between Madikizela-mandela and South Africa’s first democratic president Nelson Mandela, chose to attend the EFF manifesto launch in Johannesburg after turning down the ANC.

Zenani Mandela-dlamini

Madikizela-mandela spent many years in Brandfort after she was banished by the apartheid government in 1977.

The much-vaunted event was billed to take place last Sunday, the same day EFF leader Julius Malema and the red berets launched their manifesto at Ghandi Square in central Johannesburg, where they unveiled that their new headquarters would be named after the celebrated anti-apartheid stalwart.

In a statement issued by the Free State department of sports, arts, culture and recreation dated September 22, the unveiling was slated for September 26 at the local sport precinct next to Winnie Mandela Museum in Brandfort.

“The date is also most appropriate for the honour of this nature to be posthumously bestowed upon Mama Winnie Mandikizela-mandela as this is her birth date. The event is expected to be graced by the honourable premier of the Free State Mme Sisi Ntombela, the Mandela family, close associates of Mama Winnie Madikizela-mandela who associated with her during her stay in Brandfort, and other dignitaries,” read the statement.

An invitation was produced for the event bearing the faces of Ntombela and MEC Limakatso Mahasa.

It also contained details of the ceremony.

But the event had to be called off as none of the Mandelas pitched for the event. Instead, Zenani delivered a fiery speech at the EFF rally, in which she took a dig at the ANC.

Mahasa confirmed that they had invited the Mandela family and that their absence forced the ceremony to be cancelled.

“I’ve been in several talks with Mama Zenani’s son that we would like to do a hybrid event. He was okay at first and they agreed to honour the invitation, and they agreed with the proposed date we placed on the table,” said Mahasa.

She said that the family had told them that they had been planning “something aside” and would send some representatives. “We are still waiting for them to tell us which date will work best for the event to get under way.

“Everyone follows what they think is best for them but in my capacity, I understand that she attended the EFF’S manifesto as it’s closer to her home, as she didn’t want to leave her home,” she said, expressing her and Ntombela’s disappointment that the event did not go ahead.

But sources close to the family said Mandela-dlamini did not approve how the Free State government went about organising the event.

A source said the snubbing of the event was also informed by the anger the family has regarding how the ANC has treated them, their late mother and her legacy.

“Zenani is angry with the ANC,” the close associate said.

An official in the Free State government said they were shocked to see Mandela-dlamini speaking at the EFF manifesto.

“We were expecting her in Brandfort,” he said.

A member of the ANC Women’s League in Lejweleputswa, the region where Brandfort is, said they waited for Zenani to no avail.

The refurbishment of House 802 in Brandfort – where Madikizela-mandela was banished in May 1977 – has been marred by delays.

The department of Arts and Culture took a decision to turn the house into a museum in 2011, seven years before Madikizela-mandela died, aged 81 in April 2018. The house is yet to open its doors.

At the EFF event, Mandela-dlamini, who is Ambassador to the Republic of Korea, thanked the organization for honouring her mother and keeping her memory alive by not only naming a building after her but also using the occasion of their manifesto to pay tribute to the late ANC stalwart.

The country’s third largest party named its six-storey building in central Johannesburg Winnie Madikizela Mandela House and its opening coincided with her 85th birthday.

“I flew all the way from the Republic of Korea to be with you on my mother’s birthday.

“My family wants me to tell you how much we appreciate the EFF in that it has never and will never forget my mother,” she said.

“You, the EFF, have been one of the few to continue remembering, honouring and embracing the memory of my mother, the mother of the nation, which I and my family acknowledge,” she said.

Politics has taken precedent over Covid-19 protection

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Election season is in full swing and political parties need to hold campaign events that attract large crowds, says the writer. File photo. Image: Alaister Russell/The Sunday Times

We are all in agreement that South Africans are tired of the lockdown. We want our freedoms back. We want to explore the great outdoors, have braais with friends and family, go to public parks and beaches, watch our favourite sports teams at the stadium, return to places of worship, pack restaurants, taverns and bars, and travel without being restricted.

We have been under some form of lockdown for 19 months. On Thursday, President Cyril Ramaphosa placed the country on alert level 1. It moves the curfew to between midnight and 4am; permits an increase in the size of gatherings indoors to 750 and outdoors to 2,000. It allows the sale of alcohol – on and off-site – seven days a week.

We welcome the easing of restrictions; the economy needs a boost if it is to grow enough to regain some of the thousands of jobs we have lost. As we head into summer, establishments that rely on tourism or large crowds can use this leg-up. We have been stuck in our homes way too long; we need fresh air.

However, the opening up of the country also carries risks. Allowing larger gatherings could be a catalyst for superspreader events, speeding up the fourth wave.

The president has cited falling infection rates as the reason for downscaling to level 1.

“At the peak of the third wave, we were recording around 20,000 new cases each day. In the last seven days, the average number of new cases was at around 1,800 a day. There are also sustained decreases in Covid-19 hospitalisations and deaths in all provinces,” he said in a public address to the nation.

However, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see the hidden motive behind this decision. Election season is in full swing and political parties need to hold campaign events that attract large crowds.

South African Medical Association chair Dr Angelique Coetzee said while she agreed with the decision to ease the lockdown, allowing larger gatherings was not a well-thought-out move. “What doesn’t make sense to us is to have outdoor gatherings of 2,000 and indoor of 750. It doesn’t make scientific sense, it makes political sense. I think we are about to see in four weeks after elections what the impact of this will be.”

Ramaphosa acknowledges that political activities could cause a surge in new infections. He has urged party leaders to ensure health protocols are followed during campaigning. But political considerations are trumping health concerns.

For a country in which vaccine hesitancy is rising by the day, it is dangerous to open gatherings to these levels. SA has so far administered 17-million vaccines. Only 8.6-million people are fully vaccinated. The government has set itself the ambitious target of vaccinating 70% of the adult population by December’s end. For this to become a reality, 250,000 vaccines must be administered every single workday until mid-December. We have secured enough vaccines to cover the entire population; the challenge is how we get them jabbed into arms. On Friday the president launched Vooma vaccination weekends, intended to achieve 500,000 vaccinations over weekends.

It is still too early to judge what impact this intervention will have. Such a campaign should have kicked off long ago to counter the destructive influence of anti-vax propagandists. But as we all know, money that should have gone to this campaign went to fund beauty salons in Pietermaritzburg, Gucci bags, trips to Turkey and kitchen remodelling exercises for the family and close friends of former health minister Zweli Mkhize. The report of the Special Investigating Unit into how a R150m communications tender in the health department was squandered corruptly makes for harrowing reading.

As Mkhize and his corrupt associates prepare to face accountability, the government must ensure it ramps up public messaging on the importance of vaccinating and why it is in our interests as a nation if we are to regain our freedoms once more.

-Sunday Times

Municipal election results, a measure of ANC’s performance

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In an ideal world, municipal elections are about local issues affecting specific communities, with little consideration of national politics.

But we all know that the upcoming local government elections will be as much a referendum on President Cyril Ramaphosa’s government and its performance as they will be about municipalities’ delivery of water, electricity and other basic services to residents.

This, of course, is not new. It was the case in 2011 when we saw the ANC starting to shed votes in certain areas as a result of the scandals associated with then president Jacob Zuma.

We witnessed the same in 2016 when the ruling party was muscled out of a couple of metros on the back of growing negative public sentiment towards Zuma and other party members associated with the Gupta-led state capture project.

So opposition parties such as the DA and the EFF, as well as newcomers such as Herman Mashaba’s ActionSA, will be looking at the outcomes of the upcoming polls for any signs that will help them bring the ANC’s support in the 2024 general election to below 50%.

But it is not only the strength of the opposition and the extent of the ANC’s decline that will be under scrutiny at these polls.’Tis the season of hot air and hollow election promisesIt remains to be seen how parties and independent candidates will conduct their campaigns in the middle of the pandemic, writes Ray McCauley.OPINION & ANALYSIS18 hours ago

As our democracy matures and elections become more competitive, much attention is being paid to the performance of the Independent Electoral Commission. And rightly so.

Since its establishment in the mid-1990s, the IEC has been one of the great success stories of the South African democratic project. It has always delivered credible, free and fair elections whose results are generally accepted by all.

As a result, many of the countries that embarked on the road to democracy after us looked up to the IEC for guidance in electoral best practices.

It can be argued, for instance, that the Democratic Republic of Congo – a country once ravaged by civil war – would not have been able to hold its first-ever multiparty democratic elections without the logistical help and expertise of the South African IEC.

The same can be said of the likes of South Sudan.

Here at home, the IEC remains one of the most trusted brands in the political arena.

But as the gap between the ruling party and the opposition narrows, there is likely to be a lot of pressure from both sides to have the body act in ways that favour their respective interests.

It is in this period that its independence and credibility are going to be tested.

For the sake of us all, it dare not fail.

We have also seen the IEC’s role come under increased scrutiny this year as the DA and other parties questioned decisions that they deemed to unfairly favour the ANC

Subsequent to the outcomes of the 2016 polls we saw how sections of the ANC tried to lean on the electoral body to rule in their favour in disputes that would have determined who gets to win the mayoral seat.

We have also seen the IEC’s role come under increased scrutiny this year as the DA and other parties questioned decisions that they deemed to unfairly favour the ANC.

But, even though disputes between an electoral body and political parties are to be expected, especially when the stakes are as high as they are now, such a body should always keep to high professional standards.

Its duty is to see to it that the playing field is level, that all parties adhere to regulations and that those who break the rules are properly sanctioned.

Political parties, on the other hand, have a responsibility too, not to undermine the credibility of the IEC through unfounded allegations of partiality.

It may be tempting for some of the political parties, given the intensity of the campaigns, to see the IEC and its individual commissioners as fair game in the campaign to win more votes.

But that would be to the detriment of our democracy in the long run as it would erode the public’s confidence in the body, ultimately causing citizens not to trust the outcomes of future elections.

If the democratic project is to survive and succeed, the credibility of the IEC has to be jealously guarded not just by its commissioners and staff, but also by all the political parties taking part in the upcoming elections.

Any criticism of the body should be fair and based on facts and not mere suspicions.

Cops still in the dark over Joburg mayor Jolidee Matongo’s fatal crash

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Car belonging to Joburg Mayor, Jolidee Matongo

Lack of cameras hampers probe into deaths of Joburg mayor and two others

The last moments of the lives of Johannesburg mayor Jolidee Matongo, electrician Sagel Singh and an unidentified pedestrian remain a mystery as investigators face a monumental task to establish the cause of the crash in which they died two weeks ago.

Frustrating police in their investigation is an apparent lack of surveillance cameras along the stretch of the Golden Highway in Soweto where the accident happened.

Johannesburg Mayor Jolidee Matongo died in a road accident.Gallo Images Gallo Images/Sharon Seretlo

Singh and Matongo were returning in separate vehicles to their homes in Lenasia South when the collision occurred. A pedestrian was also killed.

There were killed in the crash in which Johannesburg mayor Jolidee Matongo died

Singh, 23, was heading home after dropping off staff at a petrol station in Eikenhof, southwest of Johannesburg, while Matongo, 46, was returning from an electioneering event in Soweto with President Cyril Ramaphosa.

Though cameras are mounted on some parts of the highway, the area where the crash occurred apparently does not have any. A City of Johannesburg security official, who asked not to be named, said this was making the investigation difficult.

“The bodyguards who were with the mayor, who are the only survivors, are still in hospital. Cameras would have made a big difference in understanding what happened,” said the official.

“Investigators from the South African Police Service and Johannesburg Metro Police are trying to find any civilian-owned or private security company CCTV cameras which could help piece the crash together. They are looking for cameras not only in the area where the crash happened, but also other areas and suburbs around the highway.”

Johannesburg Metro Police spokesperson Wayne Minnaar referred questions to the SAPS. Gauteng police spokesperson Brig Brenda Muridili declined to discuss the investigation, “which is ongoing”.

She said the pedestrian had not yet been identified. “His fingerprints have been obtained and sent to the forensic science laboratory for identification.”

Singh’s father, Satish Singh, said the family had contacted the police for information, but without much luck. “I doubt whether we will be given access to the investigation report and its findings.”

Singh said the family wanted to see the report into the crash, “not to apportion blame, because that will not bring our son back, but just to know the truth”.

He said through till slips and banking records he had ascertained where Singh was shortly before the crash.

Sagel Singh the Johannesburg motorist who died in car crash which also claimed the life of a pedestrian and the city’s mayor Jolider Matongo. Picture: Satish Singh

“We know Sagel stopped at an Eikenhof petrol station to drop off his workers, who were helping his brother on a maintenance project.

“At 6.54pm he was at the petrol station buying a packet of cigarettes and a bottle of Mountain Dew cooldrink. He then heads home. That is the last information we have on his movements until the accident at around 7.30pm.”

Forensic engineer Konrad Lotter said investigating road accidents could be complex. “Finding the cause can be like looking for a needle in a haystack. CCTV footage can be crucial. Video analysis, which involves breaking down the footage frame by frame, can help determine aspects such as speed.”

-Sunday Times

IFP accuses ANC in KZN of belittling the monarchy

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Prince Misuzulu arrives with other princes of the Queen regent Mantfombi MaDlamini Zulu at KwaKhangelamankengane Royal Palace in KwaNongoma. Photo: SANDILE NDLOVU

The IFP has accused the ANC of undermining the Zulu monarchy.

IFP spokesperson Mkhuleko Hlengwa said in a statement on Sunday that, as the official opposition in KwaZulu-Natal, the party was concerned over the behaviour of the ANC  government towards the Zulu monarchy.

“We noted that they have tabled proposals in the rules’ committee of the KwaZulu-Natal legislature to scrap the guard of honour which salutes the king, and to scrap the day set aside for the king to address the opening of the KwaZulu-Natal legislature.

“We further raised concerns over the withdrawal of the king’s security, the disbanding of the royal household department, and the reduction of resources made available to the Zulu monarch,” Hlengwa said.

Hlengwa said the ANC government in the province did not respond to any of the substantive issues raised by the IFP.

“They neither denied nor explained their behaviour towards the Zulu monarch. This leaves the issues firmly on the table, with our original question still unanswered: Why is the ANC hell-bent on alienating the Zulu King?” Hlengwa said.

Hlengwa said this was not about the present king, but about the institution of the monarchy.

“It is about the office of the king, for it is that office that the ANC government in KwaZulu-Natal is trying to erode.”

Hlengwa said 27 years into democracy, the role, powers and functions of traditional leaders have never been enshrined in a single piece of legislation.

“The IFP has championed this issue for years. We have not suddenly decided to speak up for the monarchy because we think it will gain political mileage. This is not about politics.”ADVERTISING

He said this was about being accountable for governance decisions that will affect the dignity of millions of people.

TimesLIVE

Ramaphosa ignores Covid-19 4th wave to give way to elections

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September 18 2021. President Cyril Ramaphosa on a door to door campaign in Soweto, he is campaigning for the the ANC as South Africa is heading to the local government election in October . Picture: Thapelo Morebudi / The Sunday Times.

‘It’s about the elections’: Scientists decry Ramaphosa’s Covid-19 gamble

Experts say politics behind decision to allow huge crowds in midst of a pandemic

An early fourth wave of Covid-19 infections, thousands of avoidable deaths and the possibility of spending the festive season under hard lockdown.

These are the grim prospects, experts say, if President Cyril Ramaphosa’s surprise move on Thursday to ease restrictions on the size of gatherings this week backfires, as some fear it will.

With SA emerging from a devastating third wave and still far from achieving vaccination targets, the South African Medical Association (Sama) and academics said Ramaphosa appears to be ignoring scientific advice and putting politics before people’s health.

He is banking on a scaled-up vaccination campaign, which includes administering an additional 16-million doses of vaccine by mid-December, which he said may save 20,000 lives.

But experts doubt the target can be reached and warn that the move to level 1 and the crowds expected at election events will create superspreader events.

The Sunday Times understands that pressure from churches was also a factor in the decision to allow a maximum of 2,000 people at outdoor gatherings and 750 indoors. Charismatic churches with auditoriums for 6,000 people are believed to have asked for permission to fill every other seat.

But Pastor Siphiwe Mathebula from Hope Restoration Ministries in Kempton Park, east of Johannesburg, said religious leaders were not consulted. “They just wanted to do this for themselves,” he said. “This is not about the church, it is about the elections and them wanting to campaign.”

Amid criticism of the size of crowds at campaign events for the November 1 local elections, the president cited falling infection rates for the decision to allow the gatherings.

Sama chair Dr Angelique Coetzee said she agreed with the decision to ease the lockdown to alert level 1. However, “what doesn’t make sense to us is to have outdoor gatherings of 2,000 and indoor of 750. It doesn’t make scientific sense, it makes political sense. I think we are about to see in four weeks after elections what was the impact of this.”

Professor Mosa Moshabela, deputy vice-chancellor of research and innovation at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, agreed that the decision to raise limits on the size of gatherings appeared to be political.Vax and wane: since peaking on August 26, the daily number of jabs has declined to around 170,000 on weekdays.
Image: Ruby-Gay Martin

“I know he [Ramaphosa] said a move to level 1 is guided by science, and he is right, but what he did not address is the size of the gatherings guided by science. In my opinion, there is no scientific basis for the relaxation of the number of people allowed at gatherings.”

William Gumede, associate professor in the Wits University school of governance, said it appears politics is trumping economic and health concerns, and he accused Ramaphosa of ignoring the lessons of the Indian elections in April.

“They did not follow protocols, it was a free-for-all and it became a superspreading event,” he said. “If we get another wave, we may after the elections sit with a big health and economic crisis because the government will have to introduce another hard lockdown.”

Ramaphosa admitted during his “family meeting” televised address that bigger gatherings come with risks, particularly in the context of electioneering.

“Campaign activities pose the greatest risk to a surge in new infections,” he said. “Every one of us – from party leaders and organisers to supporters and elections staff – has a responsibility to ensure that the regulations are followed and all health protocols are observed during the election campaign.

“I know it is difficult to be able to control the number of people who throng around leaders, but we urge all of us to get our followers to adhere to the protocols.”

Speaking in Katlehong, southeast of Johannesburg, on Friday, he rejected accusations of adjusting the regulations to suit elections. “This is not about elections. When I electioneer, I wear my ANC T-shirt, my ANC lumber [jacket], and my language is completely different. We know how to make those divisions,” he said.

The easing of restrictions coincides with the launch of the first “Vooma vaccination weekend” to revive the flagging jab rollout.

An average of 175,000 daily injections were administered between Monday and Friday. This is about 70% of the target Ramaphosa outlined when he said on Thursday: “To reach our goal, we need to administer an additional 16-million vaccine doses this year, which amounts to around 250,000 first-dose vaccinations every single workday of every week until mid-December.”

Since phase 2 of the rollout began on May 18, following the vaccination of nearly 500,000 health workers in phase 1, the 250,000 daily target has been met only 14 times.‘ANC election campaign’ or false hope before a December lockdown? SA reacts to lockdown level 1Here’s what social media had to say about the change in lockdown level.NEWS2 days ago

Achieving the target would mean 70% of adults being vaccinated by the end of the year. “If we reach this target, the department of health estimates we could save up to 20,000 lives . 20,000 people – mothers, fathers, sons and daughters – whose deaths can be prevented if the majority of us chooses to get vaccinated,” said Ramaphosa.

But Wits dean of health sciences Shabir Madhi said the rollout is heading into what his fellow vaccinologists refer to as a “valley of death that people fail to appreciate until it is upon them”. He blamed poor planning before the rollout began and said SA is facing “probably a mix of apathy, vaccine hesitancy, anti-vaxxers and [issues with] access”.

Sama’s Coetzee said the vaccination rate is too low and “we are nowhere near herd immunity”. This makes it even harder to understand the go-ahead for larger gatherings, she said. “I need to see the science that says 2,000 people in a rally would be safe.”

Moshabela said on top of low vaccination coverage, “people are also fatigued and complacent, and a combination of all those things creates a problem for us”.

Gumede said he had observed a lack of discipline in terms of social distancing and mask protocols during door-to-door campaigning and at election rallies. “We are at a critical moment where this election may be a superspreader event,” he said.

This is not about elections. When I electioneer, I wear my ANC T-shirt, my ANC lumber [jacket], and my language is completely different. We know how to make those divisions

President Cyril Ramaphosa

Low vaccination uptake and bigger gatherings with poor observation of Covid protocols will also deal SA another economic blow, said Tim Köhler from the Development Policy Research Unit at the University of Cape Town.

“It is clear that low vaccination coverage is a binding constraint to economic recovery. The fewer people vaccinated, the more vulnerable the population is to the disease and the more likely regulations would need to be put in place to restrict social interaction to minimise transmission,” said Köhler.

This, in turn, “limits the extent firms can operate, constraining their ability to retain existing jobs and create new ones”.

Economist Mike Schussler said the economy will rebound if the vaccination rate improves. He noted that the mining and agricultural sectors, which together account for 5.8% of GDP, are making a strong recovery.

The mining sector’s vaccination programme is well ahead of the national average, with 208,000 – or 46% – of its 450,000 employees and contractors already jabbed, said Minerals Council SA head of health Dr Thuthula Balfour.

Balfour said knowing the socioeconomic and demographic features of the population is vital to identify barriers to vaccination. “Before we think there is vaccine hesitancy, we must have eliminated all barriers and educated people adequately and allayed their fears,” she said.

Supported by unions, the mining sector hopes to reach its target of 80% coverage by the end of the month, Balfour said.

-Sunday Times

Alcohol industry welcomes lifting of ‘irrational’ restrictions

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The SA Liquor Brand owners Association (Salba) has welcomed President Cyril Ramaphosa’s announcement on Thursday night to lift alcohol trade restrictions, saying the government has finally shown an understanding of the industry’s plight.

With the move to level 1, liquor traders are permitted to sell alcohol under their normal licensing requirements before 11pm.

Alcohol may not be sold during curfew hours and consumption is not allowed in public spaces.

Salba chairperson Sibani Mngadi said: “The government has finally shown its understanding for the sector’s dire plight by lifting the irrational restrictions on the sale of alcohol from retail outlets for off-site consumption on weekends.”

The association said previous restrictions had “only encouraged the illicit alcohol industry and further damaged the legitimate enterprises struggling under the weight of these irrational measures.

“It had also damaged the supply chain. The recent unemployment figures released by Stats SA could not be ignored.”

Salba CEO Kurt Moore said: “As a country we are facing record unemployment levels, with total employment in SA decreasing from 9,652,000 in March to 9,566,000 in June.

“We need to curb further economic losses and start to return the economy to some level of normality.

“The alcohol bans have caused extensive job losses and income cuts within the alcohol value chain. Moreover, existing evidence indicated the poor and those at the lower end of the earnings distribution had been disproportionately affected by the economic backlash of the pandemic, mainly among labourers, warehouse and retail staff.”ADVERTISING

The alcohol industry reiterated its support for public education and awareness efforts to encourage vaccination and encourage behaviours that prevent infections, such as social distancing, wearing masks and regular use of sanitisers.

Moore said Salba members are actively encouraging their employees to take the Covid-19 vaccine.

–TimesLIVE

Auditor-General calls for punitive measures against wrongdoers

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South Africa's new auditor general, Tsakani Maluleke talks to The Sunday Times, 10 December 2020, at their offices in Waverley, Johannesburg. Picture: Alaister Russell/The Sunday Times

If SA is serious about good governance, there must be consequences and accountability for wrongdoing, auditor-general Tsakani Maluleke says.

This is the case for the country’s public institutions and accounting firms, which have to be consistent about entrenching good leadership, building capable institutions, and putting in place a culture of consequence management and accountability.

“That’s how you’re going to set about creating a culture where wrongdoing is not the norm, but rather the exception. I would like to believe that we are a society that is capable of fixing things, that is capable of renewal and capable of greatness.

“I also believe that we’re capable of recognising our duty as public officers to act responsibly and ethically in everything that we do. That we can put behind us the era of self-enrichment and corruption, that we can begin again as one to serve the greater good,” she said during an open lecture on Thursday, hosted by University of Cape Town vice-chancellor Prof Mamokgethi Phakeng.

During the lecture – titled “The role of accountancy professionals in strengthening democracy”, and which discussed, among other things, the growing levels of poverty, unemployment and inequality that pose significant risks to the stability of SA’s young democracy – Maluleke argued that building and sustaining public trust, accountability and transparency were only achieved when those entrusted with running institutions acted with integrity and were supported by a strong and stable accountability ecosystem.

Professionals, accountants and auditors serve in the public interest within this accountability ecosystem.

As a national auditing firm that is tasked with supporting the country’s democracy through auditing public funds, Maluleke said her office has as from 2019 been empowered, through the amendment of the Public Audit Act, not only to raise material irregularities, but to drive the journey of implementing appropriate consequences.

“We see (this) as an instrument to influence and enforce change, a change that society yearns for and a change that should influence better governance and better outcomes.

“It’s not a system that’s designed to be punitive. It’s a system designed in the first instance to encourage accountability and good governance. These can only be achieved if the correct preventive controls or checks and balances are put in place to prevent losses, wastage or any wrongdoing with public funds.”

“These new powers do not empower the auditor-general, as people often say, to take people to jail, but rather they empower the AG to enforce corrective actions where preventive controls have failed, and where those that have been appointed as the stewards of public funds fail to effect consequences.”

She said the punitive part only comes afterwards, and does not replace the duty and the responsibility of accounting officers to act proactively, to prevent problems or deal with them as soon as they arise.

“So these new powers of the AG should not be feared. Rather, they should be embraced in the interest of supporting good governance,” she said.

She noted the failures by KPMG and black-owned auditing firm Nkonki, and the country’s biggest corporate fraud, the Steinhoff scandal, in which close to R123bn in investments were squandered in what was described as an “accounting error”. Maluleke said these accounting failures, including state capture, were just a few examples of “our national shame, and we will continue to live in their shadow for generations to come”.

She said never has it been more urgent to reaffirm a commitment to ethical conduct, to integrity, to quality and to service. She said her office also grappled with the matter of how to maintain its own independence, relevance and its professionalism on an ongoing basis.

“To this end, we keep finding ways to close the gap. Be it real or perceived between our audit messages and the lived experiences of citizens. As an organisation, we strive to lead by example. We strive to ensure that year on year we obtain clean audits from independent external auditors that scrutinise our books.”

“We also ensure that we adhere to the very same rules that we expect auditees to adhere to. Now, this doesn’t mean that as an institution, we don’t have our own challenges, but at all times endeavour to do the right thing, to live up to the spirit and the letter of our code and our mantra … that of trust, integrity, service and accountability,” she said.

-TimesLIVE

Thailand opens up to SA visitors

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Thailand

Thailand has lifted its Covid-19 travel ban on all countries, including SA, as of Friday.

Chiravadee Khunsub, director of the Tourism Authority of Thailand, said they were happy to welcome South Africans to their shores.

“Thailand has always loved to host guests from around the world and with the lifting of travel restrictions, we can do so once again. We look forward to offering visitors the best experiences, including jet-skiing off the coast, luxurious spa days and the perfect dining spots, while still following the necessary Covid-19 safety protocols,” said Khunsub.

On Thursday, SA was moved to alert level 1 for the first time since the end of May.

Fully vaccinated foreign tourists visiting Phuket, Surat Thani, Phang-Nga and Krabi now only need to stay in one place for seven days before being able to move on to other parts of Thailand.

Meanwhile, the recent decision by the UK to keep SA on the red list was met with anger, particularly from the government and scientists, and in the context of falling Covid-19 cases in SA.

Anyone who travels through or from a country on the red list is required to quarantine for about two weeks upon arrival in the UK, irrespective of whether they have been vaccinated.

In his address to the nation on Thursday, President Cyril Ramaphosa said he was optimistic that the situation would soon change, largely because the Beta coronavirus variant, which the UK based its travel restrictions on, was actually not the dominant virus in SA. The Delta variant is dominant in both countries.

-TimesLIVE

Video: Kanyi Mbau joins Kudzai Mushonga again in their Dubai love nest

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Khanyi Mbau and Simba Mushonga

South African self-confessed gold digger Khanyisile Mbau knows how to make headlines and in most cases for the wrong reasons.

Now she is back in the news.

This time for reuniting with her Zimbabwean lover and business man Kudzai Mushonga, who she dumped in Dubai only a few weeks ago.

The SA media personality is back in Dubai in the arms of Mushonga. The couple looked lovey-dovey in a video where they are seen kissing under a very loud music environment. Mbau is seen smiling and giggling holding flowers and a bag of gifts and presents in what appears to be in a luxurious apartment.

Mushonga threw a grand welcome for the socialite.

The lovebirds were all over the media after Khanyi abruptly left Dubai during their vacation and landed in South Africa without Mushonga’s knowledge.

Mbau performed a disappearing act from the saloon before emerging in Johannesburg at her father’s grave together with her brother Lwasise. She then recorded a song, Chiya idoda eDubai, poking fun at Mushonga.

Missing drunk man accidentally joins search party meant to find him

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A drunk Turkey man reportedly joined in the search for a missing man before he realised it was him that they were looking for.

Turkish channel NTV reported Beyhan Mutlu, 50, was declared missing by his wife after going out for drinks with friends before wandering off into woods in Cayyaka, Turkey.

According to the Daily Sabah website, he had wandered away from his friends in a forest while drunk, sparking concern.

Mutlu stumbled upon a group of volunteers in the area who were helping the authorities search for him.

He only realised that they were looking for him when they started shouting his name.

Mutlu was initially confused and asked whom they were trying to locate before telling them “I am here.”

Following the incident, Mr Mutlu was taken aside to give a statement where he pleaded with officers to not punish him harshly.

Officials reported that he was then given a lift home but it is unclear whether he faced any penalty.

In 2012, a woman visiting Iceland took part in a major mountain search operation for a lost tourist before discovering it was for her.

The bizarre mix up occurred in Iceland’s southern volcanic region, a remote but popular walking area for visiting tourists.

The woman in question was reported to have failed to return to her tour bus – but had in fact just changed her clothes.

Police and search teams searched the barren treeless hillsides looking for an Asian woman but the expedition was called off at 3 am after the woman, who had joined the search, realised the error.

She immediately told the bus driver, who informed the police.

–Daily Sabah

Digital Vibes scandal clips off Zweli Mkhize’s presidential ambitions

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Zweli Mkhize. Picture: Gallo Images/Darren Stewart

He was among a handful of candidates contesting for the presidency at the ANC’s previous elective conference who had a shot at the top spot

There are two major political upshots from the Digital Vibes saga. The first is that the scandal has effectively put an end to any prospect of former health minister Zweli Mkhize reaching the presidency, and the second is that while President Cyril Ramaphosa’s careful political manoeuvring around the issue has been heavily criticised, it very likely spared him from creating a dangerous foe. 

Just a month and a half into his tenure as health minister, Mkhize sent a WhatsApp message to his then director-general, Malebona Matsoso, asking her to sort out “contractual arrangements” for the firm Digital Vibes. The Special Investigating Unit (SIU) report into the communications tender received by the company says this supports allegations by a whistle-blower that Mkhize had a “vested interest” in ensuring that the contract was awarded to Digital Vibes, which was linked to his close associate, Tahera Mather.

The report was released by Ramaphosa on Wednesday, after he had received it from the SIU three months ago. He was under pressure to make it public and was eventually forced to do so.

Does the Digital Vibes scandal mark the end of Mkhize’s political ambitions? It very likely does, particularly if there is follow-through by the law enforcement agencies that are now taking forward the investigation started by the outstanding SIU into the R150m communication contract to the company, which was not only linked to Mkhize’s close associates but which his family — his son in particular — apparently benefited from.

Mkhize, who was among seven candidates contesting for the presidency at the ANC’s previous elective conference, at Nasrec in 2017, was among a handful of leaders in the party with a shot at the top spot after Ramaphosa’s two terms.

While he may not have contested for the top post in the next conference in 2022, he was in with a shot for the post of deputy president — but he is not any more.

“It’s gone. This thing is going to destroy him,” says University of Johannesburg politics professor Mcebisi Ndletyana. “Of all the people who [might have mounted] a presidential challenge, he, through his move for the post of deputy presidency, would have stood a chance; but it’s gone now.”

Mkhize, who was a former ANC KwaZulu-Natal chair and national treasurer, is no lightweight politically.

The province is the largest ANC structure, commands significant influence in its national executive committee and sends the largest delegation to an elective gathering. It is also big on national politics, wanting to exert its influence.

Its stature in the party may wane in the future (it faces serious electoral challenges after the departure of former president Jacob Zuma) but for now, it is likely to continue to hold substantial sway in the party’s direction.

Mkhize, as a leader from the province, could have used this to his advantage, says Ndletyana. Business liked Mkhize; he was affable and charismatic, and he handled the initial stages of the Covid crisis well.

Ndletyana says Mkhize also had a ruthless streak, which made him decisive and potentially a strong leader after the perceived indecisiveness of the Ramaphosa era. But the dodgy communications contract has changed all that.

The SIU report paints a grim picture of the hoops through which officials apparently jumped to secure the contract for Digital Vibes at huge expense to the state and at a time when SA was in the grip of a global pandemic, coupled with intense economic hardship and mental anguish as the death toll rose.

For Mkhize’s part, the report shows that there is evidence that his son directly benefited financially from the contract. It shows that Digital Vibes first received a contract with government from an agency that fell under the co-operative governance and traditional affairs (Cogta) department, when Mkhize was minister of that portfolio.

It also contains the damning WhatsApp message linking him to officials pushing the contract through. And the report shows that the SIU felt his explanation for allegations that renovations to one of his family properties valued at just over R6,000 were paid for by money scored from the contract was implausible.

All of these factors do not bode well for the former minister, who resigned in August. There is also an affidavit from the former spokesperson of Cogta, Musa Zondi, saying he found it curious that one of the beneficiaries of the Digital Vibes tender, Mather, acted as Mkhize’s personal spokesperson when he, Zondi, was formally appointed as his spokesperson during Mkhize’s time at Cogta.

The Digital Vibes contract with the Cogta agency cost over R3.9m. “Why didn’t he tell the SIU about the Cogta contract? I don’t see him coming back from this,” says Ndletyana.

Experience that cost SA dearly shows that the ANC has in the past elected to its upper echelons those accused and even convicted of corruption – think Zuma and Tony Yengeni. But the party was punished repeatedly at the polls for this. It is maybe two elections away from losing power should it fail to change its ways.

Just this week Ramaphosa asked voters for “another chance” as he launched the party’s manifesto ahead of potentially the toughest election it has ever fought, to take place on November 1.

This brings us to the second political takeaway from the Digital Vibes saga — its impact on Ramaphosa. Due to his handling of it, it is unlikely to be dramatic. It will be difficult for Mkhize to say that Ramaphosa is using state agencies against him (the tired old Zuma/Ace Magashule narrative), simply because Ramaphosa has allowed processes to take place as he watched from a distance.

Ramaphosa’s soft handling of Mkhize during this time will make it difficult to mobilise support using a “victim” narrative as Zuma did against former president Thabo Mbeki in the run-up to Polokwane or as Magashule sought to do after he was charged with corruption and subsequently suspended from the ANC.

Ramaphosa was, in fact, overly generous towards Mkhize — though the scandal was causing outrage among South Africans, he left him in his post until it became untenable and Mkhize himself opted to resign.

Ramaphosa even praised Mkhize’s work amid the pandemic when announcing his departure. On Wednesday, he again sang Mkhize’s praises at a media briefing at the ANC headquarters — saying the allegations against him did not detract from the fact that he had “served the nation well”.  He said: “I think many people remember how he served the nation … I may well have been the face, but he was the soul.”

He spoke about Mkhize’s work during his tenure as health MEC in KwaZulu-Natal at a time when the government was gripped by Aids denialism, and said Mkhize needed to be recognised for that.

But Mkhize had resigned amid the Digital Vibes allegations and that needed to be recognised too, Ramaphosa said.

Ramaphosa wants Mkhize in the situation which he embroiled himself in. In Mkhize Ramaphosa sees a potential competitor with capacity to turn tides against him at the next ANC congress using KZN as a trump card. Ramaphosa however has a powerful ally from KZN, Senzo Mchunu, who enjoys respect and support from the Zulus. The current Minister of Water and Sanitation Minister, Mchunu ran for the Secretary General position in the previous ANC congress and lost by a razor thin margin to Ace Magashule. The diminutive Mchunu’s attempts to secure a full tenure as Premier of KZN was frustrated by Mkhize and former President Jacob Zuma who lobbied for the incumbent Sipho Zikhalala.

Ramaphosa also explained why he had taken his time to release the report. “I am rooted in doing things in terms of the process, and we need to look at that report, at the suggestions and recommendations … and do things in a processed manner that … will be fair and give people the opportunity to respond,” he said.

Ndletyana says Ramaphosa had to tread carefully to avoid alienating Mkhize’s constituency in KwaZulu-Natal. The ANC in that province had to be carefully managed after Zuma’s arrest — his release on medical parole has to a degree calmed tensions between the province and Ramaphosa.

It is somewhat tragic that Mkhize is likely to exit the political stage with a rather sullen whimper instead of a bang.

–FM

Covid-19: 1,678 new cases and 101 deaths across SA in 24 hours

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African RSA flag waving with Coronavirus outbreak infecting respiratory system dangerous flu. Influenza type Covid 19 virus with national South Africa banner blowing background. Pandemic risk concept

SA recorded 1,678 new Covid-19 cases and 101 fatalities in the past 24 hours, the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) said on Thursday.

This means that there have been 2,902,672 confirmed infections and 87,626 deaths recorded to date.

The new infections came at a 4.1% positivity rate.

Of the new cases, most were in the Western Cape (363), followed by KwaZulu-Natal (333), Gauteng (241) and the Eastern Cape (203). No other province recorded more than 200 infections in the past 24 hours.

According to the NICD, there were 128 new hospital admissions in the past day, meaning that 6,576 people are now in hospital for Covid-19 related treatment.

TimesLIVE

Mpho Moerane likely to be next Joburg mayor, but only until local government vote

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The ANC has agreed to have Mpho Moerane as its mayoral candidate for Johannesburg when the city's council meets on Friday. File picture. Image: Freddy Mavunda

Mpho Moerane will temporarily take over as Johannesburg mayor from Friday, but he still has a long battle ahead to cement his position after the local government election.

Gauteng premier David Makhura, who is also ANC provincial chairperson, announced on Thursday that the party had agreed to have Moerane as its mayoral candidate when the city’s council meets on Friday.

But Makhura confirmed that this was just a month-long tenure, and that the ANC will identify its mayoral candidate after the November 1 vote.

“Of course, that will depend on the type of electoral support that the ANC will get. But our approach is that we will do the appointment of mayors … after the elections,” he said.

Moerane is a former MMC for environment and infrastructure services in the city and ANC Johannesburg regional treasurer. He will replace Jolidee Matongo, who died in a car accident earlier this month shortly after he took over from Geoff Makhubo, who died in July this year.

Makhura had earlier told Thursday’s press conference that the ANC, after consultations, had decided on Moerane to take temporary control of SA’s biggest city because he was among the trio of people interviewed to replace Makhubo.

Makhura said the party would follow a new approach in the selection of mayoral candidates, which subjects candidates to an interview process by ANC top brass.

“For the next term we will have a new process for the mayoral candidates throughout the country. We are dealing with this process now. We are very confident that even in the current ANC lists, in Johannesburg we have got very capable people on those lists. From those people we will have candidates that will be interviewed.

“The national officials, on behalf of the national executive committee, will make a decision on who will be our candidates after the elections and we are confident that those will be the men and women who fit the bill,” said Makhura.

Makhura’s announcement means the door is not closed for those vying for the mayorship after the local government elections.

The list for the ANC in Johannesburg is topped by Loyiso Masuku, wife of former Gauteng health MEC Bandile Masuku. She is followed by Moerane and current MMC for health, Eunice Mgcina.

TimesLIVE

‘If they say I must run, I will run again’: Mabuza ready to stand for ANC deputy president next year

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SEPTEMBER 30, 2021. David Mabuza on the campaign trail. Tshwane. 'African National Congress (ANC) Deputy President David Mabuza says he will re-run for his position in the next ANC elective conference should he be voted by the delegates. Mabuza says however, this will entirely depend on the ANC – he won’t impose himself. The ANC 55th national elective conference is set to take place next year. Mabuza is currently in Mamelodi, Pretoria on campaign trail, as the local government elections are fast approaching. He spoke to the media, as he was conducting door to door campaigns in Tshwane. PHOTOGRAPH: ALON SKUY

Deputy President David Mabuza has opened an ANC succession debate in the middle of crucial municipal election campaigning, saying he could run for the same position next year if “the people” say he must. 

He was speaking on the sidelines of a campaign trail in Mamelodi, Tshwane, on Thursday.

Responding to questions, Mabuza said he would not impose himself on a second term – but that he was open to retaining the position.

“It will be the decision of the people. I never imposed myself on this position. I was elected by the people. They said I must come and serve. It will be the same. If they say I must run, I will run again. If they say, ‘No, we have got another candidate,’ I will accept it because the will of the majority must be respected,” he said.

Mabuza’s campaigning came the day after President Cyril Ramaphosa authorised the public release of the SIU report into the R150m Digital Vibes saga. The 114-page report revealed gross misconduct on the part of former health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize, his family members, senior health officials and some of the minister’s associates.

Mabuza said the law must take its course regarding the scandal.

Many residents and ANC members in the area came out to listen to Mabuza and air their grievances, notably over lack of service delivery, unemployment and high crime.

“I heard all your problems and we will fix them,” the deputy president said.

Mabuza used the campaign to urge residents to vote the ANC back into power after loosing the Tshwane council to the DA in the 2016 local government elections.

The party has been hard at work trying to convince potential voters to trust it and regain control of metros it lost in the elections. The only metros the ANC governs with a majority are eThekwini (Durban), Buffalo City (East London) and Mangaung (Bloemfontein). It runs Johannesburg and Ekurhuleni through coalitions. 

“People of the ANC, you know a mistake happened in 2016 and the DA took over. That is why we are struggling [with service delivery]. Let us vote and take our Tshwane back so we can talk about how we can improve the issues of service delivery,” Mabuza said.

Mabuza did not make a slew of promises, other than that he would ensure that police minister Bheki Cele went to the area to attend to their crime issues. He also admitted that some problems, including unemployment, required collective efforts from different sectors.

Mabuza recently undertook a six-week trip to receive medical attention in Russia, and told journalists that his health was no concern as he had doctors taking good care of him.

–TimesLIVE

Ramaphosa moves South Africa to lockdown level 1

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Cyril Ramaphosa addressing the nation in the shirt that caused a stir. Image: GCIS

President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that South Africa will move to Alert Level 1 of the lockdown when he addressed the nation on Thursday night. 

Read his full speech.

  • President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that government will be launching the ‘Vooma Vaccination’ programme to intensify the vaccination drive
  • The curfew will change from midnight to 04:00
  • The maximum number of people permitted to attend meetings indoors will increase from 250 to 750
  • The maximum number of people permitted to attend meetings outdoors will increase from 500 to 2000
  • The maximum number of people permitted to attend funerals, will increase from 50 to 100
  • The sale of alcohol for on and off-site consumption will be permitted according to the normal license provisions, no alcohol will be sold after 23:00
  • The department of health will soon be rolling out a vaccination certificate, it can be used to facilitate travel and access establishments that require proof of vaccination

My fellow South Africans, This evening, I would like to talk to you about four matters that are vital to our fight against the Covid-19 pandemic and the recovery of our society and economy.

These are, firstly, the intensification of our national vaccination campaign; secondly, the measures we will be taking to further open our economy; thirdly, the introduction of a vaccination certificate; and, fourthly, our engagements with the United Kingdom to restore travel, tourism and trade.

A few days ago, the South African Covid-19 Modelling Consortium confirmed that South Africa has emerged from a third wave of Covid-19 infections. This wave, which was driven by the Delta variant, was far more severe than the previous two waves. This third wave lasted more than 130 days, and was about two weeks longer than each of the earlier waves.

At the peak of the third wave, we were recording around 20 000 new cases each day. In the last seven days, the average number of new cases was at around 1 800 a day. There are also sustained decreases in Covid-19 hospitalisations and deaths in all provinces.

This is news that is welcome to all of us. We have been living under the shadow of the pandemic for 574 days now, and all of us have taken strain. We have experienced much hardship, and the most difficult of these has been the many relatives, colleagues and friends we have lost to this pandemic. We mourn each and every one of them.

Naturally we all want to resume many of the activities that we have been unable to do for much of the past two years. We want to attend traditional rituals, birthday parties, weddings and other social functions freely with our friends and family. We long for a time when we can go to church, to the mosque, to the shul and to the temple without restrictions, and to be able to hug and shake hands without worrying about getting sick. 

WATCH | Ramaphosa: Department of Health will soon be rolling out a vaccination certificate

The Department of Health will soon be rolling out a vaccination certificate, which will provide a secure and verifiable proof of vaccination President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Thursday.

The sports fans among us cannot wait to return to FNB, to Moses Mabhida, to Royal Bafokeng, to Newlands, and to Loftus to cheer on our teams. We want to socialise freely again at restaurants, taverns and theatres, and we want to travel freely whenever and wherever we choose.

These freedoms, which we all long for, are within our reach. But we will only be able to get there if we are all vaccinated and we all continue to observe the basic health protocols.

Since we launched our national vaccination drive, it has been gathering pace. To date we have administered over 17 million vaccine doses. Over 8.6 million people are fully vaccinated, which is more than one-fifth of the adult population. Significantly, 60 per cent of South Africans over the age of 60, and 50 per cent of people between the ages of 50 and 59 have now received at least one vaccine dose.

These numbers give us confidence and hope. We have set ourselves the target of vaccinating 70 per cent of the adult population in South Africa by the end of the year. If we reach this target, the Department of Health estimates that we could save up to 20 000 lives.

That represents 20 000 people – mothers, fathers, sons and daughters – whose death can be prevented if the majority of us chooses to get vaccinated. To reach our goal we need to administer an additional 16 million vaccine doses this year, which amounts to around 250 000 first dose vaccinations every single workday of every week until mid-December.

We know that the older you are, the greater the risk that you will get severely ill with Covid-19 or that you will need to be hospitalised. We also know that the risk of death from Covid-19 is higher among the elderly than younger people.

To save lives and prevent our health facilities and staff from being overwhelmed, we have therefore prioritised those above 50 and those above 60 for vaccination. This does not mean that people younger than 50 are not at risk. In recent months, we have seen an increasing number of younger people being hospitalised and dying from Covid-19.

It is for this reason that from the 20th of August we extended our vaccination programme to all people in South Africa over 18 years of age. 3 While we have made important progress, and secured sufficient vaccine doses for the target population, our vaccination programme is still too slow. We have therefore decided to upscale our vaccination campaign by launching the ‘Vooma Vaccination Weekends’ campaign from tomorrow.https://platform.twitter.com/embed/Tweet.html?dnt=false&embedId=twitter-widget-0&features=eyJ0ZndfZXhwZXJpbWVudHNfY29va2llX2V4cGlyYXRpb24iOnsiYnVja2V0IjoxMjA5NjAwLCJ2ZXJzaW9uIjpudWxsfSwidGZ3X2hvcml6b25fdHdlZXRfZW1iZWRfOTU1NSI6eyJidWNrZXQiOiJodGUiLCJ2ZXJzaW9uIjpudWxsfSwidGZ3X3NwYWNlX2NhcmQiOnsiYnVja2V0Ijoib2ZmIiwidmVyc2lvbiI6bnVsbH19&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1443642885606416387&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.news24.com%2Fnews24%2Fsouthafrica%2Fnews%2Fin-full-ramaphosa-announces-move-to-level-1-with-new-curfew-alcohol-and-gathering-rules-20210930&sessionId=db42a44d58f51bf84518a225776b9c1f42225af5&siteScreenName=news24&theme=light&widgetsVersion=fcb1942%3A1632982954711&width=550px

The Vooma Vaccination Weekends campaign will be a countrywide drive to encourage our people to get vaccinated. We know that getting to a vaccination site during weekdays can be difficult for many people, especially those who work, who have to commute long distances, or have family responsibilities.

Those who might not be able to get the vaccine during the week should take up this opportunity. Tomorrow, 1 October and on Saturday 2nd of October, we will be opening vaccination sites around the country to reach over half a million people.

The Department of Health has identified priority districts in each province based on the number of unvaccinated people and the current vaccination coverage in each district.

This will be the first Vooma Vaccination Weekend in a series of outreach programmes. Leaders from across the political spectrum, civil society, religious leaders, traditional leaders, labour and business will mobilise communities to stay safe by being vaccinated.

The Deputy President and I, as well as Ministers, Deputy Ministers, Premiers, MECs, Mayors and Councillors, will also be out in communities on Friday and Saturday to encourage citizens to get vaccinated.

The vaccination is free to everyone living in South Africa, whether you are a South African citizen or from another country. You can go to a government or a private health facility that offers vaccinations, even if you don’t have medical aid. You can walk into your nearest vaccination site with your ID or other proof of identity and be registered on the spot.

The Vooma Vaccination Weekends are also an opportunity to acknowledge the immense contribution made by our frontline health workers and health service managers – from our community health workers who have gone door-to-door encouraging people to go to vaccination sites to our staff members at the sites and outreach vehicles and in health facilities across the country.

We also want to acknowledge the huge number of volunteers who have helped and the many initiatives by local leaders.

We must applaud the efforts that are being made by business to have their workers vaccinated. We call on all businesses to facilitate the vaccination of their workers and encourage their workers to get vaccinated. 

The involvement of all sectors of society in the national effort will become all the more critical in the run-up to local government elections in November. Campaign activities pose the greatest risk to a surge in new infections. Every one of us – from party leaders and organisers to supporters and elections staff – has a responsibility to ensure that the regulations are followed and all health protocols are observed during the election campaign.

The Independent Electoral Commission is putting in place measures to ensure that every voter can freely exercise their democratic right without being exposed to unnecessary risk.

Fellow South Africans,

When I announced on the 12th of September that the country would be moving to Adjusted Alert Level 2, I said that we would be reviewing the situation after two weeks.

The current trends in the progression of the pandemic mean that a number of the restrictions in place can be eased, as per the recommendations of the Ministerial Advisory Committee on Covid-19.

Following meetings of the National Coronavirus Command Council and the President’s Coordinating Council, Cabinet has decided to move South Africa from Adjusted Alert Level 2 to Adjusted Alert Level 1 from midnight tonight.

The following measures will apply as part of Alert Level 1:

  • The hours of the curfew will change, from  midnight to 04:00.
  • Non-essential establishments like restaurants, bars and fitness centres will need to close by 23:00 to allow their employees and patrons to travel home before the start of the curfew.
  • The maximum number of people permitted to gather indoors will increase from 250 to 750
  • The maximum number of people permitted to gather outdoors will increase from 500 to 2 000. Where the venue is too small to accommodate these numbers with appropriate social distancing, then no more than 50 percent of the capacity of the venue may be used. This includes religious services, political events and social gatherings, as well as restaurants, bars, taverns and similar places.
  • The maximum number of people permitted at a funeral will increase from 50 to 100. As before, night vigils, after-funeral gatherings and ‘after-tears’ gatherings are not allowed.
  • The sale of alcohol – for both off-site and on-site consumption – will be permitted, according to normal licence provisions. However, no alcohol may be sold after 23:00.

– The wearing of masks in public places is still mandatory, and failure to wear a mask when required remains a criminal offence.

As part of the effort to return the most affected parts of the economy to operation we are looking at further relaxation of restrictions, particularly with respect to sporting and cultural events.

As I said earlier, we all long for our freedom back, and if we continue to work together as we have been doing, more areas of activity will open up. The Department of Health will soon be rolling out a vaccination certificate, which will provide a secure and verifiable proof of vaccination.

It can be used to facilitate travel, access to establishments and gatherings and other forms of activity that require proof of vaccination status. Our approach is informed by World Health Organisation guidelines and is in line with international best practice.https://platform.twitter.com/embed/Tweet.html?dnt=false&embedId=twitter-widget-1&features=eyJ0ZndfZXhwZXJpbWVudHNfY29va2llX2V4cGlyYXRpb24iOnsiYnVja2V0IjoxMjA5NjAwLCJ2ZXJzaW9uIjpudWxsfSwidGZ3X2hvcml6b25fdHdlZXRfZW1iZWRfOTU1NSI6eyJidWNrZXQiOiJodGUiLCJ2ZXJzaW9uIjpudWxsfSwidGZ3X3NwYWNlX2NhcmQiOnsiYnVja2V0Ijoib2ZmIiwidmVyc2lvbiI6bnVsbH19&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1443642677686308866&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.news24.com%2Fnews24%2Fsouthafrica%2Fnews%2Fin-full-ramaphosa-announces-move-to-level-1-with-new-curfew-alcohol-and-gathering-rules-20210930&sessionId=db42a44d58f51bf84518a225776b9c1f42225af5&siteScreenName=news24&theme=light&widgetsVersion=fcb1942%3A1632982954711&width=550px

Streamlining and standardising proof of vaccination will also go a long way towards getting a number of international travel restrictions both from and into our country eased. Getting vaccinated is not only about protecting yourself and those around you. It is also about preventing new and more dangerous variants from emerging, as the virus is able to spread and mutate in unvaccinated populations.

READ | Lockdown: Gauteng ready to move to Level 1 despite over a million people reluctant to get second jab

However, we should remember that even if we are vaccinated, we need to continue to adhere to the basic precautions to limit the spread of the virus from one person to another. We know that indoor gatherings, particularly in places that have poor ventilation, are the major cause of outbreaks and super spreader events.

We must continue wearing our masks at all times when in public, keep our distance from others and always ensure that windows are open and that there is a flow of fresh air. If we continue to adhere to these regulations, if we keep the rate of infections low, and most importantly if we vaccinate significant numbers of the adult population, we will keep the pandemic at bay and eventually, force it into decline.

In an effort to prevent rising infections, a number of countries around the world have opted to restrict travel from other countries. The United Kingdom imposed a travel ban on South Africans by red listing our country.

This has put us in a disadvantaged position, since the United Kingdom is South Africa’s biggest source of tourism from the northern hemisphere and a significant trading partner. While UK scientists were concerned about the presence of the Beta variant in South Africa, the reality is that the Delta variant is now by far the dominant variant in the country.

Earlier today I had a call with the British Prime Minister Boris Johnson to discuss this matter. I put South Africa’s case to him, which he understood very well. We both agreed that decisions of this nature should be informed by science and are hopeful of a positive outcome when the issue comes up for review in the coming days.

Fellow South Africans,

Our greatest priority now is to ensure that the economy recovers as quickly as possible, so that we can create jobs and help businesses to get back on their feet. The only way that we can do this is if more South Africans choose to get vaccinated, more quickly. If the majority of our population is vaccinated, we can declare South Africa to be a safe destination and welcome tourists back over the summer season.

We can resume sporting events and concerts, lift restrictions on restaurants and bars, and encourage people to return safely to their workplaces, shops and public spaces. If we can reach our vaccination targets by the end of this year, we can avoid further restrictions and kick our economic recovery into high gear.

I want to urge you all to take advantage of Vooma Vaccination Weekends. Let us all go out and get vaccinated. Let us take our friends and family who are not yet vaccinated to go and get vaccinated.

‘Gupta fixer’ Kuben Moodley arrested en route to Dubai golf trip tells court he is unemployed

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DURBAN, SOUTH AFRICA - JUNE 23, Kuben Moodley during day 2 of the MTN SuperSport Shootout at Zimbali Coastal Resort on June 23, 2012 in Durban, South Africa Photo by Anesh Debiky / Gallo Images

Alleged “Gupta fixer” Kuben Moodley, who was arrested at OR Tambo International Airport en route to play golf in Dubai, applied for bail in the Johannesburg specialised commercial crime court on Wednesday.

Moodley was arrested at the airport on Tuesday evening on charges of fraud, theft, corruption and money laundering.

His arrest is linked to alleged money laundering of the proceeds from contracts  improperly awarded by Transnet to Regiments Capital and Trillian, as well as theft by Regiments Fund Managers from the Transnet Second Defined Benefit Fund. 

The state indicated on Wednesday it would only be able to respond to Moodley’s bail application on Friday. 

Reading Moodley’s affidavit, his attorney Piet du Plessis told the court he had no assets outside SA. Kuben Moodley in the dock on September 29 2021.
Image: Ernest Mabuza

Moodley said he was dependent on his wife and had two dependents.

“Since 2017 to date, I could not work due to, what I say, are false allegations that I was involved in criminal activities and am currently dependent on my wife,” said his affidavit. He said he has no previous convictions. ADVERTISING

In June last year the Independent Directorate obtained an order restraining Moodley and his company Albatime from handling assets worth up to R232m.

The directorate said last year that payments were made solely as a reward for unlawful involvement in a corrupt scheme to benefit personal interests at the expense of the public purse.

Du Plessis said Moodley was arrested in the company of his friends while he was on his way to a five-day golfing trip in Dubai. He said the court would be provided with a copy of his return flight ticket. 

In his affidavit, Moodley said he intended to plead not guilty. 

“I am innocent of what I am being accused of,” read the affidavit. 

The state requested time to gather all the evidence to prepare its opposition to the bail application.

TimesLIVE 

Duduzile Zuma-Sambudla gets tongues wagging for ‘renaming’ ANC to ‘Apartheid National Congress’

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08 October 2019. Duduzile Zuma supporting her brother at the state capture commission of inquiry at Park town in Johannesburg. Picture: Thapelo Morebudi/The Sunday Times.

Former president Jacob Zuma’s daughter, Duduzile Zuma-Sambudla, had tongues wagging at the weekend after “renaming” the African National Congress (ANC) in a Twitter post. 

Zuma-Sambudla took a swipe at the ANC leadership under Cyril Ramaphosa. 

She said the party, under Ramaphosa, was the “Apartheid National Congress”. 

She also changed the colours of the ANC emblem to those of the national flag under the apartheid government.

In a separate post, Zuma-Sambudla called for the ANC leadership to resign. 

“ANC leadership must resign. Remove WMC (white monopoly capital) stooges. Vote ANC in numbers. Count votes manually. Then change the constitution. Implement Freedom Charter and RET [radical economic transformation],” she said

Zuma-Sambudla has been vocal on social media after her father’s arrest in July. 

In August, Twitter took action against her after she shared clips of the violent protests and looting in KwaZulu-Natal on her account. 

According to Twitter’s rules, the complaints against the clips shared by Zuma-Sambudla may have fallen under “terrorism/violent extremism”. 

Her recent posts on the ANC drew mixed reactions from her followers, with some weighing in on her “renaming” of the party while others slammed it. 

I didn’t ask for Digital Vibes money, my messenger did — Mkhize

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Former health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize. File photo. Image: Werner Hills

The Special Investigating Unit’s (SIU’s) report into the Digital Vibes scandal reveals that former minister Dr Zweli Mkhize blames his messenger for Digital Vibes paying for repairs at his home.

Digital Vibes is run by associates of Mkhize — Tahera Mather and his former personal assistant Naadhira Mitha — and was awarded an irregular communications contract through a closed tender process and scored payments amounting to R150m. ADVERTISING

The report also highlighted what has been previously reported that Digital Vibes paid for repairs at his property amounting to R6,720.

The report stated that “the required services had been identified by the minister’s wife. The particulars on the two invoices reflected the requester of the services as being one ‘Mkhize’ and a cellular phone number was also indicated in the invoices”.

Mkhize had, according to the report, indicated to the SIU that he had not requested these services nor did the indicated cellular number belong to him or to an account registered in his name.

“However, the indicated cellular number, in eNatis records, is linked to vehicles registered in the name of the minister,” the report stated.

It also indicate that Mkhize called that “a messenger, also with the surname ‘Mkhize’, who was in his employ, had subsequently confessed that the cash to pay for the maintenance services that had been provided by the minister’s housekeeper, had been stolen by him”.

“When payment for the services became due, the messenger had approached Ms Mitha who, according to the messenger, paid the R6,720 to the service provider (an affidavit in this regard was also provided by the messenger),” the report stated.

The SIU, however, obtained evidence which indicated that Digital Vibes, and not Mitha, paid for these services.

“During the questioning of the minister, he did not indicate whether he had dismissed the messenger or laid criminal charges against him for this alleged theft. Therefore, the veracity of the explanation of the messenger is, in the view of the SIU in doubt,” the report stated.

VIDEO: Tshwane councillors flee their homes after brutal slaying

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Gunned down ANC Councillor Tshepo Moutang

Tshepo Motaung was gunned down, triggering concerns that his death was politically-motivated

At least three Tshwane councillors have fled their homes out of fear their lives would be brutallyput to an end.

This is according to Gauteng premier David Makhura, who was speaking outside the home of slain Tshwane ward 22 councillor Tshepo Motaung on Tuesday. Motaung was shot more than 20 times on Friday.

Political killings, said Makhura, had increased to “new levels” in the past two months.

“A lot of our councillors feel unsafe in these communities. In fact, on my way here I was told three councillors are not staying at their homes. They have moved from their homes because they feel unsafe and that they could be attacked and killed,” Makhura said.

The matter would be escalated to police minister Bheki Cele, who was also part of the delegation that visited Motaung’s family on Tuesday.Police minister Bheki Cele visits the family of slain Tshwane councillor Tshepo Motaung at their Mabopane home on Tuesday.
Image: Alon Skuy

Makhura called on police to handle the killings in the same way political violence was handled in Cele’s home province of KwaZulu-Natal.

“From what we see in this [Motaung] case, it is linked to matters of political contestation, and it is something that is looking like other incidents in our province, and in parts of Tshwane in particular. We have also asked the minister [Cele] to put up a serious team to probe this and bring the perpetrators to book,” Makhura said.

Cele said it appeared Tshwane had started showing similarities with KwaZulu-Natal regarding political violence.

“We have to respond likewise, as the police,” he said.

The minister said arrests were imminent.

“I am satisfied we have the names of the people we want, we have the faces of the people. It will be soon when everybody will know why this [Motaung’s murder] happened,” he said.

However, despite the apparent links to political violence, the minister said police “are not looking at any political faces here”.

“We are dealing with criminals. It doesn’t matter who you are, it doesn’t matter how well known you are, it doesn’t matter what position you have. We are dealing with criminality. We will treat you as such and we will make sure we take you in and you answer for your sins,” Cele said.

Almost as evidence of the ever-growing political tensions, a scuffle broke out at the home during Tuesday’s visit when an apparent rival politician showed up. She was chased away by angry community members.

Patrick Kabini, an ANC member who was present at the house, said shortly before Motaung’s death, he was announced as the ward councillor candidate for the November 1 local government elections. In fact, the announcement was made the same day Motaung met his gruesome end.ADVERTISING

“There were processes to elect councillor candidates for the 2021 elections. Fortunately for Tshepo, the process favoured him and he was declared the ANC candidate on Friday in ward 22. Unfortunately, late on Friday he was killed.

“It doesn’t take a scientist to figure out that if someone is killed, automatically someone must follow him to be the [new] councillor candidate. That’s why we are saying  the murder might be politically-related,” he said.

Kabini said some ANC members were scared as there were rumours about a “hit list”.

“We dont know who or how many people are there [on the list]. We are scared. We are even scared to go outside because we don’t know if we are part of that list.”

Makhura said he was disturbed by the number of violent incidents in the province, particularly in Tshwane.

“These incidents of violence and killings have already resulted in the loss of life of a number of councillors in this area.

“The incidents are also linked in great detail to infrastructure projects to build schools and clinics and fix roads in Tshwane. This happens in this part of Tshwane, in the northwestern part of Tshwane, the eastern part of Tshwane, that is Mamelodi. It happens in some areas of Soshanguve. It also happens in some areas in Atteridgeville, and areas in Hammanskraal,” Makhura said.A police officer tries to control a group of protesting community members outside the home of slain ANC councillor Tshepo Motaung on Tuesday. A high-level delegation visited the family after Motaung was brutally killed on Friday.
Image: Alon Skuy

However, said the premier, it wasnt only  councillors who were afraid of being targeted, but also members of the communities.

“They are threatened by these criminal gangs,” he said.

He said these individuals were disrupting community meetings and targeting those who disagreed with them, sometimes killing those they considered to be foes.

Makhura said Motaung was the third councillor to die in the area, “but not recently”.

“We have had councillors shot under circumstances that are mysterious,” he said, without providing further details.

Miranda Mabasa, who had worked with Motaung for seven years, described the councillor as a “cheerful giver”.

“We hope they will find his killers. They killed him like a dog. I was at the scene and at the hospital. I witnessed everything, so I was traumatised.

“I can’t eat. I can’t sleep. I saw everything, saw him lying in a pool of blood. Bullets were all over, blood was all over. I was so shocked to see him like that because he is a person who lived in peace and was good to everyone,” she said.

Mabasa said she was heartbroken at the loss.

“The flashbacks don’t leave me.”

Motaung’s brother, Tebogo, said the family will feel better once justice prevails.

“We are hoping the minister will close the case very soon and find the perpetrators and the big fish and find out why they did this so that we will have closure as a family,” he said.

David Tshedi, SA National Civic Organisation chairperson in ward 22, said the community was giving police a one-month deadline to make arrests.

“We will not rest until justice is done. If it’s not done within one month, that means the community must protest again,” he said.

-TimesLIVE

Al Ahly to axe Pitso Mosimane as coach

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Former Egypt international and Al Ahly midfielder, Hesham Hanafy, expects head coach Pitso Mosimane to leave the Red Castle soon and will be replaced by a German coach.

Mosimane has come under fire in recent weeks for his team’s unconvincing performance and for losing his first two domestic trophies in the Egyptian Premier League and Egyptian Super Cup.


On Saturday night, however, the South African managed to redeem himself with a 1-0 win over ENPPI in the round of 16 of the Egypt Cup.

Despite the win, Hanafy still expects Mosimane to leave very soon. Hanafy told Al-Hayah TV:

I have confirmed information from inside the club that Reda Shehata [El-Gouna head coach] will join Al-Ahly’s technical staff [To replace Cavin Johnson].

I feel that Mosimane will not continue with Al Ahly, the team’s performance isn’t reassuring and I don’t feel that the players are improving.

The performance has become very routine, any team that will face Al Ahly will close its defensive line and the Reds will struggle and will win with a lot of difficulties.

I doubt that Mosimane will continue with Al Ahly, there is something going on in Germany [alluding to the rumor that Cairo giants are in negotiations with a German coach].

Mosimane joined The Red Devils from South Africa’s Mamelodi Sundowns where he also won the CAF Champions League. 

More: Kingfut

Zimbabweans Unsettled As South Africa Delays Permits Renewal

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Nearly 198 000 diasporans using Zimbabwean Special Dispensation permits (ZSDP) in South Africa have been unsettled by the host country’s delays in renewing their permits.

The Zimbabweans under the ZSDP facility acquired their documents in 2010. They were renewed in 2014 and 2017. Indications are that the documents will expire on December 31, thus the need for renewal.


Zimbabwe Community in SA chairperson Ngqabutho Mabhena said they were still waiting for the South African Home Affairs minister Pakishe Aaron Motsoaledi to announce the way forward on the permits. Mabhena said:

We had hoped that they would announce it this September, but we are now drawing close to the end of the month. Traditionally, they announce before mid-September. The permit application process normally begins from October 1 to December 31. This was the case in 2010, 2014 and 2017.

We will be contacting the SA Home Affairs ministry to find out what is happening during the course of this week. We are also receiving reports of financial institutions like banks which are asking people to update their accounts since their passports will be expiring or their permits coming to an end.

Mabhena said the Zimbabwe Community in SA and the African Diaspora Forum were working with the Zimbabwean embassy on the issue.

She added that consultations on the issue have been underway among the relevant stakeholders in South Africa and the issue has since been submitted to Cabinet for decisions. She encouraged holders of these permits to exercise patience and to be watchful for scams.

South Africa is believed to be home to an estimated three million Zimbabweans; both irregular and regular immigrants.

-NewsDay

WATCH | Rosemary Ndlovu’s sister break downs over ‘killer cop’ who allegedly tried to kill her and her kids

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Murder accused Rosemary Ndlovu

An emotional interview with alleged killer cop Nomia Rosemary Ndlovu’s sister saw the mother of five break down in tears as she spoke about her sister and the charges of multiple murders brought against her. 

“I don’t trust anyone any more,” said Joyce Ndlovu sitting in her small home in Bushbuckridge with one of her five young children on her lap.

Rosemary Ndlovu stands accused of attempting to murder Joyce and Joyce’s five young children for a life insurance payout.

The sisters grew up together and Joyce says Rosemary was a “jokester” and they loved each other until she “suddenly changed”.

“I am not afraid of anything since she is in jail now. I was afraid back then but not now. And if she has a good heart, she will change from behind bars,” said Joyce.

SA was shocked when the allegations against the former Thembisa police officer Rosemary came to light.

TimesLIVE video released undercover footage allegedly showing Ndlovu telling an undercover cop how to kill her sister and her five children by setting the house alight while they were sleeping inside.

The state has alleged that Rosemary has killed five relatives and her boyfriend after she took out insurance policies on their lives. She is alleged to have benefited R1.5m from their deaths from 2012 to 2018.

The case has been playing out live in the media, and was on Joyce’s TV when TimesLIVE arrived at her home.

When asked how Joyce felt when she saw her sister in court, she said: “I felt OK because she did this to herself. No-one sent her or forced her to do this.

“On what kind of sentence she receives, that will be determined by the court, because I cannot decide on that. Right now, this thing will show up in newspapers and she will know what it is I have said. Maybe that will touch her and somehow lead to her changing her ways.”ADVERTISING

Joyce weighed in on their mother testifying in the Palm Ridge high court.

“She was not supposed to go there and take any sides. She was supposed to go there and speak well and not defend her. She gave birth to her but she never birthed her heart and personality, and she never knows what happens in a person’s mind. The way she went about it showed she loves Rosemary.”

When asked if she still loves her sister, Joyce responded, “Yes”. However, she said she would not visit her if she is convicted of the crimes against her and serves time in jail.

–TimesLIVE

‘Where is the proof? ‘asks alleged killer cop Nomia Rosemary Ndlovu as testimony wraps up

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The state and defence have wrapped up evidence in the trial of Nomia Rosemary Ndlovu. They are expected to present closing arguments on October 14. Image: Thulani Mbele.

After weeks of evidence in the dramatic trial of alleged killer cop Nomia Rosemary Ndlovu, the 46-year-old suggested she was tired of defending herself against the allegations she faces — and said the court could do what it wanted.

“The court can say whatever it wants to say, but I know nothing,” said Ndlovu when state prosecutor Riana Williams told her she was behind the killing of her lover, Maurice Mabasa.

“The last time I saw Maurice was on the morning of October 13 2015, when he left for work. I then received a call from Constable Mugwari [a police officer] asking me where I was and I said, ‘I am on my way to Olifantsfontein police station.’ That’s when I found out that Maurice was dead.

“But if the court feels that I am the one that killed Maurice, then I don’t know. Where is the proof? It surprises me, but if they say so, then so be it,” she said, signalling the end of a trial which has shocked the nation.

Mabasa, who had been her boyfriend for several years, was found stabbed almost 80 times. His body had been left outside a house in Olifantsfontein, near Clayville, where the couple lived together.

Mabasa is one of six people Ndlovu is alleged to have killed, with the other victims named as her sister, her niece and nephews, and her cousin — all in a bid to allegedly collect insurance payouts over a six-year period. She is also accused of plotting to kill several other relatives, with her last would-be victims being her sister Joyce and her five children.

It is the state’s case that Ndlovu hired a hitman to kill Joyce and the five children. The hitman turned to the police, who in turn set up a sting operation that led to Ndlovu being arrested on March 7 2018. She has been behind bars since.

Recognising Ndlovu’s irritation, judge Ramarumo Monama told Ndlovu that for now, she remained “innocent until proven guilty”, adding that it was the state’s responsibility to prove beyond reasonable doubt that she was guilty of the crimes she stood accused of.

After about 50 state witnesses were called, Ndlovu had herself and her mother to testify in her defence. After a gruelling cross-examination, Ndlovu told the court she had no-one else to call to testify.

Despite glaring discrepancies in some important parts of her testimony, Ndlovu’s lawyer closed their case, saying he had no re-examination for her.

The trial has been postponed to October 14, when the state and defence are expected to present closing arguments.

TimesLIVE

Nomia Rosemary Ndlovu’s ‘side boyfriend’ crucial to verifying she was not involved in nephew’s death

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If the alleged 'side boyfriend' of Nomia Rosemary Ndlovu came forward, he could verify where she was when her nephew Brilliant Mashego was killed in January 2018. Image: Thulani Mbele

Former police constable Nomia Rosemary Ndlovu had a potentially strong alibi that could prove she was not with her nephew Brilliant Mashego when he was hacked to death.

His body was dumped at a marketplace in Dwarsloop near Bushbuckridge in January 2018.

The person who could verify this was one of two men Ndlovu was dating at the time — courier company worker Bennet Ngomane.

Under cross-examination by prosecutor Riana Williams on Monday, Ndlovu said she was with Ngomane when Mashego was killed. They were driving to Johannesburg after a rendezvous planned for Bushbuckridge was cut short. His employer said a work emergency required him to urgently return to Johannesburg that night in January 2018.

While this may be a crucial link excluding Ndlovu as Mashego’s killer, she said the alibi was difficult to prove.https://www.youtube.com/embed/v9YM6tiZJcs?playsinline=1&enablejsapi=1&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.sowetanlive.co.za&widgetid=1

“I don’t know where he stays. I don’t even have his cellphone number. It was not a serious relationship. That’s why I mentioned that I don’t even know where he actually comes from and he never even got to see Brilliant because Brilliant and I never went into that car,” Ndlovu told the court.

She could not recall the name of the company he worked for either.

“He was not the boyfriend I was staying with at the time. He was my side boyfriend.  He stayed at Arthur City though I did not know where his actual home was. At the time, I was living with another boyfriend,” said Ndlovu.

She clarified that her live-in lover was a man she met after the death of her boyfriend and the father of her daughter, Maurice Mabasa, in October 2015. Mabasa was found butchered in Olifantsfontein. Ndlovu is accused of his murder.

She did not mention her new live-in lover’s name in court.

“We [Ngomane and I] were going to meet wherever and do whatever. He had called me at around 11pm and I told him where I was. I was at the Shell garage in Bushbuckridge, not in Dwarsloop where I had parted ways with Mashego. That is where he came to pick me up,” Ndlovu said.

Her version is that she and Mashego parted ways earlier that night at an Engen garage in Dwarsloop. He got out of their hitched ride there and opted to take a 25-minute walk to his paternal grandmother’s house where he lived. Mashego never made it home. His body was discovered by a passer-by the next morning. His skull had been cracked open.

“I left him at the garage. What happened thereafter, I do not know. I warned him but he said that the garage is close to his church and therefore it was a path he was used to walking,” Ndlovu said.

Ndlovu, who is his maternal aunt, is accused of murdering him to cash in on insurance policies taken out in his name. The state put forward a version that it was possible Ndlovu eliminated Mashego after he started asking questions about money that she received after the death of his mother, Audrey Somisa Ndlovu, in June 2013.

Audrey was found poisoned and strangled in her rented room in Thembisa. Ndlovu was the last person seen with her. She benefited from more than R717,000 in life and funeral insurance policies opened in Audrey’s name.

But on Monday, Williams focused on the days and hours ahead of Mashego’s death which he seemingly spent in the company of his aunt.

Ndlovu said that a day earlier, she had travelled with Mashego from Bushbuckridge to Johannesburg after the two of them had met at a local taxi rank. Mashego was intending to go to Johannesburg to hand over his CV at OR Tambo International Airport, hoping to find a job there.

Ndlovu, who resided in Thembisa but was originally from Bushbuckridge, said she had been in Bushbuckridge on that day to meet an agent from Old Mutual where she had a loan. She said she had gone to the Old Mutual offices to hand in her new banking details.

This however, was in stark contrast to what she said in her bail application in March 2018. In her affidavit, she said she had been in Bushbuckridge at that time, using the services of a traditional healer in the area. She said she travelled back to Johannesburg after the healer said she needed to collect soil at the grave of her late daughter and bring it to him. The grave is in Johannesburg.

Ndlovu has testified that on January 22, 2018 she and Mashego caught a taxi back to Johannesburg and went their separate ways upon arrival. He had planned to stay with cousins or friends in Thembisa but a day later, he called saying he was uncomfortable there and asked Ndlovu to help him, she said.

Ndlovu said she met Mashego at a taxi rank in Thembisa and agreed to travel with him back to Bushbuckridge — a five-hour drive.

She said agreeing to the trip was akin to killing two birds with one stone because she and Ngomane, who was headed to Bushbuckridge, had planned to meet there.

Ndlovu said after struggling to find public transport in Germiston and Benoni to Bushbuckridge, she and her nephew opted to hitchhike.

Asked why they did not travel with Ngomane that day, Ndlovu said it was against company rules for him to have passengers in the company vehicle and he would get into trouble if they had an accident.

But after their failed plans to spend the night together, she and Ngomane returned to Johannesburg. This time, he did not mind taking the risk of having her in his courier van because it would have just been the two of them, Ndlovu said.

Williams asked Ndlovu whether this meant she undertook a 10-hour two way road trip for nothing.

 “There was nothing more serious other than me spending time with my boyfriend. The plan had been for us to spend the night together in Bushbuckridge because we knew that in Johannesburg, I had somebody that I was involved with, so the idea was for us to spend time away in Bushbuckridge,” Ndlovu added.

Williams turned to Ndlovu’s ailing mother Maria Mushwana, who had testified in Ndlovu’s defence two weeks ago. The 80-year-old had been adamant her daughter was nowhere near Bushbuckridge around the time Mashego was killed. This meant that even when Ndlovu was said to have been at Old Mutual in Bushbuckridge – a short distance away from her home — just a day before Mashego’s death, Mushwana had not been aware of her presence.

Even after Mashego’s death, Ndlovu had not disclosed to her mother and sister Joyce that she was with Mashego hours before he died.

Ndlovu told the court she had not planned on going to her mother’s house on those days because she had no money and could not arrive home empty-handed.

It was through Mashego’s grandmother, Sharash Mashego, it was learnt that when he had left home on January 22 he had said he was going to meet his aunt, Ndlovu, in Nelspruit where she was taking him to sign documents.ADVERTISING

“The aunt would apparently promise that she would help him get a job,” said Sharash when she testified in the trial several weeks ago. 

Like Mashego’s cousin Remembrance Mokoena, she recalled how whenever he received a call from Ndlovu, she would ask him to stay away from people.

Sharash said since she started raising Mashego, Ndlovu had never supported Brilliant financially. She said even after Mashego’s death, Ndlovu and her mother did not make any effort to give her support.

“The accused and the [maternal] grandmother never came to be with me at all. They were not even interested in seeing the terrible injuries he had suffered. I heard from other people that they were present at the funeral but stood at a distance. They never came to me,” said Sharash.

The state said it was unsure where Mashego was killed — in Johannesburg or the Dwarsloop area.

But Mokoena’s testimony suggested that someone else, perhaps even Ndlovu, had used Mashego’s cellphone to communicate with his loved ones from the night of the 22nd when he was last seen alive.

“At around 6pm when he did not return home I started calling. I called over and over again but no answer. At around 8pm, I was watching TV, around the time of Generations, when a text message came through from Brilliants’ phone. The message said I shouldn’t worry, that he has gone to Nelspruit to look for a job. The message scared me,” Remembrance had testified.

“We texted a lot before and one thing I noticed was the manner in which the message was written, I could see it was not him who wrote that message. The construction of the words … The person used capital letters, seemed to be using Mxit chatting language. He never used such language so that is what surprised me. Another message came through, saying I should not worry. He has gone to look for a job, but this time he said he was in Komatipoort. This message came in the next morning and also was written in the same way,” Mokoena added.

Cellphone records placed Ndlovu with Mashego during his travels from Bushbuckridge to Johannesburg and from Johannesburg to Bushbuckridge — a claim she has not disputed.

Ndlovu had several policies taken out on Mashego  – including one with Old Mutual. She never, however,  received any payouts after his death.

Under cross-examination on Monday, the state hinted at why her claims might have been rejected.

“You had an Old Mutual policy that covered Brilliant as your child. Do you remember that?” asked Williams.

“I would not dispute. It is unfortunate that we are discussing this in court. When I was taking out the policies and the agent asked me ‘how does he refer to you?’, I told them that he called me his mom and they then listed him as my son,” said Ndlovu.

For the payout to be processed, she would have needed documentation verifying this relationship.

Ndlovu has been behind bars since March 2018 after a sting operation that saw her allegedly confess to an undercover police officer that she wanted her sister Joyce and her five children burnt alive in their Bushbuckridge home – allegedly so she could claim insurance payouts. 

Despite the mountain of evidence against her, including the alleged confession captured on video, Ndlovu has denied all the murder, attempted murder, fraud and defeating the ends of justice charges she faces.

–TimesLIVE 

ANC promises better leadership, service delivery as Ramaphosa unveils manifesto

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President Cyril Ramaphosa at the launch of ANC manifesto at Church Square, Pretoria. Image: ANTONIO MUCHAVE

President said South Africans have been calling for strong and ethical leadership in the face of hardship and that the party had in many times been found wanting

The ANC has a bucket full list of promises to win votes in the upcoming local government elections with the unveiling of its manifesto Monday night, which spelt out its plan of action for the next five years.

The governing party was adamant that corrective measures it is currently implementing to deal with incompetence, corruption and social distance in the local government are good enough reasons for South Africans to vote for it again.ADVERTISING

President Cyril Ramaphosa unveiled the manifesto in Pretoria with the party admitting that its electoral misfortunes had been due to wrongdoing that had plagued municipalities.

In its manifesto, the ANC insists that it deserved a second chance as it had done things differently in terms of ensuring that the quality of the local government leaders was improved through the choosing the best candidates.

Ramaphosa said South Africans have been calling for strong and ethical leadership in the face of hardship and that the party had in many times been found wanting.

“We have not always done the best that we were meant to do and we have not always done the best that we are capable of doing. We stand here and admit that we have made mistakes. We have not always put the best people in positions of responsibility in government. Too often we have been slow to act when our public representatives and leaders committed wrongdoing and abused their positions,” Ramaphosa said.

He said in the past two years after the 2019 general elections, the party had worked on renewing itself and implemented measures to help better serve South Africans, including at the local government level.

The promises the party has made to voters include:

  • developing the night-time economy to encourage retailers to remain open late;
  • place traders’ stalls on busy streets and nodes;
  • end the use of labour brokers at municipal level and support creation of sustainable jobs;
  • subjecting mayors and senior managers to lifestyle audits to limit the scope for corruption;
  • improve access to electricity and water for communities;
  • maintain infrastructure and drastically reduce water leaks.
  • fast track land reform and rural development, upgrade informal settlements and counter urban sprawl;
  • ensuring that the municipal staff that are appointed have the necessary competence, experience, and support;
  • create jobs and drive economic development.
  • reduce red tape, especially for SMMEs and informal businesses, speedup approvals and reduce licensing costs;
  • develop fresh produce markets and promote the sale of foodstuffs in townships in community owned stores’ and
  • strengthen the municipal finance recovery service function and simplify financial recovery plans in municipalities.

The party indicated that it was still faced with many challenges at municipal level as leadership was often weak with many councillors not focused on serving the communities that had elected them.

Ramaphosa said some of the shortcomings at the local government level included weak oversight, poor accountability and absence of consequences for those who failed to perform as well as corruption.

“After years of impunity, the ANC as the governing party is leading a new era of accountability and consequences for wrongdoing. Under new leadership, state-owned enterprises have been tackling corruption, have recovered billions of rand of stolen money and are now clearly focused on delivering on their respective mandates,” he said.

Among its achievements over the past years, the ANC counted the expansion of access to housing to four million households, distribution of 8.3 million hectares and provision of social grants to cover 18 million South Africans in a bid to reduce poverty.

There is also a strong focus on involving the youth and providing jobs for them, with Ramaphosa saying the party was committed to creating more jobs for them as first-time entrants into the job market.

Also on the promises list were efforts to fight crime in communities particularly in the townships and the fight against gender-based violence.

Some of the key promises the ANC made in 2016:

On basic services, the party said it had and would continue improving people’s lives by expanding electricity provision, water, sanitation, especially in informal settlements and rural municipalities, social grants, healthcare, basic and higher education and ensure that roads were maintained;

On municipal services and outsourcing, the ANC said it would ensure that municipal services remained the core function of municipalities;

On the local economy and job creation, it said it would reorientate local economies to become effective centres of production, information processing and economic and spatial development, and develop sports and recreational facilities to grow local economies;

On fighting fraud and corruption in local government, the ANC said it would vigorously implement anti-corruption programmes, preventing municipal officials and councillors from doing business with municipalities, hold corrupt municipal officials and councillors liable for the losses incurred by the municipality as a result of their corrupt actions and pursue action against companies involved in bid rigging, price fixing and corruption in procurement; and

On its principle of batho pele, the party promised to put people first and engage with communities.

Jobs, jobs, jobs: Ramaphosa says ANC will focus on employment in next five years

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ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa at the party's 2021 local government election manifesto launch in Tshwane. Image: Alaister Russell

President Cyril Ramaphosa has promised that job creation will be the ANC’s priority should it be voted in to run municipalities – and pledged that his party would do away with labour brokers in delivering “essential local government functions”.

Ramaphosa was presenting the party’s manifesto at Church Square in Pretoria on Monday night.

The president said his party would prioritise creating job opportunities for the youth who were entering the work space for the first time “at a much faster rate” than ever before.

“It is our intention to ensure that skills development programmes are more closely aligned to the job opportunities and economic development programmes in communities,” said Ramaphosa.

He added that the ANC, in its efforts to create jobs and sustainable livelihoods, it will also seek to end the outsourcing of essential service, which would mean ending labour brokering in municipalities.

The ANC has been under pressure from its alliance partners to ban labour brokers for many years. The Polokwane conference decided to regulate labour brokering, which led to the amendment of the Labour Relations Act to dictate that clients labour brokers have to hire contractors who earn below R205,433 annually after working for three months.

This move by the ANC would be welcomed by its alliance partners, Cosatu and the South African Communist Party.

Ramaphosa said small businesses that have been strangled by strict municipal bylaws and licensing fees will also get a reprieve.

Said Ramaphosa: “The ANC will amend or repeal restrictive bylaws on trading, land-use, urban production of crops and other regulations that prevent people from earning a living.

“We will reduce or remove the licence fees that many small and informal businesses have to pay to ply their trade.”

In true manifesto style, the speech would be incomplete without gloating about past successes in basic service delivery.

In this regard, Ramaphosa praised the ANC for, in 2019 alone, having connected 3-million households to running water and 2-million more households to the national power grid.

“Thanks to the ANC, about 85% of South African households have electricity,” he said.

He, however, acknowledged shortcomings and promised that the ANC “working with national and provincial governments, we are going to improve the maintenance of water and sewerage infrastructure and reduce water leaks.

“However, many communities still experience unstable electricity supply, infrastructure is not properly maintained, there is a problem of illegal connections and electricity is sometimes cut to homes without warning or explanation.

“As part of the ongoing work to provide a safe, affordable and reliable supply of electricity to every South African home, we will significantly increase the contribution of renewable energy through a just energy transition that creates new economic opportunities for workers and communities.”

–TimesLIVE

Ramaphosa attacks DA’s record in Tshwane as he tries to win back the capital

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ANC President Cyril Ramaphosa

ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa launched an attack on how the DA runs the city of Tshwane, as he called on voters to re-elect his party to govern the country’s capital city.

Ramaphosa was speaking to ANC supporters on Monday night at Church Square in the Tshwane CBD as he unveiled his party’s electoral manifesto ahead of the municipal elections due to take place on November 1.

Ramaphosa said since the DA ousted the ANC from the Tshwane metro municipality back in 2016, service delivery has deteriorated in the country’s administrative capital.

Under the DA, Ramaphosa said, Tshwane residents have been living under many hardships including with little access to clean water among other issues he flagged.

He said that Tshwane residents decided against voting for the ANC five years because they had been disappointed about how they ran the city, including the levels of corruption.

“As a result, a number of cities and towns, including Tshwane, have been governed by other parties for the past five years. This has caused great hardship for the residents of Tshwane,” Ramaphosa said.

Ramaphosa said people in areas such as Atteridgeville, Laudium and Hammanskraal face long periods without water to flush their toilets, cook and drink.

“Just last week, water in Laudium and Atteridgeville was cut off yet again for nearly eight days. Once more families could not wash, could not flush their toilets,” he said.

“In many areas of this city, rubbish is not collected regularly and lies in huge dumps attracting flies and rats,” Ramaphosa said. “Informal settlements have not been upgraded and the city has failed to make land available so that residents can have serviced stands and move out of inhumane settlements on dolomitic land.”

According to Ramaphosa, the party wants Tshwane residents to give it a chance to fix the dismal failure of the DA, hence they deliberately chose Tshwane to launch their manifesto.

Ramaphosa promised that the party will do better as it was doing things differently this time.

He said the process of fielding councillors has changed where the party was selecting capable people and that only qualified municipal officials would be installed.

Ramaphosa launched the ANC manifesto in Tshwane’s city centre to hundreds of supporters on Monday evening under the theme “building better communities together.”

“And so, we come to you today, and call on you to come out and vote for the ANC so that we can again govern here in Tshwane and in many other towns and cities.

“We ask this so that we are able to put the programme of social and economic transformation back on track. We have come a long way in our young democracy, but much remains to be done,” Ramaphosa said.

As Ramaphosa was completing his speech, he said there were people with protesting placards that he wanted to see.

The placards were in protest of the DA government. Some of them were from municipal employees who said they were suffering.

One placard read: “Mr President we demand your intervention. No work, no vote. Emancipate municipal workers. City council is in denial, poor administration.”

–TimesLIVE

National Arts Council members implicated in mismanagement of R300m funds

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September 08, 2021.Minister of Sports,Arts and Culture Nathi Mthetwa briefs the media at the launch of the vaccination campaign "Return to play-it's in your hands at FNB Stadium in Johannesburg.Picture:Freddy Mavunda © Business Day

A forensic investigation has implicated five members of the National Arts Council (NAC) in the mismanagement of the R300m presidential economic stimulus programme (PESP) funds.

The report, which was released by minister of sport, arts and culture Nathi Mthethwa in Pretoria on Monday, also found that there was a violation of the Public Finance Management Act, maladministration and over-committing of funds.ADVERTISING

Mthethwa, however, said there was no evidence pointing to fraud.

The five council members were implicated because they were involved in the adjudication process and were also paid, breaking the NAC council rules.

“Council members’ job is oversight over entities and these ones were involved in operational matters, including adjudication and were paid for that. They violated the NAC Act.  Two of them are still around and three are no longer with the NAC. I have written to them to state their side of the story. I will take a decision based on what they would have said,” Mthethwa said.

The NAC was given R300m to disburse to the arts and creative sector in October last year.

Chairperson of the NAC board Princess Cebelihle Dlamini emphasised that the R285m which was meant to create jobs was not looted but dispersed correctly.

The report also vindicated council members who were appointed in January.

Dlamini said the report found administrative errors attached to the PESP project.

The investigation discovered that the NAC failed to find competent staff for the PESP project.

“It discovered that there was lack of oversight and review processes which led to the non-compliance projects being approved. It shows that the NAC failed to meet timelines and to manage as well as to monitor the process.”

On governance, Dlamini  said the investigation found that section 11 of the NAC Act was contravened and that there was failure to observe council resolutions.

“It shows that there was no effective and appropriate steps to prevent irregularities in the adjudication process, including irregular spending. It discovered failure to provide financial oversight regarding the implementation of PESP which resulted in over committing of which double of the amount was budgeted for.”

Mthethwa said the investigation found nothing sinister about council members who applied for PESP funding.

“The members were appointed after they had already applied,” he said.

R155m Nkandla civil recovery trial held ’in camera’ to prevent exposure of Zuma’s home security

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Former President Jacob Zuma's Nkandla Home

By Tarryn-Leigh Solomons Time of article published

The week-long trial in the R155 million civil recovery proceedings against Nkandla architect Minenhle Makhanya started in camera at the Pietermaritzburg High Court on Monday.

This was after the Special Tribunal was alerted to information on private security details which would expose former president Jacob Zuma’s security.

In March 2014, former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela released her final report on upgrades at Zuma’s Nkandla homestead. She found that Zuma and his family benefited from measures implemented in the name of security.

The “Secure in Comfort” report found that Zuma and his family had unduly benefited from the R246m spent on non-security features at Nkandla – including a swimming pool, kraal, chicken run and visitors’ centre – and that he should pay back part of the money.

A civil claim was instituted against Makhanya after the upgrades at Zuma’s home were found to be excessive.

The matter was first enrolled in the Pietermaritzburg High Court in September 2014 and transferred to the Special Tribunal by agreement of the parties.

Makhanya was the principal architect in the security-related upgrades at Zuma’s private residence.

The Special Investigating Unit (SIU) is now seeking to recover an estimated R155m from Makhanya, because of alleged irregularities in the contract which, it is contended, was awarded and amended several times in alleged violation of the legislative prescripts governing procurement in public institutions.

The hearing was scheduled for July but was postponed to end of September after Makhanya told the Special Tribunal that he did not have funds to cover the trial costs. He had applied to the Legal Aid Board for legal assistance which was declined.

Makhanya confirmed to Judge Kantharuby Pillay that because of his financial situation, he would be representing himself.

He said the SIU was using state funds to fight an ordinary man, while he had run out of resources.

Makhanya raised concerns about the media presence in court since he had already been found guilty in the court of public opinion.

Political Bureau

NO Covid-19 jab, no tlof tlof!

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Eastern Cape Health MEC Nomakhosazana Meth

This was the call made by Eastern Cape Health MEC Nomakhosazana Meth.

Speaking at the launch of a vaccination drive at popular shisanyama and tavern Kopano Meats in Mthatha on Saturday, 25 September, Meth urged people to deny their partners se_x until they were vaccinated.

Some patrons of the tavern agreed with her while others laughed. More than 1,4 million people have been vaccinated but only 38% of them are men.

Meth said: “If the majority of those vaccinated in our province are women and men are not coming to vaccinate, they are a danger to women.

“Now people must be sure they are safe and the fact that you have se_x must not be a road to death. Meeting people and doing what is done by lovers without being sure if that person is vaccinated is dangerous and risky.

“It’s my advice to women to make sure their partners vaccinate, otherwise we are at risk of losing them and infecting other people. We decided to include taverns in our vaccination campaign because we want to go where men socialise and spend their recreational time after work and on weekends.”

Tandolwethu Mjoli (26), who was vaccinated at the pop-up site, said he would be an active campaigner to get more men to get the jab.

“I’m relieved now that I have been vaccinated. I was just too lazy to get the vaccine, not that I was scared of anything,” he said.

“Most people don’t know any better and it’s easy to believe the information we see on social media.”

Ndumiso Phisani (34) said the MEC was right in some ways but wrong in others.

“There are people who don’t believe in vaccines and their partners might use this against them. Yes, it’s important to get more people to vaccinate so we can all be safe but not to the extent where we will not get se_x from our women,” he said.

– Daily Sun

Jacob Zuma at Nkandla but not his ‘charming, ever-laughing self’: concerned family

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Former President Jacob Zuma is not well at all

By Amanda Khoza

Grand plans to celebrate the return of former president Jacob Zuma to his Nkandla home in kwaDakwadunuse have been placed on hold because he is apparently unwell after being discharged from a Johannesburg hospital on Wednesday night.

Since the news that Zuma had been released on medical parole by correctional services boss Arthur Fraser made headlines, family, friends and relatives had planned a hero’s welcome for the former president.

TimesLIVE understands that these plans included a prayer and the slaughter of bulls to celebrate and thank the ancestors for his safe return. But the family now say they are concerned about his health. Since returning home three days ago, Zuma has not been his usual jolly self.

Zuma’s brother Khanya said: “We are with him, it’s been really pleasant. Last night we were with him until late at night. Iyaphila insizwa, bamubuyise njongoba [The man is OK, they returned him in perfect condition].”

Khanya said Zuma has been unwell since he was “poisoned” in 2014 and that was the case even before he was admitted to hospital. The Sunday Times reported previously that Zuma travelled to Russia to confirm the diagnosis and undergo treatment.

The 79-year-old former head of state was admitted to a hospital for medical observation on September 6. The department of correctional services announced earlier this month that he was being placed on medical parole because of ill health.

The announcement came 58 days after he was admitted as an inmate at the Estcourt Correctional Services facility. Zuma started serving his sentence in July after being found guilty of contempt of court for failure to comply with an order of the Constitutional Court to honour a summons to appear before the state capture inquiry.

He was sentenced to 15 months behind bars and spent several weeks of his incarceration in the medical wing of the prison before he was moved to an outside hospital for further treatment.

Zuma’s return has been kept low-key to avoid any fanfare around his return. However Khanya said Zuma “was not 100% even before he was taken away”.

He said the family was happy to have Zuma back home. “He is really happy to see the children. Uyabona lensizwa inesibindi, into yakhe le, umasixoxa naye uyabona ukuthi into angenandabanayo le. He knows that he is in it for the long haul and will die in it.

“To be honest, we are more worried about him than he is about himself. Even his wife [Sizakele] maKhumalo was extremely happy to see him.” he said

He added that “the family is still discussing how happy we are to have him back. We are not planning a big celebration yet but people have started flocking to the house.

“They want to come and see him. It’s everyone – family, neighbours, relatives and his people. My brother is loved worldwide. There are cars parked outside waiting to see him.”

One of Zuma’s nephews, who lives inside the compound and asked not to be named, said: “Yes, he is home but he is not well. Yazi, even when you look at him, he is not the charming and ever-laughing JZ who is full of jokes.”  

Zuma’s nephew Inkosi Simphiwe Zuma of the kwaNxamalala Tribal Authority said there was nothing to celebrate.

“Though he’s not 100% OK, we have hope that he will recover fully. He is old, remember that and there was a little remainder of the poison he was given back in 2014, so he really has not been well.

“He went to Cuba to see the doctors and the courts did not believe that he was unwell. We are happy he is home but we will not be celebrating when justice has not been served. There is no need to celebrate his return, yet.”

–Timeslive

Malema and Mpofu would be among the first to pay wealth tax for indigent families

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CIC Julius Malema

EFF leader Julius Malema and prominent lawyer Dali Mpofu would be among the wealthy people an EFF government would target for a special wealth tax to subsidise indigent families.

Malema told hundreds of supporters gathered in Johannesburg on Sunday for the party’s manifesto launch ahead of the November 1 local government elections that every EFF-governed municipality would implement a property wealth tax – a special tax where the wealthy would subsidise indigent families.

“The people with big yards and big houses, we are going to tax them because they are rich. They must subsidise the poor,” he said.

“How do we determine that this person is rich. Dali Mpofu is going to be the first victim of the property wealth tax because he lives around Mandela’s home in Houghton,” said Malema.

“We are going to tax them including myself. I stay in Sandton. I must pay the wealth tax to subside the poor. That is the only practical way to share the wealth of the country.

“We said the wealth of the country must be shared and the rich must share with the poor and they shall do so through the property wealth tax that the EFF municipality is going to implement,” he said.

Malema said the EFF manifesto was based on an observation that people were landless, jobless, local government was incapable and many people in SA still did not have access to water.

He said the EFF had also observed that many people still stayed in shacks with no toilets, did not have electricity, access to quality primary health care, roads were not tarred, and those that were had potholes.

“Our manifesto is based on a truthful observation that children do not have access to clean and safe recreational and sporting facilities, that instead of creating jobs for millions of jobless young people, municipalities give tenders to the connected few and our people do not have access to sanitation and proper toilets,” said Malema.

“Land and jobs manje [now]” is the party’s slogan for the elections campaign. It was “land and jobs” in previous elections.

Malema said in rural SA, children continued to fall to their deaths in pit toilets.

“It is on this basis that we make the clarion call here on September 26 2021 that we want our land and jobs manje,” he said.

“We demand land and jobs namhlanje [today],” Malema chanted.

In a slew of promises with a slant towards the poor, Malema said the EFF would identify a piece of land in Sandton to build RDP houses to promote integrated human settlements.

“We can’t have a place for the rich and a place for the poor. We need to bring you together because you belong together,” he said.

EFF-governed municipalities would not stand by and do nothing about sanitation and toilets in schools because education and schools were functions of national and provincial governments. The EFF would go beyond the functions of a municipality to help all people in need.

“There will never be pit toilets in schools that fall under EFF municipalities,” he said.

Malema said the EFF manifesto was drafted with input from people across all sections of society, including students, professionals, experts and ordinary people in communities across the country.

In his 92-minute speech, Malema cited specific service delivery concerns raised by different communities that the party consulted in drafting its promises.

In Tshwane, for instance, the people of Hammanskraal told the EFF they wanted water, he said.

“The people of Tshwane want the municipality to tar their roads in Extension 7 and 8 in ward 90, they want a clinic in Kopanong ward 89 and the people of Mbuyiseni Ndlozi informal settlement in ward 25 want electricity,” he said.

He said the people of Thaba Nchu in Mangaung municipality told the party they wanted water and electricity while the people of eThekwini said they wanted a dumping site in Mashwase area in ward 3 closed and their area cleaned.

“They also said they want all the sewer pipes and storm water drainage in Zamani and Woodglen in ward 6 replaced,” said Malema.

Malema claimed that over the past five years, and despite not being in government, the EFF had made a difference where it was represented. The achievements included motions which were adopted by municipalities.

These included a motion to stop removal of street vendors in King Sabata Dalindyebo municipality. This, he said, was adopted and the municipality had since stopped removing street vendors and allows them to trade.

In the Buffalo City Metropolitan council, EFF councillors tabled a motion for the council to complete Amalinda Housing Co-operative. Malema said the EFF motion was adopted, and the municipality completed the project.

Among the promises were that:

  • Every EFF municipality would conduct a land audit to determine true land ownership details of every piece of land in the municipality, ascertain current land use, and expropriate abandoned and unused land for redistribution to the landless.
  • Every EFF municipality would have its own municipal land reform plan outlining municipal-based land reform targets. These targets would be aimed at resolving urban land hunger in urban and peri-urban municipalities and ensuring access to land for housing, urban agriculture, and black-led industrial activities. In rural municipalities, these targets would be focused on increasing agricultural production and providing land for housing.
  • Every EFF municipality would formalise all informal settlements under its jurisdiction and ensure the areas were provided with services and properly zoned to ensure that houses could be built in these areas in short to medium term.
  • Every EFF municipality would have a land and agricultural development directorate to prioritise availing land to needy citizens and provide all the necessary support for agricultural development, including assisting emerging farmers with business planning, production support, and marketing assistance.
  • EFF ward councillors would work with young people in the wards that they governed to initiate and grow at least one agricultural project, providing a source of income for young people in their respective wards.

For indigent households, every EFF municipality would establish indigent household units in the mayor’s office by June 2022.

Households that depended on social grants would qualify for free basic services without having to register on the indigent database. The EFF would continue to fight for the increase of social grants.

He said all qualifying learners from indigent households would automatically qualify for municipal bursaries.

Malema would also like municipalities to have anti-corruption units headed by men or women of integrity. He said his party would increase municipal internal audit capacity to enhance efficiency and effectiveness in governance and to pre-empt all forms of corruption.

–TimesLIVE

‘We’ll Build RDP Houses In Sandton If EFF Takes Over Joburg’: Malema

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CIC Julius Malema


THE upmarket area of Sandton will see the construction of RDP houses near the affluent northern area if the EFF takes over the City of Joburg after the November 1 national local government elections.

This was the pledge made by EFF leader Julius Malema during the launch of his party’s election manifesto and the celebration of what would have been the 85th birthday of late struggle icon Winnie Madikizela-Mandela at Gandhi Square in the Joburg CBD Sunday.                                   

Malema said the EFF’s election manifesto covered the needs of all people, including the rural poor and those deprived of fishing licenses.

Speaking to an audience of over 15 000 who attended the event, he told them that an EFF government “was going to identify land next to Sandton to build RDP houses in the area”.

“This is to promote integrated human settlements. We belong to each other and you must live together,” he said.

Referring to so-called hijacked buildings in Tshwane, Joburg and other metropolitan areas, Malema said his party was going to repossess these and create accommodation for poor people.

“We are not saying those buildings were hijacked by foreigners. We are saying those buildings were hijacked by criminals and must be returned to the people,” Malema said.

He said areas such as Hillbrow and Berea in Johannesburg, and Sunnyside in Pretoria, were among his party’s priorities when it came to repossession to create houses and student accommodation.

Malema also announced his party was going to impose a “property wealth tax” on all those who resided in suburban areas of South Africa.

This was a massive backtrack on a similar comment he made two weeks ago while addressing his supporters at Bophelong.

At that time, he insinuated that only white people would be expected to make such a payment, to subsidise those who are recipients of SASSA grants.

Speaking at Sunday’s launch, however, the EFF leader said: “The property wealth tax will affect those that live in big houses and have big yards. We are going to tax them because they are rich, they must subsidise the poor.

“It means Dali (advocate Dali Mpofu SC), who lives in Houghton, must pay for a person. [It] includes myself. I live in Sandton. I must pay the property wealth tax,” Malema said.

Health dept suspends DG Sandile Buthelezi over alleged role in Digital Vibes saga

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Dr. Sandile Buthelezi

  • The Department of Health has suspended Director-General Sandile Buthelezi over the Digital Vibes scandal.
  • The department’s Foster Mohale said Buthelezi would now have to clear his name with the Special Investigating Unit.
  • Former health minister Zweli Mkhize was placed on special leave by the president over the matter and has since resigned.

The R150-million Digital Vibes scandal has claimed yet another victim, and this time it’s the Director-General of the Department of Health Dr Sandile Buthelezi who has been suspended.

The department’s Foster Mohale confirmed to News24 on Sunday that Buthelezi had been suspended over his alleged role in the Digital Vibes tender.

In June, President Cyril Ramaphosa placed the health minister Zweli Mkhize on special leave so he could respond to allegations against him in the Digital vibes saga. Mkhize later resigned.

According to Mohale, when Buthelezi joined the department between May and June last year, he found that the contract had already been awarded. However, it continued while he was in charge, until the Special Investigating Unit’s probe revealed that it had been unlawfully awarded.

It was alleged that the tender process had been set up to favour Digital Vibes.

“He (Buthelezi) was the accounting authority and what happened could have not happened without his knowledge. There is no timeframe to his suspension, it’s now between him and the SIU to clear his name,” said Mohale.

He added that it was not yet known when Buthelezi’s suspension would be lifted, as that would be dependent on how the process went.

Last month, there were questions over whether Buthelezi had either been fired or suspended after Minister Joe Phaahla appointed the department’s Deputy Director-General Dr Nicholas Crisp as acting director-general.

This was after Buthelezi had been fingered in the SIU’s report on Digital Vibes.

However, Mohale said at the time Buthelezi had taken took a leave to deal with personal matters.

Why would you experience worse side effects after your second Pfizer shot?

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….we asked the health experts

By Sanet Oberholzer

I was delighted when I felt fit as a fiddle after receiving my first Pfizer shot to guard against Covid-19.

Then I started hearing about people who’d gone for their second Pfizer jab. Some felt  hundreds afterwards, but others felt awful and said they’d experienced worse side effects the second time round — sometimes feeling flat for up to two days.

Why might some people experience stronger side effects after their second dose? We asked a series of health experts.

Before seeing what they have to say, it’s important to note that Pfizer is a mRNA vaccine. This type of vaccine contains a molecule (mRNA) that teaches your body’s cells how to make the proteins needed to trigger an immune response.

WHAT THE EXPERTS SAY

PROFESSOR VERONICA UECKERMANN

Head of the Infectious Diseases department at the University of Pretoria

The immune system is already primed by the first jab. When you get the second one, your immune system recognises the proteins [produced by the cells that have taken up the vaccine] and mounts an immune response to it.

The side effects that people commonly experience are flu-like symptoms such as body aches, fever, headache — like one would with a viral illness. This is because the immune system is responding as it would to a viral infection.

PROFESSORS HANNELIE MEYER AND ROSE BURNETT

Meyer is the head of the SA Vaccination and Immunisation Centre (Savic) at Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University. Burnett is a scientific adviser at Savic

When you get the first dose of the vaccine, your immune system is activated and your immune cells are basically “primed” or trained to identify and get rid of SARS-CoV-2 [the virus that causes Covid-19] without actually exposing you to this virus.

This immune response includes an inflammatory response, which is responsible for the side effects. Though not experienced by everybody, these side effects are normal and usually mildtomoderate. They signify that your body is building protection against SARS-CoV-2.

However, such protection is not optimal after the first dose, hence the need for a second.

When you get the second dose of the vaccine, you already have ready-made antibodies and primed T-cells that respond robustly to the spike proteins produced by the cells that have taken up the vaccine, which explains why some people experience a strong reaction.

Similar to the first dose, these side effects should subside within two to three days and should not discourage you from going for the second dose.

While the first dose provides only partial immunity, two weeks after the second dose you will have high protection against severe disease, hospitalisation and death.

Don’t worry though if you don’t have side effects at all. This doesn’t mean that you haven’t mounted an immune response, since many people produce good immunity without experiencing these side effects.

PROFESSOR SHABIR MADHI

Professor of vaccinology, director of the Vaccines & Infectious Diseases Analytics Research Unit at Wits University and co-director of African Leadership in Vaccinology Expertise

It is well recognised that reactogenicity [the capability of a vaccine to cause a reaction] is higher after the second dose of mRNA vaccines than after the first.

This might be because the immune system has been “sensitised” and mounts a more intense response with the second dose. However, the converse is seen for the AstraZeneca vaccine

Is Ramaphosa cut from the same cloth as Madiba or did he just hope we’d make the connection with that shirt?

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Cyril Ramaphosa addressing the nation in the shirt that caused a stir. Image: GCIS

By Suthentira Govender

If you’ve got it, flaunt it. And if you don’t have it … borrow it. When President Cyril Ramaphosa wore a flamboyant black and white shirt at a recent “family meeting” to announce SA’s move to lockdown level 2, it wasn’t the easing of restrictions that caused comment as much as his bold attire.

Ramaphosa’s new look immediately trended on social media. Many ridiculed him for his choice of shirt and accused him of trying to emulate Nelson Mandela’s iconic look to convince South Africans to vaccinate.

The loose-fitting, patterned shirt had been popularised by Mandela, who was often seen at formal affairs in his casual look.

“My kids laughed when they saw him with this shirt. They asked me what was wrong with Cyril, why is he trying so hard to look like Mandela?” said one Twitter user after Ramaphosa’s television appearance.

One South Africa Movement leader Mmusi Maimane also jumped on the bandwagon, jokingly saying he could no longer wear his favourite shirt as it bore a resemblance to the president’s.

Sonwabile Ndamase, the designer of the Madiba shirt, is not fazed by critics of the Ramaphosa look.

“I’ve made quite a number of shirts for him. He has worn the shirt to previous events. I think it’s just now that people took notice of it.

“I think he was making a statement for the start of Heritage Month.”

Ndamase said Ramaphosa became familiar with his work through their engagements over the years.

“His secretary called me about three years ago. I had to go and take his measurements. I went to the headquarters of the ANC where he gave me about 30 minutes of his time to discuss what he wanted. He told me I needed to deliver those shirts with immediate effect.

 “The president went for more neutral shirts, more along the lines of the Madiba shirts. I did incorporate a bit of his Venda background with the pink on the pockets of the shirt he wore when he addressed South Africans.”

The presidency preferred not to comment.Designer Sonwabile Ndamase with Mandela.
Image: Supplied

For Ndamase, the fact that