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Google’s subsea cable meant to improve internet speeds and lower costs reaches South Africa

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Earlier this year we talked about Google’s Equiano cable landing in Africa. The first country to be connected was Togo back in March. This subsea cable of theirs should lead to lower internet costs and faster speeds in some African countries in Africa.

You can read about the cable here: Google subsea cable lands in Africa, to improve internet speeds and lower costs

The update is that the cable landed in Cape Town, South Africa on the 8th of August. The West Indian Ocean Cable Company (WIOCC) which has some kind of partnership with Google on the Equiano cable is quoted saying:

Its commitment to delivering a portfolio of wholesale services, based on strategic investment in subsea and terrestrial digital infrastructure, has been further demonstrated with the arrival in South Africa, on 8 August 2022, of Google’s Equiano cable.

Rise in popularity of anal sex has led to health problems for women

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Incontinence, bleeding and STIs among consequences, say two surgeons, who want doctors to raise the topic with patients

Women in the UK are suffering injuries and other health problems as a result of the growing popularity of anal sex among straight couples, two NHS surgeons have warned.

The consequences include incontinence and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) as well as pain and bleeding because they have experienced bodily trauma while engaging in the practice, the doctors write in an article in the British Medical Journal.

Tabitha Gana and Lesley Hunt also argued that doctors’ reluctance to discuss the risks associated with anal sex was leading to women being harmed by the practice and letting down a generation of women who are not aware of the potential problems.

In the journal, they said “anal intercourse is considered a risky sexual behaviour because of its association with alcohol, drug use and multiple sex partners”.

However, “within popular culture it has moved from the world of pornography to mainstream media” and TV shows including Sex and the City and Fleabag may have contributed to the trend by making it seem “racy and daring”.

However, women who engage in anal sex are at greater risk from it than men. “Increased rates of faecal incontinence and anal sphincter injury have been reported in women who have anal intercourse,” the report said.

“Women are at a higher risk of incontinence than men because of their different anatomy and the effects of hormones, pregnancy and childbirth on the pelvic floor.

“Women have less robust anal sphincters and lower anal canal pressures than men, and damage caused by anal penetration is therefore more consequential.

“The pain and bleeding women report after anal sex is indicative of trauma, and risks may be increased if anal sex is coerced,” they said.

National Survey of Sexual Attitudes research undertaken in Britain has found that the proportion of 16- to 24-year-olds engaging in heterosexual anal intercourse has risen from 12.5% to 28.5% over recent decades. Similarly, in the US 30% to 45% of both sexes have experienced it.

“It is no longer considered an extreme behaviour but increasingly portrayed as a prized and pleasurable experience,” wrote Hunt, a surgeon in Sheffield, and Gana, a trainee colorectal surgeon in Yorkshire.

Many doctors, though, especially GPs and hospital doctors, are reluctant to talk to women about the risks involved, partly because they do not want to seem judgmental or homophobic, they add.

“However, with such a high proportion of young women now having anal sex, failure to discuss it when they present with anorectal symptoms exposes women to missed diagnoses, futile treatments and further harm arising from a lack of medical advice,” the surgeons said.

NHS patient information about the risks of anal sex is incomplete because it only cites STIs, and makes “no mention of anal trauma, incontinence or the psychological aftermath of the coercion young women report in relation to this activity”.

Health professionals’ disinclination to discuss the practice openly with patients “may be failing a generation of young women, who are unaware of the risks”.

Claudia Estcourt, a professor of sexual health and HIV and member of the British Association for Sexual Health and HIV (BASHH), backed the surgeons’ call for doctors to talk openly about anal sex.

“BASHH strongly supports the call for careful, non-judgmental inquiry about anal sex in the context of women with anal symptoms,” she said.

“Within sexual health services, women are routinely asked about the types of sex they have so that comprehensive assessment of likely cause of symptoms, investigations needed and management can be made.

“We find that by explaining why we are asking these questions, asking them in sensitive, non-judgmental ways and giving patients time to answer, are all key to providing the best care.

“We are highly skilled in assessment of women with possible sexually caused anal trauma, whether through consensual or non-consensual sex, and would encourage women with concerns to contact their local sexual health clinic or sexual assault service as appropriate.”

–The Guardian

Herman Mashaba leads protest after wife’s elderly relative raped and murdered in her home

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ActionSA leader Herman Mashaba leading a demonstration
  • A 77-year-old relative of Herman Mashaba’s wife was raped and murdered, allegedly by two men at her home in the North West.
  • North West police confirmed the incident happened on 7 August, and two people were arrested. 
  • Colonel Adele Myburgh said one appeared in court on Thursday, while the second is expected to appear on Friday.  

ActionSA president Herman Mashaba said the gang rape of eight women in West Village, Krugersdorp, last month hit home after his wife’s aunt was raped and murdered in her home, allegedly by two individuals.

Mashaba said the 77-year-old woman lived alone in the North West.

North West police spokesperson Colonel Adele Myburgh confirmed the incident occurred on Sunday.

Myburgh said the woman’s body was only discovered in her house on Tuesday.

The first suspect was arrested on Tuesday and the second on Wednesday.

According to Myburgh, one of the men appeared in the Moretele Magistrate’s Court on Thursday and the case was postponed to Wednesday.

The second man is expected to appear in court on Friday.

“Fortunately, they [suspects] have been arrested… [a] 77-year-old woman, living on her own, a God-loving human being, raped and murdered by two men in their 30s. At the same time, we say we have a government; what type of government do we have?” Mashaba said outside the Krugersdorp Magistrate’s Court on Thursday.

Mashaba joined scores of protesters from different political parties outside the court, where seven people appeared in connection with the gang rape of eight women in West Village last month.

The court heard that six were from Lesotho and Mozambique, while the seventh was from South Africa. They are aged between 23 and 48.

The court also heard their addresses were unknown, and they were abandoning their bail applications.

On Wednesday, seven others appeared in court in connection with the case.

KRUGERDORP, SOUTH AFRICA - AUGUST 11: Herman Masha

ActionSA members and Herman Mashaba protest against rape cases outside the Krugersdorp Magistrate’s Court.

Gallo Images Gallo Images/Fani Mahuntsi

Fourteen men now stand accused of robbing and raping the women, who were part of a crew filming a music video at a mine dump.

Initially, all the accused only faced a charge of being in the country illegally, but they now also face multiple counts of rape, sexual assault, and robbery with aggravated circumstances.

The men were among more than 80 people arrested during raids launched after the incident.

Mashaba said he had written to Police Minister Bheki Cele and Gauteng police commissioner Lieutenant-General Elias Mawela on Tuesday to get the name of the production company.

KRUGERDORP, SOUTH AFRICA - AUGUST 11: Herman Masha

Herman Mashaba and ActionSA members protest outside a Krugersdorp court on Thursday.

Gallo Images Gallo Images/Fani Mahuntsi

“I’ve given them seven days to tell us the production [company] behind this because we [have] got difficult questions to ask. We want answers.”

Mashaba said he was “not happy” with the progress made in the case.

“The police have a constitutional obligation to apprehend and punish… I’m not happy because it looks like we are dealing with a bigger problem than simply a question of eight women who were humiliated.

“Their lives have been destroyed, so we must never celebrate what the police have done so far because they have not done us any favours,” he said.

Ace Magashule loses ConCourt bid to appeal ANC suspension

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Ace Magashule
  • The Constitutional Court has dismissed Ace Magashule’s application for leave to appeal his suspension from the ANC.
  • This is Magashule’s third legal blow in his efforts to return to his job at Luthuli House.
  • He was suspended from the ANC in May 2021 because of the party’s step-aside rule.

The Constitutional Court has shut the door on suspended ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule’s hopes of returning to his official duties at Luthuli House.

The apex court issued a short judgment on Wednesday, saying that his application for leave to appeal his suspension from the ANC was dismissed with costs.

“The Constitutional Court has considered the application for condonation and the application for leave to appeal. It has concluded that, although there are no reasonable prospects of success on the merits of the application for leave to appeal, the delay in bringing the application for leave to appeal is minimal,” the court wrote in its judgment.

It added:

The explanation for the delay is adequate, and there is no prejudice to the respondents. The condonation is granted, but leave to appeal must be refused for lack of reasonable prospects of success.

Magashule had approached the Constitutional Court after the Supreme Court of Appeal dismissed his application for leave to appeal his suspension in January.

The suspended ANC leader had first lost an appeal bid when the Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg dismissed his application in September 2021.

Magashule was suspended from the ANC in May 2021 because of the party’s step-aside rule.

The rule requires ANC members facing criminal charges to step aside while their court cases are under way.

Judgement was reserved in the state’s case against ANC’s suspended secretary-general Ace Magashule on Tuesday at the Free State High Court. Magashule’s legal team argued for the case against him to be thrown out in relation to the R255 million asbestos scandal.

He refused to step aside and was forced to do so by the party’s then-deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte.

Magashule is facing corruption charges linked to the Free State asbestos corruption scandal.

Earlier this year, he indicated his willingness to contest for a position at the ANC’s national conference in December.

However, the prospects of his ambitions becoming a reality have been ultimately dismissed following the apex court ruling.

The step-aside rule has caused much debate in the ANC, with several popular leaders being affected by its implementation.

The ANC national executive committee (NEC) recently expanded the rule to prohibit any member affected by it from even contesting for leadership positions at ANC conferences.

WATCH | Carl Niehaus lashes out at ANC decision to ‘dissolve’ Dullah Omar Region

Suspended ANC member Carl Niehaus has joined a chorus of outraged party members who have lashed out at the decision to disband the Dullah Omar Region in the Western Cape. On Tuesday, he spoke to News24 outside the Free State High Court where suspended ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule appeared for the second day.

The resolution will continue causing much debate in the party as nominations for the ANC top six and NEC roles open in the coming weeks.

The ANC in KwaZulu-Natal and Limpopo have called for the rule to be scrapped.

In his closing address at the party’s policy conference in July, ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa said there was much support for the step-aside rule. He added that those who raised concerns about its application would be allowed to do so.

–News24

Fists fly during a Joburg council as EFF and DA councilors go physical

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EFF CIC Julius Malema
  • A Joburg council sitting ended abruptly after a fight broke out between EFF and DA councillors.
  • The parties offered differing versions as to how the fighting started. 
  • The DA opened a criminal case against EFF members for assault and intimidation. 

The DA opened charges of intimidation and assault against EFF members after punches flew during a marathon 12-hour Johannesburg council meeting, which ended up being suspended during the pre-dawn hours on Thursday.

The City of Joburg’s council speaker, Vasco Da Gama, laid a criminal case against EFF members on Thursday morning at the Hillbrow police station.  

The council sitting ended at 01:00 after a 12-hour session. 

Da Gama called the meeting – and there were several items on the agenda. 

The most contentious item was the condonation of the acting secretary of the council. 

The EFF, ANC and smaller opposition parties accused Da Gama of rigging council processes to push a DA-favoured candidate to act as council secretary. 

The issue has dragged on for months – and, when the item came up on the agenda on Thursday, it caused chaos. 

The DA-led coalition government proposed that Madimetja Molekwa, who currently works in Parliament, acts as council secretary. 

But the opposition believes Molekwa’s appointment cannot occur while another acting secretary, Andile Gcobinca, is still in the position and earning a salary. 

Gcobinca’s contract is expected to end in September.

Opposition parties wanted the DA-led caucus to wait until the end of the contract before confirming Molekwa. 

When Molekwa’s condonation was brought up for debate and voting, after a marathon of 12 hours, the EFF, ANC and smaller parties raised objections. 

Rowdy councillors hurled petty insults, while demanding a chance to air their views and be recognised by the council speaker. 

“If he speaks, I am going to speak also,” several councillors declared through their microphones, while raising objections during the sitting. 

Others blew air through the microphones to ensure those who were speaking could not be heard.

On how the commotion and fighting started, the EFF and the DA offered differing versions. 

A DA councillor, Leah Knott, told News24 that EFF councillors demanded the removal of the speaker from the podium. 

When DA councillors ushered Da Gama out of the council, EFF councillors pounced on anyone around them. 

Knott said that, as she tried to document the altercation, an EFF member threatened to take her phone. 

Knott said that one DA member, who already had an injured arm, was pushed around by EFF members. 

“The seconded secretary has a Master’s in management. I do not understand why the opposition does not want to support him. None of their reasons is valid. Instead of allowing the item to be voted on, they decided to disrupt council,” Knott said.  

“They tried to remove the speaker from his seat. When they failed, the EFF resorted to fighting anyone. A lot of it was very racial and all about whites versus blacks. Our male councillors had to form circles around the female councillors. Besides Councillor Benjamin, who already had an injured arm, she got thrown around quite a bit,” Knott said. 

An EFF councillor, Sepetlele Raseruthe, the caucus leader, told News24 the party was on the defence. 

“We went to the speaker because we wanted the mic, the fighters wanted the mic, and the DA members hit one of us. That is what happened there. Now it was a scuffle because we had to defend ourselves. We were not going to fold our arms while we were under attack,” Raseruthe said. 

Raseruthe said the EFF believed Molekwa was a fake secretary and had already started acting in the position, despite the council not confirming his appointment. 

The ANC blamed the chaos on Da Gama. 

The chief whip of the ANC caucus, Eunice Mgcina, said the DA had acted in its own “subjective interest” regarding the appointment of an acting secretary. 

ANC can no longer guarantee safety of foreigners

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May 26 2018 ANC spoksperson, Pule Mabe , during the ANC provincial Conference in Limpopo. PHOTO: ANTONIO MUCHAVE/SOWETAN

Zimbabwe immigrants in SA fear for their safety

ZIMBABWEANS living in South Africa (SA) have expressed concern over their safety after a top African National Congress (ANC) official said Pretoria could not guarantee the safety of foreign nationals anymore.

ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe made the statement last week, claiming that foreigners illegally residing in SA were to blame for various crimes.

Mabe was addressing ANC members who were picketing at a police station over increased crime allegedly committed by undocumented foreign nationals.

But chairperson of the Zimbabwe Community in SA, Ngqabutho Mabhena described Mabe’s utterances as unfortunate, and stoking xenophobic attacks.

Chairperson of the Zimbabwe Community in SA, Ngqabutho Mabhena

“The constitution of South Africa guarantees the safety of any foreigner in the country and Mabe’s statement is just unfortunate,” Mabhena said, adding that Mabe’s utterances rekindled memories of the xenophobic horror attacks directed at Zimbabweans in that country over the years.

In April, a Zimbabwean, Elvis Nyathi was stoned and burnt to ashes by seven South Africans who accused him of theft.

“The constitution is very clear on how those who are not documented should be treated. As a spokesperson of the ruling party, Mabe should have realised the impact of his utterances although we believe that he said this out of excitement and not from the ANC point of view,” Mabhena added.

Foreign Affairs ministry spokesperson Livit Mugejo did not respond to questions sent to him. Efforts to obtain a comment from the Zimbabwe Consulate in South Africa were also fruitless.

However, critics have said ANC’s position on illegal immigrants, particularly Zimbabweans, was connected to the party’s election campaign.

In 2019, the party announced that it was getting tough on illegal immigrants, claiming that is what the South African society wanted.

In June this year, the ANC identified illegal migration as one of the issues that threaten peace and stability in that country. — NewsDay

South Africa remains tight-lipped over the ill-treatment of illegal miners

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SOUTH AFRICA (SA) has remained tight-lipped over videos which went viral on social media exposing the inhumane treatment of some illegal miners.

The suspects, believed to be foreigners mining in the neighbouring country and accused of rape, were forced to undress reportedly by South African officials.

Their nude photographs and videos immediately went viral on social media platforms.

Pictures of illegal miners who were stripped naked and sjambokked

Earlier, South Africa Home Affairs ministry media and liaison officer Thabo Mogkola referred all media questions to the police.

“Please seek comments from the police media team,” Mogkola said.

Zimbabwe’s Consular General in South Africa Melody Chaurura said her office was yet to get information regarding the incident.

“The office is yet to establish facts relating to the nationalities of the individuals affected. There is, however, no doubt that the footage exposes human rights violations. We keep the hope that all relevant players will seek to better understand the circumstances,” she said.

Reacting to the video, South Africa Police minister Bheki Cele said reinforcements would be sent to West Village in Krugersdorp, Gauteng, to help fight illegal mining in the area where the alleged rape incident occurred.

In the pictures and video footages, the suspected miners are seen being forced to lie down naked, while their captors — who appeared to be officials, stand over them.

In other video footages, some of the miners are seen being beaten up by a mob using sticks.

One of the miners is seen falling down during the melee and was trampled upon.

Reports state that some women had been raped recently in the area just before the capture of the illegal miners.

The gang, alleged to be behind the rapes, is also said to have robbed some models of their mobile phones, rings, jewellery, handbags, cameras and cash.

The incident shocked South Africa, which has some of the world’s highest crime and rape rates, renewing age-old calls for the country to punish rapists by chemical castration if convicted.

“What is obvious is that not all of those arrested were guilty of rape and the proper process and humane treatment of suspects should have been followed,” Andrew Masiya of Musina said.

“We have officials who are deliberately ignoring procedures when it comes to people suspected to be foreigners, and this institutional disregard of human rights is sickening.”

–NewsDay

Zimbabweans feel more at home in South Africa than Zimbabwe

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When Petunia Sibanda came to South Africa from Zimbabwe in 2003, she arrived the way most people she knew did in those days – late at night, crossing over a dry patch of the Limpopo River that slices the two countries from each other, pretending not to see the crocodiles in the distance.

For several years, she lived her life in South Africa on the margins, constantly afraid her lack of legal status would be found out and she would be sent back home to a country where the economy was in free fall.

Then Ms. Sibanda found a lifeline. In 2011, she heard about a special visa for Zimbabweans, which would allow them to live and work in South Africa legally.

“I could live freely for the first time,” she says.

But the reprieve was always temporary. Last November, the South African government confirmed that it would no longer renew the 178,000 so-called Zimbabwe Exemption Permits it had issued. All ZEP holders, including Ms. Sibanda, had until the end of 2022 to get a different visa, or leave the country permanently.

Ms. Sibanda and tens of thousands of others in her position now face an existential question. Do they stay in the country where they have made their lives for the last decade, starting families and businesses, and become undocumented? Or do they return to the country they fled all those years ago, where conditions are perhaps even worse than a decade ago? How South Africa handles the issue in the coming months will set the tone in a region that, like elsewhere in the world, is grappling with growing xenophobia amid shrinking resources.

“We love our country, but we have nothing to go back to,” says Ms. Sibanda, whose four children were all born in South Africa.

Political points

Immigration has long been a hot-button political issue in South Africa. The country’s relative wealth, developed industries, and expansive legal rights for foreigners – at least on paper – have made it a popular destination for migrants from across Africa since the end of apartheid.

Today, it hosts more migrants than any other country in Africa. Simultaneously, though, amid high poverty and unemployment, anti-immigrant sentiment is often used by political leaders to rally working-class voters, and xenophobic violence flares regularly.

In practical terms, ZEP holders are a tiny fraction of South Africa’s migrant population, which is estimated between 3 million and 4 million people. But their case has taken on an outsize symbolic significance here, becoming a lightning rod in a wider debate about the role of migrants in the country.

When the government announced it would no longer renew ZEPs, the move was held up by political leaders as proof that they were doing something about South Africa’s rising unemployment and overstrained public services in the shadow of two years of a global pandemic. It came as an anti-immigrant vigilante movement called Operation Dudula – Zulu for “to beat back” – has organized sometimes-violent mass rallies around the country to intimidate immigrants.

For many Zimbabweans, making a new life in South Africa has been a halting, fraught process. Waves of xenophobic violence have swept the country several times in the past decade, targeting working-class foreigners and their businesses. Most recently, in 2021, many foreign-owned businesses were looted during widespread riots triggered by the arrest of former President Jacob Zuma on corruption charges, an issue entirely unrelated to immigration.

Terminating the ZEP “is an easy way to score points with voters,” says Loren Landau, a senior researcher at the African Centre for Migration and Society at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. “It’s a populist move.”

Ironically, the ZEP has its origins in neighborly solidarity. When an economic crisis ricocheted across Zimbabwe in the early 2000s and its agricultural economy collapsed, the government there began furiously printing more money. By November 2008, inflation hit 79.6 billion percent, and political repression from the party of President Robert Mugabe, which had ruled the country since 1980, was deepening. The result was a mass exodus. Most of those migrants ended up in South Africa.

In response, the South African government created a permit called the Dispensation of Zimbabweans Project (DZP), which it called a “gesture of support and solidarity” with Zimbabwe – and which also relieved pressure on its own systems. South Africa’s government continued to replace the permit with similar visas until November 2021, noting that Zimbabwe remained in crisis and that Zimbabweans “have made notable contributions” to South African society.

“South Africa is my home”

Farai Mukucha was one of the Zimbabweans who arrived during the more fortunate days. He left Zimbabwe in 2007, and during his first years in the country scraped together a series of informal jobs. In 2010, he applied for the DZP, which allowed him to work formally for the first time as an electrician. He now runs his own business, and two of his three children were born in South Africa.

“To be honest with you, if I go to Zimbabwe now, I’ll be like a foreigner there,” he says. “Yes, it’s my home country, but South Africa is my home.”

Very few ZEP holders are eligible for other types of visas, says Luke Dzviti, chair of the Zimbabwe Immigration Federation, an organization formed earlier this year in order to bring a legal challenge against the government’s decision. As in countries like the United States, migrants in South Africa must prove they are critically skilled in certain professions, or that their employer could not find a South African who could do the job for which they are being hired.

The government insists the rules are necessary to protect jobs for South Africans, given that the country’s formal unemployment rate hovers around 34%. It has also argued that it needs to regulate scarce resources within the Home Affairs Department – which also issues IDs, passports, and other documents – for citizens. But a 2021 study for the Department of Employment and Labour found migrants’ presence in the country had little effect on major issues in the labor market like unemployment and low wages.

Crises around unemployment and public spending aren’t closely linked to migration, adds Mr. Landau of the African Centre for Migration and Society. Instead, they’re easy ways to drum up political support ahead of a 2024 national election that is widely expected to be the biggest challenge to the African National Congress, which has been in power since democracy in 1994.

Mr. Dzviti’s court challenge is one of three currently in motion challenging the legality of ending the ZEP.

“When government makes a decision with such consequences for the lives of so many people, the decision must be taken fairly, and we’ve argued that this one was not,” says Nicole Fritz, executive director of the Helen Suzman Foundation, which brought another of the court challenges. The foundation argues, among other things, that the government didn’t properly consult with those who would be affected by the change – a legal argument that has been used with success in other recent cases.

In response, South Africa’s Department of Home Affairs issued a statement calling the choice to challenge the government’s decision in courts “disturbing” and “sabotage” of South African democracy.

“The decision of the Minister not to extend the exemptions granted to Zimbabwean nationals has been widely supported by South African citizens,” wrote Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi.

The three court cases will be heard together in October. Meanwhile, ZEP holders like Ms. Sibanda are in limbo.

“We are being thrown into the dark,” she says. “We don’t know what future is on the other side.”

Army placed on standby for possible deployment due to ‘SA deteriorating into unrest’

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SANDF TRUCK

Soldiers may only be deployed once it is ordered by President Cyril Ramaphosa, who has to inform parliament first

The SA National Defence Force (SANDF) has ordered some 200 soldiers to be on standby for deployment as “SA is gradually deteriorating into unrest due to criminality”.

The order, dated August 6 and issued by Maj-Gen Patrick Dube, general officer commanding the Army’s infantry formation, states that the soldiers are necessary “in anticipation of deploying in co-operation with the SAPS”.

“It is foreseen that the SANDF might be called to play their secondary role to go on 24-hour standby in anticipation” of further unrest.

The order follows a military command council meeting last week where generals were warned to be on high alert. According to military sources, the generals were warned that all units needed to maintain maximum security with immediate effect in light of the increasing incidents of violence.

Brig-Gen Andries Mahapa, spokesperson for the SANDF, told TimesLIVE on Sunday night the warning order is part of the army’s continued preparation for any eventuality.

“The warning order is part of our military drills whether it is for exercise or deployment.”

According to the order, the main infantry battalion for the preparation is 21 SA Infantry Battalion (21 SAI) based at Doornkop in Johannesburg. That unit has to prepare for an additional 200 soldiers’ accommodation and meals, while 100 Mamba light armoured vehicle drivers also need to be placed on standby at the same base.

Military sources say the order means an additional company of soldiers (150 troops plus support personnel) to support police is now being prepared. One company of soldiers is always on standby in every province for possible deployment in an emergency. This order is for an additional company to be ready.

Doornkop is the most central of the other infantry battalions in light of the past few weeks’ unrest in Gauteng and its neighbouring provinces. 21 SAI also has the most serviceable Mambas available. The Mamba, a light armoured personnel vehicle, is the best suitable of the army’s vehicles for combating urban unrest.

“Placing 200 soldiers on standby means that they will be ready to move in to quell any eventuality,” a former general said. “Even though 100 Mamba drivers seem a lot, it means there will be sufficient drivers should more troops be mobilised. While the first company would move first, it provides a buffer while more troops can be deployed should the situation demand it.”

An order dated August 6.
Image: Supplied

I have no doubt that there is probably sufficient intelligence to have necessitated the SANDF to be prepared for escalating trouble.

Former general

He concurs with Mahapa that the order does not mean the army is mobilising for a full-scale conflict, but rather that it is better prepared than it was last year when violence in KwaZulu-Natal spiralled out of control.

“I have no doubt that there is probably sufficient intelligence to have necessitated the SANDF to be prepared for escalating trouble,” the former general said.

21 SAI had to be finished with its preparation by Saturday, while a final name list of the command group had to have been supplied by Sunday.

Included in the company are some 100 soldiers who completed a crowd control programme last week. This group will also be equipped with crowd control equipment “and must be combat-ready to support and co-operate with SAPS in quelling unrest”, the order states.

The company will be available from Monday for any eventuality.

The former general, who also served in the infantry formation, explained that it does not mean the soldiers will automatically be deployed.

“They may still only be deployed once ordered by President Cyril Ramaphosa, who has to inform parliament about the deployment first. This also only happens should the police request the army to assist when a situation of violence spirals out of control.”

Gauteng’s West Rand has experienced a flare-up of protests over the past days, sparked by the mass rape of a group of women in Krugersdorp by suspected illegal miners.

TimesLIVE

Benni’s Man United move is a time for celebration

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Benni McCarthy

By Timothy Molobi

This week, I want to celebrate Benni McCarthy, following his appointment to Manchester United’s first team coaching staff.

This is a huge move for him and it deserves to be celebrated.

South Africans are making an impact on the international front and McCarthy’s appointment is a stamp of approval for the country’s football coaching talent.

We don’t normally cherish our own as we should. Instead, it’s the outsiders who see something special when we look down on our people.

McCarthy follows in the footsteps of former Al Ahly coach Pitso Mosimane and Bradley Carnell, who both received recognition at the highest level. Carnell, a former Orlando Pirates assistant coach, is the head honcho at St Louis City FC in Major League Soccer in the US.

For me, it is not about what happened to McCarthy at AmaZulu and Cape Town City, but rather about what he can do at Man United.

I can only hope that this move will open doors for more South African coaches to venture into the top soccer leagues of the world.

But I also want to address the issue of Percy Tau at Al Ahly. It is very unfortunate that our Bafana Bafana striker finds himself at a crossroads in Egypt, with reports that he has been transfer-listed.

When Tau decided to follow Mosimane to Al Ahly, I said then that it was the wrong move.

I was chastised, with some calling me unpatriotic. I asked then why a player would want to return to the continent instead of fighting for his position in Europe.

Going to Cairo was a miscalculation for Tau and his agent. The money he was offered might have been good, but sometimes it shoudn’t just be about that.

Tau had a chance to establish himself in Europe. He could have cemented his place in Belgium, where he had already impressed and tasted Uefa Champions League football. These are once-in-a-lifetime opportunities that don’t come easily. So, why would you fluff that?

Mosimane is partly to blame for convincing Tau to join Al Ahly. The odds were stacked against Tau from the onset – the language, culture and just everything were not in his favour.

As much as we can blame Mosimane for promising to revive his career, the final decision was Tau’s. Coaches come and go. We also blamed his English side Brighton & Hove Albion for disrupting his growth by loaning him out several times.

The coach who recommended him to Al Ahly left him out in the cold and he is miserable. Europe is where every player wants to be, but our local players don’t have it in them to slug it out.

I can think of a number of players who have returned home when the going got tough. No one said it was going to be easy out there – it takes hard work, discipline and a big heart to survive any tough conditions, but South African players don’t seem to have that.

Why is it that players from other parts of the continent always make it? I ask myself this question on a daily basis. Is it because life is so much easier in South Africa that players can always get what they want, unlike in other countries?

If this is the reason, then it’s the wrong narrative, because football is universal. If you have talent, you can play anywhere in the world.

Europe is where you test yourself against the best in the business and being there comes with the big bucks.

We should therefore encourage our players to fight to be there, not just to add to the numbers but also to feature in games regularly.

I just hope Tau has learnt his lesson and his next move will be a well-calculated one.

The country needs a fully focused Tau, not a player who is distracted by his next move.

He needs to settle in one team and do what he knows best – play football.

Let me also wish McCarthy all the best of luck in his new role at Manchester United. Hopefully he will represent us well.

Timothy Molobi is City Press’ Editorial Manager: Sports & News

Youngsters gunning for ANC positions are doing it for their pockets

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Gwede Mantashe

Party chair says leaders have to reconnect with communities to turn around election fortunes

ANC national chair Gwede Mantashe says the call for younger leaders to take over the party is not political, but part of the battle for access to resources.

Mantashe, who is eyeing another term as an ANC official, said the party had since its unbanning not only attracted upright citizens, but also those who want to use it to enrich themselves.

The 67-year-old has been an ANC national official for 15 years, as secretary-general for 10 years during Jacob Zuma’s tenure and as national chair since 2017.

There are those who want him retained as national chair, and others who want him to become the next ANC deputy president.  He could face stiff competition from younger leaders who are also tipped for top positions, including human settlements minister Mmamoloko Kubayi and justice and correctional services minister Ronald Lamola.

There is also a group of former ANC Youth League leaders, who were born in the 1970s, pushing for their generation to take the ANC reins..    

Change is happening around us. That’s why there is an outcry that says, ‘Let these old men go. Young people must take over’. Sometime you can see it is a material demand, it’s not a political demand

ANC national chair Gwede Mantashe

“Change is happening around us. That’s why there is an outcry that says, ‘Let these old men go. Young people must take over.’ Sometime you can see it is a material demand, it’s not a political demand. It’s the stage we’re in.

“An organisation that used to be  underground … has opened its doors. This is what the Chinese describe as opening doors for fresh air and mosquitos also come in.

“The ANC must appreciate that it has opened that window, fresh air has come in and the ANC must realise that mosquitoes have also come in. How do you deal with those mosquitos? If [the ANC] doesn’t do that, obviously it will be in trouble.”

Mantashe said for the ANC to renew itself to win back the voters’ trust, it would need to do more than ask leaders  who have been charged to step aside. But he said party leaders would need to reconnect with communities to resolve problems of ordinary citizens.

“The bulk of the people who have not voted for the ANC are working people. Working people have stayed at home and avoided voting for the ANC. We can’t reduce that to a working-class issue …

“Renewal is not about a resolution, it is about us … [talking] to people, listening to criticism and engaging with residents face-to-face. The people who are angry with the ANC, we must listen to them. I have been to a number of regions myself  and I listen to people. People tell me all sorts of things and I listen carefully. That’s all it takes. Take things into consideration when you listen to issues and report back.”

Mantashe added that the ANC communications machinery had failed to publicise the party’s successes. This has resulted in other groups and individuals taking the glory for work done by an ANC government.

“We lost Maluti-a-Phofung [municipality in the Free State]. It is managed by a group called M16.  We go back and say there is no water there, minister of water affairs, please help. Minister (Senzo) Mchunu intervenes and water is restored.  I see people saying thank you, M16. ANC goodbye. It is because we don’t say minister Mchunu went to Maluti-a-Phofung and now there is water … The ANC must have a machinery of communicating what it is doing.”

Mantashe. who is also mineral resources and energy minister, would not be drawn to comment on the debate raging in the party and government that state-owned companies should be moved from the department of public enterprises so that they report to line departments.

“That is above my pay rate. Where we locate what to what portfolio in government. Only one man can make that determination … Cyril Ramaphosa,” he said.

But he was eager to boast about companies  that fall under his departments.

“We have many public enterprises there. The Central Energy fund is one. We’ve got Necsa, Nersa,” he said.

“I run a mining company (African Exploration Mining and Finance Corporation). I found that it was a cash cow for certain individuals. We found in that mining company [there] wasn’t a single mining expert. It was managed by people whose background was in state security.

“We are busy building a mining company now. We have a CEO (former Alexkor CEO Lemogang Pitsoe) who has mining background.”  

–Sunday Times

Ramaphosa, Rhoode reject Fraser’s Phala Phala claims

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WANTED: Cyril Ramaphosa is wanted by the Committee to explain himself about the Phala Phala scandal

In separate submissions to public protector, the president and his security head take issue with key elements of the accusations by the former spy boss



It took almost a month for President Cyril Ramaphosa to inform his head of security that money had been stolen from Phala Phala in an audacious housebreaking that is now threatening to cut short his political career.

A statement by the head of Presidential Protection Services (PPS), Maj Gen Walther “Wally” Rhoode, which was given to the office of the public protector, reveals that even though Ramaphosa reported the security breach to him on February 10 2020, a day after if happened, he only disclosed the following month that money had apparently been stolen.

“For the remaining days of February 2020, the president attended to several commitments across South Africa. On March 2 2020 the president called me to his residence in Hyde Park where he informed me that money from the sale of animals was missing from his residence at the farm. The president did not indicate the amount of money that was missing,” Rhoode says in the statement.
Rhoode’s statement details events that followed the break-in at the Limpopo game farm. However, he disputes many claims made by former spy boss Arthur Fraser, who first made the Phala Phala burglary public early in June and has opened a case against Rhoode and Ramaphosa.
The Sunday Times has not seen Ramaphosa’s responses to questions from the public protector about Phala Phala, but an insider said that he, too, denies accusations that the suspects were illegally detained and that he violated tax laws.

Ramaphosa is under growing pressure from within and outside his party to come clean on what happened during the break-in two years ago.

On Friday, the Speaker of the National Assembly, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, referred a motion by the African Transformation Movement (ATM) for a parliamentary inquiry into Phala Phala to an independent panel. The panel will assess the views of constitutional and legal experts to determine if Ramaphosa has a case to answer and whether action should be taken against him.

Opposition parties met this week to discuss plans to push for Ramaphosa’s impeachment.

In his statement, Rhoode says Ramaphosa first informed him of the Phala Phala break-in while they were in Addis Ababa. On his return to SA on February 11 Ramaphosa had numerous engagements, including the state of the nation address on February 13, attending the tabling of the country’s budget and other parliamentary matters.

Rhoode’s statement to acting public protector, advocate Kholeka Gcaleka, says he treated the break-in as a security breach and a threat to Ramaphosa’s life and that of his family. He said four PPS personnel were sent to assess the breach and protect the premises.

Rhoode says the team found two security cameras had been tampered with and there was a half-open window. But the house was locked and no-one was there who could let them in.

The president has declined the permanent deployment of PPS personnel and technology at the farm on the basis that state resources should not be spent on his personal property, especially when he is not always there
Maj Gen Wally Rhoode
“It bears mentioning that contrary to my advice, the president has declined the permanent deployment of PPS personnel and technology at the farm on the basis that state resources should not be spent on his personal property, especially when he is not always there,” the statement says.

Ramaphosa’s spokesperson, Vincent Mangwenya, declined to comment this week on why the president had not wanted a permanent security detail on the farm. “As you are aware, the matter remains under investigation by the office of the PP [public protector] and the Hawks. The presidency will not comment until the investigations have been concluded,” he said.

An insider said that in his response to the public protector, Ramaphosa says the suspected thieves were first detained by guards on a neighbouring farm that they broke into by mistake, thinking it was Phala Phala.

“The president’s version is that people heard about money at a farm,” the source said.

“They identified the wrong farm and only came to Phala Phala later. By that time the security guards of the other farm were already looking for them. They found two of them and assaulted them. They let them go because they didn’t have any stolen items with them. The money was with others who managed to escape.”

In his response to the public protector, Ramaphosa is said to distance himself from raids that Fraser says took place in Cape Town, and denies bribing suspects to make the matter go away. He also denies that money was recovered from the suspects.

The source said Ramaphosa discloses the name of the person who paid dollars to buy animals at the farm.

In Fraser’s version of events, five men — David Imanuwela, Umbanus Shaumbwako, Petrus Muhekeni, Erkki Shikongo and Petrus Afrikaner — broke into the farm, made off with at least $4m in cash and went on a spending spree on vehicles, properties and other assets.

Fraser accuses Rhoode of taking illegal action to find the suspects and retrieve the cash, but in his statement Rhoode denies this. He dismisses Fraser’s claims as hearsay and details how he went about interviewing a temporary employee at the farm and her brother, who provided several leads.

“I have no knowledge of any money or items derived from the proceeds of the money stolen from the farm being recovered,” Rhoode says. “Furthermore I do not have any knowledge of a referral being made to the Asset Forfeiture Unit in connection with this matter. I have no knowledge of any person, myself included, kidnapping, torturing or paying bribes to the alleged culprits in order to buy their silence in connection with this matter.”

Play Video
Ramaphosa grilled by journalists on #farmgate; responds with ‘due process must be followed’
Journalists repeatedly asked President Cyril Ramaphosa questions regarding the allegations surrounding his Phala Phala farm. #ramaphosa #cyril #farmgate
TimesLIVE Video
Rhoode says that with the authorisation of the then police commissioner Khehla Sitole he accompanied Ramaphosa’s envoy to Africa, Bejani Chauke, on an official trip to Namibia in June 2020 when Chauke had a meeting with President Hage Geingob.

He was not present during the meeting and has no knowledge of what was discussed.

(Sitole was quoted in the Sunday Independent last week as denying any knowledge of the security breach at the farm; Rhoode had not told him about it. He told that newspaper that when he authorised a trip for Rhoode it was for him to act as the president’s driver, and not as a driver for Chauke.)

Rhoode no longer reports directly to the national police commissioner but to the divisional commissioner of protection and security services, in what is viewed as an attempt at damage control.

The Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) is also probing the conduct of police officers involved in the incident while the Hawks are still investigating Fraser’s allegations of defeating the ends of justice and kidnapping.

The Sunday Times has not seen Ramaphosa’s responses to questions from the public protector about Phala Phala, but an insider said that he, too, denies accusations that the suspects were illegally detained and that he violated tax laws. 

Ramaphosa is under growing pressure from within and outside his party to come clean on what happened during the break-in two years ago.

On Friday, the Speaker of the National Assembly, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, referred a motion by the African Transformation Movement (ATM) for a parliamentary inquiry into Phala Phala to an independent panel. The panel will assess the views of constitutional and legal experts to determine if Ramaphosa has a case to answer and whether action should be taken against him.

Opposition parties met this week to discuss plans to push for Ramaphosa’s impeachment.

In his statement, Rhoode says Ramaphosa first informed him of the Phala Phala break-in while they were in Addis Ababa. On his return to SA  on February 11 Ramaphosa had numerous engagements, including  the state of the nation address on February 13, attending the tabling of the country’s budget and other parliamentary matters.

Rhoode’s statement to  acting public protector, advocate Kholeka Gcaleka, says he treated the break-in as a security breach and a threat to Ramaphosa’s life and that of his family. He said four PPS personnel were sent to assess the breach and protect the premises.

Rhoode says the team found two security cameras had been tampered with and there was a half-open window. But the house was locked and no-one was there who could let them in. 

The president has declined the permanent deployment of PPS personnel and technology at the farm on the basis that state resources should not be spent on his personal property, especially when he is not always there

Maj Gen Wally Rhoode

“It bears mentioning that contrary to my advice, the president has declined the permanent deployment of PPS personnel and technology at the farm on the basis that state resources should not be spent on his personal property, especially when he is not always there,” the statement says.

Ramaphosa’s spokesperson, Vincent Mangwenya, declined to comment this week on why the president had not wanted a permanent security detail on the farm. “As you are aware, the matter remains under investigation by the office of the PP [public protector] and the Hawks. The presidency will not comment until the investigations have been concluded,”  he said. 

An insider said that in his response to the public protector, Ramaphosa says the suspected thieves were first detained by guards on a neighbouring farm that they broke into by mistake, thinking it was Phala Phala.

“The president’s version is that people heard about money at a farm,” the source said.

“They identified the wrong farm and only came to Phala Phala later. By that time the security guards of the other farm were already looking for them. They found two of them and assaulted them. They let them go because they didn’t have any stolen items with them. The money was with others who managed to escape.”

In his response to the public protector, Ramaphosa is said to distance himself from raids that Fraser says took  place in Cape Town, and denies bribing suspects to make the matter go away. He also denies that money was recovered from the suspects.

The source said Ramaphosa discloses  the name of the person who paid dollars to buy animals at the farm. 

In Fraser’s version of events, five men — David Imanuwela, Umbanus Shaumbwako, Petrus Muhekeni, Erkki Shikongo and Petrus Afrikaner —  broke into the farm,  made off with at least $4m in cash and went on a spending spree on vehicles, properties and other assets.

Fraser accuses Rhoode of taking illegal action to find the suspects and retrieve the cash, but in his statement Rhoode denies this. He dismisses Fraser’s claims as hearsay and details how he went about interviewing a temporary employee at the farm and her brother, who provided several leads. 

“I have no knowledge of any money or items derived from the proceeds of the money stolen from the farm being recovered,” Rhoode says. “Furthermore I do not  have any knowledge of a referral being made to the Asset Forfeiture Unit in connection with this matter.  I have no knowledge of any person, myself included, kidnapping, torturing or paying bribes to the alleged culprits in order to buy their silence in connection with this matter.”

https://imasdk.googleapis.com/js/core/bridge3.523.0_en.html#goog_1501602524Play Video

Ramaphosa grilled by journalists on #farmgate; responds with ‘due process must be followed’

Journalists repeatedly asked President Cyril Ramaphosa questions regarding the allegations surrounding his Phala Phala farm. #ramaphosa #cyril #farmgate

Rhoode says that with the authorisation of the then police commissioner Khehla Sitole he accompanied Ramaphosa’s envoy to Africa, Bejani Chauke, on an official trip to Namibia in June 2020 when Chauke had a meeting with President Hage Geingob.

He was not present during the meeting and has no knowledge of what was discussed.

(Sitole was quoted in the Sunday Independent last week as denying any knowledge of the security breach at the farm;  Rhoode had not told him about it. He told that newspaper that when he authorised a trip for Rhoode it was for him to act as the president’s driver, and not as a driver for Chauke.)

Rhoode no longer reports directly to the national police commissioner but to the divisional commissioner of protection and security services, in what is viewed as an attempt at damage control. 

The Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) is also probing the conduct of police officers involved in the incident while the Hawks are still investigating Fraser’s allegations of defeating the ends of justice and kidnapping.

–Sunday Times

Mokonyane’s zama zama cynical antics are offensive and childish

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Former Water and Sanitation Minister Nomvula Mokonyane talks about water issues in Fiksburg and around the Country on Friday, December 4, 2015. Picture: KEVIN SUTHERLAND / SUNDAY TIMES - DECEMBER 4, 2015

By Fred Khumalo

Immediately after the installation of the first democratically elected government in South Africa, she was allowed to serve in various portfolio committees in the Gauteng legislature.

Then in 1996, she was elevated to MEC for agriculture, conservation and environment. Three years later, she became MEC for safety and liaison until 2004.

In 2009, she became the premier of Gauteng. Later still, she became a national minister. Today, she is a member of the governing party’s national executive committee.

All these milestones should tell us that Nomvula Mokonyane is a highly seasoned and powerful politician.

This makes a complete mockery of what she has been doing over the past few days, fielding countless radio interviews in which she expressed outrage at what is happening with the zama zamas, sometimes referred to as Marashia, on the West Rand.

The cherry on top was when she led a march by fellow ANC supporters who sang and danced outside the Krugersdorp Magistrates’ Court where over 80 people arrested following the gang rape of eight young women appeared.

Addressing the media outside the court building, she said: “For mining companies to take responsibility and for us as government, we need to now expropriate all those deserted mines. Expropriate that land without compensation for the good of the public. Make sure (the land is) revitalised and creates jobs for our own communities.

The absent mine owners have left these workers, the illegal immigrants, there without taking them back to their countries of origin. “It is the exploitation that has been going on here. We are here to say we cannot live under a reign of terror.

To the outsider, Mokonyane’s soundbites would have seemed sincere and convincing. The words spoke of a person who had been touched by the events on the West Rand.

It is true that the scourge of the zama zamas, and the reign of terror that they have since unleashed on the communities in former mining towns, stems from the disused mines.

But, it is dishonest, ahistorical, cynical and downright opportunistic to lay the blame squarely at the door of the mining houses that abandoned the mines.

Let’s put this in context: if you consider Mokonyane’s experience as a politician and her seniority within the governing party, she is clearly not a disenfranchised, downtrodden political activist who must take to the streets to voice her concerns. She has the power, the experience, the clout and the platform to do something tangible – if she sincerely wants these issues addressed.

A cursory glance through our recent history shows that the zama zama phenomenon has been around as early as 1999.

The South African Chamber of Mines reported in 2015 that more than $150 million was lost to zama zamas between 1999 and 2004.

The rise of the zama zamas was coupled with violence. Communities in former mining towns complained about attacks by these men, many of whom were highly armed. An unofficial curfew has been in place in many of these communities for a long time.

What did Mokonyane, in her various capacities as MEC for safety and security and, later, premier of the province, do to indicate that she had heard the complaints?

Dololo.

The success of the zama zama thugs is as a result of the failure of Mokonyane and her government cronies to regulate and, through this failure or omission, allow a multibillion-rand criminal enterprise.

That is why many people who are even vaguely familiar with the trajectory of the zama zama phenomenon should feel insulted by Mokonyane’s childish antics.

She is a senior member of the governing party and clearly has no right to be protesting. Who is she protesting against? Who is she trying to fool?

As someone who grew up on the West Rand, the plight of communities there should be palpably intimate to her. But clearly not. All she does is pay lip service to what is clearly a deepening crisis.

She and her comrades must take responsibility for the zama zama imbroglio and the suffering it has wrought into the lives of many, not only on the West Rand but in all former mining towns, including the East Rand, which has thus far escaped scrutiny now that the focus is on West Village and the recent rapes.

Fred Khumalo is the deputy news editor of City Press

Sihle Zikalala tastes bitterness of his own medicine

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Sihle Zikalala, Jacob Zuma and Collen Maine.

Sihle, Zuma and redemption

By Mondli Makhanya

For some of those who had witnessed close-up how outgoing KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala and his crew had hounded his predecessor Senzo Mchunu out of office some years back, there was more than a hint of schadenfreude when the former got a taste of his own medicine.

After defeating Mchunu following a brutal and, some say, money-fuelled campaign, they engineered his ouster from the premiership.

In his place, they installed Zikalala’s deputy, the hapless Willies Mchunu, who just looked like one of those worn-out VO Martel sales reps from the 1980s.

They ran rings around him, pulled him by the nose and made him sing for his supper while he enjoyed the benefits of warming the seat for Zikalala ahead of the 2019 general elections.

The poor guy ended up collapsing right in the middle of his final state of the province address in February 2019, a sure sign of elder abuse.

Those were the halcyon days for the motley lot that is now known as the radical economic transformation (RET) forces. They were solidly in charge in several provinces, their high priest was running the country and they were confident of more years of looting if the 2017 Nasrec elective conference went their way.

In KwaZulu-Natal, Zikalala was running the provincial party and the sticky-fingered Zandile Gumede had been elected chairperson of eThekwini, the country’s biggest ANC region.

Both leaders worshipped at the altar of Jacob Zuma and it was always going to be so. Going to Nasrec, they were going to deliver the ANC presidency to Zuma’s preferred successor, who would hopefully ensure that his dirty legacy endured.

But politics cannot always be choreographed to perfection.

Having dealt harshly with their opponents in 2015 and having not been gracious in victory, Zikalala took a divided province to the conference, with the vanquished supporting the elevation of Cyril Ramaphosa above the officially KwaZulu-Natal-backed Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma. As history records, it was a disastrous outing. For the first time since the first post-unbanned ANC conference in 1991, KwaZulu-Natal was not represented in the party’s top six.

Since then, this has been the source of much hurt for the province that prides itself as the conductor of ANC affairs.

Following Ramaphosa’s triumph in December 2017 and his move to the Union Buildings in February 2018, Zikalala made calculations that can be seen as either principled, smart and opportunistic or just plain stupid. He started gradually drifting towards the victors, aligning himself with the president of the party and the republic. This is natural human behaviour, whether in a stokvel, high politics or the corporate sector.

It might have worked out well if the man Zikalala was aligning himself with was serious about power. Instead of consolidating power, Ramaphosa spent his time marvelling at the length of his Ankoles’ horns. When he took the odd interest in politics, it was to preach about forging a false unity with the thieving faction of the ANC.

While Ramaphosa was doing so, his unrepentant foes were undermining his hold on the party and plotting his eventual downfall. This was much to the frustration of his own allies, who wanted to reinforce the change programme that he had sold them.

The likes of Zikalala, who had believed they were joining the winning side, were now being seen as turncoats by the constituents they thought would follow them to the victor’s camp.

The ANC’s two most senior leaders in the province – Zikalala and provincial secretary Mdumiseni Ntuli – became pariahs among the people they led. Asking zombified Zuma supporters to abandon their man was a step too far. Even more so since the person they were being asked to pledge allegiance to was as strong as a leaf in a forest.

But once Zikalala had indicated where his loyalties lay, there was no going back. He also suffered the fate of so many politicians in all three tiers of government. In some political circles, they call this disease “impakamo” (elevation).

This is when the blue-light convoys, reserved seats and other trappings of high office cause politicians to forget how they got there in the first place. Once elevated, he became a “big man”, distanced from the ground that he would need to get him re-elected and possibly hoisted even further up the food chain.

His only chance of further elevation now is if Ramaphosa rewards him with something sweet for his past loyalty or if his comrades so badly want to get him out of the province that they push him for a national position. The latter would render him grateful and beholden to them.

Although he claims to have resigned of his own volition and for the good of the ANC and the province, Zikalala knew from the time he was ousted and then excluded from the provincial executive committee that the guillotine was waiting to fall. So he reasoned that he should save himself the indignity of being mercilessly forced out of office.

It was telling that, in his farewell address, he pledged fealty to Zuma and downplayed his allegiance to Ramaphosa. 

It seems like he realises that he backed the wrong horse and that his political redemption lies in dancing to the Nkandla tune again.

He was, after all, one of the stormtroopers who led the anti-Thabo Mbeki mutiny in Polokwane, a pivotal moment in his own career trajectory.

–Mondli Makhanya is Editor-in-Chief of City Press

Supra hangs on for dear life as Cyril reigns

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Supra Mahupelo

The ANC provincial conference in North West has come down to competing forces within President Cyril Ramaphosa’s camp.

Ramaphosa enjoys the support of the four strong provincial chairperson candidates, which has also turned their lobby groups against each other.

While the president might be the biggest winner after the provincial conference, which is scheduled to start on Friday and end on Sunday, former chairperson Supra Mahumapelo might just spoil the party.

Premier Bushy Maape; former MP Nono Maloyi; the MEC for economic development, environment, conservation and tourism, Kenetswe Mosenogi; and interim provincial committee coordinator Hlomane Chauke are all vying for the chairperson position.

Mahumapelo is the only one in the five-horse race for the top post who does not support Ramaphosa, and he has made his feelings known. He is strongly aligned with the radical economic transformation forces.

With 316 branches confirmed to be in good standing ahead of the conference, Mahumapelo has the support equal to the other candidates. City Press has learnt that Maloyi, Mosenogi and Chauke’s camps have been talking about forming a coalition.

Sources say they are worried about him.

Although the four groups support Ramaphosa to get a second term at the national elective conference in December, their failure to work together is a concern.

They also do not agree on who should be the ANC deputy president – some want acting secretary-general Paul Mashatile, while others are pushing for a woman to hold that position. Meanwhile, the ANC Youth League will work with anyone who can guarantee that a young person gets into the top six.

The three-day conference will be held at the Rustenburg Civic Centre.

“We have agreed on the date, we are only waiting for the national dispute resolution committee to finalise a few outstanding appeals. We have resolved the majority of the disputes in the province and also managed to get other branches which did not qualify for various reasons to rectify their mistakes,” Chauke said, adding that they had more branches in good standing now compared with earlier this year, when the conference had been postponed.

Chauke was nominated by the women’s and the youth leagues, while Mahumapelo ran a quiet campaign with several lobby groups linked to him. His campaign got off to a difficult start when two branches – wards 19 and 96 – that had nominated him in Mahikeng were disqualified for not following the correct process.

But Mahumapelo managed to stage a comeback when he was nominated by branches in the Moretele Local Municipality of the Bojanala Platinum District Municipality. Maape, Maloyi and Mosenogi have been battling it out for support in the branches around the province. According to one lobby group, the conference will be won by the candidate who is willing to offer other candidates good deals.

One lobby group member said:

Deals will be sealed before the conference starts on Friday. At the moment, it looks like Bushy and Nono are emerging strongly, and it will depend on what they offer other candidates.

The source said Maape’s group seemed to have convinced Mosenogi to join them by offering her the treasury position. “Initially, she wanted to be Bushy’s deputy,” said the source.

Another source said Mahumapelo had indicated that he was willing to work with anyone as long as they had an agreement: “Supra is using this as a ticket to the national executive committee in December. He is willing to accept any position in the top five because he wants to use it to campaign to go to the national conference.”

Chauke said most of the branches in the Ngaka Modiri Molema, Dr Ruth Segomotsi Mompati, Dr Kenneth Kaunda and Bojanala Platinum district municipalities, which had taken the party to court, had reached a settlement out of court: “One of the cases, that of Mike Mkandawire, has also been resolved – when he was confirmed as the number one councillor at the Dr Ruth Segomotsi Mompati region. We are expecting the matter to be formally withdrawn.”

Mkandawire and several councillors, Speakers and mayors took the ANC to court when they were not sworn in after November’s local elections. Communities had claimed that some candidates were imposed on them.

–City Press

Sihle Zikalala was booed and heckled out of office

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Sihle Zikalala.

Jabulani Langa

  • Outgoing KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala says he is not concerned about being booed at public events.
  • He was recently booed at the Premier’s Cup that was held in Pietermaritzburg at the Harry Gwala Stadium last weekend.
  • Zikalala was also booed during the elective conference at the end of July and a few months ago in Nkandla at a prayer session for former president Jacob Zuma.

Outgoing KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala says he is not bothered with the recent booing he experienced at public events he attended.

“I don’t want to comment on such things, those are sideshows which do not occupy my focus,” he told News24 on Friday after he announced his resignation and left the public works offices in Durban.

Zikalala made a swift exit after his press briefing, not allowing any questions from the media. 

His exit from office came after he offered the provincial executive committee (PEC) his resignation on Thursday. It accepted it the next day.

Nomusa Dube-Ncube, Amanda Bani and Mbali Fraizer were set to be interviewed for the premier’s position on Saturday, the ANC said.

Zikalala has had a bad run at public events in recent months.

His most humiliating was last weekend when he was heckled and booed at his own event, the Premier’s Cup.

As he was due to sing the national anthem on 31 July, the crowd began chanting: “Phuma Sihle, phuma.” This loosely translates to “go, Sihle, go”.

They crowd began stirring again when he was meant to present the winning trophy, but a fireworks display silenced the hecklers.

Zikalala also faced heckling from his own ANC members two weeks ago during the provincial elective conference where delegates and supporters again sang: “Phuma Sihle, phuma.”

He was further mocked when attending a prayer session held by former president Jacob Zuma’s supporters in Nkandla.

He was booed and ended up leaving the venue.

In a video that went viral, Zikalala was seen leaving a tent with other delegates he arrived with as Zuma’s supporters sang and pointed at him, saying akabuyi (he is not coming back).

The disdain for Zikalala began when Zuma was sent to prison last year. His supporters accused him of being silent when the former president was jailed.

In his outgoing speech, Zikalala aligned himself to Zuma, saying at a political level, there were accusations he betrayed the former president.

“I wish to make it clear that I have supported President Zuma from 14 June 2005 until today. I supported him as a leader and someone who sacrificed his life for South Africa to be liberated,” he said.

Zikalala said there was a “deceptive narrative” that accused him of aligning to President Cyril Ramaphosa.

“It is the tradition of the ANC that dictates that members must always accept and work with the elected leadership whether they have supported the elections of that leadership or not.”

–City Press

State failed to stop ‘savage’ zama zamas

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Government has ignored several dire warnings about the effects of what has been described as a “savage” and “detrimental” illegal mining industry whose practices have now sparked violent protests.

In the wake of the alleged horrific gang rape of eight women who were taking part in a music video shoot near Krugersdorp on Gauteng’s West Rand, it has emerged that the authorities were repeatedly warned that illegal mining in the country was a ticking time bomb. However, no decisive steps had been taken to address the crisis.

As recently as March, Auditor-General Tsakani Maluleke reported that there were 6 100 abandoned mines belonging to the department of mineral resources and energy. 

August 03.2022. SAPS conducted a raid at the West Village mine tailings in Krugersdorp sezing the equipment and destroying the make shift structures that the Zamazama’s were operating under. . Photo: Tebogo Letsie :

He warned the department to speed up the management and rehabilitation of abandoned mines, as they “posed serious health, safety and environmental hazards for nearby communities”.

A separate study conducted by the Legal Resources Centre, the Bench Marks Foundation (BMF) and the International Labour, Research and Information Group made several proposals last year regarding the draft artisanal and small-scale policy.

These organisations set up a coalition that began at the end of 2019. They held consultations with the department of mineral resources and energy and other civil society organisations.

In their submission to the department, they pointed out that unregulated artisanal mining extracted minerals from old, disused and abandoned mines, usually under dangerous conditions.

After its own study into the industry, Minerals Council SA put in R2.5 billion to protect mines belonging to its members.

The council, formerly known as the SA Chamber of Commerce, is an employers’ organisation that supports and promotes the local mining industry.

Alan Seccombe, spokesperson for the council, said security was a major concern for its 78 members who had been directly and indirectly affected by criminal activities.

Seccombe said they were working closely with the security cluster to combat such activities. 

August 03.2022. Bags filled with gold ore seen in a pit as the SAPS conducted a raid at the West Village mine tailings in Krugersdorp seizing the equipment and destroying the make shift structures that the Zama zamas were operating under. . Photo: Tebogo Letsie

However, he admitted that the council did not have data on how many people were involved in illegal mining.

“It’s an opaque, complex activity,” said Seccombe.

For that reason, he said, it was also difficult to put a monetary value to zama zama mining activity.

He said there were company-specific agreements entered into with the department of mineral resources and energy as part of the mining licence and rehabilitation obligations when a company wanted to close down a mine.

The council’s members were bound by their mining rights and closure was subject to the department’s regulations.

Seccombe referred City Press to the department for further details. By the time of going to press, the department had not responded to questions sent to it.

The Auditor-General’s report would not have been complete without the cooperation of the department of mineral resources and energy, which provided critical data.

Although the department had the data available, there is no evidence that it acted on the information, despite the warnings.

‘INEFFECTIVE REHABILITATION’

According to the Auditor-General’s report, there were 6 100 abandoned mines (also known as derelict and ownerless mines) belonging to the department of mineral resources and energy – information that was part of an audit conducted by the department last year.

These mines included 261 asbestos mines and 2 322 others considered to be high-risk mines that held gold, coal and copper.

August 03.2022. IFP, ANC,DA, ActionSA and EFF members came to picket outside the Krugersdorp Magistrate Court where a group of Zama zamas appeared trying to force their way inside the court when they were told the space is already full inside. Photo: Tebogo Letsie

The Auditor-General wrote that the department of mineral resources and energy had conducted its first audit in 2009, which indicated at the time that it managed 5 906 abandoned mines.

The report stated that, before the 2009 audit, the department of mineral resources and energy had rehabilitated five asbestos mines. From 2009 to last year, 27 additional asbestos mines had been rehabilitated.

“To date, none of the 2 322 other high-risk commodity mines has been rehabilitated,” the Auditor-General found.

He found the rehabilitation process to be ineffective in that it had failed to address environmental, social and health concerns.

STATUS QUO ROLLED OVER FROM APARTHEID ERA

The study done by the Legal Resource Centre, the BMF and the International Labour, Research and Information Group was also shared with the department of mineral resources and energy.

The department has acknowledged having perused the contents of the study and says it stated that most mined resources in artisanal mining were gold, diamonds and sand.

At the time, artisanal mining was recorded to have taken place in seven provinces.

After 1994, the study stated, there was hope that poor and marginalised indigenous people would be able to benefit from the economy to alleviate poverty after apartheid.

Large-scale mining had dominated the industry.

“Artisanal mining was seen as a way to alleviate poverty and for individuals to become financially independent,” the study read.

However, it added that this was not the case, as the mining laws enacted after 1994 had not provided regulations for artisanal mining.

The study stated that the majority of artisanal miners were illegally mining due to their inability to access a mining permit or mining right because of financial constraints.

This means that the status quo from apartheid still exists. Large mining companies remain dominant, with poor and marginalised individuals unable to enter the market due to the unaffordability of a mining permit.

“The only other alternative is to engage in illegal artisanal mining,” the study noted.

INCREASE IN ILLEGAL MINERS

The three organisations’ study stated that, in 2008, the world had experienced an economic crisis that had pushed up the price of gold. That crisis had led to a higher unemployment rate in South Africa, which – in turn – had increased artisanal mining.

According to the study, there was a direct correlation between retrenchments of mine workers and increases in informal artisanal mining.

One of the factors causing the retrenchments was the mechanisation of mines, which offered the advantage of safer working conditions, but had led to workers being replaced by machinery.

Other factors were mine closures and the search for higher profits.

One of the companies affected by illegal mining activities is Village Main Reef, which yesterday released a detailed analysis on how the scourge had affected it.

Director Raisaka Masebelanga said: “The genesis of the ‘zama zama’ term is that of a victimless crime and they might possibly be seen as ‘honest hustlers’ who are survivalists and the salt of the earth, but nothing could be further from the truth, because they have a vicious, almost savage and detrimental effect on local, provincial and national economic development.”

He added that an investigation by the company showed that “the so-called zama zamas have accomplices even within legitimate mining concerns which are still operational”.

Dirk van Zyl, head of security at Village Main Reef, said 204 mine employees had been disciplined for assisting so-called zama zamas to gain illegal access to legitimate mines, where they could steal gold.

Van Zyl said: 

To date, 614 zama zamas have been arrested underground, 11 illegal gold plants have been destroyed underground and the [disciplinary] operation will continue to combat the zama zama issues.

“Numerous bodies were found during the past 18 months between the different non-operational Buffelsfontein gold mine shafts.”

These cases, he said, had been reported to the Stilfontein Police Station for further investigation.

‘DEAF EARS’

Luphert Chilwane of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) told City Press that several warnings had been issued by the union to government relating to the “big disaster” that was coming involving illegal mining, but these had been ignored.

“Government failed to improve on its intelligence. Illegal miners are [persistent] and the network’s big. They smoke all sorts of drugs and commit underground killings, and process gold. The competition’s too big,” said Chilwane.

He said the union had at some point suggested regulation of illegal mining to ensure that those involved could be identified and held responsible, according to legislation, if things went wrong.

Regulations would also ensure that the miners paid taxes and contributed to the broader economy.

“The NUM also pushed for the proper closure of disused mines, but was ignored too,” he said.

Chilwane said a special police task team needed to be established to focus on illegal mining activities.

Meanwhile, despite the police focusing on cracking down on illegal miners on the West Rand, where last week’s terrifying robberies and gang rapes took place, the scourge of the zama zamas is widespread. 

August 03.2022. IFP, ANC,DA, ActionSA and EFF members picketing outside the Krugersdorp Magistrate Court where a group of Zama zamas appeared on rape, illegal immigration and illegal mining suspicions. Photo: Tebogo Letsie

In recent weeks, the corpses of people who died or were killed at some of the disused mines in the Langlaagte/Riverlea area were found abandoned on the side of Main Reef Road, the arterial road that connects the east to the west.

Zama zama activity has long been established in eastern towns such as Benoni, where residents have complained for years about being assaulted and harassed by men who use abandoned mines as springboards from which to launch attacks on communities.

In March last year, residents of Benoni signed a petition calling for various government departments (including home affairs and the department of mineral resources and energy) to intervene after different zama zama gangs began fighting with each other.

Ward 27 councillor Lornette Joseph told News24 at the time: “Several areas have residents reporting hearing explosives every single day. They have zama zamas operating close to their homes and the environment’s been badly damaged. Government needs to address illegal mining.”

A year later, not much has changed. If the zama zamas are not fighting each other, they are on the rampage harassing and robbing local communities.

Residents have given up reporting attacks to the police, as their complaints have never been followed up on. The zama zamas are well armed and have been engaged in numerous gunfights with both the police and private security companies assigned to protect abandoned mines.

Gwede takes aim at Raymond Zondo

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Gwede Mantashe. Pic: BABA JIYANE

Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe has gone to court to challenge the damning state capture findings against him.

He is taking legal action against Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, who chaired the Judicial Commission of Inquiry into Allegations of State Capture, in his quest to prove that the commission had acted beyond its mandate when it recommended that he be investigated for corruption because Bosasa had installed security cameras at his three houses.

Mantashe wants the damning findings against him set aside. The ANC national chairperson argues that the recommendation for him to be investigated is beyond the scope of the commission, as its terms of reference were to probe corruption committed by those holding public office.

Mantashe filed his court papers at the Johannesburg High Court on July 29. In a sworn affidavit, he disputes the extensive findings of the inquiry.

Zondo said in the report, which was handed to President Cyril Ramaphosa and made public in March, that there was a prospect that the police investigation would uncover a prima facie case against Mantashe.

In his affidavit, Mantashe disputes the evidence given to the commission by former Bosasa chief operating officer Angelo Agrizzi, saying that he had never met him and that his evidence was completely untrue.

Mantashe’s affidavit reads: 

The commission was appointed to investigate allegations of what has come to be known as state capture. It subpoenaed and invited a number of witnesses to testify during the proceedings.

“One of the witnesses who came to testify is Mr Angelo Agrizzi, a former employee of a company called Bosasa. Bosasa did a lot of business with government institutions and there were allegations that they were involved in corrupt practices.

“During one of the sessions in his testimony, Agrizzi made allegations that Bosasa had installed security cameras at my properties. Mr [Patrick] Mlambo and Mr [Richard] le Roux, who were employees of Bosasa, also testified at the commission that the upgrades had been undertaken. They visited my properties at Cala in the Eastern Cape and Boksburg in Gauteng.”

Mantashe says the commission heard that invoices were produced for the cameras, however, he disputes these allegations, claiming that he was never given such invoices, neither was he ever asked to pay for the security cameras.

“I volunteered without being asked by the commission to appear at the hearings. The suggestion by Agrizzi that the cameras were installed in return for some corrupt favours from my side is untrue and I reject it with the contempt it deserves.

“In fact, not a shred of evidence has been presented to the commission to suggest that I conducted myself in any way whatsoever corruptly. I have never met Mr Agrizzi in my life,” reads the affidavit.

He rejects the findings that the security cameras were arranged on his behalf by security guards who were assigned by the ANC.

“A family friend, Mr Papa Leshabane [a former Bosasa director], offered to install the cameras to my security personnel. There was nothing corrupt about the offer of security cameras…”

He says his admission that the cameras were installed at the three properties does not mean that corruption took place: “I dispute that there was anything untoward about the installations, which were arranged between my security adviser and Mr Leshabane. I deny that it was not done on any basis to solicit favours from him.

I dispute that the evidence pertaining to him falls within terms of references as I was the secretary-general of the ANC at the relevant time and did not hold any position or any employment of the state contemplated in the terms of references.

“I dispute that I was in any position to influence an office bearer in any such position.”

He further argues that the commission acted unfairly in its findings, although it had established that, at the time of the installations, he “clearly fell outside of the list of public officers”.

“I advise that it will be argued at the hearing of this matter that once the commission found that I fell outside the terms of reference, this should have been the end of the matter. The commission should not have had any further inquiries as this would have been beyond its mandate.”

Mantashe laments that the commission did not act within its “bounds and limits” in reaching its recommendations against him, but scrutinised his own personal conduct.

The flaw of this finding is that the commission rules that its function was to unearth corruption generally. This is wrong. The terms of references circumscribe the duties and functions and powers of the commission. “It was not mandated to investigate corruption generally, but did so within the limits and structures of the terms of references.

He adds that the notion that the commission’s function was to unearth corruption is misplaced but it had to operate within its mandate: “The others, to whom the commission refers, are not necessarily comparable to me. To my recollection, the others who benefited from the security installations were officials of government at the time when the security installations were made at their premises.

“To my recollection, none of those people had a family connection to Mr Leshabane, unlike myself. I have a family connection to Mr Leshabane and understood that the security installations were made out of familial loyalty and not for corrupt intention.”

He argues that none of the evidence presented by Agrizzi at the commission found that the security camera installations were used for him to influence any office bearer.

“What the commission failed to take into account is that I was not part of government at the relevant time and there is no evidence to suggest that I influenced anybody in government on account of the security cameras which were installed at my premises.”

He adds that the commission erred in its definition of the “general offence of corruption” in accordance with the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act.

“The commission concluded that, in the circumstances, there is a reasonable prospect that further investigation will uncover a prima facie case against me in respect of the offence of corruption … What the commission in essence accepts is that it has not found evidence of any prima facie case against me, but somebody else might.

The affidavit reads:

What the commission hopes for is that, by some stroke of luck, the state might be able to uncover some corruption.

Last month, the Commercial Crimes Court granted an application by the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) that Agrizzi and former ANC member of Parliament Vincent Smith be tried separately on charges relating to the Bosasa fraud and corruption allegations.

The trials of Agrizzi and Smith, who appeared together in October last year, will be separated because of Agrizzi’s continued ill health. They are charged with corruption, while Smith faces additional charges of fraud for alleged payments made to his company Euroblitz in 2015 and 2016.

The state alleges the payments were made to Smith to silence his opposition to Bosasa during Parliament’s standing committee on public accounts meetings.

Smith has pleaded not guilty to the charges and maintains that the money was a loan from Agrizzi, which the latter denies.

READ: Former ANC MP Vincent Smith to make representations to have charges against him withdrawn

NPA spokesperson Sindisiwe Seboka confirmed that the tax fraud charges stemmed from Smith’s and Euroblitz’s failure to disclose the taxable income from March 9 2009 and July 11 2018, amounting to R28 million.

“Smith stands accused in his personal capacity as well as a representative for his company Euroblitz 48. He is charged with corruption for the gratifications he received from Bosasa in the form of security upgrades to his Gauteng home.

“He further faces corruption charges for accepting gratifications from the Waterfall Golf Estate and Clidet 69,” Seboka said.

Smith has also been charged for accepting cash that was transferred into his personal bank account from Bosasa and other people who have not yet been identified by the state.

Yesterday, Mantashe said he was waiting for the date of the hearing, which will be determined by court.

“The message I am sending is merely that I am challenging the recommendations through the right legal channels,” he said.

–City Press

Shake up looms in KZN as Dube-Ncube takes over as Premier

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INCOMING PREMIER: Nomusa Dube-Ncube

KwaZulu-Natal Finance MEC Nomusa Dube-Ncube is tipped to become the next premier of the province after Sihle Zikalala this week announced that he was stepping down from the post.

This comes after Siboniso Duma was voted in as the provincial chairperson during the province’s elective conference last month.

Dube-Ncube and the other two contenders, Amanda Bani and Mbali Fraizer, are due to sit for interviews soon, but Dube-Ncube is seen as the political heavyweight of the three, buoyed by the fact that she also ran a campaign to become the provincial chairperson.

Sihle Zikalala resigned as KwaZulu-Natal premier on Friday, following his defeat at the ANC provincial elective conference two weeks ago.Photo: Gallo Images

Sihle Zikalala resigned as KwaZulu-Natal premier on Friday, following his defeat at the ANC provincial elective conference two weeks ago. Photo: Gallo Images

ANC insiders in KwaZulu-Natal said Zikalala’s resignation just two weeks after his election loss to Duma for the provincial chairperson’s post in the ANC signalled that a raft of changes were imminent, including a provincial Cabinet reshuffle. 

Siboniso Duma. Photo: Archive

Duma is earmarked for a provincial Cabinet post, which will enable him to monitor the direction of government from the inside.

Among those believed to be vulnerable to the looming shake-up are Education MEC Kwazi Mshengu, Transport, Community Safety and Liaison MEC Peggy Nkonyeni, Human Settlements and Public Works MEC Jomo Sibiya and Arts, Culture, Sport and Recreation MEC Hlengiwe Mavimbela.

Mshengu, Nkonyeni and Sibiya – all allies of Zikalala – failed to make it back into the provincial working committee structure that was elected at the first meeting of the Duma-led provincial executive committee (PEC) on Thursday.

READ: What the KZN conference results mean

eThekwini mayor Mxolisi Kaunda and Speaker of the provincial legislature Nontembeko Boyce also failed to make it back into the working committee, placing their positions at risk.

The working committee runs the day-to-day affairs of the party and comes second behind the top five in terms of guiding its political direction. Mavimbela, like Zikalala, failed to make the cut to be part of the newly elected 30-member PEC.

Zikalala was in a difficult position and circumstances dictated that he should step down, as he had recently lost the political authority to lead the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal.

Even worse, he too might not make it into the new PEC, which would remove him entirely from the important inner circle of influence in the governing party.

Had he opted to continue serving as premier, it would have meant he would be leading a government executive of MECs who enjoyed political authority over him.

An ANC insider in the province said: 

If you aren’t in the PEC, how do you draft the programme of the provincial government? How do you marshal MECs or an executive which has political authority over you? The business of the organisation is run by the officials and the PEC

The insider added that, at the very least, the top five and the PEC would have had to find ways of inviting Zikalala to discussions “just to make sure that messages went through, that there was alignment between the party and the government and that he was aware of the direction”. 

As a consequence, Zikalala left in a huff, claiming that he had been angered by the narrative that he was against former president Jacob Zuma and in President Cyril Ramaphosa’s camp. 

Nomusa Dube-Ncube. Photo: Archive

On Friday afternoon, Zikalala hit back, saying he had supported Zuma for 17 years.

“Some have accused me of betraying Zuma. I wish to make it clear that I’ve supported him right from June 14 2005 until today. I supported him as a leader and as someone who’d [been prepared to sacrifice] for South Africa to be liberated. My support for him has never been personal, but organisational. At no stage did I try to get a position by being associated with him,” declared Zikalala

Zimbabweans suffer horrific medical exclusion in SA; many denied access to public hospitals

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South Africa Home-Affairs Minister Pakitshe Aaron Motsoaledi

•  “She was advanced in her pregnancy, she tried to give birth in one of the hospitals in the Western Cape, the first reaction by clerks at hospitals was to demand to pay 20000 upwards.”

SOUTH Africa arguably boasts the highest standard of healthcare on the continent where everyone can access public healthcare. However, access to public facilities comes at a cost over around US$300 US dollars for some foreigners.

Human rights organisations like Section27 and Lawyers for Human Rights have been receiving an influx of complaints from foreign nationals saying they are being denied access to health care.

Zweli, a Zimbabwean national who asked for anonymity out of fear of victimisation was shot on the leg in December while walking back from his part-time job. He says he experienced medical exclusion but was saved by a good samaritan who negotiated with doctors to get him emergency treatment.

“It was an emergency that prompted the ambulance to bend the regulations of me going through registration. I told him that I am an unemployed foreigner and I don’t have R5,000 on me. So seeing my state of heavily bleeding, he negotiated with doctors who accepted me being pushed on a stretcher to the X-ray,” remembers Zweli

In parts of South Africa, all maternity cases for foreign patients at public health facilities cost an estimated US$935 while routine surgical cases cost over US$3000. Lawyers for Human Rights Head of the Human Rights Refugee Programme, Sharon Ekambaram tells Africanews that every year more foreigners are coming forward to speak out about medical exclusion due to the exorbitant upfront fees.

“Over the last two years, we have seen a spike and the numbers of particularly women who are struggling to access public hospitals to give birth,” explains Ekambaram.

“Their experiences have been horrific. There was one incident that is quite traumatising of a women who had to come to South Africa because her partner was tortured in Zimbabwe and they fled seeking refuge

“She was advanced in her pregnancy, she tried to give birth in one of the hospitals in the Western Cape, the first reaction by clerks at hospitals was to demand to pay 20000 upwards.”

Advocacy group, Section27 two years ago launched court proceedings. In response, the Department of Health has served Section27 papers saying they will oppose the litigation.

“The reason we launch proceedings is to confirm specifically that all pregnant and lactating women, children under the age of 6 which specifically includes those who are migrant persons are entitled to free access to public hospitals,” said Sibusisiwe Ndlela, Section27 attorney.

While upfront fees are required for more specialised medical treatments, the Department of Health’s gazetted circular states that refugees and asylum seekers, with or without permits, can access the same basic health care services as South African citizens.

–New Zimbabwe

Calm restored to Tembisa as Ekurhuleni mayor accedes to residents’ demands after rampant protests

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Tembisa protests left a trail of wreckages like this one
  • Calm has been restored to Tembisa. 
  • Ekurhuleni Mayor Tania Campbell visited the area on Friday, telling residents the City would review its policies following protests by residents. 
  • The community forum says it will wait on the City to make good on its promises.

Ekurhuleni Mayor Tania Campbell has acceded to the demands of Tembisa residents who took to the streets in protest due to what they believe are the City’s anti-poor policies. 

Campbell arrived at the Tembisa Stadium, where about 100 residents awaited her arrival, accompanied by armed police officers driving Nyalas. 

The Ekurhuleni customer care centre, where essential services for the City were rendered, remains gutted along with several vehicles. 

The bulk of the residents’ complaints focused on electricity, rates and taxes. 

Residents also demanded the indigent policy be broadened to include other households who cannot afford to pay for services. 

The community complained about the end of the City’s free basic electricity package issued to residents each month. 

On Friday, Campbell said her late arrival to meet the residents was because she wanted to devise an action plan and not pay lip service to their demands. 

She added the suburb had restored electricity after a substation was vandalised during the protest. 

Wreckage in the aftermath of protests in Tembisa.

Gallo ImagesGallo Images/Luba Lesolle

Campbell said the City has resolved to separate the billing system, which would no longer combine rates, taxes and electricity.

Residents complained their electricity would be disconnected if they did not pay for one of these services. 

The separation would ensure this does not happen. 

“We will ensure that the bills of water, sanitation and rates and taxes are separated from the electricity bill. The indigent policy will be reviewed and ensure all those who can be assisted can benefit,” Campbell said to loud applause and cheers from residents gathered at the stadium.

The City would not embark on disconnecting those in debt for the next 90 days. 

Its indigent scheme would also be altered through legislation at the council.

The threshold for qualifying disadvantaged families would be increased, the mayor said. 

Cars burnt during the Tembisa protests

Cars burnt during the Tembisa protests on Tuesday. Gallo ImagesGallo Images/Luba Lesolle

The only promise Campbell could not assure residents about was the free electricity matter. 

The City provides residents with 53 units of free electricity. The other 100 units were recently removed from its social scheme because of funding from National Treasury. 

Campbell said the City would ask the national and provincial governments for more funding for the scheme. 

Residents were generally pleased with the mayor’s short speech. 

Most left the meeting feeling hopeful and willing to give the City time. 

Xolani Mnisi from the Tembisa Community Forum said protests were unlikely to flare up soon because residents were happy with the mayor’s message. 

“She did say some of the things she promised will take time, such as the issue of indigent that means changing policy. Most of the things she said, we are happy about it. They are willing to review some of their policies, so they become pro-poor. 

“From our position, we cannot say we are thrilled, but we are happy about some of their decisions. One of these is separating electricity from rates, which means if someone does not pay their rates, they will not cut off their access to electricity. It is a step in the right direction,” Mnisi added. 

Campbell could not provide a figure for the damages caused by the protests but she said it was estimated at millions. 

She said residents should look at the destruction and realise every cent spent fixing what was destroyed could have been used for service delivery.

–News24

Sihle Zikalala resigns, search for new KZN premier ramped up as ANC accepts decision

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Sihle Zikhalala
  • KwaZulu-Natal is set to get a new premier after incumbent Sihle Zikalala handed in his resignation on Friday.
  • The ANC’s newly elected provincial executive committee has accepted his resignation and already started the process of searching for Zikalala’s replacement.
  • Finance MEC Nomusa Dube-Ncube and ANC MPLs Amanda Bani and Mbali Frazer will be interviewed for the position on Saturday.

The ANC in KwaZulu-Natal has put forward the names of Finance MEC Nomusa Dube-Ncube and ANC MPLs Amanda Bani and Mbali Frazer as possible replacements for outgoing premier Sihle Zikalala.

On Friday afternoon, the ANC in the province announced Zikalala’s resignation as premier following his defeat at the ANC KwaZulu-Natal elective conference, where he had to relinquish the chairperson position.

“Comrade Zikalala offered the provincial executive committee (PEC) his resignation yesterday (Thursday), which was accepted”, and the PEC has since communicated with ANC national officials and [was] instructed to make recommendations for three names who will undergo an interview process,” the ANC said in a statement.

According to the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal, the names of the three candidates have been submitted and they will be interviewed on Saturday.

The party said it was with “great pain” that it accepted Zikalala’s resignation “as he was still doing a great job in the province since he took over”.

“We are grateful for the job he has done for the people of this province, and we appreciate that he made a conscious decision not to leave office hastily. Comrade Zikalala’s tenure has come with a lot of good in the province, including a number of provincial government departments receiving unqualified audit outcomes for the first time,” read the statement.

According to sources, the newly elected provincial executive committee (PEC) was informed of Zikalala’s request to leave his position when it met for the first time on Thursday.

A PEC member told News24:

It was communicated to us (the PEC) that Zikalala believed the environment was no longer conducive for him to continue as KZN premier and as such asked to step down.

“It was made clear that he will remain in the ANC and was committed to working hand in hand with the newly elected leadership to ensure that there is a smooth transition, and the party wins the national elections,” the PEC member added.

When approached for comment, Zikalala requested that questions be sent to him via text message as he was unable to answer his phone, but he had not responded by the time of publication.

Zikalala’s decision came after he suffered an embarrassing defeat at the recent ANC KwaZulu-Natal elective conference that saw him relinquish the party chairpersonship to his rival, former ANC provincial youth league leader Sboniso Duma.

Rubbing salt into a wound, Zikalala, who had accepted the nomination as an additional PEC member, failed to make the cut as delegates again showed their resentment towards him.

From the outcome of the votes, it was clear that there were anti-Zikalala sentiments, and delegates were ready to vote for anyone but him.

Speaking to News24 at the conference, newly elected provincial ANC secretary Bheki Mtolo promised that Zikalala would not be pushed out and would remain premier until the national and provincial elections in 2024.

A similar commitment was made by Duma, who vowed that there would be no purging of leaders in the provincial executive shortly after he was elected chairperson.

Zikalala himself dealt a similar blow to his predecessor, Senzo Mchunu, when he forced him out as premier after he had also lost the chairperson position at the 2015 provincial elections.

–News24

Zikalala reaffirms his allegiance to Zuma as he throws in the towel

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Sihle Zikalala
  • Sihle Zikalala reaffirmed his support for Jacob Zuma when he announced his resignation on Friday.
  • He said there was a “deceptive narrative” which suggested he had aligned himself with Cyril Ramaphosa.
  • Working with Ramaphosa was part of the tradition of the ANC, he said in his final speech as premier.

Sihle Zikalala aligned himself to former president Jacob Zuma in his final speech as premier of KwaZulu-Natal on Friday.

“At a political level, there are those who have accused us of betraying former president Jacob Zuma. I wish to make it clear that I have supported him from 14 June 2005 until today. I supported him as a leader and someone who sacrificed his life for South Africa to be liberated,” he said.

Zikalala offered his resignation to the ANC’s provincial executive  committee (PEC) on Thursday.

The party accepted it on Friday.

In the same statement, the PEC said it had communicated with ANC national officials – and it had submitted Nomusa Dube-Ncube, Amanda Bani and Mbali Frazer as candidates for premier.

They are to be interviewed on Saturday, with the preferred candidate set to become the first female premier in KwaZulu-Natal.

At his final press briefing as premier, Zikalala cemented his allegiance to Zuma, saying his “support has never been personal, but always organisational”.

“At no point have I ever tried to get a position through being associated with him. Equally, I have never badmouthed others because they did not support him.”

He said there was a “deceptive narrative”, which had accused him of aligning himself to President Cyril Ramaphosa.

“It is the tradition of the ANC that dictates that members must always accept and work with the elected leadership, whether they have supported the election of that leadership or not.

“The ANC’s principles of organisation, democracy and discipline further underline that leaders must lead all members with the same and equal treatment. This is key to ensure unity and cohesion of the ANC.”

Zikalala said his decision to resign was not because he was “pushed by the new leadership”, but “because of the narrative peddled against me”. 

He did not say exactly what the narrative against him was.

“It has been my revolutionary teaching that a revolutionary duty is served not by allowing personal desires, but by serving the organisation and the masses it is leading.”

Zikalala said he left government “with no cloud or any allegation”.

“And I hope, as cadres, we will preserve clean government, which focuses on the emancipation of the people.

“As I alluded earlier, cadres of the revolutionary movement should consciously avoid becoming the centre of the problem or anything that hinders the progress of the revolution.”

Zikalala said the ANC was more united now than it was between 2015 to 2017.

“The journey we traversed from 2018 to the ANC 9th Provincial Conference was not easy, but it managed to re-integrate all members of the organisation into one ANC.

“I have no doubt there is a solid foundation upon which the elected leadership will continue to build on and cement the unity of the ANC and that of the society.”

Zikalala leaves his office after being heckled during recent public events, including the provincial elective conference. He also failed to make it on to the party’s 35-member PEC.

He said that, despite his resignation, he would retain his position in the KZN legislature as an MPL. 

–News24

Anger, clashes in South Africa following gang rape arrests; illegal miners beaten up, camps set on fire

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By Associated Press

KRUGERSDORP: Community members in the South African city of Krugersdorp beat suspected illegal miners with sticks and set fire to their camps Thursday following the arrests of more than 80 men, some thought to be miners, suspected of gang raping eight women last week.

Residents of Krugersdorp’s Kagiso township also barricaded roads with rocks and burning tires during a protest against the presence of the miners. They say they are frustrated with high levels of crime in the area that they blame on the illegal miners and the failure of the police to deal with them.

Some suspected illegal miners were stripped of their clothes and whipped by residents. Residents chased others out of their camps and beat and kicked them before handing them over to police. In some cases, the miners were rescued from the protesters by police.

Police responded by firing rubber bullets and stun grenades to disperse the protesters, who also clashed with police officers.

“We want support from the police because the illegal miners are terrorizing us. We cannot simply walk around the neighborhood at night because they rape us,” said Nhlanhla Felatsi, who was part of the protest. “We recently had an incident where two female security officers were raped by the same people. The police are not protecting us.”

Police said eight women were raped last Thursday when a television crew filming a music video at a mine dump in the nearby township of West Village was attacked by heavily-armed men, some suspected of being illegal miners. Police said they were investigating 32 counts of rape.

Angry residents barricading roads in protest of the presence of ill-legal miners

The attack was a shocking incident, even for a country used to high levels of violent crime like South Africa. More than 80 men accused of being involved in the gang rapes appeared in a court on Monday.

Illegal mining is rife in South Africa, with miners known as zama-zamas searching for gold at the many disused and abandoned mines in and around the Johannesburg region. Krugersdorp is a mining city on the western edges of Johannesburg.

Illegal mining gangs are considered dangerous by the police, are usually armed and are known to fight violent turf battles with rival groups. The trade is believed to be dominated by immigrants who enter illegally from neighboring countries Lesotho, Zimbabwe and Mozambique and police said that some of the men suspected of raping the eight women were foreign nationals.

That has aggravated the situation and comes at a time when South Africa is seeing an upsurge in xenophobic attacks sparked by locals blaming foreigners for crime in their areas.

“What upsets me is that we live as though we are not South Africans. How can someone from nowhere come and control us in our community?” said Kagiso resident Thoko Setlhabi. “The people from Lesotho and Zimbabwe are coming into our houses and rape us. You must make sure you and your family are indoors by 6 p.m. When will our children be allowed to be free?”

Police say they are still analyzing DNA evidence in order to link some of the suspects to the rapes. But residents have criticized the local police force for doing nothing despite warnings from locals that illegal miners were operating in the area as part of larger crime syndicates.

“We are not fighting only against the zama-zamas (illegal miners), but we are fighting against the entire crime. Our police must stand up, our police must pull up their socks,” said Kabelo Matlou, a local government official.

“Clearly something is wrong here. If somebody takes out gold here, where are they taking it? Our political leaders must come together and sort this out,” he said.

Pelosi flies out leaving Taiwanese to bear consequences

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Taiwanese Foreign Minister Joseph Wu speaks with Nancy Pelosi as she prepares to leave Taipei on Wednesday.AP

Taiwanese experts reassured of US support as China gears up for military drills in waters surrounding island.

Taipei, Taiwan – Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the United States House of Representatives, has left Taiwan after concluding a whirlwind visit that rocked US-China relations and sent shudders through global markets.

In response to Pelosi’s visit, China announced live-fire military exercises across six zones in waters surrounding the island of Taiwan that will start on Thursday and continue through Sunday.

Taiwan’s Ministry of Defense has said China’s unilateral action is an attempt to threaten Taiwan’s ports and metropolitan areas, but some residents are shrugging off the threat.

“Why didn’t they start the drills while she’s still here today?” Peter Wei, a local of Taipei’s Beitou District, told Al Jazeera on Wednesday.

“Is China afraid of something? After all the big threatening talk, they clearly don’t want to encounter any American military units,” he said.

Despite the risks of a Chinese military response, Pelosi’s visit has exemplified the strength of the United States’s commitment to Taiwan and could generate greater international support for the island democracy, according to several experts in Taiwan’s political circles.

“The US is showing a strong commitment to Taiwan,” Jason Hsu, a former legislator in Taiwan and senior fellow at Harvard Kennedy School, told Al Jazeera.

“Although visits of members of US government and Congress to Taiwan are not uncommon, to have someone of Speaker Pelosi’s status and stature is indeed extraordinary,” Hsu said.

Speaking to Taiwan’s Legislative Yuan on Wednesday morning, Pelosi described Taiwan as “one of the freest societies in the world”.

Meeting Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen, Pelosi praised Tsai for courageous leadership and called for increased inter-parliamentary linkage between the US and Taiwan.

Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen.jpg

“Values-based diplomacy is vital for Taiwan,” Hsu added, noting the focus that Pelosi and Tsai placed on this during their meeting.

“Democracy, freedom, human rights, and gender equality are some of the most important values that make Taiwan stand out in the world. By practising these values, we are trying to be a model for the international community and contribute to universal goodwill,” Hsu said.

‘We don’t want anyone’s sympathy’

Yet the visit has come at a price.

In response to Pelosi’s arrival in Taiwan, China has launched a series of economic salvos, banning Taiwanese food imports and halting exports of sand to the self-governing island.

Asked by reporters what tangible benefits the US can offer Taiwan to offset the economic cost of China’s new sanctions, Pelosi pointed to the CHIPS Act that passed the US Congress last month.

Pelosi said the bill, which provides $52bn in investment subsidies for US-based chipmakers, will “open the door to better economic exchanges” with Taiwan and will facilitate further bilateral research and investment in the critical sector.

Yet some Taiwanese experts have said that, in this instance of Chinese economic bullying, Taiwan should not be portrayed as a helpless victim that lacks its own agency.

“We don’t want anyone’s sympathy,” Chen Kuan-ting, former deputy spokesperson for Taipei City Government and CEO of the Taiwan NextGen Foundation think-tank, told Al Jazeera.

“It was our own decision to willingly and warmly welcome Speaker Pelosi and we know what we are doing. Taiwan is a middle power and we understand the consequences involved when it comes to Chinese coercion,” he said.

“If the US wants to make it up to Taiwan somehow, the best way would be to establish more regional mechanisms we can participate in so we can jointly deter China’s economic pressure and strengthen trade between like-minded countries in the region,” he added.

“We don’t need sympathy but we do need action. Taiwan wants to join the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF), the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), and other regional bodies.”

The IPEF is the Biden administration’s flagship economic platform for the region. Taiwan was not invited to join when the initiative was announced in May in what was interpreted by some as a tactical move to make the group more attractive to ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) countries, who avoid being seen to endorse Taiwan’s international participation.

Some commentators anticipate Taiwan may have a chance to join at a later stage.

‘Pivot to Asia’

“I think Pelosi’s visit will go some way to helping Taiwan get into the US-led IPEF,” said Sherlock Ching, a doctoral candidate researching cross-strait relations at National Taiwan University.

“Yet Taiwan can not stand still. It now needs to think about how to decrease its reliance on the Chinese market and reach new markets by way of establishing stronger relations with the US.”

After departing Taiwan, Pelosi is scheduled to meet South Korean leaders in Seoul before going on to meet her Japanese counterparts in Tokyo.

“Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan sends a clear message to Japan and South Korea too,” said Chen of Taiwan NextGen Foundation.

“I can tell you that leaders in those countries are watching closely,” Chen said.

“We will see a chain reaction across the region. Before the US ‘pivot to Asia’ was not effective but it is finding new impetus through a focus on collective security.”

The visit may also lead Taiwanese people to feel more secure about the US’s commitment to the island.

Surveys conducted after Russia invaded Ukraine in February showed about a third of Taiwanese respondents believed the US would support Taiwan if it too was attacked. Research published by the Washington Post suggests high-profile congressional visits to Taiwan not only significantly reassure the Taiwanese public of American support, but also increase confidence in its own military capacity.

“Pelosi’s visit will definitely boost Taiwanese trust in America on security issues and strengthen Taiwan’s resolve,” Chen said.

“She was threatened by China and under tremendous pressure to cancel her trip, and yet she still came. That will make a greater impact” he said.

For Peter Wei of Taipei’s Beitou District, Taiwan’s focus must remain on enhancing its capacity to defend itself.

“At the end of the day, the US is too far away,” he said.

“Taiwan needs to rely on itself for its own defence.”

–AlJazeera

Storm clouds gather for the president over Farmgate

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MORE HEADACHES: President Cyril Ramaphosa

Powerful grouping of opposition parties band together to hold Ramaphosa to account over Phala Phala

Seven opposition parties represented in parliament have unanimously taken a decision to hold President Cyril Ramaphosa accountable as a matter of urgency without “distractions and procrastination” over the Phala Phala scandal.

The DA, EFF, IFP, NFP, ATM, UDM and ACDP held a meeting on Wednesday where an agreement was reached that the concealment of the president’s responses to the public protector is unacceptable and must be challenged. 

“All the opposition parties expressed misgivings and discontent with the manner in which the speaker of parliament has thus far handled the demands of political parties to hold the president accountable,” the grouping said in a statement.

The multiparty grouping also agreed in principle on a way forward in their bid to hold Ramaphosa to account.

All the opposition parties expressed misgivings and discontent with the manner in which the speaker of parliament has thus far handled the demands of political parties to hold the president accountable.

Group statement

The agreements include: 

  • Parliament must hold Ramaphosa accountable for his implication in the violation of laws with regards to Phala Phala.
  • The public protector must publicly disclose the responses of the president and must as a matter of urgency, and as required by law, release the report on the Phala Phala investigations.
  • Parliament must be physically convened to deal with all parliamentary issues and agenda.
  • Opposition parties will request a follow-up meeting with the speaker of parliament to discuss all accountability issues, including the usage of a secret ballot for motions of no confidence.
  • Opposition parties will hold a follow-up meeting on Wednesday, August 10, to finalise a common approach on the establishment of a section 89 committee, parliamentary ad hoc committee and approach to a motion of no confidence on the president.
  • Opposition parties will initiate and participate in broader consultations with civil society organisations, non-profit organisations, trade unions and religious bodies to consolidate a common approach and response to holding the executive and sitting president accountable. 
  • Opposition parties will intensify their collective and individual court actions against the speaker of parliament, the public protector and all other institutions attempting to suppress parliament’s constitutional obligations to hold the executive and parliament accountable.

Phala Phala, or Farmgate, as it is now commonly referred to, came to light when former spy boss Arthur Fraser accused Ramaphosa of concealing what happened after millions of dollars in foreign currency was allegedly stolen from his farm instead of reporting the matter to the police.

Fraser accused the president of having unlawfully instructed the head of the presidential protection unit Wally Rhoode to investigate the theft.

–TimesLive

US showdown with China looms as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi lands in Taiwan

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US House Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi

US House Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi arrived in Taipei Tuesday night, ignoring repeated warnings of “resolute countermeasures” by China, which considers the self-ruled island nation as its own territory.

After landing, Nancy Pelosi tweeted: “Our delegation’s visit to Taiwan honors America’s unwavering commitment to supporting Taiwan’s vibrant Democracy.”

All eyes were on the US Air Force jet SPAR19 – carrying Pelosi — after it took off from Kuala Lumpur’s Subang Airport at approximately 3.40 pm Tuesday.

Pelosi’s Taiwan visit was not in her official Asia trip this week, but was leaked in the media on Monday. Soon, Chinese warplanes were seen close to the unofficial line dividing the Taiwan Strait.

In addition to Chinese planes, several Chinese warships also sailed near the median line since Monday, sources told Reuters.

Chinese warships and aircraft “squeezed” the median line on Tuesday morning, the source said, an unusual move described as “very provocative”.

“Chinese aircraft repeatedly conducted tactical moves of briefly touching the median line and circling back to the other side of the strait on Tuesday morning, while Taiwanese aircraft were on standby nearby,” Reuters quoted the source.

Meanwhile four US warships, including an aircraft carrier, were positioned in waters east of Taiwan on what the US Navy called routine deployments, the report said.

The report also said the Chinese army conducted various exercises since last week in the South China Sea, the Yellow Sea and the Bohai Sea, “in a show of Chinese military might”.

The question of Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan has infuriated China, which said Tuesday that the “US will definitely have to bear responsibility and pay the price for harming China’s sovereignty and security interests”.

Foreign ministry spokesman Hua Chunying said China would take “firm and powerful” measures in response.

“If the US misjudges or handles the situation across the Taiwan Strait incorrectly, it will have catastrophic consequences for the security, prosperity and order of the Taiwan region and the world at large,” she said as quoted by The Strait Times.

Chinese officials said the nation “won’t sit by idly” if Beijing felt its “sovereignty and territorial integrity” was being threatened.

Meanwhile, the US has said it would not be intimidated by China’s “sabre rattling” on Pelosi’s visit, which was initially not on her Asia-trip itinerary.

National Security Council Strategic Coordinator for Communications John Kirby told reporters on Monday: “There is no reason for Beijing to turn a potential visit, consistent with long standing US policy, into some sort of crisis or conflict, or use it as a pretext to increase aggressive military activity in or around the Taiwan Strait.”

“The speaker has the right to visit Taiwan,” Kirby said at a White House briefing on Monday. The power structure within the US government is such that the House Speaker can make his or her own decisions about a foreign visit.

Pelosi was in Malaysia earlier Tuesday, having begun her Asia tour in Singapore Monday. Her office had said she would also go to South Korea and Japan, but made no mention of a Taiwan visit.

In the backdrop of escalating tensions with China, the two countries’ premiers spoke for two-hours-and-seventeen minutes on 28 July, during which Xi Jinping warned Joe Biden not to “play with fire” and abide by the “One China” principle.

Xi stressed that both sides of the Taiwan Strait belonged to one and the same China and that China firmly opposed separatist moves toward “Taiwan independence”.

Before the meeting, Biden had also said that the US military did not believe it was a good time to visit Taiwan, but stopped short of directly telling Pelosi not to go, according to CNN.

The US, however, does not “support Taiwan independence” but says it has “a robust unofficial relationship” with the island. It also supports Taiwan’s membership in international organisations while China has sought to isolate the country.

While another House Speaker had visited Taiwan in 1997, Pelosi’s visit is significant as it potentially aims to counter China’s challenge to “American democracy and military and economic supremacy”.

Once China began with the tough rhetoric on her impending visit, it became impossible for Pelosi – a known China hawk – to back down, analysts said.

As Xi seeks a third term in power, a very senior US politician’s visit to Taiwan is aimed to deliver a humiliating slight to the leadership, according to reports.

Reuters reported Pelosi’s meetings in Taiwan, including with President Tsai Ing-wen, were all scheduled for Wednesday.

Pelosi will also meet a group of activists who are critical of China’s human rights record, according to the report.

–ThePrint

Barring foreign nationals from being admitted to legal profession not unconstitutional – ConCourt

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The ConCourt has made a ruling relating to foreign legal practitioners.

Alon Skuy, Gallo Images, Sowetan

  • In September 2021, the Free State High Court declared Section 24(2) of the Legal Practice Act 28 of 2014 unconstitutional and invalid. 
  • The matter was brought by foreign nationals who wanted to be admitted and enrolled as legal practitioners in South Africa.
  • On Tuesday, the Constitutional Court declined to confirm the constitutional invalidity. 

A group of foreign nationals, who were fighting to be admitted and enrolled as legal practitioners in South Africa, but lack permanent residency, lost their bid in the Constitutional Court on Tuesday.

The court dismissed the group’s leave to appeal against a Free State High Court judgment.

It also declined to confirm that Section 24(2) of the Legal Practice Act 28 of 2014 (LPA) was unconstitutional and invalid to the extent that it did not allow foreigners to be admitted and authorised to enroll as non-practising legal practitioners.

In September last year, the Free State High Court in Bloemfontein declared that section unconstitutional and invalid, but found the discrimination in Section 24(2)(b) of the LPA was fair.

One of the applications was brought by Relebohile Cecilia Rafoneke and Sefoboko Phillip Tsuinyane, both Lesotho nationals, who wanted to practice in South Africa.

Another was brought by Zimbabwe nationals Bruce Chakanyuka, Nyasha James Nyamugure and Dennis Tatenda Chayda, as well as an asylum seeker refugee and migrant coalition, all facing the same issues as Rafoneke and Tsuinyane.

The respondents were the justice and correctional services minister and the Legal Practice Council. 

Rafoneke and Tsuinyane both studied at the University of the Free State, where they obtained LLB degrees.

They entered into contracts of articles of clerkship, completed vocational training, and passed the practical examination for attorneys.

When they applied to be admitted and enrolled as attorneys of the high court, their applications were dismissed because they were neither South African citizens nor lawfully admitted to this country as permanent residents.

The applicants challenged the constitutionality of sections 24(2)(b) and 115 of the LPA, arguing that the impugned provisions restricted their rights to be admitted into the legal profession.

On Tuesday, the court said: “South Africa, as a sovereign state, has an obligation to protect the interests of its citizens. It has entrenched the rights of its citizens to choose their trade, occupation or profession freely through section 22 of the Constitution.”

The court said section 24(2) of the LPA is legislation that regulates practice, legally-related occupations and professions in general.

It, however, found that the “regulatory competence exercised cannot be said to extend to non-citizens and their choice of profession as section 22 is a right in the Constitution that does not extend to them”.

But it said the fact that non-citizens do not have rights that accrue under section 22 does not mean they are not entitled to enter certain categories of professions in the country.  

In addition, the Constitutional Court said the differentiation between citizens and permanent residents on one hand, and foreign nationals on the other, does not amount to unfair discrimination.

According to the judgment, the limitation created by section 24(2) is “narrowly tailored” to the admission of legal practitioners and does not operate as a blanket ban on employment in the profession.

“Therefore, the activity which the applicants sought constitutional protection for is the enjoyment to choose one’s vocation and, as such, this cannot be held to amount to unfair discrimination as that right does not fall within a sphere of activity protected by a constitutional right available to foreign nationals, such as the applicants.”

Ekurhuleni mayor plays hide and seek as Tembisa burn

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A man carrying a mannequin walks past a pile of burning rubble at the entrance of the customer care centre, Tembisa main service centre for Ekurhuleni metro. The community barricaded roads with rocks and burning tyres as they protested over high electricity tariffs. Image: Thulani Mbele

While Tembisa township in Ekurhuleni burned yesterday with protesters taking their frustrations to the streets because of service delivery, mayor Tania Campbell said she could not be everywhere.

Campbell was expected to attend a community meeting in Tembisa on Friday last week to address service delivery issues raised by the residents via a memorandum a few weeks ago, but instead she sent a delegation of five MMCs. 

“I was never meant to be there. I cannot be everywhere. The [ward] councillors in the respective wards are not having their community meetings. This situation has reached boiling point because there are no ward committees. What happened today should not have happened,” Campbell told reporters after concluding a meeting with Tembisa Business Forum and failed to meet with the residents who had been asking for her attention. 

Yesterday, protesters burnt government property and blockaded roads calling for an end to power cuts.  

‘Basic service delivery is not in place’: Soweto residents march to mayor’s offices to demand change

Hundreds of disgruntled Soweto residents marched to the offices of Johannesburg mayor Mpho Phalatse on June 21 2022, to hand over a memorandum containing a list of concerns, including complaints about informal settlements in the area and electricity.

However, multi-party coalition partners in the city were also not entirely pleased at the way Campbell handled the situation and that her, sending a press statement calling for calm was not good enough. In the statement, Campbell said she would also seek the intervention of Gauteng premier David Makhura. 

ACDP leader in the city Tambo Mokoena said the multi-party government failed to adequately address the issues of the residents.

”In terms of communication, I don’t think we have done enough because you need to communicate with the people and prepare them, and then come to them to answer questions satisfactorily. That is where people will get amicable solutions.

“If there is no communication, people asking questions and not getting answers, then that is aggravating them. The cry of the community is that the coalition must explain things and not implement things without them. This violence could have been averted,’’ said Mokoena.

Mokoena said the mayor’s call for the premier to intervene is crucial. 

”The residents want proper houses, hospitals and schools. We need the province to assist us with the funds needed for this. However, things like waste removal and dealing with power cuts need the municipality to deal with it by speaking with the residents,” said Mokoena. 

IFP leader in the city and MMC for transport Alco Ngobese said the party is satisfied with the way Campbell handled the situation.

Ngobese, however, stressed that issuing a media statement was not enough to address the unrest in the area.

”A media statement alone cannot be enough. We will need to touch base with the residents. I will encourage all of us to engage them on a personal level. We are satisfied with the way the mayor has handled the situation. She delegated five MMCs to go to the community meeting last week Friday. That meeting was collapsed by residents,’’ said Ngobese.

ActionSA leader in the council Siyanda Makhubo said the party is pleased with the interventions made by the mayor at this stage.  

”A memorandum was sent to her office and she received it. She delegated MMCs to attend the community meeting. They are the ones who have expertise and knowledge. Unfortunately, the meeting was disrupted and collapsed,’’ said Makhubo.

”We have now petitioned the mayor to address the residents at a community meeting which is going to take place on Friday. If she does not pitch up, we as a coalition party will register our dissatisfaction,’’ he said.

Makhubo also said Makhura’s intervention will help Tembisa with more police visibility on the ground to monitor the protests. 

”We need support in terms of more boots on the ground. The province should help the area in terms of safety and security,” said Makhubo. 

Campbell’s spokesperson Phakamile Mbengashe was sent questions on the protests and he said he was still in a meeting and will respond after it has concluded. When contacted later, Mbengashe said he will respond during the night but had not done so by the time of going to print.

kokam@sowetan.co.za

ANC policy conference: Rebellion against Ramaphosa neutralised

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ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa delivering his opening address of the 6th ANC Policy Conference in Nasrec. Photo: Tebogo Letsie ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa delivering his opening address of the 6th ANC Policy Conference in Nasrec. Photo: Tebogo Letsie

An effort to mount a rebellion against President Cyril Ramaphosa at the ANC policy conference has been neutralised. 

The ANC in KwaZulu-Natal appears to have conceded that their primary fight will occur at the December elective conference. A planned protest against Ramaphosa led by Carl Niehaus did not attract any support. 

This is just a consultative conference. We will be back in December with our numbers where we can win by a vote.

This was the sentiment of the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal, who were expected to lead any rebellion during the ANC’s policy conference, but who failed to achieve substantive political wins on which opposition to President Cyril Ramaphosa was expected to ride on. 

The main fight of the conference, repealing the ANC’s step-aside policy, appeared to be moot by Sunday. 

A bid to attack Pravin Gordhan and Eskom management on the failures of the power utility too was not fully entertained. 

And efforts to build opposition on the conference floor were shut down by ANC chairperson Gwede Mantashe and were not widely supported. While the newly elected ANC leaders in KwaZulu-Natal remained militant publicly, in the closed commissions, it appeared their lobby was neutralised.

The ANC in KwaZulu-Natal had the largest delegation to the conference, followed by Limpopo, where they found allies in some of their fights. 

But soon, it became manifest that the muted conference was not conducive for a full-blown political rebellion to be launched. 

“This conference is not a conference of branches. In December, we will come with branch delegates, and only that conference can decide and vote,” ANC KwaZulu-Natal secretary Bheki Mtolo, who is fashioned as the spokesperson for the anti-Ramaphosa lobby, told News24. 

ANC KZN secretary Bheki Mtolo defended the call for “step-aside” to be scrapped. He spoke to News24’s Qaanitah Hunter on the sidelines of the party’s 6th National policy conference at Nasrec. He asked Hunter if she will apologise if Zandile Gumede is found not guilty on charges of corruption.

Meanwhile, a push to protest against Ramaphosa led by fired ANC staffer Carl Niehaus failed to gain support. 

Niehaus stood by his lonesome outside of the Nasrec conference venue with a sign bearing the ANC logo and the words “Ramaphosa must go”. 

ANC sources said that it became clear that delegates would not tolerate political sideshow debates.

As a result, they clung to a fight for the ANC to implement existing controversial policies, which have been long proved unworkable. 

Former ANC staffer Carl Niehaus is putting on a on

Former ANC staffer Carl Niehaus put on a one man protest outside of the ANC policy conference on 31 July 2022.

News24Qaanitah Hunter

Delegates from KwaZulu-Natal, supported by delegates who formed part of the anti-Ramaphosa lobby, pushed hard on why the ANC government did not implement the state bank. 

They, too, asked why a state pharmaceutical company was not formed despite resolving that it would be more than ten years ago. 

There was a fiery debate on the land question, where delegates chastised the ANC leadership for watering its resolution on amending Section 25 of the Constitution to allow for land expropriation without compensation. 

“If we did not water down our resolutions, we would have had support from the EFF in Parliament,” Mtolo said.

A revived bid to put the mandate of the South African Reserve Bank in question also unfolded during commissions. 

During report-back sessions to the media, party leaders described policy proposals discussed, which ranged from the ANC setting up its internal corruption fighting institution, to chemical castration for rapists. 

The final decisions of the policy conference will be adopted on Sunday and followed by a closing address by Ramaphosa.

..News24

We do not want a mafia state: Thuli Madonsela

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Respected law eagle Thuli Madonsela

By Advocate Thuli Madonsela

Mafia tendencies regarding accountability for grand-scale corruption, including state capture, are on the rise. In the movie The Godfather, there is a scene where Michael Corleone tells his brother Alfredo: “I love you – but don’t ever take sides against the family.”

It seems to me that some of those who are implicated in state capture or other corruption are pushing this public narrative to earn themselves impunity.

I first got a sense of this impunity paradigm as I faced a backlash in response to the Against the Rules Public Protector reports on SA Police Service office leases. The reports resulted in former president Jacob Zuma relieving then police commissioner Bheki Cele of his duties.

I understood “family” in this context to mean fellow former liberation struggle veterans. My response, at a speech delivered at the Tshwane University of Technology shortly thereafter, was to point out that I also understood it to mean: “We aren’t the mafia.”

The mafia paradigm regarding accountability for alleged and even proven corruption in respect of public power and theft of public funds seems to be rising. Simply put, corruption is the abuse of entrusted power for personal gain, as defined by Transparency International.

In government, the abuse of entrusted power for personal gain includes taking or giving bribes or any other gratification, including political positions and other benefits or privileges at the public’s expense, which are not authorised by law or policy in exchange for personal favours that involve some dishonest exercise of public power.

Since the hiring of the Bell Pottinger public relations firm by Zuma’s son Duduzane and the Gupta brothers to help launder South Africa’s public image that was soiled by state capture and related corrupt exercises of state power and control of public resources, those clamouring for impunity have expanded their reach beyond camaraderie. This is understandable, as the Guptas cannot claim struggle credentials.

The key message I see daily on my Twitter timeline, from those still sulking over the fact that I ordered the state capture commission, which recently released its final report, is that holding fellow black people accountable for corruption, including state capture, is a betrayal of them.

Paradoxical, is it not? If you agree that corruption is an injustice to those denied opportunities that unlawfully go to the corrupt, then you must agree that it is defence of the corrupt that is a betrayal of the people, particularly poor ones.

This was my message to the Pavocat Stellenbosch Academy’s Counter-Corruption Summit held at the Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study on Wednesday.

There was consensus among the key conference speakers, who included Justice Minister Ronald Lamola, Constitutional Court Justice Mbuyiseli Madlanga, chairperson of the National Assembly’s standing committee on public accounts Mkhuleko Hlengwa, the World Bank Group’s integrity vice-president Sam Bwana and various civil society leaders, that poor people bore the brunt of corruption, no matter what form it took.

It does not matter whether corruption concerns the state procurement system (where it excessively escalates the cost of procuring public services and goods, in addition to weakening public service delivery through providing inferior goods and services, compounded by impunity due to vested interests among those meant to ensure that service delivery guardrails are complied with) or whether it is retail corruption, such as the bribing of traffic officers, court clerks, the police and home affairs officers to obtain undeserved benefits or evade accountability. Corruption is corruption.

In the preamble to the UN Convention against Corruption, erstwhile UN secretary-general Kofi Annan lamented the fact that corruption hurt the poor disproportionately.

The quotation I reproduced from his preambulary remarks reads: “Corruption is an insidious plague that has a wide range of corrosive effects on societies. It undermines democracy and the rule of law, leads to violations of human rights, distorts markets, erodes the quality of life, and allows organised crime, terrorism and other threats to human security to flourish. This evil phenomenon is found in all countries – big and small, rich and poor – but it is in the developing world that its effects are most destructive.”

In South Africa, where the long shadow of apartheid dictates an intersection between blackness and poverty, most of the poor who suffer because of corruption are black people.

According to Stats SA, although poverty across all racial categories was at 55.5% just before the advent of Covid-19, it was 1% among white people, 41% among coloured people, 6% among Indian and Asian people, and 64.2% among (indigenous) African people.

If it were not tragic, it would be funny that the interests of the primary victims of corruption are leveraged by those implicated in state capture and other looting of public funds to demand impunity for corruption by harnessing identity-based solidarity.

The parallels between such demands for impunity on account of shared blackness or struggle credentials and the claims of the pigs in George Orwell’s classic novel, Animal Farm, are stark.

In Animal Farm, like our Constitution – which promises social justice, anchored in the right to equality for all – the liberated community of animals subscribes to a set of principles that includes: “All animals are equal.”

In the darkness of the night, the pigs – following their leader Napoleon, who played a central role in their liberation struggle, surreptitiously add “…but some are more equal than others”. Pretty soon, pigs eat the best food and enjoy the lifestyle they once impugned as bourgeois and unacceptable for animals.

As in Animal Farm, those defending state capture have appropriated to themselves the label of being the sole representatives of all black people, particularly the poor, despite living in unconscionable opulence at the expense of this very demographic.

Not only is it a clear case of “talk left and walk right”, but – when held to account – their response could be summarised as: “We’re eating for you.” In Animal Farm, conscientious pigs such as Snowball are delegitimised by those who brand them as traitors in the pay of former oppressors: human beings. In the state capture defence scenario, those championing corruption accountability are branded agents of white monopoly capital: sell-outs.

Interestingly, this is a continuation of the Bell Pottinger campaign unleashed as a dead cat strategy to stop or undermine the Public Protector’s investigation into alleged state capture at the beginning of 2016.

The recent state capture defence narrative has added the argument that the corruption entailed in state capture should be ignored because it is minuscule compared with contracts in the hands of white business, including the so-called evergreen state contracts.

Even if we get past evidence regarding how the bulk of those contracts were acquired, what defies logic is the suggestion that there should be no accountability for corruption and looting now because those involved are fellow black people and the amounts involved are comparatively tiny.

Among these are black people aspiring to public office – where, on assuming their duties, they would have to swear to uphold the Constitution. That Constitution unambiguously commits to transforming our society into a rule-of-law society based on democratic values, social justice and unspoken rule is that you never go against the family?

Professor Madonsela is former Public Protector of SA, Law Trust chair in Social and Justice at Stellenbosch University

Krugersdorp rape horror: protesters demand justice as suspects appear in court

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Chants of condemnation and demands for justice filled the air as gender activists protested outside the Krugersdorp Magistrates’ Court on Monday.

At least 80 men are expected in the dock in connection with the horrific robbery and gang rape of eight women.

Photo: Rosetta Msimango/City Press

Members of Operation Dudula joined the protest outside the Krugersdorp Magistrates’ Court. Photo: Rosetta Msimango/City Press

The survivors were part of a film crew who were ambushed by illegal miners while shooting a music video at a mine dump in West Village on Thursday.

The perpetrators wore Basotho blankets, balaclavas and miners’ overalls.

Speaking to City Press outside the court, gender activist Portia Maseko said that they want to send a message to the perpetrators. Activists are demanding the harshest possible sentence.

The police should stop taking bribes and act decisively against the rapists. We have been reporting the activity at the mine dump for a long time and nothing is being done.

Maseko accused Krugersdorp police of refusing to open cases of rape and domestic violence and instead sending survivors away without assistance.

“The problem is that our police are in the pockets of the criminals, so when we report the crimes, police are the ones who shield the perpetrators.”

Operation Dudula member Ntombi Mazibuko said they were calling for law enforcement to track and arrest illegal immigrants.

This act was committed by a highly organised group of illegal miners who do not have the right to be in South Africa.

“We are calling on law enforcement to act and protect our citizens,” she said.

Photo: Rosetta Msimango/City Press

Photo: Rosetta Msimango/City Press

Photo: Rosetta Msimango/City Press

Protestors outside the Krugersdorp Magistrates’ Court where more than 80 suspects are appearing for the brutal rape of eight young women. Photo: Rosetta Msimango/City Press

Photo: Rosetta Msimango/City Press

Photo: Rosetta Msimango/City Press

Photo: Rosetta Msimango/City Press

Protestors outside the Krugersdorp Magistrates’ Court where more than 80 suspects are appearing for the brutal rape of eight young women. Photo: Rosetta Msimango/City Press

She added that the gruesome attack highlighted how women continue to live in fear for their lives.

“Because of the lack of policing, people who are here illegally can commit these crimes and many of them get away with it because they are untraceable.”

Police Minister Bheki Cele met with the families of the rape survivors at the Alexandra Police Station on Sunday.

Cele said that he had asked the forensic science laboratory to fast-track DNA testing to successfully link the suspects of the Krugersdorp gang rape attack to the crime.

Commissioner for detectives and forensic services Khosi Senthumule said that some of the suspects who were expected to appear in court on Monday were not on the national DNA database.

Remember, these are foreigners, so not all of them will be on our database.

“The team is working around the clock and we believe that by the latest on Friday, we will have the results of their DNA and we’ll be able to match them to the DNA found at the crime scene,” she assured.

Step-aside resolution survives ANC bullets

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Bryntirion Estate in Pretoria, where the official residences of President Cyril Ramaphosa, Deputy President David Mabuza, and several ministers and deputy ministers are located, does not have to endure load shedding. Photo: Elmond Jiyane/GCIS

President Cyril Ramaphosa and his backers this weekend fought off attempts to reverse the party’s decision for ANC leaders facing criminal charges to step aside — a move that would open a door for suspended secretary-general Ace Magashule to contest the top position at the December national conference.

The revolt against the step-aside rule, led by KwaZulu-Natal delegates, included efforts to convert the party’s national policy conference into a national general council — a mid-term meeting to review the party’s implementation of its resolutions.

The policy conference makes recommendations to the national conference. If those recommendations are accepted, they are adopted as party policy.

However, such attempts were shot down by party chair Gwede Mantashe at Friday’s plenary session.

Chickens coming home to roost for Ramaphosa

Mantashe told the Sunday Times that the ANC would not reverse the rule as this would “collapse” the party to save a few individuals.  

“Step aside is only dealing with people who are on the wrong side of the law. Which is a small minority — leave that it’s being made a big issue. Very few people get into that space [of having to step aside] and we cannot collapse an organisation over them.

“If there are provinces, there are regions, there are branches who think that it’s a big issue, they will bring it here. They will persuade many others. If others are not convinced, it’s not going to happen. If they convince them it goes to national conference, then it will be a resolution of the national conference and then it will be implemented.”

The national policy recommendations are expected to be made public today.

KwaZulu-Natal and Limpopo delegates came to the national conference with a mandate to argue that the step-aside rule be reversed as it was being implemented selectively.

In both provinces two influential leaders — Zandile Gumede and Danny Msiza — were prohibited from standing for top positions after a national executive committee decision that those who have been asked to step aside are not eligible to stand.

But Ramaphosa’s backers closed ranks and pushed back against moves to stop his renewal projects in their tracks.

Ramaphosa delivered a strong rebuke against attempts to overturn the party’s new rules, saying there was no going back and there will be no compromise.

Mantashe expressed the same sentiments yesterday.

“Nobody can want to go back and stop renewal. [The ANC is] an old organisation. It’s got generations in it. We must renew ourselves otherwise we accelerate our demise. If we don’t wake up and smell the coffee that’s the ultimate consequence.”

‘The ANC is at its weakest,’ says Ramaphosa as policy conference gets under way

The ANC is holding its three-day policy conference. President Cyril Ramaphosa opened the conference and assessed the state of the party.

Insiders said the KZN delegation tried to push for the conference to take Ramaphosa’s national executive to task about failure to implement resolutions, and to argue for the scrapping of step aside.

KZN provincial secretary Bheki Mtolo complained that there were attempts at the conference to isolate his province at the national policy conference. Mtolo said there were more important issues the ANC could resolve than to ask leaders to step aside.

“All of us can step aside, but your life won’t change. You are sold a lie and you believe a lie … why then consume yourselves with things that do not change the lives of the people?” he asked. 

Mtolo said his province was also being isolated because of it’s support for former president Jacob Zuma, saying even provinces such as Gauteng also sang about the former president.

All of us can step aside, but your life won’t change.

“It’s another systematically calculated strategy that the ANC must neglect Jacob Zuma; because some hate him they think everybody hates Jacob Zuma.

“But Jacob Zuma will never walk alone, you can take him anywhere he is loved because he is a former president of the ANC. 

“It’s their fantasy that they think Jacob Zuma is only loved in KZN — here in Gauteng they were singing about Zuma. OR Tambo is a president of the ANC who departed around 1993, in the conference we were singing about OR Tambo; you want us to neglect him?”

But ANC leaders were concerned at the attitude of KZN delegates in the conference — who they say tried to bully others instead of arguing to convince them.

“If you come here with a hard line you’re likely to lose everybody else. When you come here you extend your hand and you persuade others … you convince people about your position. If you don’t do that you’re going to lose the conference.”

Mantashe’s sentiments were echoed by several of Ramaphosa’s backers yesterday.

Eastern Cape chair Oscar Mabuyane said the ANC could not afford to fail in its renewal attempts. He said it would lead to the demise of the party.

EXPLAINER: Why you should be paying attention to the ANC policy conference

The ANC will be hosting is 6th policy conference at Nasrec from 28 to 31 July. The discussions taking place at the conference have the potential to become government policy.

“That’s what is going to save the ANC in South Africa. If we don’t renew the ANC, forget about the ANC, forget about 2024 — we might as well pack our bags and go home and occupy backbenches. It’s as simple as that, this is where we are heading,” he said.

Those opposing the renewal of the party do not have its best interests, he said.

“From where we are, yes, we are also observing this adventurism. There’s a problem of kingmaker syndrome of factional issues. I don’t think ANC people must be intimidated by such. We are not here for us. We’re here for South Africa. We’re here for continent, we’re here for the world,” he said.

“So whatever the ANC does, if it allows such kind of posturing, it is actually pushing this country to the brink of catastrophe. And we’ve got to avoid that. We can’t allow that to happen.”

Acting Secretary General Paul Mashatile too has threw his weight behind the step-aside rule saying it was not problematic itself but sought to agree with those saying there may be problems with how it’s being applied. 

“Step-aside itself is not a problem. It should be the way it’s implemented. It must be consistent. And where we think it takes away the rights of comrades, we must be able to look at that and strengthen those processes and also the appeal processes,” he said. 

Another NEC member, and minister in the presidency, Mondli Gungubele, said the ANC would be shooting itself in the foot if it reversed its step-aside rule.

“I do not understand which self-respecting organisation will say stop measures that protect your reputation, because step aside may be the new buzz word.

“Step aside is about an organisation managing its reputation. There are crazy ideas coming from some of our comrades who say innocent until proven guilty.

Step aside is about an organisation managing its reputation. There are crazy ideas coming from some of our comrades who say innocent until proven guilty.

Eastern Cape chair Oscar Mabuyane

Lately there have been calls for Ramaphosa himself to step aside following criminal charges laid against him for allegedly concealing a robbery at his Phala Phala farm.

Mantashe said such calls were misplaced as the Phala Phala matter was still under investigation.

“The SA Reserve Bank must look if there was any contraventions of exchange controls. Why can’t we wait for that report and act? Sars must check if there was any contravention of tax laws. Why can’t we wait for that?

“The problem with the ANC is that we’re all in a hurry to put a sword in the kidneys of each other. That’s what is going to kill the ANC. We’re impatient of processes. We don’t want to listen to one another. We want an opportunity to stab one another in the kidneys. If we change that there will be better ANC.

Asked if the Reserve Bank and Sars were investigating the matter, he said: “If there is no investigation and these are allegations, then what do we do? Do you say to Cyril, go away because it was alleged that money was stolen in your farm? Therefore, disappear. Is that what we should do?”

“People must be patient and allow processes to take their course.”

‘My mother broke down in tears when she saw me begging for a job on the streets’

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Momelezi Sifumba

When Momelezi Sifumba stood at a busy roadside in Pretoria with a placard that read: “Help me find a job”, little did he know that three days later his wishes would come true.

Sifumba (27) was offered an internship by ABB, a multinational pioneering technology leader in electrification. His luck changed thanks to Makwande Gcora, who took a photo of Sifumba and posted it on LinkedIn.

The post caught the attention of Graham Abrahams, ABB senior vice president of electrification. Sifumba works with Abrahams directly.

The determined young man from the Eastern Cape graduated with a B-Tech in electrical engineering specialising in power systems from the Tshwane University of Technology this year. He had struggled to find a job since he completed his first qualification in 2016.

“I decided to go back to school in 2020 after I was unemployed for almost three years when I completed a national diploma in electrical engineering from the Cape Peninsula University of Technology,” he said.

Despite applying for countless jobs, he was unable to find employment in his chosen field. “Despite the constant rejection, I still had a hunger for success, knowing all I needed was an opportunity to prove myself,” said Sifumba.

It was this determination, self belief and the hunger succeed that pushed him to swallow his pride and stand on the street in Pretoria with a placard.

Sifumba said:

Staying under someone’s roof with nothing to offer is not easy. At that time, I felt that I had tried the typical ways of looking for a job, but my voice was not being heard. I had to do something different.

It was a bitter pill to swallow for his parents who had invested so much in his education. “My mother broke down in tears when she saw my picture standing on the side of the road asking for help because the whole world and the community back at home could see that her son was struggling to make ends meet.”

After his picture was posted on LinkedIn, Momelezi Sifumba was offered a graduate internship in the Electrification Business Area at ABB. Photo: Supplied

Gcora was travelling from Pretoria to Johannesburg when he saw Sifumba and asked to take a picture of him to try and assist with his job hunting.

Gcora, who is a chemical engineer, was unemployed for two years after completing his studies. It was this that this ignited his passion to empower the youth through mentoring and training, leading him to establish Makwande Chemicals Recruitment Agency.

“Sifumba finally got back to me to tell me he had been recruited as a graduate apprentice at ABB. I was happy to hear such good news and being able to play a part in changing someone’s life for the better.”

Youth development is everyone’s responsibility, said Abrahams, who added that businesses have a responsibility to help develop the country’s young people.

Abrahams said:

Sifumba has overcome many challenges to obtain his education, and now with ABB we will ensure that he can complete the practical experience to qualify fully as an engineer. I look forward to seeing how he embraces this opportunity and will follow his development and career closely.

The training provided by ABB is hands-on and will see Sifumba rotate through various departments and activities to ensure his practical experience is well-rounded.

To other young graduates seeking employment, Sifumba said: “Don’t give up because somethings in life do not come easy. You should be willing to go out there and show an eagerness [to learn] because you never know who is watching.”

–City Press

How David Mabuza dodged Zondo bullet

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David Mabuza

Deputy President David Mabuza has vehemently denied allegations by the Judicial Commission of Inquiry into Allegations of State Capture that he may have had ties to the infamous Gupta family. Sources close to the investigations have revealed that on December 3, the commission had its sights set on Mabuza, second in command to President Cyril Ramaphosa in both the country and the ANC.

He is known in the party’s circles as the cat with nine lives.

According to the commission’s letter, which City Press has seen, Mabuza was advised to respond to allegations that he had had a relationship with the Guptas or their associates – and he responded by spitting fire.

Attached to the commission’s letter was an affidavit from the commission’s chief investigator, Terence Nombembe, who is also a former Auditor-General of South Africa, declaring that Mabuza had received four phone calls from Gupta lieutenant Ashu Chawla in 2009.

The four telephone calls, which were made between April and June of that year, lasted a total of 424 seconds – which amounted to just over seven minutes of conversation within a period of 67 days. They included a call on April 16, a second call on May 22 and a further two calls on June 22.

“As you will see, Nombembe attaches to his affidavit documents on which he bases the suggestion that there was, or may have been, an association or relationship of one kind or another between yourself [Mabuza] and the Gupta family, or a member or members of the Gupta family or their associates,” wrote commission secretary Professor Itumeleng Mosala.

He added that Nombembe’s affidavit was being shared with Mabuza “to afford you an opportunity to see the information obtained by the commission concerning you and the Guptas or their associates, to which the commission may have regard in deciding whether you were associated in any way with the Guptas or some of their associates, or had a certain relationship with them”.

Mabuza was offered an opportunity to depose an affidavit or affirmed declaration, “in which you respond to Nombembe’s affidavit and admit or deny the contents thereof”.

Masala then warned: 

If you do not respond, you run the risk that the commission may accept as true the contents of Nombembe’s affidavit and annexures, and rely on them to make certain findings about any association that may or may not have existed between yourself and the Guptas or their associates.

Mabuza did not take kindly to the allegations, saying that they amounted to “a set of deceptive averments”. As was apparent from both the content and design of the affidavit, he said, “Nombembe’s sole intention was to create the false impression that, between the period of April 16 and June 22 2009, I’d been in telephonic contact with a certain Ashu Chawla”.

“This is untrue. I categorically deny that I have ever had telephonic contact with Chawla at any time and specifically between the period April 16 and June 22 2009. In any event, I have never been acquainted with Chawla and have never had business to discuss with him. Quite frankly, I simply do not know Chawla from anywhere.”

He declared that there was no cogent evidence linking him or anyone in his immediate association with Chawla’s listed cellphone number during 2009 or at any other time.

“With the facilities at his disposal, Nombembe could have simply summoned the relevant mobile operator to provide him with customer registration details in the same way that he summoned them to provide him with mobile communication data of certain [other] individuals,” he added.

Mabuza stated that the mobile operator would have provided Nombembe with “irrefutable evidence” that the mobile number had in fact been registered to the presidency as far back as about 2007, when he was an MEC in Mpumalanga.

“For reasons unrelated to the pursuit of the truth, Nombembe opted not to summon the mobile operator to provide him with relevant information that pertains to ownership details of the mobile number,” he said. “Additionally, Nombembe could simply have asked me if I had in any way ever been associated with the mobile number … before hastily deposing to an affidavit that turned out to be so beleaguered with distorted inferences.

“This set of truthful information would have certainly dissuaded any reasonable and honest investigator from deposing to the kind of affidavit to which Nombembe deposed,” he said.

Mabuza added that: 

Nombembe could also have opted for a more reasonable approach and simply dialled the number to establish whether it was actively in use and, if so, at least enquired from the current user about the period in which they had been using the number.

Mabuza said that the owner of the number, a presidency employee, would have confirmed that she had used it since about 2007 and was still doing so. However, “for some inexplicable reason, Nombembe decided against this logical path. I submit that the commission must draw a negative inference of Nombembe’s investigative choices.

“I aver that there is no reasonable or honest motive by a person in the charge of Nombembe to make the false claims he did, other than a suspicious desperation to associate me with corruption and recklessness regarding the consequences of his deposition.”

In Mpumalanga, Mabuza was the MEC for roads and transport from 2007 to 2008; then for agriculture and land administration between 2008 and 2009; after which he served as the premier until 2018. He became the country’s deputy president in 2018.

The Zondo commission released the last of its state capture reports last month, but Mabuza was not mentioned among the string of ANC leaders and government officials implicated in the Gupta ring of corruption.

–City Press

ANC: We are at our weakest

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Not looking so happy ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa next to chairperson Gwede Mantashe at Nasrec Photo: Tebogo Letsie

In yet another attempt to arrest the decline of the governing party, the ANC national executive committee (NEC) is looking at appointing a renewal committee ahead of its elective conference in December.

This as its senior leaders admitted this week that the party was at its weakest point in history. Party president Cyril Ramaphosa was the first to make this concession on Friday when he addressed delegates to the sixth policy conference at Nasrec in Johannesburg.

Yesterday, former deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe reiterated this warning. The policy conference, which ends today, is the ANC’s first national meeting since the outbreak of Covid-19 in 2020. And the party has been characterised by fights over the step-aside rule as well as the party’s youth challenging the NEC to give a full report of what happened to the resolutions from the last conference before making new ones.

The differences are expected to become proxies for the full-scale challenges on the current leadership at the December elective conference. “We have not gone to a national general council. We are at a policy conference and the NEC must not refuse to account.”

On Friday, a delegate from Limpopo said:

We can’t review policies when we don’t understand how far you have gone in terms of implementation of policies from the 2017 conference. That should be very simple logic.

ANC national chairperson Gwede Mantashe, who was chairing the session, was warned that if the NEC “ran away from accounting to the branches” then it would strengthen perceptions that the Ramaphosa-led leadership was “only obsessed with the step-aside rule”.

According to those who attended the session, KwaZulu-Natal chairperson Siboniso Duma gave the national leaders an ultimatum to “either be defeated by a superior logic or take the matter to a vote”.

Briefing the media on the sidelines of the conference on Friday, the ANC’s general manager Febe Potgieter revealed that the party had plans for a renewal committee in the hope that its vision would revive its appeal to society.

Potgieter said the committee was 

Developing and will present to the elective conference in December a vision for the renewal of the ANC, and the programme of action in terms of the country towards 2032.

“That is one aspect of renewal because the renewal of any organisation is not just about the people, it’s also about the ideas and the vision that we have that unites the organisation as well as society,” said Potgieter.

She presented the organisational renewal document to the delegates. She told journalists that the document had raised “serious doubts” about the “character of the ANC as a servant of the people”.

The governing party had moved from its core values and mission of, among other things, “being a movement that will transform South Africa”, she said.

“The way we described it to the people is not so much that the movement may cease to exist, but, in fact, its character might change to such to an extent that it will become anti-people … it will just become such a lame duck that it becomes ineffective in making a difference. And the point that we therefore made is that this policy conference and the national conference at the end of the year are make or break for us [as we head to the] national elections [in 2024],” she said. For the first time since 1994, the party had dipped below 50% in the local government elections held last year and therefore it could not be “business as usual” for the ANC.

READ: Ramaphosa calls for solutions, solutions, solutions at ANC policy conference

In his opening address, Ramaphosa told the delegates that the ANC was “at its weakest and most vulnerable since the advent of democracy”.

Speaking to journalists on Saturday, Motlanthe agreed with Ramaphosa’s assessment.

“It is true that the ANC is at its weakest in the sense that it is factionalised. Part of the strength of the ANC over the years is that it is home to a whole spectrum of political schools of thought that, however, are always united in pursuit of a common goal,” he said.

“At the moment, there is speaking in tongues, and we need that cohesion, we need that configuration around policy positions so that, when we interview a member in Thohoyandou [in Limpopo] and they respond to you, it should be within the same framework as you will get from a response in Mthatha [in the Eastern Cape] or Kimberley [in the Northern Cape],” said Motlanthe.

ANC Eastern Cape chairperson Oscar Mabuyane reiterated that the party had been engulfed by “ill-discipline not only from members but also leaders”, and the “cancer of factionalism” that had encroached on the party had led to its weakness.

Mabuyane told City Press that the intervention of a renewal committee was needed and that this was the right direction to save the ANC.

He said the ANC had, for a long time, allowed those given the opportunity to lead to think that they “are better than the ANC itself”.

Mabuyane said: 

It’s an argument that we’ve been putting [forward] … that part of the renewal agenda we are pursuing must teach us to always avoid building systems around individuals, because when the individuals are no longer there, the systems collapse.

“We must institutionalise to be an organisation on the renewal [path] so that people appreciate the fact that they are members of the ANC, they’re not members of other members. So that’s what we’re trying to instil … that helps to inculcate a new culture in the ANC,” said Mabuyane.

However, Gauteng secretary Thembinkosi Nciza said the ANC’s weakness could not only be inward-looking.

Nciza said the fact that the governing party had failed to intervene in the challenges faced by society had also contributed to its weakness.

“When people speak about a party being at its weakest, they believe it to be based on what is made to be the highlight of the day – which is corruption. But people are unemployed and it’s a problem,” he told City Press.

“And it can affect the governing party because people are not working … the people of Gauteng spoke about the e-tolls eight years ago. Even today we are still speaking about them; there is no intervention. The cost of living is too high – how are you intervening? And that is what this ANC must talk about,” Nciza said.

“And you want to act as if the ANC is weak, based on what is happening internally? You say accused number one is corruption in the ANC, and you are not saying accused number one [is the failure to change] the lives of our people as the ANC.”

–City Press

ANC averts full-blown strike by staff as policy conference starts

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The ANC might have pulled a last-minute stop to avert a widely anticipated court interdict and protest action on Thursday morning against the proceedings of its policy conference, but it now faces the bigger battle to ensure that it emerges united from this conference, despite contrasting views on issues such as its step-aside policy.

Two of the biggest provinces, KwaZulu-Natal and Limpopo, are leading the charge to have the step-aside rule scrapped after making declarations at the provincial conference and provincial general council, respectively.

The step-aside rule requires that those who are charged with serious crimes, such as corruption, murder and rape, are removed from their positions until the conclusion of their cases.

City Press has learnt that ANC employees were initially contemplating interdicting the organisation from hosting the policy conference, which started with the presidential gala dinner on Wednesday and is scheduled to end on Sunday.

Among the top lawyers they approached to represent them was Advocate Dali Mpofu.

However, in a bid to avert the embarrassment of the protests which had started earlier in the week, the party paid all its unpaid employees their June salaries on Thursday, with a promise to pay the July salaries after the policy conference.

While the party’s national working committee was meeting on Tuesday evening to discuss the final preparations for the conference, the employees’ steering committee was also meeting to discuss the programme of action to disrupt the conference through the court and protests.

Despite receiving their salaries, some employees proceeded to picket outside the delegates’ accreditation centre in Turffontein, Johannesburg, on Thursday. The employees were demanding to be paid their July salaries as a matter of urgency.

As President Cyril Ramaphosa was addressing guests during the presidential gala dinner on Wednesday night, the staff protested outside.

ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe told the media that the party was doing everything to raise funds so that staff salaries would be paid. He said the issue of salaries, raised by staff members, was being addressed not because of the policy conference, but because it involved people’s livelihoods.

He said: 

In terms of the policy conference, we expect a robust debate from delegates, as the party always does.

Mabe said there was nothing that suggested that the conference wouldn’t happen, because they had planned and prepared on time.

He promised tight security around the area to avoid the entry of nonaccredited delegates.

With the police visibility in the area, no nonaccredited person was allowed to come close to the conference centre at the Nasrec expo centre.

The party is expected to debate, among other issues, the controversial step-aside rule.

Despite having its treasurer, Mandla Msibi, facing serious crimes of murder and attempted murder, Mpumalanga has reaffirmed its support for the step-aside rule.

The party will also discuss organisational renewal, economic and social transformation, ways to combat state capture and corruption, gender equity, and emancipation of women.

Ramaphosa appears before ANC integrity committee

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IN TROUBLE: President Cyril Ramaphosa nursing more headaches

….but refuses to speak about Phala Phala robbery

President Cyril Ramaphosa has refused to answer questions before the ANC integrity committee over the Phala Phala farmgate scandal.

Ramaphosa finally appeared before the governing party’s ethics body in Houghton on Tuesday to explain the alleged robbery at his Phala Phala game farm in Bela Bela in Limpopo in 2020.

He told the committee members that he had been instructed by his lawyers and the Office of the Public Protector not to say anything until the investigations were concluded, City Press has learnt.

His appearance before the committee came just days before the ANC’s national policy conference started at Nasrec in Johannesburg on Friday, and almost two months since he promised he would speak to the committee after former State Security Agency director general Arthur Fraser opened a criminal case against him over the Phala Phala robbery.

Up to $4 million stashed in couches was allegedly stolen from the game farm. Ramaphosa has been under pressure to explain his possession of the foreign currency and why it was hidden in furniture.

City Press learnt that on Tuesday, some members of the integrity committee felt “undermined” and insisted that there was nothing stopping Ramaphosa from accounting to the body, but others defended him. He was eventually let off the hook.

A Luthuli House insider said that one of the reasons the committee may have decided to treat Ramaphosa with kid gloves was because “many of the members believed there was no suitable alternative to Ramaphosa within the party if any sanction, including a suspension, was to be imposed against him”.

The ANC’s elders were also wary about the party facing the possibility of losing the general elections for the first in 2024 and laboured under the view that even with the Phala Phala cloud over his head, Ramaphosa was still the party’s best bet.

Fraser opened the case at the Rosebank Police Station on June 1, including allegations of police involvement in the search and torture of the suspects and a subsequent cover-up of the 2020 incident.

In the affidavit, Fraser asked the police to investigate Ramaphosa, Presidential Protection Unit head Major General Wally Rhoode, and the police’s crime intelligence unit members for money laundering, contravening the Prevention of Organised Crime Act, and corruption, in contravention of the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act.

While Rhoode had responded to the list of questions suspended Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane sent to him via the office of the National Police Commissioner General Fannie Masemola, Ramaphosa had sought a 30-day extension from July 18. But a subpoena threat from acting Public Protector Advocate Kholeka Gcaleka forced him to comply with the deadline, albeit four days later.

City Press reported on Monday that Gcaleka had warned Ramaphosa that a public disclosure of his Phala Phala answers would jeopardise the office’s investigation. Ramaphosa’s answers to the 31 questions were due to be attached to the court record dealing with the legality of Mkhwebane’s suspension but Gcaleka disrupted the plans.

Court records are generally considered public documents, unless the court allows them to be sealed, as happened in 2019 when the details of Ramaphosa’s 2017 ANC presidential election donors were hidden from public view.

This is a developing story.

–News24

Ramaphosa calls for solutions at ANC policy conference

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ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa delivering his opening address of the 6th ANC Policy Conference in Nasrec. Photo: Tebogo Letsie ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa delivering his opening address of the 6th ANC Policy Conference in Nasrec. Photo: Tebogo Letsie

ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa hopes the party’s policy conference currently under way in Nasrec, South of Johannesburg, will end with ideas and solutions to the challenges facing the country and strengthen what he says is a weakened ANC.

In a two-hour-long opening address at the policy conference on Friday, Ramaphosa talked about the challenges the country was facing, including unemployment, crime and gender-based violence, and urged the delegates to use the conference to ask themselves what could be done to solve these challenges. He also addressed the division in the party that led to its weakness.

ANC delegates singing at the 6th ANC Policy Conference in Nasrec. Photo: Tebogo Letsie

“The ANC is today at its weakest and most vulnerable since the advent of democracy,” he told the delegates.

Ramaphosa said the weakness of the party was clear in how it performed in the local government elections, where the ANC, in some municipalities, failed to get the outright majority to lead. He said it was also evident in how people had lost trust and are increasingly frustrated with the party and government.

Our weaknesses are reflected in many of our branches, which are not involved in the lives of their communities but are activated only for the purpose of electing delegates for conferences or nominating candidates for public office.

“Perhaps most strikingly, our weaknesses are evident in the divisions within our ranks.”

Ramaphosa said this to a half-empty hall, a momentous contrast to the usually fully packed elective conferences of the party.

He also spoke about the divisions in the ANC, which were not because of ideologies or policies, but rather by the competition for positions to have access to public resources. He said the divisions did not only affect the party but also weakened public institutions, which affected service delivery.

“These divisions manifest themselves in patronage, gatekeeping, vote buying and manipulation of organisational processes. These divisions are driven by corruption and the need by those responsible for corruption to avoid detection and accountability.”

Ramaphosa highlighted the issue of division as some of the provinces attending the conference, including KwaZulu-Natal, have already made it known that they would use the policy conference to call for an end to the step-aside resolution of the 2017 Nasrec elective conference.

However, the president said the party would not turn its back on the resolutions it implemented five years ago, especially those dealing with corruption.

“On this, there can be no going back. There can be no compromise. We cannot abandon our principled position on corruption in pursuit of false unity.”

Ramaphosa said the renewal of the ANC depended on ending corruption.

“Our movement must be united around our values and mission. It must be against corruption, patronage and factionalism.

The people of South Africa will not forgive us if we abandon the correct positions that we have taken on confronting wrongdoing within our ranks. History will not forgive us.

Meanwhile, Cosatu president Zingiswa Losi – while giving a message of support – emphasised that the policy conference needed to discuss the renewal of the party and reaffirm its core values. She also said Cosatu wanted a “pro-working class” ANC that does not shy away from defending the rights of workers and is committed to eliminating the legacy of apartheid and colonialism.

“We want a committed, honest and an ANC with integrity and humility, which is critical in building an effective organisation and government. Our hope chair, for this policy conference, is that it should represent a turning point in the renewal of the ANC and in tackling and reversing the negative tendencies that have eroded the political integrity and moral standing of the party amongst our people.

“This meeting should reaffirm the core values and principles of the ANC, that of unity, selflessness, sacrifice, collective leadership, humility, honesty, discipline, hard work, internal debates, constructive criticism and self-criticism. We need, as a federation, to see a renewed and rejuvenated ANC emerge.”

Newly elected general secretary of the South African Communist Party (SACP) Solly Mapaila told the delegates that the policy conference – among others – needed to seriously discuss the issues of land and the recent framework announced by Ramaphosa to rescue the energy crisis at Eskom.

Mapaila said the SACP was “not completely happy” with the framework, as it places the responsibility on the private sector, which does not account for the people of South Africa.

“When the people have no electricity, they don’t call corporations, they call the government. So, we need to take full responsibility recapitalise Eskom in a manner that we can discuss with society so that we are accountable for the actions that we’ve taken ourselves. We still believe that these are issues that will further require engagement at this policy conference within the framework of the alliance.”

Mapaila added that the ANC needed to deal with the land question and said that any revolutionary knows that the ownership of land determines whether a society is rich or poor.

“We can’t be dilly-dallying on the matter of this nature, on the land question, in the midst of poverty. We need, therefore, this policy conference to come out much clearer [on the question of the land].”

Unlike other lively ANC conferences, the first day of the policy conference was lukewarm with minimal singing from the delegates. The only time the conference came alive was when Ramaphosa called for more youth in leadership.

ANC policy conference delegates demand to discuss failure to implement policy

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ANC Policy Conference

ANC national chairperson Gwede Mantashe had his hands full on Friday during the first closed session of the party’s national policy conference as delegates demanded accountability from the national executive committee on the state of the organisation and progress with implementing the 2017 policy resolutions.

Led by the newly elected ANC KwaZulu-Natal leadership, the conference delegates argued that it made no sense to discuss new policy proposals when there was no progress report on how far the last set of policy decisions had been implemented.

Mantashe was warned that if the national executive committee “ran away from accounting to the branches” then, it would strengthen perceptions that the president Cyril Ramaphosa-led leadership was “only obsessed with the step-aside rule”.

According to those who attended the session, KwaZulu-Natal ANC chairperson Siboniso Duma gave the national leaders an ultimatum to “either be defeated by a superior logic or take the matter to a vote”.

Others who continued in the debate included KwaZulu-Natal ANC secretary Bheki Mtolo, KwaZulu-Natal ANC youth leader and provincial executive committee member Sizophila Mkhize, as well as Eastern Cape ANC leader Andile Lungisa.

The conference was opened by president Cyril Ramaphosa, who promised that delegates would show their critics that the party was united.

He said:

We will demonstrate, in accordance with ANC tradition, that where we might have different views and approaches on various matters, we are always able to build consensus and emerge with coherent policy positions. This conference needs to send a clear and positive message about our determination to address the challenges that face our people and country.

–News24

Benni McCarthy joins Manchester United as the first-team striker coach

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Benni McCarthy

Manchester United have hired former Blackburn Rovers striker Benni McCarthy as a first team coach.

The 44-year-old was pictured at United’s Carrington training base on Saturday and is set to join Erik ten Hag’s backroom staff immediately with a view to working with the club’s forwards.

McCarthy, a former South Africa international, won the Champions League under Jose Mourinho’s management during his time at Porto and enjoyed a productive spell at Rovers during Mark Hughes’ time at Ewood Park.

Formerly of Ajax as well, McCarthy speaks four different languages and had been working as a manager in South Africa’s top division at Cape Town City and Amazulu.

McCarthy will be charged with working with an elite group of forwards, which is increasingly likely to include Cristiano Ronaldo, but his role will not be restricted to working with one department of Ten Hag’s first team squad.

Ronaldo missed Saturday’s friendly in Oslo as it was decided he would be left behind in Manchester to concentrate on building up his fitness.

The 37-year-old has missed the entirety of pre-season, officially due to family issues, amid relentless speculation over his future.

Ronaldo held showdown talks with Ten Hag and senior club officials in midweek and now appears likely to remain judging by his recent social media activity, despite claims he wants to leave for a club playing in the Champions League.

The former Real Madrid superstar appears to have a shortage of viable escape routes, however, with a number of high-profile clubs ruling themselves out of the running, while Ronaldo confirmed he was set to feature in Sunday’s friendly against Rayo Vallecano at Old Trafford.

Aside from Ronaldo, McCarthy will work with Marcus Rashford, looking to bounce back from a disappointing 12 months, and an apparently rejuvenated Anthony Martial.

The France international was deemed surplus to requirements by Ralf Rangnick in January and endured a disappointing loan spell at Sevilla.

Martial has been handed an unlikely chance to rebuild his United career by Ten Hag, in part due to Ronaldo’s absence, and impressed in the recent wins over Liverpool, Melbourne Victory and Crystal Palace.

–Metro

KZN education department calls for expert submissions on ancestral callings in schools

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Lecture room or School empty classroom with desks and chair iron wood in high school thailand, interior of secondary school education, with whiteboard, vintage tone educational concept

The KwaZulu-Natal education department has called for submissions to explore ways to deal with the impact of ancestral callings on teaching and learning.

The call comes after numerous provincial schools were forced to close for several days last term when pupils displayed signs associated with such events.

KwaZulu-Natal education department spokesperson Muzi Mahlambi told TimesLIVE on Friday the department had been “engulfed by many incidents of this nature”.

“We are always found wanting in dealing or responding appropriately, hence we are inviting people who are experts in this field to start a discourse,” he said.

The guiding themes for submissions are coexistence of faith and culture, the impact of initiation on teaching and learning, the teacher’s perception of how ancestral callings affect teaching and learning, developing originators of thought and action related to ancestral calling, and colonial heritage and appropriation of western thinking.

The deadline for submissions is August 10.

TimesLIVE

ANC’s national policy conference marred by delays but staff salaries paid

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Gwen Ramokgopa

A press briefing on the state of readiness for the ANC’s sixth national policy conference has been delayed because the steering committee is receiving the final credentials report to be presented in plenary.

Co-ordinator in the ANC secretary-general’s office Gwen Ramokgopa said she does not expect disputes surrounding the credentials.

The party was expected to address the media at 7am at the Nasrec conference centre in Johannesburg but by 9am the briefing had not taken place.

Ramokgopa said: “We have had most of the provinces, if not all, and most of the delegates registered by last night and we are ready to go”.

The party was expected to address the media at 7am at the Nasrec conference centre in Johannesburg but by 9am, the briefing had not taken place.

“We have speakers lined up. We hope we will not delay much and will start as soon as possible. The president and the national chair are very strict about starting on time. I am going to make sure there are no further delays.”

Ramokgopa said on Thursday there was a meeting convened by the national chair and treasurer-general with chairpersons and secretaries of the provinces.

“It is a culture and tradition to welcome them and discuss issues. Sometimes you will find there is a bus broken down and just to reflect on the state of readiness and be together to plan ahead for the success of this conference.”

Regarding the debates to come, she said: “I do expect this conference to be very vibrant as usual. The ANC meetings from branches to national are always vibrant because members come from different perspectives and things are not well in the country.

“The economy is not at its best, although it is recovering. We are emerging from a very harsh Covid-19 pandemic and unemployment and poverty are still there. So members are very robust in their endeavours to try to deal with very complex issues that face their communities.”

Commenting on the news that KwaZulu-Natal and Limpopo have adopted resolutions from their provincial conferences and general councils that the step-aside rule should be abolished, Ramokgopa said: “We have picked up there are provinces that would want to revisit step-aside.

“We will hear them out as to where exactly they want it to be revisited because that is now a constitutional provision from the 54th national conference and only national conference can review.

“From the 54th national conference, the ANC branches, members and leaders were resolute that there won’t be any turning back. We will hear what issues they are raising and take it from there.

“Part of our concerns are that, for instance, in Mpumalanga and eThekwini you will notice there were people on step-aside standing to be elected and once elected they have to recuse themselves and those positions become redundant.”

Ramokgopa said the ANC and the national executive committee received support in terms of the implementation of the step-aside policy.

The ANC will host is 6th policy conference at Nasrec from July 28 to 31. The discussions taking place at the conference have the potential to become government policy.

TimesLIVE previously reported that acting ANC secretary-general Paul Mashatile had called an urgent meeting with provincial leaders to discuss measures to prevent misbehaviour of delegates ahead of the conference. This follows scenes in Durban where some delegates chanted slogans and sang “wenzeni uZuma” when President Cyril Ramaphosa took to the podium to address the provincial conference.

On how the party plans to manage unruly delegates, Ramokgopa said after presenting credentials, the rules and procedures are presented and adopted.

“They bind everybody. For every conference we also have a disciplinary committee. Some of the demeanours may include being rude but we have never really had major unruly behaviour in a policy conference.”

On overdue salary payments due to Luthuli House staff, Ramokgopa confirmed that part of the funds for the conference were used to pay their salaries.

“By yesterday (Thursday) there was a process of beginning to pay most of the staff. I think maybe about 20 or so were outstanding by yesterday and the rest were paid the June salaries.

“The SG (Mashatile) had committed that part of the fundraising from yesterday evening (a gala dinner) would go towards making up the rest owed to staff.”

She said the party respected the rights of staff to air their concerns.

“We regret it had to get to that.”

–TimesLIVE

Mashatile calls urgent meeting to discuss how to deal with unruly delegates at policy conference

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ANC Treasurer-General Paul Mashatile

Acting ANC secretary-general Paul Mashatile has called an urgent meeting with provincial leaders to discuss measures to prevent misbehaviour of delegates ahead of the party’s policy conference starting tomorrow. 

This follows scenes in Durban where some delegates chanted slogans and sang “wenzen’  uZuma” when President Cyril Ramaphosa took to the podium to address the KZN provincial conference.

The meeting is taking place Thursday evening at an undisclosed location in Johannesburg. Ramaphosa and national chair Gwede Mantashe are expected to attend.

“The TG [treasurer-general Mashatile] has called a meeting of provincial chairs and secretaries to try to guide the conference. The meeting is going to take place this evening,” a senior ANC leader told TimesLIVE.

“It is to give leadership that provincial leaders must take responsibility for their own delegates and basically to whip them into shape because the rules that are going to be read tomorrow, provincial leaders need to understand these are the rules, these are the guidelines on how to run the national policy conference.”

The meeting was confirmed by several provincial leaders.

The source, who has intimate knowledge of the meeting, said the ANC was expecting the around 2,000 delegates to be “robust” and “militant” and provincial chairs and secretaries had a role to play in ensuring everyone behaved.

“So he has called that meeting, I mean we are expecting very robust engagements but those robust engagements should lead to a qualitative outcome of the national policy conference. And it is important [to acknowledge] that robust [debate] can’t be avoided,” the insider said.

“Because if there is militancy, you need to channel it, so that it is not destructive.”

The leader said delegates were expected to hold those the party has deployed to government accountable for their portfolios and that such debates had to be managed.

“Robustness is expected because there must be engagement because ANC has to take stock of its policies — have they been implemented — so those that are in government, the deployees, must account to the ANC — why do we have load-shedding, why do we have so much violence in society, crime, where is the plan to deal with joblessness, where is the plan to deal with the economy — those are real big issues, issues that require a very robust engagement by delegates at the national policy conference,” the insider said.

One of the contentious issues that is expected to be the subject of intense debate at the conference is the step-aside rule. 

This is a rule that calls for those facing legal charges in court to vacate their positions until their matters have been resolved. The rule also prohibits those charged in court from standing for leadership positions.

South Africa’s Home Affairs Faces Another Lawsuit Over Termination Of ZEP

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Home Affairs Minister

South Africa’s Home Affairs Department is facing another lawsuit relating to the looming termination of the Zimbabwean Exemption Permit (ZEP).

The ZEP is a special dispensation permit established more than 10 years ago that gives legal protection to an estimated 178 000 Zimbabwean nationals to live, work and study in South Africa.

However, the Cabinet decided in January 2022 that the arrangement must be terminated by December and that applicants should apply for a visa to remain in South Africa, based on a list of critical skills needed in the country.

In June, the Helen Suzman Foundation said it would be taking the government to court for discontinuing the permits. 

Now, another organisation – the Zimbabwean Immigration Federation (ZIF) – is also taking the department to court, News24 reports.

In its papers filed at the Gauteng High Court in Pretoria, ZIF cited the Department of Home Affairs, President Cyril Ramaphosa, the South African Police Service, the South African National Defence Force, and the Border Management Authority.

Why is ZIF pushing this?

i). The application was aimed at preventing government departments from arresting or deporting ZEP holders once their permits expired at the end of the year.

ii). The organisation also wanted ZEP holders to be able to leave or enter the country legally if all their other travel documentation was in order.

iii). The ZIF wanted home affairs to review the decision not to extend the ZEP.

iv). The organisation also wanted the department to restart the review process for permits and, in the meantime, allow ZEP holders to remain in the country.

ZIF contends that:

1). The Department of Home Affairs has not taken the necessary steps to handle numerous applications by ZEP holders that will be lodged under the Refugees Act.

2). Members of the ZIF were victims of the Gukurahundi massacre who had been left homeless.

3). They were also worried that members of the LGBTQI community would face discrimination in Zimbabwe.

4). Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi erred in his decision to end the permits because he “failed to take into account relevant considerations in making the impugned decision”.

5). Motsoaledi’s approach to the withdrawal of the exemptions is reminiscent of the brutal international migration policy adopted by the Apartheid regime. They imposed harsh immigration controls and tight restrictions on Africans it considered undesirable.

6). ZEP termination would also lead to families being torn apart as most ZIF members didn’t qualify for alternative visas under the critical skills category.

7). Permit holders were also likely to lose their businesses and property, the court papers stated.

Home affairs spokesperson Siya Qoza said the department’s lawyers had filed a motion to oppose the ZIF court action.
Pindula News

Nhlanhla ‘Lux’ Dlamini Cut Ties With Operation Dudula Movement

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Nhlanhla Dlamini

Nhlanhla “Lux” Dlamini has cut ties with the controversial Operation Dudula movement over a difference of opinion on foreign nationals in South Africa.

The Time Live cites Dlamini saying he will now focus on his activities with Soweto Parliament and its programmes.

The split comes after the two organisations could not see eye to eye on immigration.

The difference of opinion stems from Operation Dudula wanting all foreigners to leave SA, while Soweto Parliament only wants illegal foreigners out.

In a joint statement, the organisations said no way forward could be found and they had agreed to part ways and work independently. Read the statement:

The two organisations have resolved to deal with these issues independently (under different brands) but in a complementary manner.

Most importantly, based on the workload of these community-based operations and campaigns, the parties have agreed to allow Nhlanhla Lux to focus exclusively on Soweto Parliament and its programmes.

Operation Dudula’s stance has been criticised by many, including politicians Julius Malema and Mmusi Maimane.

Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Malema told Podcast and Chill Dlamini that Operation Dudula’s stance was rooted in self-hate. He said:

Black people are not loved all over the world. And for a black person to hate another black person who is hated all over the world, what is that?

Criminals, let’s deal with them. I have no time for thugs. I do not tolerate thugs, but I am not going to beat up a person because he is dark and ugly in my eyes.

One SA Movement leader Maimane said the operation was a “dangerous distraction that solves nothing”. He said:

Operation Dudula is hating on fellow Africans and I have a problem with that.

He also criticised Dlamini saying he was not a revolutionary, “not a visionary, and your whole brand is built on hate. Your operation is a dangerous distraction that solves nothing.”

Previously, ANC Veterans’ League president Snuki Zikalala said Operation Dudula was “dangerous” and suggested it was exploiting the unemployed.

He said protesters must go to school and get skills instead of harassing foreign nationals.

What the KZN conference results mean

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Siboniso Duma is the newly elected chairperson of KZN ANC . Photo: Jabulani Langa

KwaZulu-Natal’s ANC provincial conference took place this weekend, and if you are wondering what the outcome means in terms of the governing party’s national picture, you are not the only one.

Mayors, businesspeople and intelligence operatives have also been asking the same question, including for President Cyril Ramaphosa’s campaign for a second term in December.

“What a politically dramatic week,” said one source about the convincing victory of new provincial ANC chairperson Siboniso Duma’s slate over that of Premier Sihle Zikalala.

However, the outcome was almost predictable, almost a replay of the eThekwini regional elective conference in April, which saw former Durban mayor Zandile Gumede sweep the board, even when she was affected by the step-aside rule.

As things stand – and bar a decision to charge him for any criminal offence related to the R150 million Digital Vibes communications contract of the national health department – former minister Zweli Mkhize had just been introduced as a factor in the upcoming leadership succession race ahead of the ANC national elective conference in December.

Duma was propelled to the top post by the Taliban faction supporting Mkhize, which consisted of Mkhize loyalists; the Radical Economic Transformation group that supported former president Jacob Zuma, and a small but crucial bloc that supported Deputy President David Mabuza.

Zikalala had carried the Ramaphosa torch for his second term election bid but it did not shine bright enough with the 1 607 voting delegates attending the provincial conference at the Olive Convention Centre in Durban.

Much political analysis ahead of the crucial conference over the weekend had been fudged by an unnecessary focus on popular figures contesting for the positions and not necessarily the outcome of branch processes.

So much publicity was reserved for a possible upset by businessman Sandile Zungu, whose links to Gumede, a provincial strong woman, could not be denied. Former provincial treasurer Nomusa Dube-Ncube also ran an effective public relations machinery that had many people dupped that she had the conference in the bag.

ANC NEC

NEC members Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, Paul Mashatile, Dr Zweli Mkhize and Lindiwe Sisulu during the conference. Photo: Jabulani Langa

But, a reading of how the regions positioned themselves told a different picture. By Friday when the conference started, it was clear that neither Zungu nor Dube-Ncube had the 154 branch nominations to make it to the ballot.

Their best chance was to work on getting the 402 votes from the 1 607 delegates on the floor, and while Dube-Ncube put up a brave face, Zungu quickly read the room and decided to fight another day by declining the nomination.

In a preview of the nominations that, unfortunately, never got published due to technical issues, City Press noted that Zikalala would no doubt be the only challenger out of branch nominations as he enjoyed some degree of support from the Moses Mabhida region (Pietermaritzburg), iNkosi Bhambatha region (Greytown), Far North (uMkhanyakude) and his home region in General Gizenga Mpanza (KwaDukuza).

He was also in a prime position to cause an upset if the six regions that generally agreed on the Duma slate failed to find consensus on his name as the preferred chairperson candidate.

The six regions were Mzala Nxumalo in Vryheid, Harry Gwala in Ixopo, Josiah Gumede in Ladysmith, eMalahleni in Newcastle, Musa Dladla in Empangeni and eThekwini. Lower South Coast in Port Shepstone was also not hostile to the Duma lobby but not entirely on board.

The decision to have Gumede stand for provincial treasurer – even though she was going to decline nomination – was to open the door for a lobby to get other regions to provide a candidate, and thereby come on board the Mkhize train.

On Sunday when the last vote was counted, it was clear that Ramaphosa would have a tough decision to make in terms of availing himself to make the closing address at the conference.

The delegates singing in support of Zuma also sent a message that the conference floor would be hostile ground for Ramaphosa, who was seen to be the hidden political hand behind Zuma’s woes, including his incarceration last July that sparked public unrest.

But, Ramaphosa played bravely and left the chaos for Duma to resolve – if anything to show whether he really commanded enough influence and the respect he had just been adorned with. Duma saved the day and Ramaphosa was able to make a full speech.

The next battlefront would be the national policy conference starting on Wednesday in Nasrec in Johannesburg, where the KwaZulu-Natal ANC would drive the lobby to scrap the step-aside policy.

READ: Stricter ANC election rules block criminally charged contenders

Suspended ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule, former Limpopo treasurer Danny Msiza, suspended treasurer in Mpumalanga Mandla Msibi, Gumede and even Mkhize – who has been threatened with arrest – would have an interest in the debate. The dominant ANC faction in Gauteng were also not fans of the rule, as well as the group that marginally lost the Eastern Cape provincial conference in May.

KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo, Mpumalanga and Eastern Cape make up the four biggest provinces of the ANC in terms of membership and they will bring the biggest chunk of delegates to the upcoming policy conference.

The political future of these powerful ANC leaders hinged on the step-aside rule being thwarted, especially on the back of claims that the party faction that had the capacity to whisper to the ears of the prosecuting authority enjoyed immunity.

All is set for the Guptas’ extradition to SA from UAE

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Atul Gupta and Rajesh Gupta at the ANC'S conference on December 17 2012 in Mangaung. Justice minister Ronald Lamola says a request has been submitted to the UAE for the brothers to be extradited to SA to face charges. File photo. Image: Sunday Times/Simphiwe Nkwali

It’s going to be a long process to get state capture suspects –Batohi

SA has submitted an extradition request for the Gupta brothers, Atul and Rajesh, in the UAE to be brought to SA following their arrest last month.

This was announced by NPA head Shamila Batohi on Monday, as the justice ministry briefed the nation on major extraditions processes that were currently underway.

Batohi said the request was submitted on Monday to the Central Authority in UAE, well within the 60 days deadline of August 2.

“The application was submitted in both English and Arabic and it addresses the general requirements of extradition, which if met would allow extradition to be granted under either the existing extradition treaty with the UAE or the United Nations convention against corruption,” she said.

Batohi said a multi-disciplinary team, led by legal experts, worked relentlessly to prepare the application. Some team members met their counterparts in the UAE earlier this month to ensure that the request meets the requirements of the bilateral treaty and is in line with the UAE domestic legislation.

“The submission of the formal application request for the arrest and extradition of the Gupta brothers is an important milestone in the NPA’s commitment to hold accountable perpetrators of state capture and to uphold the rule of law. It reaffirms our resolve to be lawyers for the people and seek collective justice for our country.

“As this process unfolds and the extradition application is heard in the UAE courts, the NPA will continue to collaborate with its counterparts in the UAE to ensure that we do all that is necessary to get the Gupta brothers extradited and to face justice in SA,” Batohi said.

The Gutpa brothers were arrested in Dubai early last month not long after Interpol had issued red notices for them in February. 

They are wanted for a case relating to procurement fraud involving R24.9m in the Free State. The money was paid between November 2011 and April 2012 by the Free State department of agriculture to Nulane Investment 204, a company owned and controlled by Iqbal Sharma.

Apart from this case, the state capture commission also recommended that more criminal charges be instituted against members of the Gupta family. In part 4 of the commission’s report made public in April, the commission said the NPA should consider prosecuting Rajesh “Tony” Gupta.

The commission said Rajesh must be charged for bribery or corruption emanating from his conduct in offering former deputy minister of finance Mcebisi Jonas R600m in exchange for agreeing to be finance minister and working with the family as its inside man.

Batohi warned that the process of getting the Gupta brothers back in SA could take months to conclude.

Battle-bruised Ramaphosa extends olive branch to newly elected ANC KZN leaders

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Ramaphosa's ally Sihle Zikalala suffered a huge political blow when he lost the ANC KwaZulu-Natal chairpersonship. Zikalala was defeated by former provincial youth league president Sboniso Duma
  • President Cyril Ramaphosa extended an olive branch to the newly elected ANC KwaZulu-Natal leadership, which was made up of a slate opposed to the one that supported him.
  • He embraced the newly elected leaders and called for unity in the party.
  • Ramaphosa delivered the closing address at the hotly contested provincial elective conference.

Facing a tense situation and a crowd of delegates that was hostile to him after his allies had been heavily defeated at the ANC KwaZulu-Natal conference, ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa resorted to extending an olive branch to his detractors.

He promised to work with the ANC provincial leaders who were elected at the conference in Durban over the weekend.

Ramaphosa said in his address to delegates at the ninth ANC KwaZulu-Natal elective conference on Sunday:

I commit to working with the leadership you have elected. I will work with them in a relationship based on trust and a commitment to working together for the best of the ANC in KZN.

He assured the new leaders that they would be his first point of call if issues arose from the province and said he would not be taking counsel from those sympathetic to him who had lost at the conference.

Ramaphosa praised newly elected provincial chairperson Sboniso Duma, saying his assurances after being elected that he would not purge the former leaders demonstrated a willingness to unite and work together.

There had been fears that following their resounding win, the pro-Jacob Zuma slate would force the former leaders, led by KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala, out of their government positions to make way for themselves.

Duma led the so-called “Taliban” slate to a clean sweep over the Zikalala-led “Ankole” slate, which was sympathetic to Ramaphosa.

The new provincial chairperson demonstrated his ability to lead when he took charge of a situation which had threatened to throw the ANC into further disunity as delegates attempted to disrupt Ramaphosa’s closing address.

Duma took the microphone and gave a stern warning to delegates. “Whoever loves the ANC will behave and not dispute the duly elected president of the organisation.”

He urged delegates to “engage” with Ramaphosa and tell him what they were unhappy about, instead of booing him and demonstrating further divisions.

Ramaphosa relied on positive reinforcement and flattery to navigate the antagonistic environment. He cautioned the new leaders and delegates to remember that they had joined the ANC and gathered at the conference because they had made a commitment to the people of South Africa, not toward factional gains.

“You will show us what unity is all about. You have, frankly, embarked on a number of processes that united this organisation here. We must prove to our people that we can serve them diligently with respect,” said Ramaphosa.

He added:

Only a strong and united ANC is capable of transforming the country.

He lauded the province, saying that the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal had always been at the forefront of raising economic issues.

“When you raise issues, you should never think as KZN they fall on deaf ears.”

Ramaphosa also took a dig at former president Thabo Mbeki, who said that Ramaphosa and his administration had no plan to deal with the triple threat challenges of poverty, unemployment, and inequality. Mbeki had spoken at the national memorial service of late ANC deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte.

Ramaphosa said:

We should challenge the claim that we do not have a coherent plan to drive growth and create employment. Not only do we have a plan, but we are hard at work implementing it.

“The current problem of jobs did not start yesterday or two years ago. We have had this problem for a long time.”

He said he was working with social partners to come up with a plan and make compromises.

Ramaphosa added that his administration was making progress with creating a social compact.

His address was continuously disrupted by delegates who were leaving the venue. The ANC was quick to explain that the exiting delegates were not walking out because Ramaphosa was addressing them, but were continuing the concurrent process of voting for additional members.

In a media statement, the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal said it wished “to assure its members and the South African public that there was no walkout during President Ramaphosa’s address to its elective conference in Durban today”.

The ANC said confusion might have been created by ANC members leaving the venue while the president was speaking.

“We want to clarify that the reason why delegates left the venue was because they had been requested to go and vote for the PEC’s (provincial executive committee) additional members,” read the statement.

–News24

Wally Rhoode throws Ramaphosa under the bus

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WANTED: Cyril Ramaphosa is wanted by the Committee to explain himself about the Phala Phala scandal

In his response to the Public Protector, President Cyril Ramaphosa’s head of Presidential Protection Service, Wally Rhoode, has revealed the roles allegedly played by the President and his Namibian counterpart, Hage Geingob, in the aftermath of the Phala Phala farm robbery where millions of US dollars were stolen.The Phala Phala farm in Bela-Bela, Limpopo is owned by Ramaphosa where it is reported that five Namibian nationals broke into it and stole an undisclosed amount of US dollars estimated to between $4-million and $8-million on February 9, 2020.

Shortly after the robbery, the men, who were residing in Cape Town at the time, went on a shopping spree buying cars, jewellery and apartments in the Mother City after changing the dollars at a local Chinese-owned forex exchange. Some drove their new flashy cars to Namibia while others remained in Cape Town.

Four sources told Sunday Independent this week that Rhoode “opened a can of worms” in his response to a public protector inquiry and revealed damning information, some of it not even in the public domain.

Rhoode, in his response, reportedly confirms that he drove to “no man’s land” – a neutral place on the borders of the two countries – to meet with some senior members of the Namibian police force on Ramaphosa’s instructions.

The meeting came days after Namibian police arrested one of the alleged robbers, Erkki Shikongo, in Windhoek, the country’s capital, after receiving a tip-off that he was driving a Ford Ranger allegedly bought with the money from the robbery.

Rhoode also revealed to the PP questions that he was accompanied on that trip by Ramaphosa’s adviser, Bejani Chauke.

Late payments ‘horror story’ for small businesses

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Trade and Industry Minister Ebrahim Patel. Photo: Palesa Dlamini

About 900 black industrialists received financial support totalling R44 billion over the past six years that the black industrialist programme under the department of trade, industry and competition has been running. The programme defines black industrialists as black individuals who are directly involved in the creation, ownership, management and operation of a business.

The bulk of the R44 billion consisted of loans that were to be paid back at interest rates below market rates.

“Some of the money was equity – where the Industrial Development Corporation [IDC], for example, took a small shareholding in a company to inject capital – and some of it comprised grants, where the department made money available to a black industrialist as a contribution to building their capital base,” says Trade, Industry and Competition Minister Ebrahim Patel.

The department works together with the IDC and the National Empowerment Fund to provide loans and grants to black businesses. This year, R6 billion has been set aside to finance the programme, though Patel adds that government has offered much more support than what has been budgeted for.

We’ve decided that all targets must be evidence-based, so the research project we’re looking at now will give us a much better sense of what the ratio of budget is for a successful company. When we simply chase numbers and those companies fold, we may have ticked the box, but we’ve achieved nothing.

Patel says his team is trying to shift the focus of BEE from the original aim of simply addressing historical race-based discrimination.

“We’re trying to change our story to one of how we can use the entrepreneurial energy of black South Africans to grow the economy. From now on, our focus won’t be on what we put in – it will be on how we can get the maximum out for the economy. The kind of projects we back will increasingly reflect that.”

About 70 000 jobs are said to have been created by businesses that are owned and controlled by black entrepreneurs. There are reportedly 337 000 black entrepreneurs in the formal economy and 1.3 million in the informal sector. In general, black entrepreneurs have injected R160 billion into the economy over a 12-year period.

UNSTABLE POWER SUPPLY STIFLES GROWTH

Government has admitted that an unreliable electricity supply will stifle the growth of businesses and the economy at large.

Speaking on Wednesday at the Black Industrialists and Exporters Conference, which aims to gauge the progress of the black industrialist programme, President Cyril Ramaphosa said:

In particular, we need to act decisively and urgently to end the load shedding that’s causing such damage to our economy and such disruption to our society. Like all other actors in the economy, black industrialists simply can’t grow without a reliable supply of affordable energy. We’ve done much over the past four years to transform the country’s energy landscape and bring new generation capacity online.

His comments came as South Africa experiences the worst round of load shedding since 2020, as well as the destruction of public infrastructure, including the rail network and the country’s ports.

Ramaphosa also encouraged delegates to have a frank discussion about impediments to the expansion of black business, not just from government, but from the private sector as well.

“I invite you to also talk about how government embarks on processes that, for instance, prevent and even destroy your growth. I know for a fact that one of the issues you want to raise – and you must raise it – is that, when you transact with government, we’re able to give you opportunities, but at the same time, we destroy you by not paying you on time or not paying you at all. We need to talk about that frankly and openly, as we’re making efforts to solve this problem of nonpayment or late payment by government,” said Ramaphosa.

LATE PAYMENTS A BIG PROBLEM

The president’s words came three years after he had made a commitment that government would pay suppliers within 30 days.

On Friday, National Treasury said there was a 63% improvement in the number of invoices older than 30 days and not paid at the end of the 2021/2022 financial year, which amounted to 134 invoices to the value of R5 million, when compared with 358 invoices to the value of R426 million reported at the end of the 2020/2021 financial year.

As long ago as May 2010, Treasury emphasised this requirement, stressing that noncompliance could be grounds for charges of financial misconduct.

Gloria Serobe, Wiphold’s co-founder and executive director, who is also a member of the new broad-based BEE advisory council, said on the sidelines of the conference that 12 years down the line, late payments were still a big issue.

It’s a horror story. People have been liquidated because of late payments. For suppliers to say they’d rather not accept government business for that reason is a sad story. It’s a complex issue because one has to deal with bureaucracy anyway. But there are all manner of [reasons for suppliers going insolvent because they weren’t paid on time]: either there’s a cut that’s required or they need to pay somebody.

HOPING FOR HELP

Despite the challenges, many delegates at the conference were not deterred by government’s shortcomings and remained hopeful about the future of their businesses. Others, however, said their situations were perilous.

A clothing manufacturer from KwaZulu-Natal who owns a small cut, make and trim factory, said her main challenges were inexperienced workers and that her small company, with a turnover of about R1 million a year, did not have the means to offer proper training to them while producing garments to meet the demands of her clients.

“We small factories employ people from the streets who don’t have experience. Experienced workers are comfortable in big factories that offer a package, which I can’t compete with. Design schools aren’t giving us the skills that one can plug and play. I can’t put a person with a clothing design qualification on a machine. They can sew, but not at the speed that optimises my factory, where we run a fast production line.”

LARGE BUSINESSES ALSO SUFFER

Not only small and medium-sized enterprises were seeking government’s attention and assistance, but established organisations as well, such as the Lion Match group, which has been in existence for about 100 years and employs hundreds of workers.

Executive director Zain Abdoola said the company, which has a 75% share of the domestic market, had seen a 10% dip on average in the demand for matches due to electrification, cheaper imports and low tariffs on imports that had negatively affected its business.

Abdoola said a rise in input costs such as electricity and water, and persistent load shedding, had affected production and machinery. On the other hand, load shedding had increased the demand for matches a bit.

“We need higher tariffs for imports to sustain our company because we’ve been driven by greatly increased costs these past couple of years. We need that to be challenged and to be taken to a level where we can compete in the market,” he said.

He explained how the company had nearly shut its doors five years ago over a labour dispute.

He said:

It’s becoming harder and harder to maintain our factory because it goes through the full process of splints of the cardboard manufacturing to the final product.

Cyril surrenders KZN back to Zuma

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President Cyril Ramaphosa, who was billed to attend the closing of the ninth provincial elective conference in KwaZulu-Natal on Sunday, is no longer available.

This was confirmed by former spokesperson Nhlakanipho Ntombela who said, “He is no longer available.”

Speaking to Newzroom Afrika, newly elected chair Siboniso Duma also confirmed that Ramaphosa will not show his face “due to other commitments”.

“We have just spoken to the president this morning and he has congratulated the collective but he already had other commitments for today. So he is not going to come and close.

“It is the tradition of the ANC to deploy a comrade the NEC to open the conference and the TG [Paul Mashatile] has done so. The new chair is going to close the conference and set the tone for what what’s going to happen next.”

Duma said this was not an indication that Ramaphosa was snubbing the conference as he did not close the recently held Gauteng conference.

Acting ANC secretary-general Paul Mashatile had confirmed that Ramaphosa would be attending the highly contested conference amid fears of how he would be received in  former president Jacob Zuma’s stronghold.

On Friday evening, Zuma’s ghosts came crawling out of the shadows with delegates demanding through song to know: Wenzeni uZuma? (what has Zuma done?). They were expressing their dissatisfaction over Zuma’s incarceration.

Mashatile and former provincial chair Sihle Zikalala said delegates were allow to express their feelings freely. 

There were two dominating factions in the conference, mainly the Talibans and Ankoles. The Talibans are said to be linked to disgraced politician Zweli Mkhize, while the Ankoles are a faction supporting Ramaphosa.

Nomagugu Simelani is the only woman to be elected to the top five as deputy chair, while Bheki Mtolo is the secretary and Sipho Hlomuka is his deputy.

Emalahleni region’s Dr Ntuthuko Mahlaba is the provincial treasurer.

Ambitious local businessman Sandile Zungu “duly declined” a nomination, while former eThekwini mayor Zandile Gumede said she would “abide by the step-aside resolution”.

Nomusa Dube-Ncube, who was nominated from the floor, failed to meet the threshold.

Additional members of the provincial executive committee are expected to be nominated and elected on Sunday.

Duma, who locked horns with his predecessor Zikalala, got 930 votes while the latter received 665.

Simelane received 927 votes, while education MEC Kwazi Mshengu garnered 661.

Mtolo, who was a favourite, beat Ntuli, receiving 894 votes. Ntuli got 699 votes.

Hlomuka secured the deputy secretary position with 895 votes while Boyce only managed to secure 689 votes.

Mahlaba, received 857 while Jomo Sibiya received 723 votes.

On why there was only one female in the leadership, Duma said: “This is something that is going to be addressed … But for us it is a historic moment because Nomagugu Simelane is the first deputy chair in KZN. The top five is not the structure, the PEC will constitute of more women.”

TimesLIVE

Mondli Makhanya | While Cyril and Co sleep…

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EDITOR-IN-CHIEF: Mondli Makhanya

By Mondli Makhanya

Remember those bad old days when we would all perch in front of our television sets or be glued to our radios listening to President Cyril Ramaphosa deliver his “family meeting” speeches about the nation’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic?

The “family meetings” were initially reassuring, as they indicated that we were being soundly led in the war against that damned virus. But then they became very irritating, the nation feeling that the national coronavirus command council was treating us like toddlers with all its prescriptions on how we should live.

They told us what not to wear, where not to go, what not to do and what not to eat. Hell, they even turned us into a nation of Mormons with their bans on pleasurable habits. The little control freaks really enjoyed making our lives a misery, and did so with so much enthusiasm and seemingly boundless energy.

Today, South Africans are asking why that same energy is not being applied to tackling the meltdown that the country is facing now.

There is this tangible feeling in the air that something is about to happen, and that, whatever it is, it might be worse and more sustained than the mayhem we experienced in July last year.

Former president Thabo Mbeki alluded to this atmosphere this week when speaking at the memorial service of ANC deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte (a really nasty specimen who has been portrayed in various obituaries and tributes as a huggable teddy bear, when in fact she was a terrible little troll).

Mbeki told attendees that South Africa could be headed for its own chapter of the Arab Spring, an uprising that spread like wildfire throughout north Africa and the Middle East just over a decade ago.

He said he had fears that, because there was “no national plan to address these challenges of poverty, unemployment, inequality”, the conditions were perfect for an insurrectory match to be lit.

The former statesman said:

You can’t have so many people unemployed, so many people poor, people facing lawlessness, faced with the leadership in which ANC people are called corrupt. One day, it’s going to explode.

He lamented the lawlessness that is gripping the country, saying South Africa’s leadership was doing nothing about it.

Every day you see all of these terrible crimes being committed. Yesterday, people with guns just marched into a supermarket in Benoni in broad daylight. What are we doing about that?

Mbeki was so right. Last July, we were aghast when the country went up in flames following the incarceration of Jacob Zuma.

Troops were mobilised and extra policemen and spies were sent into Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal, the two provinces most affected by the violence.

The security cluster swung into gear (after the fact) and ministers and top government officials were giving regular briefings about the situation on the ground. It felt as if Armageddon was truly upon us.

This July, we have witnessed carnage on an incredible scale as American gangland-style mass shootings came to South Africa.

In the space of a week, about 30 people were slain by gunmen in taverns and on the streets of our cities.

It did not seem as if the shootings were random, as the gunmen targeted specific places at times when they would inflict the most damage.

Two things stood out about this bloody July: the brazen nature of the killings, indicating that the perpetrators did not fear being caught, and the blasé response from the authorities to the atrocities.

Aside from Police Minister Bheki Cele (who so loves cameras that he would attend every post office opening if he were in charge of that portfolio) making an appearance, the killings did not seem to move government. It was just another month in bloody South Africa.

Ramaphosa continued being his lazy, dull and irrelevant self; his deputy, David Mabuza, inhaled his stuff and stared blankly into the distance; Defence Minister Thandi Modise attended the unveiling of the tombstones of her dead pigs; and the rest of the ageing Cabinet helped their grandchildren assemble Lego sets.

What this government is not recognising is that the normalisation of lawlessness is the very fuel that fed the fires of last July.

Prior to that uprising, we had become used to the destruction of public property, the blockading of highways, the sabotage of key infrastructure and wanton person-on-person violence.

The disrespect for authority was par for the course among young and old. So when that match went “QUSH!” last year, it was not hard to get people who did not even believe in the cause to join in the mayhem.

Today we find ourselves in an even more brittle situation than we were in last year. High unemployment, the rising cost of living, casual criminal and political violence and the loss of faith in the political establishment are combining to create a potent cocktail of discontent.

So there is definitely this feeling in the air that something big is about to happen and all that is required is a spark. The violence of this month could just well be the portend to that explosion.

So, while Ramaphosa and his band of septuagenarians and octogenarians do what old people do, the country is on tenterhooks, waiting for that scary moment. Oh, this nightmarish fear.

Mondli Makhanya is Editor-in-Chief of City Press

Meet the ANC KZN faction that calls itself the Taliban

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Factions adopt peculiar names as fight for soul of the ANC intensifies

If she’s in a kufiya, she must be a Taliban – a delegate to the ANC KwaZulu-Natal elective conference makes her loyalties clear.

The Taliban were hunting down Ankole cattle in Durban this weekend.

“Taliban” is what a faction aligned to MPL Siboniso Duma dubbed itself as it campaigned across the province — while Sihle Zikalala’s group was nicknamed the Ankole in reference to its support for President Cyril Ramaphosa.

It was easy to tell a Taliban from an Ankole at the ANC provincial conference as the former came to the Olive Convention Centre on Durban’s north beach draped in Arab kufiya scarves just to finish the look.

Duma was this group’s candidate for chair, and former Harry Gwala municipality mayor Bheki Mtolo challenged for the provincial secretary job. Mtolo was the only common name that the anti-Zikalala Taliban faction agreed on from the onset.

Then there was the game-changer, finance MEC Nomusa Dube, who tried to position  herself as a “third way” contender. And businessman Sandile Zungu  ran a campaign dubbed the “fresh way”, which struggled to gain traction.

Cosatu provincial chair Phumlani Duma chastised delegates on Friday for formalising the factions.

“It’s not correct comrades, let’s make sure that we speak of one organisation, which is the ANC. If we talk about RET [radical economic transformation], let’s talk about it as a policy of the ANC, not as an organisation within the ANC.

“Let’s not talk about things we don’t know about such as ‘Friends Like These’, ‘Taliban’ and ‘Ankole’.”

The ANC has over the years condemned the formalisation of factions as it causes divisions in the party, but the practice is not going away.

For delegates supporting Zikalala, Ankole is much more than the name of a cattle breed from East Africa that Ramaphosa breeds.  It stands for keeping the status quo intact. 

However, the Taliban faction said it was  inspired by the “commitment, resilience and firmness” of the Afghan Islamic fundamentalist movement.

It all started in Mpumalanga where the Focus faction, led by provincial chair Mandla Ndlovu, defeated a group aligned to Deputy President David Mabuza’s faction, known as Ngci.

And the VBS faction in Limpopo came into power when premier Stan Mathabatha was elected chair. This group earned the nickname because its leaders are accused of participating in the looting of the VBS Mutual Bank.

In Gauteng, a faction known as the Adiwele — led by human settlements MEC Legogang Maile — locked horns with the Sigrand faction of education MEC Panyaza Lesufi. Lesufi won the contest for party chair, but the provincial executive committee is dominated by Maile’s allies. The Adiwele faction — named for the title of an amapiano song — is advocating for younger leaders to take up positions in the ANC.

Let’s just take a step back, who calls themselves Talibans in a democracy if they are sober in their minds?

Political analyst Ralph Mathekga said the ANC leadership had not done enough to discourage the culture of factionalism.

“Factionalism has been allowed to be the determining factor of leadership … since Polokwane because that’s when [it] became the gospel of the ANC, that this one belongs to this faction and this one to the other faction.

“It has a lot to do with the state of the party. It has a lot to do with the party’s inability to rethink … [it has] accepted that there is nothing [it] can do about it,” Mathekga said.

He said some of the new factions were born out of frustration from groupings that felt sidelined by the old guard.

“Let’s just take a step back, who calls themselves Talibans in a democracy if they are sober in their minds? These factions are young people who are finding it difficult to engage with the elder generation in the party because the system of consultation and the system through which they are engaged is not working well.

“This thing of democratic centralism and ‘we’re going to discuss policy’ is just a façade, because in essence it’s just a few people who decide what is the policy of the ANC and others just have a referendum on it, that’s it,” Mathekga said.

“So all these things you’re seeing, Adiwele, all these kinds of formations that have got a sense of identifying with a kind of trendy way of wanting to be heard within the ANC, it is an expression of a frustration.” 

Cyril Ramaphosa’s ANC KZN headache

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Bryntirion Estate in Pretoria, where the official residences of President Cyril Ramaphosa, Deputy President David Mabuza, and several ministers and deputy ministers are located, does not have to endure load shedding. Photo: Elmond Jiyane/GCIS

President to tell ANC integrity commission that he is not in charge of the day-to-day running of his farm

President Cyril Ramaphosa plans to address the ANC’s KwaZulu-Natal conference on Sunday, putting his presidency on the line in a province that still largely sympathises with former president Jacob Zuma.

A hostile reception for Ramaphosa could signal to his adversaries that he is vulnerable to a party leadership challenge when the ANC conference takes place in December. But if he is well received, which his office is counting on, it could be rare good news for him.

His presidency is faltering, its failures spelt out in stark terms by former president Thabo Mbeki at the memorial service for ANC deputy secretary general Jessie Duarte. He is also battling to restore his image over the Phala Phala debacle.

The extent of Ramaphosa’s gamble on the backing of KZN was underlined by the reception  received by one the ANC’s national officials Paul Mashatile when he opened the conference at Durban’s Olive Convention Centre on Friday. Some of the more than 1,600 delegates insisted on singing “wenzen’ uZuma” [what has Zuma done?] repeatedly as the party’s acting secretary general was about to take to the podium – voicing their displeasure at how he handled Zuma’s ousting.

The head of the presidency at Luthuli House, ANC national executive committee member Sibongile Besani, late Saturday afternoon confirmed Ramaphosa would be flying to Durban to address the hotly contested conference.

As far as I know so far, the president will come [to the conference]

“As far as I know so far, the president will come [to the conference]. We don’t expect the president to receive a hostile reception. You can see the mood of the conference is quite cordial, exciting. People are expressing their views, so we’re hoping for a positive response. We’re positive about members of the ANC,” he said. 

Ramaphosa’s attendance has been the subject of furious speculation after indications that most delegates attending the event sympathise with Zuma. 

Some Zuma supporters – including former Luthuli House staffer Carl Niehaus – campaigned on Saturday for delegates to prevent Ramaphosa from addressing the gathering.

Ramaphosa’s popularity has taken a knock following allegations by former spy boss Arthur Fraser that he concealed a burglary at his home on game farm Phala Phala, where an alleged amount of $4m was stolen, and that he paid the culprits to ensure their silence.

The scandal has weakened Ramaphosa in the year in which he is seeking re-election as ANC president. Some of the party’s national executive committee members and veterans have called for him to step aside while the Hawks investigate a case that Fraser opened.

Although Ramaphosa has so far received endorsements for a second term from the newly elected chairpersons of the provinces where he has closed conferences – Mpumalanga, Eastern Cape and Limpopo – it is unlikely he will receive a nod from the hostile KZN crowd.

Instead, the province is expected to be fertile ground for ANC leaders who want to launch their election campaigns, especially former health minister Zweli Mkhize who has made his availability for a top six position known.

Regional leaders the Sunday Times spoke to credited Mkhize with putting together a list of leaders to challenge premier Sihle Zikalala’s slate.

Mkhize declined to comment on Saturday.

Ramaphosa will face the KZN crowd at a time when he is said to be preparing a Phala Phala defence that blames the employees running the farm on his behalf for keeping a stash of foreign currency on the premises. 

Last week, presidential protection unit head maj-gen Wally Rhoode, whom Ramaphosa allegedly tasked to deal with the February 2020 burglary, was removed from his position.

ANC insiders said although no date had yet been set for the president to appear before the party’s integrity commission, he would tell it he was not in charge of the farm’s day-to-day operations.

An ANC leader close to the president told the Sunday Times he would say that Phala Phala workers failed to follow the normal banking processes, leading to “millions” piling up at the farm.

In particular, he would tell the body that farm manager Hendrik von Wielligh did not follow normal protocols on how money made by the farm – from sales of rare cattle and game – was handled. This will be an attempt by Ramaphosa to clear himself of any wrongdoing with the manager taking the fall.

Obviously he can’t be happy with what these allegations are doing [to him], but he did nothing wrong. We all know that

Party leader close to the president

“Obviously he can’t be happy with what these allegations are doing [to him], but he did nothing wrong. We all know that,” said a party leader close to the president.

“Where he was wrong of course is that at the farm they did not do what they were supposed to do in terms of banking the money. You know he does have people working at the farm – there’s a farm manager and there are just many people that work there. I mean you honestly don’t expect the President to be checking such things.

“But the thing is the more you try to explain the more the media just says its own thing and tries to distort. So sometimes you just leave them and make sure that you put systems in place to explain yourself without having to come back and explain yourself over and over again.”

Another insider confirmed that Ramaphosa will take the ANC ethics body into his confidence.

This insider however said Ramaphosa was avoiding speaking publicly on the matter to prevent a repeat of the Bosasa donations scandal.

In that scandal, Ramaphosa denied in parliament that he received a R500,000 donation from the company for his election campaign, at a time when he did not know all the facts. He later had to come back to correct this after learning that Bosasa did in fact donate to his campaign.

“He is not avoiding accountability. He has to play it safe because you don’t want a repeat of Bosasa. Remember how that just opened a can of worms because he spoke before getting all the details,” the insider said.

“The information will come to the public soon but through proper channels having followed proper processes. From our side, we do not think there is anything untoward that the president has done but everything will be revealed. For now, it’s better to be on the safe side and not say much,” he said.

ANC mayor faces chop for hiring ritzy car without authorisation

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Sebang Motlhabi Photo: Facebook/Sebang Motlhabi

Mayor splashed R324k on car rental within two months

Sebang Motlhabi (32), the mayor of Lekwa-Teemane, the municipality that serves the towns of Bloemhof and Christiana in North West, has been accused of having wild parties, behaving like a playboy and renting an expensive car while his municipality is going bankrupt.

However, Motlhabi has laughed off these allegations and has challenged his opponents to try to remove him.

He will face a motion of no confidence this week regarding the rental of a car that cost the struggling municipality almost R324 000 over just two months – and this despite the municipality having its own Toyota Fortuner to transport the mayor from place to place.

The rental agreement was allegedly not properly authorised and has since been terminated.

Albert Nel, council member for the Freedom Front Plus (FF+), which submitted the motion, asked for a secret vote in the hope that some of Motlhabi’s ANC comrades would support it.

 The ANC currently has seven of the 14 seats in the council and governs with the help of the Forum for Service Delivery, which has one council member. The EFF (four seats), the FF+ (one seat) and the DA (one seat) are on the opposition benches.

Nel says, 

We know we won’t be able to unseat the ANC, but we hope to at least get a better leader,

Motlhabi says there is no chance that his party members will vote against him.

Mpho Pilani, ANC North West Speaker, says he has yet to decide on the voting method, but after a previous vote for the appointment of the council’s acting chief financial officer, Motlhabi disclosed to the community at a funeral what his comrades had voted for. This put their lives in danger, says Pilani, who believes he must consider his colleagues’ safety.

According to documents on which Nel bases his motion, the car rental – which was initially for a Toyota Fortuner and then a Mercedes-Benz – included R32 000 for the repair of damage and R17 550 for a driver.

Nel says there was no money for such extravagance because service delivery does not exist in the town. That, he adds, is where the money should have gone.

The residents of Bloemhof have no water from 9pm each night to 4am the next morning. Power outages are the order of the day and the streets have more potholes than tarred surfaces.

“If you want to buy a car these days in Bloemhof, the surface of the streets determines what kind of vehicle you should buy,” says Nel. Only an SUV or a bakkie would last in those conditions.

Motlhabi, however, says the council’s Fortuner has clocked 400 000km and has broken down twice. He adds that he was actually opposed to renting a replacement, saying it made more sense to buy a new vehicle than to rent one.

He says,

They’re now getting me the recordings of the council meeting.

According to Motlhabi, the car rental was nevertheless properly authorised by the council’s accounting officer and he himself would like to see an investigation of all the expenses. He says the vehicles were never damaged, apart from a nick on a windscreen. It was the repairs to the council car that were mistakenly included in the expenses, he says.

He also agrees that payment for a driver is unheard of because his driver receives a council salary. However, he knows that the agent who handled the rental at one stage paid her own money into his driver’s account so that he could pick up the vehicle from the rental company. This was later claimed back from the council.

READ: Municipalities drowning in debt and unable to collect

Motlhabi says Nel is targeting him because he discovered that people were occupying the town’s golf course without a lease with the council.

According to Nel, these people were farmers who had spent R500 000 to refurbish the golf course, which was practically unusable.

They now want to enter into a lease and are prepared to set up braai facilities in the township in return.

“He [Motlhabi] knows that I’m in favour of this and that other councillors also support it, so now he’s bringing this up to get back at me,” says Nel.

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Should the no confidence vote be secret?

Your v@gina is not too small: You might have V@ginismus

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S@x is an erotic experience that many describe as the closest thing to paradise. However, it can be a huge nightmare for some people, especially women. While psychological and religious considerations may play significant roles in how it feels, biological and medical issues may well affect your s@x life.

One of these is v@ginismus, which is medically defined as a woman’s body’s automatic reaction to the fear of vaginal penetration, causing the v@ginal muscles to tighten involuntarily whenever penetration is attempted.

Johannesburg-based medical doctor and sexologist Dr Elna Rudolph explains that, depending on the intensity, vaginismus symptoms range from minor burning sensations with tightness to total closure of the vaginal opening, making penetration impossible.

She says, 

V@ginismus is a common cause of ongoing sexual pain and is also the primary female cause of sexless (unconsummated) marriages. Sexual pain can affect women in all stages of life, even those who’ve had years of comfortable s@x. While temporarily experiencing discomfort during s@xual intercourse isn’t unusual, ongoing problems should be diagnosed and treated.

Mostly out of embarrassment, many women across the world have been suffering in silence, which has made finding accurate and credible statistics challenging, and misdiagnosis is common.

This was the case for Daveyton-based Tshepiso Maluleke* (40), who began experiencing symptoms of v@ginismus after undergoing radiation therapy.

“A few years ago, I was diagnosed with cervical cancer. It came as a shock, because there was no history of cancer on either side of my family. I immediately underwent radiation therapy, which continued for a few months. During treatment, I was given the green light by my oncologist to have sex with my husband. At first it was uncomfortable, but then it became very painful. Since I thought the pain was associated with stress and the effects of radiation, we decided to stop having intercourse until I’d finished treatment. However, when the time came for us to resume sex, penetration was impossible.

“It felt as if he was hitting against a brick wall. When I approached my doctor about it, he said I was experiencing premature menopause, which was a common side-effect of the radiation. The emotional and financial toll of radiation was hard enough, but being unable to be intimate with my husband added to the burden. It [took a toll] on our marriage,” she recalls.

What causes V@ginismus?

While medical journals claim that most doctors do not know exactly why vaginismus happens, Rudolph believes that physical and/or emotional factors may trigger the condition.

She says,

For many women, vaginismus comes as a surprise. The pain results from the tightening of the muscles around the pubococcygeus [PC] muscle [the muscle stretching from the pubic bone to the bottom of the spine]. Since this occurs without the conscious control of the woman, it can be very perplexing,

Nonphysical causes, she adds, include fear or anticipation of pain during intercourse, fear of not being completely physically healed following pelvic trauma or concern that a pelvic medical problem may reoccur, anxiety or stress from previous unpleasant sexual experiences, negativity towards s@x, guilt or emotional traumas, partner issues (including emotional abuse, detachment or mistrust), traumatic experiences of sexual abuse, repressed memories of overly rigid parenting, unbalanced religious teaching (“sex is bad/dirty”) and inadequate or inaccurate sex education. Sometimes, however, there is no identifiable cause of vaginismus.

Physical causes include medical conditions, childbirth, age-related changes such as menopause or hormonal changes and pelvic trauma.

“Vaginismus may coexist with other medical conditions, possibly triggered by temporary pelvic pain resulting from them. If the underlying cause has been resolved or managed and ongoing pain, discomfort or penetration difficulties continue, this is typically due to vaginismus,” says Rudolph.

Symptoms to look out for 

Rudolph says that symptoms to look out for include burning or stinging with tightness during sex, difficult or impossible penetration, ongoing sexual discomfort or pain following childbirth, yeast/urinary tract infections, sexually transmitted diseases, hysterectomy, cancer and surgeries, rape, menopause and difficulty inserting tampons or undergoing a pelvic/gynaecological examination.

However, she stresses that a diagnosis should only be reached after a gynaecological examination.

“Confirming a formal diagnosis of vaginismus may take some planning and perseverance, as no definitive medical test exists for detecting it,” explains Rudolph.

“It could take a number of visits to several specialists before a medical diagnosis is obtained. When physicians are initially unable to find any specific medical problem, which is a common experience of vaginismus sufferers, no diagnosis or misdiagnosis is often the outcome of initial medical examinations. Many physicians are unfamiliar with vaginismus, so part of the process is simply finding one who is knowledgeable about the condition. A successful medical diagnosis of vaginismus is typically determined through the patient’s history and description of the problem, a gynaecological examination and the process of ruling out the possibility of other conditions.”

Is there treatment?

Fortunately, vaginismus is highly treatable, with full restoration of enjoyable penetrative intercourse, says Rudolph.

Since misdiagnosis and the promotion of invasive or unhelpful surgeries are sometimes the unfortunate results of all this confusion, she warns that there is no surgery to cure vaginismus: 

It’s very important to seek a second opinion if surgery to ‘widen’ the vaginal opening has been recommended, as this doesn’t normally resolve the penetration problem. In fact, it could further complicate the issue.

Successful vaginismus treatment, she adds, does not usually require drugs, surgery, hypnosis, or any other complex invasive technique.

“Effective treatment approaches combine pelvic floor control exercises, insertion or dilation training, pain elimination techniques, transition steps and exercises designed to help women identify, express and resolve any contributing emotional components. Treatment steps can often be completed at home, allowing a woman to work at her own pace in privacy, or in cooperation with her healthcare provider.”

According to vaginismus.com, steps to treat vaginismus include sexual pain anatomy, which is when women are educated about their body’s sexual organs, their function and the causes of pelvic pain and penetration problems. Another step includes the woman’s practise of PC muscle control techniques by allowing the entry of a small object (a cotton swab, a tampon or finger) into their vagina, working completely under their control and pace.

“Women begin to take full control over their pelvic floor and learn how to relax the pelvic floor at will, eliminating unwanted tightness and allowing entry,” explains Rudolph.

From there, vaginal dilators are used to further help eliminate pelvic tightness due to vaginismus, as they provide a substitute means of triggering pelvic muscle reactions.

Another treatment Rudolph recommends is botox, which she says has been proven to be a safe and effective treatment for sexual pain and vaginismus.

“Depending on the diagnosis and cause of the pain, it’s used in conjunction with various other medical treatments, physiotherapy, counselling, hypnotherapy and sex therapy.

“We don’t recommend it as first-line therapy for any form of sexual pain, but we’ve helped many patients by adding it to their treatment plan.”

*Not her real name

For further information about vaginismus, visit mysexualhealth.co.za

Home affairs blows R300 million on population register system that doesn’t exist

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Home Affairs Minister

The department of home affairs has spent millions of taxpayers’ money on a contract to upgrade its population register system, but years later, the work has still not been done.

The department paid the company EOH Holdings close to R300 million in 2017 to upgrade the Home Affairs National Information System (Hanis) to the Automated Biometric Identification System (ABIS), but nothing was done.

After EOH failed to upgrade the system, the department paid another company, Idemia, which was initially subcontracted by EOH, more than R150 million to do the work, but the company also failed to do the job.

City Press has learnt that apart from paying for the system upgrade, the department spent more than R200 million on hardware and software, whose warrantee and licence was allegedly expiring in few weeks’ time, while it gathers dust.

Unlawful Scheme

Yesterday, the department told City Press that when the State Information Technology Agency (SITA) awarded EOH the contract, the department had no reason to think or suspect that the company may not have capacity to deliver on this contract.

“During the course of the forensic investigation, EOH announced that it was pulling out of all the contracts it had with the state, including this one. Because a lot of time was already lost, the department accepted the ceding of the contract to Idemia so that we don’t start from scratch because the system is urgently needed,” the department said.

It also confirmed paying R280 million.

“We deny that we paid between R300 million and R400 million. The contract, as awarded by the SITA, was worth R409 million. At the time EOH moved out of the contract, they had already purchased hardware for R113 383 482.12; software for R110 972 282.72; and also provided services worth R56 521 710.91. As you can see, the total is R280 877 475.75. This is what we paid for.”

The lucrative contract was awarded to EOH in 2017 by the department and the SITA, which procures ICT products and services for government departments. This after the company beat its competitors in a bidding process described as “corruption infested”. After several complaints about the tender, the department appointed a forensic auditing firm –Nexia SAB&T – to investigate the matter in 2019. Nexia SAB&T discovered that EOH and the SITA’s officials had allegedly engineered an unlawful scheme to make sure the politically connected company landed the lucrative contract.

The department yesterday confirmed the investigation.

“Because this is an IT function, in terms of the law, the department had to acquire such a service provider through the SITA. The SITA did that but unfortunately when the Auditor- General audited the SITA, it queried the manner in which the tender was awarded,” the statement said.

“Because the money to pay for this tender will come from the department, the Auditor-General instructed the department to conduct a forensic investigation.”

Responding to City Press, EOH blamed department for its failure to do the work, saying it failed to provide the company with key infrastructure and data.

Fatima Newman, Group Chief Risk Officer: EOH, said the services in question constituted the provision of both hardware and software components for the project. The deliverables and payment of fees was milestone-based, payable only against the supply of equipment and certain goals having been achieved.

In order to deliver on the project, the department had to provide to EOH certain critical infrastructure [data centres and communications infrastructure], access to government systems [interfaces] and also the data which had to be migrated from the old system on to the new system.

“These were either delayed or improperly delivered, or not delivered at all. The causes of the delay are the subject matter of arbitration proceedings between EOH and the department,” Newman said.

Motsoaledi Angered

Insiders told City Press that Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi met with senior officials in the department and was angry that the matter had not been resolved, and because the department was facing litigation from EOH and NEC XON, one of the companies that lost the tender bid, over the issue.

NEC XON took the matter to court, challenging the ceding of the contract by EOH to Idemia.

“He [Motsoaledi] accused the officials of dragging their feet in pursuing the matter. The minister also instructed the legal department and the heads of departments who were dealing with the matter to recover the money paid to both EOH and Idemia,” said the source.

However, the department denied the minister’s encounter with officials.

We strongly deny this. The minister regularly demands updates from the executive committee on this project because he wants the department to move to the ABIS sooner rather than later.

Mess-up affects police’s fight

In the court papers seen by City Press, NEC XON cites Motsoaledi as the first respondent and the department as the second respondent. The three implicated companies are cited as respondents eight, nine and 10, respectively.

EOH, a JSE-listed group, was supposed to have upgraded the department’s current system and Hanis, which only records photos and fingerprints of South African identity document holders, to the ABIS. This would provide a single source of identification for citizens across state institutions and private sector entities. It was also supposed to allow the police to check the fingerprints of suspected criminals.   

In terms of the agreement it signed with the department, EOH was supposed to have completed the work in November 2018.

The company subcontracted a French-owned company, Idemia, to implement the project, allegedly because it did not have the capacity and technical erudition to implement it.

According to sources, the company missed the deadline, disadvantaging citizens and disabling the SA Police Service, which paid part of the contract, from effectively fighting crime in South Africa.

After EOH was implicated in the much-publicised allegations of corruption, the company’s new CEO, Stephen van Coller, who was appointed to clean up the legacy and remnants of corruption that plagued it, pulled out of the contract in 2020 and ceded it to Idemia, which gloatingly parades itself as a global leader in augmented identity.

Newman said the reason Van Coller wanted out of the agreement was because “the situation of impossibility” which had arisen by late 2020 or early last year was such that it could not be resolved.

“EOH did not want to stand in the way of a resolution and agreed to an assignment [cession] of the master service agreement by the department to Idemia in April last year,” said Newman.

She said the department and EOH were currently going through arbitration regarding their historical disputes.

The SITA flagged the contract for violating procurement laws when it was ceded from EOH to Idemia with the consent of the department.

“What is funny and ironic about the cession of this contract to Idemia is that it is the very same company that failed to implement this contract. We were all shocked [by that decision],” said the source, who did not want to be named for fear of victimisation.

DEADLINES CAME AND WENT

The department, said the source, then entered into a R150 million contract with Idemia in April last year. The company was given six months to complete the project.

The company failed to complete the upgrade on time and asked for the extension until October.

“October came and is gone. They then asked for an extension to November.

“It came and is gone. They asked for an extension to December, it came and is gone. They then asked for January extension, it came and is gone. When NEC XON threatened to take them to court because of the difficult position the SAPS found itself in, they then promised that the contract would be completed, but six months later, there is no system upgraded,” said the source.

Aloma Swanepoel, of Ginjaninja PR, who responded to City Press on behalf of Idemia, said the company did not comment on its contracts. He referred all enquiries to the department of home affairs.

The source said Motsoaledi also expressed concerns about Idemia’s failure to meet the deadline. It is alleged that some officials suggested that the department should penalise EOH and Idemia for failing to meet the deadline and also recover the money it paid to EOH.

But EOH has already beaten them to the game by approaching the courts in a bid to be released from the agreement. It is also demanding the balance of R128 million with interest, as per the original contract.

Newman said EOH had successfully delivered 51 of the 60 contracted milestones for phase 1 of the project, which had been signed off and accepted by the department. “EOH only received R282 million [including VAT] in payment for services rendered,” she said.

Newman said the agreed fee for the entire project was about R410 million, which had not been paid in full. She said EOH had only been paid for certified deliverables.

ANC KZN: Zandile Gumede declines nomination, Ncube-Dube fails to garner enough support

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eThekwini region chairperson Zandile Gumede Photo: Gallo Images / Daily Sun / Jabulani Langa

Gumede was the only woman who achieved a nomination threshold from the branches.

eThekwini African National Congress (ANC) chairperson and corruption-accused Zandile Gumede declined nomination for provincial treasurer because of the step aside policy.Gumede was the only woman candidate who met the 20% threshold nomination by the branches.

When it was time to accept her nomination, eThekwini regional secretary Musa Nciki stepped upfront and announced that Gumede won’t contest because she had stepped aside.

The ANC’s step-aside policy has been a contentious issue in the province. After her election in absentia as chairperson in April, Gumede urged branches to tackle the step-aside policy at the December national conference, claiming it was “killing the ANC.”

Earlier this month, the party top brass in the province had vowed that Gumede won’t be allowed to stand at the conference.

The highly contested conference initially had six candidates vying for chairperson position – Sihle Zikalala who is seeking re-election, finance MEC Nomusa Dube -Ncube, Community Safety MEC Peggy Nkonyeni, legislature chair of chairs Siboniso Duma, businessman Sandile Zungu and former KZN director-general Nhlanhla Ngidi.

By late Friday, six had withdrawn their names, leaving Zikalala and Duma as the two contestants.

Zungu was nominated from the floor on Saturday but declined nomination.

Meanwhile, Ncube-Dube was also nominated from the floor to go head to head against Zikalala and Duma.

Ahead of the conference, Ncube-Dube was touted by her supporters as the possible first woman leader for the ANC in the province. However, she failed to meet the minimum 25% required threshold for floor nominations, a disappointing moment for her backers.

KwaZulu-Natal Finance MEC Nomusa Ncube-Dube with provincial secretary candidate Mdumiseni Ntuli at the provincial ANC Conference held in Durban. Photo: Twitter

One of the two women in the top five candidate nomination list is Health MEC Nomagugu Simelane, nominated from the floor and achieved the numbers required for deputy chairperson. She is up against Education MEC Kwazi Mshengu.

For secretary position, Kokstad Municipality Mayor Bhekinkosi Mtolo is up against current incumbent Mdumiseni Ntuli. Deputy secretary is Sipho Hlomuka against legislature speaker Nontobeko Boyce.

Human Settlements and Public Works MEC Jomo Sibiya and former Newcastle mayor Ntuthuko Mahlaba, both nominated from the floor after Gumede’s withdrawal, will vye for the treasurer position.

The conference has a total of 1 607 delegates.

Elections for the top five leaders is scheduled to start, with the results expected to be announced tonight.

Acting secretary-general Paul Mashatile and national executive committee (NEC) members Nocawe Mafu, Lindiwe Sisulu, Mduduzi Manana and Nomvula Mokonyane are some of the national leaders overseeing the conference held at the Olive Convention Centre.

–Citizen

Zikalala loses ANC KZN chairmanship to Siboniso Duma

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Newly elected ANC Kwazulu-Natal chairperson Siboniso Duma. Photo: Joy-Zelda/Twitter

Sihle Zikalala’s slate was flattened by the pro-RET ‘Taliban’ slate led by Duma.

KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala’s bid for a second term as African National Congress (ANC) chairperson was thwarted on Saturday as legislature chair of chairs Siboniso Duma received the nod for the top job at the 9th provincial conference underway in Durban.

Voting outcome was announced late Saturday.

Of the 1 607 voting delegates, 1 600 votes were cast for the chairperson position. Three abstained, with at least two spoilt ballots.

Duma received 930 votes, while Zikalala got 665.

Plenary broke into chants and ululation for Duma as he was ushered to the stage.

Minutes later, delegates broke into ‘Wenzeni uZuma,’ song, loosely translated, meaning “what has Zuma done.” The song has been repeatedly sang by delegates in praise of former president Jacob Zuma.

Zuma still enjoys wide support in KwaZulu-Natal, with Zikalala largely addressing this in his political report delivered on Friday.

Zikalala’s loss is a blow to President Cyril Ramaphosa, who would be seeking a second term in December. Zikalala’s slate was flattened by the pro-RET ‘Taliban’ slate led by Duma.

The deputy chairperson position went to Health MEC Nomagugu Simelane, beating Education MEC Kwazi Mshengu. Mdumiseni Ntuli failed to secure a re-election for secretary, losing to Kokstad Municipality Mayor Bhekinkosi Mtolo.

For deputy secretary, Sipho Hlomuka won against legislature speaker Nontobeko Boyce, while former Newcastle mayor Ntuthuko Mahlaba took the treasurer position, having beaten Human Settlements and Public Works MEC Jomo Sibiya.

Delegates will nominate and vote for additional members of the provincial executive committee (PEC) in the morning.

–The Citizen

Mbeki incites violence in South Africa: Throws Ramaphosa under the bus

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Former ANC and State President Thabo Mbeki

South Africa’s former President Thabo Mbeki warned that the country faces the danger of protests similar to those that toppled governments in the Arab world a decade ago unless it addresses growing lawlessness and inequality.

Mbeki led South Africa immediately after Nelson Mandela stepped down in 1999.

Mbeki, according to Bloomberg, criticised President Cyril Ramaphosa for failing to deliver on a pledge he made on February 10 to provide a comprehensive social compact to boost economic growth within 100 days. The plan has yet to be announced.

Arab Spring was a wave of pro-democracy protests and uprisings that took place in the Middle East and North Africa beginning in 2010 and 2011, challenging some of the region’s entrenched authoritarian regimes.

The wave began when protests in Tunisia and Egypt toppled their regimes in quick succession, inspiring similar attempts in other Arab countries.

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Mkhize weighs in on ‘lack of evidence’ against him

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PRESIDENTIAL ASPIRANT: Zweli Mkhize

On the back of the disciplinary process of three senior national health department officials for their role in the controversial Digital Vibes communications contract, former minister Dr Zweli Mkhize says the outcome supports his long-held view that there was no interference from anyone, least of all him, in the awarding of the R150 million tender.

Dr Mkhize’s spokesperson, Vuyo Mkhize, said in a statement on Tuesday that the internal disciplinary committee [DC] proceedings in the health department had revealed “zero evidence implicating [Dr Mkhize] or anyone acting at his behest, in any interference – whether improper, criminal or otherwise – with the [government] procurement process”.

There was also “zero evidence that the officials who were overseeing this procurement process colluded with anyone or committed any acts of fraud or corruption in relation to this process,” Mkhize said, adding that the proceedings could also not unearth “any evidence that anyone, least of all [Dr Mkhize], ever exerted any undue pressure on these officials to act in a particular way”.

Mkhize said the outcome of the disciplinary proceedings raised two key questions:

If the department of health did not unearth any evidence implicating these officials, or any of their superiors, in improper and/or criminal conduct, how is the SIU [Special Investigating Unit] hoping to ever sustain its finding that Dr Mkhize may be guilty of same?

Secondly, he said: “On what lawful or rational basis are those who are clamouring for the Hawks to arrest Dr Mkhize expecting the crime-fighting unit to do this?”

The SIU had found that he may have acted in an improper and criminal manner by, supposedly, among other things, “interfering in the affairs of the department”, according to Dr Mkhize’s founding affidavit in the court application last October, seeking to overturn the SIU’s conclusion into the tender as it related to him.

In the affidavit, he stated that “after deliberations with [President Cyril Ramaphosa], while adamant that the SIU’s findings as to what I ‘may’ have done were unfounded and unfair and themselves unlawfully arrived at, I decided to resign my position as minister of health”.

On Tuesday, the chairperson of the disciplinary proceedings in the health department, Advocate Pule Seleka, confirmed as the final sanctions the recommendations made to him by the department on July 8 through the office of the state attorney.

In terms of the final sanctions, suspended health department spokesperson Popo Maja and deputy director-general of health regulation and compliance Anban Pillay were to be demoted from their posts for a year. The third official who had signed the Digital Vibes agreement, Shireen Pardesi, already had an agreed sanction.

In the findings of the disciplinary proceedings, Dr Mkhize – who resigned from the portfolio in August – was mentioned only three times in Pillay’s testimony, and none of the charged officials had implicated him. He was cited as having approved two work plans – one in January 2020 and another in June of that year.

On Tuesday, Mkhize said the outcome of the proceedings resonated with the minister’s submission in court that the SIU’s findings related to him ought to be declared “unlawful and invalid” because there was no evidence that he “may have improperly and criminally interfered with [the tender]”.

ANC’s Lindiwe Zulu: Zimbabweans should be in their home; ‘all countries need to take responsibility of their citizens’

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ANC’s Lindiwe Zulu: Zimbabweans should be in their home; ‘all countries need to take responsibility of their citizens’

ZIMBABWEANS should be in their home country and all nations “need to take responsibility of their citizens” a South African cabinet minister and senior ruling African National Congress (ANC) party official has said.

Lindiwe Zulu, social development minister and chairperson of the ANC’s international relations sub-committee as speaking Monday during a discussion on party policy documents.

“When it comes to the issue of Home Affairs, and you were saying maybe we are sending Zimbabweans back to starve, as the African National Congress we believe that all countries need to take responsibility of their citizens,” Zulu  was reported as saying by jacarandafm.com.

“First and foremost, we take responsibility of our citizens, we make sure that despite the challenges that we have of poverty, unemployment and inequality, we shouldn’t be having South Africans leaving South Africa with almost nothing,

“ … leaving South Africa and going to neighbouring countries to go and look for greener pastures when they aren’t even that much of the greener pastures that we can talk about.”

Zulu has form on the subjected of Zimbabwe and has, over the years, regularly angered the ruling Zanu PF party from the time she was a Zimbabwe dialogue facilitator for then South Africa president Jacob Zuma.

Her public comments on Zimbabwe resulted in Mugabe famously disparaging her as an “idiotic street-woman” and urging Zuma to stop this woman of theirs from speaking on Zimbabwe”.

More than a million Zimbabweans are estimated to have crossed the Limpopo to settle in South Africa, escaping economic hardships back home.

Anti-immigrant sentiment

However, as South Africa grapples in with growing inequalities and high unemployment, locals have blamed migrants, particularly Zimbabweans, for taking job opportunities resulting in deadly xenophobic violence.

ANC’s international relations sub-committee chairperson Lindiwe Zulu

Amnesty International recently reported that migrants from Mozambique and Zimbabwe “feel unsafe in South Africa and face constant harassment from both the police and anti-migrant vigilante groups, who unlawfully demand to see their identity documents”.

Meanwhile, Zulu said there are ongoing discussions between the ANC and Zanu PF ahead Harare’s crunch 2023 elections.

“So, in our discussions with Zanu PF, we continue to engage with that to say let us all collectively create conducive environments for our people,” she said.

“… so that when we have these people to people relationship, it’s going to be people to people without others feeling like they are being pinched; without feeling like we’ve got too many Zimbabweans here in the country, they should be in their home.

“We need other countries to help us deal with the issue of immigration and immigrants. We need them to also appreciate that we are also under extreme pressure, because the economy of our country is also not doing very well.”

The Pretoria government has been toughening its immigration policies in a development that has, among other things, seen the ANC administration deciding to revoke special permits for Zimbabweans in a move that will affect some 178,000 of them.

United Nations (UN) experts recently accused South African political leaders of fanning the anti-immigrant sentiment in the country.

“Anti-migrant discourse from senior government officials has fanned the flames of violence, and government actors have failed to prevent further violence or hold perpetrators accountable,” they said.

“Without urgent action from the government of South Africa to curb the scapegoating of migrants and refugees, and the widespread violence and intimidation against these groups, we are deeply concerned that the country is on the precipice of explosive violence.”.

Will Bafana rise to conquer Africa again?

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By Dominic Chimhavi

Debates about Bafana Bafana’s indifferent performances, which have angered many football followers for years, have at times been ferocious and emotional, but there is no permanent solution on the horizon.

The question that no one has been able to answer is: Will Bafana dominate the continent again and make its mark on the world football stage? If so, when will that be?

The stagnation of the senior men’s national soccer team has been long and painful for the football-mad country, with no flicker of light at the end of the tunnel.

Bafana’s continuous inconsistency has, as a result, been used by some opportunists to call out those in power, accusing them of having no idea how to run football. The failure has been the main campaigning tool, especially during elections, when those in leadership have been denounced as being incapable.

But turning Bafana’s fortunes around is easier said than done. Those using the Bafana ticket to hoodwink society have failed to come up with any viable solutions to stop the decline. We can keep changing the coaches, but this is not where the solutions will be found.

Coach Hugo Broos recently lamented the deficiencies within the whole football ecosystem, and much as some sections of society felt he was undiplomatic and arrogant, most people thought he had touched the right nerve to stimulate further debate on how to rescue Bafana. I will tabulate the operational shortcomings in our structures and, unless these fundamentals are fully addressed, Bafana will struggle to become world-beaters and the national team will struggle to emulate the standards set between 1994 and 1998.

NATIONAL PLAYERS NEED MORE TIME TOGETHER

In the period leading up to Bafana’s win of the 1996 Afcon title, a lot had been done to prepare the team to play as a unit.

The team had several high-profile international matches, including the highly competitive Four Nations tournament. Back then, the national team took precedence over club football, unlike today, as some clubs only reluctantly release players for national duty.

That was not the case leading up to the 1996 epic and historical achievement.  

Bafana coach Hugo Broos says the country does not produce quality players. Photo: Lefty Shivambu / Gallo Images

By the time South Africa took over the hosting of the Afcon tournament from Kenya, Bafana had played close to a dozen international friendly matches.

It therefore came as no surprise when they walloped the likes of Cameroon, Zambia, Ghana and Tunisia – Africa’s powerhouses at the time – as they cantered to the historic title that, to date, remains the senior national men’s team’s biggest achievement.

Today, it is a tall order for the national coach to arrange a match outside the Fifa calendar, with several clubs reluctant to release their players for national duty.

But how did we arrive at this?

NSL PROGRAMMES MUST FALL IN LINE WITH SAFA

South Africa’s football controlling body Safa and the special member, the PSL, must not be seen to be competing against each other. The National Soccer League has lately introduced several knockout competitions, which leaves little space for the national team to have game time outside the Fifa calendar.

This is problematic in the sense that the Fifa calendar is so short that it does not allow the players to gel as a unit – a recipe for disaster, especially ahead of the big games.

That said, Safa must dictate how domestic football is shaped, including having a strong handle on policy matters. Issues such as how many players are eligible to play for the national team, their age groups and other matters that help develop a strong national team must come from the national controlling body

National team matches must take precedence over anything else – and this includes any club competition.

That said, Safa must dictate how domestic football is shaped, including having a strong handle on policy matters. Issues such as how many players are eligible to play for the national team, their age groups and other matters that help develop a strong national team must come from the national controlling body.

This will go a long way towards stopping the running battles – the clubs versus country debates – that have derailed the national team’s progress.

THE PSL STRUCTURE IS NOT HELPFUL

The decision made by the PSL to whittle down the Premier League from 20 to 18 clubs and then to 16 is another sticky matter that does not help the competitiveness of the national team.

The bigger the pool of players, the better. With only 16 teams to choose from, the national team coach finds himself handicapped when looking for quality players at his disposal.

Add that to the PSL’s relaxed law that allows as many as five foreign national players who do not qualify to play for Bafana to feature for any of the 16 clubs, and the headache for the national coach becomes colossal.  

Ex-captain Lucas Radebe was part of the 1996 Afcon. Photo: Lefty Shivambu / Gallo Images

At his press conference recently, Broos did not mince his words, blaming the league for not producing good enough players who can dominate the game on the continent, let alone in the world.

Where are the quality players? This was the same concern and frustration previous coaches Pitso Mosimane, Ephraim “Shakes” Mashaba, Molefi Ntseki and Stuart Baxter faced.

As we speak, most of Broos’ players are drawn from Mamelodi Sundowns, Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs – clubs that are ranked a distant 118, 337 and 414, respectively, in the world.

OUR PLAYERS MUST GO OVERSEAS

The issues of having average local players plying their trade in the PSL has resulted in very few South African footballers making the grade in top overseas leagues.

It’s a no-brainer that if one is to dominate the world, a competitive country needs to have players playing in clubs overseas, especially in the European leagues.

Countries such as Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Mexico draw more than 95% of their national team players from leagues across Europe. It is the same for African powerhouses such as Senegal, Morocco, Algeria, Nigeria, Ghana and Ivory Coast.

South Africa’s best players are either playing in the domestic league, which is not even the best in Africa, or in lower leagues in Europe. Of late, most of our players have failed to adapt to the harsh but professional conditions overseas, with almost all of them returning home, having failed to make the grade.

This does not bode well for any country trying to be competitive, and coach Broos made this clear in his recent assessment. He said ever fewer countries in Europe were showing interest in “spoilt” South African players.

When Bafana won the 1996 Afcon, which South Africa hosted, and reached the final two years later in Burkina Faso, a good chunk of those players were household names overseas. Among them were Doctor Khumalo, Lucas Radebe, David Nyathi, Andre Arendse, Sizwe Motaung, Phil Masinga, John “Shoes” Moshoeu and Mark Williams.

Where are our top players now?

The country now has young players in Europe drawn from Safa’s development programmes, but most of them need to develop to graduate into serious Bafana players.

In a nutshell, for our senior national soccer team to become consistently competitive, Safa needs to work closely with its special member, the PSL.

The two organisations need to jointly draw up a national agenda that will see our top players learning overseas.

Chimhavi is Safa’s stakeholder relations manager

‘I don’t take you to be my lawfully wedded…’

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Blackhead Consulting CEO Edwin Sodi denies that he plans to get married. Photo: Mlungisi Louw/Volksblad/Gallo Images

There will be no wedding bells for Johannesburg’s most notorious bachelor, Edwin Sodi, at the end of this month.

Social media was abuzz this week after an invitation to a traditional wedding for Sodi and his on again, off again girlfriend Karen Zulu did the rounds.

Edwin Sodi’s supposed wedding invitation Photo: Twitter

However, shortly afterwards, the embattled Casanova took to WhatsApp to inform close family and friends that the invitation was in fact fake.

“Someone with a mental issue decided to create a wedding invitation and post it on social media. This is beyond sick!” he wrote.

When contacted for comment yesterday, Sodi repeated that he was not planning to tie the knot – at least, not right now.

He said:

I’m not getting married. I will one day, but this wedding is a fake story. I’m trying to get to the bottom of who posted that phoney invitation. Some people have their own intentions, but it’s just crazy that someone would go to this extent. It’s a nonexistent story.

Sodi added that he was tracing the person who had leaked his address.

“Karen and I are fine. We’re okay. It’s unfortunate that this person shared information about where I live. I don’t mind humour and [harmless] practical jokes, but when it goes as far as sharing someone’s residential address, it becomes dangerous.

“I have to ask myself what the real intention of that was, because now I’m exposed. Everyone knows where I live and I think it’s important to know who was behind it,” he said.

A close family friend said the businessperson would in any case be unable to plan a wedding, as he was still legally married to his estranged wife Nthateng Lerata.

“How can you get married while you’re still married to someone else? They’d need permission from his first wife if they wanted to go the polygamous route – and Nthateng would never give them that,” said the friend.

The legality of Lerata and Sodi’s marriage is evidenced by court documents that were shared at the Randburg Magistrates’ Court, where the two are engaged in an ongoing assault case that was opened by Lerata in March.

Sodi allegedly assaulted her and businessperson Faizak Motlekar, who were both at Motlekar’s home when Sodi arrived there. He allegedly pointed the firearm at Motlekar and pulled the trigger, but the weapon jammed. Sodi then fled the scene.

In the court document related to Lerata’s statement to the police on the day she and Motlekar were allegedly assaulted, she began by describing Sodi as her estranged husband who had not lived with her and their children in their matrimonial home for six years.

The family friend said Lerata and Sodi had not filed for divorce, but were both aware of each other’s love lives and were unable to let one another move on with other partners.

The friend said:

Nthateng would never, ever give Sodi permission to marry anyone else. She’d always put herself in a position to spite Edwin. So there’s absolutely no way any wedding [to Zulu] could proceed unless Edwin wanted to force it.

Sodi and Zulu have been dating on and off for two years. The Blackhead Consulting CEO reportedly sent a delegation to Zulu’s family in KwaZulu-Natal to pay lobola for her.

Throughout their relationship, Sodi has reportedly dated other women.

Lerata was unavailable for comment.

Zimbabweans celebrate International Nelson Mandela Day

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Zimbabweans took part in celebrating International Nelson Mandela Day Saturday by embarking on a fun run and raise funds for supporting women in farming.

Employees from the South African embassy in the capital Harare were joined by hundreds of people from different countries including ordinary Zimbabweans who all showed up in solidarity with the cause.

The fun run was one of the activities lined up to commemorate the International Nelson Mandela Day on Monday.

For some, it was a time to bond and help each other while for others it was a chance to show solidarity.

Stella Munyi who is the Kenyan Ambassador to Zimbabwe expressed that, “Kenya and South Africa have good bilateral relations so it is upon us every time they have activities that we should be seen supporting. For us Nelson Mandela was a great leader.”

However, this wasn’t just about fun, it was also an opportunity to raise funds and assist women in farming.

Rejoice Mabudafhasi who is South African Ambassador to Zimbabwe says, “Today we managed to raise $750.

“There will be other activities that we are going to sit down and plan. It’s also a lesson to others. Those who have given up or those who think there is no hope. There is hope if you are committed. All this we are doing in remembrance of Mandela because we all know his history.

“Even if you ask the children they all know Mandela but they are not very sure. All that he did for us, for the whole country and even other countries not just South Africa. So do what you can , with what you have where you are.”

The proceeds from the fun run have been handed over to the beneficiaries and the South African embassy will assess how else they can assist women farmers in Zimbabwe. SABCNews

Vaal woman found dead with her face burnt following alleged Facebook feud

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Lebogang Mthembu
  • A Vaal woman was found dead with her face burnt a day after she was seen going to a nearby tuck shop and never returned home.
  • Lebogang Mthembu’s mother told News24 how her daughter was allegedly attacked following a Facebook feud.
  • Police have opened a case of murder.

Friends of a Vaal woman, who was reported missing, said people on Facebook allegedly wished her dead.

Lebogang Mthembu,22,  from Orange Farm went missing over a week ago on a Saturday after going with a friend to a local tuck shop. She was found dead the following day in Evaton North, Vereeniging, with her face burnt.

Before her disappearance, Mthembu had allegedly been confronted by a group of four girls, including the mother of one of the girls, where she was physically attacked following a feud on Facebook.

Her close friends told News24: 

After fighting with Lebogang, the girls insulted her and told her she was going to die and they said this in front of Lebogang’s mother.

According to the friends, Mthembu was not physical and she would not retaliate if beaten. 

Her mother, Deliwe, 41, said after the fight her daughter ran to one of her friend’s houses, and “I was told she was scared to leave as she feared for her life. She was not okay and quiet,” Deliwe said.

Still in disbelief, Deliwe said a friend walked her daughter home late on Saturday and that was the last time she was seen as she never made it home.

“When I saw her body at the mortuary, I still could not believe it was her. She was killed brutally and what hurts the most is that I don’t understand why they burnt her face.”

Facebook history

Mthembu’s friends provided News24 with screenshots showing the feud between her and a few of her Facebook friends.

One post read:

I am hoping you find her headless and her private part taken off.

News24 visited Mthembu’s Facebook account and that of the girl she allegedly fought with. Both their pages contained a series of posts where they called each other names and traded insults.

Gauteng police spokesperson Colonel Dimakatso Sello said police were called to a murder scene after passersby noticed a female’s body in an open field.

Sello added: “On arrival, the members found a body of a young woman in an open field which was allegedly discovered by a passerby. The unknown victim was wearing light blue torn jeans, with a pink long-sleeved top. A case of murder was opened for further investigations.” 

‘Small in stature but a force in SA politics’: Tributes pour in for Jessie Duarte

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The late ANC Deputy SG Jessie Duarte
  • Although small in stature, the late ANC deputy secretary general ‘Yasmin’ Jessie Duarte has been described as a “force in SA politics”.
  • Duarte succumbed to cancer in the early hours of Sunday.
  • She will be laid to rest on Sunday afternoon as per Muslim rites.

Opposition political leaders, including UDM leader Bantu Holomisa and ATM leader Vuyolwethu Zungula, have extended their condolences to the family, colleagues, and friends of the late ANC deputy secretary general Jessie Duarte, following her death on Sunday.

Zungula described Duarte as a dynamite in a small package. 

“She may have been small in stature but she was a force who stood her ground for what was right in a male-dominated SA political landscape. She was resolute and a force in the SA political landscape.

“We might be in different political parties put this does not mean that we are enemies and need to celebrate when other political parties are suffering a loss. 

“… as the ATM [we] offer our condolences to the ANC and the family of Ms Duarte,” said Zungula. 

Holomisa said: “My condolences to Duarte’s family, the ANC and friends. She played her innings. 

“She [Duarte] and Barbara Masekela used to welcome me, when called by Madiba for meetings at Shell House. Ubambe Kakuhle Nkosazana, ugqatso ulufezile (rest in peace ma’am and may your soul rest in peace),” said Holomisa. 

Duarte’s brother Zane Dangor said the family was taking comfort in the fact that she was now at peace after her battle with cancer. 

Dangor said Duarte, “… took care of most of us including myself in the family. 

“We have come to terms with her passing because we knew she was in pain for the past eight months. 

“In the last couple of weeks we spoke about that she was ready to go but she was only worried about how everyone else would deal with her passing,” said Dangor. 

Among the many roles Duarte occupied, were SA’s Ambassador to Mozambique, ANC Spokesperson, and personal assistant to former ANC presidents Walter Sisulu and Nelson Mandela. She was a crucial part of the formation of the ANC Women’s League.

Jessie Duarte and Helen Zille chat at the IEC’s el

Jessie Duarte and Helen Zille chat at the IEC’s election results centre during the municipal elections of 2021 on November 02, 2021 in Pretoria. (Photo by Gallo Images/Beeld/Deaan Vivier) Gallo ImagesGallo Images/Beeld/Deaan Vivier

ANC National Spokesperson Pule Mabe said: “It is with profound sadness that the African National Congress has learned of the passing of our deputy secretary general, Comrade Yasmin ‘Jessie’ Duarte, during the early morning of Sunday, 17 July 2022.”

Duarte had been on medical leave since November 2021.

The ANC described Duarte as the matriarch and pillar of her family.

“The ANC expresses its heartfelt condolences to the Duarte, Dangor, and Whitley extended families, loved ones, and friends. She was both a tower of strength to the organisation as well as a matriarch and pillar of her family.

“The passing of Comrade Jessie is a great loss, not only to the family but to the democratic movement and the country as a whole. As a committed internationalist and former diplomat, not only will she be mourned by South Africa, but by colleagues and comrades on the African continent and in the international progressive movement,” said Mabe.

“She dedicated her entire life to the struggle for a united, non-racial, non-sexist, democratic, prosperous, and just South Africa. A committed gender activist, she relentlessly championed the emancipation and empowerment of women. Her life and work reflected a consistent commitment to advancing the rights of the poor and marginalised.

Duarte served as the deputy secretary general of the ANC since 2012 and was a member of its National Executive Committee since 2002.

Taxpayers cough up to power ministers’ homes

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Bryntirion Estate in Pretoria, where the official residences of President Cyril Ramaphosa, Deputy President David Mabuza, and several ministers and deputy ministers are located, does not have to endure load shedding. Photo: Elmond Jiyane/GCIS

South African taxpayers, who have to dig deep into their pockets for plans to sidestep load shedding, are paying to buy generators and to keep those generators running at the official residences of ministers “and deputy ministers” in Pretoria.

That is, the official residences that do not escape load shedding in the first place.

After three and a half months into the current financial year, the expenses for diesel and maintenance of the generators are already 1 900% higher than the entire previous financial year as load shedding worsens. This is shown in figures provided to City Press’ sister publication Rapport by the public works and infrastructure department.

According to department spokesperson Thami Mchunu, the taxpayer coughed up R1.3 million in the previous financial year to buy generators and install them at the official residences of Cabinet members and deputy ministers. So far in the current financial year, which started on April 1, the figure is R681 000.

Running the devices cost R31 750 in the previous financial year. With the dramatic increase in load shedding since April 1, and the recent stage 6 load shedding, the amount has risen to R621 000.

Mchunu confirmed that Bryntirion Estate in Pretoria, where the official residences of President Cyril Ramaphosa, Deputy President David Mabuza, and several ministers and deputy ministers are located, does not have to endure load shedding.

However, there is no agreement between the department and the Tshwane metro council to keep the lights on.

The metro council, which is run by a DA-led coalition, therefore makes its own decisions.

The council declined to answer questions about this, apparently for reasons related to “state security” and to maintain the confidentiality of its contracts with customers.

However, the council is being questioned by the DA’s spokesperson on public enterprises, Ghaleb Cachalia, who said the decision was nonsensical.

Vally Padayachee, special adviser to the Association of Municipal Electricity Utilities, who has played a leading role in setting the standard adopted by the National Energy Regulator of SA (Nersa) and in regulating load shedding, known as NRS 048, also believes that state safety cannot be used as an excuse for not answering questions about load shedding.

Cachalia has taken issue with the fact that ministers in Bryntirion Estate are exempt from load shedding while even hospitals have to suffer through it.

Cachalia said:

The DA will write to Nersa calling for an immediate review of the NRS regulations. Hospitals should be designated as exempt from load shedding as a matter of urgency, and the pampered Cabinet’s Bryntirion Estate should be placed on load shedding schedules just as everyone else.

It was pointed out to Cachalia that the decision to exempt Bryntirion rests with the Tshwane metro council, where his party colleague Randall Williams is the mayor.

Asked if he had called Williams out on the issue, Cachalia replied that Tshwane’s mayoral committee member for infrastructure, Daryl Johnston, had explained to the SABC during a discussion that Bryntirion was not experiencing load shedding simply because it is served by the same substation as the Union Buildings.

The Union Buildings, as the seat of government in Pretoria, and Parliament in Cape Town are the only two properties that are explicitly exempt from load shedding, according to the standard.

However, the standard makes it clear that if any property in the other categories that qualify for exemption also escapes load shedding, the power distributor must isolate that property so that others do not escape load shedding as well.

According to sources in Tshwane, however, it would require too much manpower to isolate the Union Buildings.

Grandi Theunissen, Freedom Front Plus caucus leader in Tshwane, told Rapport that the party would request a report from the section 79 oversight committee for utilities to find out what the process was to apply for exemption and what exemptions had so far been granted.

The matter will also be escalated to party structures on provincial and national level to ensure transparency, he said.

Load shedding must be applied as widely as possible because if one consumer escapes it, others have to go through it more often to ensure the savings that Eskom requires, according to the standard.

Padayachee says anyone is free to apply for an exemption, but they will have to motivate for it according to the guidelines in the standard.

However, both the Johannesburg and Cape Town metro councils admitted to the publication that they had no formal application process.

Padayachee says requests can be made telephonically in case of an emergency, such as when a hospital’s generator fails, but then it must be done formally so that there is a record of such decisions.

According to the standard, the power distributor can exempt certain consumers such as hospitals and exclude them from load shedding in emergencies. Others, such as oil refineries, must be omitted. If the distributor wants to exempt any property that is not provided for in the standard, it must apply to Nersa, which must publish the list of such properties if they are approved.

However, Nersa spokesperson Charles Hlebela confirmed that the regulator had not received such applications, so there was no such list.

Professor Bernard Bekink of the public law department at the University of Pretoria believes that it is extremely important that the standard be applied in a transparent manner.

He says:

If there is a permanent exclusion, the public must be allowed to request the reasons for the decision to determine whether the decision is justified.

According to him, the Tshwane metro council cannot hide behind state security to draw a veil over its decisions.

“Load shedding has a wide impact on the rights of the public. It cannot be applied arbitrarily. It affects safety, health, the economy and transport, and there must be good reasons to exclude someone from it.”

He says secrecy creates room for irregularities, mismanagement and unethical actions.

Police resources used in Phala Phala theft cover-up

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National police commissioner General Fannie Masemola has come under scrutiny in the Phala Phala matter. Photo: GCIS

National police commissioner General Fannie Masemola allegedly authorised the use of a police helicopter and a communication interception device known as a grabber, and the spending of thousands of rands in the hunt for the suspects linked to the theft of millions of dollars in cash from President Cyril Ramaphosa’s farm in Limpopo.

These startling claims are contained in classified “security breach” reports within the SA Police Service (SAPS) crime intelligence unit. The use of state resources happened in spite of the fact that no theft case had been opened with the police at that point.

Several independent security cluster sources revealed this week that it was Masemola, during his tenure as deputy national commissioner responsible for policing, who authorised the operation, which involved task force police officers and civilians.

FORMER COMMISSIONER SITOLE WAS KEPT IN THE DARK

The officers who were tracking the alleged suspects, one of whom was finally located in Namibia, allegedly used the grabber and monitored the communication of Ramaphosa’s domestic worker, who was the alleged mastermind behind the theft.

The costly hunt for the suspects started on February 10 2020.

The grabber is a device normally fitted to the back of an unmarked police van and has on-board computers and an operator. It serves as a cellphone tower receiver. A police insider said the spying device tracks a phone’s location and those monitoring it have real-time access to the communication.

A security cluster source with access to the reports said:

Masemola was the one who gave the green light for the use of the police resources even though there was no registered criminal case. The costs for the operation, which included the use of the police air wing, the vehicles, accommodation as well as meals, were paid for by the police service.

The source added that the clandestine operation had been so secret that even then national police commissioner Khehla Sitole had not been informed about the incident and the police’s response.

“Sitole only learnt about the incident when it started to become hot gossip … when some of the involved started to reveal the details of how the police used a heavy-handed approach when they tortured the people who were responsible for the theft,” the source revealed.

According to the source, there was a crime intelligence investigation into the matter, which recommended that some of the officers implicated in the secret operation be charged. But those findings were allegedly shelved.

The source said:

I don’t know why the report was shelved. But I assume they were afraid that the disciplinary process would expose the involvement of senior officers and a sitting minister, which would cause embarrassment and cause diplomatic tension between South Africa and Namibia.

Police spokesperson Colonel Athlenda Mathe neither denied nor confirmed the involvement of Masemola in the sanctioning of the operation.

Mathe said: “The matter referred to remains under investigation by the DPCI [Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation – the Hawks] and the SAPS will therefore not comment on an ongoing investigation.”

Hawks head General Godfrey Lebeya said their investigation was ongoing and he would not be divulging the progress to the media.

Lebeya said:

Once we finalise the investigation, it will be handed to the National Prosecuting Authority [NPA] for a decision to be made. We are working hand in hand with the NPA in this investigation. I have been receiving briefs on a weekly basis on the progress made.

Ramaphosa this week made a rare reference to the Phala Phala scandal. He told the SA Communist Party (SACP) national congress that he was prepared to account, but only to the authorities who were investigating the matter.

He also played the victim card, blaming the forces who were against his renewal project for being behind the allegations against him.

The president said:

I will not allow these allegations to deter me from what needs to be done to rebirth our economy. I will not allow this to discourage me from the work that I have to do. I will not be intimidated, distracted or bullied by anybody.

The president’s conspiracy allegations also received backing from outgoing SACP secretary-general Blade Nzimande, who said the targeting of Ramaphosa was the work of “counter-revolutionaries”.

“There’s a former official of government [Arthur Fraser] who goes and lays charges at the police station against the president of the republic, to say that money was stolen from the farm of the president. The fact is that the president has said let the law enforcement agencies and other entities of the state investigate this matter,” said Nzimande.

“As the SACP, we must welcome that the president commits to a process of this nature instead of using his position as president to try to prevent these things from being thoroughly scrutinised.”

He charged: 

The reason this matter gets reported to the police station … the intention is not to fight corruption, the intention is that of the counter-revolutionaries to fight back [to] dislodge the leadership of the ANC and the leadership of the alliance.

The allegations of police involvement in the search, torture and cover-up related to the alleged crimes first surfaced when former State Security Agency boss Fraser opened a criminal case against the president at the Rosebank Police Station on June 1.

In the affidavit, Fraser asked the police to investigate Ramaphosa, Presidential Protection Unit head Major General Wally Rhoode and members of crime intelligence for money laundering, contravening the Prevention of Organised Crime Act and corruption, in contravention of the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act.

Fraser said: 

I appreciate that it is no small matter to lay criminal charges against a sitting president, but I am guided by the dictates of the interests of justice and our Constitution. By virtue of my experience, my advice is regularly sought in relation to security and intelligence matters. Similarly, unsolicited information is also regularly brought to my attention by various people and entities.

According to his affidavit, which has photos and copies of passports, identity books and other documents, the “trespassing and housebreaking” happened on February 9 2020 at the main farmhouse at Phala Phala, a wildlife farm situated in Bela-Bela.

“The incident was not officially reported to the police to investigate. However, president Ramaphosa instructed Major General Rhoode to immediately investigate the incident, to apprehend the suspects and to retrieve the stolen US dollars. Major General Rhoode subsequently acquired the services of a local farmer with investigative experience and capabilities to assist him with the investigation.

“Major General Rhoode immediately, illegally constituted a team, consisting of, inter alia, former SAPS members and serving members of SAPS’ crime intelligence unit, along with the local farmer, to investigate the matter at the instance of President Ramaphosa,” Fraser said.

Sources within the security cluster said it was this team that had access to the police helicopter and high-powered vehicles, as well as the use of the police’s phone monitoring device.

Fraser alleged that the team collected video and photo evidence; interviewed the domestic worker and some of the suspects; recovered some of the stolen money; and obtained documentary proof on how some of the stolen US dollars had been spent by the alleged thieves.

The affidavit read:

I was also informed of the following by a member of Major General Rhoode’s team. One of the domestic workers employed at Phala Phala discovered undisclosed sums of US dollars concealed in the furniture of the president’s residence on the farm. The domestic worker hails from an informal settlement in proximity to Phala Phala, known as Cyferskyl, which is predominantly occupied by Namibian citizens.

PRESIDENTIAL SECURITY CHIEF’S WINGS CLIPPED

This week, Rhoode’s powers were trimmed after Masemola appointed the divisional commissioner protection security services, Lieutenant General Sam Shitlabane, to oversee the component: presidential protection service that has until recently been reporting directly to the national commissioner.

Police spokesperson Mathe said: 

This comes as General Masemola is putting measures in place to strengthen and enhance governance and accountability, and is thus implementing this as an interim measure to ensure effective and efficient command and control, and also promote better coordination of functions within the organisation.

Rhoode did not want to comment when approached yesterday, saying he was a police officer and was not authorised to speak on the matter.

He referred all questions to the police spokesperson.

–City Press

ANC’s Jessie Duarte is no more

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Jessie Duarte in September 2021. Photo: Gallo Images

Former Mandela aid remembered as a servant of the people

Yasmin “Jessie” Duarte, the deputy secretary-general of the ANC, has passed away.

She has been remembered as a “servant of the people”.

Duarte was 69 years old when she passed away in the early hours of Sunday morning.

She was undergoing cancer treatment and was on medical leave since November last year.

“The passing of Comrade Jessie is a great loss, not only to the family, but to the democratic movement and the country. She dedicated her entire life to the struggle for a united, non-racial, non-sexist, democratic, prosperous and just South Africa.

“A committed gender activist, she relentlessly championed the emancipation and empowerment of women,” said ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe.

Condolences have been streaming in online.

GOOD secretary general Brett Herron said Duarte will be remembered for her contribution to the freedom of South Africa.

“She remained resolute in her continuous pursuit of a non-racial South Africa and was also committed in her fight for women empowerment in the country.”

The EFF said Duarte was “fierce, firm and forthright”.

Duarte is expected to be laid to rest this afternoon in accordance with Muslim rites.

President Cyril Ramaphosa has declared a special official funeral for Duarte.

Action Society’s Ian Cameron: ‘Cele’s lost touch with reality’

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Ian Cameron (Photo: Jaco Marais)

Action Society's director for community safety Ian Cameron believes his altercation with Police Minister Bheki Cele last week showed the minister is not fit to fix policing. Cameron speaks to James de Villiers about why he doesn't believe the governing party can address South Africa's safety issues and how he encountered a "dramatic change" in his life in 2010. 


Ian Cameron, 32, – the man who last week made headlines after he was forced out of a community meeting in Gugulethu, Cape Town, when he interrupted Police Minister Bheki Cele – simply doesn’t believe policing will improve under the ANC. “A few years ago I thought there were still good people in the ANC. But I must be honest; I think the ANC is an inherently corrupt organisation. I think they’ve become cancer to South Africa,” he says in an Afrikaans accent at the start of the virtual interview. 

He has just returned to his home in Paarl from Cape Town, a roughly 45-minute drive, where he has been meeting with a number of local government leaders following his altercation with Cele, where the minister told him to “shut up”. 

Cameron, who once served as head of community safety at controversial minority rights lobby group AfriForum and studied police science at the University of South Africa (Unisa), doesn’t mince his words as he speaks about the state of policing, or the state of the governing party. 

At AfriForum, he saw over 3 000 farm murder cases – often brutal – and through his current work as the director for community safety at Action Society, he’s dealt with hundreds of murder and assault cases on the Cape Flats. 

“I don’t think the police can ever be fixed with any ANC influence. I think corruption in the ANC is so incredibly deeply rooted that, no matter who from the ANC is put into the police somewhere, there is going to be an influence to deter investigation or justice. 

“I honestly think that’s one reason they don’t want the police to function properly is that many of them will be caught out for wrongdoing. And I think that’s why bodies like the Scorpions were closed down. I think that’s why bodies like the Hawks don’t function the way they should.”

Get involved 

And what does this mean for ordinary South Africans who have to wait until 2024, when a coalition government might replace the governing party? Cameron quickly says it is not to become despondent but to become even more active in communities. 

“On the one side, we have to take part politically; I encourage people to participate and vote. You have to exhaust all the remedies you have at your disposal. 

“But along with that,” he says, adjusting his earphones, “I think it’s crucial to get involved with civil society organisations somehow, whether it’s a cleanup group in your community, literally cleaning up the streets, picking up rubbish, sweeping, fixing potholes, and making sure those who don’t have water in the community have water.” 

And finally, in terms of crime, he says more and more people should become involved in neighbourhood watches. 

“I’ve seen it before, where neighbourhood watches are very active, violence is decreased. It does make a difference.”

Behind Cameron in his study in Paarl, large framed photographs can be seen of crime scenes or community safety events he has attended through the years. 

He leans back in his chair and says the incident with the minister in Gugulethu last week “exposed” Cele “as someone who has lost touch with reality”. 

“And he’s also exposed the reason why the South African Police Services is in such bad shape. I mean, in Soweto, he talks about tattoos and gangsters. My goodness, some of the best cops I’ve known in South Africa and in other countries are ones with tattoos.” 

Compelled to speak 

The South African Police Service (SAPS) has encountered a difficult few weeks with a spate of tavern shootings, in which at least 20 people were killed, among rising levels of gender-based violence and murder in the country. 

In response to calls for harsher gun legislation, Cameron, who founded Firearms.co.za, says South Africa’s problem isn’t gun legislation, but instead the number of illegal firearms in the country, including the thousands lost by police every year. 

Cameron, whose wife felt the need to pray for him before he went to the meeting in Gugulethu last week Tuesday because she had “a funny feeling”, says he didn’t at first intend to attend the meeting but felt it was important as he was assisting in a number of murder cases on the Cape Flats. 

Cele

Ian Cameron (Photo: Jaco Marais)

Through Action Society, Cameron helps victims and their families with feedback from the state when there isn’t progress on a matter, and also assists in the prosecution to help ensure dockets are prepared as well as possible. 

He says he wasn’t planning on speaking, but after the first round of ten speakers – who Cameron says had “more hectic things to say” to the minister – he felt compelled to address the derogatory things the minister had said about neighbourhood watches and the Metro police service. Cameron had helped launch over 150 neighbourhood watches with 12 500 volunteers during his time at AfriForum.

“I thought to myself, you know, the majority of the people involved in those neighbourhood watches are women above 50. They are unarmed and untrained. Many of them don’t even have torches. And they walk the streets of some of the most dangerous places in the world to try and keep people alive.”

In Cameron’s filmed remarks, he is heard saying:

“I am tired of the excuses, I am tired of you making this a political thing. None of these people here tonight, when they see their neighbours slaughtered on the streets, worry about your nonsense comments about the Constitution and about the devolution. They worry about surviving, sir.”

Cameron received loud applause from the audience at the gathering itself, and on social media and his remarks went viral, with many praising him for his honesty. 

But, in his closing remarks, Cele implied Cameron thought he was a garden boy, to which Cameron objected. Cele called on Cameron to “shut up” before he was escorted out of the meeting.

In a tweet, Cele’s spokesperson Lirandzu Themba said Cameron was removed after “repeatedly interrupting the meeting despite being given a fair chance to raise his concerns prior.” 

Police thanking him 

Cameron, who has since laid a complaint with the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) against the police officers who removed him for misconduct, says the police haven’t officially reached out to him since the incident. 

“But,” he says smiling, “I find it interesting that all the different police stations I’ve visited since, [that] there are quite a few police members have thanked me. And they are outspoken about how frustrated they are with bad leadership, and corrupt leadership, how frustrated they are with political interference and how frustrated they are with the derogatory way in which minister Cele speaks to them and speaks down to them.” 

And laughing, Cameron says he, his wife and two young children were nearly unable to eat when they visited the local Spur over the weekend as everyone wanted a selfie with him. “It’s crazy how the news spread”. 

Ian Cameron, his wife Carla, and their daughter, Jana. (Photo: Elizabeth Sejake)

Born in Kempton Park, Gauteng, Cameron says he has always had a “massive thing” for the police, having had a great-grandfather, an aunt and two uncles who were police officers. 

As he plugs in his computer to charge out of fear for loadshedding, he says:

“I actually have a lot of time for police officers. And it really breaks me to see the conditions they work in, especially in rural and very poor areas.”

 “You get to some of those police stations, and they don’t have decent chairs to sit on. This last week, quite a few of the stations I’ve visited don’t even have toilet seats for the female toilets.”

“I would have probably joined as well if it wasn’t in such bad shape. The police is just not an attractive employer.” 

He moved with his parents – his dad was a chemical engineer for Sasol and his mom a nurse – to England for six years before he came back in 2005 to finish his schooling in Johannesburg and soon started working for AfriForum.

As his rescue border collie, Ben, comes to seek attention, Cameron says a “dramatic change” occurred in his life in 2010 when he was at university and his drink was spiked. 

“I became very, very sick from it. It was a very potent drug of some sort to the point where I literally had withdrawal symptoms for a few days afterwards. It caused me to suffer quite hectic anxiety at that stage because of the withdrawal.

“And yeah, it was a very dark time for me. So that’s when things really changed for me in terms of faith, and that’s when I became a believer.” 

He says he has often received criticism for it, but these days he believes “your faith should influence your culture”, not the other way around. 

A stubborn person 

And while he admits he can be a stubborn person (“My wife nails me for it every single day”), he does believe he has grown since he first started work in community safety.

“I’ve also experienced my fair share of exposure to violent crime across the spectrum in South Africa. And, I think that’s made me also think of different approaches to try and solve it.” 

“And, I think at the moment, especially in the South African context, you know, unnecessarily having conflict, which might have actually helped in the past; I think we are [in] a time where we really need to make a plan to turn things around.” 

And as he prepares to leave for his next meeting, I ask what lies ahead for him in the years ahead. 

To help address the high levels of crime – particularly gender-based violence – in South Africa, he says, adding the challenge for him will be to stay positive. 

One of the reasons for leaving AfriForum in 2020 was because the violent nature of the crimes he worked with started taking a toll on his mental health. 

“It’s important to be able to look around you and spend time with people that remind you that there are good things as well. Everything’s not always bad wherever you go.”

He smiles softly and says the incident in Gugulethu, for example, reminded him of the good in the world. 

“When the police just confronted me on the inside, when I went back and watched the videos of it, I saw an old gogo is sitting next to me holding my hand. 

“You know, and it’s those things that inspire you to stay positive and to see the light at the end of the tunnel.” 

Low-skilled Zimbabweans struggle to qualify for SA visas as deadline for expiry of exempted permits looms

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Chairman of the Zimbabwe Exiles Forum, Advocate Gabriel Shumba

Many believe SA government is pushing them back to Zimbabwe by doing away with special permits

Thousands of low-skilled Zimbabwean nationals are finding it difficult to qualify for visas and many believe the SA cabinet’s decision to do away with the special exemption permit is aimed at pushing them out of the country.

With time slowly ticking towards the December deadline, many of the 180,000 holders of the Zimbabwe Exemption Permit (ZEP), often referred to as the Zimbabwean Special Dispensation permit, are hoping the SA government will change its mind.

ZEP holders have been given until December 31 to apply for visas to continue living in SA, return to Zimbabwe, or face possible deportation as they would be declared illegal immigrants. 

In November last year, the cabinet announced that the ZEP would not be extended.

Advocate Gabriel Shumba, chairperson of the Zimbabwe Exiles’ Forum, said they were “extremely worried that the call to migrate to other permits seems cosmetic and there doesn’t appear to be any intention to ensure that the conditions for migration are realistic”.

“Many ZEP holders among our membership have been to the department of employment and labour to try to apply for a labour certificate, which is a prerequisite for an application for a general work visa … they have been informed that these certificates take up to a year to obtain,” Shumba said.

He said those who applied without the labour certificate were being turned away.

“This obviously creates a nightmare and a catch-22 situation that all right-thinking people see as a deliberate maze,” Shumba said.

He said another major stumbling block was that employers were also expected to give an undertaking that they will be liable for deportation costs should the applicant be refused the permit.

“Many [employers] are fearful of granting such an undertaking. Thus, many can’t apply and ultimately, you see that few have been able to submit,” Shumba said.

Another issue that faces Zimbabweans based in SA is that a police clearance from Zimbabwe is required.

Shumba said this did not make sense as some of the ZEP holders have been in SA for  more than 10 years.

“This is atrociously unreasonable and costly… [this is what] happens when you do not properly consult stakeholders, as we have seen with previous ministers,” Shumba said.

Maybe right now it’s better that I look for greener pastures because it’s very difficult [to acquire a visa]

Ingrid Kaunda, Zimbabwean restaurant employee in Johannesburg

The department of home affairs said it had already received more than 2,000 various categories of visa applications from affected Zimbabwean nationals.

Home affairs minister Aaron Motsoaledi’s spokesperson Siya Qoza said they also received about 3,000 waiver applications in terms of the Immigration Act. However, the applications were rejected as the ZEP entitles the holder to conduct work in the country but does not entitle the holder the right to apply for permanent residence irrespective of the period of stay. 

Qoza said the ZEP permits cannot be renewable or extendable; and that such permit holders cannot change conditions of their permit in SA.

“Individual letters were written to the affected Zimbabwean nationals requesting them to make representations,” Qoza said.

The Zimbabwe Exemption Permits came into being more than 10 years ago when SA experienced an influx of asylum seekers from Southern African Development Community countries, with the vast majority of them being Zimbabwean nationals.

The department of home affairs’ Asylum Seeker Management Unit was unable to cope with the numbers. The Musina Refugee Reception Centre was receiving more than 1,000 asylum seeker applications daily and did not have adequate staff and financial resources to deal with the arrivals, hence the ZEP was introduced to help manage the influx of Zimbabweans, according to the department.

Qoza said the exemptions granted to Zimbabwean nationals, which were extended twice, was and has always been a temporary measure, pending improvement of the political and economic situation in Zimbabwe.

He said the department of home affairs director-general made a submission to minister Aaron Motsoaledi in September 2021 recommending that the exemptions should not be extended.

The Helen Suzman Foundation has filed papers in the high court in Pretoria in a bid to declare cabinet’s decision to do away with the ZEP unlawful, unconstitutional and invalid.

An organisation — the Zimbabwe Permit Holders Association — also indicated that it was preparing to launch a court challenge to the department of home affairs’ decision to make permit holders apply for visas to legally stay in SA.

The strict requirements in obtaining a work visa have made the employers of long-time Pretoria gardener, Herbert Moyi, give up on helping him get a general working visa.

Moyi, 55, has been in SA since 1987 and works for four families in Pretoria who all tried but failed to get him a general work permit.

“All my employers tried to assist me but all of them have said it’s probably best to wait as currently the requirements are difficult to meet, including one that states that I need to apply for this permit while I’m home, but I live here,” Moyi said.

Moyi, who lives in Mamelodi, east of Pretoria, said he was considering returning to Zimbabwe in December when the ZEP ends.

Ingrid Kaunda, a restaurant employee in Johannesburg who has been in the country for six years, is investigating ways of getting to Europe.

What this decision [to make all ZEP holders migrate to other visas in one year] is likely to do is to create further backlogs Lindokuhle Mdabe, Lawyers For Human Rights

“Maybe right now it’s better that I look for greener pastures because it’s very difficult [to acquire a visa],” Kaunda said.

Though she has applied for the general work visa, she’s not hopeful that she’s going to be approved and has almost given up.

Ngqabutho Mabhena, chairperson of the Zimbabwe Community in SA and the African Diaspora Forum, said those whose professions do not fall under the critical skills required in the country were not qualifying for the permits.

“For you to qualify, your company needs to display that there’s no South African who can do the job that you’re doing … the majority of the ZEP holders are low-skill workers,” Mabhena said.

He said they believe the cabinet was influenced by the results of the local government elections in November, where parties that were seen to be anti-migrant, such as ActionSA and the Patriotic Alliance, won seats in a number of municipalities.

“We think the [ZEP] permit is being done away with because migration was an issue.”

Lindokuhle Mdabe of Lawyers For Human Rights’ Durban unit said it seems the SA government may be saying to the holders of the ZEP that it’s time to go back home. He said even the 12 months that the ZEP holders were given to migrate to other visas does not seem sufficient, as this process alone would clog up home affairs’ permit systems.

“What this decision [to make all ZEP holders migrate to other visas in one year] is likely to do is to create further backlogs as people make migrations to those permits,” Mdabe said.

Mdabe said there was no evidence that the socioeconomic situation in Zimbabwe that made most Zimbabwean nationals escape to SA has changed.

“In fact, the situation in Zimbabwe is far worse post-Covid-19 … there’s a crisis here [in SA] and there’s a crisis everywhere.”

I do have answers for Phala Phala: Ramaphosa

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President Cyril Ramaphosa says he will not be distracted from his efforts to rebuild the economy and duties in leading SA through turbulent times. Image: Thapelo Morebudi

The president says he is not above the law and will subject himself to criminal investigations

President Cyril Ramaphosa says he has all the answers to questions about the Phala Phala farm scandal.

But he will not publicly address them. They are exclusively for official processes, such as law enforcement and the ANC’s Integrity Commission.

‘I have never stolen money’: Ramaphosa responds to Fraser’s allegations

President Cyril Ramaphosa spoke about the allegations levelled against him by the former director-general of the State Security Agency, Arthur Fraser, when he addressed the ANC’s Limpopo conference on June 5 2022. The allegations involve the alleged theft of “in excess of $4-million” from the president’s Phala Phala farm in Limpopo.

Ramaphosa dismissed allegations that he confided in his political core – one that includes intelligence deputy minister Zizi Kodwa and Eastern Cape premier Oscar Mabuyane – that he could not explain the Phala Phala saga and was willing to step down.

“I do have answers,” said Ramaphosa as his bodyguards pushed away media personnel when he left the SACP national congress in Boksburg, Ekurhuleni.

The president told the congress he would subject himself to the investigation on Phala Phala after a criminal complaint against him by ex-spy chief Arthur Fraser about two months ago.

Fraser alleged Ramaphosa was involved in the cover-up of a crime after the theft of millions of dollars from his Limpopo property.

But Ramaphosa told the SACP the matter was being used to intimidate and bully him, adding that he would not cower or submit.

He further echoed SACP outgoing boss Blade Nzimande’s charge that Fraser was a proponent of a “counterrevolution” to collapse the ANC and its government.

It was for this reason, said Ramaphosa, that he will “not be distracted” from carrying out his duties to lead the country towards economic recovery.

https://imasdk.googleapis.com/js/core/bridge3.521.0_en.html#goog_409381613Play Video

‘Ramaphosa must step aside’: Malema on #farmgate burglary

EFF leader Julius Malema has said they will not rule out a national shutdown if President Cyril Ramaphosa does not step aside in order for the investigation into the burglary that took place at his home in Limpopo has been completed.

“Not a single person is above the law and everyone, regardless of the position that they occupy, must be held accountable for their actions. I have pledged my full co-operation to the investigation process that is under way. I am prepared to be held accountable,” said Ramaphosa.

“I will not allow these allegations [to deter me] from what needs to be done to rebuild our economy, and deter me and discourage me from the work I have to do. And I will not be intimidated nor distracted nor bullied into submission.

“We are in the fight for the soul of the ANC and we will not back down [in ensuring] the ANC is being revived. We are also in the fight for the survival of our democracy, and the wellbeing and progress of our people,” he went on.

“We will not submit, we will not relent, nor will we ever give in. We will remain committed to the people of this country and I know that we will prevail.” 

TimesLIVE

Video Of Nhlanhla Lux Holding AK-47 Causes Stir

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Nhlanhla Dlamini

What happened in South Africa in the last few days has left many people in a state of limbo. It appears that being in South Africa in general is no longer safe. People are being killed as if they don’t matter. The mass shootings in taverns across the country have many people believing that South Africa is under attack, and there is no sign of the government attempting to address the situation. The only thing Bheki Cele has done is send Amabherethe to Soweto to go door to door looking for the weapons that killed the people.

There is a need for the army to be deployed so that they can figure out who these people on a killing spree are, but this is not the case. There is now a trending video of Nhlanhla Lux on social media, and it has left many people with more questions than answers. There is even some speculation, especially after what occurred at a Soweto tavern. He was seen carrying an AK47.

We know that Nhlanhla Lux went to Nomzamo, where 16 people were killed in a tavern, and he said a lot of things there that raised questions for many people. According to Nhlanhla Lux, the people who killed South Africans at the tavern were foreigners. He said this as if he had proof that it was the foreigners. He went on to say that they got all of their power from EFF CIC leader Julius Malema. However, it has now been revealed that he possesses an AK47, which is the type of gun used to kill those people. Many assumptions are being made.

Nhlanhla Lux with his Ak-47 before all these shootings ?

This boy is dangerous! pic.twitter.com/LDBYnvh7FR

— PRO AFRICANS-DR. EFF (@Rebaone59275709) July 13, 2022

Mkhwebane impeachment sucks in Ramaphosa, Zuma and Mbeki

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Embattled SA President Cyril Ramaphosa

Suspended Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s legal representative, Dali Mpofu, told the Parliament impeachment inquiry into her fitness to hold office on Thursday that he would ask for President Cyril Ramaphosa and possibly other former presidents to come to give evidence into the inquiry.

This comes a day after the Presidency, in a statement, said Ramaphosa would not appear before the inquiry because he had not made any allegations against Mkhwebane. United Democratic Movement president Bantu Holomisa suggested on Tuesday during the inquiry that Ramaphosa might have to be called to testify about the CR17 campaign report by Mkhwebane. Holomisa said the public was still interested to know if public funds were used in Ramaphosa’s ANC presidential campaign.

In the statement, presidential spokesperson Vincent Magwenya said claims that public funds might have been used in Ramaphosa’s campaign were “baseless, misdirected and vindictive”.

He added that the Constitutional Court had also ruled last year that Mkhwebane had no authority to investigate the CR17 campaign because it was not an organ of state, and, therefore, did not fall within Mkhwebane’s ambit.

Magwenya said: 

General Holomisa is well-advised that the Constitutional Court remains the final arbiter of justice and its judgments must be accepted and respected. Parliament does not have the mandate to review Constitutional Court judgments in the separation of powers of the executive, legislative and the judiciary.

However, Mpofu told the Section194 committee that Mkhwebane’s legal representative intended on calling Ramaphosa as a witness to the CR17 charges. Mpofu said he had told the evidence leader, Nazreen Bawa, about the intention and her response was “well, you have to do what you have to do”.

“I just want to explain that we are going to call the president; we’re going to write him a letter today or tomorrow to ask him in line with the directives. If he’s willing to come voluntarily [that is fine], if not, then we will initiate the process for him to be summoned. And, it is not for the reasons of dealing with the issue of suspension, but just on the merits. On the fact that he has made certain accusations against the Public Protector, saying she’s guilty of perjury and all sorts of things, which would be impeachable if they’re true,” said Mpofu.

It looks like we might even have to call other former presidents. I don’t want to put their names at this stage. But, you’ll remember one of the charges has to do with a meeting with a president.

However, on Wednesday, in the statement, Magwenya said Ramaphosa had not made any allegations against Mkhwebane and could not be compelled to provide evidence providing or disproving accusations.

While Mpofu did not say who the former presidents he might call to testify were, the National Prosecuting Authority charged Mkhwebane for allegedly lying under oath when she said she had only met former president Jacob Zuma once to discuss the Absa-Bankcorp/CIEX report when she had met him twice.

‘Allegations of intoxication’

Meanwhile, at the beginning of the second day of testimony by former SA Revenue Service (Sars) executive director Johann van Loggerenberg, the EFF’s treasurer-general, Omphile Maotwe, accused him of drinking whiskey during the committee’s proceedings.

Maotwe said the committee was Parliament’s process and as such, rules of the house needed to be adhered to, even by those on a virtual platform.

“Chair, I was disturbed by a video of Mr Van Loggerenberg yesterday holding a glass of whiskey in his hands. And perhaps he can clarify whether he was drinking during a session of Parliament or not. If that is the case chair, then his testimony yesterday is null and void because if you are under the influence, I am sure the legal gurus will assist us on what happens when you are under the influence, and whether your testimony can be considered or not,” said Maotwe.

I want to give him an opportunity to clarify whether he was drinking during the session of Parliament or not because there is a video, if you do not have it chair, I can make it available to you and the committee, but that video suggests that Mr Van Loggerenberg was drinking.

The chairperson of the committee, Qubudile Dyantyi, said he had only seen Van Loggernerburg drinking coffee, but he might have missed him holding a whiskey glass. He then asked Van Loggerenberg to clarify. Van Loggerenberg explained that he was aware of the video that Maotwe was referring to.

“It is me standing at the end, I think, or just before we break for lunch and the camera is still on and I have a glass in my hand,” he said, picking up the glass and showing it to the committee, “this glass contains medicine. I am undergoing a series of medical…” he couldn’t detail his medical condition as he was abruptly interrupted by Dyantyi.

However, Van Loggerenberg said he would undergo a procedure on his jaws as the pain made it difficult for him to speak.

The nerd who took on Bheki Cele

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Ian Cameron

Here’s what’s hot in the latest edition of the Afrikaans digital weekly

Ian Cameron’s path from AfriForum’s head of security to investigating gender violence on the Cape Flats is a South African story of our time. 

If he had been born in another country or another SA, he would have been a police officer, Cameron says. It’s in his blood. But, Cameron claims, political interference renders the police service close to dysfunctional and “people work in dire conditions”.

He studied policing science, but his first job was at AfriForum, launching branches and helping sort municipal and environmental problems. Safety was later added to his portfolio and he helped form neighbourhood watches.

“Eight years later, when I left, we had 12,500 volunteers in 157 neighbourhood watches and a permanent team of 24 with a trauma unit.”

Cameron became director of Action Society SA, a civil rights organisation that focuses on crimes against women.

“It became clear to me that we had to get successful prosecutions. We wrote an unorthodox plan. Our approach is to contact the investigating officer at the start of the case. If officers are not doing their jobs, we investigate ourselves and exert pressure to ensure the case will be prosecuted. If that doesn’t happen, we do it.”

They launched this model on the Cape Flats in December and handle 35 cases at any given time. 

Cameron sees himself as a civil rights activist, and it is in this capacity that he challenged police minister Bheki Cele at a community meeting in Gugulethu. His frustration with Cele goes back a long way, Cameron says, from when he was commissioner of police.

“Under his watch 47% of arms carrying police officials in the Eastern Cape didn’t have authorisation to do so. How on earth can police officers, who are exposed to real violence, not have the necessary training?

“A few senior ANC members have told me Cele embarrasses them. He also embarrasses the police.” 

He challenged Cele at the meeting because he “made derogatory remarks about neighbourhood watches” — saying they have no constitutional mandate — and about metro police and local law enforcement. 

“Who is he to talk to them like that? You fail in your own constitutional mandate, but you think it’s OK to be condescending towards people who risk their lives while you walk around surrounded by bodyguards?”

Thanks to his confrontation with Cele and the subsequent social media storm, Action Society SA’s gender violence model is being expedited. Cameron wants to start implementing the blueprint in Gauteng and the northern part of the country by the end of the year. 

–Vrye Weekblad

Vrye Weekblad/12:3

Zondo Commission investigators face investigations over expenditure

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Justice Raymond Zondo
  • Chief Justice Raymond Zondo handed over the final State Capture Inquiry report to President Cyril Ramaphosa in June, after an over three-year investigation that cost more than R1 billion.
  • The justice department has now confirmed an audit will be conducted into the inquiry, particularly with respect to the cost of investigators.
  • News24 has established this investigation had its genesis in anonymous complaints made to former finance minister Tito Mboweni.

Anonymous complaints to then-finance minister Tito Mboweni about the allegedly exorbitant costs of State Capture Inquiry investigators has now triggered an audit into the commission’s finances – two years after they were made.

The justice department’s Steve Mahlangu confirmed the investigation to News24, but was at pains to stress it was “not a forensic audit, but a review to determine if the costs incurred, particularly with respect to the investigators were indeed economical and derived value for money”.

Documents seen by News24 suggested the investigation might actually be far more extensive, with a 9 July 2021 letter from the department’s then-acting chief financial officer, Nhlanhla Mthembu, to a private audit firm in Kwazulu-Natal revealing it was mooting an investigation into, among other things:

  • The commissions criteria for appointing the various service providers/consultants.
  • Whether these service providers/consultants had the necessary knowledge, skills, qualifications and experience required for the post?
  • Whether they were appointed for the intended purpose?
  • Whether the rate paid to the service provider/consultant in line with their competencies and experience?
  • Whether the work performed by the service providers/consultants correspond with their invoices? Did the Commission receive value for money?
  • If [SA Institute for Chartered Accountants] rates were applied, were the appointments at specific rates in line with the minimum requirements [qualification and experience] for that rate?
  • And, to what extent were the reports provided by different law enforcement agencies on investigations already concluded, utilised by the commission?

Mthembu said it was “imperative that this investigation is kept confidential during its duration to ensure the work of the Commission is not affected”, adding it needed to be completed before the inquiry’s term was due to end, which at the time was meant to happen in September 2021.

He revealed, for the duration of the commission, National Treasury’s Office of the Accountant-General (OAG) managed the payment of inquiry investigators, whose details have been kept confidential because of the security concerns attached to their work.

The OAG was responsible, among other things, for appointing and on-boarding investigators as both staff and consultants. This was done under the terms of a July 2018 memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed between Treasury and the department.

Deviating from the MOU

According to Mthembu, however, the commission “chose to deviate from the MOU when appointing investigators and conducted their own appointments and would only submit the invoices for payment to the OAG” – an issue the department now wants investigated.

“The escalating costs of the commission are mainly driven by legal and investigative services. However, some investigators’ services were terminated due to financial constraints,” Mthembu wrote to the private firm in KZN.

These budget cuts would result in some investigators not being paid for up to nine months – a development that had a damaging impact on the preparation of state capture prosecutions they were working on.

“The commission finds itself with serious budgetary constraints that may threaten the quality of the work that needs to be done by its investigators and its legal team,” inquiry secretary Itumeleng Mosala wrote to then-Investigating Directorate (ID) head Hermione Cronje in January 2021.

ID agrees to help the commission

“If the commission does not have funds to pay its investigators and its legal team to do a proper and thorough job, the work that the NPA [National Prosecuting Authority] will take over from the commission’s investigation and legal teams after the commission has completed its work may well not be of an acceptable standard.

“If this happened, it would be because, owing to lack of funds, the commission’s investigation and legal teams could not devote as much time and attention to certain matters as they would have wished to.                                                   

“This situation would lead to unacceptable delays in the prosecution of matters by the NPA as the NPA will have to undertake extensive investigations before it may decide whether or not to prosecute,” he stated.

While the ID had agreed it was willing to assist the commission financially, that offer was not accepted by Treasury because of budgetary prescripts not allowing this. This led to exactly what Mosala predicted: months of delays in investigators being paid and adverse consequences for the preparation of certain state capture prosecutions.

Chief Justice Raymond Zondo has released the final part of his State Capture Inquiry report to President Cyril Ramaphosa on Wednesday. With this the four-and-a-half-year State Capture Inquiry finally came to an end.

But Mthembu’s letter to the KZN auditing firm, which duly responded with a 33-page proposal on how it could investigate and possibly litigate and assist in criminal prosecutions in relation to the probe into the commission’s investigative budget, does not appear to reflect any of this background.

According to Mahlangu, the department had yet to appoint a firm to conduct the investigation.    

The procurement process to appoint the service provider started in August 2021, he added.

Two years later

It remains unclear why the department’s audit, which it claims to still be finalising with the now-finalised commission and Treasury, is only being conducted now, almost two years after Mboweni raised his concerns.

In February 2021, he strongly suggested Treasury was reluctant to continue funding the commission and stated, after his budget vote speech, “[t]his perpetual extension of the inquiry into state capture is not really conducive. They must finish their work”.

“It must end at some stage unless their DG [director-general] has anything to say. I don’t think I’m going to sign up on another tranche of cash to the state capture commission. They must finish their work,” he added.

But Mboweni’s complaints about the cost of the inquiry had started long before his public comments.

He wrote to Justice Minister Ronald Lamola on 28 September 2020 and “raised concerns … regarding the escalating costs of the Commission of Inquiry into the Allegations of State Capture”.

“The minister of finance also raised that he had anonymously been alerted about allegations of expenditure irregularities at the commission and exorbitant claims by the investigators, which he found disconcerting,” the acting director-general of the justice department, Kalay Pillay, wrote to then-Auditor-General Kimi Makwetu in October 2020.

‘The better devil’: EFF backs DA-led coalition to oust ANC in Nelson Mandela Bay

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EFF leader Julius Malema
  • The DA and several smaller opposition parties have agreed to form a new coalition government in the Nelson Mandela Bay metro.
  • The EFF has agreed to support the DA and take a backseat, in a bid to oust the ANC.
  • Should the parties successfully form a coalition government, it would be the second change in government since the 2021 local municipal elections.

The EFF has vowed to take a back seat in a newly proposed DA-led coalition government for the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality, as it seeks to oust the ruling ANC. 

On Thursday, the ACDP, African Independent Congress, Abantu Integrity Movement, DA, Freedom Front Plus, PAC, and the UDM agreed to form a coalition government.

In a joint statement, the parties said they had met at least eight times recently to iron out an agreement, and that their leaders were seeking a “final mandate” from their structures.

“This is the eighth time we have met to discuss a stable coalition government for the City, to replace the fractured and dysfunctional ANC-coalition that is presiding over a paralysed administration divided between two competing City managers.

“The parties involved in today’s talks will report back to their structures for a final mandate. We aim to sign a formal coalition agreement before the end of the month. There will be no further comment until the signing ceremony.”

The EFF was not part of the discussions, but their eight seats in council will be crucial support for whoever wants to lead a coalition government.

Khanya Ngqisha, EFF secretary in Nelson Mandela Bay, said they were ready to support the DA.

“Whichever party is ready to go into government, besides the ANC, we are ready to support. To form the actual government with a mayor and deputy… it’s not necessary that we need to be part of that. We will support the removal of the ANC, however, we have a right to take a back seat because we occupy other positions such as MPAC (Municipal Public Accounts Committee) and the Rules and Ethics Committee which do oversight,” he said.

Asked whether there would be conditions for their support of a DA-led coalition, Ngqisha said: “When the time is right, there will be some form of negotiations, because we are not going to do this without having an open mind.

Join News24 editor-in-chief Adriaan Basson for this week’s elections town hall. In this instalment, he asks, who will rule Nelson Mandela Bay?

“It’s too early, because we have previously given our support to say that the ANC must be removed from power, but it was the DA that delayed. The ball is in their court. When they are ready, they will know where to find us.”

Ngqisha emphasised that their main goal was to rid the council of the ANC.

“It is a matter of dealing with the better devil. It is a position that was taken at a national level that the ANC must be removed from political power in order to teach the ANC a lesson. It’s not about the DA being against our core values. We understand the dynamics of numbers, and we have to work within this terrain we find ourselves in,” he said.

Also not present at talks held on Thursday was the Northern Alliance (NA), which is one of the ANC’s coalition partners.

NA councillor and current council Speaker Gary van Niekerk said they had not received an invitation to the meeting.

“We have had discussions with the DA privately, and they persisted that they want both speaker and mayor [positions]. During these discussions, as a matter of principle, we have communicated to the DA that we cannot be part of such a coalition government,” he said.

Should the parties successfully form a coalition government, it would be the second change in government since the 2021 municipal elections.

Last year, Eugene Johnson was elected as the mayor of the metro – by a one-vote margin – over DA Eastern Cape leader Nqaba Bhanga, who is now in the Eastern Cape legislature.

Bhanga won 59 votes, while the ANC’s Johnson got 60. During the 2021 municipal elections, the DA and ANC each won 48 seats.

Altogether, 119 votes were counted, no ballots were spoilt, and only one councillor from the DA was absent.

ANC Nelson Mandela Bay regional secretary Luyolo Nqakula did not respond to questions. It will be added once received.

Fewer than half of applications for Covid-19 distress grants approved

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Minister Lindiwe Zulu

Out of 11.4 million applicants for June, only 5.2-million got the go-ahead

The department of social development on Thursday said it was concerned at the low numbers of approvals for the Covid-19 social relief of distress (SRD) grants.

The department said out of 11.4-million applicants for June, only 5.2-million beneficiaries were approved — less than half.

The department said in line with the undertaking that it would review the threshold should the numbers indicate this, social development minister Lindiwe Zulu has published for public comment draft regulations to amend some of the qualification criteria.

The key proposed amendments relate to the maximum allowable income, the application of the bank verification and the requirement for applicants to confirm their need for the grant every three months.

“In this regard, the department is proposing to increase the maximum allowable income from R350 to the food poverty line of R624, meaning that (the SA Social Security Agency) will decline any applicant who receives more than R624 into their bank account for each relevant month.

“It is important to state that the assessment will be conducted monthly, and should the income received into the account in a particular month fall below the R624, such an applicant will then qualify for the grant,” the department said

The department said the value of the grant itself remains R350 per person per month for the period April 1 2022 to March 31 2023.

The department said the second amendment seeks to remove the requirement for applicants to indicate if they require the grant after every three months.

“Since the applications are in any case assessed every month, the department is proposing to do away with this requirement.”

The third amendment is aimed at removing the clause that places the bank verification process as the main criteria for determining eligibility for the grant. 

“This is to ensure that Sassa applies all the different database checks, including the bank account income checks, before making the decision to approve or decline the application.”

The department apologised for the long delay in assessing the April and May applications for the SRD grants. It said it was doing everything in its power to fast track the assessments, especially the bank verification processes.

“During July, we will be finalising the outstanding payments for those who were approved for June, and also complete the approvals and payments for the April applications,” the department said.

TimesLIVE

Amaberete blitz yields nothing so far in wake of tavern shooting

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Police conducting a stop-and-search in Nomzamo, Soweto, for illegal weapons and other goods after 16 people were shot dead in local bar. Image: Thulani Mbele

Police have brought calm, residents say

The police patrols which have become a common feature in Nomzamo settlement in Soweto where 16 people were shot and killed at a tavern last week are yet to result in any arrest.

Contrary to the overzealous and hyped up threats of “Amaberete going door-to-door searching for guns” as announced by police minister Bheki Cele outside Emazulwini Tavern on Monday, patrols have seemed to be nothing more but a sideshow for the media.

Cele deployed dozens of officers from the Johannesburg Metro Police Department (JMPD), SAPS and Tactical Response Team on Monday after the shooting at Emazulwini on Sunday morning. Cele unleashed his foot soldiers onto the streets of Nomzamo like he has done in Diepsloot and Kliptown when similar fatal incidents have occurred.

On Wednesday night Sowetan spent two hours following a convoy of 13 police vehicles as they  meandered the pothole-ridden streets of the township, which has not had lights for more than three weeks due to cable theft.

The officers mostly drove slowly on the main roads and would, in between, stop and search any group of males they found loitering about, even those who had queued outside one spaza shop. Those stopped in their tracks would normally raise their hands and allow officers, at least those who cared to get out of the vehicle, to frisk them. Many chose to remain in the car and watch their colleagues at work.

The convoy mainly moved along the main road, leaving the side roads that lead into the mostly RDP homes. The Sowetan team would find out later that they did so because the roads are so tiny that it would require them to go on foot to access the area.

Unlike Monday night when the operation was launched in front of TV cameras and cars were stopped and searched, on Wednesday night no motorists were bothered.

Faces of tragedy: Families of Soweto tavern shooting victims describe devastating loss

The families of the people who lost their lives at the Mdlalose tavern shooting in Soweto are still reeling from the loss of their loved ones. They participated in a prayer service on Tuesday July 12 and began making burial arrangements.

According to police spokesperson Col Dimakatso Sello, police will continue to maintain a strong presence in the area but did not say for how long. She said no weapons had been confiscated or arrests made since Monday.

“We are conducting a high visibility operation which includes patrolling, vehicle checkpoints and stop and searches. The police can only go search a house if there is suspicion of criminal activities in the said premises or there is a search warrant,” said Sello.

Residents were pleased with the increased police visibility, saying it would help reduce the number of unlicensed firearms circulating in the area.

South Africa’s rising gun violence crimes has been attributed to the smuggling of high caliber guns like AK-47s.  The Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime reports that there are about 3.8 million unregistered illegal firearms in circulation in South Africa, Mozambique, and Zimbabwe.  Illicit guns and ammunition are a currency in the underworld of gangs, mass shootings and wildlife crime.

“It’s pleasing to see police cars driving on our streets. I have not heard any gunshots this week and I hope the situation remains like this forever. Our area has been a no-go zone for a very long time but we have seen a bit of improvement over the past two days,” said Orlando resident Siphamandla Phiri.

Another resident, Nomthandazo Mnyembane, said the police needed to be thorough with their operation.

“The police must go patrol inside the shacks. That is where the problem is. Driving around the main streets will not solve anything. The taverns must be forced to close at 9pm. Eskom must also fix our electricity problem because this darkness also contributes to high levels of crime in the area,” said the 65-year-old Mnyembane.

–Sowetanlive

ANC, EFF accused of hijacking memorial service of victims of Soweto tavern shoot-out

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Families attending memorial service of their dear ones

Politicians’ motives questioned

‘I tried to hide behind crates’ : Man who was shot 7 times in Soweto tavern massacre fears he won’t walk again

A Damelin travel and tourism student who survived the Soweto tavern shooting, speaks of how he tried to hide from gunmen. The student was shot seven times and his mother revealed the horrific scene she encountered when she went to look for him

The memorial service of the 16 people who were shot and killed at a Soweto tavern left some people fuming, accusing the ANC of hijacking the ceremony. 

The service was held in a marquee near the Mdlalose Tavern in Orlando on Thursday. 

The white tent was erected at about 9am and two hours later members of the ANC clad in the party’s regalia were seen placing about 10 party flags on top of it and some banners near the structure before the mourners arrived in the afternoon. Members of the EFF also came with their banners but stood a few metres from the tent before the service began.

The photos of the victims were placed on a table that was draped with a tablecloth  branded in ANC colours. The families sat in the front near the photos. 

This display seemed to cause discomfort for some in the crowd who decided to walk away from the tent.

“We are not here for political speeches. Our neighbours have lost their children. Families are in pain; this is not the time to score political points,” said Malindi Gotsheleni, who was part of the group that left when ANC provincial secretary Thembinkosi Nciza was given the microphone.

Faces of tragedy: Families of Soweto tavern shooting victims describe devastating loss

The families of the people who lost their lives at the Mdlalose tavern shooting in Soweto are still reeling from the loss of their loved ones. They participated in a prayer service on Tuesday July 12 and began making burial arrangements.

Nciza said: “The ANC is the vanguard of society. You will see the ANC everywhere. We are not here to campaign. We are here to support the grieving families and to call on members of the community to take a stand against crime.”

EFF Johannesburg regional secretary Muzi Shabalala led a small delegation also sporting party T-shirts and flags.

Shabalala condemned the mass killing and urged community members to unite against crime.

“This is not the time to fight against each other. This memorial service is organised by the ANC and they gave us an opportunity to speak. This shows that there is political tolerance among us. We urge the people of this community to stand together and allow the police to do their job,” said Shabalala.            

Tavern owner concerned about security following Soweto mass shooting

Fifteen people were killed at Mdlalose’s tavern in Soweto on Sunday after gunmen opened fire on the crowd. A few metres from the tavern is another establishment called Tap Out. The owner is concerned about security after the incident.

Most of the 16 people killed at Mdlalose’s tavern will be buried outside Gauteng.

The families of the victims called for the arrest of the perpetrators before they could bury their loved ones. Some mourners broke down in tears when pictures of the deceased were brought into the tent.

“We will allow police to do their investigations but they must not investigate forever. We want answers. We want to know who killed our family members. By the time we bury our family members we want those responsible for their brutal death to be behind bars,” said Mpumi Chirwa, speaking on behalf of the family of Daliwonga Mluma, who was among those killed on Sunday.

During the memorial service, representatives of the grieving families were given an opportunity to briefly speak about the departed.

Appointed family representatives made similar remarks, saying they wanted to know the motive for the killings and demanded immediate arrests.

“Many of the people that were killed are from Umzimkhulu [in KwaZulu-Natal]. We don’t know why they were killed. We are deeply hurt but we plead with the departed to be good ancestors,” said Thobekile Thobela, speaking on behalf of the family of Philani Mngonyama, who died in hospital after the shooting.

EFF to ‘shut the country down’ in effort to remove Ramaphosa from office

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EFF CIC Julius Malema

EFF leader Julius Malema says the party will embark on a national shutdown in an effort to remove President Cyril Ramaphosa from office.

Malema told reporters on Thursday that Ramaphosa and his administration had failed the people of SA with high unemployment, lawlessness and lack of accountability.

He said the EFF would also demand immediate action on the serious economic and social problems that the  country is facing.

Malema said SA has faced extremely high levels of crime, which the police had failed to crack and arrest the perpetrators.

“It is almost two months since the murder of Hillary Gardee, the police have not provided a solid and formidable case as to what happened … [and] for what purpose. Young children died in a tavern in East London, there is still no sound reason to what exactly happened.

‘Why my sister?’: Hillary Gardee’s brother speak of pain and loss

Twenty-three-year-old Noble Gardee’s heart is broken as he mourns the death of his 28-year-old sister Hillary. Hillary Gardee went missing in Mbombela on the May 3. Four days later her body was discovered 40km away, next to a side road on the way to Sabie.

“Fifteen people were massacred with automatic rifles in Soweto a week ago and police have not provided a sound explanation as to what exactly happened. All this shows that we are slowly degenerating into a lawless state, a banana republic where criminals can do as they please without any consequences. Our people are not safe and the government is nowhere to protect them,” Malema said.

He said the EFF has written to the SA Reserve Bank, Financial Intelligence Centre and SA Revenue Service to act on the allegations of money laundering against Ramaphosa relating to millions of rand stolen from his Phala Phala farm in Limpopo.

Malema said they were yet to get responses.

“The EFF will also form part of all the progressive formations of SA to embark on a national shutdown which will  seek to remove Ramaphosa from office. The nature of the shutdown which the EFF will partake in will not be candle-holding and white-flag type of a shutdown.

“It will be a shutdown that must communicate to the sitting government that enough is enough. We cannot fold our arms and do nothing when our country is being sold to the dogs,” Malema said.

Eskom explains move to stage 6 load-shedding amid worker strike and coal shortage

Eskom has confirmed that stage 6 load-shedding will be implemented from 4pm on Tuesday. CEO André de Ruyter said there has been a loss in generation capacity and an unprotected strike by workers which has led to delays in maintenance and repairs.

He said the party, together with other organisations, will make the following demands:

  • An end to load-shedding and the immediate dissolution of the Eskom board and firing of all senior managers including the CEO and the COO;
  • The reduction of fuel prices to 2018 prices;
  • An end to privatisation of SOEs and immediate resignation of public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan;
  • An end to crime and the removal of police minister Bheki Cele;
  • An introduction of the basic income grant; and
  • An immediate arrest of Ramaphosa for the Phala Phala incident.

The EFF is also planning to approach the court in order to compel Ramaphosa to answer on the  farm scandal.

Last month, former spy boss Arthur Fraser laid charges of money laundering, kidnapping and defeating the ends of justice against Ramaphosa relating to wads of cash in foreign currency that was stolen at the farm.

Opposition parties, including the DA, have been calling for Ramaphosa to explain himself.

Motion of no confidence against Cederberg mayor succeeds

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Ruben Richards, kicked out from the top municipal job

A motion of no confidence by the ANC has succeeded against Cederberg mayor Ruben Richards.

It comes after a forensic investigation was launched into allegations of fraud and corruption against Richards.

Richards is the leader and one of the founding members of the Cederberg First Residents Party.

Cederberg was among the hung councils after the local government elections and an agreement between the DA, Freedom Front Plus and the Cederberg First Residents Party was signed.

The ANC tabled the motion of no confidence during a full council meeting on Wednesday. The motion succeeded with the support of one DA councillor.

– News24

Minister Motsoaledi threatens to sue Zimbabwe permit holders’ lawyer Chitando for defamation

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Simba Chitando
  • Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi plans to sue the lawyer representing a group of Zimbabwe Exemption Permit holders.
  • If the lawyer does not withdraw his tweets and comments, Motsoaledi will seek R200 000 from him for defamation.
  • But the lawyer, Simba Chitando, said he would not back down. 

Minister of Home Affairs Aaron Motsoaledi intends to lodge a damages claim against a lawyer representing Zimbabwe Exemption Permit (ZEP) holders who are challenging the cancellation of the permit. 

Advocate Simba Chitando told News24 that Motsoaledi demanded that he withdraw comments to the media and delete comments on social media about millions the department had apparently made from ZEP holders.

“The minister also demands that I pay him R200 000 on the grounds that my legal arguments are defamatory,” Chitando said in a statement.

Spokesperson for the minister, Siya Ooza confirmed the minister’s intentions.

“The minister has instructed his attorneys to issue a defamation cease and desist letter against Mr Simba Chitando,” Ooza said.

Ooza added:

The minister’s lawyers will proceed to launch an application in the [Gauteng] High Court…in Johannesburg against Mr Chitando.

The minister takes issue with Chitando’s statements that according to affidavits the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) filed, it told Treasury that R145 803 928 was required for the Zimbabwe exemption programme. He was told that Treasury only made R15 million available to the DHA, so the ZEP programme was not sustainable. 

However, Chitando’s view is that the money paid by an estimated 180 000 ZEP holders, excluding unsuccessful applicants, at R1 090 each, amounted to around R200 million.

Chitando said during media interviews that the state committed “fraud” against the citizens of another country.

This is what Motsoaledi wants him to withdraw. 

SA Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi

Excerpts of Chitando’s tweets and statements include a comment to SABC that Motsoaledi’s case is that the ZEP programme is an expense to the state, yet the ZEP holders are paying for the process themselves.

A letter of demand from Motsoaledi’s lawyers, which News24 has seen, states that the minister is held in high esteem and that he has taken a firm stance against corruption.

Motsoaledi’s lawyers contend that Chitando’s remarks defame the minister and impair his reputation and dignity. They also take issue with Chitando’s comment that Motsoaledi is a liar, which he made during an announcement that the Zimbabwe Permit Holders Association (ZEPA), represented by Chitando and his attorneys, had withdrawn their application for a review of the decision to end the permits.

The lawyer also states that Motsoaledi does not have access to the money because it goes to the National Revenue Fund. The letter explains that VFS Global processes the applications for a fee of R1 090, with the DHA covering the costs of the printing of the permits and paying staff overtime for processing them.

If Chitando does not withdraw his tweets and comments, Motsoaledi will seek R200 000 from him for defamation, which is to be donated to a charity, the letter states.

The DHA announced last year that its ZEP category of residence would be terminated by the end of December 2021, spreading panic among the Zimbabwean immigrant community. They worried about whether their bank accounts would be frozen and work contracts would be renewed, and what would happen to their children’s education and study. 

ZEP holders have to apply for one of the “mainstream” visas available, like work, study, and spousal visas, in an offering that leans towards people who have skills critical to South Africa.

The DHA has given them a year’s “grace” to apply for these visas, and if they have not been successful by the end of 2022, they have to leave the country or face deportation.

Chitando is representing clients in the ZEPA, with the Helen Suzman Foundation (HSF) also working to challenge aspects of the ZEP-to-visa plan. 

The HSF was lambasted by Motsoaledi in a statement in which he accused NGOs of trying to take over the work of the government.

Chitando said he was facing similar vitriol. 

“The minister’s threat to gag me from updating my clients on litigation that affects them comes after he: attacked the Helen Suzman Foundation; claimed that human rights organisations are giving Zimbabweans false hope; welcomed the withdrawal of African Amity NPC – [which] withdrew their application after intimidation – and wrongly claimed that the Zimbabwe Exemption Permit Holders Association withdrew their application,” he wrote in the statement. 

He added:

All done to avoid being held to account, in a court of law, for the most inhuman administrative decision in South Africa since apartheid.

He said he would not back down. 

“I will not cease and desist from updating my clients on the status of litigation against the minister. I will pursue my instructions in full and will never give up.”

–News24

Video footage of alleged Soweto tavern shooters in hands of police, car ‘may have been traced to KZN’

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MEC Faith Mazibuko

Gauteng community safety MEC Faith Mazibuko says police have obtained video footage of the five gunmen believed to be responsible for the Soweto tavern shooting.

Police minister Bheki Cele has disclosed that a car involved in the incident may have been traced to KwaZulu-Natal. He said the investigations were sensitive and he could not reveal too much information at this stage.

This comes after Mazibuko revealed the death toll in the mass shooting at Mdlalose’s tavern in Nomzamo informal settlement had risen to 16. Mazibuko visited the area on Tuesday for a prayer meeting with the families of victims.

She told eNCA: “Here in Nomzamo they’ve been able to get some footage.

“Not everyone goes to sleep. Even if you try to do something there might be an eye somewhere looking at you. The footage will help the police find the gunmen.”

TimesLIVE reported Mazibuko said: “Police are working flat out to ensure they bring the perpetrators to book. The team has gathered a lot of information that will assist them to make arrests.”

She added that the provincial government was assisting the families of victims. 

“The bodies of most of the deceased might be going to KwaZulu-Natal and Eastern Cape. We will work together with long-distance taxis associations because they need transport. Avbob has come on board to assist with burials.”

On Wednesday Cele told 702 host Clement Manyathela: “I will be very jealous to give extra information at the moment, but it does look like we have taken a few steps forward on the matter. I just hope that my thinking is wrong at the moment.”

Referring to many of the tavern patrons hailing from KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape, he said: “Somebody talks about that, they came from that province KwaZulu-Natal. Maybe you will remember or you will know there is quite a lot of linkage between the problem of crime in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal.”

For example, people were killed at Jabulani hostel.

When asked whether he was implying people were possibly brought from KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape to carry out the murders, he said no.

“I am not saying so. I am saying we have experienced a lot of linkage on the crimes of Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal. So what has been said to me in the present is that it looks like the car was traced in that province, that was seen there.”

That was the only information he could share for now.

“I will be very wary to say I am beginning to link, but history does tell us,” he said.

When asked about the video footage from the Soweto tavern, Cele said it was sensitive: “They [police] said to me they have made two steps forward and they are really urging that for now, let’s end there.”

Some of the people who died during Soweto shooting

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Daliwonga Mluma

These are some of the people who died in the Soweto tavern shooting on Sunday morning. Most of them came to Gauteng from KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape to look for job opportunities and to better their family circumstances.

They were aged between 19 and 54, with some employed as general workers while one of the young victims aspired to become a professional soccer player.   

Daliwonga Mluma

Daliwonga Mluma, 54, moved from the Eastern Cape to Gauteng in 1990 to fend for his mother and siblings in the City of Gold.

He was employed as a general worker at an engineering company in Earoton, Johannesburg. 

The married father of two children is described by his sister as a loving man who went out of his way to provide for his bloodline. “We called him Dali and indeed he was the darling of the family.

“Through all these years he provided for everyone back home. He was a breadwinner. He has never turned his back on his mother or anyone in the family. His death has left a big gap in the family,” said Mpumi Chirwa.

Simthembile Gamede was blessed with a creative right foot that could slice through soccer opponents with ease.
Image: SUPPLIED

The family of Simthembile Gamede, 19, in Mthatha, Eastern Cape, had hope that this dribbling soccer wizard would one day turn professional and improve his family’s conditions.

Gamede’s aunt said Simthembile was blessed with a creative right foot that could slice through soccer opponents with ease.

“Sthe really loved football and he was blessed with the skill. Many coaches in the area wanted him to join their teams. We had hope to see him playing for big teams but unfortunately that would no longer happen as he has passed on,” said Nolitha Mteto.

The Mjoli brothers – Sithembiso, 34, and Luyanda, 19 – remained inseparable despite the age difference between them.

The pair from Umzimkhulu, KwaZulu-Natal, even rented places to stay in the same yard when they moved to Orlando.

Luyanda Mjoli remained inseparable with his brother until their deaths.

SUPPLIED

They loved Maskandi music. Their younger sister said they had similar taste for clothing but only differ when it comes to headgear.

“Sithembiso loved wearing caps. The only time he was not wearing a cap was when he was indoors. Luyanda tried to emulate his older brother but you could tell that he was not really into wearing caps. They were both loving brothers that will be missed by everyone in our family,” said Mandisa Mjoli.

Philani Mngonyama, 22, had a distinctive voice that made him a favourite among ladies that would attend Isicathamiya music concerts in Umzimkhulu.

The light-skinned vocalist was part of the group Abafana Bokuthula Bangempela.

Mngonyama’s aunt said this music group will struggle to find a voice similar to Philani’s.

“Philani loved to sing. His voice stood out from the group. He enjoyed being on stage and singing for large crowds back home. He only came to Johannesburg to search for a job but we all knew that he just wanted to make a living through music,” said Siziwe Mngonyama.

Sphethuxolo Chiliza, 28, was always “clean” and “stylish”.
Image: Supplied

If the people in Umzimkhulu had to describe Siphethuxolo Chiliza, 26, in two words, they would say he’s “clean” and “stylish”.

This is a description given by Chiliza’s sister as she shares some of the fond memories she had with the lanky young man.

“Sphe was always clean and tidy. He liked beautiful clothes. He was well- mannered and had a lot of respect. He came to Johannesburg to search for a job so he could assist in the family,” said Nomsa Chiliza.

Njabulo Ndlangisa, 29, was looking forward to becoming a father but his firstborn child will never get a chance to meet him.

Ndlangisa comes from a well-knit family in Umzimkhulu. His partner is expected to give birth soon.

Ndlangisa’s aunt said the family is doing its best to rally around Njabulo’s partner.

Njabulo Ndlangisa Njabulo Ndlangisa was looking forward to fatherhood.

SUPPLIED

“It’s a difficult period for the family but we will soldier on because Njabulo would have done the same for all of us. He was always happy and wanted those around him to be happy. Njabulo held no grudges. He was kind to everyone,” said his aunt Nonkosi Ndlangisa.

Mlondi Ndlangisa, 27, held a series of general jobs in a bid to financially help his family.

He loved expensive clothes and enjoyed a good party but he will never forget to send money back to Umzimkhulu so his siblings could have something to eat. 

“Mlondi loved Maskandi music. He came to Johannesburg searching for a stable job so he can assist at home. He always had a smile on his face despite all the challenges that life always throws at us,” his cousin Xolani Ndlangisa said.

Brothers Thamsanqa Malunga, 24, and Nkosiyezwe Malunga, 27, came to Johannesburg searching for jobs so they can extend their mother’s house in Umzimkhulu.

Their mother’s house currently provides shelter to a long list of siblings and relatives that are currently pained by the brothers’ untimely passing.

Thamsanqa Malunga were from Umzimkhulu.

SUPPLIED

“When we came to Johannesburg we wanted to get stable jobs and help those back home. We would always talk about buying houses and extended our family home. My cousins were very  motivated and wanted to succeed in life,” said their cousin Gideon Malunga.

Sifiso Sosiba, 44, was blessed with a smooth tongue, according to his brother. The father of one always managed to calm tense situations.

Many in his family would approach him for general life advice.

“My brother had a way with words. He was very persuasive and he got along easily with everyone. You could leave him in a room full of strangers but he would find a way to start a conversation,” said Majiya Sosiba.

Menzi Nzimande, 26, had a razor-sharp sense of humour and thrived on teasing those around him.

Even when faced with depressing situations, Nzimande would be able to laugh and cheer those around him.

Menzi Nzimande,26, had a razor-sharp sense of humour.

ANTONIO MUCHAVE

His father saw him as the joker of the family.

“Menzi was very friendly. Wherever he was, you would find people laughing. He loved music and would go out once in a while. But in general, he was a good son,” said Zwelibanzi Nzimande.

Nhlonipho Mbanjwa, 31, was a peacemaker in his family. The man from Umzimkhulu came to Johannesburg a few years ago and has been searching for a stable job.

He enjoyed maskandi music.

“Nhlonipho always wanted to have a good time. He avoided arguments. He loved music and was a good Zulu dancer. Ubegida kamnandi,” said his sister Nomhlophe Gogo.

Mpofu questions expertise of expert testifying in Public Protector impeachment inquiry

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Public Protector Makhwebane starring suspension

On the second day of the impeachment inquiry of suspended Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane, her legal representative, Dali Mpofu, sought to suggest that the first witness who testified was not an expert, and had no business opining on the matter.

Constitutional expert Hassen Ebrahim was on Tuesday the first witness to testify before Parliament’s committee established in terms of 194 of the Constitution about the powers of the Public Protector’s office, processes to follow in removing the Public Protector and what constitutes a fit and proper Public Protector.

Mpofu started his cross-examination of Ebrahim by asking him if he had a South African legal qualification, to which Ebrahim answered that he got his qualification in Botswana.

At the start of his testimony, Ebrahim shared that he had obtained law degree qualifications in Botswana and England and that he had been – among some of his roles – an executive director of the constitutional assembly.

“So, we need to just establish what you are an expert on so that we know how you may be of assistance to the committee. Correct?” Mpofu asked:

What would you say that is, what are you an expert of?

Ebrahim responded: “I think it’s a fairly difficult question.”

However, he continued to list his experience, which included being part of the negotiation process of the Constitution and its implementation, as well as working in the department of justice as a deputy director and working in the establishment of the office of the Chief Justice.

However, this answer seemed to not have pleased Mpofu, who insisted that he still did not know what kind of expert Ebrahim was.

“Now you have made some statements, which are based effectively, what I will then call your view or your interpretation since you’re not an expert, like everyone else in the street, your view of the Constitution some of which I’m going to deal with. But, I just wanted to know at what level I must deal with them whether with an expert or just like a chit-chat that we might have in the passage.”

Only Parliament can remove the Public Protector

Ebrahim had earlier told the committee what steps needed to be followed before a Public Protector could be removed. He said Parliament was the “decision-maker” under section 194 of the Constitution in removing the Public Protector.

“While the president is responsible for the act of removing the Public Protector from office, he may only do so if the National Assembly has called for the removal of the incumbent and must comply with the National Assembly’s resolution if it does decide that the Public Protector should be removed,” said Ebrahim.

He added that the Public Protector can only be removed on three grounds, which are misconduct, incapacity or incompetence.

“The Public Protector may only be removed from office if (a) the committee finds that she has committed misconduct or is incapacitated or incompetent and (b) following the committee’s finding, the National Assembly resolves that she must be removed.

The National Assembly’s resolution must be supported by at least two-thirds of the members of the Assembly, which is higher than the threshold required in respect of some other Chapter 9 office-bearers. The Public Protector may, therefore, only be removed from office by a super-majority of the lower house of Parliament.”

The inquiry into Mkhwebane’s fitness to hold office sits weeks after President Cyril Ramaphosa suspended her in June, pending the outcome of the inquiry.

Mkhwebane is fighting her suspension and the impeachment in court. She has alleged that Ramaphosa suspended her because she asked questions about what has come to be known as the #Farmgate, where large sums of dollars were allegedly stolen at the president’s Phala-Phala farm.

Ebrahim told the committee that the removal of the Public Protector “is a very serious matter not to be undertaken lightly at all”.

“This is evident from, among other things, the significance of the role that the Public Protector plays in our constitutional democracy and the fact that such removal can only occur with, among other things, a supporting vote of at least two-thirds of the National Assembly.” He said:

In the process of discharging its function, the committee should have due regard for, among other things, the chilling effect that its decision may have on the effective exercise of the Public Protector’s powers by incumbents to that office.

While giving his testimony, Ebrahim told the committee that the Public Protector needs to perform his or her duties without fear, favour or prejudice. Mpofu asked him where the fear might come from.

“Would you agree that it would most likely come from those that she’s investigating?”

Ebrahim said this was why the courts require a super majority for the removal of the Public Protector because the office takes decisions regarding the executive and those in power, and so there should be no fear.

“And you would agree that, therefore, part of the protection that is required for the Public Protector would be if she is investigating those powerful persons, such as the president, who might be able to wield an axe on her – metaphorically?” asked Mpofu.

However, Ebrahim did not agree.

“The only authority that could wield an axe is the National Assembly because the Public Protector is accountable to the National Assembly, so it’s only the National Assembly that could wield the axe. It requires an assembly or the two-thirds majority to declare that, so nobody else can wield an axe.”

The inquiry continues on Wednesday.

R3.7m – what it cost the Public Protector for Mkhwebane to live securely in comfort

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Suspended Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane returning to her impeachment hearings after the first day's lunch break. PHOTO: Jan Gerber/News24
  • Busisiwe Mkhwebane racked up a R3.7 million rental bill as “threats to her life” were used to motivate her staying inside the Bryntirion Estate.
  • Mkhwebane still stays in the apartment that her office is paying R11 000 a month for.
  • At the same time, the Public Protector cut security in three provinces, which make do with minimal security due to “resource constraints”.

Taxpayers paid R3.7 million for suspended Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane to live alongside ministers in the government’s Bryntirion Estate in Pretoria, while she owned her own house in the capital city.

All of this was done in the name of “security risks” after a threats assessment was performed by former police chief General Khehla Sitole when he was divisional commissioner for protection and security services in 2017. Sitole’s recommendation to move Mkhwebane into Bryntirion was approved by then public works minister Nathi Nhleko.

Nhleko, as police minister, was instrumental in approving upgrades to former president Jacob Zuma’s Nkandla compound. 

Mkhwebane’s predecessor, Thuli Madonsela, lived in her private house in a security estate in Pretoria throughout her term and was only provided with two police protectors a year after taking office. 

After taking office as Public Protector, Mkhwebane sold personal properties worth over R3 million that were situated close to the Public Protector’s office in Pretoria and bought properties in Ballito and Bronkhorstspruit to the value of R7 million.

Mkhwebane, who is facing an impeachment hearing by Parliament, still stays in an apartment in Bryntirion, the official government village where President Cyril Ramaphosa and his executive stay, for which the Office of the Public Protector pays R11 000 a month.

Between 2017 and August 2021 she lived in a Bryntirion house at a cost of over R60 000 per month.

According to the public works department, the minimum requirements before an individual can be considered as a candidate to occupy a residence in Bryntirion entail that the person should form part of or be:

  • The executive, in other words, a minister or deputy minister;
  • Chief Justice;
  • Deputy Chief Justice;
  • Presiding Officers of the National Assembly, together the National Council of Provinces and their deputies; or
  • Chairperson of traditional leaders.

“In October 2017, the [department] was requested by the office of the divisional commissioner for protection services (Sitole), to provide secured residence for the Public Protector, advocate Mkhwebane, due to a heightened risk level the Public Protector was exposed to, as determined by SAPS Security Risk Assessment. It is in this context that the department allocated a state residence to the Public Protector,” a public works spokesperson told News24.

“Although advocate Mkhwebane does not form part of the aforementioned list, an exception was made in her case following the threat assessment that was reviewed by the (Sitole), which was endorsed by the then minister, Nathi Nhleko.”

The threat assessment was reviewed by the SAPS in July 2020, that informed public works security measures around Mkhwebane should be maintained.

One senior source in the Public Protector’s office confirmed to News24 that this arrangement was potentially unlawful, as the position of Public Protector did not afford any individual such perks.

“She should have read the Nkandla report [written by her predecessor, Madonsela] and then said she wanted nothing to do with it,” the source said. “Regardless of the threat assessment, the benefit was illegal, and she must pay that money back,” they said.

Public purse unprotected

The Office of the Public Protector confirmed to News24 that it had paid R3.7 million to public works for Mkhwebane’s housing: R1.9 million in the 2021/2022 financial year and R1.8 million in previous financial years.

So far, in the 2022/2023 financial year, which started on 1 April 2022, the office has paid R33 000 for Mkhwebane’s apartment rental, Public Protector spokesperson Oupa Segalwe confirmed.

Residents of Bryntirion do not have any household expenses – gardening services, internet and DSTV are all covered by public works, News24 understands, which is also responsible for the maintenance on the properties inside the estate.

“The arrangement was informed by security considerations in terms of the SAPS protocols,” Segalwe said.

He also confirmed that the expenditure on housing for Mkhwebane came from the operational budget of the office and that Mkhwebane received a housing allowance.

As per government gazette, dated 15 July 2021, Mkhwebane earned R2.3 million total remuneration per year, which includes various allowances.

The threat assessment

The Office of the Public Protector now says it has asked General Fannie Masemola, the new police chief, for a copy of Mkhwebane’s threats assessment because it was not in possession of a copy.

“It [the housing arrangement] was for security purposes. Please take this up with the SAPS as Adv Mkhwebane is a client of the SAPS, specifically the VIP Protection and Security Services division,” said Segalwe, responding to questions over the necessity of the arrangement.

“The [Office of the Public Protector] has requested the SAPS, through the national commissioner, to clarify the issue as the office is not in possession of the assessment,” Segalwe said of the outcome of the threat assessment.

Asked why the Public Protector would cancel security at provincial offices, while Mkhwebane was securely living in comfort, Segalwe said he could not reveal the security measures at provincial offices.

“However, security in those offices is not at the level where the (Public Protector) is happy with. The (office) is currently conducting a security assessment at offices across the provinces, with the help of the SAPS, to determine where it can be improved within the office’s limited resources,” Segalwe said.

Personal property transactions

While the Office of the Public Protector has been cutting expenditure on security at its offices in the Eastern Cape, Northern Cape and North West due to budget constraints, Mkhwebane has purchased two luxury properties worth nearly R7 million since 2019, according to deeds office records.

In February 2022, Mkhwebane bought a R4.7 million, 1 300 square metre home inside an upmarket estate, with spectacular views of the Bronkhorstspruit Dam, an hour’s drive from Pretoria. The property is bonded for R3.7 million.

In May 2019, she purchased a R2.5 million unit, inside an estate in Ballito on the KwaZulu-Natal coast, which is bonded for R2.2 million.

This came after she sold two private properties in Pretoria. 

In June 2021, Mkhwebane sold a property, inside Pebble Rock Golf Estate, just outside Pretoria, for R2.5 million. She had purchased an empty stand in the development in 2014, for R300 000. Satellite images show that a significant house was built on the property, which is situated about 30 kilometres from the Public Protector’s office.

In 2018, she sold a flat in Zambezi Gardens Estate, also near the office, for R550 000.

Mkhwebane declined to respond to questions.

News24 pointed out that she owned properties near her office in Pretoria, and purchased homes far from her work, while the Office of the Public Protector footed a large rental bill for the Bryntirion properties.

She was also asked why she should not reimburse the office for these costs as security concerns could have been mitigated by upgrading security at her own properties.

Her office confirmed that Mkhwebane also has a personal protection detail provided by the SAPS.

“Please direct all these questions to SAPS about all the above, which led to threat to my life. Further, desist from publishing all these private information, which poses a security threat to my life. I reserve my right to take legal action against you should this be published,” she said via email on Saturday.

She did not respond to further requests urging her to comment. 

According to sources in the office, with knowledge of events during Madonsela’s tenure, the previous Public Protector faced repeated death threats and numerous burglaries at properties she owned, but was never moved onto a government property.

After one burglary in 2009, a security company was put in place at Madonsela’s private property by the then CEO, but this was withdrawn within weeks as the office could not lawfully spend the money.

Madonsela, who fought for a year after being appointed to get her own SAPS protection detail, moved into a secure estate at “exorbitant rent” to counter the security risks she and her family faced. She paid the rent from her own pocket.

Zondo should have recused himself, says Zikalala

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Sihle Zikalala

KwaZulu-Natal premier Sihle Zikalala says chief justice Raymond Zondo should have recused himself from hearing former president Jacob Zuma’s testimony at the state capture commission even if he was not conflicted.

In an interview with the Sunday Times, Zikalala said Zondo’s refusal to recuse himself fanned a perception that Zuma was being ill-treated, which led to the mobilisation of his supporters to revolt.

Zuma refused to return to the state capture inquiry after Zondo rejected his application that he recuse himself from hearing his testimony. Zuma argued that Zondo was conflicted because of their past relationship, but Zondo denied this.

START THE CONVERSATION

The Constitutional Court ordered Zuma to appear before the commission but he was a no-show. The court then sentenced Zuma to 15 months’ imprisonment for contempt of court.  Zuma began his sentence on July 7 last year, and violence erupted the next day.

Zikalala, who is running for a second term as ANC chair in KwaZulu-Natal,  said chaos could have been avoided had Zondo “listened” to Zuma’s application. He was responding to a question about what could have been done to prevent the July riots.

“It’s an issue that we have analysed and presented to the ANC officials. On the one hand  you have the issue of failure of the former president to present himself to the commission … which was his right, according to him.

“On the other hand, we say that the judge should have listened to the recusal application and [said]: ‘I’m perceived to be conflicted in this case and therefore let me recuse myself.’”

Zikalala is a former Zuma ally who was instrumental in his rise to the ANC presidency. Since 2018, Zuma’s backers have accused Zikalala of having ditched Zuma and cosied up with President Cyril Ramaphosa.

According to Zikalala, the chief justice’s recusal would have given credibility to the commission, even in the eyes of Zuma supporters.

“He should have said, ‘Legally, I’m not conflicted here. What you are raising is not correct. But to be transparent , for the sake of credibility of the commission and the matter, I will recuse myself.’”

Asked if this would not have amounted to treating  Zuma as a special case, Zikalala said: “There are many cases where judges have recused themselves.”

On the one hand  you have the issue of failure of the former president to present himself to the commission … which was his right

He said Ramaphosa and other ANC national officials could have acted with speed to intervene before Zuma’s incarceration. 

The KwaZulu-Natal leadership, he said, exhausted all avenues to find a solution, including meeting Zuma.

“We played our role. We met the president maybe three times. We raised the matter with the national officials … We met former president Zuma as well.

“We discussed in the ANC. We deployed members in structures to call for calm. But the reality is that the situation had been bad for a longer period. We called on members to respect the judiciary. But … members were saying the former president is being ill-treated.

“Maybe before that, national leadership should have done what we normally do. Whenever they are serious issues, there is engagement with structures.”

Zikalala said Ramaphosa could have done more to defuse the tension around Zuma’s sentencing.

“The president should have played a role. I think there was no statement from the president which was strong in the period leading to the arrest of former president Zuma.

“We met national officials, as the officials of this province, to say let’s deal with  this matter. The officials decided to meet the former president on their own. We were not involved, while it was us who asked for that meeting. The meeting didn’t yield any fruitful results,” he said. 

The party is over for Ramaphosa

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Embattled SA President Cyril Ramaphosa

The president has squandered all the goodwill and faith the people had in him by putting the ANC before the country

Mike Siluma

As myriad problems weigh on President Cyril Ramaphosa, his grasp on the presidency appears to become more tenuous.

Ramaphosa is besieged by problems including a growing power crisis, debilitating party rivalry and economic headwinds that are fuelling dangerous civil discontent.

Given the difficulties the nation is experiencing, it is perhaps natural that the angered citizenry should demand relief and ask questions of their president;  ask, as many are doing, whether he is the right man for the job. 

For the purposes of judging Ramaphosa’s performance, a comparison with his predecessors would be a pointless exercise. Each presidency is characterised by its own unique problems. Rulers don’t get the historical luxury to choose their problems. Also, there is rarely total consensus when measuring the performance of leaders in office.

Ramaphosa’s tenure in office must be assessed on his own promises to the people — after being installed on a wave of goodwill from a nation weary of the corruption-ridden rule of Jacob Zuma, details of which were laid bare by the Zondo commission.

After Zuma, the nation’s spirits were buoyed by Ramaphosa’s promise to fight corruption, which had resulted in the destruction of  key state institutions and siphoned billions of rand from state coffers.

Though Ramaphosa did not shoot the lights out, his position seemed unassailable for a while. Many were willing to forgive his government’s lacklustre performance, as he was seen as the best leader that the governing party had to offer.

Even during the harsh Covid-19 lockdowns, which played havoc with the economy and people’s livelihoods, many were prepared to trust that his restrictions were for the common good.

In his own party, the ANC, his enemies have struggled to put forward a credible candidate to challenge him. After winning most showdowns in his party’s higher structures, such as the step-aside rule, he looked destined to clinch a second term as president of party and state.

But that was before the perfect storm of post-Covid economic stagnation and rocketing unemployment levels coupled with the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which affected the world economy, causing increasing hardship. These events were beyond Ramaphosa’s control, nor were they of his making.

Talking about promises, the president needs to be advised that making them and not fulfilling them erodes his credibility

However, there are other things that Ramaphosa has himself to blame for, which have undermined his public standing. In the face of a debilitating electricity crisis, he has lacked the courage to take steps which suggest an urgency to solve the problem.

Where logic dictates otherwise, Ramaphosa has chosen to continue the illogical arrangement where the provision of power falls between mineral resources & energy minister Gwede Mantashe and public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan — though the two don’t seem to see eye to eye on the matter.

If they prove to be a hindrance, would he be prepared to sacrifice one or both of the ministers, known to be among his staunchest supporters? More curiously, Ramaphosa appears to have resisted calls to declare a power state of emergency to alleviate the crisis, which would enable the government to bypass much of the red tape delaying the introduction of new generation capacity. This is even though he himself has acknowledged that power cuts, which have reached stage 6, are the biggest threat to economic growth.

Ramaphosa will probably take the plunge in the end and declare an emergency — though by then much valuable time will have been lost.

On the national security front he has not covered himself in glory either. In the wake of last July’s riots, which he described  as a failed insurrection, he promised consequences for the perpetrators. A year later, no-one has been criminally punished.

Among the politicians and state officials who failed to perform their duty of securing life and property, there have similarly been no consequences.

But this should not surprise us, as the president has allowed indiscipline in his own cabinet, where ministers have publicly countermanded him with impunity. Instead of making him popular, such behaviour will bring him more disdain and disrespect. Politically, it projects weakness to enemies and doubt among loyalists.

And talking about promises, the president needs to be advised that making them and not fulfilling them erodes his credibility. He can only spin so many yarns before the game is up. For instance, in his state of the nation address he said the country would have a social compact (an important intervention in seeking consensus among economic stakeholders) within 100 days. That deadline came and went. The nation still waits. Who wants a leader with the reputation of a used-car salesman?

Ramaphosa has squandered the goodwill and benefit of the doubt that the country gave him. He did this by failing to act courageously and urgently when required, choosing instead to preserve so-called unity in his party and avoiding the tough decisions. It is the nation that pays the price of that paralysis.

He has behaved like a man who has forever to make decisions and to address the many, and compounding, problems facing his country. Thanks to that tardiness — whether  in dealing resolutely with his political enemies or timeously with the country’s problems — he will soon be completely overwhelmed by his troubles.

Now, caught between party enemies who smell blood and an restive public, with his anticorruption image severely tarnished by the Phala Phala affair, he himself must wonder how long he will hold on as the republic’s first citizen.

–Mike Siluma Sunday Times deputy editor

Nomzamo Tavern Massacre | ‘I don’t know how my life was spared’ – eyewitness

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Forensic Pathology service vehicles outside Nomzamo Tavern in Orlando East to collect bodies of 14 patrons killed on Saturday night .
  • An eyewitness has described the tragedy of the Nomzamo Tavern massacre saying the killers were heartless.
  • He said one of the men armed with an AK-47 opened a sliding door, said nothing and began shooting at people.
  • He described how people died in front of him and were screaming in pain.

“It took me 20 minutes to know that my life had been spared.”

These are the words of a patron of Nomzamo Tavern in Orlando East, Soweto who refused to be identified.

The man, whose clothes and shoes were bloodied, was among those who miraculously escaped with their lives when 14 patrons were massacred at the tavern on Saturday night.

Nine people are in hospital after they sustained bullet wounds.

He said:

They came armed. They were heartless. I have never seen such brutality.

The visibly shaken man arrived at the tavern after 19:00 with his friend who lives behind the tavern.

Unfortunately, his friend is among the 14 deceased patrons.

“We were [coming] from work when we decided to stop at the tavern and have a few beers. We arrived carrying some beer cans. My friend, obsessed with playing pool (snooker) went to the pool table and started playing.

“I was seated at the corner with other people drinking. We had fun until around 22:00, when our fun was abruptly stopped. I saw a man carrying an AK-47 (assault rifle) opening the glass sliding door.

“He didn’t say anything and started opening fire. My friend and others at the pool table scattered for cover. He sprayed them with bullets.

“I saw them falling to the ground. It was pandemonium. I hid under a table. Four dead people were lying near me. Their blood spilt on me. After the man with an assault rifle was done. Two others carrying 9mm pistols joined and repeatedly fired at people on the floor.”

The witness said that the shooting lasted about 10 minutes.

“People died in front of me. Some were screaming in pain. Alcohol was scattered. After killing people, including my friend, the gunmen slowly walked away. I don’t know how I was spared because one of the men carrying a pistol was near me. I looked him in the eyes, and he walked away.

“[A] few minutes after they had left, I called an ambulance. Paramedics responded that they were afraid to come and were waiting for the police to escort them. Some cars arrived outside, loaded the injured, and were all driven to the hospital.

“I know that 14 people were massacred and nine severely injured. I am worried about my safety because one of the shooters saw me. I need protection. I hope they will be arrested. I don’t know the motive behind the killing,” he said.

Community Safety MEC Faith Mazibuko said people were innocently “hanging around” when the shooting began.

“It was like how people sit in a shebeen socialising and relaxing. No one was vigilant to see that something wrong will happen to them. They were not contributing to crime; these ones came in and starting shooting them.”

Mazibuko said some illegal establishments were contributing to crime.

“I indicated earlier that sometimes, this is where our people hang out. This is part of the township economy to help our people increase the economy of the township. Ensuring they comply is one matter we having been sitting on. Most are complying.”

Provincial commissioner Lieutenant-General Elias Mawela said there was another incident also last night in Matoleville where a family was sitting at a fire at their home and were shot at.

“One person was shot and killed in that incident and another died in hospital.”

He said violent crime is a “… concern for all of us”.

“When this incident occurred, I was operating in Kagiso in West Rand. We did a compliance inspection, closed four unlicensed taverns, owners were also arrested. We want to assure citizens we won’t get tired or weary. We will do our level best to ensure people are safe.”

Diko refuses to give car back to WesBank

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Khusela Diko

Former presidential spokesperson Khusela Diko has allegedly failed to surrender a vehicle purchased by her late husband Thandisizwe, even though creditors claim it is in her possession unlawfully and there is still R584 360 owed on it.

WesBank took the matter to the Johannesburg High Court on July 4, arguing in the court application that Diko had not made any arrangements to pay for the Ford Ranger since her husband passed away in February last year.

“The deceased, Thandisizwe Diko, was the purchaser of the goods in terms of the agreement. The plaintiff is not seeking any relief against the deceased. Despite demands, the defendant [Khusela Diko] either failed and/or neglected and/or refused to return the goods to the plaintiff.”

The bank revealed that the finance agreement had been concluded in November 2018 and the deceased had agreed to pay monthly instalments of about R12 000, with a total balloon payment of about R141 000 by the end of 2024, the overall price of the vehicle being about R1 million.

“The plaintiff shall remain the legal owner and titleholder of the goods until [the executor winding up his estate] has paid all amounts and complied with all his obligations in terms of the agreement.

“[The executor] shall not sell the goods, cede, assign or delegate any of its rights and/or obligations in terms of the agreement, nor allow the vehicle to become subject to any lien…” read the papers.

The creditors also stipulated measures to be taken in the event that payments for the vehicle were halted, citing that the only reasonable action was to repossess the vehicle.

“It was a further term of the agreement that in the event of incurring any legal charges in order to enforce any of its rights in terms of the agreement against the late Diko, [his executor] would be liable to pay such legal charges calculated on an attorney and client scale and including, but not limited to, collection of commission.

“The defendant has not made arrangements, nor made any further payments in respect of the goods from the estate of the late Diko …

“The defendant is in unlawful possession of the said goods.”

The papers added that all costs of the suit would be for the defendant, as she had ignored attempts to resolve the matter amicably.

Yesterday, Diko declined to comment, saying only: 

These are matters best directed to the executor of my late husband’s estate.

She was reinstated in her role in President Cyril Ramaphosa’s office last year following lengthy investigations into her late husband’s links to a R125 million personal protective equipment tender from the Gauteng department of health.

Price hikes choke South Africans

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This week’s fuel price hike, which has had a domino effect on food and transport costs, is making the lives of hundreds of thousands of South Africans unbearable, with some opting out of employment because they can no longer afford to commute to their workplaces.

Fuelled by global conditions that have been exacerbated by the fallout from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, South Africa’s headline consumer price index (CPI) exceeded the SA Reserve Bank’s upper target limit of 6% and hit 6.5%.

This is the highest since 2017 at the tail-end of former president Jacob Zuma’s tenure.

Economists said this week that inflation not only affected households, but had a significant impact on operating costs for farmers – especially small-scale ones, who might buckle under the pressure and give up farming as they struggled to pass on the added costs to consumers at a rapid enough scale to sustain their ventures.

Senior FNB economist Paul Makube said:

The culprit here is the higher crude oil price, which has an impact on the fuel and fertiliser prices. The increase in the crude oil price automatically means that there’s increased pressure on the price of fertiliser, which is also imported.

HOPELESSNESS, FEAR AND ANGER

South Africans interviewed by City Press this week described their feelings of hopelessness, fear and anger, which cut across class and educational status.

A father said his children might be told to leave school because he could no longer pay its fees; a childminder said she had decided to quit work because there was no point in carrying on; while a domestic worker and a deputy school principal were both reconsidering their options in terms of their jobs.

When domestic worker Matshidiso Lehana moved to Johannesburg in 1993, she paid R3 to take a taxi from Soweto to the Johannesburg CBD. Today, the same trip costs her R25.

In the 1990’s a litre of petrol and diesel averaged just over R1

This week, a litre of petrol increased to just over R26, while diesel costs R25.25 per litre in inland provinces and R24.93 at the coast. The price of 95-octane unleaded petrol has gone up by about 25% since January. Over the past 12 months, the petrol price has gone up by about 32%, representing an increase of about R500 in fuel costs for the average household, which spends about 5% of its income on fuel.

R1 800 IN TAXI FARE FROM A R2 000 SALARY

The ever-increasing price of fuel, which has a direct impact on the cost of living, has made Lehana question whether she should continue working or simply quit. She earns just over R2 000 a month and must now budget for about R1 800 a month in taxi fares.

She is not alone in this misery. Nontando Radebe has decided to quit her job as a childcarer at an orphanage at the end of this year. She earns R2 400 a month and says transport costs have made it unsustainable for her to continue working. It costs her just over R1 000 a month to travel from Protea Glen in Soweto to Braamfontein, Johannesburg, where she is employed. This leaves her with just R1 400 to cover all her other expenses.

Radebe says:

I’m working only for transport [money] because I’m left with nothing at the end of the month. I feel that it’s a waste of time. I’d rather stay at home, which is why I’ve decided to move back to the Eastern Cape at the end of the year. What’s the point of working, really?

Uber Eats driver Linycolin Ngundani fears the prospect of having his two little girls go to bed with empty stomachs because he cannot generate enough income to keep his family fed.

The continual increases in the petrol price forced him to consider leaving the ride-hailing business. He says profits have dropped significantly, as the bulk of the revenue is consumed by what it costs him to reach his various destinations. Since the latest petrol increase on Wednesday, he spends more than half of what he earns on petrol.

“Out of the R1 000 I make a week, R650 (in a busy week) goes towards fuel. I end up taking a meagre R350 home to my family of four, who depend on me. When petrol was a lot cheaper, about three years ago, I took home more than R2 000 from a busy week,” he says.

Ngundani says he can longer afford to pay preschool fees for his daughters:

One of these days, I’ll come back home to the sad news that my kids have been chased away from school. That’s my biggest fear at the moment.

When she started working in Soweto in 2016, Salome Maleka spent R900 on petrol per month travelling from Krugersdorp to Orlando, where she is a deputy principal of a primary school.

Before petrol prices went up on Wednesday, a full tank of fuel set her back R800 a week, but she anticipates that she will now pay R1 000.

Maleka says:

I’ll have to budget R4 000 a month just to be on the road. That’s quite steep and more than I can handle. It’s biting me badly.

She adds that she is considering transferring to a school on the West Rand because working in Soweto no longer makes sense, but that is also not an easy process.

Cape Town taxi owner Sindiswa Melani says being in the taxi business no longer makes much sense. A full tank of petrol for a Quantum minibus costs about R1 600 and, depending on the route, some drivers only make a profit of R1 000, as the rest of the money goes to fuel.

HIKES SPUR PROTESTS

This week, the national executive committee of the SA Federation of Trade Unions announced a planned national shutdown in response to the economic crisis in the country, saying “petrol prices have now reached unprecedented levels”

The announcement came after taxi drivers protested in Mbombela, Mpumalanga. They used trucks to block roads, including the N4 highway, which links South Africa to Mozambique. Fifteen taxi drivers were arrested following the protest.

Announcing the fuel price hike this week, the department of mineral resources and energy also announced a 75c per litre temporary reduction in the general fuel levy until August 3.

This will not be the first reduction to the fuel levy: there was one of R1.50 that was in place from June 5 to the beginning of this month, but it did very little to relieve the burden South Africans are feeling.

Meanwhile, the DA has called the fuel price hike “criminal”. The party has since submitted a fuel price deregulation bill to Parliament to amend the Petroleum Products Act.

The DA believes that if legislation is introduced to deregulate and reduce fuel costs, it will bring relief to South Africans, as all retailers will compete to offer lower prices.

 Soweto a community riddled with gun violence without policing

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A woman weeps at the scene of an overnight shooting at Mdlalose’s Tavern in Orlando East, Soweto. Photo: Shiraaz Mohamed/AP

Neighbours of the Mdlalose’s Tavern in Orlando East, Soweto, where 15 people were massacred in the early hours of Sunday morning, have painted a picture of a community riddled with gun violence and a lack of policing.

A father of three spoke to City Press on condition of anonymity. He said he heard numerous gunshots at about midnight, and it sounded like heavy machine guns were used.

He said he rushed to the tavern soon after the shooting to see if his younger brother was among the casualties.

“My younger brother told me he would be drinking there the previous night, so I was among the first people to arrive after the shooting to see if he was in the crowd. Thankfully, he was not. He left the tavern an hour before the incident took place.”

The father added that he took two people to the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital with his car.

“It was a very scary thing to see, but I had to have courage and try to save the lives of those I could see were seriously wounded. Unfortunately, the two people I took to hospital died this morning.”

He said the men he took to the hospital were between the ages of 25 and 30 and lived close to the tavern.

“They grew up right in front of me and I used to work with their parents. They were wounded quite badly on the chest but I was hopeful their lives would be saved.”

He explained that the incident happened at the backdrop of the community mourning after two people were recently found dead in an open field. It is believed that they were patrons of the same tavern.

“This is the first time that a shooting has happened at this scale, but someone is killed in this community almost every weekend. You never see the police in our community. I have not seen a police van patrolling here in many years.”

He added that there was no visible sense of law enforcement in the community, whose cries to the ward councillor about community policing forums (CPF) have fallen on deaf ears.

One of the leaders of Soweto Parliament and Operation Dudula, Thokozani Shoba, said the incident resulted from the government’s failure to equip CPF members with the resources they needed to assist the police in fighting crime.

“If the community had CPFs, this would not have happened as easily as it did because they would have reported suspicious activities to the police,” he said.

Gauteng Police Commissioner Elias Mawela said the unknown gunmen randomly opened fire at the patrons.

“It happened at around 12:30 this morning. Unfortunately, 12 died on the scene, one died on arrival at Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital and another also died after admission.”

At the time of publishing, the death toll rose to 15. 

Gunmen kill 15 people at Soweto bar

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When they got home, one boy showed his friends his late grandfather’s gun, which he had taken without his parents’ knowledge. Image: 123RF/snak

Gunmen armed with rifles and pistols opened fire at people in a bar in the South African township of Soweto in the early hours of Sunday, killing 15 and wounding nine, police said.

The carnage took place shortly after midnight, according to police who said the group of men entered the Orlando East tavern, in the township on the outskirts of the main city Johannesburg, before “shooting randomly at the patrons”.

Police confirmed that there had been a second apparently random shooting at around 8:30 p.m. on Saturday, in a tavern in Pietermaritzburg, about 500 km southeast of Soweto, killing four people and wounding eight.

“We do not think the incidents are linked because they took place in different provinces. We are investigating this incident on its own,” Nqobile Gwala, police spokesperson for KwaZulu-Natal, which includes Pietermaritzburg, said by telephone.

A police spokesperson said there was currently no suspicion the incidents were related.

In both cases, the unknown gunmen fled the scene and are now on the run, police said, adding that it was not clear how many were involved in the attacks or what their motives were.

South Africa is one of the world’s most violent countries with 20,000 people murdered every year, one of the highest per-capita murder rates globally.

At the scene of the Soweto shooting, crowds gathered around the police cordon, where a heavy police presence maintained order and combed the area for clues, a Reuters reporter saw. One officer carried zip-locked bags full of spent bullet cartridges.

Elias Mawela, police commissioner for South Africa’s most populous Gauteng province, told Reuters by telephone that there had been a third shooting during a suspected robbery in a tavern in Katlehong, also outside Johannesburg, on Thursday night, which killed two people and wounded two others.

Referring to the Soweto shooting, Mawela said: “Why were they targeted? There was no specific person targeted. You can see by the way the bullet cartridges are cast around that were just shooting randomly.”

Soweto, near Johannesburg, is the largest of the country’s Black townships. They were the creations of white minority rule, which ended in 1994 but whose legacy of widespread poverty, youth unemployment and violence persists nearly three decades later.

— Reuters

Come on, Cyril, just go like what Boris Johnson did

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President Cyril Ramaphosa

By Justice Malaila

Good, hard-working South Africans have long wanted Ramaphosa to do well, but they are beginning to think, with his protracted silence while he is clearly under attack, that he is ‘just like the rest’

President Cyril Ramaphosa should watch the game of thrones that has unfolded this past week at 10 Downing Street carefully. What’s happened to Boris Johnson could happen to him too.

There isn’t much any serious world leader can learn from the UK’s scandal-ridden, dissembling prime minister, who announced his resignation on Thursday.

That said, Ramaphosa may want to watch the bumbling Englishman’s ousting from office with interest because Johnson’s problems are all about trust, truth, covering up and knowing when it’s time to talk to your people.

START THE CONVERSATION

On Tuesday evening Johnson suffered a double blow when two of his most senior cabinet members, chancellor of the exchequer Rishi Sunak and health secretary Sajid Javid, resigned from their positions. They were not the only ones. Overnight, as Johnson desperately tried to plug the two “big beast” departures with political lightweights, more junior members of his team started jumping the sinking ship. By Wednesday afternoon several resignations had rocked Johnson cabinet. A day later his authority finally crumbled and he announced that he will resign as prime minister, clearing the way for a successor to be chosen by October.

The drip-drip of minor and major resignations became the biggest threat to Johnson’s premiership. He tried to promote and plug as his appointees, fearful of being contaminated by his scandals, followed Sunak and Javid. The inevitable result, though, was that fewer Tory MPs wanted to serve under him. No-one wants to be the crew on a sinking ship.

For Ramaphosa, what is worth watching is how the resignations came about. Sunak and Javid stuck with Johnson for years despite his lying about parties at 10 Downing Street during the Covid lockdowns while ordinary Brits were prohibited from attending even their loved ones’ funerals.

Over the past week, however, Johnson got caught out in what seemed like a lie to cabinet colleagues and an attempt at a cover-up. The story goes back to 2017. Then, Conservative MP Chris Pincher was accused of sexual harassment. In 2019 he was made to leave the foreign affairs office after more reports of inappropriate behaviour.

Despite all that, Johnson brought him back as a junior minister in 2019. He gained a reputation for being fiercely loyal to Johnson and was rewarded with the position of deputy chief whip. He apparently was the brawn and the brains behind marshalling votes to defeat a motion of no confidence against Johnson last month.

On June 29 Pincher got extremely drunk at a Conservative Party event and groped two men. When the scandal broke the next day, the question was asked: had Johnson known about Pincher’s previous sexual harassment when he appointed him? Johnson and his office, plus a series of government ministers, lined up to deny that Johnson was aware of specific complaints against Pincher.

They were caught out when one of the country’s former top civil servants, Lord McDonald, revealed that Johnson was indeed briefed “in person” about a “formal complaint” about Pincher’s conduct in 2019. This week Johnson conceded that he knew and still appointed the man. Even cabinet ministers close to him could not bear the stench of hypocrisy around him. Javid, one of the first two senior ministers to resign, on Wednesday called on all his cabinet colleagues to abandon Johnson. “At some point we have to conclude that enough is enough. I believe that point is now,” he said.

Ramaphosa must trust the country, as he trusted it to rally behind him during the pandemic

Why does Ramaphosa have to be alive to Johnson’s woes? Since discredited former State Security Agency boss Arthur Fraser, who is implicated in serious corruption during his tenure at the agency, laid a criminal complaint against Ramaphosa about theft of money at his Phala Phala farm, the president has been mute while a storm has swirled around him.

He has failed to take even his closest comrades into his confidence. The effects are there for all to see. Uncertainty and concern about the country’s political future abounds — and it reaches right up to Ramaphosa’s key supporters in the ANC. One of the ANC’s most principled leaders and elders is Mavuso Msimang. When ANC leaders were stuck right up Jacob Zuma’s behind during the 2010s, Mavuso spoke up again and again for the party’s history, principles and values, and for the country’s constitution.

This week Msimang reportedly called on Ramaphosa to immediately step aside from his positions pending the conclusion of the Fraser allegations. To some this may seem like just one individual — outside of the usual “radical economic transformation” suspects such as Tony Yengeni and other Zuma diehards — but, as with Sunak and Javid’s resignations in Johnson’s case, these things tend to lead to a deluge. Msimang speaks on principle, but Ramaphosa needs to be aware that others in the party may abandon him to secure their future with his opponents.

Ramaphosa has a lot on his plate: children dying at taverns, a tanking economy, saboteurs in his intelligence services, an Eskom that’s near collapse, an ANC that is disintegrating fast, and so much else. These conditions make it easy for his detractors to play him as the villain with no consideration of their complicity in handing over the state to the Guptas and the narrow, corrupt, elite that stuffed itself in the 2010s.

Ramaphosa needs to speak, to take his own supporters along with him, instead of seemingly hiding behind the veil of “ongoing investigations”. He must trust the country, as he trusted it to rally behind him during the pandemic. Good, hard-working South Africans have long wanted him to do well. They are beginning to think, with his protracted silence while he is clearly under attack, that he is “just like the rest”.

Confidence is fast ebbing out of his administration. He is becoming the butt of jokes. A reporter called him “Mr Phala Phala” at a funeral on Wednesday. He is the butt of jokes about cash in sofas from New York to Abuja.  He should speak.

“If the public is not satisfied with what he says,” says Msimang, “I think the good thing for the sake of the country and for his own sake would be to say: ‘While this investigation takes place I will step aside as long as there is a lack of satisfaction about the answers that he has given.’”

In Johnson’s case, it started with just two resignations. Ramaphosa should not underestimate the power of Msimang’s voice, or the swiftness of what could come next.

–Financial Mail

Enyobeni fake funeral: what was Ramaphosa thinking?

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Fred Khumalo

By Fred Khumalo

If you discount the mass funerals necessitated by the recent floods, the one of the young people who died at Enyobeni Tavern in East London recently, was going to be one of the biggest and most memorable in years.

It was going to be reminiscent of the Boipatong, Sebokeng and Shobashobane mass funerals of the 1990s.

While the three mass funerals were the end result of bullets and pangas, the funeral in East London this week was the end result of something that went wrong at a tavern where 21 youngsters were killed mysteriously.

To this day there is still intrigue surrounding the case. It was because of its mysterious nature, and the public call for government “to do something” that President Cyril Ramaphosa felt impelled to go to the Eastern Cape and mourn alongside the bereaved families.

The nation watched on TV as cameras zoomed in on 19 gleaming caskets.

Poems were recited. Dirges were sung. Bells were rung. Speeches were delivered. And, yes, the speeches were political. In fact, for all intents and purposes, it was a political funeral.

A mass funeral is a uniquely South African phenomenon, rooted in our blood-spattered history. Some of massacres that gave rise to memorable mass funerals were Sharpeville 1960. Soweto 1976. Trust Feed 1988. Sebokeng 1990. Boipatong 1992. Bisho 1992. Shobashobane 1995.

My sense is that mass funerals were held by black communities at the height of apartheid as an act of defiance against a repressive government – to show that black people were unified and defiant right to the grave.

Mass funerals were used as rallying points for the community. People gave succour to the bereaved families, and gave inspiration to each other to fight on, especially because those lying inside those coffins would have been victims of the apartheid regime’s bullets.

Because many political leaders were under surveillance by government, the only time they could interact with their followers, and the only time they could articulate themselves publicly to the media, was at these mass funerals.

Against this background, therefore, I fully understood why Ramaphosa was at the funeral. Here’s a president under siege politically since the explosion of the Phala Phala scandal, and more recently, a high court pronouncement that he should face censure, or even pay billions of rands, for his role in the Marikana massacre.

What does he do to show that he is unfazed and still “in control”? He makes a grand appearance at a mass funeral. Ostensibly he was there to give support to the families of the deceased.

If police officers and liquor industry officials in East London had done their jobs properly, these young people probably would not have died. They died because of a systemic problem: lack of policing and a laissez-faire attitude of liquor board authorities when it comes to the granting of licences, and the enforcement of all the rules and regulations relating to the sale and distribution of alcohol. The youngest of those who died at the tavern was 13.

To this day, it’s not even clear what killed them. Some say there were poisonous fumes at the establishment. Others speculate that it could have been the hubbly bubblies being puffed there.

What is clear, though, is that the establishment was not up to standard, and there were no checks on the ages of those allowed into the premises, as should have been.

So, Ramaphosa was there in East London, one supposes, to say: “This cannot happen under my watch.”

He was there to say: “Leave this to me, I’m still in charge and I’m going to deal with it.”

He was there to say: “Don’t believe all the rumours about me. I am a president who cares. I am president who listens. That is why I am here. Our sincerest condolences to the bereaved families.”

Imagine the shock and the horror, then, when we learnt that it was all a charade. The coffins were empty!

Some of the kids had already been buried, while others were expected to be buried later. But none were to be buried on the day that had been slated as the day of Enyobeni mass funeral. Not a single one of them.

Some of the families told the media they had not been consulted, and were therefore shocked to learn that Ramaphosa was in town for the funeral. It was one of the crassest displays of political chicanery and insensitivity.

Ramaphosa’s people would have told him that a mass funeral was impossible as some families insisted on their privacy, which would allow them to bury their loved ones according to their customs and traditions specific to each family. Armed with this intelligence, the president’s people would have advised him to seek another way of showing solidarity with the families.

A simple memorial, without the coffins, would have sufficed. It would have given Ramaphosa the platform that he clearly craved to show that he was still standing, that he was a caring president, that he would set in motion a process that would ensure the miscreants were punished.

But no, Ramaphosa’s people on the ground proceeded with this pseudo mass funeral. It was as insensitive as it was ridiculous.

This whole thing reeks of dirty money. Given the past behaviour of politicians, it is easy to surmise that some government funds would already have been made available for the purchase of those coffins, the hiring of the venue and sound system.

The comrades in charge of that process would have been loathe to cancel the purchase orders, because the cancellation would have hit them in the pocket.

To be fair, this is not reportage. This is speculation. And, yes, I am willing to be challenged on my wild speculation.

As a South African journalist, I have learnt over the years that what might be considered “wild” in other countries, is perfectly “normal” here. In this country, we normalise the bizarre.

This is a country run by politicians who steal from the mouths of children; politicians who rob Covid-19 victims of their grants, politicians who steal from the victims of floods, politicians who create ghost employees whose “identities” are used to siphon public funds.

It is not an exaggeration to see this so-called mass funeral as the act of a desperate politician shedding crocodile tears.

–Fred Khumalo is the City Press Deputy News Editor: Opinion and Analysis

Kelly Khumalo threatens people with her powerful ancestors

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Kelly Khumalo

Controversial singer and reality TV star, Kelly Khumalo, took to her TikTok account on Thursday morning to warn people about her powerful ancestors.

In a video she recorded in IsiZulu, she said: 

There is something I want you to know, and it is important. We all have homes, ancestors and God. Some prayers are stronger than others and some ancestors are stronger than others. Stop provoking other people’s children, you don’t know what we say when we speak to our ancestors or in our prayers.

Khumalo said people would not be able to escape the wrath that was coming because some ancestors and God acted accordingly. This could be her response to all the social media comments after her recent interview. She has dragged daily since the mother of two, hit the Twitter trending list again this week after she told eNCA that people only knew about her late boyfriend, Orlando Pirates and Bafana Bafana goalkeeper Senzo Meyiwa, because of her brand.

“I was Kelly Khumalo even before Senzo Meyiwa. I did not even know who he was until a friend of mine, Lucia Mthiyane, explained to me who he was. Nobody knew who Senzo Meyiwa was until he was attached to the brand Kelly Khumalo,” she said during the interview.

On Tuesday, her award-winning reality show, Life With Kelly Khumalo, debuted its third season on streaming platform Showmax. She made bold statements, accusing Meyiwa’s family of only loving his money not him.

“That family did not love Senzo. He was a cash cow.”

She claimed the family doubted the paternity of her daughter and “went to the witch doctor to get rid of me”.

She also weighed in on the ongoing Meyiwa murder trial: “This is not the only case that has been a failure when it comes to the South African justice system. But for some reason, because there’s Kelly Khumalo involved, we want to make it something peculiar, something that is different, something that has never happened before.”

Khumalo had kept mum while she was being dragged on social media. But who knows, she might just use her reality show to respond to all the accusations.  @kellykhumalobarbra

Le ayitolikwa??????????‍??????????????????? original sound – Barbra

Battle for Gauteng ANC not over yet

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Gauteng ANC boss, Panyaza Lusufi

The failure by newly elected Gauteng Chairperson Panyaza Lesufi to win all the top five positions at the party’s recent conference gives the losing contender, Lebogang Maile, an indication that he is in with a chance to control the provincial executive committee (PEC). 

The hotly contested conference to vote for and fill the top five positions might be a thing of the past, but the fight for the control of the PEC between Lesufi and Maile is turning out to be a battle for survival. After the conference adjourned, the two lobby groups wasted no time in starting a campaign for more representation in the PEC.  

Lebogang Maile

Lesufi defeated Maile by 32 votes at the provincial conference held in Benoni last week. His slate won three positions, while the Maile-aligned group got two.

With TK Nciza and his deputy Tasneem Motara holding the secretary and deputy secretary positions respectively, Maile seems to have a share of control in the top five. But this is still under threat, as the 14 withheld Ekurhuleni votes are still a burning issue.

The national executive committee (NEC) failed to resolve this issue, which began at the Ekurhuleni regional conference. The party has been discussing whether to include the votes or disqualify them.

The five branches whose votes were withheld threatened to go to court if they were not included. They claimed to have evidence that more branches failed to comply with certain requirements.

ANC stalwart Jeff Radebe, who was deployed to try to help resolve the contentious votes issue, discovered that 22 more branches did not comply with the process of scanning memberships during their general meetings.

Lesufi’s slate is counting on getting some of those votes to win the other two positions.

Some delegates told City Press they were confident that 11 out of the 14 were in Lesufi’s favour, which could turn the conference on its head since Nciza won by only nine votes and Motara by five. They are aligned with Maile.

After the election results were announced, ANC acting secretary Paul Mashatile hailed the top five as the most representative leadership, as it features three women.

He said the new provincial leadership was no longer leading groups, but rather the ANC.

“The newly elected people must unite the organisation [and lead it to the 2024 polls,” Mashatile said.

But that unity will be tested when the party convenes at the provincial general council (PGC) next week where additional members will be elected.

The conference is scheduled to hold discussions on the unresolved dispute of the Ekurhuleni votes, which is threatening to divide the party.

Lesufi told the media on Tuesday that the top five elected members had already met to formulate the discussion document at the PGC.

“The issue of the quarantined [withheld] votes will be ventilated there as per the instruction of the national executive committee and the outgoing PEC,” the new chairperson said.

But the conference’s failure to elect additional PEC members gives the two lobby groups no time to rest, as campaigning continues.

The two lobby groups are hoping to have more numbers in the PEC, which will determine who has the power to run the province.

RADEBE’S LUKEWARM EKURHULENI FINDINGS

But Radebe’s tip-toeing around the disputed Ekurhuleni votes has compounded matters instead of providing a solution.

This has led to the matter being shelved – once again – until the PGC meeting next week. He found that the delegates – whose 19 votes had been withheld – from five ANC branches had been reasonably disqualified from participating in the Ekurhuleni regional elective conference held in May in Fourways in Johannesburg, but many more delegates should have suffered the same fate.

But Radebe, who the ANC top six leaders at Luthuli House had delegated to investigate the dispute and offer a solution, shied away from making a bold recommendation that the re-election of former Ekurhuleni mayor Mzwandile Masina should therefore be set aside.

Instead, he opted to leave the final decision to the ANC top six.

“The national office bearers should evaluate the consequences of the branches that exceeded the 10% manual threshold, and also look into the status of the regional conferences, as it seems that more branches exceeded the quota and yet participated in the conference,” Radebe wrote in his report, which City Press has seen.

The 10% threshold refers to a conference preparation guideline, providing that, once the electronic membership scanner had been operational for more than four hours, it should be switched off. Thereafter, not more than 10% of the audited members should be captured manually.

Last week, the top six referred the matter to the party’s NEC, which in turn left it for the new PEC elected last week to solve.

The five Ekurhuleni ANC branches were disqualified on the grounds that their manual scanning membership audits exceeded the 10% threshold.

However, the records showed that the reasons for disqualifying at least one of the branches, ward 44, were not formally recorded. The other disqualified wards were 40, 56, 106 and 50.

“It is clear there were other branches that exceeded the 10% threshold as indicated in the scanner report as presented by the ward 50 branch,” wrote Radebe, who led the investigating team that included Boitumelo Moloi and Derek Hanekom.

–News24

SA Police refusing to further probe Elvis’ death

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Elvis-Nyathi-murder-suspects

Elvis Nyathi’s family, a Zimbabwean national who was murdered in Diepsloot, north of Johannesburg, South Africa, say they have not been kept up to date on the status of the police investigation into his death.

Godknows Nyathi, Elvis’s brother, told TimesLIVE that the police told him not to contact them because Elvis’s wife had not returned to South Africa to identify the suspects. Nyathi stated:

They aren’t communicating with us in any way. They told me that because Elvis’s wife did not come to identify the people who killed Elvis, there was nothing they could do to help us further, and that I shouldn’t bother contacting them.

“Don’t Bother Us”,

SA Police Tell Elvis Nyathi’s Brother

Gauteng police spokesperson Col Dimakatso Sello advised the Nyathi family to lodge a formal complaint with the station commander. Said Sello:

If the family has any complaints about the service or the progress of their case, they are advised to lodge a formal complaint with the station commander or the Gauteng service complaints centre on 082-442-2000.

Seven suspects who were arrested and charged for Elvis’s murder are out on R3 000 bail each.

They briefly appeared at the Randburg magistrate’s court on Thursday but the matter was postponed to 24 August.

The suspects are Cedrick Raseala, 41, Baron Mashele, 31, Godfrey Mahlo, 31, Thomas Serebane, 53, Phumudzo Tshirangwana, 38, Thabo Makgatho, 32, and Puleng Chipape, 34.

They are charged with murder, attempted murder, kidnapping, four counts of assault with intent to inflict grievous bodily harm, robbery with aggravating circumstances, and extortion.

On the fateful night in April, the suspects, who were allegedly part of a mob, moved around Diepsloot knocking on doors at different homes claiming they were searching for illegal foreign nationals in the township.

Knowing that his papers were not in order, Elvis allegedly tried to flee from the mob but was caught, beaten up and set alight outside his home.

The murder occurred when there was a surge in murder cases in the area which some locals blamed on foreigners, particularly Zimbabwean nationals.

–ZimNews

My wife left me for a rich man but is now running after me

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My wife left me for a richer man, I did this to get richer than his new man
My name is Nathan Kibet fom Eldoret kenya .
I previously worked in a supermarket and earned not much money. My wife was
never comfortable with my salary and always pressurized me to living a life I could
not afford.
I would always take loans to maintain her lifestyle her hair and clothes .This
stressed me because I was really struggling financially and I never wanted to lose
her for I loved her so much.
One day I received a text from her telling me that she was tired of me and she
could not stand again a broke man. I felt like my world had crushed .After all the
sacrifice she had decided to leave me.
After asking around I learnt she had left me for a certain rich guy who had
recently divorced his wife. I could see her posts on social media saying how she
was enjoying her new life
I felt betrayed I could do anything to get rich. I decided to consult the services of a
traditional herbalist who would help me get rich. I talked to Kiwanga traditional
doctors
Immediately after consulting him I started receiving money deals and in a few
months I was driving my own car. Within a year I had a house and running my
business on her side she had been left my the guy and I could not take her back
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VIDEO: Cele throws tantrums at Action Society

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Police minister Bheki Cele

Our failure to learn will be the death of us

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If you want the clearest example of our failure to learn, just take a look at our politics, says the writer. File image. Image: ANTONIO MUCHAVE

We keep voting for the same old, tired men and women who have shown that they are incapable of resolving the pressing challenges facing our country

By Makhudu Sefara

It is tempting to say that we deserve all the troubles we face and the traumas we go through. That we deserve to sit and burn in this stage 6 of load-shedding. We are not inconvenienced enough. 

Why would we deserve the worst? Simple. We have, over the years, demonstrated a persistent unwillingness to learn. We have learnt and internalised how to fail — and, despite protestations to the contrary, we do this so well. 

In his book All Rise, former deputy chief justice Dikgang Moseneke waxes lyrical about his final sitting, quoting a few paragraphs of his valedictory judgment: “Teaching and learning are as old as human beings have lived. Education is primordial and integral to the human condition. The new arrivals into humankind are taught and learn how to live useful and fulfilled lives.” He goes on to quote Aristotle, noting that “education is an ornament in prosperity and a refuge in adversity”. 

Moseneke may as well have used the following quote by Aristotle: “If you would understand anything, observe its beginning and its development.” If we did this, it’d be clearer that, as South Africans, we self-sabotage. 

This week, the nation is deep in pain following the death of children at a club called Enyobeni in the Eastern Cape, in ungodly hours. Our tears flow because 21 perished.

Tavern deaths: a day that weighs heavily on us all

The truth is we didn’t, as Aristotle required of us, observe the beginning and the development of this saga when children, not just in the Eastern Cape, attended raves in Durban, so-called pens-down across the country, or just surrendered to lives of drunkenness.

In Seshego Zone 8, there’s a tavern across from Peter Nchabeleng high school. Local ANC leaders sit at the gate of the school facing the tavern whenever there’s an election campaign. Anyone doing anything about the tavern? No-one. Zilch. We will wait for a tragedy and then our “leaders” will feign surprise and organise mass funerals. That’s what we do. We fail to learn and thus learn to fail.

If you want the clearest example of our failure to learn, just take a look at our politics. We keep voting for the same old, tired men and women who have demonstrated through the years that they are incapable of resolving the most pressing challenges facing our country. Take unemployment, our biggest challenge: how are we today any better off than we were two, five or 10 years ago — or even at the dawn of democracy?

Worse, we keep voting for another party — that keeps losing black leaders because it repeatedly fails at diversity management — as our official opposition party. 

We keep voting for the same old, tired men and women who have shown that they are incapable of resolving the pressing challenges facing our country

Or, to give politics a break, take the sorry saga that is Eskom. I can’t think of anything else that holds our economy back, that holds us as a people back, that keeps us chained to poverty and underdevelopment. Yet, we have learnt to listen to Eskom CEO Andre de Ruyter’s rants as load-shedding gets worse. We are also repeatedly told that consumerism will be the death of us. We are told that the point of economic life is to be producers. Yet we vegetate on couches — hopefully not Phala Phala-type couches.

Moseneke says teaching and learning are as old as life and new arrivals are taught how to live useful and fulfilled lives. Yet the horrors we face weekly show us we have stopped learning. 

Moseneke is correct that we have a capacity to learn — but we seem to be learning wrong things, like being nonchalant about children bingeing and not being at home late at night. We have learnt to accept that the AG says the same things year in and year out and not much happens after that. We are not angry enough.

We have learnt to accept that politicians pretend to care ahead of elections and retreat to their comfortable cocoons afterwards and our lives don’t change for the better. We have learnt not to expect honour from so-called honourable MPs, or even our presidents. The fact that one of them lives in a house revamped through obscene amounts of money from us no longer makes us angry.

We have learnt, even if from a character like former spy boss Arthur Fraser, that our president might be running our country as a side hustle to his main job as a game farmer — but hey, anyone angry out there? 

The poor millionaire is staying put and, to show he understands us well, has decided that he is not even going to give us a broad explanation of the horror movie that is Phala Phala farm. We don’t deserve it, he’s decided. And we must just sit the hell down.

Perhaps we deserve the mattress king and his scandal because we refuse to learn the right things. We inflict the worst pains on ourselves. We have, sadly, learnt to be nonchalant about things that should matter. This is why we are going nowhere slowly. Our failure to learn will be the death of us.

Makhudu Sefara is the Editor of Times Live

Mcebisi Jonas | Standing up to defend our democracy is the only option

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Mcebisi Jonas

Mcebisi Jonas’ speech

Programme director, esteemed leadership present, ladies and gentlemen, comrades and activists.

I would like to thank Defend Our Democracy for inviting me to speak today. This gathering is not just necessary but also urgent.

We indeed live in troubled times with rising costs accelerating the decline in living standards and growing indebtedness worldwide, and increased polarisation both within and between countries spurred by a new era of information chaos.

These conditions cause social and political strains that are being used by dark forces to weaken democracy and strengthen the hand of anti-democratic forces.

The alarm bells are sounding and we need to up the tempo in defence of democracy globally and back home in South Africa.

I have been asked to speak about democratic renewal and the need for political reform. To do this, we need to first understand why we need renewal in the first place. Critical to this question is the concept of democratic backsliding.

Democratic backsliding is when the democratic characteristics of a political system weaken. Scholars like Levitsky and Ziblatt argue that such traditionally happened through major single events like military coups. Today, this happens through barely visible state-led weakening of democratic institutions and practices. So, it is actually those who win democratic power and control the state itself that weaken its institutions, making the state the biggest threat to democracy.

Participants from Ahmed Kathrada Foundation, OUTA,

Participants from Ahmed Kathrada Foundation, OUTA, SACP, Defend Our Democracy campaign and Right To Know protest outside the Zondo Commission. Photo: Fani Mahuntsi/Gallo Images

Ozan Varol notes that the new generation of authoritarians no longer repress opponents through violence and harassment, but rather (quote) “cloak repressive practices under the mask of law, giving them a mask of legitimacy and render anti-democratic practices much more difficult to detect and eliminate” (Iowa Law Review, 100(4), 2015).

Varol suggests we need to refocus our thinking and activism away from regime types towards regime practices, even in those societies with favourable democratic credentials like the US, or in our case South Africa. We need to monitor these democratic practices more closely, with a clear set of indicators around which we can hold our democratic system and political leadership accountable. This, I suggest, should be a first quick win for Defend Our Democracy and the broader united front we must put in place.

I would suggest that there are four main areas where democratic backsliding is likely to occur, where we need to raise our capacity to monitor and where we need to be converging on actions to strengthen democratic resilience.

The first area is where there are utterances or moves by those in power to undermine democratic institutions. In our case, this includes attacks against the Constitution and the rule of law. Think of how often we hear about the judiciary or the Constitution as impediments to transformation. These sentiments are, unfortunately, not confined to populists only but has gained resonance in the leadership ranks of the governing party.

This should not mean we can never undertake judicial reform or change the Constitution. In fact, one of the key propositions I suggest on electoral reform would require a Constitutional amendment. What we must ensure is that all reforms are well considered and subject to what Amartya Sen calls democratic public reasoning. This, he argues, is government by discussion, and I would add rational and well considered discussion – which is the essence of his model of co-operative democracy. I would encourage us to adopt this as a guiding principle.

The second area of backsliding is where governing parties reject the legitimacy of opposition parties.

Criticising opposition parties is part of the everyday jockeying of real politic but can become more ominous when governing parties claim monopoly on defining the common good.

Roger Southall in his analysis of failed states in post-colonial Africa argues that this is often an affliction of former liberation movements that restrict democratic practices, such as free and fair elections and media freedom in the so-called national interest against Western imperialism. State security misinformation is often used to perpetuate this narrative and to discredit opposition parties or even factions or individuals within the governing party. (Sound familiar?)

The third area of democratic backsliding involves the use of state-sponsored violence against opposition or at least the tolerance of violence by supporters of governing elites. In this case, the state allows non-state players and militias to undermine democratic institutions and practices. Included in this would be attacks on immigrant communities, often driven by nationalist-populist narratives of protecting jobs and cultural values or addressing criminality. This practice is associated with stealth or undercover authoritarianism in which the state allows violent non-state forces to do its dirty work.

The role of our security establishment, or at least elements thereof, in the 2021 July unrest, the political assassinations within the governing party, the assassinations of whistleblowers and the rise of xenophobic violence are all indications that the levels of political violence in South Africa are on the rise. In most cases, this is with the complicity of elements within the security establishment. The criminal justice system is bent to favour personalities, agendas and political causes. This needs our urgent attention.

The fourth area of democratic backsliding is the actual curtailment of democratic practices. These include the undermining of free and fair elections, the right to belong to political groupings of their choice, the political rights of ethnic, religious, gender-based or LGBTIQA+ groups, safeguards against official corruption, the freedom of expression, academia and the media, the freedom of assembly and protest, the rule of law, and a host of individual freedoms around movement, who you marry and equality of opportunity.

Most global measurements of democracy point to a generalised decline over the past decade – not necessarily ushering in authoritarian rule but reversing several key democratic features. For example, the Varieties of Democracy Institute points to a decline in the global share of democracies from 54% in 2009 to 49% in 2019.

Overall, South Africa enjoys a relatively high ranking across most democracy metrics. South Africa is categorised as a free country by Freedom House, having received a consistent 79/100 score over the past three years (up from 78 in 2018 and 2019). I think this is due to our strong constitutional framework and institutions built to advance freedom at conception due to our history of apartheid.

Having said that, there are several red-flags identified around safeguards against corruption, the protection of whistleblowers and prosecutorial independence. The unwarranted and unlawful use of excessive power by security forces has also been flagged as has rising gender-based violence, which impacts hugely on the right to movement of women. Equality of opportunity is also a growing concern with increasing inequality and reduced state capacity for social relief. Also worryingly, South Africa has fallen down the Reporters Without Borders state of press freedom index, from 32 to 35 of 180 countries measured.

Besides being able to measure and monitor the health of democracy, it is also important to understand the drivers of democratic backsliding. I argue that there are five core drivers of democratic backsliding, many of which are interlinked and interdependent. Each have their own implications for our democratic renewal project.

The first of these is corruption, something we are very accustomed to here in South Africa. I won’t go into much detail here given the extensive coverage of the Zondo Commission and the analysis in the Betrayal Reports. I have argued elsewhere that we need to understand State Capture Version 1 as both a formal network (in this case built around the Zupta axis) as well as an informal network in which corrupt proceeds have served as political reward for loyalty and patronage. Both types have been equally destructive and both types have been enabled by the deliberate weakening of the state. State Capture Version 1 saw very real and coordinated efforts to dismantle democratic institutions, especially those responsible for oversight and public accountability. Institutions are still under attack as part of the fight-back by those facing prosecution and those self-interested in continued looting.

Solutions we must champion include the reform and capacitation of the security cluster and the resourcing of the NPA. These are among many institutions in the state that need to re-establish credibility and public trust.

We also need to properly engage on Judge Zondo’s proposal for the establishment of an independent Anti-State Capture and Corruption Commission. The knee-jerk rejection of the proposal is short-sighted given the destructive impact of corruption. But such a commission cannot supersede other democratic institutions that still need to be rebuilt and carry out the functions for which they are established. The proposal that a judge chair this commission might circumvent it being used to persecute political opponents. Even so, there needs to be deep consideration of the scope of its work and its accountability mechanisms.

We also need to build on the great body of anti-corruption research that has been undertaken. South Africa is a global leader in this regard but needs to better integrate with international research networks tracking the geo-movements and patterns of global plutocrats and criminal networks.

I fear that the yet undetected corruption networks will continue to influence our politics and how the state operates like in so many other parts of the world. The local government sphere is particularly vulnerable to criminal networks.

The second major driver of democratic backsliding is populism, which in our context is closely associated with corrupt elements. Populism mobilises the poor and marginalised, but in our context, it is used to insulate or entrench corrupt elites and their fellow travellers.

Populist campaigns against elites (which may not be inherently problematic when they have genuine intentions) undermine the central tenet of democracy that those elected to power represent the broader public interest and mandate. Once this tenet is dismantled, anyone can become an “enemy of the people”, including members of the judiciary.

In pushing their anti-democratic agenda, populists exploit the trust crisis associated with disinformation, weak leadership and the absence of big new ideas among both left and neo-classical intellectuals. Added to that, the failure of government in key development indices such as security, growth, inclusion, healthcare, education and welfare undermines the legitimacy of pollical elites and feeds into populist sentiments. Populism rejects the idea of expert and accurate information-driven representations of reality, which feeds into the disinformation crisis perpetuated by social media.

Solutions lie in educating citizens and especially youth on the value of democracy and how to recognise disinformation or those who peddle it. We also need to better direct and deepen the conversation around inequality and transformation as part of this democratic renewal. Populist shenanigans need to be called out and exposed for what they are, especially when democratic institutions and practices become the target.

The third major driver of democratic backsliding is the global economic and climate crisis. This is characterised by extreme inequality, resulting from deindustrialisation and financialisation, with productive investment giving way to speculative currency and derivatives trading. Public debt has also reduced the capacity of the state to correct market distortions and provide social relief for those left behind. The war in Ukraine has added further fuel to the already precarious situation, ruling out any immediate recovery. Adding to this is the climate crisis and associated natural disasters, which are causing untold human misery, especially in the developing world. This is likely to intensify over the next decade.

The danger for democracy is its inherent association with capitalism (historically through the philosophy of liberalism). The current crisis of capitalism spells deep trouble for democracy. The solution lies in transforming into a greener, more inclusive and stakeholder-driven economic system that has cooperative democracy – to reference Sen – as its organising philosophy. Already, there is new global thinking around such an economy, where productivity gains achieved through technological innovation can be better shared with the middle and working classes, and the unemployed.

But questions of real politic remain, given that the wealthiest global elites are transnational in character with their wealth untouchable in tax havens. And who is driving these new big ideas? Furedi argues that both the left and liberals have very little to offer by way of new ideas, which has opened the way for populist gain. In our context, we need new thinking about how to tackle unemployment and inequality and how to replace rent-seeking with entrepreneurship and innovation.

The fourth major driver of democratic backsliding is our volatile geo-politics. How do we begin constructing a new multilateral agenda that has democratic renewal at its core? What kind of alliances do we envisage between civil society and multilateral institutions? What international alliances do we need to forge in a democratic renewal front?

The fifth determinant of democratic backsliding is our political crisis. We will not be able to reposition ourselves economically or even navigate the volatile geo-politics associated with the war in Ukraine unless we address our political shortcomings. These have been laid bare in the Zondo Commission reports and require democratic public reasoning to reset.

Zondo placed our politics at the centre of state capture, and by implication, at the centre of democratic backsliding. Zondo makes the point that parties, not voters, choose candidates – from the president to ministers, MPs, premiers and MECs. This is linked to the closed-party list proportional representative system for national and provincial elections. Zondo asks the question: how did we end up with Zuma? And why did we keep Zuma as president even when we knew he was corrupt? And what has been the cost to democracy, service delivery and state legitimacy?

The problem has been that the ANC has become incapable of choosing the most honest and competent leaders, with patronage, often possibly driven by corrupt interests and loyalty, being rewarded above competence and ethical orientation. This has meant that in many instances the worst leaders – the most incompetent and unethical – have risen to the top. Citizens and civil society have found themselves powerless to do anything. As a result, the National Assembly, tasked with public oversight and accountability, has failed to hold these incompetent and corrupt leaders to account. Citizens who find themselves powerless to change leadership then turn to destructive and violent service delivery protests to make their voices heard.

The root of the problem is that MPs are beholden to party bosses rather than constituents and must tow the party line or face consequences. The president is accountable first to the party that deploys him, then to the National Assembly and lastly, to the voters. This, Zondo argues, necessitates a fundamental rethink of our electoral system, towards a constituency-proportional electoral system, which will make the president and MPs more accountable to their constituents (and less to their parties). This is not without its risks, as pointed out by Constitutional lawyer Pierre de Vos, who warns against the Donald Trump phenomenon in which a populist could reach the highest office through cult of personality appeal. These are the checks and balances we need to consider as we subject the idea of electoral reform to democratic public reasoning.

Linked to the above is a need to look at public sector reforms, including how boards of SOEs are selected, and how to insulate public sector recruitment and personnel practices from inappropriate political interference. We must find mechanisms to firewall the bureaucracy from political manipulation.

In conclusion, South Africa’s crisis is deep. More and more people are disenchanted with mainstream politics and believe there is nothing and nobody to trust, let alone to vote for. Even more alarming is the belief by some that a Messiah will rise to save us from ourselves. It has become something of a national sport to throw out random names as if we are choosing a new coach for Bafana Bafana. This propensity, particularly within political parties, to build personality cults is self-defeating and absurd, and largely to blame for the perpetual leadership crisis in our country.

Our big challenge here today is to come up with a game plan that presents South Africans with hope and options for a reimagined future. We are all exhausted and distressed at the state of our country – the endless corruption scandals, power cuts, violence, municipal dysfunction, the rising cost of living, the poor getting poorer, millions of young people without jobs and being constantly disrespected by those elected to serve us.

Given the state of our crisis, we cannot just jump into a Nedlac [National Economic Development and Labour Council] -managed social compact, which is being presented as the magic bullet. Again, in line with Amartya Sen’s idea of cooperative democracy, we need society-wide conversations about our future and what a minimum programme should entail.

I would suggest that we need to prioritise as part of this minimum programme the reform of the political system itself. This, among other things, should manage the risk of malfunctions in the governing party that undermine our globally heralded system of Constitutional democracy. Here, we need to facilitate democratic conversations about electoral reforms, including the possibilities of shifting towards a constituency-based electoral system. I think the time has come for a national referendum on the electoral system to define the way forward. This obviously has to be preceded by a mass education and mobilisation campaign focusing on the importance of electoral reform to turn the political system on its head and liberate the country from the clutches of party barons.

We also need to prioritise public sector reforms, including establishing an independent public service commission, to insulate SOEs and the bureaucracy from narrow political and corrupt influence.

We need to urgently build a broad front across society – not for tinkering at the margins as we have grown accustomed to – but to drive a transformation and change the agenda more aggressively.

As part of this rethinking exercise, we must accept that until there is meaningful political competition at the ballot box, premised on clear political and reform ideas, people will continue to lose faith in democracy. Part of our responsibility is to encourage the millions who have opted out of electoral and other democratic processes to take seriously the idea of new alternatives to the current political actors. This will advance the people’s voice and power in a strengthened democratic system.

As difficult and exasperating as this period is, this is not the time to throw our hands in the air. Standing up to save our country is no longer an option.

The new political moment has come.

* Jonas is South Africa’s former deputy finance minister. This is the full speech he delivered at the Conference for Democratic Renewal and Change organised by the Defend Our Democracy campaign in June.

Oppenheimer family goes to court to block mineral exploration at their Zimbabwe cattle ranch

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Nicky Oppenheimer
  • A court has stopped a miner from prospecting for gold on a ranch owned by the Oppenheimer family.
  • The Oppenheimers, through their company Shangani Holistic, turned to the courts after a South African firm Pearline Mineral Exploration started conducting an aerial geophysical survey of the property.
  • The ranch employs 400 people and keeps at least 8 000 cattle for beef exports.

The Oppenheimer family has secured a court interdict in Zimbabwe to block mineral exploration at its cattle ranch in Matabeleland South.

The 65 000-hectare Shangani Ranch holds at least 8 000 cattle and is believed to be rich in gold, silver, copper, antimony, lead, cobalt, manganese, zinc, nickel, chrome, graphite, and lithium.

Through their company, Shangani Holistic, the family turned to the courts after a South African firm Pearline Mineral Exploration started conducting an aerial survey of the property. 

Harare High Court Judge Siyabona Paul Musithu ruled that Pearline Mineral Exploration should stop “mineral mining activities whatsoever”, at the ranch.

The Oppenheimers argued before court that the farm had 400 employees who run an operation that exports beef to the United Kingdom. They said they hold 8 000 cattle at the ranch.

The farm is also a sanctuary for wildlife as it serves as a corridor for migrating animals. At the farm, there’s a school for the local community, mostly for children of employees, with about 150 pupils.

As such, Justice Musithu ruled that mining activities would affect the community as well as wildlife conservation.

“The mineral exploration does not only have the potential to cause harm to the environment, but also to livestock and wildlife. There is clearly a reasonable apprehension of harm if the project proceeds without due regard to the law,” he said.

The Oppenheimers acquired the property in 1937 two years before World War II. At the time the area stretched 140 000 hectares.

But it was reduced by more than half when the late president Robert Mugabe began the chaotic land reform that resulted in at least 4 000 white commercial farmers being displaced.

In 2014, to protect his family interests, Nicky Oppenheimer heir to the DeBeers diamond fortune met the late Mugabe.

“I was with Nicky, about a week ago here, he has land here and he comes to his farm once in a while. He said I normally wear three hats, the De Beers Diamonds hat, then the Anglo Gold hat, and the Oppenheimer family hat, but today I am not wearing any of the other two I first mentioned,” Mugabe said at a diamond seminar at the time following the meeting.

–City Press

Mabuza eyes the presidency as Phala Phala scandal throttles Ramaphosa

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INCOMING PRESIDENT: David Mabuza

Deputy President David Mabuza’s comment last weekend that his political fate in the ANC was intrinsically tied to that of President Cyril Ramaphosa rang loud as a statement of mobilisation for his candidacy in the ANC leadership succession race, even though it was couched in the language of the party’s discipline.

Mabuza, an astute politico often undermined by his critics, managed to amplify the voices of those calling for him to contest the ANC presidency position, but he did so in a cryptic way that allowed him to avoid censure, since the party was yet to give the green light for members to declare their leadership preferences.

The ANC in Mpumalanga is showing that it is divided about Mabuza’s future. A section of its members wants an injection of young blood and for Justice and Correctional Services Minister Ronald Lamola to be the second in command.

This divergence of opinions manifested when provincial deputy secretary Lindiwe Ntshalintshali came just short of endorsing Mabuza for his existing position. Her views differ from those of some of her comrades, who are in favour of a second term for President Cyril Ramaphosa and Lamola as deputy president.

Mabuza’s supporters in the province have not clarified whether they would like him to ascend to the presidency or retain his current position at the national conference, which is scheduled for December. However, there has been pervasive excitement in the wake of the Phala Phala scandal that Mabuza could be called on to take over before the conference, should Ramaphosa step aside.

Mabuza himself has played down calls for him to assume the presidency: “I hear that you people of Mpumalanga want me to be the president. Don’t you know that we already have a president? President Cyril Matamela Ramaphosa is around. If you say that [he shouldn’t be re-elected], you’re saying that the same should happen to me.

“The president and I walk together. If you flush me, you flush both of us. I’m telling you to wait for the right time and talk at your branches.”

Mabuza’s camp this week conceded that the lobby had not been written off, but that – as a principled leader of the governing party – he would not jump the gun and participate in the succession debate, in violation of the party’s disciplinary code.

“Don’t expect him to go around campaigning, because nothing has changed from what he’s done before,” said one supporter.

A source said that what had not been captured in the recorded video clip of Mabuza speaking at the funeral of his aunt in Phola in Mpumalanga last Saturday was his other comment – that the event was a funeral and not an appropriate stage for people to air their political views. Part of his speech was centred on the importance of unity within the ANC, said the source, adding that Mabuza was advising the audience to treat all members of the newly elected Mpumalanga provincial executive committee equally.

“He was warning the audience not to show disrespect to the leaders they don’t like because all the current leaders of the ANC in the province were elected in the same provincial conference. That was also when he mentioned that he had heard people calling for him to contest the ANC presidency, but that both he and Ramaphosa had been elected at the same national conference in 2017 and they were therefore inseparable.”

Ntshalintshali, a known radical economic transformation lobbyist in Mpumalanga and a close ally of suspended secretary-general Ace Magashule, told ANC members at the funeral that Mpumalanga was Mabuza’s home. She launched a veiled attack on Lamola, who has lately been visiting the province to drum up support. Former North West ANC chairperson Supra Mahumapelo also attended the funeral.

Ntshalintshali said: “As Mpumalanga, we’ll go out in a campaign to talk to other provinces before the conference, but we’ll do so after talking to the deputy president from our province.” Referring to Lamola, she added: “Those who are travellers [don’t frighten us] because the branches would have said who they want.”

Ntshalintshali emphasised the need for Mpumalanga to canvass other provinces in its campaign for Mabuza.

“Regions and branches are going to discuss [the matter] and as Mpumalanga, we’ll talk in our structures. We won’t be arrogant, comrades, because Mpumalanga isn’t an island,” she said.

THE LIMPOPO LECTURE

Thursday marked Mabuza’s first appearance onan ANC forum after the comments last weekend,and the speech in commemoration of the late ANC youth leader, Peter Mokaba, was closely watched for hints of his next move – but he continued to walk a tightrope. His allies insisted that the contents of the speech captured his overall game plan.

He spoke about revolutionary discipline, wisdom and maturity as the necessary qualities that ANC members and leaders should take from Mokaba’s political legacy.

“As a leader, he believed that the unity of the people and of our organisation was paramount to advance the struggle to which he had dedicated his life,” said Mabuza.

He said that if Mokaba were alive, “he would not only have avoided the bizarre and disruptive phenomenon of slate politics, but would also have persuaded each one of us that we were in the ANC to serve and not to be served”.

-City Press

How I reinvented my love back after separation

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Hey my name is a Faith Katondu from Kisii County
I was married to a Luo man from Kisumu but we separated after I filed for a
divorce.
I live to regret what led me to such stupid move.
My parents were even against it as all the problems was mine.
They requested me to support and respect my husband but there is no way I
could do such thing a broke man.
My office male friend could treat me better than him and I had a reason to
divorce him.
I left my head high and I transferred my children to another school but this
affected him a lot.
He turned out to be a drunkard and I did not care.
One day his gods visited him and he landed a nice job at Westland Nairobi and got
a huge pay.
He bought a house and a car and really reformed while on my side things had
changed.
I was fired and left to die and things got a new turn.
One day after suffering, my friend introduced me to Dr Kiwanga who advised me
on what to do to reunite with my former husband.
After two weeks, we were together and we are now a happy couple. In case you
are facing similar thing kindly contact Dr Kiwanga for blessing and healing.
Kiwanga doctors are really experienced and dependable herbalists who ensure
that our lives are not inhibited by various life challenges like depression, marriage
wrangles among others. They also treat various diseases such as syphilis, high
blood pressure among other just in a span of three days. Don’t let certain life
challenges be a barricade to your success or even any disease that may have given
you sleepless nights for Kiwanga doctors are really the real deal in town.
For consultations call +254 769404965 / E-mail kiwangadoctors@gmail.com or
visit the website www.kiwangadoctors.com

Motsoaledi cooking conspiracy theories over ZEP

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By Mondli Makhanya

There is this really weird addiction of powerful people to conspiracy theories.

When they have their backs to the wall or when they simply want to grab more power, they construct and peddle conspiracy theories that make them seem like they are under siege from “forces” – defined and undefined.

Former US president Donald Trump and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán are masters at this. Closer to home, the late Robert Mugabe revelled in conspiracies.

Throughout his term, Trump disseminated lies by the bucketful without any sense of shame. His biggest conspiracy theory, about the theft of the 2020 presidential election, eventually led to last year’s January 6 attack on the Capitol by his supporters, something that has now been dubbed an attempted coup.

Orbán has maintained his grip on power by peddling a whole host of conspiracies about civil society, Jews, migrants, Muslims and, of course, George Soros. In Mugabe’s world, Zimbabwe was always under siege from imperialists, neocolonialists and their fellow travellers.

In South Africa, we are not immune from this disease of powerful people seeking refuge in victimhood. The disease is prevalent across the spectrum, but the governing party has to take the cake for being a very productive factory for conspiracy theories. This is especially when the party or individuals within are under pressure.

The latest powerful person to seek this refuge is Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi, who launched a vitriolic attack on NGOs that have been challenging his department’s decision to end the Zimbabwe exemption permits (ZEPs).

Besides coming under pressure from civil society for the decision, Motsoaledi has been taken to court by the Helen Suzman Foundation, which wants the decision set aside.

The organisation argues that taking away the lawful status that the ZEPs accord their holders will turn them into undocumented migrants or force them to return to a Zimbabwe that is unchanged from the country they fled in the early 2000s. It also points out that the “thousands of children” who were born to ZEP holders have little relationship to Zimbabwe other than the fact their parents are from there.

An enraged Motsoaledi hit back in an intemperate, conspiracy-fuelled statement this week, in which he claimed that there was a “disturbing and growing trend by some NGOs to sabotage the polycentric and policy-laden decisions taken by government by using the courts”.

This trend, he said, should “be nipped in the bud as soon as possible”.

Generously, he said, while organisations such as the Helen Suzman Foundation have a constitutionally guaranteed right to access the courts, this should not be “a licence to abuse the Bill of Rights by some armchair critics, who have no idea of the sacrifices and deaths of many freedom fighters, while they sat in the comfort of their homes because of the colour of their skin”.

Motsoaledi’s sentiments, which are quite commonplace in the governing party, echo those of ANC chairperson Gwede Mantashe, who told delegates at the 2012 conference in Mangaung that they were under attack from forces that included “sections of the liberal media; sections of the judiciary; some NGOs, some of which are led by disgruntled members of [the] movement; some sections of the intelligentsia; some analysts and commentators; and prominent individuals”.

He has said as much more recently in relation to court challenges against his department. Enemies everywhere, basically.

Let’s leave the merits of the cancellation of the ZEP for another day, save to say the Helen Suzman Foundation is correct in saying that it is a draconian way of driving lawful immigrants underground. We all know that most of them won’t return home anyway, and those who do go will soon find their way back to South Africa.

South Africa will also lose business owners, employers and valuable skilled professionals who make a contribution to the economy. This lowly newspaperman is also concerned that, from January, he will now be served by waiters with boring names such as Tshepang, Tinyiko, Bongani, Cheslyn and Craig instead of Doubt, Learnmore, Clever, Godknows and Tragedy.

Now, Motsoaledi is known to be quite a hard-headed individual who stoically defies reason even when reason weighs more than him. But for him to play into the populist anti-Constitution sentiment gaining traction in his party is beneath him. You expect that kind of behaviour from the brake-less Mantashe, the entitled Lindiwe Sisulu and the radical economic transformation riffraff. He can argue his point without resorting to crazy, anti-democratic rhetoric and race-baiting. That is just a sign of desperation.

NGOs and other civil society formations are the lifeblood of good democratic society. Imagine what would have happened had civil society not confronted the all-powerful Thabo Mbeki to account for his homicidal HIV-Aids stance, if they had not taken Bathabile Dlamini on over her arguably criminal mishandling of social grants and if they had not backed the families of apartheid’s victims who had been failed by the government. If civil society was the obedient lapdog that Motsoaledi wants it to be, Jacob Zuma and the Guptas would still be ruling the country and we would be on our way to becoming a Zimbabwe.

What needs to be “nipped in the bud as soon as possible” is the anti-democratic push and near incitement to violence that emanates from the mouths of powerful individuals.

Mondli Makhanya is Editor of City Press

–City Press

It’s comforting to be out and about again

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Fred Khumalo

By Fred Khumalo

At a time when most South Africans are reeling from several challenges as a result of the failing economy, Covid-19, load shedding and other things that might visit physical and psychological trauma on their persons, it is comforting to find something to smile about.

In my case, it is the freedom to once again go out to restaurants, the theatre and art galleries freely – and all of this with a measure of comfort and confidence that one is safe.

After the country’s mandate to wear a mask in public was dropped, many of us celebrated. As fate would have it, on that very day, I got to go out and watch my grandson perform at the Joburg Theatre alongside fellow members of the Drakensberg Boys Choir.

The theatre was packed to the rafters. The majority of the people did not have their masks on, although I decided to put mine on once we were inside the building.

The great Zwai Bala, of TKZee fame is an old boy of that school. As a result, he and a number of former old boys were invited to join the current boys on stage for a song or two. The old boys took to it the way the EFF joins a parliamentary session – with energy and alacrity.

During the intermission, I interacted with long-lost friends and former colleagues, many of whom admitted that they had been so scared to go out to public spaces for the past two years, even after the relaxation of the Covid-19 regulations.

The removal of the masks, they said, gave them further confidence to take the first tentative steps into big public spaces.

There are people I met for the first time during the pandemic and who I suspect will not be easy to recognise without their masks on. I’m sure I’m not the only one who will find himself in this mildly embarrassing situation.

Thanks to Covid, there are kids who started university two years ago but who have never fully experienced campus life – no political rallies, no parties, no physical classes. My youngest son, who started his studies at Wits University this year, doesn’t know many of his teachers as most of the classes are still largely virtual.

It is only when you sit down and think about it that you realise just how this despot of a disease has changed our lives.

Thanks to Covid-19, there are people who will never again be comfortable shaking others’ hands. Thankfully, I’ve never been a great fan of hugging – so now I won’t come across as being rude when I choose not to hug a person I’ve just encountered.

Even as we celebrate, let us still take precautions, as the scourge might just come back to haunt us. 

Fred Khumalo is the deputy news editor of City Press

ANC throws Ramaphosa back to the integrity committee

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WANTED: Cyril Ramaphosa is wanted by the Committee to explain himself about the Phala Phala scandal

Cyril missed initial Thursday appointment with integrity committee

The ANC’s national executive committee meeting on Saturday agreed that President Cyril Ramaphosa must schedule another meeting with the party’s integrity commission “as a matter of urgency” after he failed to appear this week.

Ramaphosa was due to appear before the ethics body on Thursday over the Phala Phala scandal but missed the meeting as he was in Botswana’s capital, Gaborone, attending the Southern African Customs Union (Sacu) summit.

A brief report the NEC received yesterday is said to have informed members that Ramaphosa could not appear but would do so as soon as possible.

“We did not really discuss it at length because the NEC agreed that the president has to appear as a matter of urgency,” said an NEC insider. The president could not miss the Sacu meeting as SA was an integral part of the union, the insider said.

“So he had to attend the Sacu summit in Botswana. He definitely wants to appear so that he can get this matter over and done with because we have to go to conference. Of course he is seeking a second term and he is going to get it.”

ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe confirmed Ramaphosa could not appear.

“That meeting was postponed, it might have been issues of the availability of members of the integrity commission,” Mabe said. “Officials have indicated that as soon as they have exhausted those processes of the ANC integrity commission they will return to the NEC and NWC with a report. We were given that update. The commitment he has made to the leadership of the ANC to voluntarily appear before the commission still stands.”  

The insider, sympathetic to Ramaphosa, said those calling for his head were fighting for their own survival as a second term for the president would spell disaster for them.

The commitment he has made to the leadership of the ANC to voluntarily appear before the integrity commission still stands

ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe

Ramaphosa faces allegations by former spy boss Arthur Fraser that $4m (about R63m) was stolen from his farm on February 9 2020, that the president swept the matter under the carpet and allegedly bribed the perpetrators to silence them. 

This has prompted calls for Ramaphosa to fall on his sword five months before the ANC elects new leaders. 

“It is their plan and you wouldn’t have expected them to lie down and let us take a second term and probably it will be the end of them because the strength of RET forces is very low now. In fact, I think most of them have jumped to Paul [Mashatile] or whoever is going to be a third way,” the insider said. 

On whether the move by Fraser took the president by surprise, the insider said they had suspected that Fraser was up to something as he had been trying in vain since 2020 to have a one-on-one meeting with Ramaphosa.

“We are not surprised. Arthur has been trying to talk to him since 2020, so we can’t say we are surprised.”  

The public protector’s office confirmed this week that it had granted Ramaphosa’s request for an extension to respond to the Phala Phala allegations. He had been due to respond by June 22.

“Upon a careful consideration of the request, which was brought to acting public protector Kholeka Gcaleka’s attention by the investigation officer for approval, it was acceded to. It must be noted that requests such as the president’s are quite common where the public protector’s investigative work is concerned,” the office said. 

Gcaleka added that she had written to National Assembly speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, informing her that the final report would be submitted once the investigation was complete.

Fraser, a close associate of former president Jacob Zuma, last month laid criminal charges against Ramaphosa, saying there was an attempt to cover up the cash theft at his Phala Phala farm.

The Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) this week confirmed it will investigate an alleged cover-up by the police.

In June Ramaphosa indicated that he wanted to appear before the ANC’s integrity commission to explain the Phala Phala scandal, but he has refused to take questions from the media.

He said this should not be viewed as him putting the party ahead of the country.

Presidency spokesperson Vincent Magwenya would not comment, saying: “The ANC integrity commission is not a government process.” 

–Sunday Times

Reeva Steenkamp’s father meets with convicted killer Oscar Pistorius

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Oscar Pistorius
  • Reeva Steenkamp’s father met with Oscar Pistorius. 
  • The victim-offender dialogue took place in Reeva’s hometown, Gqeberha.
  • Pistorius has since returned to the Atteridgeville correctional facility.

Convicted murderer Oscar Pistorius and the father of Reeva Steenkamp – the woman he was convicted of killing – met for a victim-offender dialogue (VOD) last month.

The Steenkamp family’s attorney, Tania Koen, said the dialogue occurred on 22 June between Reeva’s father, Barry, and Pistorius.

Pistorius was transferred to a prison in Gqeberha in the Eastern Cape – the Steenkamps’ hometown – for the dialogue.

“We have no further comment. The dialogue is a private and confidential matter, hence we ask that our clients’ privacy be respected,” said Koen.

Pistorius shot Reeva, his girlfriend, several times on 14 February 2013.

June and Barry Steenkamp.

Netwerk24

The correctional services department said on Friday that Pistorius was taken back to the Atteridgeville correctional facility after the VOD.

“There is a need to emphasise that inmates are required to partake in the VOD as part of their rehabilitation path, wherein they are able to acknowledge the harm they have caused to their victims and the society at large,” department spokesperson Singabakho Nxumalo said.

According to the department, “participating in the VOD does not equate to an end of sentence, nor parole placement”.

Oscar Pistorius, former Paralympic and Olympic athlete has become eligible for parole sooner than expected. This after his sentence was backdated in August this year. Part of his application for parole requires him to meet with Reeva’s parents in a “victim-offender-dialogue”. News24 specialist legal journalist Karyn Maughan explains the timeline of Pistorius’s sentencing and talks us through just what is…

News24 reported that Pistorius’ parole process started after the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) amended its ruling on his sentence for a second time last year, antedating the 13 years and five-month jail term it had imposed on him to 21 October 2014, the day he was first sentenced for culpable homicide by Judge Thokozile Masipa.

The SCA previously amended the sentence, after it emerged the judgment failed to take into account the 506 days Pistorius had already served for Steenkamp’s murder.

As a result, Pistorius’ lawyers contended that the 35-year-old was eligible for parole in February last year – when he had completed half of his sentence.

“The relief that we would be seeking would be that a parole hearing be constituted to consider [Pistorius’] placement on parole,” his lawyer, Julian Knight, said at the time.

–News24

Ramaphosa mum on Phala Phala in affidavit fending off Mkhwebane’s bid to reverse removal

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President Cyril Ramaphosa
  • Ramaphosa said he sent the letter suspending Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane before he knew the court would deliver judgment on her interdict application the following day.
  • He opposes Mkhwebane’s application to overturn her suspension, denying that the Office of the Public Protector’s investigation into Phala Phala had anything to do with her removal.
  • He refuses to divulge any information on the Phala Phala allegations in his affidavit.

President Cyril Ramaphosa refuses to divulge any details about the alleged cover-up of the burglary at his Limpopo game farm Phala Phala in court papers responding to Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s challenge to her suspension.

Ramaphosa said he sent his letter to suspend Mkhwebane 11 minutes before he learned the Western Cape High Court would deliver its judgment on her application to interdict such a move the following day.

He denies that the investigation into Phala Phala had anything to do with suspending Mkhwebane, who the previous day announced she would be investigating the matter. But, true to form, Ramaphosa refused to divulge any details about the incident in his answering affidavit to Mkhwebane’s court application seeking to overturn her suspension and have the suspension and parliamentary impeachment process declared illegal.

Ramaphosa also disputes that there is a conflict of interest in suspending her and says he was within constitutional bounds when he suspended her.

On what proved to be a dramatic day, Ramaphosa suspended Mkhwebane on 9 June, the same day his Presidency budget vote took place amid the EFF’s attempts to prevent him from speaking and their violent removal.

This was Ramaphosa’s first appearance in the National Assembly after former director-general at the State Security Agency and former commissioner of correctional services Arthur Fraser opened a kidnapping and money laundering case against him, Presidential Protection Unit head Major-General Wally Rhoode and Crime Intelligence for allegedly concealing a burglary at Ramaphosa’s Phala Phala farm in February 2020.

Ramaphosa’s timing was questioned, as the following day, the Western Cape High Court ruled against Mkhwebane in her application to interdict Ramaphosa from suspending her and Parliament continuing with her impeachment process.

President Cyril Ramaphosa remained tight-lipped on the details of the robbery at his Phala Phala game farm in Limpopo. He told journalists following his reply to the Presidency budget vote speech that he will wait for “due process” to be completed before replying to any media enquiries.

This application was pending a second part to her application, in which she asks the court to declare unconstitutional and invalid the letter National Assembly Speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula sent to Ramaphosa to inform him that the impeachment process was underway, as well as Ramaphosa’s steps to suspend her and the Section 194 process.

She has since approached the court to ask that it hears this application on an urgent basis and amended the application to ask the court to declare her suspension unconstitutional, irrational and invalid.

In his responding affidavit, Ramaphosa disputes that the matter is urgent and that Mkhwebane’s proposed timeframes for the court matter are “unreasonable” as he has a busy schedule.

He says Mkhwebane wants the court to overturn her suspension on the same grounds that she advanced for the interdict, which was dismissed by the court.

Ramaphosa says she is now seeking “a second bite of the proverbial cherry”.

However, she does add investigations into Ramaphosa regarding Glencore and the alleged cover-up of the Phala Phala burglary.

“I am not aware of any investigation that has been commenced by the Office of the Public Protector against me in relation to Glencore,” reads Ramaphosa’s affidavit.

EFF leader Julius Malema on Tuesday made a string of allegations against president Cyril Ramaphosa, accusing him of money laundering and tax evasion because of the large amount of money that had been stored at his Phala Phala farm in Limpopo. The EFF wants Ramaphosa to step aside while the police investigate the criminal case opened against him. The party…

He said he had an interest in Shanduka Resources, which held shares and was a shareholding partner of Glencore.

He says he divested from Shanduka in 2014 and never held any Glencore shares. Furthermore, the allegations of corruption and bribery aren’t against Glencore South Africa.

“Consequently, there is no basis for the alleged conflict of interest in respect of the Glencore issue,” Ramaphosa’s affidavit reads.

Regarding Phala Phala, Ramaphosa said:

First, I do not answer to the substance of the allegations in this affidavit. I do not do so because there are already pending investigations underway in respect of which, I describe below, I have given my full cooperation.

Ramaphosa states he received correspondence from Deputy Public Protector Kholeka Gcaleka, who has been acting Public Protector since Mkhwebane’s suspension, that the investigation is continuing. He said he would submit his response to Gcaleka’s questions to the court. After Gcaleka granted him an extension, his answers are due at the Office of the Public Protector on 18 July. 

“Advocate Mkhwebane places no facts before that court that demonstrate even on a prima facie basis that her suspension has impeded the investigation in any manner whatsoever or has in any way affected the investigation negatively or resulted in the Acting Public Protector being unable to fulfil her obligations in respect of the investigation.”

Ramaphosa said there was no basis for the contention that he suspended Mkhwebane in retaliation for the Phala Phala investigation. He said the wheels were in motion for her suspension long before her investigation started.

In his affidavit, Ramaphosa recalled the correspondence between himself and Mkwhebane in the run-up to her suspension, which started in March.

Ramaphosa said it was not correct that all parties to the interdict application were informed at 11:35 on 9 June that the judgment would be handed down the following day.

His legal counsel only received an email in this regard at15:34, and this email was sent to his office at 15:46.

“My letter of suspension was sent to Advocate Mkhwebane by my office at 15:34…” reads Ramaphosa’s affidavit.

“By the time that the court notification came to my attention, I has already taken my decision and signed the suspension letter which had been sent to Advocate Mkhwebane.”

Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane is seen during

Busisiwe Mkhwebane.

Gallo Images Tebogo Letsie, Gallo Images, City Press

Ramaphosa said a revised draft of the letter was sent to him the previous evening, and the letter was finalised the morning of 9 June.

He said he signed the letter then and immediately boarded a flight to Cape Town to deliver the Presidency Budget Vote speech.

It was only after his address, which was delayed by the EFF’s antics that Ramaphosa became aware of the court’s notification.

“By that stage, my decision on Advocate Mkhwebane’s suspension has been taken and my letter had been transmitted to Advocate Mkhwebane.”

Ramaphosa denies he “sought to violate the dignity of Advocate Mkhwebane or to humiliate her”.

“I did no more than lawfully exercise my suspension powers in terms of Section 194(3)(a) of the Constitution.”   

The matter will be heard on 26 and 27 July. Mkhwebane’s impeachment hearings will commence on 11 July.

–Media24

‘I am not at peace over Senzo,’ says Irvin Khoza

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Orlando Pirates boss Irvin Khoza presents Senzo Meyiwa with the chairman’s award during the club’s awards ceremony in July 2014 Photo: Lefty Shivambu / Gallo Images

Orlando Pirates supremo Irvin Khoza this week weighed in on the ongoing case of the club’s slain captain Senzo Meyiwa.Speaking for the first time since the trial of the five suspects accused of the murder began in the Pretoria High Court in April, Khoza said he could not deal with the confusion surrounding the case, which seeks to determine who killed the affable goalkeeper. Meyiwa was also the captain of Bafana Bafana at the time of his death in 2014.

“What we’re [being told] about what happened and this riddle that keeps unfolding are unfortunate,” he said.

“It’s [bewildering] to all of us. We don’t know what’s taken place to create this kind of confusion among the police, the Hawks, the witnesses, the neighbours and the people in the house. And I don’t think the boy deserved that kind of treatment, because he was a gentleman.”

Meyiwa was shot dead in October 2014 while at the family home of his girlfriend at the time, singer Kelly Khumalo, in Vosloorus, Ekurhuleni.

Khoza said he would not find peace until the culprit was brought to book.

He recalled the early days when he recruited the goalie as a teenager who served the Bucs from the junior ranks as a 13-year-old with distinction and went on to become a national hero.

“Unfortunately, the murder happened when he was the captain of my team, as well as the captain of the national team,” lamented the Pirates owner.

“That’s why when I took him to his family, I told his father: ‘I’m happy to bring you your son, but I’m not happy because he’s lifeless. I took him as a 13-year-old boy and now I’m bringing him as a national asset. If this happened this way, it can’t be good.

Said Khoza: 

So I hope they [the authorities] find a solution as soon as possible – that they find the culprit

“Then I’ll be at peace. We can’t be at peace over the boy who deserved better and who gave so much.”

Reminiscing over the life and times of Meyiwa at Pirates, Khoza recalled some of the traits that made the Bucs shotstopper one of the most respected figures at the Soweto powerhouse.

“The Iron Duke” – as Khoza is known in local football circles – added that Meyiwa had seldom been dismayed by his howlers that had cost the team in matches.

“His mood was unbelievable. He never had a long face when he wasn’t playing and in the shadows of Moeneeb Josephs.

“It’s as if God was saying He was going to recall this man. Meyiwa went to TP Mazembe and stopped two penalties. He wasn’t the kind of person to have a long face, be grumpy or complain. People were always attracted to him because he was a jolly fellow.

“He was one of the few players in the team who never had an agent.

“I always tell the players and staff in the office – in the transition programme – that when you’re still a star, you’re attracted to the people, but when you’re on your way down, you have to make yourself attractive to them. That’s where the challenge lies.”

Five suspects are facing charges of premeditated murder, attempted murder, armed robbery, illegal possession of a firearm and the illegal possession of ammunition.

The five accused – Mthobisi Mncube, Muzikawukhulelwa Sibiya, Bongani Ntanzi, Mthokoziseni Maphisa and Sifiso Ntuli – have pleaded not guilty to the charges.

The case begins again on July 11 for submissions by defence Advocate Malesela Teffo.

The court will also consider the contents of a second docket, which was referred to during the cross-examination of the first state witness and police forensic expert, Thabo Mosia.

–City Press

Communities near mines see little benefit from riches underground

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Mantwa Molefe, 40, from Khutsong township in Carletonville on the side of the street full of sewage spill. Image: Veli Nhlapo

Residents in the dark about social project promises

Residents of Khutsong in Carletonville believe that the mining operations on their doorsteps have brought no positives to their lives as they continue to languish in poor service delivery and stagnant development.

The township on the West Rand is one of many that were mentioned in a social audit report by civic organisations which states that 79% of mining affected communities in the country are not benefiting from the multibillion-rand industry.  

Civic organisations including Macua/Wamua and ActionAid conducted audits on social labour plans (SLPs) of 10 mining companies in Limpopo, Gauteng, the North West and the Free State.

The site where Harmony Gold mine was supposed to build a rental unit to benefit the community of the Merafong area.
Image: Veli Nhlapo

Mining houses submit SLPs as part of their application for mining rights to the department of mineral resources and energy (DMR) to show their commitment to support development in the communities where they operate.

According to the report, Harmony Gold, which is one of the companies mentioned,  failed to fulfil promises made in the SLP for 2013-2017 to uplift the Khustsong community.

According to the report, a rental housing development project, a digital hub, farming support project and others mentioned in the SLP never benefited the communities in the Merafong area. 

Mantwa Molefe, 40, from Khutsong said mines in the area had brought no improvement to the lives of residents.

“The unemployment rate here is high and youth are involved in criminal activity. Living in a place like this is painful. There is gold being mined here but the lives of residents are not improving,” Molefe said.

Lebogang Ramothwala, 37, from Khutsong Township in Carletonville.

Veli Nhlapo

Molefe said most residents were in the dark about social projects initiated by mining companies, including the Deelkraal rental unit project mentioned in Harmony Gold’s SLP.

“Physical verification by the social audit team revealed that the rental units committed to in Deelkraal did not exist,” the report states.  

Molefe said the community’s relationship with the company was one of broken promises and poor communication. The unemployed mother of two said her family depended on her mother’s pension grant, which was a reality for most households as jobs were scarce.

“Mines have brought us nothing but stress. Most people here feel hopeless,” Molefe said.

Merafong residents now used to living with stench, in dark

The Merafong municipal area is surrounded by several privately owned mines but according to the report, job opportunities for local residents are limited.

Another Khutsong resident, Lebogang Ramothwala, 37, said the SLPs did not speak to the needs of residents. “The mines do not consult with the community to find out what we need. They write those plans for themselves,” Ramothwala said.

Smelly water from a clogged sewage pipe could be seen near Dipuo Diale’s gate. The 69-year-old has also watched six of her neighbours move out because their houses were caving into sinkholes.

Diale said though she knows that it is only a matter of time before her own house starts to fall apart she refuses to move into the four-roomed houses provided by the government as an alternative. “I would rather sink with my house. How do they expect me to leave my seven rooms for a four-roomed house?”

Harmony Gold brand manager Max Manoeli said the company had invested in various projects including a digital hub that created three full-time jobs, a recycling project costing R3.5m and support for the Nooidgedargh farm to the tune of R2.5m.

Manoeli said the rental unit project was initiated after the company’s Deelkraal mine stopped operating in 2004 with the aim to develop it into a township, but there were issues with rezoning the area.

“Our socioeconomic strategy ensures that we create trust with all our employees, host communities and government. Responsible stewardship is one of our strategic pillars and forms the foundation upon which our socioeconomic activities are built,” he said.

Macua/Wamua spokesperson Phyllia Ngoatje said the DMR should do more to hold companies to account. Ngoatje said most mining areas, especially in rural settings, continue to experience extreme poverty.

“This is the common trend because mining companies do not leave projects with long-lasting benefits in communities. The quality of life in a lot of mining communities is not very high,” she said.

ANC appoints Baleka Mbete to lead women’s league task team, excludes Bathabile Dlamini

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Baleka Mbete

It’s out with the old and in with the not-so-new in the ANC Women’s League.

The ANC has appointed former National Assembly speaker Baleka Mbete to lead a national task team to run the affairs of the ANC Women’s League (ANCWL) after the disbandment of the league’s leadership structure in April.

Mbete served as the ANC’s national chairperson for 10 years between December 2007 and December 2017 and acted as the country’s deputy president for eight months after Thabo Mbeki’s recall.

Conspicuous by her absence is Bathabile Dlamini, the league’s president from August 2015 until its disbandment. She was found guilty of perjury and sentenced to four years in prison, half of which was suspended, with the option of a R200,000 fine in April for lying under oath while she was minister of social development.

Dlamini harbours ambitions to lead the ANCWL again, according to party sources.

ANC treasurer-general Paul Mashatile previously told TimesLIVE the party’s national executive committee (NEC) decided that members with ambitions of leading the league may not be in charge of the task team.

“We said at the NEC we would like to have a convener and co-ordinator who have no vested interest in becoming leaders of the women’s league so that they are able to pull this thing together. The NEC did not say those who are leaders now should not be included in the team, but they have asked the officials to look at it,” Mashatile said in April.

While Dlamini has been left out of the team, the disbanded ANCWL’s secretary-general Meokgo Matuba is in as an additional member.