Monday, November 29, 2021
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Sort out your staff issues, City Power tells Eskom

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City Power has “raised concerns” with Eskom over a go-slow by employees leading to delays lasting hours in the restoration of power after load-shedding in parts of Gauteng.

“Our customers have in recent days been hard done by when electricity is supposed to be restored after load-shedding, with many restored several hours after their scheduled restorations,” said City Power spokesperson Isaac Mangena.

Most affected customers were in the “border” areas, including Randburg, Midrand and Lenasia.

Mangena said customers in northern Johannesburg areas such as Northriding and Windsor were the hardest hit, going three to five hours without power after load-shedding had ended.

Mangena said the Windsor substation was load-shed at 2am on Wednesday and was due to operate again at 4.30am but by 8am power had not been restored.

“[On Tuesday] the same Windsor customers were shed at 2pm and due to be restored by 4.30pm but were only restored just before 7pm due to delayed restoration by Eskom.”

The same challenge was experienced by customers supplied by the Olivedale substation which supplies power to parts of Northriding.

In a statement on October 31, Eskom confirmed there were delays attending to network faults due to some technicians embarking on a go-slow.

Daphne Mokwena, a senior customer service manager at the power utility, said technicians who were not part of the go-slow were left to attend to network faults and restore supply.

“We can confirm Eskom management met with the trade unions and labour matters were resolved, with the agreement that technicians will resume operations,” Mokwena said.

But Mangena said this was unacceptable and called on the power utility to sort out its staffing issues.

“We call on Eskom to address its staff issues, or fix its system to enable it to operate load-shedding remotely instead of manually,” he said.

“We have raised our concerns with Eskom in this regard and appeal to our customers to bear with us while we try to resolve this with Eskom.”

TimesLIVE

Malawi President Chakwera implores citizens to stop asking politicians to run their families

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Malawi President, Lazarus Chakwera


LILONGWE. –Malawian President Lazarus Chakwera has asked each citizen to take responsibility for the country’s development rather than always demanding it from the politicians.
He said he had hundreds of messages on his phone from people asking him “to run their families for them” just because he is president – adding that MPs had similar messages from their constituents.
“We must cure ourselves of the habit of asking more of our politicians than we demand from ourselves… Our country will never develop with that kind of spirit,” he said on Monday.
The Malawian president asked citizens to implement plans at household level that were in line with a national development plan, which he was launching.
He gave an example of the country’s plan to improve productivity and commercialisation of agriculture – which he said could not happen “without fundamental changes at the household level”.
He said farmers had to think of diversifying the crops they grow and how they do it in order to improve harvests.
He said it “won’t matter which politician you elect into office or how many times you tell a politician to change” if the people did not change. A video of the president’s speech has been shared on Facebook.

–– BBC

ANC nominating mayors for hanging municipalities

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  • The ANC is interviewing mayoral candidates across the country. 
  • This is despite coalition talks in 66 municipalities hanging in the balance. 
  • Regional party leaders were told to nominate three candidates who will be interviewed. 

Despite coalition talks hanging in the balance, the ANC has moved to nominate mayoral candidates across the country, with the party planning on conducting interviews on Saturday. 

Regional leaders of the ANC were asked to forward three names to be considered for the mayoral chain in municipalities across the country. The nominees would then face an interview panel of ANC national executive committee (NEC) members. 

Party insiders said ANC processes could not be held back because the party did not have clarity on talks related to the 66 hung councils. 

The ANC had centralised coalition negotiations, but had failed to make headway as it appeared to be pushed into a corner by the EFF after the DA, ActionSA and GOOD all rejected talks with the it. 

The ANC’s top six, and NEC members Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and Phumulo Masualle, will conduct the interviews for the country’s metros. 

Meanwhile, other NEC members will be sent to the nine provinces to conduct interviews there as part of the ANC’s stated bid to appoint competent leaders after years of failure. 

Party insiders said that, even if the ANC failed in coalition talks, they wanted “the best to lead the ANC as opposition”. 

The ANC’s regional leadership in Johannesburg nominated current Mayor Mpho Moerane, Eunice Mgcina and ANC regional secretary Dada Morero to be considered for the top job. 

President Cyril Ramaphosa has insisted that the ANC will not go into coalitions at any cost.

In Tshwane, the ANC nominated Frans Boshielo, Rebecca Morudi and Simphiwe Mbatha.

In Ekhurleni, current Mayor Mzwandile Masina was nominated alongside ANC Women’s League chairperson Nomadlozi Nkosi and ANC deputy chairperson in the region Jongizizwe Dlabathi. 

As part of the interview process, prospective mayors will have to answer questions on governance and oversight; financial management and budgeting; community engagement and citizen responsiveness; service delivery and performance management; and economic development and resource planning.

The ANC has also set different criteria for metro mayors. They will have to demonstrate previous experience in the public or private sector, where they led a team of more than 100 employees. 

District and local mayors will need to have led a team of at least 50 people.

The ANC noted that prospective mayors would need to prove a demonstrable record of discipline, with no criminal records or evidence of maladministration.

They must also prove to understand local government issues like water, sanitation, electricity and refuse removal. 

–News24

Ramaphosa says the R131 billion will help to end load shedding

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President Cyril Ramaphosa says the R131 billion investment which South Africa recently secured into renewable energy will help overcome the debilitating load shedding which the country is currently experiencing.

This comes as Eskom announced stage 4 load shedding from Monday afternoon to 5am on Friday, forcing the country to languish in darkness as a result of the power utility’s challenges in providing steady electricity to citizens.

Eskom had initially announced on Sunday had that the country would remain on stage 2 load shedding for the rest of the week. In a statement on Monday, however, Eskom spokesperson Sikonathi Mantshantsha said it was necessary to escalate the load shedding from stage 2 to stage 4:While Eskom regrets the escalation in load shedding, it is necessary to ration the remaining emergency generation reserves, which have been utilised extensively this morning as we are not getting the reduction in demand as expected from the implementation of stage 2 load shedding.

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“[Eskom] was anticipating that an additional seven units would have returned to service by Monday, but this has not materialised. Further, a generating unit at Arnot Power Station [in Mpumalanga] tripped this morning, contributing to the shortages.”

Writing in his weekly newsletter on Monday, Ramaphosa said the R131 billion investment committed by Germany, France, the US and the UK to speed up South Africa’s shift away from coal, as well as other investments into renewable energy, would help the country get out of the load shedding quagmire.

Load shedding has become a harsh reality for South African households and industries, the former who have seen Grade 12 learners who are writing their final exams being disrupted and the latter who have had to shed jobs as a result.

“South Africa has recently secured an initial commitment of about R131 billion to fund a transition to a low carbon economy by investing in renewable energy, green hydrogen and electric vehicles.”

“This commitment by the US, UK, France, Germany and the EU is in line with the Paris Agreement, which obliges wealthier countries to support decarbonisation in the developing world,” Ramaphosa wrote.

He said the 25 preferred bidders in the fifth round of the country’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme were expected to invest about R50 billion into the economy.

Meanwhile, the increase of the licensing threshold for embedded generation to 100 megawatts is likely to result in substantial private investment in electricity generation projects.

“These energy investments will help us overcome the debilitating load shedding that the country is currently experiencing, as new electricity generation capacity comes online,” said Ramaphosa.

The president also announced that the annual SA Investment Conference, which was due to be held this month, would take place in March 2022. This is because of the recently held local government elections, the COP26 climate conference and the Intra-African Trade Fair, which starts in Durban next week.

Another important reason for holding the conference next year, according to Ramaphosa, is that there will be far greater Covid-19 vaccination coverage by then, making both travelling and gathering easier.

“We held the first SA Investment Conference in 2018 as part of our ambitious drive to raise R1.2 trillion in new investment over five years. The conference was attended by [more than] a thousand delegates in 2018 and 2019, [respectively], and in 2020 was held in a hybrid format due to the Covid-19 pandemic.”Together, these conferences raised just over R770 billion in investment commitments across a wide range of economic sectors.Ramaphosa

Regarding the blackouts, Eskom said stage 2 load shedding would resume on Friday and last 5am on Saturday.

“We remind customers that load shedding is implemented as a last resort to maintain the stability of the power system regardless of the stage of load shedding … Eskom would like to apologise for the inconvenience caused by the implementation of load shedding, and requests the public to reduce the usage of electricity in order to help us through the constraints,” said Mantshantsha.

Meanwhile, trade union federation Cosatu has thrown its support behind the deal that will see South Africa receive the R131 billion in cheap loans and grants to fund a move away from coal. The partnership was announced last week at COP26 in Glasgow, Scotland, Fin24 reported.

“[The deal] will assist Eskom to invest in new energy generation capacity,” said Cosatu spokesperson Sizwe Pamla.

“This is critical as a third of Eskom’s generation capacity will reach the end of its lifespan by 2030, and the power utility does not have sufficient funds at its disposal.”

Pamla said the funding agreement would help support workers and communities whose livelihoods are at risk from the decommissioning of the fleet of coal-fired power stations.

On the other hand, the EFF has indicated that it will oppose the deal.

Addressing the media last week, EFF deputy president Floyd Shivambu said there would not be any “American” who would build the energy security of South Africa.

“We have 400 years of coal lifespan and we are just instructed by Americans that we should stop that. If they want to experiment with the transition from coal to different energy sources, let them go and do it in Germany first.”

–Media24

Union demands the resignation of Eskom executives and board as load-shedding deepens

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3 February 2021 DA calls on EC cooperative governance MEC to step in to assist the province’s ANC municipalities which collectively owe Eskom R2 billion. The figure comes from MEC’s response to DA’s Vicky Momberg in the Bhisho legislature. It includes R38m owed by Makana alone. Momberg says MEC must consult with treasury how best to stabilise these municipalities and to shift focus to establishing renewable energy facilities as DA is doing in Kouga. Picture Eugene Coetzee/The Herald

The strategy to fix SA’s long-lasting electricity supply problems is not working and heads must roll, says the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM).

On Tuesday the NUM said the Eskom board and executives should resign.

“They promised they will resolve the problem of load-shedding in 18 months. They dismally failed to meet their set target. All we need is leadership who will keep the lights burning,” said William Mabapa, the union’s acting general secretary.

“The Eskom leadership presented a turnaround strategy that is not tailored to solve the load-shedding problems we are experiencing.”

Mabapa said the current Eskom strategy focused on unbundling the utility and disposing of some of its assets.

“Unbundling is presented as a panacea for all Eskom problems. The NUM is on record as opposed to this way of thinking.”

Trade union Solidarity is also speaking out against Eskom management, telling Moneyweb staff are being blamed for load-shedding but they lack basic equipment to do their jobs.

“There are no spares because there is no money. Staff are trying to improvise and get permission for makeshift plans, but when the pawpaw hits the fan, management turns on them and blames them,” said Tommy Wedderspoon, coordinator for the electrical sector at Solidarity.

Moneyweb quoted Solidarity as saying unions are heading to the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) where a dispute about Eskom’s “unilateral implementation of salary increases and reduction in benefits” will be heard in December.

NUM charged that Eskom’s executives “do not respect the agreements with trade unions. They have unilaterally changed workers’ conditions of employment.

“The executive leadership of Andre de Rutyer and the board must do SA a favour and resign from their positions or the government must intervene and discharge them,” said Mabapa.

“We call on the government to set up a team of competent South Africans to run Eskom while waiting for the appointment of a new board and executives.”

The cabinet last week acknowledged “the disruptions and inconvenience of intermittent load-shedding experienced by South Africans in recent days” and said action was being taken to deal with it.

“National Treasury is working with Eskom to grant it the appropriate exemptions to acquire the spare parts needed for repairs and maintenance. Eskom is making progress in re-employing skilled personnel, including plant managers, to help the power utility make headway at individual power stations and across operations of the business.

“Over the medium term, government is implementing interventions to resolve our energy challenges, and we are making every effort to bring new power generation capacity online in the shortest possible time.”

The interventions include:

  • lifting the threshold for companies to produce their own electricity without a licence to 100 megawatts (MW);
  • the announcement of 11 successful bidders for the Risk Mitigation Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme; and
  • Bid Window Five of the renewable energy programme to procure 2,600MW of new generation capacity from wind and solar photovoltaic projects.

“While cabinet is aware the energy challenges are frustrating and counterproductive to economic growth, it is confident the practical actions government is taking to restructure and strengthen our electricity system will eventually improve the country’s energy capacity.”

TimesLIVE

Zimbabwe Warriors cry foul in South Africa over unsuitable training venues

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ZIMBABWE’s Warriors have been forced to look for a better training pitch in South Africa after rejecting what had been offered.

Norman Mapeza’s charges are preparing for the clash against Bafana Bafana in the penultimate round of the 2022 world cup qualifiers at the FNB stadium in Johannesburg on Thursday night.

Warriors manager Wellington Mpandare said that of the two venues they had been given, none of them was suitable.

“We were given two venues but one had tall grass and the other one had artificial turf so we didn’t want to take chances, so last night the coach and I had to look for a training pitch and we found the one we are using now,” he said.

“It also happened in Ghana last month, we had problems acquiring even a private pitch, I guess it’s African football, we are used to it now, so there are no complaints,” he said.

The Warriors held their first training session at the Sandton sports club and are scheduled to use the same pitch for afternoon training while waiting for the South African Football Association to fix the venue issue.

– ZTN

Ramaphosa blows ANC trumpet even in face of dwindling support

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President Cyril Ramaphosa at an ANC NEC meeting. Photo: Sarel van der Walt

President Cyril Ramaphosa borrowed from the 1955 Freedom Charter on Monday, declaring during a post-elections thanksgiving event that “no government can justly claim authority unless it is based on the will of all the people”.

He was speaking at a party event at the Soweto campus of the University of Johannesburg.h

Over the weekend the ANC leadership retreated into a strategy session to reflect on the scolding that the electorate reserved for the party during last Monday’s polls.

The ANC national executive committee (NEC) was also due to plot its response to the looming coalition talks where it would compete and cooperate with opposition parties for space to govern. The party’s performance was the worst in the party’s history and marked its first drop below 50% support since 1994.

Ramaphosa’s retreat to 1955 moment was a glimpse into the ANC’s headspace going into the much-awaited talks on coalition governments in municipalities where no party secured an outright majority during last week’s local government polls.

His overall demeanour was that of a general marshalling his troops for any possible outcome, as the ANC would step in with a weaker foot in bargaining talks for power sharing in municipalities where no party secured an outright majority.

The ANC not defeated

He declared that the ANC would not approach any potential coalition partners holding a begging bowl:We are not on our knees.

“I don’t want any one of us to go with our heads hung down, feeling that we are defeated. No way. We are the ANC,” Ramaphosa said.

Some of the more boisterous opposition parties have declared the door shut on working with the ANC. It may be gamesmanship, but Ramaphosa said the ANC was unshaken:I have been hearing parties saying they will not go into coalition with the ANC and that made me wonder, who said the ANC wants to get into partnerships with them?

Where the opposition would not be prepared to compromise, Ramaphosa saw the possibility of elections being rerun:Legislation will kick in if there is a failure to formulate councils and a rerun of elections in those hung municipalities could be forced.

Ramaphosa noted that power-sharing deals could be complex and the temptation to settle for less would be irritable in places where the ANC had never been in opposition. “We will be clear that we do not want casual agreements.’’h

He also sought to shore up the party’s health status, saying it was not all doom and gloom as predicted by opponents. He said some of the party’s political opponents were talking about the perilous state of the party, but the ANC was resilient.

“They don’t know us too well. We will not turn away from implementing the will of the people. Our people have spoken,’’ he said.

Hype-man Mbalula under scrutiny

In a similar war cry to Ramaphosa, ANC head of elections Fikile Mbalula took to social media yesterday to declare the ANC’s continued dominance in voter support even when it took a knock. “We have received more than 10.6 million votes. We have more than 4 500 local government seats and an outright majority in 167 councils. That is not chicken feed.”

He said the ANC remained the largest party in every metro except Cape Town and Nelson Mandela Bay.

Mbalula had to hype up his performance as the lead strategist in the ANC’s elections war room. His performance would also have come under scrutiny during the weekend’s crisis meeting, with some in the NEC suggesting that perhaps he was best suited for the filling up stadium, but not to be given the role to explain the ANC’s policy positions and service delivery record.

His desperate attempt to deny that Ramaphosa in 2019 promised the people of Alexandra one million houses would go down as one of his lowlights.

Bravado over humility

It was clear that the ANC head honchos emerged from the weekend meeting convinced that a lot of bravado would do the trick and a possible election rerun could change the party’s fortunes.

The ANC may have looked at its recent track record in by-elections for motivation. The low turnout in the by-elections seems to have increasingly favoured the ANC. Smaller parties that eat into the cake during the much bigger municipal and general elections usually disappear during by-elections.

From that point of view, it would make sense why the party comes out of its get-together with a determination to keep its ground troops mobilised for any possibility. At a time when the Electoral Commission of SA (IEC) is encouraging political parties to take down posters and the electorate is looking for certainty on the best possible governing arrangements, the ANC is prepared to take it all the way to the wire. Interesting move indeed.

Critics may point out that the party may be better served if it accepted its new opposition status with humility and played a constructive role to ensure that stability is achieved in hung municipalities at the earliest time possible.

-City Press

EFF are better coalition partner than DA: Herman Mashaba

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Herman Mashaba

The EFF is a better political party to form a coalition with, compared with the DA. These are the sentiments of ActionSA leader Herman Mashaba, who commends his relationship with the red berets in fighting corruption.

“The EFF has never objected to me firing a corrupt member, however, my former party [the DA] led me to resign for firing a corrupt member,” the politician explained.

Mashaba was speaking at a briefing on Tuesday, where the party outlined its coalition negotiations. Mashaba worked with the EFF during his tenure as Johannesburg mayor and as part of a coalition between the EFF and his former political home, the DA.

His new party gained kingmaker status in Gauteng during the 2021 local government elections and has insisted that it would only have talks with parties that shared its values.

In its maiden election, the party received over 9% of the votes in Gauteng. Although Mashaba said nothing was finalised, he affirmed his decision not to work with the ANC.

He said:I cannot see how one can work with such a corrupt organisation. Corruption is really what has put us where we are. Look at what they’ve done to Eskom. Look at what they’ve done to our infrastructure, our rail networks, our buses, our roads. You look at most of the cities throughout the country – they’ve destroyed our facilities.

The ActionSA leader says he’s proven beyond reasonable doubt that his party is the only one capable of unseating the ANC. “The ANC is a problem. People of South Africa have spoken loudly. They have rejected the ANC. For us to bring them back through the back door would be criminal or evil.

“If we are not able to find coalition partners that are happy to work with us and serve South Africans, we are happy to be on the opposition benches,” he said, adding that he was ready to serve as a councillor.

ActionSA became the third largest party in the Johannesburg council, with 44 seats.

The ANC, however, doesn’t appear fazed by ActionSA’s stance. President Cyril Ramaphosa said the party, although wounded, was still not ready to compromise and enter coalitions just for the sake of it.

“I have been hearing parties saying they will not go into coalition with the ANC and that made me wonder, who said the ANC wants to get into partnerships with them,” he asked.

Ramaphosa’s remarks were made during an ANC post-election event in Soweto on Monday, where the possibility of election reruns existed in hung municipalities if coalition negotiations were unsuccessful.

Election re-run?

On Tuesday, with fewer than two weeks for parties to form coalition governments in 66 hung councils, ActionSA challenged Ramaphosa, saying it was confident it would defeat the ANC at the polls if South Africans were to vote again. However, he cautioned that citizens stood to suffer if there was a possibility of a rerun.

He said: If we are forced to go for a rerun, we will do that, but in that period when we are campaigning again, who suffers? The residents.

ActionSA’s John Moodey said they had reservations about the EFF’s proposal. “As a team, we have some very serious reservations about the pitch that was forwarded to us yesterday. Last night we received an electronic version of the proposed delivery pact with us and, after this meeting, together as a team, we will be going through the document with a fine-tooth comb.”

ANC running after EFF as DA, IFP and GOOD reject coalition talks

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ANC supporters during the election campaign in Meadowlands, Soweto.Gallo Images/Sharon Seretlo
  • Talks between the ANC and EFF understood to be at an advanced stage and maybe concluded as soon as Wednesday. 
  • The governing party was forced to turn to the red berets after the DA, the IFP and GOOD all shut the door on coalition talks.
  • The ANC, in turn, said it was willing to listen to anyone who approached the party. 

The ANC, who suffered major losses in the municipal election last week, have had their woes compounded as the DA, IFP and GOOD have all shut them out of coalition talks. 

Sources with intimate knowledge of how the coalition talks were progressing, told News24 that senior ANC stalwarts such as former president Thabo Mbeki, former minister Roelf Meyer, former party deputy secretary-general Cheryl Carolus and Joel Netshitenzhe,  among others, had been roped in to give counsel on whether the party ought to go into coalition with the DA or the EFF. 

But it appeared that the ANC would not have much of a choice in the matter. 

The ANC national executive committee (NEC), that met on Sunday, was initially split along two lines: radical economic transformation (RET) which was in favour of an EFF deal, while the CR17 faction was in support of a DA deal.

This, after 66 municipalities of 213 in the country were left without an outright majority.

“They see an ANC-EFF deal as a major threat for the future of country as it may extend into national government,” said a source with intimate knowledge of what transpired in the meeting. 

The source added that the ANC and DA were initially considering a basket deal in the municipalities where neither had garnered a majority – this would entail splitting up posts in terms of the largest party getting the mayorship, while the other party gets the rest of the major positions. 

A senior NEC member confirmed to News24 that the ANC was keen on getting the DA partnership across the line, but said the stumbling block was DA leader John Steenhuisen, who, unlike the party’s federal chairperson Helen Zille, was not entertaining the thought of going into partnership with their political enemies. 

The DA also had its own meeting of its federal executive on Sunday and News24 was reliably told that the party had decided to shelve the idea of going into partnership with the ANC for, among other reasons, the probable loss of support.

Steenhuisen said:The DA’s DNA is that of being an alternative to the ANC; so going to bed with the ANC would be a seen as a direct violation of those founding principles. The party also considered how it lost so much support after it joined forces with the EFF. Our support base is made up of individuals who do not compromise especially when we get into partnerships with those seen as a direct contrast to what we stand for. Hence, going into partnership with the ANC would have led to a scores of supporters walking out on the party, a scenario we could not afford after our recent poor showing in the 2019 and 2021 elections.

The DA leader also added that the party needed to make a strong statement and rejecting the ANC’s advances gave it a great standing among its constituents. 

Another DA leader added that the party had invested a lot of money, particularly in Johannesburg and Nelson Mandela Bay.slide 1 of 1john steenhuisenDA leader John Steenhuisen.News24 Kayleen Morgan, News24

He said they were unwilling to let go of governance in these metros which could have been on the cards had it gone into coalition with the ANC as they could have been forced to take Nelson Mandela Bay, with the ANC retaining Johannesburg.

The DA and ANC have been scrambling to find coalition partners after Monday’s local government elections left 61 municipalities with no clear winner.

Following a meeting of its Federal Executive on Sunday, the DA announced that it had ruled out going into coalitions with the ANC and EFF. 

During a virtual press briefing, DA leader John Steenhuisen said: “It is not the DA’s role to save the ANC. It’s not what our voters want; it’s not what the DA stands for as a party.”

He added that the DA were the real kingmakers and the alternative to the ANC because of the size of the party and the fact that it managed to retain its position after the municipal elections as the second biggest party in terms of votes. “As the DA, we have recommitted ourselves to further weakening the ANC over the two years ahead of the 2024 elections, but more importantly, we want to bring them below 50% in those elections and to that effect, we will not be entering into any coalition agreements with the EFF, the ANC and any other party that does not subscribe to constitutionalism, the rule of law, a social market economy and a capable state and non-racism. These are non-negotiables for the DA.”

He added that his party had learnt to its detriment what happened when it decided to go into coalition governments with parties that did not have similar values as the DA’s. 

“So we have committed ourselves to be parts of opposition majorities with like-minded partners with the role of keeping the ANC out of power in as many places across South Africa,” said Steenhuisen.

EFF front runners to form coalitions with ANC

As it became clearer on Sunday that the DA would rebuff the ANC’s advances, talks soon focused on the red berets, with an EFF leader telephoning a senior ANC NEC member just before ANC deputy secretary general Jessie Duarte held a media briefing outside the Saint George Hotel in Irene where the NEC meeting was held.

Speaking to News24, a senior NEC member said the only stumbling block from certain sectors within the ANC leadership were some of the demands being made by the EFF, which included that the ANC vote with it on the amendment of Section 25 to allow expropriation of land without compensation. slide 1 of 1EFF leader Julius Malema addresses the media, giviEFF leader Julius Malema addresses the media. Photo by Christopher Moagi.

“The hesitance is that our electorate will see this as the ANC’s policies now being dictated by the EFF. Look at what they did with [former Johannesburg mayor] Herman Mashaba… saying he was an EFF stooge,” said the NEC member. 

Desperate 

Another NEC member said the EFF was aware that the ANC was desperate because of its dismal showing at the polls and negations with any party would mean having to give up more than what the party would have given had it fared better. 

The ANC’s woes were also exacerbated by the fact that the IFP indicated that it would not be going into coalitions with the ANC, particularly in municipalities in KwaZulu-Natal.

The party’s president, Velenkosini Hlabisa, confirmed this during a media briefing on Sunday.

“The ANC has not been honest with us in the past. They have let down people of South Africa and the voters clearly expressed themselves when it comes to the ANC,” said Hlabisa.

Coalition talks were underway for the 21 hung councils in the province.

The IFP had also set up a team that would work on establishing the party’s role in the hung municipalities where it had the highest number of votes.

The party retained 13 municipalities, largely in the northern parts of the province.

GOOD also said its councillors would serve as “constructive oppositions” and would not be joining forces with any party, including the ANC. 

“Our national management committee has considered several approaches to form coalitions with other political parties in these municipalities. We have concluded that the best way to serve our supporters, and all the residents in these towns and cities, would be as a constructive opposition,” said GOOD in a statement.

Coalitions: DA turns down Mashaba’s demand for Joburg mayoral position

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ActionSA leader Herman Mashaba

As coalition negotiations begin in earnest, City Press has learnt that the DA is frantically working towards keeping the ANC out of power in the key metros that delivered inconclusive results in this week’s local government election

The party, which came second in the major metros, wants to exclude the ANC from the governments of Johannesburg, Tshwane and Nelson Mandela Bay.

The DA has not yet engaged in formal deliberations with the ANC, but DA leader John Steenhuisen has said that a coalition with the government in Johannesburg or Tshwane is unlikely.

“We’ve had a few informal chats with the ANC at the results operation centre, but we’ll wait to hear whether it wants to talk to us. I’m not opposed to be talking to it, but it’s very unlikely that we’ll get into a coalition with it. I think we have a historic opportunity with the ANC being brought below 50% at local government level. I think our focus will be weakening the ANC. In places like Johannesburg and Tshwane, it will be very difficult to do a deal with the ANC because it’s the very architect of the reason those municipalities are doing so badly,” he said.

For its part, the ANC is toying with partnering with the EFF in eThekwini and Ekurhuleni, both of which saw a significant decline in ANC support. However, there is also a growing lobby to accept the losses and occupy the opposition benches in metros where the party was dragged well below the 50% mark.

‘NO’ TO MASHABA MAYORSHIP

Steenhuisen said the DA had ploughed most of its campaign funds into Nelson Mandela Bay and Johannesburg, in the hope that it would win outright majorities in those metros.

“It’s a heartbreaking result in Nelson Mandela Bay. We’ve come out as the biggest party, but forming a government will be very difficult. [However], we’ll talk to the smaller parties.

“The options are very limited because the big players aren’t represented in Nelson Mandela Bay. It’s one of the municipalities we’re looking at over the next few days along with Johannesburg and Tshwane,” said the DA leader.

The party’s preliminary talks have commenced with ActionSA, the Freedom Front Plus and the African Christian Democratic Party.

“We’ve had talks with the Freedom Front Plus about working together in municipalities in the Western Cape, Northern Cape and Gauteng, and there’ll be a conclusion by Monday. I’d really like to take Tshwane and I think we have the numbers to do so. We’ll be talking to anybody who can make that happen,” he said.

Steenhuisen said that, just as it had been in Nelson Mandela Bay, the DA’s objective would be to keep the ANC out of office in Johannesburg and Tshwane.

“Again, though, it won’t be a coalition at any cost. We have to put together a coalition that’s able to last, otherwise we might as well be an excellent opposition,” he said.

However, Steenhuisen ruled out entering a deal that would see ActionSA leader Herman Mashaba emerge as the mayor of Johannesburg, a position that the “new kid on the block” has said it would insist on in any coalition talks.

DA leader John Steenhuisen: There is no way Mashaba could be mayor when he has less than half of the votes we have in Johannesburg

“It would be very difficult, because he has half the numbers we do in Johannesburg. It would be very odd for us to make him the mayor when we have double the seats they do in Johannesburg.

“We can talk about mayoral committee positions and power-sharing. In an executive mayoral structure, especially, why would you – as the larger party – allow executive power to be taken by someone who has half the number of seats?” asked Steenhuisen.

However, the DA and ActionSA have begun talking.

Steenhuisen conceded that there was no “path to victory” in eThekwini, where – for the first time – the ANC fell to 42.2%, while the DA was at 25.2% and the EFF at 10.49%.

Steenhuisen said that because of the turbulence of the post-2016 coalitions, there would be a written agreement which set out the values and principles governing the partnerships.

ANC PONDERS ITS OPTIONS

The ANC, this election’s biggest loser, will have a chance to take stock of the electorate’s rebuke when its national executive committee (NEC) decides how best to approach coalition talks.

The governing party’s top brass graciously accepted the landslide electoral decline, but regional power-brokers may have different ideas when it comes to holding on to their local councils in areas where the party performed badly.

The meeting will consider a report from the committee headed by former minister and ANC veteran Jeff Radebe, who has been tasked with drawing up core principles that will inform the ANC’s approach to coalition talks. Among the considerations is whether there should be a minimum percentage threshold below which the party should simply accept its opposition status and stay out of any coalition.

Those supporting the proposal will argue that governing any council with anything around a 26% simple majority – which would mean the opposition has to deliver the remaining 25% in order to cross the 50%-plus mark – is political suicide, as the party will be hamstrung from implementing its manifesto promises, even if it is able to lead such a coalition government.

However, other voices will maintain that any majority on its own constitutes a popular vote, so the party should not shirk from performing its responsibilities, even with limited flexibility.https://www.youtube.com/embed/lRtvhdnZYKo?enablejsapi=1&origin=https:%2F%2Fwww.news24.com

“As long as you’re leading in that municipality by whatever margin, the fact remains that you’re leading. Whether it’s 15% or whatever, that’s okay,” said a senior leader.

Another contentious issue on the table is how to deal with ANC members who quit when they were unable to make the candidate list, ran as independent candidates and won. The party will have to acknowledge that where its candidate selection process failed, factions were able to manipulate the lists and exclude popular candidates.

Insiders say the party will have to consider those members who quit because they refused to be led by anyone else. The strong feeling in the party is that it would be hypocritical to enter into a coalition with people who defied the ANC’s rules simply in order to make up the numbers to get the party into local governments.

The NEC will deal with the vexed question of working with potential coalition partners who hold diametrically different positions, such as the DA’s stance on economic empowerment and the EFF’s “inflexible” approach on land expropriation without compensation.

An NEC member also noted that different factors might affect coalition decisions from province to province.

“For example, in Gauteng, we may look at talking to the IFP on its campaigning for the improvement of the housing conditions of hostel-dwellers. However, it’s also possible that, in KwaZulu-Natal, local dynamics preclude any form of cooperation with the IFP,” said the leader.

THE EFF’S NON-NEGOTIABLES

On Friday, the EFF announced a six-member coalition negotiation team led by its deputy president Floyd Shivambu, former chairperson Dali Mpofu, incumbent chairperson Veronica Mente, secretary-general Marshall Dlamini, Hlengiwe Mkhaliphi and former spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi.

The party’s non-negotiable pillars comprise service delivery commitments with timelines, particularly regarding land, jobs, water, electricity, flushing toilets and care for people with disabilities.

It also wants any partnership to allow it to govern exclusively in certain municipalities in exchange for others. Where this happens, there will be an agreement on oversight functions given to the coalition partner/s. It also wants non-interference from coalition partners in the appointment of municipal managers and all other senior managers.

THE DA’S BLUEPRINT FOR COALITIONS

In its draft agreement document for a coalition, which City Press has seen, the DA states that the parties with which it enters into a coalition will have to establish a joint caucus for the purposes of ensuring a coordinated response to issues that are brought before the municipal council.

The parties will have to elect a joint caucus chairperson and adopt a set of joint caucus rules in terms of which the group’s functions, decisions and rules must be endorsed by the management committee of the coalition.

The joint caucus will nominate and recommend a councillor for election to the position that is vacant, also with endorsement by the management committee.

“Members of the group must at all times adhere to and support decisions of the joint caucus and must not differ publicly from any decision once it has been taken, except when it has been decided by the joint caucus that a member may, on a question of conscience, exercise a free vote,” states the draft agreement document.

It commits joint caucus members to attending “meetings punctually and no member is excused from attending a joint caucus meeting, except by leave of the chairperson of the joint caucus”.

The party’s coalition partners are also expected to form a management committee group which will run the day-to-day administration and functions of the entity.

According to the document, the management committee will consist of the leader of every party’s caucus and other representatives to ensure parties are represented proportionally to their relative strength in that council.

Another group which will be formed is a coalition oversight group to monitor the health and strength of the relationship.

ANC Mpumalanga political turf gets ugly as Msibi allies report multiple assassination incidents

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Msibi

More allies of former Mpumalanga Agriculture, Rural Development, Land and Environmental Affairs MEC Mandla Msibi have come forward claiming that they have been hunted down and shot at due to an ANC political turf war.

Msibi, who was also the ANC’s provincial elections manager, lost all his positions two weeks ago when he was charged with double murder and attempted murder.

Since his arrest and sacking, four of his allies from KaNyamazane township outside Mbombela have survived shootings either in their cars or at their homes.

Last week, City Press reported that Dumisani Ngomane, ANC councillor candidate in KaNyamazane, was allegedly shot at as he drove from a local filling station.

The alleged attempted hit happened on the same night as Msibi’s supporters shut down KaNyamazane and Pienaar, where the former MEC resides, with burning tyres, and confiscated long-haul trucks to blockade roads. They torched one truck.

Ngomane said:I’ve been threatened before by local businesspeople on the Ngci [a rival ANC faction] side because I’ve aligned with comrade Mandla Msibi [of the Focus faction].

The police arrested Nkosinathi Shai for Ngomane’s attempted murder on Wednesday this week. Shai was released on R3 000 bail.

Shot at following a voice note mentioning their names

Three of Msibi’s allies – Sithembiso Mabasa, Tshwarelo Gumede and Selby Zulu – have laid charges with the police after claiming that they survived ambushes in their homes on the same night Ngomane was shot at. They claim that assailants opened fire on their respective homes.

The trio gave City Press a WhatsApp voice note in which a man mentions each of them by name and accuses them of bringing KaNyamazane township to a standstill.

In the voice note, the man says:They are mad. These are Mandla Msibi’s boys. They must go and burn Pienaar, not KaNyamazane. We’re not involved in Mandla Msibi’s issues. We stopped the protest … The police and us went out in numbers. We stopped this. They are fighting Mandla Msibi’s battles here; they must go fight in Pienaar.

After the voice note circulated, Mabasa said, his house was shot at on the night of October 26 and he called Gumede, who was in Pienaar, to inform him about the incident. They both stay on the same street.

Gumede said he drove back and decided to check his house first and found that it had also been shot at.

“I found bullet holes in the house. We then met and phoned some of our friends,” Gumede said.

Mabasa said that a boy he met on the street told him that the gunmen were driving a VW Tiguan.

“This was the second time my house was shot at. In December [2020], I had a political argument with some of these people at a car wash and at night my house was shot at,” Mabasa said.

Zulu said he drove to meet up with Mabasa and Gumede at the police station, and before he entered the main road, people driving in a Kia opened fire.

“I lay down and, I think, I heard five gunshots. I don’t know how I survived this,” he said.

The trio claimed to know who instigated the violence against them.

They said they were cut off from getting employment in government projects in KaNyamazane.

“They said they don’t want us at a mini-hospital construction project because we will sell KaNyamazane to Msibi,” Zulu said.

Msibi said that he was concerned by the incidents of violence:It seems that everybody who is close to me must be shot and killed. We cannot allow such lawlessness.

Mpumalanga police spokesperson Brigadier Selvy Mohlala confirmed Zulu’s shooting and said that police were investigating.

“He stopped at a T-junction to give right of way to a grey Kia Rio. It did not pass, and thereafter he heard gunshots,” Mohlala said.

Mabasa and Gumede’s cases could not be verified because of a problem with the case numbers they were given.

They, however, claimed that the police in KaNyamazane did not want to register their complaints until they phoned Msibi, who then threatened to report them to the national office.

Two more shooting incidents emerge

Another two of Msibi’s allies, Stanley Mabunda and Simphiwe Mnisi, claimed that they were attacked in 2019 and 2020. Mnisi is candidate councillor for Ward 21 in KaNyamazane. He said that his life was threatened because he did not support a senior politician in the City of Mbombela.

“I was sleeping at home on February 11 last year when they shot at my house. Fortunately, I was sleeping on a couch in the sitting room and I rolled down,” he said.

Mabunda said that he was part of a group complaining about the awarding of a sewer reticulation tender at Ntokozweni near Mbombela. He said that a group aligned to a councillor in the City of Mbombela attacked him during the day and he shot in the air to scare them.

“At night they came to shoot at my house,” he said.

–CityPress

ED not immune to prosecution: Lawyers

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Mnangagwa laughing with Chiwenga

PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa can be sued as he is not immune to court proceedings and has to respond to any lawsuit challenging his legitimacy as the Zanu PF leader, law experts said yesterday.

Mnangagwa is trying to dodge being arraigned before the courts after a Zanu PF party member, Sybeth Musengezi, last month challenged his ascendancy to the top party post in November 2017 when he had been fired in government and in Zanu PF by the late former President and party leader Robert Mugabe.

In an opposing affidavit to Musengezi’s High Court application last week, Mnangagwa’s lawyers argued that he was not liable to judicial proceedings in terms of section 98 of the national charter.

Section 98(1) of the Constitution states: “While in office, the President is not liable to civil or criminal proceedings in any court for things done or omitted to be done in his or her personal capacity.

The Constitution further states in section 98(2) that, “Civil or criminal proceedings may be instituted against a former President for things done and omitted to be done before he or she became President or while he or she was President.”

Constitutional law expert and political analyst Alex Magaisa yesterday said Mnangagwa did not have such immunity as the institution of “Presidency” was different from the party Zanu PF as an institution.

He said the issues cited by Mnangagwa that he was immune from prosecution were a “sideshow” that did not affect the fundamentals of the case.

The law expert cited the 2018 High Court case of Elias Mashavira against the MDC-T, in which Nelson Chamisa was declared illegitimate leader of the opposition party, as having set precedence for Musengezi’s application.

“The case does not stand/fall on his (Mnangagwa’s) immunity. Musengezi sued Zanu PF, Mnangagwa and other party officers. Let’s assume for a moment that Mnangagwa’s immunity defence is valid, it doesn’t apply to Zanu PF and the other parties. They must answer the lawsuit and they must decide whether their conduct was lawful.

“The outcome will still be consequential upon Mnangagwa. Musengezi is relying on the (Elias) Mashavira case against the MDC-T. Just like Mashavira, Musengezi sued the party and its officers. The Mashavira court directed party officers to correct past irregularities of the party,” Magaisa tweeted yesterday.

He said Musengezi’s case should order Zanu PF as a party to correct the irregularities.

“Likewise, the decision that the courts make in the Musengezi case must primarily focus on the conduct of the party at the relevant time, and if it finds that there were irregularities, it should order the party’s officers to carry out their mandates to correct the irregularities. They will have a hard time distinguishing the Musengezi case from the Mashavira precedent without looking silly and partial.

“Mashavira waited years before making his challenge and the court allowed him, although he had not exhausted internal remedies in the MDC-T. It cannot now turn around and say Musengezi should have exhausted internal remedies in Zanu PF before approaching the courts without sounding stupid,” Magaisa

said.

Another lawyer, Tawanda Mapuranga, said even though the Constitution had provisions of the President’s immunity, it did not change the nature of the application before the courts.

“Section 98(1) does not mean everything that it says. It has some exceptions. Immunity does not apply on election petitions, for instance, because he would be an election candidate. In this case, Musengezi’s case does not seek relief against Mnangagwa in his official capacity as the President of Zimbabwe,” he said.

“The court can render judgment on the case without Mnangagwa being sued. If he has immunity, he can be removed and the rest of the respondents can respond to the matter, and then it can be decided without him.”

But constitutional law expert Lovemore Madhuku said there was no chance for the court to rule that Mnangagwa was not immune.

“Section 98(1) states that while in office, a President is not liable to civil or criminal proceedings in any court for things done or omitted in his or her personal capacity. There is no chance for the court to give a different interpretation of section 98,” he said.

“The question, which may arise is, what is meant by his personal capacity. But then, according to the constitutional provision, let’s take for instance, if his wife wants to file for divorce, she cannot do so during the period he is in power. She will have to wait for the President to step down, and then file for proceedings. When the court upholds section 98(1), it will be the collapse of the case.”

Madhuku said, therefore, Musengezi has to wait until Mnangagwa is no longer President to file his application.

“This whole debate is arising because people have a tendency of forgetting about what they voted for. The Constitution was a result of a referendum, which got 94,5% votes. But it is one of the few Constitutions around the world which gives the President such absolute immunity.”

He said this would be a lesson for people that vote for a supreme law that they did not read or understand.

NewsDay

EFF dares ANC to call for reruns in hung municipalities

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EFF Deputy CIC Floyd Shivambu

Floyd Shivambu has taken shots at the ANC, telling the party and its leader Cyril Ramaphosa that the EFF is not scared of an election rerun.

Addressing ANC volunteers at a “thank you” rally held at the University of Johannesburg’s Soweto campus on Monday, Ramaphosa said the party was not begging for coalition partnerships and would be strategic regarding who it works with.

He added that if agreements could not be made, a rerun of elections in those hung municipalities could be forced.

EFF deputy president Shivambu took to Twitter to respond to the president’s comments, saying the EFF was not intimidated at the prospect of a rerun.

“Mr Ramaphosa says the ANC is ready for rerun of elections in municipalities where coalition governments cannot be constituted, and he thinks we are afraid. We are not!”

Shivambu said a rerun would “wipe out the dying ANC to zero”. He must bring it on! We’re more than ready!”

He likened Ramaphosa and the ANC to a boxer who was down for the count, calling it “chicken audacity”.

Sixty-one municipalities across SA were left hung, with no outright winner, after last week’s elections. 

As coalition talks heat up, several parties have publicly said they will not team up with the ANC, including the DA, ActionSA, IFP and GOOD.

Ramaphosa said he was not concerned about this and fired his own shots in response.

“A number of parties are going around boastfully saying they will not work with the ANC. But who said we want to work with them? We are not on our knees. If, comrades, we have to be in opposition benches, then we will be in opposition,” said Ramaphosa.

Shivambu earlier told Northern Cape premier Zamani Saul that he was “day dreaming” if he thought the party would be able to bounce back from its poor showing at the polls.

“Nothing will save the ANC. It’s finished and your internal factional and opportunistic tendencies will accelerate the decline. It’s done!” Shivambu said.

Fallen no-more to rise is the ANC which shall be buried in 2024

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18/10/2021. A boy wearing an ANC tshirt stand underneath posters bearing the face of ANC President, Cyril Ramaphosa during a campaign rally in Mangaung Picture: Ziphozonke Lushaba

By 2024, the party will be history, coalition government will be a reality

By Prince Mashele

It is amazing how history can fit itself into the lifetime of a single human being. In the year 2024, SA will witness the end of 76 years of nationalist governments.

The first was an Afrikaner nationalist government, which ruled South Africa for 46 years. The second one, whose death we are currently witnessing, and which will be buried in 2024, is an African nationalist government that will have ruled South Africa for 30 years.

In a democracy, history happens without most people realising it. In January 1994, I was 18 and registered for matric under president FW de Klerk. When I wrote exams 10 months later, we were under president Nelson Mandela. Such is history.

What my generation experienced in 1994 will repeat itself in 2024. If, and it’s a big IF, President Cyril Ramaphosa remains in office until the next general elections, a matriculant in January that year will be under the last president of SA from the ANC. By October the same year, 2024, there will be a new president who, for the first time since 1994, will not be a member of the ANC.

The results of the recent municipal elections covey a clear message about SA’s political future: the ANC will not be the government of the country after 2024.

For more than a decade now, the ANC has been in decline. And, for the first time, the party fell below 50% nationally.

The trends are clear. In 2024, the ANC will score in the upper 20s in Gauteng, and in the lower 30s in KwaZulu-Natal. That alone will see the ANC kicked out of power at the national level.

Indeed, David Makhura and Sihle Zikalala must start packing. But they must not loot. If they do, the new government will swiftly lock them up.

Things will be made worse by the factional fights that will intensify in the next few weeks within the ANC. RET knives are currently being sharpened to stab Ramaphosa. The pretext is readily available: the ANC’s poor performance in the elections.

The fight will go all the way to the ANC’s elective conference next year. That conference will literally see blood on the floor. It will be the most chaotic and dangerous of all ANC conferences. It will make Morogoro (1969) look like kindergarten.

In fact, next year’s conference may not even take place. If it does, it will either fail to adopt credentials or end in absolute mayhem. Please read this column again in December next year.

By the time we reach 2024, there will be consensus even among the blind that the thing once called the ANC will have disappeared. The only thing left will be for voters to drive the final nail into the ANC’s coffin.

Think of a scenario where the infighting becomes so intense that Ramaphosa decides to throw in the towel and announces that he is not standing for a second term.

That scenario is not far-fetched. What exactly would Ramaphosa gain by standing for a second term? Or what could he do to save the ANC?

It would actually be in the interest of Ramaphosa not to stand for a second term; for, if he does, he would go down in history as the leader who presided over the ANC’s burial. It would therefore make sense for Ramaphosa to hand over the corpse to an RET funeral director.

Ramaphosa has another reason to throw in the towel. It is now more than three years since he became SA’s president. And, overall, the man has been a total disaster.

Where is the new dawn he promised us? Is there less or more unemployment under Ramaphosa? Has he ended load-shedding? Has Jacob Zuma finished his jail term under Ramaphosa?

If Ramaphosa were to stand for a second term, what else would he promise – a new dusk? The best the man can do is to wear a Mandela shirt and tell us that, like the dead old man he has been trying to emulate, he too will serve only one term. That is the only dignified exit available to Ramaphosa.

This brings us to the question in the book, The Fall of the ANC: What Next? The answer to this question is now less obscure than it was when the book was first published back in 2014.

SA will be under a coalition government from 2024 onwards. The leading players will be ActionSA, the DA, and the EFF. To confirm, read this column immediately after the 2024 elections.

-SowetanLive

ANC licks wounds as voters chase it from Metros

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Despite declining electoral support and some political parties rejecting the ANC as a coalition partner, the party’s Jeff Radebe said on Monday they were not desperate.

This as parties including ActionSA, the DA and the IFP vowed not to work with the ANC in any circumstances.

“We do not believe that we do not have options but what is important for us is that we are not desperate. We are not wanting to govern at all costs. We want to have normal coalition agreements that share the same mission and values as we do, of bringing about a better life for the people of SA,” he said.

Radebe was speaking to journalists on the sidelines of the ANC’s “thank you” event in Soweto on Monday.

Radebe said the coalition talks had moved from “just talks”, as the ANC had met several parties. He would not be drawn into discussing the details.

Unlike some opposition, the ANC has not ruled out the possibility of working with specific parties.

“As the ANC we are open-minded. We are going to approach these coalition talks on a case-to-case basis,” he said.

The ANC hopes to conclude the talks by the weekend.

Radebe said the party would ensure coalition partners sign a formal agreement.

“We need to have written coalition agreements that are public … continuously being monitored and managed in a manner that will serve communities.”

He admitted that most coalition agreements since the 2016 elections had proven to be disastrous and dysfunctional. Despite this and facing rejection from some political parties, he said the ANC was not entering the talks from a weakened position.ADVERTISING

“Even though we have a reduced majority from the previous local government results, we’re still the majority in many municipalities. We control about 128 throughout the country. The DA is there with 12. It’s chalk and cheese, but that doesn’t diminish the fact that our majority has been reduced.

“It means that our people have spoken and we’re hearing them very well. It’s a wake-up call. For me, this is a mandate from the people to the ANC, to correct our weaknesses, such as councillors who do not serve the people, corruption and greed that is prevalent in many of these areas.”

President Cyril Ramaphosa was expected to address the event and together with fellow top six officials to interact with journalists. ANC supporters started flocking into the venue two hours after the 1pm event was scheduled to start. It had not started by 3.20pm.

TimesLIVE

Mashaba warns DA against arrogance as Coalition talks fail to take off

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ActionSA leader Herman Mashaba

ActionSA leader Herman Mashaba said the DA will have to tone down its arrogance if the parties are to work together in coalition governments.

ActionSA and the DA are expected to coalesce with other smaller parties to form governments in the hung Gauteng councils where no party won a clear majority.

Mashaba revealed on Monday that the DA reached out to his party on Friday but talks could not proceed because two senior ActionSA members — Makhosi Khoza and Vytjie Mentor — were not available.

The ActionSA negotiation team asked the DA to give it time because of the unavailability of the pair. The DA said it would get back to the new party at the weekend, but had not done so by Monday morning, Mashaba told eNCA on Monday.

This seemed to irritate him.

“Remember the DA, when they met with our team on Friday, with John [Moodey] and Abel Tau, they said they will come back to us over the weekend. It’s Monday and as far as we are concerned, up to now they’ve not spoken to us.

“We believe they had a FedEx over the weekend. We hear they are giving feedback to the media but they have not even had the decency to give us a date when to meet, so those are things that we are saying. What kind of negotiations are these?

“If they want to negotiate with us through the media, we will also negotiate with them through the media. You know when you speak to us in any language, we are going to respond to you in the same language, we will learn it quickly,” he said.

Mashaba said his party had serious concerns about some of the utterances made by DA leaders. He complained about “arrogance” in the blue party.

“I think the DA’s arrogance is very dangerous for this country. It polarises the nation and I think if the DA is prepared to come down to the reality of democratic dispensation of this country.

“As long as the DA can recognise the fact that we live in the most unequal society in the world, we are happy to talk to them,” he said.

Mashaba denied that he wanted to be the mayor of Johannesburg at all costs.

“I wonder where is this thing coming from that I want to be the mayor of Johannesburg. Yes I campaigned to be the mayor. The voters gave us 16%. How can one become a mayor with 16% on our own?”

He claimed the demand for mayorship was the least of the issues that could prevent a coalition.

“The mayorship issue for us is actually, honestly, the least of the challenges that will make it difficult for a coalition. That’s why I am saying, the DA for us, it’s actually their arrogance and that is of very serious concern to us.”

He accused his former political home of behaving as if it still controlled Johannesburg.

“Voters have punished them heavily here in Johannesburg but they still have the arrogance as if they control Johannesburg and they are very far from getting anywhere close to being the government in Joburg and in Tshwane as well — and Ekurhuleni.

“So, it’s up to them. One thing’s for sure is when they come to talk to us, they must come and talk to us with respect and leave the arrogance at the door. Otherwise they mustn’t waste our time,” he said.

Mashaba repeated his party’s stance that it will not work with the ANC. “There is absolutely no chance of us working with the ANC,” he said. “We cannot work with a corrupt organisation. We cannot work with the problem, the problem of this country for the last 27 years,” he said accusing the ANC of being behind the country’s high unemployment rate, among the highest in the world.

“The problems of the ANC are just too messy. I would not want to touch the ANC in any capacity. I don’t want to waste their time, and I don’t want them to waste ours.

“We’re the most corrupt country in the world, we are the murder capital of the world, we’ve got open borders, we can’t work with such a problem,” he said.

-TimesLIVE

It was bound to happen: Ramaphosa on ANC electoral misfortunes

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President Cyril Ramaphosa

Corruption, factionalism and internal squabbles ‘like there is no tomorrow’ were a turn-off for voters, Ramaphosa said at a ‘thank you’ rally on Monday

ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa said on Monday that the ANC’s plummeting voter support — to less than 50% for the first time since 1994 — was not unexpected given its internal problems and those of its government.

Ramaphosa was addressing ANC volunteers at a “thank you” rally held at the University of Johannesburg’s Soweto Campus.

ANC internal squabbles, corruption,  factionalism and the dismal performance of ANC-run municipalities pushed voters away from the party.

However, Ramaphosa said, the party was confident that it was not all doom and gloom because millions of voters chose to stay away instead of giving their votes to other parties.

This was a wake-up call to the ANC to get its house in order before it was too late.

“People raised the issues of disunity and factionalism within our own ranks,” said Ramaphosa to thunderous applause.

“They said this is what is eating the ANC away. We fight continuously as if there is no tomorrow. We are not united at leadership level where we fight to the death.

“Sometimes this leads to people dying in our branch meetings and conferences and this is what our people see and they say this is a disunited organisation, why should I support it,” he went onADVERTISING

“People also raised the issue of corruption sharply and the issue of patronage within the ANC itself.

“These are the issues that have had a significant impact of voters’ attitudes towards the organisation.”

It was ANC’s own internal shenanigans that end up affecting its ability to lead properly in government. And voters have had enough of being the collateral damage of the ANC’s internal problems spilling over to government.

“What is most crucial is the link that our people form between the state of affairs in the ANC and our performance in government at all levels. They look at us and say if this is what is happening at their organisation it speaks for itself that even in government they will not perform well.

“And in many cases, yes, factionalism and our internal fights has an impact on our governance capability because we fight like there is no tomorrow and we forget that we are there to serve the people of SA.”

It was for the declining confidence in the ANC that the party would bring about a new cadre with all those who will be deployed as its mayors and councillors across all municipalities that it has won.

Chief among the change in approach will be the interview process for those ANC members who will stand as mayors.

They should be free of charges of corruption, must be qualified and have an understanding of the workings of local government and possess basic economic skills.

But above all, all ANC deployees at local government, including councillors, will have to sign “deployment contracts” with clear stipulations of what is expected of them in public office.

Said Ramaphosa: “For the first time, all ANC councillors will sign deployment contracts which clearly outline their roles and responsibilities. No ANC councillor will be sworn in, I am talking about the more than 4,500, without entering into a deployment contract and the ANC will recall any councillor who does not honour this contract.

“From the moment that they are elected, to the day they leave office, we expect our councillors to demonstrate that the ANC is committed and able to respond to people’s daily concerns and needs.”

TimesLIVE

ANC not keen to work with opposition parties: Ramaphosa

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President Cyril Ramaphosa

ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa has lambasted opposition parties for publicly “boasting” that they will not enter into coalition government with the ruling party, saying they were not keen on getting into bed with them either.

This after the 2021 municipal elections last week left 61 municipalities hung across SA, where there was no outright winner. In the wake of this, opposition parties, including the DA, ActionSA and the IFP, have come out to say they would never work with the ANC. 

“A number of parties are going around boastfully saying they will not work with the ANC. But who said we want to work with them? We are not on our knees. If, comrades, we have to be in opposition benches, then we will be in opposition,” said Ramaphosa as crowds cheered loudly in support.  

He was addressing supporters and party structures at the party’s “thank you” event in Soweto. He thanked them for exercising their democratic right and casting their votes — for whichever party, in the local polls.

Ramaphosa defended the party’s poor performance, which has seen its national support drop below 50% for the first time since the advent of democracy. But he nonetheless urged leaders and volunteers to keep their heads up. 

“This was probably the most difficult election campaign that we have ever undertaken. It is at the end the worst electoral outcome for the ANC in 27 years of democracy. But it was a difficult campaign. That we must admit.”

“In the end, comrades, I don’t want anyone of us going around with their heads hung down, feeling like we are defeated. No ways. We are the largest party in every metro except Cape Town and Nelson Mandela Bay,” he said.

Ramaphosa said the ANC  was open to coalitions and would approach them with an open mind. He admitted that over the years, coalition governments led to dysfunctional municipalities but said the ruling party would change its approach this time around.

“We will not go cap in hand to anybody. At the same time, we will have an open mind.   

“We don’t want casual agreements. When you enter into coalition, it’s almost as if you entering into marriage. We want to have stable and credible coalitions. We will enter those discussions with a clear intention of implementing the will of the people,” he said.  

Turning to low voter turnout, the president said this was a concern which the ANC sought to take responsibility for.

“It’s not just bad for us as [the] ANC, but is it bad for our democracy. It’s something that we must do something about. We must be able to get the majority of our people out to go and vote.” 

The event comes after a meeting of the party’s national executive committee (NEC) at the weekend. Ramaphosa did not go into details of what had been discussed other than the election outcomes.

“The NEC felt that the ANC as a whole should undertake an extensive and detailed assessment of these results and the factors that were critical in determining the outcome that we have. While there are many factors that would lead to this outcome, we are the first to acknowledge that the most critical factors are those that have to do with the state of our organisation as well as our performance in government.”  

Despite the declining electoral support, Ramaphosa maintained that the ANC “is not about to collapse”.

“It has suffered a setback and we are going to work hard to fix that,” he said.

TimesLIVE

FBI interrogates Ace Magashule’s former PA Moroadi Cholota

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Ace Magashule's former personal assistant, Moroadi Cholota, speaks out. Image: Screenshot

Suspended ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule’s former personal assistant, Moroadi Cholota, has broken her silence regarding events surrounding her interrogation by the FBI and the Hawks in the US.

Sunday Times has received a statement from Cholota who has described her interrogation by the FBI and the Hawks in November last year as intimidation.

The statement comes just days after the NPA told the Bloemfontein high court that it would be adding Cholota to the list of accused people in the asbestos eradication case along with her former boss Magashule and businessman Edwin Sodi.

The state said she would be extradited from the US and charged with corruption.

According to the NPA, Cholota has not been co-operating with the prosecuting authority which announced last November that she was the state’s key witness.

In her statement, signed on Saturday, Cholota says she was never informed that she would be a state witness and that her involvement in the trial would only be in relation to the evidence she had already given to the state capture commission.

“Before this [November 13], not a single person had contacted me, informed me nor asked whether or not I consented to being a so-called state witness in these criminal proceedings,” she writes.

She says she, along with her family, was blinded by the revelation that she would be a state witness.

Cholota relayed how on the morning of September 2021 she was woken up by loud banging on the door of her apartment in Baltimore by FBI officials. They immediately ordered her to get dressed and “come with them”. She claims she was not told where she was going.

She was taken to the Sheraton Hotel where she was questioned — to her surprise — on matters not relating to her affidavit to the state capture commission.

Her interrogation, she claims, took place at the Sheraton Hotel and at the SA Embassy over two days where she was being coerced to give answers that would incriminate her.

When she was reluctant to answer such questions, Cholota claims the Hawks officials started getting “agitated and impatient” with her.

“When the questioning started veering into territory that I felt was trying to implicate me or incriminate me, I questioned the reason behind such question and indicated that I would be more comfortable answering such questions after double checking with a lawyer as I had not been prepared for that line of questioning and was unsure how to proceed.”

The officials allegedly refused to allow her to contact her lawyers, she says, telling her that they would give her a day to think about her responses and “attitude”.

“They would tell me the next day that my answers to their questions ‘was of no value’ to them.

She says the second day of her interrogation was at the SA Embassy in Washington DC where she was once against asked questions that would incriminate her. She does not specify the nature of the questions in her statement.

This was when they informed her that she left them no choice but for them to treat her as a suspect and immediately handed her a charge sheet showing she was now charged with corruption, money laundering and fraud.

She maintains that her legal representatives have told her that this was illegal as there were no grounds to charge her.

“Their decision to intimidate me, threaten and then promptly charge me without reason or grounds to is the most blatantly egregious contravention of my constitutional rights and other rights both as a witness and citizen of SA.

“They effectively detained me within the halls of the SA Embassy, an institution and building that is supposed to be there for the protection of the rights of South Africans,” she says.

Cholota believes her charges must be dropped with immediate effect after her ordeal reaches NPA boss Shamila Batohi, ambassador Nomaindiya Mfeketo and justice minister Ronald Lamola.

-TimesLIVE

The people have spoken,’ says KZN ANC as support drops to 42%

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KwaZulu-Natal premier Sihle Zikalala addressing media on Monday. Image: KZN government

The ANC in KwaZulu-Natal has provided insight into future plans for the province where it lost majority status as its support dropped to 42% in last week’s municipal elections.

Addressing the media on Monday on a wide range of issues, including Covid-19, premier Sihle Zikalala expressed concern at the low voter turnout, but admitted “the people have spoken” and declared that there should be no outright winner in the province.

“This is a clear message that they want political parties to work together through the democratic process of co-governing KwaZulu-Natal.”

Zikalala said in a number of incidents after the elections, insults were hurled at officials.

“Since last Monday’s elections, we have noted a few unpleasant scenes in which certain people were seen toyi-toying and ‘demanding keys’ to certain buildings. Others were engaging in other forms of provocation. These were accompanied by insults hurled at municipal officials, who are public servants and not politicians.”

He said public servants should be allowed to carry out their duties without interference or victimisation.ADVERTISING

“Any practices to the contrary must be reported to the department of co-operative governance and traditional affairs, so that these incidents can be dealt with immediately.”

Coalition talks are under way in 20 local municipalities and one metro.

Zikalala said the challenges that may arise in hung municipalities should not be underestimated.

“We trust that parties will continue persuading each other and avoid political theatrics that may end up paralysing municipalities and hamper the delivery of services. No-one should drop the baton, for it is the very lives of our people which will be at stake if we, as elected representatives, waste time instead of finalising this process within the set time.”

Because the Electoral Commission of SA (IEC) published the local government elections results on Monday, municipalities are required to be constituted by November 23.

“District municipalities, on the other hand, are required to convene 14 days after the last local municipality in that district constitutes itself. This means that district municipalities will be constituted at different intervals. However, the last date for such constitution is December 7. The district elections will be facilitated by the IEC.”

Fake news

Zikalala denounced claims on social media that the Covid-19 lockdown was relaxed only to allow for the elections to take place, and that after the elections government would bring back a hard lockdown.

“What is even more worrying is that even educated members of society, who must know better, were also making these claims. As far as we are concerned, these are just baseless allegations. Even though our Covid-19 numbers are fluctuating, there is nothing to suggest that there will soon be a hard lockdown.”

Covid-19 update

He expressed relief that the rate of new infections in KwaZulu-Natal remains relatively low. The number of confirmed Covid-19 cases stands at 515,892. On Sunday, the province recorded 64 new cases.

He was unhappy with the rate of vaccinations in the province.

“Up to this point, 3.337-million people have been vaccinated. This leaves us with 4.791-million people to vaccinate by the end of this year, which is no small job.

“While we are pleased that 955,048 people from the 60-plus age group have been vaccinated, we are concerned by the relatively lower numbers within the 35–49 and 18–34 age groups.”

TimesLIVE


ANC is now desperately prepared to jump in bed with anybody

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ANC NEC members yesterday agreed to more talks with rivals to secure control in hung councils. Image: Veli Nhlapo

In a seemingly desperate bid to cling to power, the ANC is prepared to get into bed with any political party including the DA to form coalition governments in hung municipalities.

The governing party’s national executive committee’s special meeting at St George’s Hotel in Irene, Pretoria, yesterday gave its negotiators the green light to talk to any party prepared to work with Luthuli House.

The marathon special NEC meeting was called to discuss and decide on an approach to be adopted ahead of the coalitions negotiations after the governing party’s electoral support dropped so significantly it only managed to hold on to two of the country’s eight most sought-after metros.

Around the same time, the official opposition the DA’s federal executive was also in a meeting discussing how it would approach the issue of coalitions.

With the ANC’s willingness to get into bed with effectively any willing partner, the ball now remains in the DA’s court.

The senate of ActionSA, one of the newest kingmakers in Gauteng, met last night to discuss inputs from its two-day poll to gauge the views of its supporters on who it should partner with.

ANC acting secretary-general Jessie Duarte said the NEC has given its team of negotiators, which includes veteran member Jeff Radebe, to speak “to any political party willing to work with us”.

The ANC faces the likelihood of finding itself in opposition benches in at least four of the country’s metros, including the City of Joburg, as it failed to get majority support during last week’s local government elections.

Duarte said the NEC was briefed about some meetings with other political parties about possible coalitions which have already taken place. “The direction which the discussion is taking [in the special meeting] is that the negotiating team of the ANC is being given a mandate to talk to any political party that could talk to us so that we open the door to anyone who want to talk to us,” Duarte said. 

The ANC needs to form a majority government in Tshwane but needs an extra 33 seats. In Johannesburg it needs 45 more seats and Ekurhuleni 23 additional seats to govern.

The ANC also needs support in eThekwini in KwaZulu-Natal and Nelson Mandela Bay in Gqeberha where it is short of 16 and 13 seats respectively.

Those in the ANC who are against the idea of pursuing coalitions with the DA seem to have accepted defeat as the NEC endorsed the casting of the net wider in search of willing partners.

Duarte said it was open to working with any party willing to join forces with Luthuli House.

“We gave a report to the NEC on who we have discussed with thus far. We also need to indicate that talks are still in the making. We have made no arrangement and there’s no agreement with anyone except those parties that have agreed to work with the ANC across the country wherever they have a seat,” Duarte said.

She said it would not divulge the names of the parties it has talked to so far, however, Sowetan understands that those parties include the EFF and Patriotic Alliance (PA).

Radebe stressed the importance of the metro municipality and their role in the country’s economy. “Our analysis indicates that the in municipalities we call the metros, there are about 22.1 million South Africans who live there… when you look at the GDP, our metros constitute about R2.2-trillion,” Radebe said.

He said the metros were the centres of economic activity and that is an important element for the ANC as they get into coalition negotiations.

PA deputy president Kenny Kunene confirmed that it has “formally” the ANC, which was led by its treasurer-general Paul Mashatile to discuss possible coalitions.

“Our first approach is that we are not selective and we do not prioritise other parties over the others. We will go into coalition with anybody that understands that service delivery is a matter of urgency for our people,” Kunene said.

He said they have had informal discussions with other political parties on possible working together. “I can confirm that we have had a conversation unofficially with the Freedom Front Plus, which went good but officially we have met with the ANC and the talks went very well, however, they’re meeting their NEC and obviously there would be a follow-up meeting,” Kunene said.

Kunene also confirmed that party leader Gayton McKenzie was scheduled to meet the DA in Cape Town yesterday.

The PA has enough seats to help propel the ANC into pole position, especially in Gauteng metros as the small party has eight seats in Johannesburg, four in Ekurhuleni and one in Tshwane.

ActionSA’s Mashaba says DA must woo EFF to secure Joburg

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ActionSA leader Herman Mashaba

The ANC will be forced to look to the EFF for a coalition partnership as all the major kingmakers across the municipalities have rejected it.

This comes after the DA, ActionSA and IFP ruled out working with the governing party as coalition discussions ensured. 

The DA has said it would not work with the ANC or the EFF. After the party’s federal executive meeting yesterday, the official opposition said it will not enter into any coalition agreements with the EFF, ANC or any other party that does not subscribe to constitutionalism, the rule of law, a social market economy, a capable state as well as nonracialism.

“These are the non-negotiables for the DA,” said party leader John Steenhuisen.

“It is not our job to save the ANC. Our job is to save SA and the two are not compatible. You can have a growing economy, a country that works, a capable administration that delivers jobs for people and service delivery, but you cannot have that with the ANC.”

Meanwhile, the DA may have to reverse its decision to terminate its relationship with the EFF if it wants to secure control of the country’s economic hub, Johannesburg.

This is according to ActionSA leader and former Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba, whose party secured 44 crucial  council seats out of the 270 in the metro after the recent municipal elections, which left it hung without the ANC or DA winning a clear majority.

This comes as horse trading continued among political parties, with the ANC and the DA poaching support from smaller parties in a bid to secure control of key metros and other smaller municipalities that were left hung.

A total of 66 municipalities have been left hung across the country, with the ANC securing control of 161, the DA 13 and IFP securing control of 10 councils, while new parties and civic organisations made a strong showing.

Mashaba, who led the city from 2016 until 2019 when he left the top post and dumped the DA over his claim that it was captured by “anti-poor conservatives” who wanted him out, said while he did not have control over what the DA would finally have as its preconditions of local governance, he considered the red berets as good partners at local government level alongside the DA.

The ANC secured 91 seats and DA 71 and they need a number of partners to secure a clear majority. The EFF won 28 seats.

While there were still no formal talks between the ANC and the DA, whose top brass held separate internal coalition meetings at the weekend, Sowetan understands that DA leader John Steenhuisen had already approached ActionSA for a possible coalition, which was discussed at the official opposition’s federal executive meeting yesterday.

With the backing of ActionSA, IFP and the ACDP, the DA’s coalition support could secure 125 seats in Joburg and need an extra 11 to hit the 136 seats majority.

Mashaba said while he would not dictate to the DA and did not agree with national policy positions of the EFF, the red berets were key coalition partners within local government.

“One thing I can tell you is that I worked extremely well with the EFF during my mayoralty. They were the best partner there, and the FF Plus. That is why it upset the DA. Why they hate the EFF so much is their problem and they must not make their problem ActionSA’s problem… I have got a great working relationship at local government level, we are on the same page,” Mashaba said.

IFP rules out chances of going into coalition with ANC

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Chairperson of the national campaign committee Narend Singh, founder Mangosuthu Buthelezi, party leader Velenkosini Hlabisa and spokesperson Mkhuleko Hlengwa Image: Zimasa Matiwane

The IFP in KwaZulu-Natal will not work with a party that has been “clearly rejected by voters and help bring them back” to form governments in hung municipalities across the province. 

On Sunday party leader Velenkosini Hlabisa outlined the IFP’s decision not to enter into any coalitions with the ANC. However, it is not only governance that informed the IFP’s stance. 

Historic tensions between the two parties and recent wrangling are what will stand between an ANC and IFP government, Hlabisa explained.

“They (ANC) have let down the people of SA and the voters clearly expressed themselves when it comes to the ANC. We will not bring them back.

“There are many outstanding issues, we have the issue of Mzala Nxumalo in the Zululand district which the KZN ANC leadership have flatly refused to correct the naming of Zululand with Mzala Nxumalo knowing very well the book that he wrote threw insults at the founder of the IFP.

“The insults that have been thrown by the ANC during the campaign mixing issues of the royal family — conflating the role of the traditional prime minister (Buthelezi), accusing the IFP falsely of using that position to get votes,” he claimed. 

The book Hlabisa referred to was written by an ANC/SACP leader and intellectual, Jabulani “Mzala” Nxumalo, and is titled Gatsha Buthelezi: Chief with a Double Agenda. It is now banned.

The ANC named the Zululand region, which is an IFP stronghold, after Nxumalo.

The party team that will lead coalition talks includes spokesperson Mkhuleko Hlengwa, chair of the national campaign committee Narend Singh, KwaZulu-Natal chairperson Thami Ntuli and Bonginkosi Dlamini (MPL).

The IFP said it was willing to go into coalition with the DA, the EFF and other smaller parties, including independent candidates. The party will however work with the ANC outside the province as its relationship with the party’s national leadership differs. 

Where it governs outright, the IFP said it was ready to get into office and had prepared before the elections to capacitate municipalities with not just political deployees such as mayors but with officials who are capable and equal to tasks.

“We have made the preparations. We know the municipalities where we will have to employ new municipal managers because we were not caught off guard — the indications were clear on where we will win so we will not be found napping. 

“After 14 days we will enter into performance agreements with all our mayors. There will be municipal managers in that meeting and while we won’t be entering into performance agreements with them, we want all to know that we made a commitment to the public and it is also their responsibility to deliver,” Hlabisa explained.

He said every mayor will be monitored and reviewed closely by a team of independent experts the IFP will put together to ensure there is no corruption, misappropriation of municipal funds and general laziness.

“We do not want to come with apologies that ‘we did not deliver, please give us another chance’ to the people.

“Every deployee will either deliver or will be shown the door. We will not hesitate to say go. On corruption we are not going to be soft because the people of SA deserve clean governance that is focused on providing them with services,” he warned. 

Hlabisa said after the first 100 days in office, the performance of every mayor will be monitored and reviewed against the agreement each made with the party.

“Complacency and mediocre services will not be tolerated — good and competent governance is what people need. We will give the electorate every reason to believe in the IFP’s solid record of integrity and good governance,” he said.

“I therefore make a commitment today that the IFP will honour every vote, providing ethical leadership and servant leadership, to secure good governance, wherever we have been asked to govern,” Hlabisa added. 

Party founder Buthelezi, who was also present on Sunday, thanked Hlabisa for his leadership during the campaign. He also thanked all IFP members for their dedication in leading a successful campaign. 

Buthelezi, who emphasised that he will not gloat about the IFP’s growth, particularly in KwaZulu-Natal, said their electoral fortunes were a “vindication of the careful path we have walked to transition from the IFP’s first chapters, to the maturing of a party that constantly punches above its weight”.

“The deterioration in our country’s governance and wellbeing has only served to emphasise the IFP as a champion of integrity,” Buthelezi added. 

TimesLIVE

Killer cop Nomia Ndlovu snarls death threats at witnesses in court

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The former police officer on Friday turned around in the courtroom and told witnesses who testified against her that she would be back for them.

After earlier cutting a sorry figure in the courtroom and breaking down, saying she was sorry for the losses her relatives suffered, convicted killer Nomia Rosemary Ndlovu snapped and told those affected by her crimes exactly what she thought of them.

Shortly after being told by judge Ramarumo Monama that she would serve life behind bars for all the people she had arranged to be killed, and for trying to have her mom, her sister and her sister’s five children also killed, Ndlovu looked into the gallery of the high court, sitting in Palm Ridge. There, her aunt, her late lover’s brother and people who had testified against her were standing in a group.

“I will spend this Christmas in jail but, next year, I will be out. I will be back and you will see,” she said in a threatening tone, pointing at them as she spoke. 

Investigating officer Keshi Mabunda called police to lead Ndlovu out of the courtroom. Dressed in the mustard and white dress she often wore to court, the killer cop stomped out of the courtroom, paying no attention to the media that had caught her threats on camera.

Ndlovu’s breaking point came after Friday’s proceedings delivered numerous blows to the disgraced police sergeant, who Monama had said had “soiled” the police’s blue uniform and tainted the image of her colleagues.

Her fury came after a failed bid to be given leave to appeal against both her conviction and her sentence, which her lawyer, Vincent Soko, had described as “too harsh”.

Ndlovu had also failed to secure a transfer to the Johannesburg central prison where she said she wanted to serve her sentence to be closer to her family. She is now being kept at the Kgosi Mampuru Correctional Centre in Pretoria, a maximum facility she was transferred to after she threatened Mabunda and allegedly hired a hitman to take him out.

Monama on Friday said Ndlovu was a danger to society and it was befitting for her to be kept at a maximum-security facility. He said, however, that it was not for him to say where she would serve her sentence.

After a trial that grabbed headlines, Ndlovu was handed six life sentences for each family member she killed — all so she could score life insurance policies.

People who lost their lives at the hands of Ndlovu were her cousin Witness Madala Homu, her sister Audrey Somisa Ndlovu, her boyfriend Maurice Mabasa, her niece Zanele Motha, and her brother Mayeni Mashaba. The last of her victims was Audrey’s son, Brilliant Mashego.

Her killing spree ended when a man she had hired to kill her sister, Joyce Ndlovu, along with her five children, turned to police.

They set up a sting operation, ultimately leading to Ndlovu being caught on camera saying how she wanted them to be burnt alive so she could cash in on insurance policies. The hit man’s acquaintances also came forward  and testified how Ndlovu had also wanted her sister, Gloria Ndlovu, killed and had given a down payment to have her own mother, Maria Mushwana, killed.

The motive for killing her relatives, the court concluded, was so she could cash in on large sums of insurance money. In total, Ndlovu pocketed almost R1.4m from her six victims’ lives.

For trying to kill Joyce and her children, the court handed her five-year sentences for each of their lives. For trying to kill her mother, Ndlovu got 10 years. For tampering with the scene where her sister Audrey was found dead, she got five years.

She was also handed five years on each count involving her defrauding insurance companies — forging signatures and posing as her victims while she opened insurance policies in their names.

Monama said she would effectively serve life behind bars.

In Friday’s proceedings, the court heard how a cloud of death had seemingly followed Ndlovu throughout her life. 

Criminologist Lt-Col Almeria Myburgh told the court that Ndlovu had started dating at 18 and married her lover but he died in 2004, They had a son together, Jaunty, who died when he turned 13. 

In a visit to Ndlovu’s village last month, locals and her sister Joyce said there was suspicion surrounding her husband’s and son’s deaths. Hand Khoza had died after falling ill while their son, Jaunty, died from suspected poisoning while he was visiting Ndlovu in Johannesburg. Before his death, he had stayed with Ndlovu’s mother in Bushbuckridge. 

Myburgh told the court Ndlovu said she had dated a few men and then come across Maurice Mabasa. She and the American embassy employee moved in together and went on to have a child. He, however, was found bludgeoned to death in 2015. Their child, Makhanani, went to live with Mabasa’s mother for several months but, according to his family, Ndlovu fetched the child unexpectedly one weekend. The child was in hospital before the end of the following week and died days later. A toxicology report could not conclusively conclude what killed her. She was two. 

Ndlovu pleaded not guilty to all the murder charges, saying she had nothing to do with the deaths.

Ndlovu on Friday went down still maintaining she did not kill, plan to kill, or defraud anyone. 

–TimesLIVE

Kelly Khumalo in Harare for Garwe Restaurant re-opening event

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Kelly Khumalo

South African singer, actress and dancer, Kelly Khumalo, has replaced Somizi Mhlongo at the reopening of Garwe Restaurant in Eastlea, Harare set for today.

Khumalo jetted in Harare on Thursday for the Garwe Restaurant re-opening event.

Speaking after accepting the invitation, Kelly said she “can’t wait” to grace the red carpet event. She said:

I’m so excited to come back to Zimbabwe for the grand reopening of the Garwe Restaurant. Thank you so much to Mandi for hosting me and I can’t wait to meet all your patrons. See you guys on Thursday at 6 PM.

Khumalo’s invitation comes after churches and the ruling ZANU PF party blocked South African celebrity Somizi Mhlongo over his sexual orientation.

The Apostolic Christian Council of Zimbabwe (ACCZ) threatened to hold a demonstration at the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport upon Somizi’s arrival as well as at the restaurant to make sure that the South African would not attend the event.

The churches said allowing Somizi to attend the event meant they would have openly accepted homosexuality in Zimbabwe which is against the constitution.

In a statement on Wednesday, according to Zim Morning Post, ZANU PF youth league acting secretary-general Tendai Chirau said:

I’ve engaged the owner of the outlet Ms Mandi expressing concerns by different societal groups over the invitation of one of the highly controversial guests (Mhlongo), a declared ngito (a derogatory term for homosexual).

I’m glad to announce that the owner took heed of the great concerns and elected to remove the said ngito from the guest list and never associate themselves with the said character again.

EFF achieved mission to push ANC under 50%: Julius Malema

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EFF leader Julius Malema

EFF leader Julius Malema addressed journalists at the IEC results centre on Thursday.
Image: Masi Losi

The EFF is not fazed by not winning municipalities outright: as long as the ANC stands at less than 50% in some municipalities, it is mission accomplished.

This is according to party leader Julius Malema who was addressing journalists on Thursday afternoon on the party’s performance in the 2021 local government elections.

The EFF was not going to completely collapse an organisation like the ANC with more than a century in existence when it was barely a decade old, he said. But the red berets were certain about one thing, “we are eating the elephant piece by piece,” said Malema.

“Politics is difficult, it is no child’s play. We are still very young, I am 40 and Floyd [Shivambu] is 38. We are shaking the ANC properly, shaking well-resourced ministers, deputy ministers, mayors, councillors, all with resources.

“And former president Thabo Mbeki, Kgalema Motlanthe, Jacob Zuma and Cyril Ramaphosa, we are klapping them and put them below 50%.”

Malema said with the most hung municipalities since democracy, the EFF was ready to get into bed with anyone, so long as they agreed on terms.

Whoever wanted to form a coalition government with the EFF, he said, must meet all conditions, which include provisions of basic services such as water within an agreed time frame.

In the horse-trading that will unfold once the results have been announced, Malema said the EFF would demand to be given municipalities that it would run on its own.

Should no-one meet its conditions, the EFF was ready to sit in opposition benches.

“The EFF will engage with all political parties that will approach us to engage to constitute governments in different municipalities.

“We are not going to do a coalition of positions. We are prepared to vote for people to go into government as long as we have an agreement with them, without taking up any positions.

“The coalition agreement must be implementable programmes that have time frames, not some contract with no time frames.

“We need things that are going to be done and be done now, and our people must see that. We do not have to be inside to do that, as long as you agree to do it, why not, we can vote for you,” he went on.

“If no-one agrees with us, we are prepared to sit in opposition benches and play our role as opposition. We are not in a hurry for anything.”

TimesLIVE

IEC declares SA’s elections ‘free and fair’, despite challenges

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President Cyril Ramaphosa at the official local government election results announcement in Tshwane on Thursday. Image: GCIS

The electoral authority announced that the ANC had won the majority of the country’s councils, but that 66 were “hung” with no outright winner.

SA’s local government elections have officially been declared free and fair.

Speaking during the results announcement on Thursday evening, IEC chair Glen Mashinini said: “The Electoral Commission is pleased to announce that it has satisfied itself that the conditions for free and fair elections were met, and that the results for 213 councils are declared as final.”

He said that about 12.3-million people cast their ballots in Monday’s vote, out of the nearly 26.1-million registered voters.

Overall, he said, the ANC won the most of the country’s 213 municipalities.

“The ANC achieved a majority in 161 municipalities. The DA achieved a majority in 13 municipalities. The IFP achieved a majority in 10 municipalities.

“In 66 municipalities, no party achieved a majority — which are known as hung councils,” he said.

TimesLIVE

ANC in KwaZulu-Natal admits need for introspection after low voter turnouts: ‘It tells a story’

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ANC supporters in Lamontville, Durban on Monday.Gallo Images/Darren Stewart
  • The ANC in KwaZulu-Natal said that it needed to do some introspection following a low voter turnout.
  • Provincial spokesperson Nhlakanipho Ntombela said that ANC supporters did not turn up to vote, and did not vote for another party. 
  • Meanwhile, the DA and the IFP said they were pleased with the progress they were making. 

The ANC in KwaZulu-Natal says the low voter turn out at this year’s municipal elections is a telling story for the party, and some introspection is needed. 

As votes slowly trickled in for the much anticipated eThekwini Municipality on Tuesday, ANC provincial spokesperson Nhlakanipho Ntombela said:The other issue that was a challenge for all of us to acknowledge is the low turnout. It was a serious low turnout, and it is a telling story for the ANC because this low turnout is mainly in your majority areas of the ANC.

He continued: “It tells a story because it is ANC supporters who did not come out to vote. They did not come and vote for another party. They decided to stay at home. So it called on us to make an introspection, what is it that we had done wrong that had made our members take such decisions? It can be a variety of reasons, of course,” he said. 

Ntombela said that they were confident with the results so far and were moving in a direction to retain the eThekwini and Msunduzi Municipalities. Ha said that the party had already taken 75 wards in eThekwini. 

“We are confident overall about the election. There have been glitches here and there. I think one key thing that the election has shown us is that the IEC, in some instances they were found wanting. I don’t want to say they were not ready, but they were found wanting [with] a number of challenges in a number of areas,” he said. 

Meanwhile, major opposition parties in the province, the DA and the IFP, said that they too were confident in the wards they would retain or take from the ANC.

“Obviously, it’s early days, all the results aren’t in yet as you know clearly, it’s showing that the DA is making huge inroads in KwaZulu-Natal.

“We indicate that 15 ANC wards have fallen to the DA across the province. The bulk of those six in eThekwini, two in Umsunduzi, one in Howick, one in Newcastle, one in KwaDukuza and one down in Ugu. It’s looking good for us on the ground, and as the votes come in, we hope that those numbers will increase,” said Francois Rogers, the DA KZN leader. 

“So far, we are continuing on our upward trajectory that we started on in 2016 and built on in 2019. We are further building now as we move to 2021. So far, what is encouraging for us is that we have taken municipalities that we didn’t have before. For example, I think the King Cetwayo district is in our grasp at the moment. We have won all the municipality,” said the IFP’s Narend Singh.

DA HOLDING LEAD OVER ANC IN RACE FOR EMFULENI

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Gift Moerane might as well kiss bye-bye to Emfuleni Mayoral chains

JOHANNESBURG – As things look right now, the Democratic Alliance (DA) is in the lead in Emfuleni, an African National Congress (ANC)-run municipality that was placed under administration in 2018 and is in debt to the tune of R4.5 billion.

The DA has so far around 27,000 counted votes.

So far, about 19,000 residents have given the ANC another chance to govern the municipality while nearly 8,000 votes have been counted for the Freedom Front Plus.

The FF Plus’s Jennifer Glover: “Specifically in Gauteng, we’re looking at the Freedom Front Plus with tremendous growth at this point so we’re looking toward building on our growth from 2019 and it seems like we put the work in and were reaping the fruits at the moment.”

Emfuleni is home to around 700,000 people with an unemployment rate of about 70%.

The ANC denies that it is to blame for the state of the municipality even though it’s been in power there since 1994.

The Emfuleni Municipality is piping dirty and untreated water in homes and service delivery has always been at the lowest ebb under the leadership of ANC Mayor Gift Moerane.

Losing candidate disrupts WC results announcement, brings proceedings to an abrupt end

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Democratic Independent leader Anwar Adams. Image: City of Cape Town

“It’s not time to sweep things under the carpet,” Democratic Independent leader Anwar Adams shouted as he disrupted proceedings.

Cape Town mayor-elect Geordin Hill-Lewis had his thunder stolen by a ranting former Cape Town councillor who disrupted the IEC’s final press briefing, bringing to an abrupt end the proceedings on Wednesday afternoon.

Democratic Independent leader Anwar Adams, a former PAC councillor, arrived as IEC provincial head Michael Hendrickse was briefing journalists on the Western Cape final results and accused the IEC, Icasa and the media of bias.

Adams also directed his anger at Hendrickse, calling him “a puppet”.

Standing at the back with about five associates, Adams heckled Hendrickse. About 10 minutes into the press conference he began ranting incessantly.

“We’ve got serious allegations out there,” he shouted “It’s not time to sweep things under the carpet.”

Adams claimed the Western Cape elections were rigged, unfair and that the code of conduct was violated by various political parties.

He also claimed it was unfair of the IEC to close the results centre before they provided answers, or to respond to the party’s allegations.

“We need answers today,” he demanded.

The uproar forced the adjournment of events and the IEC played the national anthem to close the proceedings. This did not stop Adams and his associates from shouting over the anthem, calling for, among other things, the Palestinian national anthem.

Before he was interrupted, Hendrickse announced that all municipalities in the province had been finalised with the exception of the City of Cape Town.

He said they expected to finalise the metro’s results by Wednesday night.

The Western Cape has 30 municipalities, of which five are district councils. Only nine of the councils had a clear majority and 15 were hung councils.

The five district councils will know their final results by the end of the month when local councils have elected their representatives.

Only eight of its municipalities were hung in 2016.

-TimesLIVE

Zimbabwean gunman gets 13 years in jail for robbing clothing shop in South Africa

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Zimbabwe man jailed in Mzansi

A 21-year-old Zimbabwean man has been jailed for an effective 13 years for teaming up with two other people to rob at gunpoint a shopkeeper of money and a cellphone at a clothing boutique in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Carlos Mhlanga who was arrested in July last year was sent to prison on Friday following a full trial at the Johannesburg Magistrates Court.

He was brought to court charged for aggravated robbery and was also declared unfit to possess a firearm.

Johannesburg police spokesperson, Captain Xoli Mbele confirmed that Mhlanga had been convicted due to diligence on the part of the investigating officers.

“The accused and two of his accomplices robbed Clifford Boutique Clothing Shop at the corner of Bree and Polly Streets on July 13 last year at around 5 pm.

“The trio entered the shop pretending to be customers and later pointed a cashier with firearms, before taking an undisclosed amount of money from the till.

“They also searched him and took his cell phone, after which they fled from the scene in different directions,” said Capt Mbele.

He said the cashier followed one of the suspects while screaming for help.

A taxi queue marshal came to his rescue and apprehended the man who then recovered the firearm, live ammunition, and the complainant’s cellphone.

“We hope this sentence will scare away would-be offenders from committing a similar crime,” added Capt Mbele.

– Herald

Facebook will shut down facial recognition system

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Facebook Inc (FB.O) announced on Tuesday it is shutting down its facial recognition system, which automatically identifies users in photos and videos, citing growing societal concerns about the use of such technology.

“Regulators are still in the process of providing a clear set of rules governing its use,” Jerome Pesenti, vice president of artificial intelligence at Facebook, wrote in a blog post. “Amid this ongoing uncertainty, we believe that limiting the use of facial recognition to a narrow set of use cases is appropriate.”

The removal of face recognition by the world’s largest social media platform comes as the tech industry has faced a reckoning over the past few years over the ethics of using the technology.

Critics say facial recognition technology – which is popular among retailers, hospitals and other businesses for security purposes – could compromise privacy, target marginalized groups and normalize intrusive surveillance.

The news also comes as Facebook has been under intense scrutiny from regulators and lawmakers over user safety and a wide range of abuses on its platforms.

The company, which last week renamed itself Meta Platforms Inc, said more than one-third of Facebook’s daily active users have opted into the face recognition setting on the social media site, and the change will now delete the “facial recognition templates” of more than 1 billion people.

The removal will roll out globally and is expected to be complete by December, a Facebook spokesperson said.

Facebook added that its automatic alt text tool, which creates image descriptions for visually impaired people, will no longer include the names of people recognized in photos after the removal of face recognition, but will otherwise function normally.

The technology will now be limited to certain services such as helping people gain access to their locked accounts or unlock a personal device, Facebook said in the blog post.

– Reuters

We never loved Herman Mashaba: Mbalula

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ANC Head of Elections, Fikile Mbalula Picture: Masi Losi

The ANC has taken a jab at ActionSA and its leader Herman Mashaba over his open rejection of forming a coalition government with the ANC in the municipalities where the governing party failed to secure a clear majority.

The ANC’s top brass is busy hatching plans on how it would secure coalition agreements with some of the parties in municipalities where it failed to win.

While Mashaba accused one of the party’s officials of having approached him and asked for coalition support, ANC elections head Fikile Mbalula blasted him as a “showman” for openly rejecting the party ahead of the intense horse-trading that was expected to ensue among political parties.

“Who said we love him? We have never loved him. His policies are backward and we would only engage him if he was interested, but are [also] not interested if people think we are interested in them,” Mbalula said.

Mbalula said the ANC was grateful of the electoral outcomes despite being pushed out of a clear victory. Things could have been worse for the party, which was “confronted by a host of grievances from our people in terms of service delivery”.

“We take what we get. It is not a decisive majority that we wanted… We are not politically obliterated, we are not annihilated. That could have happened,” he said.

Mbalula also blamed the short period of campaigning and wrongdoing by local ANC leaders for the poor electoral performance. “We had to do all of this within a month and we looked like visitors to our people instead of residents, and some of our public representatives did not do as good and that is why we see the results,” he said.

ANC treasurer-general Paul Mashatile insisted that the party was not desperate, despite having failed to reclaim Johannesburg, Tshwane and Ekurhuleni.

“Those who want to work with us, our doors are open. Those who are saying no-no to the ANC, we will not chase them,” Mashatile said.

Mashatile said the party was planning to hold an extended national executive committee on Friday where it would discuss and finalise its approach to the coalition, which are set to cut across six of the country’s metros as well as many local municipalities.

He said the ANC would use its coalition experience in Johannesburg and Tshwane to try and create stable coalitions.

Sowetanlive

Coalition governments offer the much needed flexibility: Floyd Shivambu

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EFF Deputy President, Floyd Shivambu Picture: Masi Losi

The red berets say they are not fussy about whom they team up with in coalition governments

The instability of coalition governments and the endless change of mayors as seen in Tshwane, Joburg and Nelson Mandela Metro in the past five years is a good thing.

This is according to EFF second-in-command Floyd Shivambu, who on Wednesday visited the IEC national results centre in Pretoria.

Shivambu said the EFF was opposed to any legislation seeking to formalise coalition governments to bring about stability.

Any such move would mean parties that go into coalition are in essence forming a new political party as they would all be bound by legislation even when they reach a point of no return on disagreements.ADVERTISING

According to the EFF, legislating coalitions seeks to benefit politicians by guaranteeing them uninterrupted five-year office stints even when they did not get outright majority.

“It is good that when you are in office you must not be guaranteed that you are going to finish your five-year term. A politician must know that it is not permanent employment, it is a political  position you have not won. If you make a mistake there will be consequences,” said Shivambu.

“There must never be any legislative regulation of coalitions, you are forming a political party once you legislate it. Coalitions must be that loose, if you disagree you part ways that is how coalitions must be like.

“You must know that there will be consequences if you do something wrong because you did not win power. If you legislate coalitions that I am permanently in, it is no longer a coalition it is a political party.”

With the results counted so far showing that many more municipalities will be hung than ever before, Shivambu said the EFF was ready to govern should it go to bed with any political party.

The red berets were pleased with their steady growth, albeit without any outright majority but drew solace from the plummeting support of its arch rivals the ANC and the DA.

The scattered growth of votes, he said, was a result of EFF opting to mount a nationwide campaign with equal distribution of resources instead of targeting certain areas.

Said Shivambu: “We are not entitled to votes as the EFF, we go out to plead for votes and whatever number of people have confidence in the EFF, we really appreciate that so we are thankful and appreciate the numbers we are getting. We are steadily growing everywhere.

“We are going to be part of governments after these elections, we are going to have mayors and members of mayoral committees from the EFF.

“This time we are going to be government, we are not going to play a non-participatory role so whoever talks to us must know that the EFF wants to be government in metros, not just local municipalities.”

The EFF, through sitting in opposition benches since 2016, he said, had gained enough experience to be able to run municipalities on its own.

“In 2016, we were just three years old as an organisation we did not even know each other among ourselves. Now we know each other we have built proper support systems in the head office to support all our governance initiatives.”

TimesLIVE

Ace Magashule’s former PA declines state witness status, warrant of arrest issued

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Suspended ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule and 15 other co-accused appeared in the high court in Bloemfontein in connection with a R255m asbestos tender. It emerged on Wednesday that his former personal assistant will now be an accused in the case after not cooperating with the state. Image: Lihlumelo Toyana

Moroadi Cholota, former personal assistant of suspended ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule, is no longer a state witness but is now a suspect in the asbestos case.

This emerged during the pre-trial hearing in the Free State High Court in Bloemfontein on Wednesday when prosecutor Johan de Nysschen told the court he has signed  a warrant of arrest for Cholota.

In November last year, when Magashule applied for bail in the Bloemfontein magistrate’s court, the prosecution claimed Cholota would testify against Magashule.

Questions have been raised whether Cholota was a state witness, with the defence team for Magashule pointing out that the statement by Cholota, provided in the docket, was not signed.

Laurence Hodes SC, for Magashule, said the question of whether Cholota was a state witness needed to be resolved before the plea.

However, De Nysschen told the court on Wednesday that Cholota was not cooperating with the state.

He said the state had sent detectives to the US, where she resides, and they came back and informed the state that Cholota was not cooperative and therefore did not agree to be a state witness.

“Under the circumstances, I had no choice but to sign a warrant of arrest for her. We are in the process of getting her back to SA.

“She is a suspect and soon to be an accused in the matter. If we cannot get her timeously, the state will have no choice but to proceed without her,” De Nysschen said.

Hodes said it was the first time on Wednesday that he and his legal team heard about Cholota’s changed status .

Free State judge president Cagney Musi asked Hodes whether he will pursue this issue because it is now known Cholota will be an accused person.

Hodes said during Magashule’s bail application last year, the state had informed the court that Cholota was a state witness and the state remained in communication with her.

“That could not have been the truth,” Hodes said.

He said the charges against Magashule were premised on evidence given by Cholota at the state capture inquiry.

Hodes said two of the accused in the case have also raised a fundamental objection to the trial, having been forced to testify before the state capture inquiry, and were being prosecuted based on the answers they provided.

Hodes argued that these accused should not be tried based on their testimony before the inquiry.

“These issues need to be resolved before the plea stage,” Hodes said.

The court postponed the case to February 21 next year when these preliminary matters by five of the 16 accused will be heard by the court.

The case relates to the R255m Free State asbestos roofing removal tender while Magashule was premier of the province.

While R21m went to a company that did an audit of houses with asbestos roofs in the province, the rest allegedly went to businesspeople, politicians and government officials.

Magashule is one of the accused arrested in connection with the asbestos roof case. Others include businessperson Edwin Sodi, former Mangaung mayor Olly Mlamleli and former Free State human settlements head of department Nthimotse Mokhesi.

–TimesLIVE

Zweli Mkhize distances himself from Babita Deokaran murder

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Former health minister Zweli Mkhize has denied any involvement in Babita Deokaran's murder and has asked Ipid to investigate the circumstances of how the confession in which one of the alleged killers mentioned his name was obtained. Image: LULAMA_ZENZILE

One of six men arrested for allegedly killing whistle-blower claims he was tortured into confessing murder’s alleged link to then health minister

Former health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize has come out guns blazing after his name emerged in the bail hearing of six men accused of murdering Gauteng health official Babita Deokaran, stating that it was done to cause him “political embarrassment”.

Deokaran, who had blown the whistle to the Special Investigating Unit on corruption linked to Covid-19 health equipment procurements, was gunned down outside her Winchester Park home south of Johannesburg in August.

Deokaran’s alleged killers, Phakamani Hadebe, Zita Hadebe, Nhlangano Ndlovu, Sanele Mbele, Siphiwe Mazibuko and Phakanyiswa Dladla, appeared in the Johannesburg magistrate’s court on Tuesday for the start of the bail hearing.

Phakamani Hadebe told the court that he had been tortured by police into confessing that Mkhize had ordered the murder.

Mkhize in a statement on Wednesday said he was shocked that his “name had been dragged into the case of the men arrested in connection with the murder”.

He said he wanted to assure Deokaran’s family that he had nothing to do with the callous crime, “nor the alleged procurement irregularities which are believed to have driven it”.

“It should be remembered that these alleged procurement irregularities took place at a provincial level, far away from the national sphere of government where I was deployed as a national minister of health.”

He said he had instructed his lawyers to write to the Independent Police Independent Directorate (Ipid) “to investigate the circumstances surrounding the extraction and acceptance into evidence of the reported ‘confession’ whose value could only have been to cause him political embarrassment”.

TimesLIVE

ActionSA laments over exclusion of their name from ballot paper

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ActionSA leader Herman Mashaba

With 65% of the municipal votes having been announced, ActionSA says there is tangible proof that the absence of the party’s name from ward ballot papers has significantly prejudiced it.

  • ActionSA claims there is tangible proof that the absence of its name from ward ballot papers has significantly prejudiced the party. 
  • “The results reveal that we are sitting on 30% less on the ward ballot than we are on the PR ballot,” national chairperson Michael Beaumont has said.
  • The party is considering its options.

With 65% of the municipal votes having been announced, ActionSA says there is tangible proof that the absence of the party’s name from ward ballot papers has significantly prejudiced it.

Speaking to News24 from the Electoral Commission of SA’s (IEC) results operation centre in Pretoria, ActionSA national chairperson Michael Beaumont said the party’s analysis showed a significantly lower voting percentage in the ward ballot, which excluded the party’s name, compared to the proportional representation (PR) ballot.

“One of the things that we are busy analysing right now is the impact of the name absence on the ballot paper, on the ward ballot in particular actually, which does not have the name ActionSA, and the results are quite frightening. 

“The results reveal that we are sitting on 30% less on the ward ballot than we are on the PR ballot. You can argue that…this discrepancy may be as a result of vote splitting and that would be logical, but we are getting a very real sense that people really struggled to find ActionSA on the ballot paper, which is something that we are very concerned about. slide 1 of 1SOWETO, SOUTH AFRICA - OCTOBER 27: Herman Mashaba Herman Mashaba campaigns in Soweto.Gallo ImagesPapi Morake, Gallo Images

“This is why we went to court [previously] and this is what we were trying to avoid…now there is potentially a very real prejudice that ActionSA may have to consider our approach to,” Beaumont said.

In the previous case before the Electoral Court, the IEC, through its legal representatives, cited previous judgments when it argued that for the relief ActionSA sought, there had to be actual prejudice that could be measured – not perceived prejudice.

Professor Narnia Bohler Muller said the HSRC interviewed 1 200 voters at 300 voting stations across all provinces. 95% of voters believed that the elections were free and fair.

Beaumont said the Electoral Court has still not shared its reasoning for ruling against the party

He also bemoaned the low voter turnout, saying that it is an indictment on politicians – not voters. slide 1 of 1Action South Africa leader Herman Mashaba (C) singHerman Mashaba stands with supporters at Action SA’s manifesto launch.AFPPhill Magakoe, AFP

“It’s (the low turnout) a subject of two things, I don’t think South Africans are lazy or lack engagement. That’s an indictment on politicians – not voters. Political parties have not given the electorate enough reasons to trust them and as a result, they have chosen to stay away. We as ActionSA are also not too naïve to believe that we can change all the voter dissatisfaction after just one vote.”

He added that another reason for the lack of participation in the elections was because the IEC had not made clear the measures it would be put in place to ensure that voting stations would not be super spreaders.

“I am a member of the party liaison committee and still didn’t fully understand what measures were going to be put in place. So imagine an ordinary citizen. How were they to believe that those stations [would be] safe?” he said.

Elections 2021: Up after midnight? This is what the election results look like so far

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Pretoria – Early on Wednesday morning, the ANC continued to slowly edge closer to the 47% mark, as it firmly clinched about 5.7 million votes.

By 1am, live results reflected on the Electoral Commission of South Africa’s (IEC) board showed that the ruling party had, so far, gained 46.2% of voters’ support, with the DA holding 22.5%, followed by the EFF with 10.9% of voters’ support.

In terms of councils, the ANC held 72 of them thus far, and the DA holds 21 councils.

In Limpopo, the ANC had already surpassed the 60% mark, while the DA and the EFF were nowhere near the 20% mark.

The same applied in the Eastern Cape, where party was sitting with a 65.53% of voter support.

There are also about 35 municipalities hanging in the balance, with Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality being one of them.

But it remains to be a long haul for the IEC, as only 60% of votes cast had been counted, shortly before 2am.

This is a far cry from the assurance the IEC had given early last night, that the counting of votes would be completed at about midnight.

While addressing the media at the national results operation centre (ROC), chief electoral officer Sy Mamabolo said the IEC was intent on ensuring that all votes were captured, saying: “We will spare no effort in ensuring that the majority of the 163 municipalities are completed within the planned time.”

At the ROC, some parties and party members were still watching the votes carefully after midnight.

The results that have trickled in so far have also been an indicator that parties may have to kick off serious coalition talks and exercise some persuasion tactics, in order to govern in some municipalities.

–iOL

ANC stares defeat in Emfuleni as residents relish change

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Japie Mofokeng and Dikeledi Mosebi reflect on the state of poor service delivery in Vereeneging, which is under the ANC government. Image: Tebello Potlwane

Some residents were excited at the prospect of a coalition government being without the ANC in the municipality

The ANC and the DA were on Tuesday in neck to neck race for the control of the embattled Emfuleni local municipality in the Vaal.

Some residents were excited at the prospect of a coalition government being without the ANC in the municipality.

The municipality has tremendously collapsed under the ANC, failing to deliver basic services to communities and maintaining public infrastructure such as water works and roads. But the ruling party expressed confidence on Tuesday that it would hold back the DA, even if it would be by the narrowest of margins.

By 4pm, the ANC led in Emfuleni with 35.57% followed by the DA with 32.72% and EFF with 15%. About 45% of the votes had been counted. But at the Laerskool Unitaspark voting district, which covers areas including Vereeniging, the DA led with 72.85% followed by the ANC with 12.56% and the Freedom Front Plus with 9%.

Dikeledi Mosetsi, a resident of Vereeniging, said she is relieved at the prospect the ANC losing Emfuleni.

“It is time that they go down because they are not doing anything for our residents. If you look at our area — from town to the suburbs — you can tell there is no proper maintenance. There is no order. Right next door in Meyerton where DA rules, you can see that there is order and public infrastructure is well maintained.

“I am not surprised at all that the ANC is losing support,” said Mosetsi.

Another resident, Japie Mofokeng, also from Vereeniging, said it would be a great relieve if the scales of power would tilt in favour of a new administration.

“I am excited that this time around the DA has a chance. There is no good things that we can talk about that the ANC has done in our area…They used to collect up refuse on Wednesdays and they just stopped.

“There is so many potholes and the sewerage runs on the streets. These people (ANC) have never taken us seriously, right from the beginning,” said Mofokeng.

Emfuleni has been run by the ANC for over two decades. The last five years have been extremely dismal with service delivery collapsing, forcing the provincial government to place the council under administration.

Efforts to get comment from ANC provincial spokesperson Bones Modise, regional coordinator Mafika Mgcina or provincial secretary Jacob Khawe (a former Emfuleni mayor until his resignation in December 2018) did not succeed as they did not answer calls or respond to text messages.

DA Vaal regional chairperson Dennis Ryder said the party was seeing a good performance in Emfuleni because the residents can see what is happening next door in Midvaal, which is run by the DA.

“People are tired of being taken for granted. The result are still preliminary, but it is certainly looking positive for the DA. There is big shift up for the DA,” said Ryder.

–Sowetan

ANC retains Lesedi in Gauteng with just over half of the votes

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The ANC has retained the Lesedi municipality after it received 50.43% of the votes in Monday’s local government elections.

This is the first municipality in Gauteng whose results have been fully counted and processed.

The result means the ANC will get 13 council seats, the opposition DA will be allocated five and the EFF will get four seats.

Nthabi Tsipana, Electoral Commission (IEC) Gauteng provincial manager of electoral matters, confirmed the outcome on Tuesday afternoon.

“Lesedi municipality has 40 voting stations and all have been concluded. In Lesedi we are seeing the ANC leading the pack, followed by the DA,” said Tsipana.

She said in Midvaal, which is run by the DA, the IEC was at 92% completion. The municipality is expected to be retained by the DA, which is leading at 68.22%, followed by the ANC with 16.72% of the votes.

Tsipana said in Johannesburg, the IEC had processed 163 out of 867 voting stations. In Ekurhuleni 207 of the 643 stations had been processed and in Tshwane only 86 of the 778. 

“We are at a point where we have processed 27% of all the voting districts in the province. Out of the 2,815, the rest of them have been captured but they have to be audited and released in the system. Once that has been completed, seat allocation will happen,” said Tsipana.

IEC provincial electoral officer Thabo Masemola said they were hoping to complete processing all the results by Wednesday.

“We are going to push very hard. We all want to conclude this hopefully by tomorrow. Those who are planning victory parties can go and celebrate,” said Masemola.

Some parties are starting to celebrate small victories in Gauteng. 

IFP chairperson Bonginkosi Dhlamini told the media his party had already snatched two wards in  Johannesburg, an indication his party may have more representation in the council.

The IFP is part of the coalition government run by the ANC.

“I think we will do better, far better. We had five [councillors], all were PR. We did not have a ward,” said Dhlamini.

DA MP Rhume Ramulifho, the party’s liaison officer stationed at the Gauteng results centre, said he was feeling good about the results but it was still early.

“We are hopeful that Johannesburg is going to be a hung municipality so it will be led by a coalition government,” said Ramulifho. 

–TimesLIVE

Eswatini to start process of establishing national dialogue forum, says Ramaphosa

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President Cyril Ramaphosa and King Mswati III discussed a broad range of matters relating to the political and security situation in the kingdom. Image: Elmond Jiyane

Sadc chair President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced that the Kingdom of Eswatini will embark on a process that will work towards the establishment of a national dialogue forum.

The announcement follows Ramaphosa’s one-day working visit to the kingdom to meet King Mswati III in an attempt to bring peace in the troubled country.

Ramaphosa made the announcement in his capacity as the chair of the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) organ on politics, defence and security.

His office said: “President Ramaphosa and King Mswati III agreed that the Sadc secretariat would work closely with the government of Eswatini to draft terms of reference for the national dialogue forum. These terms of reference will specify processes for the forum as well as the composition of the forum.”

The meeting of the two heads of state follows a visit by a special envoy on October 21 and 22. Last month Ramaphosa told the Sunday Times that he sent former cabinet minister Jeff Radebe to Eswatini as his special envoy. Radebe was accompanied by representatives from Namibia and Botswana, and the delegation was assisted by the Sadc secretariat.

The move followed four months of pro-democracy protests that escalated this week. About 100 people have died in the violence, many of them killed by the military and police, according to reports.

The delegation met Mswati and senior government members, civil society organisations, MPs and trade unions.

On Tuesday Ramaphosa met King Mswati to discuss a broad range of matters relating to the political and security situation in the kingdom.  

The presidency said: “The process towards the national dialogue will take into account and incorporate structures and processes enshrined in the constitution of the Kingdom of Eswatini, including the role of parliament and the Sibaya convened by His Majesty King Mswati III.

“This preparatory process will take place during the coming three months, a period during which His Majesty will undertake his annual, mandatory Incwala ceremony.”  

The two statesmen were at one “in calling on all stakeholders among amaSwati to work together to end violence and conflict, and maintain peace and calm in the kingdom as work commences on the national dialogue process.”

TimesLIVE

Voters undecided: IEC announces 12 hung councils in the Western Cape

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DA

Only three of the Western Cape’s 15 municipalities whose results were finalised by 5pm on Tuesday had outright majorities.

For the remainder [12], the councils were hung.

“We have three municipalities that have an outright majority — Berg River, Swartland and Hessequa,” said IEC provincial head Michael Hendrickse just after 5pm on Tuesday.

All three were DA municipalities but at the time of publishing, the detailed results were not finalised and therefore it was not clear whether the party had increased its vote in the councils.

The 12 other municipalities — Knysna, Cape Agulhas, Theewaterskloof, Langeberg, Witzenburg, Kannaland, Oudtshoorn, Laingsburg, Prince Albert, Beaufort West, Cederberg and Saldanha Bay are all hung councils as there was no outright majority, said Hendrickse.

The province has 30 municipalities, of which five are district councils. Only eight of its municipalities were hung in 2016.

Hendrickse told journalists that at 4.30pm they had completed about 60% of results capturing.

The provincial IEC is planning to announce final results at 11am on Wednesday.

“We are well on our way in terms of getting all the results in and captured, verified and then confirmed,” said Hendrickse.

The much-awaited city of Cape Town’s results were still outstanding. Though the DA is expected to retain the city, there has been a lot of speculation about whether it would retain the two-thirds majority it received in 2016.

The effect of parties like GOOD which was formed by former DA councillors, including former Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille, also makes for an interesting result.

Hendrickse confirmed that the metro’s results were taking longer to conclude but there was no specific reason for the delay except that Cape Town had 801 voting districts and two ballots per voter. 

It’s never been as important to be in the know as it is now. Subscribe to Sunday Times today and get 50% off. 

TimesLIVE

Ekurhuleni is slipping away from ANC grip

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The ANC isn’t in a good space, and when a region like Ekurhuleni is slipping from their grasp, it really is ‘crisis time’ for the ruling party.

The East Rand was previously considered an ANC stronghold, but voters in the Gauteng metro look set to turn their backs on the ruling party, as the latest election results show a major shift in the political landscape.

WILL THE ANC LOSE EKURHULENI? PROJECTIONS POINT TO ‘MAJOR TROUBLE’

Mayor Mzwandile Masina hasn’t been everyone’s cup of tea in the past five years, and he’s had to stave-off several allegations of corruption and fraud against his office. The ANC slide that was projected by opinion polls in the past few days is well and truly underway, with the party only picking up 46% of the national vote so far.

The projections for Ekurhuleni, however, could be their greatest concern of the lot. The DA has edged in front early on, and the ANC isn’t likely to get near the 50% it needs to rule the metro outright. Both parties will need to find coalition partners if they want to take control of the region – with the EFF and ActionSA likely to be kingmakers.

2021 ELECTIONS: RESULTS, UPDATES, LATEST NEWS

The DA is currently leading the vote in Ekurhuleni, with 34.7% of all ballots cast. Although, the contest remains tight. The Blues were the first to reach 50 000 votes in the metro, which has now counted 14% of all submitted ballots. The ANC is lagging behind on 33.05%, with the EFF also totalling 12% at the polls.

Both ActionSA and FF Plus are tracking at around 6%. Based on these numbers alone, the conditions would be more favourable for a DA-led coalition in the city – but this is far from a foregone conclusion.

Meanwhile, for the whole of Gauteng, the ANC does have a slender lead over the DA. Provincially speaking, the ruling party is currently on 35% of the vote, with the DA on 33%. Just 9 000 votes separate the pair, as of 9:30 on Tuesday.

-The South African

Herman Mashaba gains ground in Johannesburg as ANC buckles in Soweto

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Herman Mashaba
  • Action SA has taken a number of wards from the ANC in Soweto.
  • The party was formed shortly after Herman Mashaba’s acrimonious departure from the DA in 2019.
  • Data shows that ANC support in townships around the city could hit historical lows.

Herman Mashaba’s new political party Action SA is headed towards Johannesburg’s civic centre in Braamfontein, with the recently formed party delivering some significant body blows to the ANC in Soweto.

The party, which was formed shortly after Mashaba’s acrimonious departure from the DA in 2019, has taken a number of wards from the ANC in Soweto, which is considered the governing party’s traditional struggle home.

“Johannesburg is going to be the story of the day. Data is showing that the ANC’s support in townships around the city could hit historical lows. At this stage it looks as if it could settle at 55%, down from 70%, which is dramatic. It is a massive shift. And it’s the Action SA impact,” says Dawie Scholtz, News24’s elections analyst.

News24’s Elections Forecaster shows that Action SA is consistently performing in the 15% to 20% range in Soweto and surrounds. Not enough data is available yet to make a projection for either Soweto or Johannesburg but results that have come in overnight show sizeable support for Mashaba and his party.

“The differential between suburban voter turnout and township voter turnout remains large, with a larger chunk of people voting in the former than people going to vote in the latter. This will make a difference when the final tallies are calculated,” Scholtz says.

The ANC’s decline in Soweto and the strong performance by Action SA is underscored by two wards in Soweto.

Businessman Herman Mashaba believes citizens should vote for ActionSA if they are serious about tackling corruption and service delivery.

“The theme in Soweto seems to be ANC decline, a strong performance by Action SA, the EFF remaining consistent and marginal DA decline. But it really is about Action SA taking votes from the ANC,” Scholtz says.

ANC support on course to drop below 50%

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  • Monday’s municipal polls a barometer of ANC popularity
  • Ruling party on 46% with 55% of polling stations counted
  • Main rival DA on 23%, Marxist EFF on 10%
  • ANC has never polled below 50% since Apartheid ended

Voter support for South Africa’s ruling African National Congress (ANC) was on course on Tuesday to drop below 50% for the first time since it ended white minority rule in 1994, according to partial returns from local polls held nationwide.

Monday’s municipal elections had been widely viewed as a referendum on the ANC, tainted by corruption and facing a backlash over poor stewardship of an ailing economy beset by chronically high unemployment, and on its uninterrupted 27 years in charge of Africa’s most industrialised nation.

Results from more than half of the 23,000 polling stations showed the party on 46%.

That raises the possibility of the legacy party of Nelson Mandela being forced to govern the country in a coalition, should those figures be replicated in the next national election in 2024.Report ad

But the opposition remains fragmented, with its main rival, the Democratic Alliance (DA), second on 23% in Tuesday’s count and the Marxist EFF, led by Julius Malema, third with 10%.

Analysts had predicted the ANC’s share of the vote could fall below half on Monday. At the last municipal polls in 2016 it got around 54%, then its worst result, on a turnout of 58%. read moreReport ad

Turnout this time fell to just 47%, initial figures from the electoral commission showed. It said results from 55% of the country’s 23,000 polling stations had been completed, and it expected 90% of results to be finalised by Tuesday evening.

RAMAPHOSA UNDER PRESSURE?

Ralph Mathekga, analyst and author of books on ANC politics, said, the election could be “a predictor for what is looming at the next general election.

“If the ANC drops below 50% … South Africa will no longer be led by a hegemonic party,” he said, adding that the result could threaten President Cyril Ramaphosa’s position as president when the ANC elects its leader next year.

But no other single party yet seems remotely ready to rival the ANC.

The DA has struggled to shed its image as a party of white privilege in a country that is nine tenths non-white, while the EFF’s radical rhetoric scares many voters off.

As well as avoiding the loss of its overall majority, the ANC hopes to win back metropolitan areas it lost to opposition-led coalitions in the 2016 poll, including commercial hub Johannesburg and capital Pretoria. read more

At 1815 GMT, results for Johannesburg from 29% of polling stations gave the ANC 37%, against 22% for the DA. The DA was meanwhile leading in Tshwane, which includes Pretoria, with 39% of the vote against the ANC’s 29%, on results from 19% of stations.

ActionSA, the most popular newcomer party, whose leader, Herman Mashaba, has been criticised for vociferous anti-immigrant remarks, was on 1.6% nationwide, but polling 17% in Johannesburg, putting it third there.

–Reuters

ActionSA cries foul as it stares massive rejection by voters

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ActionSA boss Herman Mashaba
  • ActionSA says that it has received reports of voters struggling to locate the party on ward ballots.
  • Voters were encouraged to report this.
  • Voting stations were expected to close at 21:00.

Action SA says that it has received reports of voters who have struggled to locate the political party on ward ballots at their voting stations.

“We encourage each of our voters to report wards with ballot papers that do not feature ActionSA where we are contesting in Johannesburg, Tshwane, Ekurhuleni, eThekwini, Newcastle and KwaDukuza,” national chairperson Michael Beaumont said in a statement on Monday.

Action SA said it was determined to ensure that elections were safe, free and fair, while ensuring that voters had a “true opportunity to bring change to their communities – for their benefit, that of their loved ones and their community”.

“Where problems exist on the ballot, we will work with the Electoral Commission of SA (IEC) to make sure voters’ concerns are addressed,” Beaumont added.

The party encouraged voters to report any incident where they were prevented from receiving assistance in identifying its logo on ward ballot papers.

“Today’s elections are all about beginnings. We encourage every resident to begin fixing our cities by voting ActionSA in Joburg, Tshwane, Ekurhuleni, eThekwini, KwaDukuza and Newcastle. By fixing our cities, we can fix our country,” the statement further reads.

The party encouraged voters to report such problems online.

News24 asked the IEC whether it had received such a report during its 20:00 briefing on Monday.

However, due to time constraints, it could not immediately deal with the question.

–Media24

DA loses Cederberg Municipality

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The DA has lost the Cederberg Municipality in Western Cape to the ANC.

All ballots have been counted and results show that the DA lost its majority in the Cederberg municipality, dropping from 55.2% in 2016, to 20.7% in the 2021 municipal elections.

The party now has two seats in the council, down from six seats.

The ANC is the majority party at 35.5%, with local party Cederberg Eerste (CE) receiving 27.5% of the vote. The ANC has four seats and CE has three seats. The Patriotic Alliance and FF Plus have one seat each.

r

LGE 2021 early results trickle in as counting continues

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CIC Julius Malema

The results of South Africa’s sixth Local Government election are trickling in amid concerns of a low voter turnout.

With 9% of votes in the Local Government, Elections counted across South Africa by 5 am on Tuesday morning, support for the African National Congress (ANC) at the polls stands at just under 45%, while the Democratic Alliance (DA) has 28% and the  Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) 7.5% support from voters.

Results have been returned in more than 2220 of the 23 148 voting districts.

A result has been announced in only one of the 213 municipalities so far, where the ANC has secured 50.5% of the vote in the KhaI Ma municipal region in the Northern Cape.

Around 90 of the 8794 seats have been allocated, of which the bulk have been secured by the ANC (53) and the DA (28).

First parties to win ward seats: ANC, DA FF Plus

ANC, the Democratic Alliance (DA) and the Freedom Front Plus (FF Plus) were the first parties to win ward seats in the local government elections.

The parties have won seats in 3 different wards in the Free State and Northern Cape.

In total, three seats have been won across the country from 17 districts where vote counting has been completed.

LGE 2021 Results | Results continue to trickle in: Prof Pravesh Debba

KwaZulu-Natal

In KwaZulu-Natal, community protests in isolated areas like Umzinto and Camperdown led to voting being delayed.

Political analyst Professor Bheki Mngomezulu says while service delivery protests play a role in any democracy, it should not deter those who wish to cast their vote from doing so.

“It’s something that is regrettable at this time and age where you find that people demonstrate intolerance. Because under normal circumstances looking at the number of years that have gone past with our first election, you would have expected that people would be politically mature, but this is not the case, what is lacking is political education firstly among political leaders themselves, but then secondly among the electorate if you are protesting it’s fine, it’s protected in the constitution. But then your protest should not interfere with my own right,” says Mngomezulu.

LGE 2021 | An update from the SABC’s Jayed Paulse in KwaZulu-Natal

The results of the local government election in KwaZulu-Natal are beginning to come in.

According to the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) results dashboard, with 3% of the count in the province complete by 5am on Tuesday morning, the African National Congress (ANC) is leading with 48.49%.

The Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) has 26.34 and the Democratic Alliance (DA) has 9.87%.

All eyes are on the hotly contested eThekwini Metro, the only metro in the province.

Limpopo

Limpopo has captured 3% of the votes from Monday’s ‘s local government elections by 5 am on Tuesday. 97% of 3 186 voting stations have completed counting the votes. The ANC, Freedom Front Plus, the DA and The Service Forum for Service Delivery are featuring strongly in the results.

LGE 2021 | An update from Limpopo

First results out, political party reactions:

Zille opens assault case after she is ‘frog-marched’ out of voting station

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Hellen Zille

  • DA Federal Council chairperson Helen Zille has opened a case of assault against a police officer.
  • Video footage showed her being dragged out of the Fernwood Primary School voting station in Bethelsdorp by an officer. 
  • ANC observers had apparently accused her of canvassing for votes.

DA Federal Council chairperson Helen Zille has opened a case of assault against a police officer, after she was seen being dragged out of the Fernwood Primary School voting station in Bethelsdorp. 

DA communications director Richard Newton said ANC observers at a voting station in Gqeberha had accused her of canvassing for votes minutes before she was taken out of the facility by police.

“It is alleged that on 1 November 2021 at about 12:30, DA party agent Helen Zille was at the Fernwood Primary School voting station in Bethelsdorp. According to Ms Zille, due to the long queue, she walked down the line asking people to wait,” Newton said.

Zille further said that, when she got to the front of the queue, the ANC observers accused her of canvassing.

“She then alleged that a Warrant Officer Botha instructed her to leave the premises and threatened to arrest her and put her in the back of a police vehicle.

“She was ‘frog-marched’ out of the premises and the police officer twisted her arm and continued pushing her.

“The cellphone that her colleague was using to film the incident was allegedly taken by Botha,” Newton said.

Zille went to the police station in Bethelsdorp and opened a case of assault.

IPID spokesperson Grace Langa said an investigator was trying to get hold of Zille after she opened a case of assault against a police officer. 

She said Zille had been unreachable by phone. Langa said a thorough investigation into the incident would follow. 

A cellphone video recording showed  Zille being dragged out of the voting station in Bethelsdorp by a police officer. 

Taking to her Facebook page on Monday night, Zille said her tasks for the day had been to greet voters and “walk the queues”.

“It involves encouraging people to stay in the queue, no matter how long it takes and how frustrated they get, so that they can cast their vote rather than go home,” she posted.

She said she was very careful to ensure she did not canvas anywhere within the IEC’s boundary line.

‘I tried to rip myself free’

At the primary school, she had found a very long queue and worked out the hold-up was due to the apparently slow manual input of ID numbers into a tablet.

“I then tried to establish how long the voting would take by timing this interaction on my phone’s stop-watch. I positioned myself two meters from where this device was being used to manually capture ID numbers. I did not interfere with a single voter, nor with any officer performing his or her duties. I merely timed the process,” she said.

“The shortest time it took to capture an ID number was 30 seconds. The longest was 90 seconds. Multiplying the average by the number of people in the queue, I calculated that it would take about 4-5 hours for the people at the back of the queue to get to the front. Ms Latola [the presiding officer] then told me to leave the voting station. I said I had the required authorisation to be there, and then suggested that she use her authority to divide the queue on the basis of alphabetical surnames, as had happened in a nearby Voting Station.”

Zille left the voting station and returned later on to find the queue longer and no double queue system implemented.

“Once again, I walked up the queue from the back, thanking people for coming, and asking them to stay in the queue, even though many of them had been waiting for hours. When I made my way to the front of the queue, two of the ANC party agents told me to stop canvassing in the queue. I told them I was not canvassing, I was urging people to stay in the queue despite their intense frustration at the inordinate delay.”

She said she approached Latola again, who allegedly accused her of canvassing.

“A burly policeman, Warrant Officer A Botha, approached and before I could say a word, he instructed me to leave. I presented my authorisation, and said I had a right to be there. With that he instructed me to leave, grabbed me and frog-marched me out of the building. I told him to let me go or I would charge him with assault,” she said.

“I tried to rip myself free of his grasp, but he was very powerful and frog-marched me all the way to the gate. My colleague filmed the last segment of his violence, at which point he lunged over and grabbed her cellphone. She tried to get it back, but he turned and went into the building.”

Zille said she had opened a case at Bethelsdorp police station and then returned to the voting station, where she was given a dispute form to fill out.

“The delays today at the Fernwood Park Primary Voting Station were clearly deliberate, and scores of voters left without voting in this DA stronghold.  The same, apparently, applies in many other places,” she said.

–Media24

Video: Early win for ANC, DA, FF Plus, as results continue trickling in

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The African National Congress (ANC), the Democratic Alliance (DA) and the Freedom Front Plus (FF Plus) are the first parties to win ward seats in the local government elections. The parties have won seats in 3 different wards in the Free State and Northern Cape.

In total, three seats have been won across the country from 17 districts where vote counting has been completed.

The local government elections results started trickling in on Monday night at the Results Operation Center in Pretoria.

ANC is leading in Mvomvo Lodge Voting District of the Umzimvubu Local Municipality in the Eastern Cape.

Voting stations closed at 21:00 on Monday night.

Earlier, the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) said it was still measuring the voter turnout figures following the 2021 local government elections.

The IEC has published the first results of the 2021 local government elections.

Monday, the IEC said voting stations that were affected by delays may be allowed to remain open for a longer period of time.The commission added that voters who were still in the queue by 9pm this evening when voting stations close will be allowed to vote.

Local election count begins amid turnout nosedive

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The Electoral Commission of SA looks at keeping certain stations open past closing time on a ‘case-by-case basis

Poor turnout, IT glitches, service delivery protests and voters roll failures marred the 2021 local government elections, which officially closed at 9pm on Monday night.

Incensed political parties have bemoaned the shortcomings in how the Electoral Commission of SA (IEC) has managed the process.

During a briefing after 8pm IEC officials indicated the body would consider keeping a few stations open past the cut-off time on a “case-by-case basis” based on the circumstances. Select voting sites would be allowed to stay open later, due to protests or other hiccups that hampered smooth voting.

Two hours before the cut-off time, only 8-million of the 26.2-million registered voters had marked ballots, which amounted to little over 30% turnout by that time.

IEC commissioner Nomsa Masuku assured those standing in line at polling stations by 9pm they would be processed into the night.

She said the IEC would begin counting ballots from 9pm and the first results would roll in from early Tuesday morning.

Already, some analysts have attributed low turnout to voters’ apathy, workers being on shift and others prioritising rest over a long weekend. 

Speaking from the IEC’s results centre in Pretoria on Monday afternoon, the ANC’s deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte urged voters to participate in the polls. 

“We need more people to go and vote. We need all of those who have not as yet left their homes to go and vote now before it is too dark,” she said.

Duarte urged retailers and small business owners to end shifts by 6pm so workers could partake in a “very important election” for SA.

By nightfall in Khayelitsha’s Site C in Cape Town, the Western Cape, drivers were proceeding through the neighbourhood flashing lights and hooting at ANC supporters outside their homes.

Earlier, opposition parties had pressed for a waiver of the national lockdown curfew of midnight. In the afternoon, IEC and political parties hashed out extending the closure of voting after days of issues with the voters roll.

Siviwe Gwarube, the DA’s spokesperson, said the curfew was “an imposition that should be waived tonight [Monday] considering the fact that the voting stations close at 9pm and there have been widely reported delays with the IEC”.

“South Africans should not suffer because there have been incompetencies of both the government and the IEC,” said EFF national spokesperson Leigh-Ann Mathys.

According to the IEC, since a lunchtime press conference on Monday challenges with the voters roll — which first manifested during two days of special votes at the weekend — were the topic of engagements behind closed doors.

While IEC and political party officials hold permits for working beyond the curfew, what will become of voters at stations — and thus in breach of curfew — after the strike of twelve was not immediately clear.

Though voting officially ended at 9pm, stations with exceptionally long queues continued helping voters and, in some cases, were likely to work past the midnight.

At current lockdown level one it is a contravention, in terms of the lockdown regulations under the National Disaster Management Act, for non-essential workers (and those without permits) to be out from 12pm to 4am.

“We do not envisage voting to go beyond midnight. If it does it will be an exception and we will deal with those exceptions as they arise,” said the IEC’s senior operations manager Granville Abrahams.

By Monday afternoon, prominent ANC leaders including treasurer-general Paul Mashatile and former Johannesburg mayor Parks Tau were out in full force in Soweto in an effort to stir support before the 9pm cut-off. 

The EFF’s Mathys said, “Lockdown regulations should never, ever be given priority over your constitutional right that is enshrined in the constitution of SA.”

The Independent Electoral Commission says it’s happy with how the local government elections have gone despite some technical glitches and allegations of tampering with ballot boxes. IEC’s Sy Mamabolo fills us in on the latest.

While the DA and EFF remain divided on ideological grounds, they agreed that curfew should be lifted for those in queues at cut-off time, with the EFF blaming the IEC for poor management of some stations.

“We have seen a lot of stations have opened late. They don’t have enough staff,” said Mathys.

“Ultimately, the ability of South Africans to exercise their right to vote should supersede any arbitrary curfew that has no health benefits,” Gwarube said.

Police spokesperson Vish Naidoo, who also speaks on behalf of the National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure (NATJoints), which is tasked with monitoring and mitigating violence during elections, said police would guard stations until they closed.

“As long as a voting station remains open our police officers will be there,” he said. Naidoo explained that where an IEC’s presiding officer was authorised by the body to keep a station open, police would remain on site.

Naidoo said the police would be guided by the IEC as to what would be the latest time voting stations would have to close. “For those stations that have opened late we will wait for guidance from the IEC. I am not yet aware of any decision having been taken regarding that,” he said.

Terry Tselane, executive chair of the Institute of Election Management Services, anticipated the 9pm cut-off would hold but the police would be lax on enforcing curfew in light of various challenges on voting day.

“I don’t think the government is going to be that strict in terms of making sure that they implement the curfew rules,” he said.  

Tselane was of the view that while there might be short-term leeway on the midnight curfew, another full day of voting was out of the question in light of a Constitutional Court order and the law around when local government polls must occur. 

“What is even worse is that [Monday] is the last possible date within which the elections should take place. So, you cannot even say you are going to have it tomorrow. Because tomorrow, it will be outside the constitutionally stipulated period,” he said.

A call to the spokesperson for the minister of co-operative governance and traditional affairs, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, went unanswered.

Gunman meets his ancestors too soon after being shot dead in SA

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A 34-year-old Zimbabwean man was on Friday shot and killed by South African police in the Erasmia area.

The man is reported to have been part of a gang of suspects, aged between 26 and 51 years, who were caught red-handed by the police cutting steel pipes at a plot in Mooiplas.

The Independent Police Investigative Directorate spokesperson, Ms Grace Langa said the matter was now under investigation.

However, she could not readily reveal the now deceased’s identity.

“We are investigating a case of death as a result of pgunolice action and our team has already attended the crime scene,” said Ms Langa.

“It is alleged that two on-duty police officers reacted to a complaint about some suspects who were cutting steel pipes at the plot in Mooiplas. Upon arrival, they found the complainant who then pointed out the suspects.”

The four suspects were apprehended.

More suspects, driving an Isuzu pick-up truck, arrived at the scene and were also identified as being part of the crew by the complainant.

She said the two policemen stopped the car and ordered all the passengers to disembark and lie on the ground.

“They all went down except one suspect who is a 34-year-old Zimbabwean national. He walked towards the back of their bakkie (pick-up truck) and pulled a firearm.

“He was spotted by one of the policemen who immediately pulled out his service pistol and shot him (the suspect Zimbabwean national) on the head,” said Ms Langa.

She said while the two police officers were busy checking on the man who had been shot, his accomplices got into the vehicle and fled from the scene.

Paramedics, she added, were contacted and certified the man dead on the scene.

Ms Langa said investigators from IPID collected the Police officer’s state firearm as well as the deceased’s unlicensed firearm after being summoned to the scene.

“Further investigations into the matter are underway,” she said.

– Chronicle

ANC hopes to avert worst post-apartheid result in South Africa local vote

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  • Discontent over poor service delivery could cost ANC
  • Analysts predict party share of vote could fall below 50%
  • President Cyril Ramaphosa remains popular
  • ANC lost key metropolitan areas in 2016 polls

South Africans voted in municipal elections on Monday, with the ruling African National Congress (ANC) hoping to avert its worst result since the end of white minority rule.

There has been little reliable political polling, but based on the climate of discontent and the few surveys that have been conducted some pundits predict the ANC’s vote share could fall below 50% for the first time since the end of apartheid.Report ad

President Cyril Ramaphosa remains popular after mobilising government grants that prevented COVID-19 from becoming a hunger crisis. But lasting poverty, crumbling infrastructure and nearly a third of workers unemployed mean some voters have lost patience with the party that has ruled for 27 years.

“I’m here to vote for change,” said 67-year old pensioner Xinyenyani Mthembu at a polling station in Soweto township.Report ad

“I have been very much loyal (to the ANC) for so many years because there were improvements but it’s not enough,” he said, adding he was changing his party of choice for the first time, for a new party led by former Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba.

Ramaphosa acknowledged that many voters were not happy, but called on them to support the party so it could improve.

“This is the one election where we are clearly saying to our people we are going to do better,” he said while voting in Soweto. “We’ve realised that we’ve not always met the aspirations of our people.”

The ANC hopes to win back metropolitan areas it lost to opposition-led coalitions in 2016, including in Johannesburg and Pretoria, when its 54% vote share was its worst since coming to power. 

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa casts his ballot at a polling station during local government elections in Soweto, Johannesburg, South Africa, November 1, 2021. REUTERS/Sumaya Hisham
Locals wait to cast their votes during the local government elections, at an informal settlement in Lawley township, near Johannesburg, South Africa November 1, 2021. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko
Locals wait to cast their votes during the local government elections, at an informal settlement in Lawley township, near Johannesburg, South Africa November 1, 2021. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko

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Locals wait to cast their votes during the local government elections, at an informal settlement in Lawley township, near Johannesburg, South Africa November 1, 2021. REUTERS/Siphiwe SibekoRead More

Polls opened at 0500 GMT and close at 1900 GMT.

ANC defenders say reversing decades of apartheid-era neglect in Black neighbourhoods was never going to be a quick fix. But it has also been dogged by corruption scandals.

“UNFINISHED BUSINESS”

Getting less than half the vote would be a psychological blow, and would raise the previously unthinkable possibility that the ANC could one day be in opposition.

That still seems a way off. Its main rival, the Democratic Alliance (DA), has struggled to shed its image as a party of white privilege, and suffered a backlash in October from a divisive poster campaign addressing racial tensions between ethnic Indian and Black communities.

And despite widespread dissatisfaction, the ANC’s emotional hold on poor, Black townships remains strong, even among young voters with no living memory of apartheid.

“There is so much unfinished business, like the road, a hospital,” said Jonathan Mathebula, 20, queuing to vote in Diepsloot township north of Johannesburg. A main road promised by ANC councillors for years had never materialised, yet he said he said he would vote ANC.

Other parties include the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) – a Marxist group of former ANC youth leader Julius Malema – and ActionSA, Mashaba’s party. Mashaba has been branded a xenophobe because of his populist rhetoric against illegal immigrants, which he says has been misunderstood but refuses to tone down.

–Reuters

Hammanskraal voters want change as they cast their ballots

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Queuing to vote for change

Having battled ongoing water struggles in Hammanskraal, those who cast their ballots at the Motjibosane Primary School voting station said they voted for change.

Onicca Moima, 51, said she made a different choice by voting for a different party to last time around.

“Changes will be there. I believe that they will start being here,” she said after casting her vote.

She complained of water and sewerage problems.

“What is happening here is a problem. Now that we have voted, we are relieved,” she said.

Residents have battled to access clean water for more than a decade, with two reports earlier this year deeming the water in the area unfit for consumption.

When TimesLIVE visited the area, residents were walking in to cast their votes.

Another resident, Matshidiso Madiseng, 40, said it was important to vote to make a change “because we are struggling with water and electricity”.

“They have been promising for 25 years that electricity and water will be OK, but they are always postponing [solutions]. If it’s not a pipe needing to be fixed, something gets ruined. Now I am going to vote for change,” she said.

She said they were struggling with basic needs.

“I am hoping that with my vote I will make a change,” she said.

Lukas Makwela, 45, said he had to vote so that it could be put to good use.

“If you don’t vote, your vote might be used in a way you didn’t want. We want to choose the right party that will represent us and do things for us the way we want them to do. We have a water problem, we also have a problem with sewerage. They have since installed flushing toilets but they are not working even now; they are blocked. They have since promised to come and fix it,” he said.

He said he had voted for a different party and hoped they would do better than his previous choice.

Meriam Makwela, 39, said: “Maybe if we keep on voting they will do the right thing.”

Aaron Maodi, 39, said he chose to vote because he wants change in his community.

“There are a lot of political parties that want to rule our ward, so we are voting so that we can select the one that will develop us, create jobs so that we can also develop,” he said.

He said he wants to see changes in service delivery and job creation.

“The challenge that we have is of water and the services that we are getting here. We want the roads to be fixed,” he said.

—TimesLIVE

Malema predicts resounding EFF victory as he votes in Seshego

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EFF leader Julius Malema received a warm welcome when he cast his vote at Mpongele Primary School in Seshego on Monday. Image: Thapelo Morebudi /The Sunday Times.

As EFF leader Julius Malema cast his ballot in Seshego on Monday, he was adamant that his party would score at least two-thirds of the vote.

After waiting in line for more than over half an hour alongside his wife, Mantoa, Malema expressed confidence that the EFF would secure at least 65% of the votes.

Speaking to the media after voting casting his vote at Mponegele Primary School, Malema said they the EFF had done all it could on the campaign trail.

“We have done everything humanly possible. We have gone to every corner of SA. The leadership and members of the EFF were on the ground. The people have heard the message of the EFF and they have received it very well.

“We can only hope for the best. It’s now in the hands of the South Africans. The youth of SA must come out in their numbers. This is about their future. This is about them,” said Malema.

He said the youth needed to understand that they the could not leave crucial issues of governance in the hands of the elderly.

“I hope wherever the young people are, they are readying themselves to close on a high note,” said Malema.

At the voting station where Malema was voting, scores of elderly people had arrived to cast their votes since the early morning, some holding on to their old green ID books.

“I’m happy with the turnout of the old people, but we need the youth to come out,” said Malema.

After casting his vote, Malema walked out of the voting station and headed to an EFF tent outside the school.

An elderly woman left the EFF tent and approached headed to Malema in excitement. She told the EFF leader that she knew him well as he had grown up in front of her in Seshego.

Malema gave her a warm reception before she returned to the ANC camp that was singing loudly opposite the EFF, trying to drown out the EFF songs.

As Malema left and headed to his late grandmother’s house a street away, an elderly man clad in a red EFF T-shirt walked behind his convoy, beaming happily that he had seen Malema.

–TimesLIVE

eThekwini presiding officer arrested over ballot fraud

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A presiding officer in the eThekwini metro has been arrested after allegedly stuffing marked ballots into a ballot box, the Electoral Commission of SA (IEC) said. 

The presiding officer was caught in the act by other presiding officers.

“The matter is now in the hands of the police,” the commission said. 

“This incident, which did not affect voting, is a testament to the inbuilt safeguards in the voting process that also include an active role for party and independent candidate agents,” the commission said in a statement.

The municipal elections had got off to a good start yesterday morning, with less than 1% of the voting stations across the country reporting delays, the commission said. 

At least 23,148 voting stations in the country are reported to have opened on time at 7am. 

In areas where delays occurred, stations reported issues such as tents being blown over by heavy winds overnight or the late arrival of election staff and voting materials at some stations. 

“As the commission we are encouraged that many voting stations reported strong turnouts from early in the day with many voters already waiting to vote before the 7am opening.”

The municipal elections had got off to a good start yesterday morning, with less than 1% of the voting stations across the country reporting delays, the commission said. 

At least 23,148 voting stations in the country are reported to have opened on time at 7am. 

In areas where delays occurred, stations reported issues such as tents being blown over by heavy winds overnight or the late arrival of election staff and voting materials at some stations. 

“As the commission we are encouraged that many voting stations reported strong turnouts from early in the day with many voters already waiting to vote before the 7am opening.”

Zimbabweans In SA Living In Fear After Raid By Home Affairs

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Zimbabweans living in the Sundays River Valley area, Eastern Cape, South Africa are living in fear of being deported amid tensions with locals who accuse them of taking away their jobs and contributing to poor service delivery.

Chipo Munetsi (39), of Moses Mabhida township in Kirkwood, said she is battling to cope with running her hair salon, which is based in a shipping container after her husband was deported to Zimbabwe by South African authorities in September this year.


The Department of Home Affairs, with its health and labour counterparts, held an operation in the Sundays River Valley area in September.

Munetsi’s husband Simon was among the 71 migrants without documentation who were arrested during the raids in Addo, Kirkwood and Paterson.

While some South Africans blame migrants for the high levels of unemployment and poor municipal services, Munetsi said there are several migrants who are creating jobs for local people.

She herself employs two South African women – one as a domestic worker and the other as an assistant in the salon. She said:

This is after Simon had made several trips in 2019 to the refugee reception office in Gqeberha in a quest to renew his asylum documents that had expired.

He eventually gave up after he continuously found the system not working. He was then told that he had to pay R2 000 as a fine for defaulting.

Munetsi, who has a valid asylum seeker’s permit, says since the blitz many migrants are living in fear of some South Africans, who call them derogatory names.

She also blames some political parties for stoking the flames with election campaigns exploiting xenophobia.

Most of the migrants who were deported are from Zimbabwe and Lesotho.

But residents say migrants who have wanted to get an asylum seeker’s permit have failed to do so because the home affairs office in Gqeberha has been closed since the COVID-19 hard lockdown started in March 2020.

Martin Denhere, whose brother was one of those arrested in Kirkwood, says migrants without documents were “hunted like wild animals”. He said:

Undocumented immigrants were accosted at shops and some were rounded up from their workplaces. There was no respect for human life.

People were bundled and dumped at the local police station. They were not allowed to get food from outside.

They were only allowed to collect their belongings when they were being deported after they had spent days in police cells.

People are living in fear because there is no indication when the refugee offices in Gqeberha will open.

The Zimbabwe Migrants Support Network says home affairs is to blame for causing tension in the area by arresting migrants without valid documents while refugee reception offices are closed.

SA: Elections Officer Caught Stuffing Marked Ballots In Ballot Box

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An elections official in South Africa was reportedly caught committing electoral fraud on Sunday, a few hours before the country was due to hold municipal elections.

The Electoral Commission of South Africa in KwaZulu-Natal said it had roped in the police to investigate allegations that one of its presiding officers was allegedly caught stuffing marked ballots into a ballot box.


It was not immediately clear which party the officer was trying to aid by committing the alleged offence and whether he has been relieved of his or her crucial role. The Commission said on Sunday:

In Ward 93, Kusakusa Primary School, in the Mbumbulu area in eThekwini Metro Municipality, a presiding officer was allegedly discovered by party agents, stuffing marked ballot papers into a ballot box.

This remains an allegation and SAPS are still investigating. Members of the media will be updated as soon as the full report is received from SAPS.

The first electoral official to be convicted (for five years) for electoral fraud post-1994 was Sindisiwe Ncube of Ulundi.

In the 2009 general elections, Ncube was allegedly caught stuffing marked ballots and the ballots were allegedly in favour of the IFP.

More: IOL

Schweppes left with US$16.4 million bill after attempt to wriggle out of contract

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HARARE – Beverages maker, Schweppes Zimbabwe is set to pay over R247 million (US$16.4 million) to a South Africa-registered company, Blakely Investments, after the High Court threw out its bid to evade paying the money following a packaging material supply deal consummated in 2018.

Schweppes had approached the High Court seeking to avoid paying the money to Blakely, arguing that both parties had violated the country’s exchange control regulations by entering into a supply chain agreement before obtaining exchange control approval.

However, High Court judge Tawanda Chitapi dismissed Schweppes’ request, saying its argument did not justify its bid not to pay for the goods supplied.

The judge said: “I must state that I agree with the plaintiff’s (Schweppes) submission that an agreement in breach of a peremptory provision of a statute is void because courts do not have the equitable discretion to dispense with strict compliance with statute. In casu, the court does not have sufficient evidence of Exchange Control Authority put paid to the plaintiff’s case.

“It is in my view not the policy of the Exchange Control Regulations to assist contracting parties in business to renege on obligations which arise in terms of their concluded contracts. A party to a contract should not be allowed to seek to invoke the Exchange Control Regulations as a way out of an obligation and where that party seeks to do so, there must be cogent evidence to show that indeed the law was contravened.

“It was not enough for the plaintiff to simply plead that there was no exchange control authority to enter into the contract without anything further and to seek a declaration of invalidity of the contract upon a generalised basis.”

He said both parties had agreed that there were ongoing arbitration and court proceedings in South Africa, which made it impossible to rule in favour of Schweppes.

“In conclusion, it is my judgment that the plaintiff has not made out a case for the issue of the declaratur as sought. It is ordered that: The plaintiff’s claim be and it is hereby dismissed with costs,” the judge ruled.

According to Chitapi’s judgement, the parties’ agreement had been varied several times, which had seen the contract dates being shifted too.

“The plaintiff and the defendant subsequently varied the initial agreement on May 30, 2018. Variations made in material areas increased the duration of the initial contract from 18 months to five years. The initial contract had been due to expire on December 31, 2019. In terms of the variation to duration, the agreement was now due to lapse on June 30, 2023.

“The variations also resulted in an increase in the volume of product to be delivered by the defendant as well as price variations. The variations also added a new product, name, a machine stretch wrap which was not included in the initial contract. The contract was further varied on June 26, 2018. The variation concerned an increase in the price of the products with such increase to take effect from July 1, 2018,” Chitapi said.

While Schweppes had sought to wriggle its way out based on the claim that parties had violated exchange control regulations, Blakely, said that the argument did not hold any water.

“The defendant pleaded that it would amount to unjust enrichment and be contrary to public policy and a grave injustice were the plaintiff to be allowed to prejudice the defendant of R247,054,711 due to it in terms of the performance by the defendant of its obligations in terms of the agreement for which the amount was due as payment.

“For the reasons given, the defendant pleaded that the plaintiff’s claim be dismissed to prevent an injustice to the defendant,” Chitapi noted.

Schweppes are the manufacturers of the world-famous Mazoe soft drink.

ZimLive

EFF, IFP only parties open to alliances with ANC

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While the ANC has kept its cards close to its chest on its approach to forming coalition governments the EFF and the IFP remained the only parties that indicated a willingness to entertain alliance talks with it on the eve of the polls.

This comes as some parties are already preparing themselves for hung councils, where no single party would secure the outright majority after the polls, which are set to be among the most fiercely contested.

The DA indicated that its main objective is to oust the ANC from power and also stated outright that it would not work with the EFF as the two parties’ values clashed.

ActionSA said while it was willing to work with any political party in a coalition, including the DA from which its leader Herman Mashaba defected before forming his own party, it would never be a coalition partner to the ANC.

Speaking to Sowetan in Ekurhuleni, EFF secretary Marshall Dlamini said they were willing to join forces with any party, including the ANC, on condition that its election manifesto would be implemented.

“Anyone who wants to speak to us about the coalitions, they must start reading the EFF manifesto. It was not written by us but by our people,” Dlamini said.

The EFF had lent support to the DA after the 2016 local government polls to form what became failed coalition governments in the Johannesburg, Tshwane and Nelson Mandela Bay metros after rejecting ANC pleas for a coalition pact.

Dlamini lashed out at the DA for vowing not to work with the EFF again, accusing it of representing capitalist interests.

“Those that don’t want to work with us know that they don’t represent the people. They represent themselves and the interests of capital,” Dlamini said.

Herman Mashaba campaigns inSoweto ahead of the local government elections.

Gallo Images

President Cyril Ramaphosa also took the party’s election campaign to Katlehong, Thokoza and Vosloorus, also in Ekurhuleni, on Thursday and told those present that the party was not willing to speak about coalitions and who it would want to work with before the results were announced.

“We are not prepared to talk about coalitions,” Ramaphosa said.

Gauteng ANC chairperson David Makhura, who accompanied Ramaphosa, said the party was not prepared to discuss who it would work with as it was only focusing on improving its performance in the key metros.ADVERTISING

“We don’t discuss coalitions. We are only looking forward to a very improved performance from what we went through in 2016. We are not focusing on who wants to work with us but on victory,” he insisted.

DA leader John Steenhuisen said their approach to coalitions was guided by four principles, which include nonracialism, respect for law and the constitution and a capable state without cadre deployment.

Steenhuisen reiterated that they would not work with the EFF.

“They [EFF] do not share our values. They don’t believe in nonracialism. They don’t believe in a social market economy,” Steenhuisen said.

Though not completely ruling out working with the ANC, Steenhuisen indicated that it would be “very difficult to get into a coalition with the ANC”.

“I don’t want to go into bed with the ANC. I want to kick them out of the bed. If you don’t believe in our principles we can’t do business with you. It does not matter who you are,” he said.

ActionSA, which is already preparing for possible coalitions, made its intentions clear about its unwillingness to entertain coalition talks with the ANC.

“Let me be very clear, ActionSA will never go into a coalition with the ANC,” Mashaba said at a rally on Thursday in Newtown, Johannesburg.

“We cannot fix the problem by partnering with the cause of the problem. How can we fight corruption while in coalition with the party responsible for the corruption?” he said.

However, Mashaba said his party is open to discussions with other parties.

“We are committed to transparent coalitions and negotiations in which we make it known how we can hold the people in the coalitions to account.”

IFP leader Velenkosini Hlabisa said the party believes in politics of coexistence for the good of the people.

“We are not exclusive. Once the reality shows that the municipality is a hung council, we will be willing to enter into any discussion of a coalition but there are things we cannot compromise,” Hlabisa said.

He said their approach will be guided by principles which include nonracialism and the belief that all people of SA are equal.

“Even if we can differ in terms of policies but agree on that, then we will consider a coalition. People vote because they want service delivery of good quality,” Hlabisa said.

-SowetoLive

Wounded ActionSA leader, Mashaba limping to court seeking relief over public protector’s findings against him

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ActionSA leader Herman Mashaba

ActionSA president Herman Mashaba has filed an application asking the Pretoria high court to review and set aside findings made against him by the public protector.

Mashaba said the case was based on an “anonymous” complaint laid “by the ANC alleging maladministration with respect to irregular appointments, irregular salary increases, financial mismanagement and conflicts of interest under the multiparty coalition government which I led”.

Mashaba is claiming that public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane “materially misdirected herself in addressing the merits of the scurrilous complaint”. She released the report last December.

He claimed that the findings she made against him were inaccurate and harmful to “my personal and professional reputation”.

The public protector report on the complaint made scathing findings against the City of Johannesburg during the time that Mashaba was mayor. She found there had been non-compliance with supply chain management regulations and recruitment processes.

She also found that the city had irregularly funded non-governmental organisation Field Band Foundation (FBF), which deals with the scourge of drugs around Joburg but was reported to be Mashaba’s own project.

She found him guilty of a conflict of interest in soliciting free services from an adviser who is his wife’s business partner.

Mashaba resigned in protest from the DA and as mayor in October 2019 when the party elected former leader Helen Zille as federal council chairperson. He then went on to establish his own party, ActionSA.

Mashaba denied Mkhwebane’s findings, and is now taking the matter to court. He said the fact that he resigned from all directorships when he was appointed mayor, and had declared all his financial interests to the city’s integrity commissioner meant that there was no conflict in his dealings.

He admitted to having been chair of FBF for many years, but “I resigned before I was appointed mayor”. He said all funding of the organisation had been above board and merited.

TimesLIVE

Mmusi Maimane reflects on his political career starting in the ANC

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One SA Leader, Mmusi Maimane

One SA Movement leader Mmusi Maimane has revealed that before he joined the DA, his political career started with the ANC. 

Speaking on Kaya FM on Thursday, Maimane shared that in the beginning, he agreed with the ANC’s vision for equality, however, his decision to move to the opposition party was motivated by the ruling party’s inability to deliver. 

“I started off in the ANC. Those were our politics whether you accepted it or not. That’s what you grew up with. We all thought we could work in this ANC thing to try and advance what was going on [during the apartheid era] ,” said Maimane. 

He said the ANC had promising plans but a lack of execution meant people were being let down.

“I realised that in the black, green and gold side there was just chaos. To be honest, no-one could tell us what the country was going through or where it was going.” 

Maimane joined the DA in 2009 and was leader of the opposition party from 2015 to 2019  before throwing in the towel to form the One SA Movement in 2020.

During his tenure in the DA, he ruled against going into a coalition with the ANC. 

Earlier this year, Maimane said the DA opening the door to a coalition with the ANC was “an admission of defeat” and “recognition that they can’t grow”.

This after the Sunday Times reported that DA leader John Steenhuisen said he was open to a possible coalition with the ANC should there be a stalemate in the 2024 elections, but only if President Cyril Ramaphosa is still its leader.

“Today the DA is saying they are open to a coalition with some factions of the ANC as long as Ramaphosa is the president. They are officially out of opposition and are now themselves a faction of the ANC. It’s an admission of defeat. A recognition that they can’t grow,” said Maimane.

This week Business Day reported there were talks of a possible coalition between the ANC and certain parties, while a DA insider said the party has to consider what is best for the country, even if it meant working with the governing party.

“The DA and ANC working together may be in the best interest of SA,” said the DA insider. 

–TimesLive

ANC support hits an all-time low as voter apathy sets in — Ipsos survey

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Low voter turnout predicted to benefit the DA most

Disillusionment and a belief that nothing will change, anger over corruption, distrust of politicians and overwhelming voter apathy — these are the reasons for a predicted low voter turnout and a massive drop in ANC support in Monday’s local government elections.

Ipsos, the world’s third largest market research company, and TV news channel eNCA joined forces to carry out pre-election surveys. And this latest one, carried out on the eve of the election, has once again found that support for the governing ANC has dropped below 50%.

They carried out three waves of the study in October, and found that for the first time since the 1994 elections the ANC has shed a massive amount of support — having previously always garnered support indications well above 50%.

And this support is dropping fast — with a quarter of research respondents claiming they didn’t have a party of choice to vote for, rising to almost a third by the end of the month.

The research saw thousands of registered voters contacted and their views recorded via CATI (computer-assisted telephonic interviews).

Responses differed widely: some people said they would not be voting, some said they had no trust in politicians, some felt that voting would not lead to any kind of change and some just refused to answer the questions at all.Possible scenarios for outcomes for the local government elections 2021.

The research conclusion is that voter apathy is going to be an important variable in Monday’s elections with a low turnout likely to benefit the DA the most.

And new issues have arisen since the highly contested 2019 national and provincial elections. The Covid-19 pandemic, the slow pace of vaccinations, massive service delivery and governance challenges in the majority of municipalities, load-shedding and water supply issues and the rushed and shrunken election campaign all among them.

The ultimate finding of this latest research report: It is impossible to predict with certainty the outcome of these rather messy and unique elections.

TimesLIVE

Thousands stage nationwide protests against Sudan coup

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A burning road barricade set up after the military coup in Khartoum, Sudan, October 25 2021. Image: EL TAYEB SIDDIG/REUTERS

Tens of thousands of Sudanese on Saturday staged protests in Khartoum and other cities to demand the restoration of a civilian-led government to put the country back on a path to democracy after a military coup.

People carried Sudanese flags and chanted “Military rule can’t be praised” and “This country is ours, and our government is civilian” as they marched in neighbourhoods across the capital.

Protesters also took to the streets in cities in central, eastern and northern Sudan.

Thousands of Sudanese have already demonstrated this week against the ousting of Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok’s cabinet on Monday by General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan in a takeover that led Western states to freeze hundreds of millions in aid.

In central Khartoum on Saturday there was a heavy military deployment of armed troops that included the army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces.

Security forces had blocked roads leading to the defence ministry complex and the airport, as well as most of the bridges connecting Khartoum with its twin cities of Omdurman and Khartoum North.

At least 11 protesters have been killed in clashes with security forces this week and opponents fear a full-blown crackdown.

In local neighbourhoods, protest groups blocked roads overnight with stones, bricks, tree branches and plastic pipes to try to keep the security forces out.

A 75-year-old man who gave his name as Moatez and who was walking the streets searching for bread said normal life had been brought to a complete halt in Khartoum. “Why did Burhan and the army put the country in this crisis? They could solve the problem without violence,” he said.

US WARNS AGAINST VIOLENCE

Unlike in previous protests, many people carried pictures of Hamdok, who remains popular despite an economic crisis that had worsened under his rule. “Hamdok is supported by the people. If Hamdok takes the country that’s okay,” said Mohamed, a member of a neighbourhood resistance committee.

The United States, which is calling for the restoration of the civilian-led government, said how the army reacted would be a test of its intentions.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Sudan’s security forces must respect human rights and any violence against peaceful demonstrators was “unacceptable”.

With internet and phone lines restricted by the authorities, opponents of the coup have sought to mobilise for the protest using fliers, SMS messages, graffiti, and neighbourhood rallies.

Neighbourhood-based resistance committees, active since the uprising against deposed President Omar al-Bashir that began in December 2018, have been central to organising despite the arrests of key politicians.

Bashir, who ran Sudan for nearly three decades, was forced out by the army following months of protests against his rule.

Protesters carried pictures of Burhan, his deputy General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, and Bashir covered in red.

“Close a street, close a bridge, Burhan we’re coming straight to you,” they chanted.

Burhan has said he removed the cabinet to avert civil war after civilian politicians stoked hostility to the armed forces.

He says he is still committed to a democratic transition, including elections in July 2023.

Hamdok, an economist, was initially held at Burhan’s residence when soldiers rounded up the government on Monday, but was allowed to return home under guard on Tuesday.

The United States and the World Bank have already frozen assistance to Sudan, where an economic crisis has seen shortages of food and medicine and where nearly a third of the population are in need of urgent humanitarian support.

Final ANC campaign rally met with service delivery protests

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ANC supporters braved the rain at Thokoza Park, Soweto, where the party held its final rally ahead of the local government elections on Friday. Picture: THAPELO MOREBUDI

Reflecting on the party’s campaigns across the country, Ramaphosa said people had raised their issues with the party leadership clearly, fearlessly and, sometimes, angrily

The ANC’s final push for votes on Friday was met by angry Soweto residents, who barricaded several roads in a bid to highlight their grievances.

Electricity shortages topped the list of their concerns before they head to the polls to cast their votes on Monday. 

Hundreds of supporters descended on Thokoza Park where party president Cyril Ramaphosa received a roaring welcome as he appealed to voters to return the ANC to its former glory — a position of governance in all the country’s metros.     

Before his address, residents used burning tyres, rocks, tree branches and other objects to block roads near the venue. This as the ANC’s campaign has been met with widespread criticism.

Ramaphosa admitted that under his administration “many communities are not getting the services they need and deserve”.

“The provision of water, electricity, waste collection and sanitation is often unreliable, of poor quality and, for many households, unaffordable. These are the most basic needs for a decent life,” he said.

Reflecting on the party’s campaigns across the country, Ramaphosa said people had raised their issues with the party leadership clearly, fearlessly and, sometimes, angrily. Despite this, Ramaphosa said, people believe the ANC is the only party capable of fixing the rot. 

The party leadership had noted several grievances and difficulties that the majority of residents in the country continue to experience. “Families confront hunger and poverty every day. Millions of people are unemployed. Many live in informal settlements without basic services. Crime and violence are rife,” he said.

“We have heard about the ANC’s weaknesses and shortcomings. People have been forthright in their criticism of the ANC because they know the ANC listens. And they know that the ANC is in a better position than any other party in this country to improve things. They have told us that the ANC belongs to them, to the people.

“They say that they love the ANC, but that we must correct our mistakes and fix the problems in local government. The people see that the ANC has the will and the ability to make a change,” he said.

Ramaphosa said the party’s renewal project was evident in the way the ANC has chosen its local government candidates — which involved ordinary community members to ensure that communities ran effectively.

“We want competent mayors who will demonstrate that they can perform and who will put the interests of our people first.”

Ramaphosa also used the rally to remind residents of the good the party has done in previous years.

“We have heard their concerns and their hopes, their desire for better communities and their dream of a better life for themselves and their families. We have heard about all the work that the ANC has done.

“We have heard about houses that have been built, about impoverished communities that now have electricity and running water, about roads that were once dusty paths that have now been tarred, about new clinics and improved schools, about street lights and sports grounds.

“We have heard about the social grants that have lifted millions out of dire poverty, about the life-changing opportunities of no-fee schools and fee-free higher education, and about the measures government has taken to shield the most vulnerable in our society from Covid-19 effects,” he said.

TimesLIVE

Archbishop Desmond Tutu and wife Leah cast their votes

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Archbishop Desmond Tutu and his wife Leah cast their ballots on Saturday during the special voting day. Image: Esa ALexander

Archbishop Desmond Tutu and his wife Leah cast their special votes at their Milnerton home in Cape Town on Saturday.

After casting their ballot, Tutu and his wife briefly went outside to greet the media. Before heading inside the Arch flashed a thumbs-up and a peace sign as an indication that all went well.

When asked by media how the voting process went for the Tutus, an Electoral Commission official who spoke to the media outside the Tutu home said all went well and that they were in good spirits and happy.

“They both cast their vote and he [Tutu] was happy. It went well,” the official said.

The IEC set aside Saturday as a special voting day to give those who won’t be able to vote on the official election day an opportunity to cast their ballots. 

TimesLIVE

ANC and EFF gear up for final push before poll

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ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa takes pictures with Cosatu members after he spoke about the rights of domestic workers at an event organised by Cosatu in Tembisa on the East Rand. Image: Thulani Mbele

While the DA and the IFP wrapped up their respective campaigns in Johannesburg and Ulundi on Thursday, the EFF and the ANC will hold final rallies in highly contested Gauteng

Political parties are going for the final push to canvass voters ahead of the local government elections on Monday. 

While the DA and the IFP wrapped up their respective campaigns in Johannesburg and Ulundi on Thursday, the EFF and the ANC will hold final rallies in highly contested Gauteng.

Speaking to Sowetan on the East Rand where the EFF is scheduled to hold its Tshela Thupa final rally on Friday, party secretary-general Marshall Dlamini said the party chose Katlehong because it wanted to increase its support in the Ekurhuleni metro and possible take over from the ANC.

“This is one metro that has the highest number of informal settlements. We came here to Katlehong to be at the centre of our people for our rally and we want them to vote for us. We have mobilised them to come to the rally and we have been here for two weeks organising,” he said.

The ANC is planning mini rallies across metros ahead of party president Cyril Ramaphosa’s address at the main Siyanqoba rally at Thokoza Park in Rockville, Soweto on Friday.

ANC head of elections Fikile Mbalula said the party had decided to hold mini rallies in wards and metros as part of activating its supporters and encouraging them to come out on election day.

DA leaders, including John Steenhuisen, Johannesburg mayoral candidate Mpho Phalatse and former Tshwane mayor Solly Msimanga visited areas such as Eldorado Park, Riverlea and Ennerdale on Thursday.

In Eldorado Park, Steenhuisen lashed out at the ANC for plunging the country into darkness through load-shedding.

“Wherever you give us power we are going to move to make sure that you are kept independent of Eskom. We will get out there and ensure we get independent power producers from which municipalities will buy power.

“That will keep factories opened. We will march into that space because national government has failed,” he said.

Over the weekend Phalatse is expected to visit some of the voting stations in Johannesburg and to visit Leeuwkop Prison during its special voting before concluding her weekend by joining the Calvary Worship Centre on Sunday.

At its closing rally in Ulundi, IFP leader Velenkosini Hlabisa slammed the ANC’s failures over the past 27 years, which he said were based on corruption in all the spheres of government.

 “As I have been travelling across the country over the past few weeks, I have had the opportunity to meet community members from many different constituencies. Though they live in different parts of KwaZulu-Natal — or even in Mpumalanga, or Gauteng — their stories and their basic needs are the same. These people are not making unreasonable requests. They are asking for shelter, for water, for sanitation — these are basic human necessities.”

Hlabisa will be taking his campaign trail to Sekhukhune in Limpopo on Saturday and head to Johannesburg on Saturday before returning to KwaZulu-Natal.

Flanked by Gauteng ANC chairperson and premier David Makhura and Ekurhuleni mayor Mzwandile Masina, Ramaphosa called on the party’s supporters to close ranks and back the party in numbers.

Party president Herman Mashaba said he is confident that ActionSA’s campaign has been successful.

“We are ready and excited, the reception on the ground for me has been more than overwhelming,” he said in Newtown, Johannesburg. 

-Sowetan

Death threats against advocate representing Zimbabweans in high court

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Advocate Simba Chitando accused South Africa of being unfair to Zimbabweans

Advocate Simba Chitando, who is representing some 250 000 Zimbabweans in the Gauteng High Court in their quest to become permanent residents of SA, has received multiple death threats since Moneyweb first broke the story.Read: Zimbabweans ask Gauteng High Court to declare them permanent residents

Chitando told Moneyweb his Twitter account has been lit up with hateful comments about Zimbabweans, but some of the more disturbing threats came from anonymous callers.https://assets.poool.fr/advanced-paywall-frame.html

“I’ve had several death threats, and one person said he wanted to strangle me. It’s disconcerting and is not a good look for SA, particularly given its history of xenophobic attacks in the not so distant past.”

Chitando says he has had to confront taking on private security to ensure his safety, something he never imagined would happen. “It’s the nature of the business we are in as legal counsel and advocates. We’re often representing people or groups who may pose a threat to some perceived interest.

“It’s not the first time I have received threats as an advocate, but this is certainly the most alarming.”

SA has been reported to the International Criminal Court (ICC) at The Hague in the Netherlands over xenophobic attacks against foreign truck drivers, more than 200 of whom have been murdered in recent years. The ICC says it is monitoring the situation of foreign drivers in SA, though so far has declined to open an investigation.

The Legal Practice Council (LPC) issued a statement on Tuesday noting “with concern the xenophobic attacks on Advocate Simba Chitando who is involved in a court case regarding the issue of Zimbabwean Special Dispensation permits issued by the Department of Home Affairs. The LPC does not condone any xenophobic statements against any of our members.

“Legal practitioners should be allowed to fulfil their mandate of providing professional, principled inter-alia impartial, legal representation to the public without fear or favour.”

The LPC says the country is still reeling from the effect of xenophobic attacks on foreign nationals that took place in the recent past. These attacks have resulted in the loss of lives, displacement, destruction of property, loss of the source of livelihoods, and insecurity.

Legal process ‘must be allowed’

While acknowledging the sensitive nature of the issue, the LPC says the court process must be allowed to run its course in a transparent and impartial way. It also urges members of the public to report any instances of xenophobic attacks to the South African Police Service (SAPS).

The Zimbabwean Exemption Permit Holders Association has asked the high court to direct the Minister of Home Affairs to issue its members with SA ID documents on the grounds that they are permanent residents of SA in terms of the Immigration Act read together with the Identification Act.

Black Pharoah responded on Twitter: “We are not saying every Zimbabwean should leave but at least 10 at a time not 5 million that’s practically moving in and taking away from locals. I’d understand if most weren’t criminals but unfortunately they are.”

“All illegal immigrants must go home,” reads another.

Repercussions

Human rights advocates have warned that xenophobic attacks against foreign truck drivers and others in SA could incite tit-for-tat responses in other countries against South Africans.

Upwards of three million Zimbabweans are reckoned to reside in SA.

The SA Department of Home Affairs introduced various permit schemes to regularise the residence of status of Zimbabweans illegally in SA as a result of economic or political turmoil at home.

The court case brought by the Zimbabwean Exemption Permit Holders Association says the latest permit scheme, the Zimbabwean Exemption Permits, or ZEPs, expires in December 2021 and has not been renewed by Home Affairs.

The court papers argue that the affected Zimbabweans have been in SA for 10 years or more and know no other home.

The law provides for the issue of SA permanent residence to those affected.

–MoneyWeb

Tembisa 10: ‘Reckless to publish the story’ – advocate recommends disciplinary action against Piet Rampedi

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Piet Rampedi, Pretoria News Editor
  • Independent Media instituted several probes after an exclusive story by Piet Rampedi was questioned.
  • Rampedi’s story claimed that a Gauteng woman had given birth to 10 babies.
  • The story was widely disputed as several elements couldn’t be independently verified.

An independent external investigation found that the Pretoria News was “reckless” to publish a story penned by editor Piet Rampedi, which claimed that a Tembisa woman, Gosiame Sithole, had given birth to 10 babies.

The veracity of the story was widely questioned when several elements couldn’t be proven, including where Sithole had given birth.

The father of the children admitted that he had not seen the babies and had relied on Sithole’s account when he posed for cameras as the parent of newly-born decuplets.

The media company instituted several probes into the story regarding how it was handled. It included investigations internally by the editor, the office of Independent Media’s press ombud, Independent Media’s investigation division, and an independent external investigation, chaired by advocate Michael Donen.

Donen’s report said the publication of the story was “reckless” and found that Rampedi had breached Independent Media’s code of ethics. He recommended disciplinary action be taken against Rampedi.

However, Independent Media chairperson Iqbal Survé, who had previously backed his title editor, said Rampedi should be given a pass, despite the serious finding.slide 1 of 1 Iqbal Survé.Lerato Maduna

In response to the recommendation, Survé said: “Mr Rampedi’s piece was a ‘feel good’ – we should cut him some slack. He is not everyone’s favorite person; he made a mistake.”

Survé said he refused to “throw Rampedi under the bus”.

Rampedi was not present at the press conference held in Cape Town on Wednesday.

Survé said the story on the babies was a “feel good” article and not an investigative report. But, so far, neither man has yet answered why the basic tenets of journalism, including corroborating claims or asking for additional information to substantiate claims, were not followed.

Instead, Survé detailed claims of a conspiracy, which involved human trafficking, cover-ups and a doctor who operates under a pseudonym.

Survé provided very little, if any, evidence to substantiate the findings, rather promising that all would be revealed in a documentary series, which all his titles would carry.

The businessman made broad claims that government officials were part of a conspiracy to discredit Independent Media.

Yogas Nair, Independent Media’s press ombud, found that Rampedi erred in his eagerness and failed to follow standard company procedure. She said:Even the most innocuous reports demand care, checks and corroboration. The journalist’s maxim must be that there is no ‘small stuff’. Reports involving subjects and material with no obvious legal risks must meet the tests of accuracy and balance.

At the briefing on Wednesday, Surve said it was found that Sithole had been pregnant with 10 babies, which had been delivered by caesarean section.

Broke

Survé donated R1 million to the family after the newspaper broke the story. 

The group raised money and donations for the mother, the father, Teboho Tsotetsi, and the babies, who had never been photographed. 

The accuracy of the story came into question after reports emerged that Sithole gave birth at the Steve Biko Academic Hospital in Pretoria, which the hospital disputed.  

Dr Mpho Pooe, an independent obstetrician and gynaecologist, was tasked with the examination of Sithole after her release from Weskoppies Psychiatric Hospital.

According to Pooe, Sithole was unequivocally pregnant, and had undergone a caesarean-section recently. 

“Gosiame was pregnant, she gave birth recently – there was a new caesarean section scar. There was oozing infection on the scar…this is not an old scar…her tummy was stretched,” she said.

–Media 24

Covid-19: 331 cases, 53 deaths recorded in South Africa in 24 hours

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African RSA flag waving with Coronavirus outbreak infecting respiratory system dangerous flu. Influenza type Covid 19 virus with national South Africa banner blowing background. Pandemic risk concept

There were 331 new Covid-19 cases recorded across the country in the past 24 hours, the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) said on Tuesday.

There were 53 coronavirus deaths recorded in the same period.

This means that there have been 2,920,109 confirmed cases and 88,987 deaths recorded across the country since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic in March last year.

Of the new cases, the most were in Gauteng (75), followed by Free State (53), the Western Cape (48) and KwaZulu-Natal (47).

The NICD also reported that there were 45 new hospital admissions in the past day, meaning that there are now 4,069 people being treated for Covid-19 across SA.

Toilets might flush EFF into corridors of power in eThekwini

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EFF CIC Julius Malema promises Durban voters flush toilets

Access to flushing toilets may be taken for granted by some, but for many South Africans in informal settlements, they remain a luxury — and may just be what stands between a political party and an X on election day. 

This was evident on Tuesday when EFF leaders told the community of Inanda, west of Durban, that the party will prioritise ablution facilities should they get a mandate to govern eThekwini metro from voters. 

“We will build a three-bedroom house with a flushing toilet inside. We don’t want an outside toilet. There is no white, not even a single man, with an outside toilet. If you don’t give whites and Indians outside toilets, why do you give it to our people?” asked Malema, to resounding applause.

Malema said a flushing toilet is not a luxury but a basic necessity which all must have — and will under an EFF government. 

“When you don’t have a flushing toilet you are not different from animals because after dropping you can still see. We must drop and there must be disappearance. You are not different to a cow because the ANC treats us like animals. We want to restore the dignity of our people,” Malema added.

More than 1,000 supporters and community members gathered to hear Malema speak ahead of the November 1 local government election.

Still using the toilet analogy, Malema asked the community of Inanda to remember his words on election day: “On the day you go and vote, you will pass by your outside toilet.  Before you leave — when you sit there — remember that you are the evidence of non-delivery of the ANC — it is the ANC that put you in a pit latrine.”

He said these were ANC government failures and implored people to reject the governing party at the polls. 

He said that in order for three-roomed RDP houses with flushing toilets inside the house to be built, there should be land; his solution to that was to occupy land. 

“We occupy some land and I don’t want this land that gets occupied away from town, we must occupy land next to town, because that is where things are, that is where the services are. 

“When you occupy land next to towns, you are guaranteed they are going to build for you quicker because shacks embarrass them, so you must embarrass them by going to town, our land is non-negotiable,” he said.

Malema’s address focused on poverty, unemployment, lack of access to education and healthcare and lack of infrastructure. He said an EFF government will bring insourcing of labour such as security guards and cleaners at government facilities, free water and electricity for the poor that will be subsidised by those who live in suburbs, doubling of government grants for children and the elderly including financial allowance for unemployed graduates. 

“I am happy I came here and spoke to you, now the choice is yours, you decide what you want to do on November 1, I will never force you. I can only speak the message of hope and the future, the people of eThekwini must decide what they want,” he said. 

Malema said he did not mind whether the people of Inanda voted for the EFF as he had done his duty to liberate their mind. 

“History will absolve me,” Malema added.

-TimesLIVE 

Zambia President Hichilema kneeling before his bosses

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Zambia President Hakainde Hichilema thanking voters for electing him

Zambia President Hakainde Hichilema is going around to villages to thank them for entrusting him with the highest job in the land.

Not only is Hichilema thankful to the voters but also displayed humility by kneeling before the villagers.

Below is the picture of Chichilema on his knees, a gesture that is alien to most presidents.

The majority of Africa Presidents only go to villages during election campaign period.

Nothing resembling them will be seen again in the villages after winning or losing elections until the next election campaign period.

Zambia President Hakainde Hichilema on his knees as he expresses his appreciation to voters who elected him

Woman left with $3,100 dinner bill after her date refuses to pay for her 23 family members

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A blind date went horribly wrong, after a woman was left with $3,100 dinner bill when her date refused to pay for 23 family members she invited.

An elaborate scheme to test the generosity of a blind date backfired for a Chinese woman in a costly manner.

According to reports reaching iHarare, the man only identified as Mr Lui and the woman (name not supplied) were set up on a blind date by the former’s mother who wanted him to meet someone nice and hopefully settle down.

However, on the day of the blind date, the woman reportedly invited 23 family members on her blind date to test the generosity of the man she was set to have dinner with.

Mr Lui got the shock of his life when his date arrived with 23 members of her family and expected him to foot the bill for all of them.

Initially, Mr Lui had agreed to pay for the date for two, but everything changed when she brought her entire family to the dinner date.

She tried to finesse her date into paying for her entire family but instead, he left her (and her family) with the incredibly large $3,100 bill after telling them they should pay, and they refused.h

In an almost similar development, three slay queens from South Africa were humiliated after their blesser went AWOL on them.

The three ladies were reportedly arrested after they failed to foot their hotel bills.

The guy who was supposed to take care of the bills left the hotel and never came back.

Video footage of the three ladies in handcuffs trying to apologize to the hotel manager after failing to pay the required amount went viral on social media.

Zuma loses special plea bid to have prosecutor Downer removed

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Former President Jacob Zuma has arrived at the Pietermaritzburg high court to hear judgment on his application to have state prosecutor Billy Downer removed from his fraud and corruption trial Image: Sandile Ndlovu

Former president Jacob Zuma has lost his bid to have lead prosecutor Advocate Billy Downer removed from his corruption trial.

Pietermaritzburg high court judge Piet Koen said Zuma’s application — that Downer had no title to prosecute in the matter because he was biased — was incorrect in both law and fact.

The matter is standing down for the representatives of the state, Zuma and his co-accused French arms company, to arrange dates for the trial.

The judge gave a 20-minute summary of his 187-page written judgment.

There was a small gathering of people and a high police presence outside the Pietermaritzburg high court on Tuesday ahead of Zuma’s big day in court.

Zuma believed that if his application to remove Downer was successful, he should be acquitted and he would be a free man.

This comes after Zuma laid criminal charges against the prosecutor for allegedly leaking his medical records. Zuma filed the charges at the Pietermaritzburg police station last week.

–TimesLIVE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The party is yet to announce its mayoral candidates.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

–TimesLIVE

Mbeki calls for a painful ANC renewal

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

TimesLIVE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Zimbabweans criticised for taking SA Govt to court over exemption permits

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Mabhena Nqabutho

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More: CITE

Full Text: King Mswati 111 cornered into a national dialogue

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King Mswati 111

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

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

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

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

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

H.E. Matamela Cyril Ramaphosa

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

PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA

22 OCTOBER 2021

King Mswati’s wives

Police rescue 11 kidnapped Ethiopians from Johannesburg storage facility

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Traut said the victims have been reunited with their families.

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

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

–TimesLIVE  

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mkhwebane ruled in Makate’s favour.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

TimesLIVE

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

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King Mswatie and his 15th wife

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

News24

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For this, Ndlovu will face yet another criminal trial. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

TimesLIVE

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

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Mohlante

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Motsoaledi echoed similar sentiments. 

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

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

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

–TimesLIVE

ActionSA loses court bid to have its name on ballot papers

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ActionSA leader Herman Mashaba

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-TimesLIVE

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

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Former police officer Nomia Rosemary Ndlovu

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

–TimesLIVE

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

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

But the lights are back on

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

TimesLIVE

250 000 Zimbabweans on special permits seek South African citizenship

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Advocate Simba Chitando accused South Africa of being unfair to Zimbabweans

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

— Zimlive.

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

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MEC Debbie Schäfer

Serious repercussions ‘completely outweigh any perceived benefit to cheating’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

TimesLIVE

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

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Sandile Shezi appeared in court today on charges of fraud

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

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

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

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

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

–TimesLIVE

Mabuza bemoans challenges worsened by Covid-19 as campaigning continues

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

‘Poverty has deepened, unemployment has grown’


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mbalenhle Mavimbela lands coveted role in The Wife

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Glenda Ndlazi

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

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

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

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

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

Drip Footwear Lekau Sehoana

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

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

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

Oupa Bopape

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

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

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

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

Matuka said Ndlanzi’s contribution was immense. 

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

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

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

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

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DA leader John Steenhuisen

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

TimesLIVE

Equal Education protesters denounce ANC at Ramaphosa’s Khayelitsha rally

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

–TimesLIVE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

TimesLIVE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-ZimLive

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

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Donald Trump

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source – Zimgazette

ANC to release names of Mayoral candidates after elections

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Vice President David Mabuza

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

–SowetanLive

Unemployment and poverty are no excuse for rape: Julius Malema

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CIC Julius Malema

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

–TimesLIVE

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

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

Activist says demographics in the sector perpetuate apartheid ideals

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Virgin at 72, still no plans to break her virginity

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“I then decided to remove my windows.”

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

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

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

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

– Daily Sun

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

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Lulu Menziwa strutting off her stuff

Lulu Menziwa

Lulu Menziwa1

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

Lulu Menziwa2

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

Lulu Menziwa3

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-TimesLIVE

As we celebrate Press Freedom Day, we must reflect on the state of journalism

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Aggrey Klaaste

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

By Themba Sepotokele

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Accused number 53 is in hospital.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

–TimesLIVE

Shed light on Zuma’s parole conditions

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Zuma and Dudu Myeni

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-Sowetanlive

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

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Residents push and shove to get shirts and doeks

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

–TimesLIVE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-TimesLIVE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The period for public comment closed on Friday October 15.

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

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

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

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

–TimesLIVE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mayor Masina warns ANC to be ready for coalitions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-SowetanLive

Specialised rescue under way at diamond mine to find trapped miners

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He said collapsed tunnel and shaft rescues were extremely difficult.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

TimesLIVE

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

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Ace Magushule

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-TimesLIVE

Msibi, co-accused out on R20k bail each

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Msibi

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Businesses in Standerton look at relocation due to power cuts

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

–SowetanLive

Mamelodi reels as gangsters wreak havoc

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

–SowetanLive

ANC banks on Ramaphosa’s smile to win the elections

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

–Sunday Times

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

–Sunday Times

DA is now campaigning for the ANC

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mashaba said the advert portrayed the DA’s decline.

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

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

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

–Sunday Times

Medical parolee Jacob Zuma spotted in Durban casino

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Myeni did not respond.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

–Daily Mail

Military vets were prepared to hold ministers ‘for days’

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Minister of Defence Thandi Modise

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Military veteran

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

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

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

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

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

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

On Mabuza’s security, Mphego said: “There is no security threat that we have registered or been alerted of. The best institutions to check that are the security institutions themselves.”

At the heart of the demands was for the military veterans to get housing and health care and for their dependants to be taken care of.

The meeting was cordial until the demand was made for a once-off payment of R4m to every one of the 9,000 veterans.

The veterans also want everyone to be included in the benefits schemes but this is not possible as some of them did not directly participate in the liberation struggle. The veterans include members of Azapo’s Azanian National Liberation Army, Umkhonto we Sizwe’s Military Veterans Association and the Pan Africanist Congress’s Azanian People’s Liberation Army.

However, some were in so-called self-defence units (SDUs), which had no formal training and at times formulated their own military tactics. Those in the SDUs were therefore not recognised during the transition and formation of the South African National Defence Force.

These are the veterans who have been most affected by being cut off without any income or benefits.

“As we speak, all of us were not able to work and accumulate retirement, buy houses and all of that, so we were volunteers for the struggle and still came home to nothing after 1994,” said one of the veterans, justifying the R4m demand.

“Even if we were employed in 1994 we would not have accumulated much by now. So it’s really to build some security net so that we are not reduced to beggars. This is what motivated the figure.”

​When the Sunday Times team visited the scene, signs of the three-hour drama could be seen in carpets scorched from stun grenades, upended tables, tablecloths strewn across the floor and broken chairs.

Hotel staff members who spoke on condition of anonymity said the meeting was arranged at the last minute, and that some arrived “looking for a fight”.

Inside the meeting room in the Parthenon conference facility was the hotel’s IT specialist, Lenny Mokoena, who was organising audio facilities.

“When the people arrived and the meeting started everyone, except a few, were fine. There were a handful of people in the meeting. I was not paying attention to what was being said but as the meeting went on you could hear from the voices that people were angry.

“Eventually someone, I think it was the defence minister, decided the meeting should end.”

He said when the ministerial delegation tried to leave, veterans who were outside blocked them. “There were so many people coming in. They closed the doors and made the ministers sit down.”

There was singing and protesting. People who had not been in the meeting were pushing their way in. They were not letting anyone out. It was loud and very confusing

Lenny Mokoena, Saint George Hotel IT specialist

He said he had been more nervous than scared. “There was singing and protesting. People who had not been in the meeting were pushing their way in. They were not letting anyone out. It was loud and very confusing.

“They were telling them to call Cyril [Ramaphosa] and the deputy president. They said no-one would leave until they spoke to them.”

He said when the police arrived tensions escalated. “Someone from outside was trying to talk to those inside. I don’t know who it was but it was police. They were talking for hours and the people inside were getting crosser.”

Moekoena said without warning there were loud bangs and police everywhere.

“I didn’t know what was going on. I just fell to the floor. Then the police were inside screaming, telling everyone to lie down and put their hands on their heads. People were hiding under the tables. I couldn’t see the ministers.”

He said he was eventually let go after he told the police that he worked for the hotel.

“When I left I could see someone lying on the floor. They looked like they were hurt. I saw another woman who looked like she had hurt her arm.”

Police sources said as task force members threw stun grenades into the conference room and stormed it through two different doors, the ministers’ protectors grabbed their charges and pushed them under the tables they had been seated at, shielding them with their bodies.

The ministers at the time the task force launched their assault had been sitting in front of two defence force and military veterans banners emblazoned with the word “Benefit”.

A senior member of the hotel staff, who asked not to be named, said they had been called just before 3pm and told to arrange a conference room.

“I told them there were none available, but they were insistent. They said this meeting had to take place. That there had to be a space made available. When I said there was not they hung up. They called back three or four times, until I told them there was only a large conference room.

“Without even looking at it they said they would use it. They said they wanted food, that there had to be food and that it must be served at 7pm. We organised finger platters with chicken wings, pies, fish, open sandwiches, wraps with different meats, cut fruit. There was cooldrinks and coffee for everyone.”

She said when the defence minister’s delegation arrived “you could feel the tension”.

“Usually these meetings are organised in advance. But this was last-minute.”

She said just after 7pm a colleague outside the room called her to say there was trouble.

“They said they heard people saying call the police, that there was a disaster and that those inside could not get out the room. I told them to leave and get to safety. I didn’t know what was going on but it sounded bad.”

She said police arrived soon after and began trying to talk to those holding the ministers.

A groundsman, who asked not to be identified, said he was asleep in his room in the property’s grounds when he heard two loud explosions and then people screaming.

“I didn’t know what was going on. I thought we were being attacked. When I came outside I saw so many police. I ran to see what was happening. They had so many guns with them.

“I saw people coming out to the ambulances. You could see they were hurt. Then the police brought out the people they had arrested. There were so many people that they arrested.

“This has never happened here before. I have worked here a long time and I have never seen something like this.”

Police spokesperson Brig Vish Naidoo said 56 people had been arrested and charged with various crimes, including kidnapping. He said three people were injured.

–Sunday Times

Dr. Kiwanga’s magic ring boosted my business

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The aim of every business person is always to make maximum profits in his/her business. My name is Meshach and I am a business person in Nakuru town in Nakuru County. I owned a wine and spirit shop where I had started this business as a way of earning a living. My friends to had started similar business in the same town and I really wondered why their business was really prospering as days went by. They had a lot of customers hence they were really yielding maximum profit. Something was really wrong with my business as my stock would stay for a long period of time in the shop without people buying it. My friends who we had started the same business had really developed as some even owned other liquor shops. This was a clear indication that business was really yielding on their side.
This was the second time I was doing this business for I had once started a similar but it was not bringing maximum profit. This was a chance to try if the business would yield maximum profit but all was in vain. I really did not know what acted as a barricade to my business prospering.
My business partners kept telling me that luck was a tool their success in business.
In one of local radio stations, I happened to learn about Dr. Kiwanga where I took his number for further advice. He invited me to his offices for assistance for I really wanted to have some help since I was really exhausted in doing business each time without development. Dr. Kiwanga gave me magic ring in succeeding in business. I went back to my normal business activities this time round having some hope things would change. In the first week just after I had come from Dr. Kiwanga, my business had really showed the sign to be a succesful one.
Unlike before, I would make a lot of money within a day. Dr. Kiwanga really had some impact in my business through the business magic ring. Many were the times when my competitors wanted to know the secret behind my success in business. Some would say I was possessing external powers which ensured that my business was to another level.
I really did not have luck in business but through Dr. Kiwanga I was back booming in business once more. I opened other liquor stores since the previous business was really making profits.
Any person who has been struggling for long period of time without success should visit Dr. Kiwanga for he really helped me develop just after I had been stagnated for a long period of time. He treats various diseases like syphilis, epilepsy and leukemia just within three days. He is able to ensure you are protected against your enemies who at some point may have bad thoughts and deeds against your life.
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www.kiwangadoctors.com.

Who is Lalela Mswane

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Lalela Mswane

Lalela Mswane is the 24-year-old LLB graduate who has just been crowned Miss South Africa.

Just one look at her images and you can see why she managed to snatch the highly contested crown. She has a charming and determined personality.

However, her journey wasn’t always an easy one. On her road to shining as brightly as she is now, she battled with bullying and isolation. She was picked on for being too “tall, gangly, and thin,” making her high school years somewhat of an unpleasant time.

Fortunately, a change of environment began to change her perception too. New surroundings and new peers helped her to build up self-confidence.

“I now identify strongly with the quotation that says, ‘since the beginning of time you have had everything within you to achieve anything you want to. It was the world that convinced you that you did not.’, ” she says.

“As I have found, it is what is within you that dictates your future, not the people or events around you.”

This belief of being able to rise above difficult circumstances also extends to others, and she wants fellow South Africans to hold the same optimism and determination.

“Knowing your worth and knowing what you deserve in life sometimes means adapting and building something new. Being an unemployed graduate does not mean that you have to wait for an opportunity to knock. Sitting and believing that you are entitled to better because you have struggled and achieved will lead nowhere. Harnessing your talents and finding new life paths and opportunities could, however, provide a solution.”

Through her Miss South Africa engagements, she hopes to carry this message across and instill a renewed sense of hope and bravery amongst people.

“I approach these events hoping that something about the lessons I have learned, my conversations or actions will make a long-lasting impression with at least one person,” she says.

“My ideal is to be involved in ongoing projects rather than once-off visits so that I can build relationships and help where I can.”

When asked about her involvement in the Miss SA pageant, and the possibility of being crowned the next Miss South Africa, she says: “Now more than ever, the competition is about more than being just a beauty pageant. It is a platform for women. My competitors are phenomenal women from all walks of life who are aspiring to be heard.

Most importantly however, she believes that pageant is a platform for her to fulfill her passion for youth upliftment and social development.

Through Miss SA she aims to align herself with causes that tackle South Africa’s high unemployment rate and the plight of young people caught in this net.

She is currently acting through the development of the #BeReady campaign – to help empower youth development. Her vision is a site that will focus on developing practical alternatives to tertiary education with the help of the Department of Education.

These alternatives would be introduced in schools and focus on subjects such as agriculture, trades, manufacturing and other areas to prepare learners for careers in these fields.

“Not every learner qualifies to enter university. I believe that if you identify something that can become a passion before you leave school, you can identify opportunities and empower yourself in fields that normally would not have been considered,” she concludes.

Lalela Mswane crowned Miss South Africa 2021

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Lalela Mswane

  • Lalela Mswane was crowned Miss South Africa 2021 on 16 October at the Grand Arena, GrandWest in Cape Town.
  • She receives R1 million in cash, the use of a fully-furnished apartment at Central Square Sandton, and a Mercedes Benz C-Class sedan for the year of her reign.
  • The Miss South Africa live show featured top local artists, including the Ndlovu Youth Choir, Ntokozo Mbambo and Zakes Bantwini.

Miss South Africa 2021 is Lalela Mswane.

The 24-year-old from KwaZulu-Natal is a model and dancer and holds a Bachelor of Law qualification from the University of Pretoria.

“I possess the compassion, tenacity, leadership and people skills which render me a worthy title holder. With a willing heart, an open mind and an eagerness to learn and grow, it would be an absolute honour to reign as Miss South Africa 2021,” she previously told Channel24.

 

–Channel24

South Africa’s ex-president says he was unfairly imprisoned

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Former President Jacob Zuma

Former South African President Jacob Zuma claims he was sent to prison in July because the country’s justice system is unfair.

Zuma addressed his supporters on Thursday through an audio message at a prayer event in Durban, where many of his supporters arrived in packed buses. It was one of his first public comments since he was released from prison in September on medical parole.

“I remain a prisoner under strict parole conditions. It feels like what house arrest and banning orders must have felt like during the colonial apartheid government,” Zuma said in the audio message.

Zuma, 79, was imprisoned for defying a court order to testify at a judicial inquiry probing allegations of corruption during his presidential term from 2009 to 2018. Zuma has been implicated in wrongdoing by several witnesses including former Cabinet ministers.

He refused to appear before the commission despite an order by the country’s highest court, the Constitutional Court.

Zuma served nearly two months of his 15-month jail sentence at the Estcourt Correctional Center before he was controversially released on medical parole. Correctional Services Commissioner Arthur Fraser approved Zuma’s release against the recommendation of the parole board, which had said he should remain in jail as he was in a stable condition.

Zuma spent most of his sentence in the prison’s hospital wing and was later transferred to an outside hospital where he underwent surgery in August. Zuma’s lawyers have not disclosed the reason for the surgery or his medical condition.

Political analyst Xolani Dube said the prayer event for Zuma shows the extent of political divisions within the ruling African National Congress party, which will soon be contesting local government elections.

“It is nothing but a show of strength by the one faction against the other. They are using his (Zuma’s) charisma and character to fight the internal factional battles of the ANC,” said Dube.

Zuma still faces corruption charges in a separate case in which he is accused of receiving bribes from French arms firm Thales during South Africa’s controversial arms purchase in 1999. Zuma has pleaded not guilty to the charges and is applying for the lead prosecutor in the case, Billy Downer, to recuse himself from the matter. Zuma is expected to appear in the Pietermaritzburg High Court next week for that case.

–AP

Male church members demand the return of a beautiful, heavy duty female pastor

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Lady Pastor Jackline

All is not well at Africa Deliverance Community church as male church members demand the immediate reinstatement of their gorgeous pastor, Lady Jackline. The beautiful pastor is not only popular for her good teachings but also for her well shaped, voluminous body that is endowed with a huge behind.

The provocatively attractive pastor’s removal from her parish precipitated a threat of church services boycott from men who want her back at their pulpit.

In response to the relocation of Lady Pastor Jackline to another church, male members are even threatening to shut down their chapel in South Africa’s Limpopo province.

Church Chairman Joseph Nyambane said the men issued him with an ultimatum, to either reinstate lady Jackline or risk cancellations of their church memberships.

“They warned that they would prefer to go to other churches rather than sit in the church without Lady Pastor Jackline there,” said Nyambane,”We can’t ignore the physical blessing that the Lady Pastor exudes in her looks as one of the reasons why the male members of the congregation are so keen to have her re-elected to the position.”

Continued Nyambane: “If she is truly endowed and beautiful, then she is a figure that most men would love to see on a regular basis. However, if she is a distraction to her male congregants, rather than a blessing, it could be because of her wonderful teachings and services as the leader of the Church, and as a result, they believe that no one else could have performed as well as she did in the role.”

Male church members have refused to attend services as a result of the transfer of a “heavy duty” female pastor.

Lady Pastor Jackline dishing out as a sermon to her congregates

Video: Inside the room where minister Modise was held hostage

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Exclusive footage from inside the room in the St George’s Hotel in Centurion reveals the chaos after police rescued ministers Thandi Modise and Mondli Gungubele from a hostage situation which played out over three hours on Thursday evening.

Overturned tables and chairs were spread across the room and discharged stun grenades left burn marks on the carpet. Disgruntled military veterans held the ministers hostage, forcing police and security forces to intervene on Thursday evening.

This video takes you inside the room.

-TimesLIVE

ANC councillor candidate shot dead in Durban

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64439649 - bullets and pistol glock .40

An eThekwini councillor candidate was shot dead in Durban on Friday night.

ANC spokesperson Nhlakanipho Ntombela confirmed the incident.

“Yes, we can confirm ANC candidate comrade Siyabonga Mkhize has been shot dead. We still do not know yet the details as to what happened,” he said.

It is understood that the shooting took place near a primary school in the Cato Crest area, west of Durban. Further details were not immediately available.

TimesLIVE has reached out to the SAPS for comment, with a spokesperson saying that they were still awaiting information on the incident. This story will be updated.

Ntombela said the party would be meeting with Mkhize’s family and local ANC structures on Saturday, and would hopefully be able to provide more information following this.

“We send our condolences to the Mkhize family on behalf of the ANC,” he said.

TimesLIVE

56 war veterans to face kidnapping charges for holding ministers hostage

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Police seen outside the St George’s hotel where Defence Minister Thandi Modise, Minister in the Presidency Mondli Gungubele and Deputy Minister of Defence Thabang Makwetla were held hostage by former liberation combatants on 14 October 2021. Picture: Veronica Mokhoali/Eyewitness News.

Gauteng police said that 56 people belonging to the Liberation Struggle War Veterans are expected to face charges of kidnapping after they held ministers Thandi Modise and Mondi Gungubele along with Thabang Makwetla, hostage for over three hours at the St George’s Hotel in Centurion.

The war veterans had been protesting against the government’s failure to pay them reparations.

Eyewitness News was on the scene when the trio was freed by the special task force, with the assistance of military police at about 10pm on Thursday nightz

Scores of law enforcement officials swarmed the St George’s Conference Centre in Irene after a meeting between military veterans and the defence minister turned into a hostile standoff.

In a video leaked to Eyewitness News during the meeting, tensions ran high after veterans accused Thandi Modise of failing to address their grievances. Disgruntled members then blocked the doors.

When attempts to negotiate with the hostage-takers failed, special forces stormed the room. With police firing tear gas, escorting the two Cabinet ministers and deputy minister to safety.

As Eyewitness News gained entrance into the conference venue, several ex-combatants were detained, with police tight-lipped on the safety of the ministers or injuries suffered during the operation.

“What I do know, is they were whisked away by the protectors. I’m not sure to exactly where. We successfully penetrated the room where they were being held hostage, and there were no shots fired.” said the police’s Vish Naidoo.

However, sources inside the venue said that shots were fired when the task force and military police swooped in.

“It’s critical comrades, we are down now. They’ve shot some of us,” said one person who was inside.

Police have confirmed that at least three of the arrested people were taken for medical treatment.

–EWN

Defence Minister Thandi Modise and deputy held hostage by military vets

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Defence Minister Thandi Modise

Johannesburg – Defence Minister Thandi Modise and her Deputy Thabang Makwetla alongside Minister in the Presidency Mondli Gungubele were held hostage by disgruntled military veterans on Thursday night but were later released.

It emerged that talks between the Presidential Task Team and the ex-combatants broke down and both parties could not reach an agreement.

The drama reportedly unfolded at the St Georges Hotel near Irene in Gauteng with members refusing to release the officials until their demands were met – this includes a meeting with President Cyril Ramaphosa.

This event follows a sit-in protest by the irate veterans at the ANC’s Luthuli House headquarters early this week.

Detailing what transpired, Gungubele said they were about to leave the meeting when all the doors were closed by some of the military veterans attending the meeting.

“It is at that point we realised we were being held hostage. It is a situation that was averted by the security forces very effectively and successfully. We want to thank Minister Bheki Cele and all security forces and whatever branch was involved for a prompt and timeous intervention… We expect the law to follow its course in dealing with the behaviour of this nature,” he said.

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Earlier, IOL had reported that Deputy President David Mabuza was set to meet the veterans to discuss their grievances.

The military veterans who had staged a protest were from Azapo, PAC and the ANC.

IOL also understands that some of them were not from around Johannesburg and had to arrange a place to sleep on Wednesday night.

ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe, at the time, said the group was very cooperative, and the party understood their plight.

He added that there were no big fears of a security breach because the ex-combatants had come to the HQ with genuine concerns.

“They have been cooperative. The issues they are raising are part of their plight, and there is a planned meeting between themselves and the deputy president as being delegated to deal with these matters at the level of government,” Mabe said.

According to Mabe, there were already movements to gather the ex-combatants from different parties and address their issues as a collective and not per ex liberation party.

But Mabe’s comments on Thursday did not hold water.

Unconfirmed reports stated that special forces had descended to the area to calm the situation with Modise and Makwetla being evacuated to safety.

National police spokesperson Vish Naidoo said SAPS national spokesperson Brigadier Vishnu Naidoo 56 people were arrested including 7 women.

“At 7:15 police received reports of a hostage situation at St Goerge hotel. They have been charged with three counts of kidnapping. What I do know is that the three ministers who were whisked away by the protectors did not need medical attention. I don’t know where they are,” said Naidoo.

He did not divulge where we’re the protectors of the ministers when the hostage situation took place.

“3 suspects were treated after complaining about pain, one complained about an injury we are not sure how they got injured. This was a pre-planned meeting, I think what the police have done is extremely commendable. They contained a situation that might have been out of hand,” he said.

Naidoo said there were no shots fired and 3 officials were rescued from the hostage situation.

He said a postpartum would be done on the entire situation and if it is necessary to provide information on the outcomes of the postmortem they will do so.

The suspects will face charges of kidnapping.

Meanwhile, MK military veteran spokesperson Lwazi Mzobe disputed the reports saying the minister (Modise) was allowed to move around on her own.

“We were sitting with them (officials). This was not a hostage. What we wanted is that the President must come and address us,” Mzobe said.

Chairs were used to block the door, however Mzobe denied that the chairs were used to prevent the minister from leaving the venue.

“We did that so they don’t leave the meeting. We never broke the law. I don’t know how many people have been arrested,” said Mzobe.

Mzobe says the special forces want to arrest them because they are suspects.

“They say we are suspects and they want to arrest us. If they don’t arrest us, we are going to the Union Building so that the President’s address is. These criminals have failed to facilitate this meeting,” he said.

ActionSA leader Herman Mashaba said: “There is no respect for the rule of law in this country. People think it’s a joke but there are organisations watching this lawlessness in South Africa and biding their time and waiting for their opportunity. This government is completely unprepared,” he said.

*Additional reporting Itumeleng Mafisa and Noni Mokati

–Political Bureau

Safa shuts doors to unvaccinated fans for next Bafana match

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Bafana Bafana supporters

The South African Football Association (Safa) has condemned supporters who went to the FNB Stadium to attend Bafana Bafana’s match against Ethiopia on Tuesday without vaccination certificates or tickets and urged them to refrain from doing so for the national team’s next match in November.

While it was ecstasy for the supporters who had their tickets in hand to watch the crucial 2022 Qatar Fifa World Cup qualifier, which Bafana won 1-0 in front of 2,000 vaccinated fans, for others it was agony.

An entrance to the stadium had to be closed following a scuffle with police after fans without tickets tried to push their way into the Soweto venue, forcing those with tickets and vaccination cards to be diverted to another entrance.

Hundreds of fans, most of them Ethiopians, were turned away.

They claimed they didn’t know they had to get a ticket online first and believed they only had to arrive with a vaccination certificate.

The ticketless and unvaccinated fans said they came to the venue under the impression that about 100 tickets would be provided to them upon arrival at the stadium.

They claimed that arrangements were made with Bafana and Kaizer Chiefs fan and vaccination drive ambassador Saddam Maake at a vaccination campaign in Mbombela led by deputy president David Mabuza last month.

Some fans blamed Maake for what was seemingly a miscommunication, while others pointed the finger at Safa and officials.

Maake was adamant that the fans from Mpumalanga and elsewhere across the country were told in time to register online, but some of them decided against it.

The match, which was successfully used as a pilot project for the return of fans back to the stadiums, was the first to be watched live by spectators in the country since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic in March last year.

Attendance was limited to 2,000 fans, who had to be fully vaccinated, and applications for tickets had to be done online.

Safa communications boss Dominic Chimhavi, however, said the organisation had a successful pilot project and cautioned the public against sidetracking Tuesday’s success with a “handful of grievances”.

“The truth is that Safa, together with the Stadium Management SA and the departments of sport, arts and culture and health, were consistent the whole week that fans must apply for tickets online,” said Chimhavi.

“We blocked 40 tickets for the superfans from across the country and I don’t know where the 100 tickets those fans are claiming is coming from.

“The fans from Mpumalanga were ‘a bit mischievous’ to rock up at FNB Stadium without tickets or confirmation.

“Saddam, Mama Joy and other prominent Superfans are vaccination ambassadors for the country and have been to Gauteng, Mpumalanga, North West and KZN encouraging people to get vaccinated.

“This week they are in Northern Cape asking people to get vaccinated.”

 “The limited number of 2,000 was a small number but this was a pilot project.

“Overall, the pilot project was a massive success and we can only grow from there.”

The pilot project was witnessed by ministers of sport, health and justice, Nathi Mthethwa, Joe Phaahla and Ronald Lamola respectively, along with other top government officials and Safa Ethics Committee chair justice Sisi Khampepe.

Elephant tramples to death South African tourist in Zimbabwe

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Charging elephant

A 71-year-old South African tourist was trampled to death by an elephant “in full view” of his son at Zimbabwe’s Mana Pools National Park, the country’s parks agency said Thursday, days after another fatal encounter with an elephant occurred in a separate park.

A “tuskless” female elephant this week charged the tourist and his 41-year-old son as they took a morning walk in the park, Tinashe Farawo, spokesman for the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority, told The Associated Press.

Mana Pools is a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its splendid setting along the Zambezi River and surrounding flood plain teeming with elephants and other wildlife.

Michael Bernard Walsh, a veterinarian from Cape Town, was a “loyal tourist” who had been visiting Mana Pools “almost every year” for the past 35 years, said Farawo.

The father and son duo had left their car about 40 meters (44 yards) from the scene of the incident. “Because of age, unfortunately, the old man couldn’t escape to the vehicle.

His son watched as the elephant killed his father,” said Farawo.

“We are extremely concerned because two people have been killed in one week alone,” he said, referring to an earlier fatality in which an anti-poaching coordinator with a conservation group was trampled to death by an elephant in Victoria Falls in western Zimbabwe.

Clever Kapandura, an operations coordinator for the Victoria Falls Anti-Poaching Unit, a non-governmental organization, was part of a team of scouts deployed to investigate reports of a possible poaching incident.

“For some unknown reason” an elephant bull charged from about 120 meters (130 yards) away and seized the man and killed him, the organization said in a statement.

Zimbabwe’s national parks and environmental groups are reporting increasing cases of conflict between humans and wildlife in recent years.

More than 40 people have died from such conflicts in parks and other rural areas in Zimbabwe so far this year, said Farawo.

Like other parks in Zimbabwe, Mana Pools experiences hot, dry weather at this time of the year, limiting food and water sources for the thousands of elephants, lions, buffaloes, zebras, wild dogs, hyenas, zebras, elands and other animals.

As a result, the animals make forays into neighboring human communities in search of water, crops and livestock for food, said Farawo.

Zimbabwe has an estimated 85 000 elephants and neighboring Botswana has more than 130 000.

The two countries have the world’s largest elephant populations. The two southern African countries say they are struggling to cope with the booming numbers of elephants and are pressing to be allowed to sell their stockpile of ivory tusks that have been seized from poachers.

They say the funds raised from the ivory sales would be used for conservation and ease congestion in the drought-affected parks.

Other African countries, especially Kenya, are opposed to any sale of ivory.

“We are now sounding like a broken record, saying that our animals, especially elephants, are overpopulated and they are becoming a danger unto themselves by destroying their own habitat and they are also killing people,” said Farawo.

“We receive distress calls from communities almost every day.”

Zimbabwe’s parks agency said it has no plans to export baby elephants to China, denying recent reports by a wildlife conservation group.

Zimbabwe was criticised a few years ago for sending elephants to China where they were put in zoos.

– AP

Investigating officer tells court it will be dangerous to release Msibi as ‘politicians seek revenge’

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Supporters of MEC Mandla Msibi who is being charged with murder and attempted murder picket outside the Nelspruit magistrates court. Image: Mandla Khoza

The investigating officer in the double murder case against former  Mpumalanga MEC Mandla Msibi  has shed light into the shooting incident that claimed the lives of two ANC members outside a popular joint in Mbombela.

W/O Boy Bhila told the Mbombela magistrate’s court on Thursday that the shooting happened after arguments over the party’s candidates list verification meeting that was held at  Nutting House Lodge, outside Mbombela.

He said a car belonging to one Mr Nkalanga was shot at and they called their group and went to the police station to open a case.

 Bhila said Dingane Ngwenya, Sindela Sipho Lubisi and Sfiso Mpila went to Coyotes Shisa Nyama where they were shot at by a group of 15 people. 

“According to my witnesses, a group of plus or minus 15 people attacked the three [Ngwenya, Lubisi and Mpila] while they were in the car parking lot. They tried to run for their lives, but Ngwenya and Lubisi fell down while Mpila managed to run away, but accused number three [Msibi], according to my witness, shot him in the leg,” said Bhila. 

Bhila said accused number four (Anele Sonke Mnisi) is seen on CCTV footage  shooting Ngwenya, even though he was already dead. 

He said  Mnisi was also seen picking up cartridges at the scene. 

He said the accused must not be released on bail because their lives were in danger due to infighting in the ANC. 

Bhila said there were two groups fighting in the party, and releasing Msibi, 45, Njabulo Mkhonto and  Mnisi on bail would be putting their lives in danger as “politicians seek revenge”,

“If released on bail, it will not be right, the accused’s lives are in danger. As the police, it is our duty to protect people but police cannot protect someone 24/7. Number two, we also don’t know what the families of the deceased think or would do [to them]. This matter involves politicians and politicians like to  [seek] revenge,” said Bhila. 

Police said on September 17 2021, they arrested Joseph Charlie Ngwenya, 35, and Tshepo Matsane, 30. They both appeared in court at least twice before being granted bail of R20,000 each on October 8.

Outside the court, thousands or Msibi’s supporters chanted and sang Struggle songs, calling for  his release. 

Police used barbed wire to blockade Bester Street from the Mbombela police station  to the court. 

The bail  hearing continues. 

–SowetanLive

Money and relationships: ‘til debt do us part’

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Busi Selesho

Boundaries on lending and borrowing is important for friendships

BY NOMVELO MASANGO 

While money issues can ruin relationships with friends and loved ones, a few boundaries here and there do the trick.

In today’s economically-driven society, money has the power to make or break relationships. While it is said that money can’t buy you love, the role it plays in friendships and relationships cannot be denied.

According to research conducted by Statistics SA, a total of 23,710 divorces were recorded in the year 2019. The leading causes of these divorces included infidelity, lack of communication and you guessed it…finances.

While relationship coach Siyathokoza Nsizwane believes money should not be the determining factor in relationships, she’s also of the view that the importance of finances should not be downplayed.

“Money plays a big role in relationships. It’s a tool that we use to create memories with the people that we love. At the same time, it can also be a cause of conflict. So it’s very important for two people in a relationship to have an aligned view of finances and how they should be distributed,” she says.

Financial coach and author Busi Selesho shares similar sentiments. According to her, money serves as a scale which the world and society use for a variety of things.

“People treat you a certain way depending on where you live, what you wear and how much money you look like you have. It’s unfair but unfortunately that’s the impact which money has in most instances. This makes it very difficult to say money does not have an impact on relationships,” says Selesho.

The borrowing of money among friends and loved ones

In our journey of life, we are bound to experience rainy days. During such times, we may feel the need to call on those closest to us for financial rescue. According to Nsizwane, lending money to friends and loved ones is a way of being there for them and providing a helping hand.  However, she encourages the enforcement of healthy boundaries to avoid people taking advantage.

“It is important not to allow people to take advantage of your kindness. You must have boundaries and know when people are just using you; when they are making you a scapegoat for their personal mismanagement of finances,” she says.

From a financial perspective, Selesho does not encourage normalising the borrowing of money among friends and loved ones.

“The whole thing about borrowing money is that money is energy. As much as the banks make money from lending other people money, that’s a business for them. But if you want to mess up the energy between you and your friends or loved ones, start borrowing each other’s money.”

Selesho says a better option would be to assist the friend or loved one in making money rather than giving it to them.

“Rather accompany them to sell something or help them write proposals which will make the money. It’s best to be there for them by helping them make the money.

“You must also make sure you put your own money to good use and for all the right reasons. Money needs to have a purpose. You cannot have extra money idling for you to borrow others,” says Selesho.

Venturing into business with your lover

The past decade has seen an increase in small, family-owned businesses. More and more couples are venturing into business together. While this is a good idea and may grant couples various advantages such as the opportunity to embrace a more flexibile work/life balance, a lot could go wrong in the absence of caution and care.

“Going into business with your partner can be a great thing. You get to build something together, watch it grow and reap the fruits thereof. It can bring you closer,” says Nsizwane.

“But the challenge comes when you need to ensure there is no overlap between business matters and the relationship. In business, you are solely business partners. In your relationship, you are lovers. It’s important to not mix the dynamics of the two.”

A few points to consider when entering into business with your lover

  • Character is key: If you’re planning to go into business with your partner, you may have to re-evaluate their character. Sometimes, someone may be great as a lover but not so much as a business partner. You need to ensure that they share the same passion, work ethic and discipline in order for the business to thrive.
  • Don’t compromise on clarity: To ensure the success of both the relationship and the business, it’s important to have clarity on who does what. This way, you avoid stepping on each other’s toes. Designated roles in the business will prevent petty arguments which may affect you not only as business partners but as lovers too.
  • Always have a contract: While you may have known your partner for a very long time and probably trust them 100%, drafting a contract remains important. It does not need to be something very complicated. A simple document that sets out the basics such as how you will be working together, as well as how and when you will be paying each other can help with accountability and also save the relationship in the long run.

SowetanLive

Voicenote about ‘tropical storm’ is fake news, warns weather service

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Super Typhoon Yutu, strongest storm on Earth in 2018. Satellite view. Elements of this image furnished by NASA.

A voicenote warning South Africans about potentially dangerous weather is fake and people should stop circulating it.

This was the warning from the South African Weather Service (Saws), which on Thursday cautioned people against believing the voicenote that has been circulating on social media making claims of extreme conditions relating to tropical cyclones.

The voicenote is in isiZulu and was mostly circulated on WhatsApp on Thursday.

“The message is an adaptation of an old historic interview with Saws, dating back to the period earlier this year when tropical Cyclone Eloise affected Southern Africa. 

“We would like to distance ourselves from this hoax message, which is completely misleading and unfounded. The public is requested to refrain from further circulating the message, and also correct those who still do so,” said Saws.

The service has urged the public to only access weather information and weather warnings from reputable sources.

“In this regard, the Saws Act provides the mandate for Saws to be the single and authoritative source of weather warnings in SA.”

TimesLIVE

37 adults and children in suspected mass food-poisoning in Cape Town

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Thirty-seven people were taken to hospital on Wednesday night after a suspected  food poisoning incident in Cape Town.

ER24 spokesperson Russel Meiring said ambulances arrived in Seawinds, a suburb adjoining Lavender Hill, to find a crowd of adults and children gathered around two shacks shortly after 10pm.

“It is believed that a number of people had all eaten from a community-cooked batch of food before they began experiencing stomach cramps, nausea and vomiting symptoms,” said Meiring.

“Medics assessed the patients and found that 37 people, including several children, were complaining of severe stomach cramps, nausea and vomiting.

“The patients were treated and thereafter transported to nearby clinics for urgent care.

“The relevant authorities were on the scene for further investigations.”

TimesLIVE

How a Zimbabwe Tycoon made a fortune from a Trafigura partnership and spiralling national debt

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Kudakwashe Tagwirei

Kudakwashe Tagwirei, who is close to Zimbabwe’s president and his inner circle, leveraged his privileged access to fuel and mining markets to strike a lucrative partnership with commodities giant Trafigura. Sanctioned by the U.S. and U.K. for corruption, Tagwirei continued to do business by relocating his network to Mauritius.

Key Findings

  • Tagwirei has earned at least $100 million in fees from a partnership with Swiss-based Trafigura. Together, they have profited extensively by dominating Zimbabwe’s fuel market since 2013.
  • Trafigura quietly extended $1 billion in loans to the Zimbabwean government, at exorbitant interest rates.
  • As controversy grew, Tagwirei moved his business network offshore to Mauritius, where he secured a new near-monopoly fuel deal with the government. He is still active in mining and fuel deals in Zimbabwe.
  • Government officials appear on key company records and Tagwirei’s own correspondence, indicating that there might be more powerful people behind the network

When Zimbabwe’s long-ruling strongman Robert Mugabe was forced to resign in 2017, his downfall was greeted by jubilant crowds hopeful that decades of misrule and corruption were finally coming to an end.

His successor, Emmerson Mnangagwa, set off on an international tour to declare Zimbabwe “open for business.” Sporting a scarf knitted in the five colors of the country’s flag, he assured world leaders that all that was needed to jumpstart Zimbabwe’s moribund economy was new leadership and an infusion of foreign investment.

Four years on, Mnangagwa’s promised “New Dawn” has not arrived. Instead, Zimbabwe’s economy remains in tatters. Public debt — much of it illegally accrued — has ballooned, a lack of foreign currency and fuel shortages continue to cripple the economy, and the value of Zimbabwe’s local currency has plummeted.

The turmoil has not been without its winners, though. One man in particular has prospered from the state’s largesse: Kudakwashe Tagwirei, a tycoon known locally as “Queen Bee” because of his vast economic influence.

Under Mnangagwa’s reign, the businessman came to dominate Zimbabwe’s fuel, platinum, and gold sectors. Benefitting from opaquely awarded government contracts worth billions of dollars and preferential access to minerals as well as scarce foreign currency, Tagwirei’s network also got huge state loans he used to enrich himself while indebting the Zimbabwean public.

Those came from a surprising source that proved a key player in Tagiwirei’s network: Zimbabwe’s central bank. At least $3 billion in treasury bills issued by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe — which may have had no legal authority to do so — were awarded to Tagwirei’s group between 2017 and 2019, a parliamentary report said, with the group then funneling the windfall into a massive expansion that included a mining acquisition spree at bargain bin prices. As the country’s currency crashed, Tagwirei’s fortunes soared.

But it’s not clear if Tagwirei is the sole, or even the main beneficiary of this largesse. The presence of a handful of state officials in some of the network structures imply he is also a proxy for others. Since 2019 the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe’s governor, John Mangudya, was even named in Tagwirei-connected corporate trusts. Insiders say Tagwirei is close both to President Manangagwa and his deputy General Constantino Chiwenga.

Besides the government, one foreign company also played a critical role in Tagwirei’s rise over nearly a decade: Swiss-headquartered commodity trader Trafigura Group Pte Ltd. Trafigura formed a joint venture with Tagwirei as far back as 2013 that gave the company priority access to the country’s fuel infrastructure and supply business through Tagwirei’s local influence. Tagwirei’s links to Trafigura, his business successes at home, and U.S. and U.K. sanctions against him have attracted critical press coverage in recent months.

Now, using contracts, invoices and email correspondence between Tagwirei’s network, former Trafigura officials involved in the joint venture, and government officials, OCCRP can reveal new details of how Trafigura and Tagwirei’s partnership worked.

OCCRP learned that Trafigura paid Tagwirei at least $100 million in fees through early 2018 for his help in creating a dominant position in the Zimbabwean fuel market. Their joint venture, initially called Sakunda Supplies and later renamed Trafigura Zimbabwe, would do this by advancing massive cash prepayments and fuel to the government in exchange for significant control over the Zimbabwean market and priority use of the state’s fuel pipelines.

“Only one set of interests controls the fuel: Trafigura and Tagwirei,” Zimbabwe’s former finance minister, Tendai Biti, told OCCRP.

The joint venture would last until December 2019, when Trafigura bought out the soon-to-be-sanctioned Tagwirei.

But the partnership may have been too lucrative to discontinue.Only one set of interests controls the fuel: Trafigura and Tagwirei.– Tendai Biti, Former Zimbabwean Finance Minister

Instead, Trafigura sought to continue its relationship with Tagwirei via Sotic International Ltd., a new company that he had set up in Mauritius, and associated shell companies fronted by South Africa-based directors, several of whom were former Trafigura employees.

In an email to OCCRP, Tagwirei said, “Some of the questions you raise are an embarrassing demonstration of an apparent lack of understanding of the issues you purport to investigate … I unequivocally deny all the accusations and allegations you are making against me in your email.”

Wilfred Mutakeni, head of Zimbabwe’s National Oil Infrastructure Company, the regulatory agency that provided the joint venture its dominant rights, did not respond to a request for comment.Credit: Trafigura Pictures/CC BY-ND 2.0Trafigura’s offices in Johannesburg.

In a response to OCCRP, a Trafigura spokesperson said, “Trafigura exited our business relationships with Mr Tagwirei in December 2019, prior to US sanctions being imposed, through the purchase of [[Tagwirei’s stake]]. All commercial arrangements are conducted in full compliance with applicable laws and regulations. Trafigura is one of a number of suppliers to Zimbabwe, South Africa and Mozambique. There is no exclusivity or market dominance.”

Trafigura said OCCRP’s details were “factually inaccurate,” but declined to answer specific questions about advance payments, payments to Tagwirei, or the purchase price of his shares. The company said “commercial arrangements are commercially sensitive and as such, are confidential.”

A Captive Market

On Harare’s bustling streets, where centuries-old churches compete for space with modern high-rises, one building stands above its neighbors. Century Towers, an imposing glass structure perched next to one of the capital’s main thoroughfares, houses the main office of Tagwirei’s holding company for his share of the joint venture, Sakunda Holdings Private Ltd, on several floors – including the 15th. One floor below are the offices of Zimbabwe’s energy regulator.Credit: Christopher Scott/Alamy Stock PhotoCentury Towers in Harare.

This proximity hints at the closeness critics say allowed Tagwirei to make a fortune from preferential government contracts.

Tagwirei originally signed a contract in 2011 with the National Oil Infrastructure Company of Zimbabwe (NOIC) that gave him many of the rights he would later share with Trafigura.

In July 2013, Tagwirei and his companies Sakunda Holdings and Sakunda Trading agreed to sell access to their existing petroleum contract with NOIC to Trafigura, affording it 49 percent of the shares of a new joint venture.

They agreed to form Sakunda Supplies, based in Zimbabwe, which would hand Trafigura a host of benefits, including preferential access to the crucial Beira pipeline from Mozambique. NOIC, which had initially awarded Sakunda Holdings the deal in 2011, confirmed in a 2018 letter that Trafigura was entitled to all the benefits enjoyed by Sakunda.

Trafigura’s Deals with Sakunda and Tagwirei

Contracts that Tagwirei and his company, Sakunda Holdings, signed with Trafigura.

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In return, a service agreement between Trafigura and Tagwirei, ratified in 2014, granted a $12 million signing bonus and a further $12 million for Tagwirei when NOIC provided access to their pipeline and the project launched.

On paper, Tagwirei’s role in the new company was to provide his “significant market experience, network and contact base.” But an insider said Trafigura was simply paying for Tagwirei’s access to powerful figures in Zimbabwe.

“Trafigura provided everything: the capital, the fuel, the expertise,” said former Trafigura Zimbabwe director Christopher Fourie.

“Sakunda [Holdings] – by which I mean just a few front guys under Tagwirei – were the political connections to the reserve bank, the president. Their aim was to keep profits low in Zimbabwean operations and pay Tagwirei offshore,” said Fourie, who later served as CEO and shareholder of another one of Tagwirei’s companies.

“A Captive Market”

In November 2013, just a few months after the joint venture was formed, Trafigura made the first in a series of cash advances to the Zimbabwean government’s pipeline operator.

Confidential documents show that, over the course of the next six years, Trafigura and its joint venture came up with at least $1 billion in prepayments to NOIC.

In exchange, Trafigura Zimbabwe got priority access to Zimbabwe’s key oil pipeline. In 2018 the joint venture paid what appears to be a favorable price of $1.24 per barrel moved. It costs about $2.19 a barrel to transport oil through the Feruka pipeline from Beira in Mozambique to Harare. Meanwhile Trafigura Zimbabwe earned up to 40 percent gross profits for the supply of oil — all with sparse competition and all negotiated opaquely.

A December 2018 amendment of the joint venture agreement sets out credit facilities made available by Trafigura’s head office to the government of Zimbabwe, including loans of $50 million and $13.6 million.

The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe guaranteed NOIC’s repayments of the advances, which were to be made in foreign currency. The interest if NOIC were to fail to pay its monthly obligation was a hefty 16 percent, which was to be compounded against the full outstanding sum, repayable immediately and in full. Zimbabwe is chronically short of foreign currency and heavily in debt, and has struggled to repay its obligations.

“If these terms are correct, 16 percent is a very high interest rate,” said Natasha White, an oil researcher at U.K.-based advocacy group Global Witness. “High interest rates are usually conditions to buffer the risk of non-payment (and are where the traders make their money on these deals).”

Commodity trader prepayments to states and state-backed entities often feature deals based on political connections and lack a tender process, according to White. “This raises serious red flags regarding the government’s decision to enter into them,” she said.

The 2018 agreement specified a base monthly repayment of $5 million until April 2019 and $3.2 million from May 2019 until the total sum of $63.6 million was fully repaid. By the time of the December 2018 agreement, NOIC had received almost $400 million in advances from Trafigura itself, while the total advances of both Trafigura and the joint venture were close to $1 billion, according to an internal Trafigura Zimbabwe document.

Zimbabwe’s central bank governor John Mangudya denied this to OCCRP, claiming the “outstanding balance by 2018 was only $130 million.” He declined to provide term sheets, stating that loan agreements are confidential.

Internal Trafigura Zimbabwe communications underscored the value of the company’s pre-financing of Mnangagwa’s government: “[Trafigura Zimbabwe] expects to maintain its pre-financing arrangements going forward,” as these allowed for the company to maintain “its role as a price leader,” as well as its dominant market position.

According to an internal 2018 company report, Trafigura Zimbabwe was supplying up to 60 percent of Zimbabwe’s required monthly fuel imports. Tendai Biti, the former finance minister and head of the parliamentary committee investigating Tagwirei’s company Sakunda, said the joint venture has supplied more than 80 percent of the country’s total fuel supply. Trafigura Zimbabwe internally labeled their deal as a “captive market.”

In an email to OCCRP, Trafigura said “we do not recognise” OCCRP’s figures for the prepayments, but would not discuss pre-financing arrangements.

“From time to time, Trafigura has agreed credit terms related to the supply of fuel to customers in Zimbabwe and subject to usual commercial terms and confidentiality,” a Trafigura spokesperson said.

Mangudya told OCCRP, “All strategic imports are a priority to the Bank,” and that Trafigura provided “a $390 million fuel line of credit.”

A Potent Partnership

At the heart of the deal was the relationship between Trafigura and Tagwirei, who was paid over $100 million in fees through January 2018, with more than 40 percent of that money going directly to his Swiss and other offshore accounts, according to documents seen by OCCRP.

Tagwirei’s Fees

Tagwirei was paid over $100 million in fees by Trafigura, OCCRP has found. More than 40 percent of that money went directly to his Swiss and other offshore accounts.

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The payments made to Tagwirei raise a red flag, according to Global Witness’s Natasha White.

“Red flags include the personal involvement of politically exposed individuals in such deals. It would be extremely concerning if payments have been made into a personal account of Tagwirei by Trafigura, whether or not he was sanctioned at the time,” she said.

Reporters obtained internal emails discussing Tagwirei’s finances, which referenced an offshore account in Switzerland. He opened an account at Geneva-based Pictet Bank on April 17, 2014, about the same time he began to earn fees from his deal with Trafigura, according to a document signed by a bank official.

In addition to fees, Tagwirei received funds from Trafigura for “pipeline gain,” mineral deals, and project management, according to invoices obtained by OCCRP. He was paid in U.S. dollars through Trafigura accounts, including some held at New York-based Deutsche Bank Trust Company Americas.

Notably, Tagiwirei’s name may have been concealed from some payments based on invoices seen by OCCRP, due to correspondent banking practices. For transfers in the U.S., the recipient can be identified via the bank names and numbers of African banks where Tagwirei had an account, such as Zimbabwe’s Ecobank. These banks have correspondent links to U.S. banks to allow them to access U.S. dollars; Zimbabwe’s Ecobank, for example, is hosted by New York-based Standard Chartered Bank. By naming only the bank account number on the transfer rather than the account holder, Tagwirei’s name could have been omitted from compliance checks in the U.S.

Trafigura publicly cut ties with Tagwirei just before the businessman was sanctioned by the U.S. in August 2020. The U.S. said the move was made in response to the $3 billion allegedly misappropriated by his companies in connection with a flagship farming program called Command Agriculture.

Command Agriculture and T-Bills

Following years of hyperinflation and land grabs under Mugabe, then a devastating 2016 drought, Zimbabwe introduced the Command Agriculture program to bolster food security. The Central Bank funded the program using Treasury Bills — a form of short-dated, government-backed security — that ended up creating billions of dollars of debt and draining foreign exchange reserves. Taxpayers footed the bill.

MORE

In December 2019, Trafigura announced it had bought out Sakunda’s 51 percent stake in Trafigura Zimbabwe without disclosing the amount it had paid for the shares. “This will bring improved clarity on Trafigura’s activities in the country,” the company said in a statement. Documents obtained by OCCRP indicate Tagwirei’s shares were worth “449 million” as of November 2018, but the currency is unclear.

Doing Business From Mauritius

Even before Tagwirei and Sakunda were sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury in 2020, plans were being laid to establish a new, clean corporate structure that could be used to continue the deal using the Mauritius-based Sotic International and other associated offshore companies.

Trafigura immediately started to do business with this new Mauritius network.

Excel sheets and invoices obtained by OCCRP show Trafigura contracted with and sold fuel to Sotic and its subsidiaries from 2018 onwards.

A 2019 deal between Sotic and NOIC signed by Mangudya, the central bank governor, as a guarantor for NOIC, allowed Sotic to effectively maintain control of the NOIC pipeline. The deal ensured the pipeline existed “solely at Sotic’s benefit” according to an internal email, and included “first rank priority pumping for all Sotic product.”

The Mauritius Connection

From 2018 onwards, Trafigura continued to do business with Tagwirei through Sotic International Ltd., a new company he had set up in Mauritius. Several shell companies associated with Sotic were fronted by former Trafigura employees.

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In an email to OCCRP, Mangudya claimed the pre-financing arrangement “was never consummated” and therefore there was “nothing to publicise.” However, a document obtained by OCCRP dated September 2019 shows NOIC asking for the payment from Sotic it was owed based on the deal’s “prepayment facility” guaranteed by the central bank.

Business as Usual

The fuel deal with Tagwirei’s new Sotic company is similar to the arrangement that existed with Sakunda until it was sanctioned by the U.S.

Prepayments worth $1.2 billion were again offered to NOIC, according to a contract between Sotic and Zimbabwe’s central bank governor on behalf of NOIC. The agreement allowed Sotic to effectively maintain control of the NOIC pipeline, ensuring it got “first rank priority pumping,” according to the term sheet.

Under the Sotic-drafted contract terms, Sotic would source foreign exchange of up to $600 million on behalf of the Reserve Bank, with the rest in RTGS currency, a local pseudo-currency that doesn’t trade on international markets and whose exchange rate is artificially set by the government. Minutes of a meeting reveal that $100 to $200 million would be provided by traders like Trafigura over a period of eight years after the initial drawdown.

The guarantor of the agreement was the Reserve Bank, with bank governor Mangudya listed as the contact person.

However, Sotic appeared to shortchange the country once more. By July 3, 2019, a payment of just 814 million RTGS (worth about $2.2 million) had been deposited by Tagwirei’s team into the Reserve Bank’s account — far short of the huge sums of foreign exchange required by the contract. Almost immediately, Sotic began to default on monthly payments. However, the documents show none of this seems to have affected Sotic’s priority status.

Sky-High Margins

A leaked internal Sotic email provides an insight into how the group of companies artificially inflated the prices of their products.

The email shows that a Sotic subsidiary sold a petroleum-based product to Sotic at $590 per metric tonne. Sotic then proposed to sell the product for $820 per metric tonne to Tagwirei’s Zimbabwean structure, Fossil. The January 2019 email notes: “got these numbers from [Tagwirei]…Think the plan is that Fossil sells to the end consumer at $877…”

By moving the product between companies in their group and increasing the price each time, Tagwirei’s network stood to make an estimated $460,000 extra profit on this deal alone.

Friends in High Places

While Tagwirei is often credited as being the mastermind behind his business successes, correspondence between him and others shows he might be a proxy for political interests.

Tagwirei’s businesses appeared to involve President Mnangagwa, or “HE” (His Excellency), as he was sometimes referred to and other government officials. In private WhatsApp correspondence obtained by OCCRP, Tagwirei claimed to beneficially own 35 percent of Sotic, saying the “government” owned the rest.

In email correspondence obtained by OCCRP about payment for a mining deal, Tagwirei seemed to reference Mnangagwa by saying, “HE wants that money to be paid after I show him the directors, owners of Sotic-Documents.”

By the time Sotic was formed, Tagwirei and his associates understood he was a liability and avoided formally linking the businessman to the new network. Documents show Tagwirei’s company formation agent and administrator of his Mauritius companies described how he had to use his pre-existing relationship with the CEO of Mauritian bank AfrAsia to open an account there for Sotic because of the negative press Tagwirei was getting. The new bank accounts allowed Sotic to hold accounts denominated in U.S. dollars and euros, despite the compliance risks associated with Tagwirei. These accounts allowed the company access to US banks through AfrAsia’s correspondent banking.

As the businesses were shuffled, so were the key figures in the network. Tagwirei took a back seat, at least nominally, and proxies including at least one political figure and several South Africans took up key roles.

As revealed by U.S. anti-corruption group The Sentry, and confirmed in documents and emails from May 2019, Zimbabwe’s central bank governor John Mangudya is named as the legal protector of Lighthouse Trust, a co-owner of Sotic at the time. Lighthouse Trust, in turn, was owned by four beneficiary trusts: Amphion (15%), Norfolk (15%), Leonidas (35%), and Alcaston (35%). Mangudya, once again, served as the protector in all of them.

A legal protector is a person appointed to direct or restrain trustees in relation to their administration of a trust. Neither the government nor the Central Bank have disclosed a business interest in Sotic, so it is not clear why Mangudya would play such a role in Sotic-related trusts.

In an email to OCCRP, Mangudya claimed he was not part of the trust structures and was not aware his name had been listed as their legal protector. When asked directly if Tagwirei fraudulently used his name, he declined to respond further. Sotic’s former CEO confirmed to OCCRP that the instruction to include Mangudya came from Tagwirei.

Ronelle Sinclair and Jozef Behr – Sotic’s former head of finance and Trafigura’s former head of Africa trading – were both trustees in the trusts that held part of Sotic.

Former Sotic CEO and shareholder Christopher Fourie said it was clear that Tagwirei retained control over Sotic. Whenever he raised legal or financial concerns, employees invoked Tagwirei.

In an email to OCCRP, former Sotic CEO David Brown claimed he had no involvement in transactions prior to June 2020 and therefore could not comment on irregularities pointed out by reporters. “These matters are largely driven by a disgruntled employee who is part of a history that might well have taken place,” he added.

He also denied knowledge of Tagwirei’s ownership of Sotic group assets prior to that date but added, “Mr Tagwirei is a very prominent business man in Zimbabwe and …an official advisor to Government and being as Government are shareholders in the mining assets, it is hard not to occasionally cross paths.”

OCCRP provided Brown with evidence, including several hundred emails beginning in 2019, and information on major mining deals. Despite stating in an email to other Sotic staff that “[Tagwirei] has asked that I take a greater role,” Brown denied this to OCCRP, saying, “I was not brought in by Mr Tagwirei.”

A representative for Sincler and Behr said they had resigned all duties and were off the board of Sotic International as of June 2020. “Since then, there has been no further association with the business of Kudukwashe Tagwerei.” She also confirmed Behr and Sinclair work for Suzako. A since-removed website for Suzako listed Behr, Sinclair, and Weber as the company’s executive team as recently as May this year.

Yet Suzako was part of Sotic’s network, according to court records. When Sotic CEO at the time David Brown filed an application in South Africa’s high court to stop his predecessor Fourie from talking to the press, he included the full structure of Sotic’s corporate network. The application was quickly withdrawn but not before the companies were disclosed. Sukako was clearly listed as a Sotic company.

While everyone seems to be working hard to separate themselves from Tagwirei and his companies, Fourie is a rare voice who acknowledges crimes were committed and has reported them to the South African reserve bank and others.

“They did not care about the law, about financial crimes being committed. All they cared about was seeing that [Tagwirei’s] orders were executed,” Fourie told OCCRP. “I spoke out against them and I am paying the price.”

-occrp

Boksburg scrap dealer caught by Sars investigators must pay R866,000

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88862409 - business and law theme. gavel and code of corporation law.

A Boksburg businessman has to cough up R866,000 after he tried to export R2m worth of scrap metal to India last year.

Last week Gautam Lal, 40, was sentenced by the Durban magistrate’s court to five years imprisonment, wholly suspended for five years on the condition that he pays the state R866,000 over the next 20 months.

This was after he pleaded guilty to two counts of exporting steel scrap metal without obtaining an export permit, in contravention of the International Trade Administration Act.

He also pleaded guilty to two counts of making false declarations in contravention of the Customs and Excise Act.

According to KwaZulu-Natal National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Natasha Ramkisson-Kara, the offences took place in February and March last year.

“Lal, who is a businessman from Boksburg, specialised in the buying and selling of scrap metal. In February 2020, Lal attempted to export 10 containers of scrap metal, valued at about R1.1m. In March 2020, he attempted to export eight containers of scrap metal valued at about R922,000,” she said.

He planned on exporting the commodities to the Port of Mundra in India but did not have  an International Trade Administration Commission permit.

“Legislation requires that no goods of a specific class or kind may be exported from SA, except under the authority of and in accordance with the conditions stated in a permit issued by the commission,” said Ramkisson-Kara. “Further, he made false declarations by attaching false or incorrect tariff codes to the items due for export,” she said.

Lal was arrested after an inspection by the SA Revenue Service (Sars) customs investigation unit.

According to Ramkisson-Kara, in giving Lal the five years wholly suspended sentence, the court imposed the after conditions:

  • He must not be convicted of any offence involving a contravention of the International Trade Administration Act during the period of suspension
  • He pays a fine of R600,000 at the clerk of the Durban magistrate’s court in the next 20 months
  • An instalment of R30,000 has to be paid at the end of each month, with the first instalment due at the end of October 2021.

He paid Sars about R266,000 for penalties imposed against him.

“This successful prosecution, where an individual is convicted in their personal capacity instead of their company, is a first for KwaZulu-Natal. The matter was finalised by the regional court control prosecutor, Vaneshree Moodley,” said Ramkisson-Kara.

TimesLIVE

Tswaing municipal council dissolved just three weeks before local elections, NCOP approves

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The municipality faces not only service delivery problems but a political crisis which has seen it having two mayors, two speakers and two municipal managers representing two warring ANC factions.

With less than three weeks before the local government elections, the National Council of Provinces on Wednesday approved the dissolution of the Tswaing local municipality in the North West.

This follows last month’s decision of the North West government to dissolve the municipality, which faces not only service delivery problems but a political crisis which has seen it having two mayors, two speakers and two municipal managers representing two warring ANC factions.

This is Tswaing’s third intervention by the provincial government since 2010. 

Addressing a specially convened virtual sitting to approve the dissolution, the chairperson of the NCOP’s select committee on co-operative governance and traditional affairs, China Dodovu, said the dissolution would last until a new council was elected and assumes office after next month’s municipal elections.

The North West government will then have to ensure that a recovery plan is implemented.

Dodovu said a decision to dissolve the council invoking section 139(1)(c) of the constitution was taken by the provincial government last month and seconded by co-operative governance and traditional affairs minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.

He said the decision was taken because of exceptional circumstances that warranted a dissolution.

Among the problems highlighted by the provincial government were the collapse of service delivery where there was an interrupted supply of water due to lack of maintenance and nonpayment of water services, municipal inability to maintain a service delivery fleet, generally poor maintenance of operational infrastructure,  union members closing municipal offices, and the municipal public accounts committee not functioning.

The province said Tswaing could not meet its short-term obligations and owed creditors about R354m as at June 2021, with R54m owed to Eskom.

It also cannot pay third-party transactions to pension funds, staff medical aids and funeral policies of members due to “cash flow challenges”. It adopted an unfunded budget, the council heard.

The NCOP called on the North West Cogta MEC to ensure the appointment of a qualified and competent administrator.

“The appointed administrator, including the intervention team, should deal with all problems and challenges of the municipality, including disciplinary action of any employee, and where possible, opening of criminal cases on matters related to corruption and financial mismanagement,” it said in its recommendations to the provincial government.

The Western Cape did not support the dissolution, with Cathy Labuschagne [DA] saying dissolving a municipality less than three weeks before a local government election was no indication that the elephant in the room had been identified. She said there was no guarantee the three week dissolution would be successful.

Labuschagne said the constant replacement of administrators, their failure to successfully comply with their terms of reference, and the instability of the section 100 intervention in the North West raised concerns about the value of section 154 assistance from the national and provincial governments.

“Further than that, the deep-rooted endemic rot, the inability to address political issues of ill-discipline of councillors, fraud and corruption, financial mismanagement and maladministration confirms a dysfunctional council but without a doubt a collapse of administration,” she said.

Labuschagne said institutionalised corrupt and fraudulent business principles, the lack of delivery of basic and essential services, and the blatant theft of tax money should motivate Cogta to identify the elephant in the room.

She said the NCOP needed to ensure that the provincial government implemented section 154 support effectively at the earliest signs of mismanagement and maladministration, and if necessary, invoke section 106 of the Systems Act.

Political parties have to ensure their councillors are disciplined and well educated in the legislative values of local government, she said.

TimesLIVE

Eastern Cape premier Oscar Mabuyane in court bid to stop Hawks investigation

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Eastern Cape Premier Oscar Mabuyane has hauled the Hawks before the high court in the province in an effort to stop the police’s elite investigating unit from probing him.

In court papers filed last month in the Bhisho High Court, Mabuyane wanted the court to declare that the Hawks’ decision to continue with an investigation of him to be declared invalid, unconstitutional and unlawful.

The premier also wanted the Hawks’ apparent refusal to give him information “in its investigation file” to be reviewed and set aside.

Mabuyane, in his founding affidavit, raised issues with being investigated by Hawks officials stationed in the Free State in what he termed “a political witch-hunt driven by elements of the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation” (Hawks).

“I have been informed by a confidential source, who I have no reason to disbelief that certain political elements within the ANC who are opposed to my leadership are behind the investigation, and have tried to influence the DPCI,” stated Mabuyane. 

The application was filed on Sep. 14, three weeks before public protector, Busisiwe Mkhwebane, directed the Hawks to investigate allegations that Mabuyane received R450,000 to renovate his house from R1m allocated for the memorial service of the late Struggle stalwart Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.

An investigation was carried out by the public protector after receiving a complaint from Xolile Mashukuca, a resident of the Buffalo City municipality, that amounts of R2m and R1m were misappropriated by officials in the provincial government and in the Mbizana local municipality.

-SowetanLive

WATCH | Teddy Mafia’s son-in-law survives daylight hit

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The son-in-law of slain alleged Durban drug boss “Teddy Mafia” survived a brazen attempted assassination on Wednesday, his family confirmed.

The incident took place at about 10am in Shallcross, south of Durban.

Kesavan Isaac Naidoo, 41, the son-in-law of Yaganathan Pillay – also known as Teddy Mafia – was shot twice in the daylight hit on Table Mountain Drive. The incident was captured on CCTV, which was provided to TimesLIVE.

Pillay’s brother, Ronnie, confirmed the incident.

“Isaac was shot in both legs and his driver was shot in the hand. Both of them survived. They’re in hospital,” he said.

Pillay said Naidoo was in the back seat while his wife was in the front. The shooting, seen in the footage, takes place moments after they open the doors of their vehicle to get out.

In the footage, a white vehicle can be seen driving along Table Mountain Drive before it is stopped, partially blocking the left hand side of the road. Thirteen seconds later, Naidoo’s vehicle, a white Toyota Fortuna, pulls up.

The back passenger door of the Fortuna is opened, but it is not clear from the footage who the person was who opened it or if they got out of the vehicle. Naidoo’s wife is seen getting out of the front passenger side of the vehicle and walks towards the rear of the SUV.

Suddenly, four men alight from the stationary vehicle, three of them drawing firearms and running towards the Fortuna, firing multiple shots. The fourth man stands next to the white car.

As the bullets are fired, Naidoo’s driver accelerates and drives past the other vehicle. Naidoo is presumably in the vehicle as it speeds away, but this could not immediately be confirmed.

Pillay said Naidoo was doing “OK”.

Police have been approached for comment, and this story will be updated.

TimesLIVE

ANC fires murder-accused MEC Msibi, the party ‘unifier’

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Mandla Msibi former Mpumalanga MEC for agriculture, land reform and rural development being taken down to the cells by police. Msibi was relieved of his duties last night. Image: Mandla Khoza

The Mpumalanga MEC accused of double murder has been fired. 

Mandla Msibi, an ANC strongman who commands political support and has solid links to a grouping that controls the levers of power in the province, was relieved of his duties last night.

Msibi, who has been charged for fatally shooting Dingaan Ngwenya and Sindela Lubisi and injuring Sifiso Mpilo outside Coyotes Chisa Nyama in Mbombela on August 22, will also be asked by the ANC to step aside from his party role. But his allies fear a faction seeking to take control of the province could be left weakened by his departure.

Premier Refiloe Mtshweni-Tsipane wielded the axe on Msibi two days after he was charged with the serious crimes.

Msibi was the MEC for agriculture, rural development, land and environmental affairs. He is a member of the powerful provincial executive committee (PEC) and elections manager with support of lower structures of the party in Mbombela, where he previously served as a councillor and speaker, according to his allies.

Msibi is credited with propping up a faction known as “focus”, led by long-standing acting chairperson Mandla Ndlovu, and he is vying for the position of provincial treasurer of the ANC on the slate led by Ndlovu.

His arrest, although not new, “came as a devastating shock to the leadership and membership of the ANC ward 2 branch where Msibi comes from, according to ward secretary Walker Sikonela, who joined throngs of his supporters outside the Mbombela magistrate’s court yesterday.

One PEC member told Sowetan yesterday that should Msibi be asked to step aside, his faction will be left disorganised ahead of the provincial conference as Msibi is trusted with mobilisation and organising for the party and his faction.

“This man is a pulling factor, he speaks with all the factions and through him we hoped that the three factions vying for power were going to unite towards the elective conference. He is also an elections manager who is active in all parts of the province,” said the ANC member.

At the height of the riots that swept across KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng in July, Msibi appeared in a video circulated on social media speaking after organising comrades to sleep over at Emoyeni mall in his township to protect it from being looted. He could be heard at the time telling supporters that they would not hesitate to shoot anyone in the forehead who tried to disrupt the government.

Acting ANC provincial secretary Lindiwe Ntshalintshali said the PEC had taken a decision to apply the party’s step-aside-policy on Msibi with immediate effect.

Ntshalintshali said Msibi’s removal was purely based on an ANC policy.

“The PEC of Mpumalanga was the first province to take decisions on step-aside after the NEC resolution and we are reaffirming the step-aside policy that once you are formally charged by the National Prosecution Authority and appeared before the court of law, it’s automatic that you must step aside. In the case of Msibi, the stepping aside will be on ANC position as PEC member and elections manager as well as being MEC so that he can focus on the allegations levelled against him,” said Ntshalintshali.

However, according to ANC-insiders in Mpumalanga, Msibi’s removal from his post would likely cripple the ambitions of the current leadership of the party. 

“Msibi worked his way from the branches and his organisational skills are known in Pienaar where he comes from. He is aligned to current acting ANC provincial chairperson Mandla Ndlovu and had ambitions of using his networks to push his way to become ANC’s treasurer. His removal could easily influence the political landscape in this province,” said the ANC member.

Former ward 45 councillor Mandla Mamba said should Msibi step aside the ANC in Mpumalanga will lose a “unifier”.

“The ANC should be worried about Msibi being suspended and as a manager of the elections. It is going to be a hit to the party. When Msibi was appointed there was no contest or factional battle but it was his capacity that made him qualify. He is being targeted because he wants to take the ANC out of the pockets of people and there are those who want him down,” said Mamba.

Msibi is applying for bail in the Nelspruit magistrate’s court with other two co-accused, Njabulo Mkhonto, 28, and Anele Mnisi, 26.

Mtshweni-Tsipane spokesperson Sibongile Mkani-Mpolweni said the premier had not acted on Msibi earlier because she wanted to meet with him when he is granted bail to discuss his position.

Political analyist Dr Mcebisi Ndletyana said the premier could have not acted because she did not want to upset the ANC provincial leadership. 

‘Don’t allow racists to speak on behalf of us’: Patricia de Lille takes aim at the DA

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GOOD party leader Patricia de Lille said sex or skin colour should not stop one from standing against all forms of racism or unjust treatment. Image: Esa Alexander/ File Photo

GOOD party leader Patricia De Lille has taken a jab at her former party, the DA, urging voters to “not allow racists” to speak on their behalf. 

De Lille, on Tuesday, responded to the DA’s controversial election posters in Phoenix that read “the ANC called you racists, the DA calls you heroes”.

Speaking on eNCA, she said sex or skin colour should not stop one from standing against all forms of racism or unjust treatment. 

“In GOOD, we depart from the point that you don’t need to be black to fight against racism. You don’t need to be a woman to fight against gender violence and gender bias. You don’t need to be gay to fight against homophobia,” said De Lille. 

“We all need to fight against these evils. So the minority of racists, most of them you find in the DA, we should not allow those racists to speak on behalf of us.”

The DA came under fire for the posters, with many accusing the opposition party of fuelling racial tensions in Phoenix after 36 people were killed in the area during unrest and looting in July. 

The DA later took the posters down and issued an apology.

“In my sincere effort to honour the bravery and heroism of law-abiding citizens who were left to fend for themselves during the July riots and insurrections, the posters have regretfully caused hurt to some people. I am deeply sorry and apologise for this,” said DA KwaZulu-Natal chairperson Dean Macpherson. 

According to the opposition party, the posters were meant to honour those who stood up to protect their property during unrest.

Sowetan’s sister publication TimesLIVE ran a poll asking readers what they thought of the DA’s decision to take down its Phoenix posters. Most, or 42%, said the party should have stood its ground and not removed them.

Thirty-two percent said the damage was already done and called for heads to roll, and 26% said it was the right move.

Court evacuated during Mandla Msibi’s bail hearing after bomb scare

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The Nelspruit magistrate’s court where former Mpumalanga MEC Mandla Msibi is applying for bail has been evacuated due to a bomb scare.

Magistrate Suzan Monaledi had to adjourn the testimony of investigating officer WO Boy Bhila on Wednesday after she got a message that there was a bomb in the court building. 

Msibi’s bail hearing in the double murder and attempted murder case started on Monday afternoon.

“Listen everyone, can we please all leave the building. I have just received a message that there’s a bomb in the building. Therefore let’s all leave and we will be told when to come back,” Monaledi said just after 12pm, before police and security personnel evacuated everyone from the building.

The situation infuriated thousands of Msibi’s supporters who protested outside court and called for his release.

“They are lying. Whoever sent the message doesn’t want Msibi to be out [on bail],” said one of Msibi’s supporters, Lindo Mashego.

“We always said that they want him behind bars because he’s a good man. The state is being used to punish him.” 

–SowetanLive

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Mpumalanga premier fires murder accused MEC Mandla Msibi

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Refilwe Mtsweni-Tsipane

Premier Refilwe Mtshweni-Tsipane confirmed in a statement on Tuesday night that Msibi, who has been charged with murder and remains in police custody, was removed from his position as MEC for agriculture, rural development, land and environmental affairs “with immediate effect”.

“I am doing so in the light of his much-publicised detention … The decision to release MEC Msibi has been taken in consideration of the seriousness of the charges he is facing, as well as the affect that same will have on his work as an executive authority in government. After all, it is to be expected that he should dedicate a fair amount of time to the case he is facing,” said Mtshweni-Tsipane.

She appointed Cogta MEC Busisiwe Shiba to act in Msibi’s position.

“Mandla Msibi is a comrade of mine, whom I have known and worked with over many years. I hold him in very high regard and shall continue to so do until proven otherwise. In this regard, I can only hope that this unfortunate event will afford him the opportunity to reflect deeply.

“It remains for me to thank comrade Mandla Msibi for his collegiality and commitment during his tenure as MEC in the Mpumalanga provincial government,” said Mtshweni-Tsipane.

Msibi’s dismissal comes as he appeared in the Nelspruit magistrate’s court over the deaths of  two people and the injuring of another in a shooting incident on August 22.

On September 17, the police arrested two suspects, Tshepo Matsane, 30, and Charlie Ngwenya, 35. They both appeared in court at least twice before being granted bail of R20,000 each on October 8.

–TimesLIVE

Military veterans protest at ANC Headquarters

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Liberation Struggle War Veterans (LSWV) marched to African National Congress (ANC) Headquarters on Monday, 11 October 2021, regarding grievances as veterans. The veterans have also demonstrated in the past in ‘defense of its people, freedoms, and the future’ after claiming that the ANC government was failing in its duty to effectively run the country.

Pule Mabe, ANC National Spokesperson issued a statement in response to the recent protest saying a Presidential Task Team will meet the veterans on Thursday.

South Africa Observer presents the statement.

Protesters representing the Liberation Struggle War Veterans (LSWV) marched to African National Congress (ANC) Headquarters on Monday, 11 October 2021, regarding grievances as veterans. A delegation engaged with the LSWV, since they were informed that ANC Officials are deployed in the elections campaign.


The group demanded to see Officials. Deputy President David Mabuza, who chairs the Presidential Task Team on the issues of Military veterans, will meet them this coming Thursday of the 14th of October 2021, since the matters are being processed by government. The LSWV comprises military veterans from Umkhonto we Sizwe, Apla and AZAN LA.

The process started by President Cyril Ramaphosa to address the grievances of military and war veterans must be supported, so as to expeditiously address legitimate grievances of veterans.

The group was allowed to sleep in the offices on Monday night, so as to not contravene the Covid regulations.

On Tuesday evening, whilst discussions between delegations about practical arrangements were in progress, a breach of our headquarters took place. We have ordered the immediate evacuation of our offices, so that this breach can be attended to, with the help of the relevant health and security authorities.

Controversial from start to finish, chief justice Mogoeng’s term is over

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29 May 2019: Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng spoke to Sunday Times Political Reporter Qaanitah Hunter from this office at Constitution Hill. He spoke about how he likes to spend his free time and shared his thoughts on how the Judicial system could be transformed to benefit ordinary South Africans. Picture: Sebabatso Mosamo/Sunday Times

Chief justice Mogoeng Mogoeng retired as the head of the judiciary at midnight on Monday after 10 years in the hot seat.

Mogoeng has been one of the longest-serving chief justices since the dawn of democracy in 1994, having been nominated and confirmed for the post in 2011, after being appointed as judge of the court in 2009.

In the weeks after then-president Jacob Zuma nominated him for the top post in 2011, there was a public outcry, with some commentators remarking that he was not senior enough and that they believed Zuma should have nominated deputy chief justice Dikgang Moseneke instead.

There were also questions about some of the judgments he had written as a judge in the high court, where he found mitigating factors in cases of attempted rape of children.  

After his appointment as chief justice, Mogoeng took his role as head of the judiciary seriously.

In 2015, Mogoeng called a meeting with the executive to discuss matters of concern to the judiciary.

These included public utterances attributed to, among others, some members of the national executive.

The meeting came at a time when government ignored a high court order that then Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir be prevented from leaving SA after an AU conference in Johannesburg.

This was until the court could decide on whether Bashir should be arrested and handed over to the International Criminal Court in terms of an international treaty and South African law.

At an eight-a-side meeting, the parties agreed to, among others, that court orders should be respected and complied with.

Mogoeng became the head of the judiciary after the establishment of the office of the chief justice in 2010, a national department established for the administration of the judiciary.

Inside the courtroom, one of the most remarkable judgments he wrote concerned the status of remedial action by the public protector.

The case was about Zuma’s failure to comply with remedial action taken against him by public protector Thuli Madonsela concerning “security upgrades” at his home in Nkandla.

In that judgment, Mogoeng held that the remedial action taken by the public protector against Zuma was binding.

He also held that the National Treasury must determine the reasonable costs of those measures implemented by the department of public works at Zuma’s Nkandla homestead that did not relate to security, namely the visitors’ centre, the amphitheatre, the cattle kraal, the chicken run and the swimming pool.

Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution executive secretary Lawson Naidoo said Mogoeng started his tenure under some controversy and he leaves under some controversy as well.

Naidoo said Mogoeng was the only candidate nominated by Zuma for the post and that he seemed to leapfrog the more senior and experienced Moseneke. He said there was a level of cynicism when Mogoeng was appointed, but Mogoeng proved his detractors wrong when he set about to affirm the independence and authority of the Constitutional Court.

“He responded to challenges in the aftermath of the Bashir matter when the judiciary was coming under criticism. He can look at those things with pride,” Naidoo said.

However, Naidoo said Mogoeng’s recent extrajudicial pronouncements on Covid-19 vaccines and comments regarding Palestine and Israel’s relations were unwarranted and served to undermine respect for the judiciary.

“He leaves the (Judicial Service Commission) with a finding that he breached the code of ethics.”

There was a complaint that he was found to have contravened the code of judicial conduct. Mogoeng is seeking to challenge that finding.

“That matter is unresolved,” Naidoo said.

CAREER SUMMARY

Chief justice Mogoeng Mogoeng was born in a village called Goo-Mokgatlha in North West. He is married to Mmaphefo and they have three children, Johanna, Mogaetsho and Oteng.

The Constitutional Court website states Mogoeng started his professional career as a temporary interpreter and was later appointed high court prosecutor in Mafikeng. He did pupillage at the Johannesburg Bar and practised as an advocate at that bar from June 1990 until the end of 1991.

He left to join Mafikeng Bar from January 1992 and later served as the deputy chairperson of that Bar Association until his elevation to the bench.

In June 1997, he was appointed judge of the North West High Court and in April 2000 a judge of the labour appeal court. In October 2002, he was elevated to the position of judge president of the North West High Court.

Mogoeng was requested by fellow judges president to serve as a member of the five-member committee led by then chief justice Pius Langa. That committee investigated racial and gender discrimination within the judiciary and proposed the necessary remedial action.

He was appointed to the Constitutional Court in 2009 and subsequently elevated to the position of Chief Justice on September 8 2011. In that capacity, he led both the Constitutional Court and the judiciary. He also chaired the Judicial Service Commission (JSC), the South African Judicial Education Institute (SAJEI) Council and the National Efficiency Committee. In April 2017, Mogoeng was elected as the president of the Conference of the Jurisdictions of Africa for a period of two years. 

TimesLIVE

SA outlaws foreign ownership of security companies

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President Cyril Ramaphosa has signed into law the Private Security Industry Regulation Amendment Bill, which restricts foreign ownership of private security companies.

Parliament announced on Monday night that on September 23, Ramaphosa signed the bill, which seeks to strengthen control over the regulation of the private security industry, including security services rendered by SA to other countries.

The proposed law was passed by parliament in 2014, despite opposition from the industry, opposition parties and foreign embassies, who wrote to the police portfolio committee which was drafting the law. Its opponents warned that it violated the World Trade Organisation’s (WTO) General Agreement on Trade in Services and the requirements of the US African Growth and Opportunity Act because it would effectively result in expropriation and limit foreign investment.

The bill requires all security companies and manufacturers, importers and distributors of security equipment to be at least 51% owned by South Africans.

At the time, the police department argued that a restriction on foreign investment in a sector such as the private security industry was reasonable and justifiable in the context of broader national security, given the nature and scope of the industry, the technological advancements in the private security space and developments since September 11 2001.

The events of that day had had an impact on security concerns globally, with countries looking afresh at their intelligence, defence and security situations, government said. The police said at the time a recent trend in other countries was to totally prohibit ownership of private security companies by foreigners or restrict the extent of foreign participation and give a majority share-holding and control to its citizens.

When the bill was passed by the national assembly in February 2014, then police minister Nathi Mthethwa said it was necessitated by the tremendous growth of the private security industry since the promulgation of the principal act in 2001.

At the time, Mthethwa said there were more than 445,000 registered private security guards, compared with 270,000 armed statutory forces, which are the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) and the SA Police Service (SAPS) combined.

“As a result, members of the public are, on a daily basis, more likely to interface or come into contact with private security than they are with SAPS officers. SA currently has one of the largest private security industries in the world,” he said.

Mthethwa added that while the growth of the private security industry was not unique to SA, its growth in the country had outstripped other nations.

He said since the dawn of democracy in SA, the police had been under intense scrutiny by the state and public, and this was illustrated by the multiple oversight bodies and laws governing the police.

If private security firms leave – and some will after this bill is passed – there will be more demand on an already overstretched SAPS. In the end it will be the communities with the highest crime rate that will bear the brunt.

Dianne Kohler-Barnard

“This is not the case with the private security industry, whose accountability is purely market-driven. Both government and civil society have been concerned with the effective regulation of the industry and this amending bill seeks to address the challenges that have been experienced with regard to effective regulation,” said Mthethwa at the time.

Among the challenges, he mentioned a lack of resources, saying this compromised effective regulation, and the dependence of the regulator on the industry to fund its activities.

He said there was also a lack of proper accountability for firearms in the possession of members of the private security industry and a lack of accountability for security services rendered outside the republic by South African security companies, including allegations of mercenary activity.

Mthethwa said there were issues regarding criminality in the private security industry and a growth of foreign-owned companies.

These had made it necessary for the government to tighten up the regulatory framework for the industry, he said.

On limiting the extent of foreign ownership, Mthethwa said it was necessary because the line between private security companies and private military companies was becoming increasingly blurred.

He said private security companies were also increasingly being used in the field of intelligence and that it would be irresponsible for SA not to take seriously these concerns and ensure domestic legislation protects national and security interests.

Regarding the 51% South African ownership, Mthethwa argued that “you cannot say that you need to transform this industry and talk about everything else, except for ownership”.

The DA warned that the bill would lead to disinvestment and job losses in an industry that employs hundreds of thousands of people.

The party said private security companies freed up capacity for the SAPS to focus on areas where violent crime was at its highest and in communities that could not afford private security at all.

“If private security firms leave — and some will after this bill is passed — there will be more demand on an already overstretched SAPS. In the end it will be the communities with the highest crime rate that will bear the brunt,” said DA MP Dianne Kohler-Barnard.

Embassies, including that of the US, wrote to parliament expressing concern about the bill, she told the national assembly at the time.

At its December 2017 national conference, the ANC resolved that the bill should be enacted and implemented expeditiously and that regulations setting out minimum requirements for the registration and certification of security personnel be developed.

The party also called for restrictions on the use of private security companies to protect state-owned national key points.

Mabuyane, Madikizela to appear before ANC provincial integrity committee

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The Eastern Cape provincial executive committee (PEC) has instructed Premier Oscar Mabuyane, who is the ANC’s provincial chairperson, and its treasurer, Public Works MEC Babalo Madikizela, to submit themselves to the provincial integrity committee (PIC) following a damning report by the public protector. 

The ANC in the province held a special meeting on Monday to consider Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane‘s report on the investigation in the Mbizana local municipality and provincial government departments. 

In a statement on Tuesday, provincial party spokesperson Loyiso Magqashela said the meeting discussed the effect of the matters in the report on the standing of the ANC in society.

“It is in this context that the ANC special PEC meeting reaffirmed the decision and resolutions of its 54th national conference to steadfastly fight against corruption, perceived or real,” he said. 

“The special PEC received a report that both comrades are challenging the public protector report through a judicial review in court. The meeting welcomed the report and the action undertaken by both comrades. The ANC fully respects their legal and constitutional rights as South African citizens to seek recourse.” 

Mkhwebane released a report on Friday, which found that the Eastern Cape government, working with the Mbizana local municipality, misused the R3.3-million allocated for the memorial service, as well as other celebratory events, to honour Winnie Madikizela-Mandela in April 2018.

According to the report, Mabuyane renovated his private residence with some of the money.

Mabuyane, who was the provincial head of economic development, environmental affairs and tourism at the time; transport, safety and liaison MEC Weziwe Tikana; and Madikizela, then the human settlements MEC, “improperly benefitted from the misuse of public funds”, according to the report.

Magqashela said it must be noted that Mabuyane and Madikizela voluntarily offered to appear before the provincial integrity committee in May and June 2019, respectively. 

“They requested to meet the PIC and share their side of the story regarding allegations contained in the media. The PIC in October 2019 cleared both Mabuyane and Madikizela as it found that they were not guilty of any misconduct as was alleged. The PEC has further directed that both comrades should submit the report and update the PIC about the current developments for the PIC to make a judgment call.”

Magqashela said although the ANC respects the office of the public protector as a Chapter 9 institution, it was unfortunate that the report was released shortly before the local government elections, yet it was finalised two months ago.

“This stance and timing regrettable weaponised the belief that the PP [public protector] is a party to intra-party and external factionalism. We strongly appeal to all members of the ANC and broader society to give both Mabuyane and Madikizela space as they seek legal review of both the process and substantive facts around the PP report. The ANC PEC reiterates its position that once there are any new developments regarding this matter, it will act consistently and decisively,” he said. 

The South African Communist Party (SACP) has also called for Mabuyane and Madikizela to submit themselves to the integrity committee, saying that the report warrants serious consideration.

SACP provincial spokesperson Siyabonga Mdodi said the ANC resolutions and principles ought to be implemented regardless of who is involved, particularly during the renewal period. “The principled application of the ANC resolutions and principles must always be carried out in a consistent and fair manner.” 

The ANC in the Eastern Cape was the first province to advocate for the step-aside resolution, which ultimately saw the suspension of secretary general Ace Magashule and the removal of provincial level heavyweights Teris Ntunthu, Andile Lungisa, Phumlani Mkolo and Sindiswa Gomba, who faced court charges. Ntuthu was reinstated after the state’s corruption case against him was dropped. 

Mabuyane, a strong ally of ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa and party chairperson Gwede Mantashe, has been firmly favoured for a second term when the party eventually holds its conference in December. 

Mabuyane and Madikizela will probably go up against each other when the party has its provincial conference. The winner will be the sharpest indication yet of whether Ramaphosa and his allies have the backing of the Eastern Cape, the party’s third-biggest province. 

The Mabuyane and Madikizela matter dates back to August 2018, when Eastern Cape businessman Lonwabo Bam, received two tranches of payments — R1.1-million and R2.2-million — from Mbizana municipal manager Luvuyo Mahlaka, who paid the money into Mthombeni Projects, which is owned by Bam.

The public protector’s investigation was based on an affidavit deposed by Bam, who detailed that the money was deposited into his business account by Mahlaka at the instruction of Madikizela.

“A number of deposits and transactions or disbursements were subsequently made by Mr Bam towards various proxy bank accounts linked to senior and executive government officials, as instructed by Mr Madikizela,” the public protector said. 

The probe found that private businesses, including taxi associations, “improperly benefited” from the public funds, and senior officials did not leave themselves out of the ill-gotten loot. 

Mabuyane, for example, deposited R450 000 to Allan Morran Design Architectural Services, a private company that carried out renovations at his private house. Morran, according to the investigation, queried the payment as it was unknown to him. 

“At that point, Mr Mabuyane’s wife, Ms Siyasanga Mabuyane, advised Mr Morran, through an email, that the deposit of R450 000 was to be used for renovations of the [Mabuyane]  private house. Despite this, Mr Mabuyane denied any knowledge of the arrangements between Mr. Bam and Mr. Madikizela,” the report said. 

According to the report, Madikizela benefited to the tune of R350 000 through payments into the account of a company owned by his wife, Zona Zetu Siyazithanda Madikizela, while the provincial ANC scored R280 000.

Meanwhile, the Economic Freedom Fighters has opened a case against the two ANC provincial leaders alleging that they are part of a criminal network in the province. 

EFF chairperson Yazini Tetyana said the Eastern Cape province continues to suffer a serious economic decline, underdevelopment, gross unemployment, abject poverty and more than 60% youth unemployment while the government of the province has led the deindustrialisation of the province and the collapse of all labour-intensive sectors, and has institutionalised corruption in all spheres of government and public institutions. 

“The minimum resources available to the municipalities and provincial government should be used to resuscitate the provincial industrial activity and job creation, but the ANC politicians continue to squander the same resources for their selfish criminal ends,” he said.

IFP forced to remove images of Zulu king from its manifesto and posters

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NONGOMA, SOUTH AFRICA - MAY 07: Prince Misuzulu Zulu was named as the new Zulu King. (Photo by Gallo Images/Sunday Times/ Sandile Ndlovu)

The Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) has been forced to remove an image of Zulu monarch Misuzulu ka Zwelithini from its election manifesto and social media posters after the king threatened to take action against the party for doing so.

The use of the king’s picture by the IFP sparked an angry reaction from the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal and the Zulu royal house, whose spokesperson Prince Thulani Zulu, later instructed the party to remove the picture and stop involving the monarch in party politics.

The image was contained in the IFP manifesto, launched on 7 October in Durban, with the monarch’s image used adjacent to a heading stating that “We partner with traditional leaders.”

“We partner with traditional leaders by recognising just how vital traditional leaders are and how important it is to support and resource amakhosi, so that they can execute their functions of ensuring that communities’ needs are met and that everyone is treated with dignity and respect,”’ the manifesto states.

It then encourages people to vote IFP on 1 November.

The offending poster was also circulated on the IFP’s website and its social media accounts before the outcry from the king and the ANC forced the party to take them down.

By Monday, the poster had been brought to the attention of the royal house, sparking the statement by Prince Thulani.

“The office of the king wishes to state categorically that from time immemorial, the Zulu king and Ndlunkulu kaZulu (traditional prime minister) has never been used to advance political ideology,” Zulu said.

“This office humbly appeals to all political parties to refrain from using photos of the kings or any royalty related images in their election campaigns. This king is, and always has been, above politics,” he said.

“This is a warning to all political parties, otherwise this office may have to seek legal advice on this matter.”

The ANC also weighed in on the matter, saying that the IFP was attempting to make the monarch it “subject” by using his image for campaign purposes.

The ANC’s provincial spokesperson, Nhlakanipho Ntombela, said the party had noted the IFP’s “desperate attempts to confuse the electorate by using the king’s image in their election material shared in social media”.

He said the ANC called on the IFP to “refrain from reducing the Zulu monarchy to a level where it becomes a subject of the IFP”.

“They are not custodians of the monarchy. Just like us, they are subjects of the Zulu monarchy and should behave as such. The IFP should stop abusing the proximity of its former leader Mangsuthu Buthelezi to the king,” Ntombela said.

The retraction of the image comes days after the Democratic Alliance was forced to take down its “racist” posters in Phoenix proclaiming those involved in the killings in the area in the July riots as “heroes”.

It took place on Monday, the same day that parties in KwaZulu-Natal — including the IFP and the DA — signed a pledge to abide by the Electoral Commission of South Africa’s (IEC’s) electoral code of conduct in the run up to and during the local government elections.

The IFP said the pictures had been used “erroneously” and apologised to the monarch, the royal family and IFP president emeritus Mangosuthu Buthelezi in his capacity as traditional prime minister to the king.

“As part of the IFP’s local government election social media campaign, an infographic in support of traditional leadership was released with a photo of his majesty, the king of the Zulu nation. The photo was erroneously used,” the IFP communications directorate said in a statement.

It said disciplinary action would be taken against the staff members involved in producing and distributing the graphics.

“The IFP remains steadfast in its support of traditional leadership, as per South Africa’s democratic dispensation,” the IFP said.

ANC reprimands Mabuza for speaking about his next term

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SEPTEMBER 30, 2021. David Mabuza on the campaign trail. Tshwane. 'African National Congress (ANC) Deputy President David Mabuza says he will re-run for his position in the next ANC elective conference should he be voted by the delegates. Mabuza says however, this will entirely depend on the ANC – he won’t impose himself. The ANC 55th national elective conference is set to take place next year. Mabuza is currently in Mamelodi, Pretoria on campaign trail, as the local government elections are fast approaching. He spoke to the media, as he was conducting door to door campaigns in Tshwane. PHOTOGRAPH: ALON SKUY

The ANC has called its deputy president, David Mabuza, to order after he announced to the media that he was available for a second term. 

ANC head of elections Fikile Mbalula signalled to journalists on Monday that Mabuza’s announcement was a “stupid” distraction, as the party campaigns for local government elections.

While on the campaign trail in Mamelodi, Pretoria two weeks ago, Mabuza said he was fit and healthy and gave a strong signal that he would avail himself for a second term as deputy president of the ANC. 

In the same week, ANC and South African President Cyril Ramaphosa avoided the question of a possible next term when questioned by the media. 

“We have called him to order and everybody who is involved in that discussion, we are not there. We will have the whole year to discuss leadership, we are not there. So everyone who discusses that with you they are really taking us off the rails,” Mbalula said of Mabuza on Monday.

“We are focused now … so anyone who has got an uncontrollable desire for power and who decides to basically speak about leadership issues, they are completely off the rails and that must be very clear.”

ANC members are said to have already begun lobbying in the race for positions ahead of the party’s elective conference set to take place next year. 

The conference will be held against the backdrop of the ANC’s struggle to renew itself. Sources have told the Mail & Guardian that the race for president of the party will likely be uncontested, but ANC leaders are eyeing the position of deputy president and secretary general. 

ANC chairperson Gwede Mantashe has been touted as next in line to take over as deputy president, with treasurer general Paul Mashatile also in the running. 

“We will have enough time for people to speak on their desires, ambitions and their wishes standing or not standing and all of that is coming. Any political party as big as the ANC cannot be that stupid to discuss issues that don’t matter,” Mbalula said.

“The issue of who becomes the next president is a non-debate now. If we are stupid enough we can do what others are doing. It is very wrong for anybody in the middle of this campaign when we are left with two weeks, you raise a non-debate.”

Mabuza was elected as deputy president in the ANC’s Nasrec conference after his home province of Mpumalanga defected from the pro-Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma faction of the party and joined that backing Ramaphosa.

–MG

Enoch Mgijima local municipality building goes up in flames as the only fire engine not available

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22157720 - house fire in the hot weather.

The Enoch Mgijima local municipality in the Eastern Cape has allayed fears that the fire which engulfed one of its buildings on Monday night could have been intentionally sparked to destroy possible evidence.  

Pictures of the burning Art Gallery building started circulating on social media around midnight with many users wondering if it was not the work of an arsonist whose intention was to destroy possible evidence linked to the sports field investigation.

There is currently an investigation into the controversial R15m Lesseyton sports field which was unveiled last week.

However, municipal spokesperson Lonwabo Kowa dismissed these allegations, saying the cause of the fire was under investigation.

“It is not possible that the fire is linked to the investigation because that building didn’t even have a single piece of paper as it had not been in use since 2016 when the municipality was established,” said Kowa.

He said the building did not have any assets or machinery and that they were looking for possible tenants.

Kowa said they suspected the fire started around 9.30pm.

“The town’s only fire engine was not available as it have been in for service and is expected back on Wednesday. We have people who volunteers to put out the fire. I will still establish if there was a security on site when the fire started but our suspicions is that there wasn’t one,” said Kowa.

Provincial department of cooperative governance and traditional affairs MEC Xolile Nqatha, who also expressed disappointment at the state of the field, has demanded answers on the matter.

Sowetan

Police minister ordered to pay almost R600K to two women who were mistaken for robbers

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Bheki Cele, Minister of Police

  • Two women who were mistaken for robbers have won a damages action against the police minister.
  • The Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg found that their arrests were unlawful. 
  • The two women had only met each other the day that a woman accused them of robbing her.

Two women who were mistaken for robbers and arrested without warrants, have won a court action and have each been awarded more than R200 000 in damages.

The Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg granted the order against Police Minister Bheki Cele.

In the judgment, Judge Leicester Adams said Cynthia Morwanqana and Eunice Matshaka had never met each other before and were on their way to their hometowns in the Eastern Cape on a Friday in October 2014. 

They had to board the same bus at the terminus at Park Station in Johannesburg when their paths crossed.

Morwanqana was about eight months pregnant at the time. She was travelling all by herself and was carrying heavy bags, the judge said. Matshaka, a primary school teacher, was also travelling by herself and offered to assist Morwanqana with her luggage.

The women spent some time in each other’s company while waiting in the queue for their bus to arrive.

But things took an ugly turn when a woman who was robbed in January that year saw them together and accused them of robbing her of cash and other valuables worth about R30 000 in Centurion. She claimed that the woman fit the description of her alleged robbers.

Police officers at Park Station conducted a mini inquiry and asked one of the women to call the other one’s cellphone number. It did not register as a contact on her cellphone, which confirmed the women did not know each other.

Unsatisfied with the outcome, the robbery victim contacted her husband who, in turn, communicated with the Wierdabrug police station, where the charge of robbery had initially been laid, the judgment read.

The women were hauled off the bus while en route to the Eastern Cape and members of the flying squad arrested them in Vanderbijlpark. They spent several days in detention.

“The plaintiffs were shocked, dismayed and dumbfounded all at once – not to speak of the embarrassment of having been yanked off the bus in front of a busload of passengers, who no doubt saw them as troublemakers and the ones responsible for disrupting what should have been a leisurely and carefree bus trip to the Eastern Cape.”

During the case, the minister admitted that the women were arrested without a warrant. He, however, denied that it was wrongful or unlawful.

But the women contended that the evidence did not establish that the officer who arrested them had reasonable grounds to suspect that they were the ones who perpetrated the robbery.

They argued that the officer relied exclusively on the fact that the complainant had fingered them as the culprits.

Adams said the reasonable thing the officer could have done was to accept the explanation by the women that they could not have been responsible for the crime. 

“All that he needed to do was to obtain their full details and particulars, including their full names, addresses (home and work) and identity numbers, which would have enabled the investigating officer to verify their story. Even at 19:30 on a Friday night, he probably could have called the principal at the school at which the second plaintiff worked as a teacher to verify her story. This should have been done without arresting the plaintiffs.”I am, therefore, of the view that the minister did not establish that there were reasonable grounds to suspect that the plaintiffs committed the robbery. The arrests and subsequent detention were therefore unlawful.”

The judge added that the women said they were held overnight and that the conditions were intolerable.

“They were traumatised, understandably so,” he said.

“The cell was dirty, and the ablution facility was disgusting. Although they were offered something to eat at about 20:00 on the Friday night, both of them were not able to eat due to the stress.

He said the arrest and detention were “undoubtedly a traumatic experience”.

“I have come to the conclusion that, considering the length of period for which the plaintiffs were detained and the prevailing conditions under which they were incarcerated, it would be appropriate to award the first plaintiff (Morwanqana) the sum of R250 000 and the second plaintiff (Matshaka) an amount of R290 000 as damages for unlawful arrest and detention.”

–Media24

Numsa strike hits output at BMW plant

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Thousands of Numsa members protesting outside the offices of the Metals and Engineering Industries Bargaining Council in the Johannesburg CBD. File image. Image: SOLOMZI NDLOVU

Output at luxury carmaker BMW’s main vehicle assembly plant in South Africa has been hit by a wage strike in the engineering sector by the country’s biggest metalworkers union, a company spokesperson said on Monday.

“While our associates have been reporting for work, we have lost production since the strike commenced … as a number of suppliers to the plant have been affected,” Hailey Philander said.

She said production of around 700 vehicles was lost, but gave no further details.

The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) launched the strike last Tuesday after pay talks with employer bodies reached a deadlock, raising fears the action would spill over and block supplies of parts to make new cars.

BMW’s plant is at Rosslyn, around 60 kilometres from the commercial city of Johannesburg.

On Friday, Numsa said its members were considering a new proposal to end the strike. On Monday, the union was still collating feedback before making a decision.

Numsa, with around 155,000 members organised in the sector, wants an 8% across-the-board wage hike in the first year, and inflation plus 2% for the second and third years.

Industry body Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of Southern Africa (Seifsa) had initially offered 4.4% for 2021, inflation plus 0.5% in 2022 and inflation plus 1% in the third year.

“It is concerning for the whole autos manufacturing sector that the strike in the metals and engineering space has continued till now, but we know that negotiations to resolve are advanced and we hope a breakthrough is imminent,” said Renai Moothilal, executive director at the National Association of Automotive Component and Allied Manufacturers (NAACAM).

Spokespeople at Ford, Volkswagen and Toyota said they had not been affected by the strike so far.

–SowetanLive

Mpumalanga MEC Mandla Msibi charged with murder, jailed overnight

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Mandla Msibi. File picture Image: Supplied

Mpumalanga agriculture MEC Mandla Msibi has been charged with murder and is in jail.

He was arrested as part of the fallout over a scuffle at an ANC branch meeting in Mbombela earlier this year that led to two deaths. He will appear in court again on Tuesday.

This is not Msibi’s first run-in with the law, police confirmed.

Business Day reported that Msibi was involved in a scuffle during the meeting that left two people shot dead and two others wounded.

National police spokesperson Vishnu Naidoo says the senior official is alleged to have been involved in a shooting earlier this year that left two people fatally shot and a third wounded. 

“His arrest brings to three the number of people arrested in connection with this case. On September 17 2021 police arrested Joseph Charlie Ngwenya and Tshepo Matsane. 

“They both appeared in court at least twice before being granted bail of R20,000 each on Friday October 8.” 

Msibi, formerly the province’s co-operative governance and traditional affairs MEC, has also faced at least 10 criminal charges dating back three years. Previous cases included charges of assault, some of which are still pending.

BusinessLIVE

FNB recognised as one of the most valuable brands in Africa

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First National Bank in Rosebank. Image: Freddy Mavunda

The report ranks Africa’s top 150 brands by value and strength

FNB was once again recognised as one of the Most Valuable Brands in Africa in the latest Brand Finance Africa 150 2021 valuation report. The bank was also the highest-ranked banking brand in Africa.

The report ranks Africa’s top 150 brands by value and strength. Brand value is described as the net economic benefit that a brand owner would achieve by licensing the brand in the open market. According to the research, banking, telecoms and insurance remain Africa’s most valuable sectors, but cumulative brand values across the sectors have declined partly due to Covid-19.

“We are humbled to once again be acknowledged as the leading banking brand in the Most Valuable Brands category,” says Faye Mfikwe, FNB chief marketing officer. “The pandemic has highlighted the need for brands to become more relevant, trustworthy and reliable — and we are pleased to be recognised for our positive impact on society. The accolade also reaffirms the resilience of our business model, which is centred on building a contextual digital platform for customers, employees, and society at large.” 

Brand Finance Africa MD Jeremy Sampson says: “In a year that saw most African countries go into lockdown and significant unrest across the continent, a decline in total brand value for the top African brands is unsurprising. After the pandemic, African brands will need to search for opportunities to make up lost ground. By embracing new technologies and collaboration, the continent can propel its recovery and bounce back from the extraordinary situation the world has found itself in.”

The Brand Finance accolade comes shortly after FNB maintained its position as the Most Valuable Brand in SA for a second consecutive year in the BrandZ Top30 Most Valuable Brands by Kantar.

For more information, visit the FNB website.

This article was paid for by FNB.

Technologies have reduced rhino poaching in South Africa

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Rhino

Technologies such as long-range wide area networks, radioactive isotope injections, and the Postcode Meerkat detection system are helping to reduce rhino poaching in South Africa.

Rhino poaching reached a high in 2014, with poachers killing 1,215 animals.

Conservation efforts, including implementing the technologies listed below, have resulted in rhino poaching declining yearly, with 394 rhinos killed in South Africa during 2020.

South Africa is world-renowned for its wildlife species and tourist-attracting national parks, but animals such as African rhinos are under threat — and have been for some time now.

The good news is that the country has seen significant advancements in conserving this highly-poached species and has received generous donations from international players to assist with their protection.

Previously, the measures taken to protect rhinos removed most of the horn and positioned security teams to deter poachers.

These measures were not entirely effective as many poachers would still kill the rhinos to get what little bit of horn was left and ensure they didn’t have to track a hornless animal again.

The following technologies have helped reduce poaching in South Africa without removing the rhino’s horn.


Long-range Wide Area Network Masts in uMkhuze Game Reserve

Game rangers at uMkhuze Game Reserve in KwaZulu-Natal work relentlessly to protect the rhino population within the reserve.

Protecting rhinos from the threat of poaching is no easy task, and the Covid-19 pandemic made it more difficult than ever by impacting budgets and recruitment.

These rangers cover vast distances daily to keep rhinos safe from poachers.

The addition of seven long-range wide area network (LoRaWAN) repeater masts this year have made their job more manageable, and more importantly, safer.

Numerous white rhinos have been fitted with horn transmitters, and in combination with camera traps, the LoRaWAN system helps track rhino movements.


Radioactive Isotope Injections

A new approach to curb rhino poaching that uses nuclear techniques to inject radioactive isotopes into horns has been launched in South Africa.

The Rhisotope Project will investigate the technique’s efficacy to reduce the demand for rhino horns and increase detection at international borders.

“With over 10,000 radiation detection devices installed at various ports of entry across the globe, experts are confident that this project will make the transportation of horn incredibly difficult and will substantially increase the likelihood of identifying and arresting smugglers,” Rosatom said.

The project began on 13 May and saw the injection of harmless stable isotopes into the horns of two rhinos, which will be monitored to determine how the isotopes affect the horn and the animal.

The technique and training will be made freely available to conservation groups wishing to protect rhinos against poaching once proof of concept has been established.

Professor James Larkin injecting a rhino’s horn. (Credit: The Rhisotope Project)

Postcode Meerkat detection system in the Kruger National Park

The solar-powered Postcode Meerkat detection system is guarding the Kruger National Park’s wildlife against poachers.

The detection system is the outcome of a three-way partnership between South African National Parks (SANParks), the Peace Parks Foundation (PPF) and the CSIR (Council for Scientific and Industrial Research).

Primarily funded by Dutch, Swedish, and the United Kingdom’s postcode lotteries, the system consists of several radars, cameras, and sensors, including an infrared sensor to detect incursions at night.

Postcode Meerkat has been curbing poaching within the park for five years, and the PPF has indicated that it has almost eliminated rhino poaching in high-risk areas where the portable system is in use.

“Overall, more than 95% of poacher activity in Meerkat’s deployment areas is detected, 65% of suspected poachers were arrested and 80% of rhino poaching incidents were disrupted,” the PPF said in a statement.

“Rangers noted increased rhino numbers in hotspot areas.”

The Postcode Meerkat detection system in Kruger National Park. (Credit: Peace Parks Foundation).

Arrest warrant issued for, Sandile Shezi a “millionaire” Bitcoin trader

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Sandile Shezi appeared in court today on charges of fraud

Police are searching for 29-year-old cryptocurrency entrepreneur Sandile Shezi after an investor accused Shezi of swindling him out of R500,000, reports City Press.

The paper reported that the SA Police Service issued a warrant for his arrest this week and that a case of fraud was opened at the Sandton Police Station.

Shezi runs a company called Global Forex Institute and has hosted seminars where he teaches attendees how to trade in foreign exchange.

Arrest warrant issued for “millionaire” Bitcoin trader — Report
Sandile Shezi

Allan Ledwaba told City Press he was an attendee of one such event, which took place in 2016.

Shezi showed Ledwaba his trading accounts, which allegedly had over R89 million, and he was driving fancy cars such as Lamborghinis and Ferraris — which convinced Ledwaba to invest.

Ledwaba said he procured a R500,000 loan from his father, which he invested in Global Forex Institute.

“The agreement was that he would trade the money for me, and then every year he would give us profit and then the full amount we had invested thereafter,” said Ledwaba.

“But I became suspicious when I researched the name of the law firm used to draw up our contracts. I went to the law firm and spoke to the director, who said that they did not have a relationship with Sandile.”

To date, Ledwaba says he has only been paid R40,000 in profit, and Shezi bought a car for him for company branding purposes. He sold the car to try and make some of his money back.

Another investor, a former Limpopo school principal, said he gave Shezi R100,000 in 2018 and was told the following year that his investment had doubled in value.

Shezi allegedly convinced the principal to resign from his job and invest his pension payout to make even more money.

“I invested R1 million in 2019. He used to send us dividends every month, but, at the end of the year, he started saying business was hard and he was struggling to invest,” said the principal.

After asking to withdraw his money from the deal in March 2021, the principal claims he was paid out just over R100,000 — a far cry from his original R1 million investment.

Shezi’s legal team responds

Shezi’s lawyer, Lloyd Moonean, confirmed to City Press that he was aware of Ledwaba’s situation and said that his statements were defamatory.

“Our client relies on his good reputation and the good reputation of his company to attract customers and potential business,” said Moonean.

“Mr Ledwaba has previously defamed our client on social media to the extent that our client received numerous concerns and complaints about the same.”

Moonean also stated that Ledwaba’s sale of the vehicle which Shezi bought for him meant he had not adhered to the contract between the two parties.

“Our client firmly believes that the allegations made by Mr Ledwaba amount to misdirection and do not represent the whole truth of the matter.”

Moonean did not respond to the allegations of the former school principal.

MyBroadband tried to contact Shezi at several email addresses and phone numbers but did not receive a response by the time of publication. We also tried to contact HL Legal, where Lloyd Moonean is a director, but the firm did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

City Press

South Africa’s massive ‘sardine run’ leads fish into an ecological trap

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Shoal of sardine in transit

One of the world’s most spectacular marine migrations is the KwaZulu-Natal sardine run. The so-called “greatest shoal on Earth” takes place during the southern hemisphere’s winter. It involves the movement of tens to hundreds of millions of sardines from the warm-temperate waters of South Africa’s south coast to the subtropical waters of the east coast, over a thousand kilometres away.

This annual mass migration, first reported in 1853, is triggered by cold water upwelling on South Africa’s south-east coast. In this process, cold, nutrient-rich water rises up from the deep, creating a highly productive food web. The migration attracts vast numbers of predators: the sardine schools are followed northwards by seabirds, sharks, seals, dolphins and even large baleen whales. These devour as many of the helpless sardines as they can, which is made easier by the fact that their prey is sandwiched between dry land and the hot, tropical waters of the southward-flowing Agulhas Current, which exceed the sardines’ physiological tolerances.

To make matters worse, those fish that survive the predation still don’t have it easy: the journey is so strenuous that the sardines which eventually arrive on the east coast are emaciated. This goes against what scientists understand about animal migrations – such large-scale population movements normally provide some “selective advantage” by allowing animals to make optimal use of environmental resources.

Surely the obvious negatives of participating in the sardine run must be hugely outweighed by some fitness benefits to make it all worthwhile? The answer, our new research suggests, is “no” – and the reasons for the sardines’ behaviour lies in their genes.

A distinct east coast population?

One popular explanation for why the sardine run occurs is that the migration might be a relic of spawning behaviour dating back to the last glacial period, about 10,000 years ago. What is now subtropical Indian Ocean habitat may have been an important nursery area with cooler waters.

When the ice age ended, the sardines would have physiologically adapted to tolerate the subtropical conditions in this region, and evolved into a distinct east coast population that continues to spawn there to this day. These sardines mix with south coast sardines during summer, then separate from them in winter as they migrate up the east coast. The presence of sardine eggs in the plankton confirms that spawning does occur in this region.

Surprisingly, we discovered that sardines participating in the migration are not part of a distinct east coast population. Instead, they primarily originate from the colder waters off South Africa’s Atlantic west coast. Why would these sardines migrate to the opposite end of the country, only to end up in habitat that is obviously too warm for them? We suggest that the fish are drawn into what amounts to an ecological trap – a rare example of a mass migration that has no obvious fitness benefits.

Genomic analyses

Our research started from the assumption that the sardine run represents the spawning migration of a distinct stock of sardines that is physiologically well adapted to tolerate subtropical conditions.

Physical characteristics and other data indicate that sardines on the east coast are indeed distinct. But this may result from different environmental pressures, including the stress of participating in the migration. We knew that understanding the sardines’ heritable genetic traits would provide stronger evidence for this hypothesis – or debunk it.

So we used thousands of genetic markers from across the genomes of hundreds of sardines captured throughout the species’ South African range. Although most of these markers showed little differentiation, a suite of genetic markers with a signal of adaptation to water temperature showed regional differences.

We found evidence for two regional populations – but it was not the east coast sardines that were distinct. Instead, we found genetic differences within the species’ temperate core range: one population was associated with South Africa’s cool-temperate west coast (Atlantic Ocean) and the other with the warm-temperate south coast (Indian Ocean).

The strong affiliation with water temperature suggests that thermal adaptation maintains these regional patterns; each population cluster is adapted to the temperature range that it experiences in its native region.

The sardines participating in the run showed a clear affiliation with the west coast population. Not only are these sardines not well adapted to subtropical conditions, but they actually prefer the colder, upwelled waters of the south-eastern Atlantic Ocean.

Major riddles solved

This study solves some of the major riddles concerning the sardine run, which make perfect sense in the light of the new evidence.

Our findings explain why only a small fraction of the sardines present on the south coast participates in the run. The bulk of those sardines are native to this region and are adapted to warm-temperate conditions. Because of this, they show little interest in the cold, upwelled water.

An illustration explaining how sardine migration is influenced by genetic adaptations to water temperature
This illustration examines some of the factors at play in the sardine migration. Supplied by authors

The results also provide an explanation why no sardine runs occur in years when there is no cold water upwelling. The upwelling on the south-east coast attracts west coast sardines that have dispersed to the south coast, but that are not well adapted to the warmer water temperatures in this region. They essentially consider the upwelling regions in the south-east to be west coast habitat. For a short time, it is as if they are back home in the Atlantic – but when the upwelling ends and water temperatures rise, their fateful error is revealed.

At this point, the predators have gotten wind of their presence, and as the sardines try to escape, they travel ever farther north into unbearably warm subtropical habitat. The fate of the fish that survive the sardine run is uncertain.

Our genomic explanation shows that much still remains to be discovered about how marine life interacts with its environment. A great deal of integrative, multidisciplinary research is still needed before humans can efficiently and sustainably benefit from the incredible diversity of life and the resources available in the sea.

–Conversation

Democracy, faith, morals and politics

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Australia based, Zimbabwe Political Writer, Reason Wafawarova

I am a Zimbabwean immigrant living in Sydney Australia for the past 17 years, and I have observed over the years the relationship between democracy, faith, morals and politics in this part of the world.

Australia is a federation of Commonwealth States, and most people in the outer world know of the Prime Ministers of the country, notable would be characters like Bob Hawke, Gough Whitlam, Robert Menzies and John Howard.

Australia has six states and two territories that make up the Federation, with New South Wales being the biggest state at a population of 7.8 million of the 25 million people in Australia. I live in Sydney, the capital of NSW, which also happens to be Australia’s commercial hub or capital.

States have their own governments led by Premiers, and recently we had a change of leadership where a hardworking popular liberal single 50 year old female leader was replaced by an equally hard working 39 year old father of six devout Catholic with distinct moral values, notable among which are his opposition to things like same sex marriage.

The appointment of Dominic Perrottet to the role of NSW Premier after the sudden resignation of Gladys Berejiklian provoked an outcry in Sydney in particular. For me it was a deeply weird reaction when some people described the 39 year old politician’s assent as “scary” and “troubling”, and even “nervous” for one of the LGBTQIA members.

One social media activist was concerned that Perrottet’s conservative religious and family values “drive attitudes and often policies that may be severely at odds with the central demands of democracy.”

I come from Africa and we have been writing and debating a lot on the so called central demands of democracy, not least among them things like gay rights and free choice.

I find the idea that holding conservative Christian and family values is aberrant very weird in itself; weird in the sense coined by evolutionary psychologist Joseph Henrich in his book on “how the West became psychologically peculiar and particularly prosperous.”

Herich tracks how the European Christianity’s marriage and family program replaced intensive kin-based institutions with an institution that expanded trust relationships beyond family. Its the same way African Christianity dismantled traditional faith and polygamous marriage institutions and other facets of African traditional life.

The universalism European Christianity fostered created what Henrich called the Western, Educated, Industrialised, Rich, and Developed (WEIRD) world.

I have not lived in an other Western country, but I can say with a degree of confidence that Australians are individually among the WEIRD. It really does not matter that faith and religion are on a sharp decline in Australia, the fact still remains Australian views have been or are shaped by the social structures built by religious ancestors. These encouraged individualism, independence, the notion that strangers have the same inherent human value as those related to us, non-conformity, resistance to tradition and a whole number of attributes and characteristics recognised as democratically positive and plausible.

These characteristics are even viewed as aspirational, and most Australians believe they possess all these attributes, and I dare say many, if not most of today’s Australians have become so non-conforming that they have talked themselves out of religion entirely, specifically out of Christianity.

These people believe one can be moral, spiritual and good without attending religious ceremonies or worshipping a higher being. I saw this posted on a Zimbabwe Community Social Media discussion group and the views I read there show that even immigrants like Zimbabweans are fast getting caught up in this non conformity drive.

Australia, like many other Western countries is open to other peoples and cultures. The country’s immigration intake has made it the diverse, multicultural and multi-faith society it is today. Since the 1950s the overseas-born population has risen from 10% of the population to the current 33%.

This has increased the proportion of of non-WEIRD to WEIRD people, as more people come from countries like China, India, the Phillipines, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, South Africa, other African countries and also from Latin America.

Most of these countries are collective and conservative, and they tend to be more religious, more family oriented and less individualistic than societies that have been WEIRD for a very long time.

Immigrants like myself bring their cultural dispositions with them, and Henrich found out that generally these values are also held by their descendants over a couple of generations.

When immigrants settle in Australia, they make up distinct communities that are more socially conservative, family oriented and religious than the ordinary inner city WEIRDo Australian.

Politically these immigrant communities now hold a significant lot of electoral power. Although immigrants are of course not the reason behind Perrottet’s values and beliefs, it cannot be denied that his values and beliefs does attract the immigrant vote.

Henrich reports that immigrants from different countries living in the same country show higher levels of trust in people of faith, even if its faith different from their own. This has also been attributed to Trump’s immigrant support in the US.

Premier Perrottet’s values make him more trustworthy among the less WEIRD new Australians.

In retail political speak, Perrottet can connect with voters from many religions because he shares their values, most of them universal across religions.

Even NSW Opposition leader is also a devout Catholic who is also as family oriented as his rival in politics. The two politicians are the preferred idea of a politician in Western Sydney where most immigrants are located, and this is where the next federal elections could be decided.

By now the WEIRD people terrified of Perrottet should be waking up to the threat of the immigrant vote, or to the shocking discovery that Australian public does not revolve around their values or the lobbying thereof anymore.

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s Religion and Ethics presenter Andrew West noted that part of the reason Labour lost to the Liberals in 2019 was religious freedom, adding an observation that “Labour, and the broader left, need to understand that you cannot celebrate multiculturalism without supporting religious freedom.”

In many Western countries today, a devout Christian would have to fake or conceal their religious identity to be acceptable to the WEIRDos, and I note that Zimbabwean opposition leader Nelson Chamisa has been having fiery criticism over his Bible Verse tweets. We certainly do not have WEIRDOs in Zimbabwe, but we also certainly have a lot of borrowed reasoning from that country, particularly when it comes to the effort of associating and identifying with Western values. I

But the reason why most, if not all African leaders try and avoid the topic of gay rights is the perceived cost in terms of retail politics. You do not want to lose a whole election fighting for the rights of a minority whose values you also find hard to appreciate.

While no one expects politicians to adopt a fake religious identity, people expect the politicians to believe , to manifest these beliefs in private and in public, and to educate their children according to these beliefs.

This means respecting that people may have different views on social issues, such as same sex marriage, abortion, gender and things like voluntary assisted dying.

WEIRD people see these things as about individual choice. Less WEIRD people believe that individual choices affect the collective and so they tend to be more conscious about changing the social fabric.

There are no right or wrong answers on culture, and we should be tolerant enough to disagree and debate that there are others among us who will simply not embrace values they view to be unacceptable to them, much as they may tolerate co-existence with those who uphold those values.

I realise that many WEIRDOs believe individuals choices make up the “central demands of democracy.”

This is funny when one takes the elementary Aristotelian definition of democracy as the “rule of the people, by the people, and for the people.”

It reads to me like the central demand of democracy is the collective, not the individual choice. It is the collective that will determine and regulate individual choices, not the individual choices that will determine what the collective should choose and go by.

Reason Wafawarova is a political writer based in SYDNEY, Australia.

The Obamas celebrate 29 years of marriage but Michelle admits it hasn’t all been easy

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Barack and Michelle Obama have never been afraid to show their affection for each other. (PHOTO: Getty Images/ Gallo Images)When you’re looking for a perfect couple, the Obamas are definitely among the first who spring to mind – but it’s been hard work, they admit.

Kim Wendy Abrahams

As they celebrated 29 years of marriage recently, Michelle shared a throwback photo of her and Barack lounging on a couch in the early days of their relationship and another more recent pic of them in a similar pose.

“How it started vs how it’s going,” the former American first lady wrote in the caption. “Happy anniversary, Barack – love you!”

Barack (60) later shared an image of his own and used the opportunity to sing his wife’s praises.

“Over the past 29 years, I’ve loved watching the world get to know you not just as a daughter of the South Side but as a mother, lawyer, executive, author, first lady, and my best friend,” he shared. “I can’t imagine life without you.

Michelle (now 57) was 25 when she met Barack at the law firm Sidley Austin LLP in Chicago. She was assigned to mentor him when he arrived there to gain work experience while completing his legal studies.

But it got off to a bad start.

“He was late. Late. I was like, ‘Is he trifling? The black man’s gonna be late on the first day?’ ” Michelle said in an interview with Good Morning America host Robin Roberts to promote her 2018 book, Becoming.

But when he finally arrived she was impressed with “his rich, even sexy baritone and his strange, stirring combination of serenity and power”.

“Barack Obama has always walked like Barack Obama. Like he’s got all the time in the world. He had that stride. I was like, ‘Dude, you’re cute’.”

Still, Michelle had a game plan for her career and men didn’t factor into it.

“I’d made a declaration that I was off men. I was focusing on my career.”slide 1 of 1WASHINGTON - JANUARY 20:  (AFP OUT) US President BThe couple dance during the Western Inaugural Ball to Beyoncé’s version of At Last in 2009. (PHOTO: Getty Images/ Gallo Images)

But it wasn’t long before her resolve faltered. One summer evening they stepped out to get ice cream and Barack leaned in for a kiss.

“As soon as I allowed myself to feel anything for Barack the feelings came rushing – a toppling blast of lust, gratitude, fulfilment, wonder.”

In her book Michelle admits their marriage went through a dip because of the stress of their hectic schedules.

At one point she and Barack resorted to marriage counselling.

“There are so many young couples who struggle and think that somehow there’s something wrong with them,” she told morning show host Robin Roberts. “And I want them to know Michelle and Barack Obama have a phenomenal marriage and love each other but we work on our marriage. And we get help with our marriage when we need it.”

Counselling also taught her that her happiness wasn’t Barack’s responsibility – it was up to her. “I started working out more, I started asking for help. Not just from him but from other people. I stopped feeling guilty. It’s important for me to take care of myself. That’s not on Barack.”

–You