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Yesterday — May 7th 2021Your RSS feeds

ALERT: What to do when you spot missing cheetah in Tshwane

May 7th 2021 at 11:03

Residents of Tshwane have been warned to be on the lookout for a cheetah that escaped from Rietvlei Nature Reserve on Tuesday.

The city said on Friday the cheetah was still missing and was yet to be captured.

According to a statement by the reserve, the cheetah was introduced by the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) as part of the reserve’s conservation project to enhance cheetah numbers in the country.

“It is not clear how the animal escaped, but it is believed that it may have made use of a hole underneath the fence perimeter,” reads the statement.

The reserve said its fences were electrified, patrolled daily and repaired regularly to prevent these kind of incidents.

It said that the first sighting of the cheetah outside the reserve was reported to reserve management by an adjacent landowner.

“The nature reserve management immediately launched action to confirm the escape. Tracks and the animal sighting were confirmed on Tuesday,” reads the statement.

 

Mpianzi family reach settlement with GP education department

May 7th 2021 at 08:42

The family of Enock Mpianzi, a 13-year-old boy who died while attending a grade 8 orientation camp last year has reached a settlement with the Gauteng department of education.

The family’s lawyer, Wikus Steyl, confirmed the news on Friday.

“I can confirm we have reached a settlement with the department of education which hopefully will help the family find closure,” Steyl said.

He said a civil claim was withdrawn after the settlement was reached.

Although he could not confirm how much the settlement was for, Steyl said that it was an amount that may help the family in a long run.

“The next step now is to ensure the family gets justice and that those responsible are held accountable.”

The family initially sued the department for R20 million. The department’s initial settlement offer was R10 million, which the family refused in December.

Mpianzi’s death sent waves of outrage across the country earlier last year when he drowned at the Nyati Bush and River Break in the North West on the first day of school at a Grade 8 school camp.

ALSO READ: Enock Mpianzi’s parents sue for R20m

Gauteng education MEC Panyaza Lesufi last year told the media the family was made an R10 million settlement offer, which they rejected and issued a summons for R20m.

“Unfortunately, we disagreed and the family still insists that the department give them R20m as the settlement. This amount is way beyond what the department is in a position to afford,” Lesufi said at the time.

Lesufi has since welcomed the settlement reached and said that he hoped it would bring comfort to the family.

“While conscious to the fact that a young life was lost and will never return; we are hopeful that the out-of-court settlement will bring some comfort and closure to the Mpianzi family, who, undoubtedly, have been going through a challenging time since the unfortunate passing of Enoch,” Lesufi said.

WATCH: Prince disrupts prayer service at Zulu queen’s funeral

May 7th 2021 at 06:14

The eldest son of the late regent of the Zulu nation, prince Misuzulu Zulu, made his first public appearance since the death of his mother Mantfombi Shiyiwe Zulu last week and disrupted memorial proceedings.

UPDATE: Prince Misuzulu Zulu named in queen’s will as new king

The prince was accompanied by Zulu regiments marching into the marquee where the official memorial of the queen was taking place with prayer in session.

The regiments and the prince continued singing until Zulu Prime Minister Mangosuthu Buthelezi was forced to come out of the marquee to discipline them.

[WATCH] Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi warns Prince Misuzulu Zulu, and Amabutho to not march into the marquee where the official memorial of #QueenMantfombiDlaminiZulu is taking place as prayer is in session.

Tune into #Newzroom405 for more. pic.twitter.com/8JOEl0vXP7

— Newzroom Afrika (@Newzroom405) May 7, 2021

“Ndabezitha, Mageba, please desist from this chaos, we are in the middle of a prayer session,” Buthelezi said.

They quietened down and the prince made his way into the marquee. It is expected that Misusulu will be appointed the new Zulu king.

ALSO READ: Zulu royal family to meet at 5pm for reading of queen’s will

He is the eldest son of the late regent Queen who was tasked with appointing a new ruler after the death of king Goodwill Zwelithini.

There are however ongoing battles amid the issue of succession.

The royal family confirmed earlier this week that the fight over who should succeed king Goodwill had headed to the high court in Pietermaritzburg.

The king’s first wife, MaDlamini, whom he married in community of property, has challenged his will, which names the next king.

ALSO READ: Zulu royal family rocked by claims king’s will may have been forged – reports

‘Did Msimanga and attacker make peace to cover up corruption?’ – ANC

May 7th 2021 at 06:04

The ANC caucus on Friday called on law enforcement agencies to investigate further the assault of Gauteng DA leader Solly Msimanga.

Msimanga was on Thursday assaulted by a man with a group of people who said they were there to collect items from Msimanga’s cousin’s business.

The man who attacked Msimanga has since apologised for the “unfortunate misunderstanding” and what he describes as a “scuffle”.

The unnamed man, standing alongside the former Tshwane mayor, expressed regret and said there was no money owed to him by Msimanga – which was the reported cause of the altercation.

The ANC said Msimanga and his “victim” may be covering up corruption by making peace after the incident escalated to the media.

It said the haste in which the matter was handled and resolved raised questions and suspicions.

“We call upon law enforcement agencies to properly investigate this incident despite claims that the perpetrator and Msimanga have smoked a peace pipe,” reads a statement by the party.

WATCH: Msimanga attacker sorry for spoiling former mayor’s ‘perfect day’

“We hope the so-called truce is not an attempt to cover up corruption allegations against Msimanga by his victim in the video. This brawl also exposes reasons why Msimanga was hiring bodybuilders as his advisors when he was  mayor.”

Msimanga was at the centre of an R12 billion infrastructure deal with GladAfrica.

The ANC also blasted the DA for coming to Msimanga’s defence.

“We are not surprised by the statement of the DA in defence of their blue-eyed boy, this is how they stood up for him when he was accused of sexually harassing former Gauteng MPL Nkele Molepo, whom the DA expelled from their party for making sexual harassment allegations against Msimanga,” reads the statement.

 

 

WATCH: Man attempts suicide after killing wife

May 7th 2021 at 04:33

Police have arrested a man in connection with the murder of his wife after he reportedly found her with another man inside a car at a mall in Polokwane.

“Preliminary police investigations revealed that the deceased, who is believed to be from Seshego township, was with another man inside a vehicle when her husband arrived,” said police spokesperson Brigadier Motlafela Mojalefa.

“An argument ensued and the husband, 34, allegedly took out a firearm and shot the woman several times. She died instantly.”

#BREAKING A man try to commit suicide after he shot his girlfriend and another man. Scene active all services on scene. Polokwane, Limpopo… @BOSBEER2006 @1SecondLater @MARIUSBROODRYK @News24 @SAPoliceService @eNCA pic.twitter.com/Wca3WuzZPC

— BOSBEER.COM (@BOSBEER2006) May 6, 2021

“The man who is reported to have been together with the deceased fled from the scene and his identity is a subject of investigation.”

After the incident, a video of the alleged perpetrator trying to commit suicide surfaced on social media.

In the video, he can be seen standing on the edge of a high-rise building threatening to jump off.

Mojapelo said police managed to restrain the man and a murder case has been opened and “he will be  appearing in the Polokwane Magistrate’s Court soon”.

ALSO READ: Reason for businessman killing his wife and father plagues judge

He said police later recovered a firearm believed to have been used in the killing.

“The firearm will be subjected to a ballistic examination to determine if it was used in the commission of other serious crimes. Its lawfulness will also form part of the unfolding investigation. The motive for the killing is unknown at this stage but domestic violence cannot be ruled out,” Mojalefa said.

Police urged members of the community to seek professional assistance when confronted with domestic or relationship challenges and desist from resorting to extreme measures which can lead to serious injuries or the loss of life.

ALSO READ: Traffic cop kills himself, girlfriend as Limpopo GBV cases spike

 

Before yesterdayYour RSS feeds

ACDP gets bee in its bonnet over Contralesa’s Ancestors Day

May 6th 2021 at 10:49

The African Christian Democratic Party (ACPD) is upset at a proposal by beer brand Castle Milk Stout, renowned cultural activist and poet laureate Zolani Mkiva and the Congress of Traditional Leaders of SA (Contralesa) to make May 8 Ancestors Day.

Contralesa is calling on South Africans to celebrate and observe African spirituality and its role in our lives through ceremonies and rituals that honour the ancestors.

The inaugural ceremony is set to take place at the Mathibela Royal Palace in Bushbuckridge, Mpumalanga, where traditional leaders and heritage practitioners will come together under strict Covid-19 protocols to observe the day.

The ACPD on Thursday made calls to boycott the day.

In a statement by leader reverend Kenneth Meshoe the party told its followers to contest the proposed launch.

This nation desperately needs God’s intervention and not dead ancestors.

“Let us use Saturday 8 May 2021 as a day to intensify our prayers to ask our living God to save our souls, deliver us from evil, heal our land, bless and prosper all our people in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour,” said Meshoe.

ALSO READ: ACDP vows to fight gender diversity and education in WC schools

“While we acknowledge that millions of South Africans consult and worship their dead ancestors, committed evangelical Christians know that God’s Word denounces such practices.”

Recently the party has made controversial calls. It last week staged pickets against a draft policy on gender identity and sexual orientation in public schools by the Western Cape education department.

It said that the DA was planning to actively mislead & confuse school children in the Western Cape with its draft regulations on gender identity and gender orientation.

 

UK imposes sanctions against controversial Gupta family

April 26th 2021 at 14:42

The United Kingdom announced that it has imposed sanctions against the controversial Gupta family, and its associate, Salim Essa.

This was announced on Monday by the UK’s Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab under the new Global Anti-Corruption regime.

“Corruption has a corrosive effect as it slows development, drains the wealth of poorer nations, and keeps their people trapped in poverty. It poisons the well of democracy,” said Raab.

“The individuals we have sanctioned today have been involved in some of the most notorious corruption cases around the world.”

He said that global Britain is standing up for democracy, good governance, and the rule of law.

Estimates suggest over 2% of global GDP is lost to corruption every year.

The UK is committed to tackling this problem and targeting those who enable it.

Today, UK Foreign Sec @DominicRaab launches our new Global Anti-Corruption Sanctions regime.

— Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (@FCDOGovUK) April 26, 2021

“We are saying to those involved in serious corruption, we will not tolerate you or your dirty money in our country.”

“Individuals involved in some of the world’s most serious cases of corruption will no longer be able to channel their money through UK banks or enter the country thanks to new sanctions announced by the Foreign Secretary today,” reads the statement.

Raab said that corruption hurts individuals and undermines global trade, development, and the rule of law.

“Over 2% of global GDP is lost to corruption every year, and corruption increases the cost of doing business for individual companies by as much as 10%.”

Corruption also threatens our national security by exacerbating conflict and facilitating serious and organised crime, creating space for terrorist and criminal groups like Daesh and Boko Haram to operate.

He said that the new regime will allow the UK to combat serious corruption, in particular bribery and misappropriation.

“It will promote effective governance, robust democratic institutions, and the rule of law – demonstrating our power as a force for good around the world.”

ALSO READ: Guptas had their own ATM, state capture advocate reveals

The UK’s first wave of sanctions under this new sanctions regime is targeting:

  • Those involved in the diversion of $230 million of Russian state property through a fraudulent tax refund scheme uncovered by Sergei Magnitsky – one of the largest tax frauds in recent Russian history
  • Ajay, Atul, and Rajesh Gupta, and their associate Salim Essa, for their roles in serious corruption. They were at the heart of a long-running process of corruption in South Africa which caused significant damage to its economy
  • Sudanese businessman Ashraf Seed Ahmed Hussein Ali, widely known as Al Cardinal, for his involvement in the misappropriation of significant amounts of state assets in one of the poorest countries in the world. This diversion of resources in collusion with South Sudanese elites has contributed to ongoing instability and conflict
  • Several individuals involved in serious corruption in Latin America, including facilitating bribes to support a major drug trafficking organisation and misappropriation that has led to citizens being deprived of vital resources for development

The sanctions target 22 individuals involved in notorious corruption cases in Russia, South Africa, South Sudan and throughout Latin America.

Malusi Gigaba loses bid to have Norma Mngoma’s State Capture testimony private

April 26th 2021 at 13:41

Former Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba’s estranged wife Norma Gigaba will testify in public at the Commission of Inquiry into allegations of State Capture.

This after Deputy Chief Justice and Chairperson of the Commission Raymond Zondo set aside the former ministers request that  Mngoma’s testimony be private.

Mngoma is expected to speak about Gigaba’s relationship with the controversial Gupta family.

WATCH LIVE: Norma Mngoma at State Capture

She was initially expected to testify earlier this month but withdrew at the last minute.

Her Lawyer advocate Mpati Qofa sought to clarify that she (Mngoma) was not “reluctant or refuses to co-operate with the Commission.”

“We must clarify at the outset that our client does not wish to act in a manner which undermines the authority of the Commission or the Chairperson,” Qofa said.

This is a developing story more information will be updated as it becomes available.

 

Farmers appeal for Mabuza’s intervention to help ease tensions in Mkhondo 

April 26th 2021 at 12:39

After the death of two brothers on an eMkhondo (formerly Piet Retief) farm, Mpumalanga farmers are appealing to Deputy President David Mabuza to help ease tension in the community.

Brothers Zenzele and Amos Coka were killed after an altercation in Pampoenkraal, in Mpumalanga, on 9 April.

On Monday morning, farmers Danie Malan, Othard Klingenberg, Cornelius Greyling, Ignatius Steynberg and farmworker Senzele Yende, who have been charged in connection with the murders, were expected to apply for bail in the Piet Retief Magistrate’s Court.

ALSO READ: New twist in Mkhondo farm killings

They have been charged with murder, attempted murder, defeating the ends of justice and kidnapping. Agri South Africa’s (AgriSA) Christo van der Rheede said they wanted Mabuza to facilitate a meeting between farmers and the community to reduce tension in the area.

We appeal to the deputy president to facilitate a meeting between the agricultural sector, the police, political, traditional and community leaders, and other stakeholders to help de-escalate the tension and avert further vandalism and violence.

“The police also have a critical role to maintain law and order, as well as the prosecuting authorities to investigate the fatal shooting and violence that occurred,” said Van der Rheede.

When the five appeared in court last week, clashes between community members and farmers broke out, and police had to use rubber bullets and stun grenades to disperse the crowd.

ALSO READ: Mother, son murdered in brutal Mpumalanga farm robbery

“It is AgriSA’s viewpoint that violence of any form will not resolve any issue. In fact, violence begets violence and can therefore never be condoned. This incident and the escalating violence and intimidation witnessed outside of the court where the court proceedings took place, is of great concern to the agricultural sector and the broader community,” Van der Rheede said.

He said AgriSA asked members affiliated with their organisation and other farmer associations in eMkhondo to refrain from attending the court proceedings to avoid violence.

“The families of the accused have also expressly asked that the public does not attend the bail application hearings as this can lead to even more violence,” he said.

Union threatens with court action if Cuban engineers programme is not suspended 

April 26th 2021 at 12:07

Trade union Solidarity has asked Water and Sanitation Minister Lindiwe Sisulu to suspend the hiring of Cuban engineers for the repair of South Africa’s creaking water infrastructure.

And if the minister doesn’t press the pause button, it intends to head to court with an application to have the programme interdicted.

The union sent Sisulu a legal letter in which it said that South Africa had 132 local engineers and specialist artisans who could do the same job.

“The minister has until Friday, 30 April, to answer, and then the content of the answer will determine whether Solidarity will bring an application for an interdict against the minister,” the union said in a statement.

Last week, Sisulu announced that 24 engineers would help with water infrastructure and maintenance “from source to tap” and that around R65 million had been budgeted for this financial year.

Most were seconded to water and river “clusters” to provide training and help local engineers and artisans with infrastructure problems.

ALSO READ: 120 local engineers ‘competent and willing’ to do job of Cubans

They will receive stipends, and payments for goods and services. But the announcement was not well received in many quarters where some have argued that local engineers and artisans need the work.

Cuba and the ANC-led South African government have been in solidarity for decades, with Cuba supporting African liberation movements.

The government regards Cuba as “the backbone” of the liberation struggle.

Solidarity noted that the Engineering Council of SA raised questions over whether the engineers had the required credentials required to work in South Africa.

The department could not immediately confirm receipt of Solidarity’s letter on Monday morning, but spokesperson Sputnik Ratau said the engineers had been in South Africa since last year.

Tshegofatso Pule’s alleged mastermind wants bail so he can appeal dismissal from the JSE

April 26th 2021 at 11:43

Ntuthuko Shoba, the alleged mastermind behind the murder of his pregnant girlfriend Tshegofatso Pule, has asked the court to grant him bail in order to attend to his “employment issues”.

“There have been new developments related to my employment which, in my view, are facts that need to be considered by the court,” Shoba said in an affidavit read out at court on Monday.

“I am informed that since my suspension as well as incarceration… proceedings have been initiated by my employer against me, and the outcome of those proceedings have resulted in my dismissal on the account of incapacity.”

Shoba, who faces a charge of premeditated murder, is lodging a second bail bid in the Roodepoort Magistrate’s Court.

On Friday, the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) announced Shoba had been dismissed. In a brief statement, the JSE stated that Shoba was no longer employed there.

“Ntuthuko Shoba is no longer an employee of the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE).”The JSE has assisted the SAPS in their investigation, and it will continue to fully cooperate with the investigative authorities if and when required to do so,” it told News24 on Friday.

Shoba, who previously stated in court papers that he was employed within the IT division of the organisation, told the court that he had since submitted an appeal to his employer.

“I submit that my fears of possibly losing my job and livelihood as a result of the matter, and more specifically of my incarceration, have now become a reality, and the court must give it a serious consideration,” Shoba stated in his affidavit.

ALSO READ: Infidelity cost Tshegofatso Pule and her baby’s lives

His lawyer, advocate Shaddy Sithole, further argued that if Shoba was released on bail, he would be afforded the opportunity to attend to his employment matter.

News24 reached out to the JSE for further comment, but it declined to comment any further on the matter. Shoba was arrested in February after the man who confessed to murdering Pule, Muzikayise Malephane, turned State’s witness. Pule was eight months pregnant at the time of her death.

The State is opposing bail, arguing, among other things, that there are no exceptional circumstances and that Shoba is not a suitable candidate for bail. Judgment in the bail hearing is expected to be delivered on 7 May.

Lily Mine families spokesperson in hiding for fear of his life

April 26th 2021 at 10:18

Continued attacks on the settlement outside of Lily Mine where the families of the three dead miners whose bodies are still trapped in a container almost 70 meters underground have forced the official spokesperson for the three families into hiding for fear of his life.

Harry Mazibuko has for the past five years been leading a campaign, asking, petitioning and pleading for government support to have the container retrieved.

Earlier this month the families of Yvonne Mnisi, Pretty Nkambule, and Solomon Nyerendewere who are camping outside the mine, hopelessly waiting for their relatives’ bodies to be retrieved were attacked by a mob of “known assailants”.

Their shacks and belongings outside the mine gate were set alight.

ALSO READ: Lily Mine families speak of 650 days of police harassment, death threats

Mazibuko told The Citizen that two weeks ago following the attacks on the camp a group of unknown men arrived at his father’s place looking for him.

“Last Friday we decided with the families at the camp and together with my family and also our lawyers that I go into hiding,” Mazibuko said.

“The leader of the gangsters called me a day after they burned our camp, He threatened to burn my house and confessed that he burned our camp.”

For the past two weeks, I am on the run. It’s not easy at all for me as the environment is totally different and stressful. I’m losing weight, different diet without the people I love. To me, it’s very unfair that I’m forced to run away like a criminal yet the perpetrators are still free. I begin not to Love South Africa.

Since the destruction of their settlement, suspect Kaizer Gwebu was arrested and appeared in court.

Gwebu is alleged to have recorded a voice note confirming his involvement in burning down the settlement with three other accomplices. He is out out on bail.

ALSO READ: Lily Mine victims’ families attacked outside the mine

ActionSA leader Herman Mashaba has vowed to stand by the three families.

“As partners for justice for the Lily Mine families, we will be watching this case closely and update the public as developments arise as this case is in the national interest,” Mashaba said.

Mashaba said Saps had informed their legal team of the imminent arrests of three more accomplices this week and they would appear in court.

“We wish to place on record that threatening the lives of the protesting miners and their families cannot and will not be tolerated,” Mashaba said.

 

 

34 government departments without DGs and HODs for years

April 23rd 2021 at 11:34

The Democratic Alliance (DA) has revealed that about 34 Director-General (DG) and Head of Department (HOD) positions in government countrywide have been without permanent appointments for years now.

The party has labelled this as abuse by the governing ANC, and blame the state of affairs for poor or non-existent service delivery on the absence of substantive positions such as HODs or DGs.

“As a case in point, the Mpumalanga Provincial Department of Health has had an HoD vacancy for 7.5 years. This, despite the Public Service Act and the Public Service Regulations requiring that an acting official may not be in a post for more than 12 consecutive calendar months,” the DA said.

The party claims that currently there are eight national, and one provincial DG appointed in an acting capacity, and that about 25 of 87 provincial departments are without permanent HODs.

It said that this leaves departments vulnerable to exploitation and undue influence by the government on the appointment of key positions in the public service, which is non-political in nature.

ALSO READ: DBE admits it lacks capacity to fill 24,000 teaching posts

“The DA will submit follow-up parliamentary questions to further interrogate the issue on why such key positions have not been filled in an effort to ensure that government meets its service delivery commitments,’ reads the statement.

It added that the ruling ANC government appears to have abused this loophole with a revolving door of acting DGs and HODs, through cadre deployment which “is driving the country to its knees.”

It said that filling key public service positions was the only way to ensure stability in departments and the first step towards ensuring effective service delivery.

Tokyo Sexwale’s heritage fund claims get curiouser and curiouser

April 22nd 2021 at 11:34

 

Does Tokyo Sexwale actually have proof of money laundering and theft at the South African Reserve bank, or is he simply refusing to accept the reality that he may have fallen victim to a scam?

Despite a media briefing which lasted two and a half hours, Sexwale’s attempt at answering questions surrounding his allegations of billions of Rands being stolen from the WSB Heritage Fund at the South African Reserve bank has only led to dozens more questions.

ANC veteran and businessman Sexwale was thrust back into the limelight earlier this week, when he first made claims of the theft.

Sexwale said the money was donated by a “very powerful family” and was supposedly meant to fund free education, purchase bullet trains, finance infrastructure developments, and help fund the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. According to Sexwale he was managing the fund along with a partner, and the money came into the country via the Reserve Bank.

Sexwale said that the funds he was referring to did not belong to South Africa but rather a Chinese businessman Chuck Leong, who was based in Singapore.

The Reserve Bank and finance minister Tito Mboweni, however, have described Sexwale’s allegations as unfounded and say he might have fallen for an online scam. Mboweni labelled Sexwale’s claims as “untrue” and “sad,” on Twitter.

However Sexwale remained adamant on Thursday that he wasn’t scammed, but rather certain people were using the media to cover up the existence of the Heritage Fund Trust.

He insisted that he had shown certain documents to Reserve Bank Governor Lesetja Kganyago, proving that money went missing.

“Documents that pointed out to malfeasance and criminality that was happening inside the bank. Malfeasance, criminality and shenanigans were happening inside the bank, that’s what the documents are saying; they had names of individuals, how money has been moved from this account and where it went into the commercial banks,” said Sexwale.

Sexwale said that he has since opened a charge with the Hawks serious crimes division and that there are ongoing investigations that will see many government officials being implicated.

ALSO READ: Here’s how Tokyo Sexwale can avoid being a 419 ‘scam victim’

He said that the money was transferred to 18 different banks in the country and that as time goes on the names of the people who sought to benefit from these illegal transactions would be revealed in due cause.

He also lamented that the African National Congress has since turned a blind eye on corruption and against him when he needed them the most.

I have been treated unkindly, I have been deserted left high and dry by my own family, I have been scammed by my own family,” said Sexwale.

‘DA officials at war with each other,’ says qualifications whistleblower

April 21st 2021 at 12:10

 

Good Party secretary-general Brett Herron has told The Citizen that Democratic Alliance (DA) members are at war with each other, and they are going as far as leaking each other’s dirt to the public domain.

Herron raised the alarm about the qualifications of DA chief whip Natasha Mazzone, Western Cape MEC for human settlements Tertius Simmers, and Saldanha Bay mayor Marius Koen at the weekend.

This is after the DA suspended transport MEC Bonginkosi Madikizela following his admission that he did not complete a Bcom degree, as stated on his CV.

Herron has since been accused by DA leader John Steenhuisen of a “smear campaign”.

However, Herron says he has always “refrained from sharing unverified allegations that factional members of the DA  have shared with him about each other”.

“I am being flooded with unverified allegations by some DA members against their very own.”

He said the Good Party would continue commenting on matters that have been raised in the public space, relating to the ethics and integrity of those who hold prominent office in government or in Parliament.

ALSO READ: DA’s Mazzone slams claim she lied about her qualifications

He has since questioned the DA’s motives after the party reportedly said it would be asking the University of Hull about Koen’s qualifications.

The DA has since stood by Mazzone, and said that she has, for many years, publicly stated that she never finished her law degree and that she has never claimed to be an attorney or advocate.

Herron said the allegations of Mazzone qualification misrepresentation are as serious as the ones that have ensnared Madikizela.

“While Madikizela has been placed on suspension, and publicly acknowledged his fraud, Mazzone has responded by attempting to attack my character for raising the matter on the day her father died. Instead of Ms Mazzone simply clarifying the issue, questions about whether she has overstated her qualifications persist,” said Herron.

Pupil stabbed at Soweto school, Lesufi wants probe into school violence

April 15th 2021 at 12:38

Gauteng MEC for education Panyaza Lesufi has called for investigations into the spike in issues of ill-discipline at schools in the province.

This after a Grade 12 pupil from Emadwaleni Secondary School in Orlando West was stabbed by a Grade 11 pupil on Thursday.

Since then, two incidents of violence at schools have surfaced on social media this week.

ALSO READ: Mbilwi bullying: Lufuno’s mother found her lying unconscious

A group of pupils at Letsibogo Secondary School in Meadowlands were captured seemingly fighting another learner with dreadlocks.

Another video in Dinwiddie High School in Germiston shows  two Grade 10 girl pupils engaging in violent conduct in what appears to be the school toilets.

Lesufi has since condemned violent conduct in schools and called for investigations amid the spike of violence in Gauteng schools.

“Our schools should be the centres of excellence, not sites of violence and other anti-social behavior,” said Lesufi.

Lesufi has since challenged parents to engage with children in ensuring that the scourge does not get out of hand.

“We call on parents to play their role and talk to their children, as well, about ill-discipline and violence as this is a societal challenge,” Lesufi said.

“I need to make it abundantly clear that our schools can never be sites of violent conduct, assaults, or bullying. Violence has no place at our schools and we call on school management to work with parents and the Department to ensure we bring these acts of ill-discipline and misconduct to a swift end,” added Lesufi.

This week the issue of violence in schools reared its ugly head after a Mbilwi Secondary School pupil committed suicide following her assault outside the school premises.

Sahpra mum on possible ‘halt’ of J&J vaccine after US rollout pause

April 13th 2021 at 11:47

The South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (Sahpra) has remained mum on whether the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) Covid-19 vaccine rollout will be halted in South Africa, following reports that the United States had paused their rollout of the vaccine.

This follows recommendations of a rollout pause by the US Food and Drug Agency (FDA) and the Centers for Diseases Control (CDC) after “six reported cases of a rare blood clot in patients who have received the shot”.

UPDATE: SA suspends rollout of Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine

Editor’s note: Following the publication of this article it was announced that Health Minister, Dr Zwelini Mkhize, would make an “announcement on South Africa’s response in consideration of the FDA’s decision to advise on the temporary suspension of the Johnson and Johnson Vaccine in the United States of America”. Click on the link above for the full story.

Sahpra spokesperson Yuven Gounden said a special meeting would be held between the Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize and Professor Glenda Gray, who is the co-principal investigator for the local J&J trial, as well as all stakeholders involved, to discuss the way forward.

ALSO READ: US may ‘pause’ J&J vaccine use as SA awaits 30m doses

“We will probably release all the details tomorrow [Wednesday] after we have had the meeting with all the stakeholders,” said Gounden.

South Africa has ordered 30 million doses of the J&J vaccine, already approved by Sahpra last week.

The single-dose J&J vaccines will also manufactured locally by pharmaceutical giant Aspen in Gqeberha(formerly Port Elizabeth), Eastern Cape.

ALSO READ: Ready for rollout Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine approved

The Aspen facility secured a manufacturing deal with J&J, which the company signed off on Sunday. Production and packaging of the vaccines has already started and delivered is expected later in April.

The J&J vaccine is said to be 85% effective in preventing severe illness from Covid-19. The vaccine also reduces symptomatic Covid-19 disease by 67%.

According to Sahpra, individuals over the age of 18 are able to receive the J&J vaccine jab.

Joburg ANC angered by DA’s opposition to Winnie Mandela Drive

April 12th 2021 at 12:15

The ANC has blasting the Democratic Alliance’s (DA’s) opposition of the renaming of William Nicole Drive to Winnie Madikizela-Mandela Drive.

The DA launched an online petition on Monday calling for those against the renaming of the road that connects Bryanston, Fourways, and many suburbs several suburbs beyond Sandton, Hyde Park, and Rosebank and ultimately to the Johannesburg CBD via Jan Smuts Avenue.

“Why spend taxpayer money on this? We call on residents to sign this petition and stop this illegal and pointless name change,” reads the DA’s petition on Twitter.

The ANC said that it was not surprising that “the DA continues to expose its intransigent attitude towards an all-inclusive and representative government”.

❗️The ANC is on a mission to rename WILLIAM NICOL DR after Winnie Mandela. In a time of economic crisis why spend taxpayer money on this ⁉️We call on residents to sign this petition and stop this illegal and pointless name change❗️ https://t.co/j9YyuIFRSV ????

— Joburg DA Caucus (@DA_JHB) April 12, 2021

The ANC has labelled the petition as a “mere continuation of its non-repentant behaviour in protecting and preserving remnants of apartheid”.

ALSO READ: Makhubo calls for public input on renaming of William Nicol Drive

“The DA’s objections must be condemned and disregarded by society at large, but it must also be seen as what they exactly represent- racist backwardness and non-representation,” reads the statement.

Mmusi Maimane drawn in

Wittingly or not, the statement also dragged OneSA movement leader and former DA leader Mmusi Maimane into the mix.

“The DA has fumbled through a severe political identity crisis using black faces to create an ‘all-inclusive’ facade.

“Yet of late, this cosmetic feature has unravelled, with former leader Tony Leon affirming that the DA never intended to lose its racist roots, but blacks were a mere experiment/project.”

The party said that it would forge ahead with its plan to have the road renamed, as this would be beneficial for generations to come.

“It goes without question the role and contributions of Mama Winnie Mandela, and therefore, it’s befitting such a name change would strongly signify the transformation we strive for and honour her name for generations to come,” reads the statement.

SACAA grounds commercial flights at Polokwane Airport

April 7th 2021 at 11:37

Polokwane International Airport has been downgraded to CAT2 level, which means that it does not meet the standard requirements for commercial air services.

It was the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) that took the decision to downgrade the airport, according to SACAA spokesperson Kabelo Ledwaba.

Ledwaba said due to confidentiality, Sacaa was unable to disclose the findings in detail.

He said the following requirements were not met by the airport:

  • Civil infrastructure
  • Apron services
  • Fire and rescue services
  • Aerodrome quality management systems

“These were repeated non-compliances, meaning that they were not closed within the agreed time periods and resurfaced during follow-up audits,” said Ledwaba.

ALSO READ: SA Airlink on SAA rescue plan: ‘It’s a sham’

“We have given Polokwane Airport sufficient time to close the non-compliances and they have failed to comply. Hence this decision to downgrade.”

Airlink pulls out

This information surfaced after Airlink announced in a statement on Wednesday that it was suspending all its flights at the airport with immediate effect.

The airline said that it was informed by the Sacaa on Tuesday night that the airport in Polokwane had been de-categorised.

“The current status of the airport presents as an operational safety concern, and it would be illegal to operate scheduled services at the airport,” reads the statement.

“It is regrettable that the airport did not advise Airlink of the impending threat of de-categorisation and its inability to provide the minimum level of emergency services required to maintain its aerodrome license category.”

The airline said that it would work with Polokwane Airport management to establish when the airport would address its non-compliances and regain the minimum category required to accommodate scheduled commercial air services.

Airlink said it had explored all options, including the possibility of operating at the Pietersburg Civil Aerodrome, which also offers no rescue fire fighting services and therefore is unable to accept scheduled commercial flights.

“Customers will be contacted directly, and an update will be provided as soon as Airlink receives more information from the Polokwane Airport,” reads the statement.

ALSO READ: Aviation authority slams ‘obsession’ over SAA’s vaccine flight

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Scopa probe into racism allegations against Eskom CEO put on hold

April 7th 2021 at 11:14

Parliament’s standing committee on public accounts (Scopa) on Tuesday unanimously decided to put a hold on its inquiry into allegations of racism against Eskom chief executive officer (CEO) Andre de Ruyter.

The committee agreed to allow the power utility to first carry out its internal investigation.

The Eskom board announced last week that it had appointed an independent senior counsel to conduct the investigation, advocate Ishmael Semenya.

ALSO READ: ‘End of Eskom’: Expert says power utility is lying about Oracle plan B

Semenya will interview people, consider evidence and then report back to the board with recommendations.

Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan sent a letter to the committee requesting it to suspend its investigation until Eskom’s internal investigation was completed and reported to Parliament.

Scopa chairperson Mkhuleko Hlengwa said there was no reason to duplicate the investigation.

His sentiments were echoed by ANC MP Mervyn Dirks, who said that if the investigation continued it would be a waste of resources.

Hlengwa said the issue should have been tackled some 14 months ago as suspended chief procurement officer Solly Tshitangano had flagged it then.

The committee agreed Eskom faced large-scale problems and should not be distracted.

ALSO READ: Eskom investigates allegations of racism against CEO Andre de Ruyter

“The consensus is that we hold our investigation in abeyance, but for Eskom to understand as a committee we will continue with our work,” Hlengwa said.

“Largely members are in agreement to accede to the request and as a committee we will hold our investigation in abeyance for Eskom to do what it was supposed to do 14 months ago.”

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PowerBall results: Friday, 02 April 2021

April 2nd 2021 at 15:03

Get the PowerBall and PowerBall Plus results as soon as they are drawn on The Citizen, so you can rest easy and check your tickets with confidence.

While great care has been taken to ensure accuracy, The Citizen cannot take responsibility for any error in the PowerBall or PowerBall Plus results. We suggest verifying the numbers on the National Lottery website.

Here are the winning PowerBall results for Friday, 02 April 2021:

PowerBall: 4, 8, 15, 25, 26 Powerball: 17

Here are the winning PowerBall Plus results for Friday, 02 April 2021:

PowerBall Plus: 7, 10, 34, 37, 42 Powerball:  6

For more details and to verify the PowerBall results, visit the National Lottery website.

When do South African national Lottery ticket sales close? 

Lottery outlets close at 8.30pm on the day of a draw, which happens at 9pm. The terms and conditions may differ from other service outlets. Visit www.nationallottery.co.za for more information.

Click here for previous winning numbers.

How much does it cost to play PowerBall?

PowerBall entries cost R5 per board including VAT. PowerBall Plus costs an additional R2.50 per board. You can also play PowerBall on selected banking apps (T’s & C’s apply).

Visit www.nationallottery.co.za and go to the How to Play section to find out more.

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Covid-19 outbreaks at higher learning institutions worrying says Prof

April 2nd 2021 at 14:16

There is high a rise in pocket infections of Covid-19 at higher learning institutions in South Africa.

This was revealed to Citizen.co.za by Professor Ramneek Ahluwalia, CEO of Higher Health, an agency mandated by the Department of Higher Education to safeguard student health and well-being in higher learning institutions within post-schooling education and training sector.

“The current outbreaks across some of our institutions are extremely worrying, and remind us of the brutal second wave that has just passed South Africa,” said Ahluwalia.

ALSO READ: Ignoring Covid-19 protocols can get you fired, says labour expert

Ahluwalia said as a response to the latest outbreaks the agency has trained over 500 staff members involved in student support, security, residential, cleaning, and other support services on Covid protocols, disinfection, and other safety measures.”

“We saw how rapidly South Africa was pushed into the second wave of the pandemic in December following super-spreader school-end events, like the Ballito “rage” party.”

“While Covid has largely been detrimental for the older population groups, the virus is mutating and new variants are showing a higher affinity towards young people who can serve as carriers and fasten the spread of infection. Unfortunately, that would fire up the third wave.”

Ahluwalia has since urged students and staffers at higher learning institutions to adhere to Covid protocols.

“It is normal and understandable to feel excited to be starting your tertiary education or to be happy to meet your peers.”

“We are asking students and everyone in the academic sector to respect the health of their families and others in their social circles and to join in a social compact.”

ALSO READ: Zimbabwe puts SA to shame on Covid-19 jab front

Higher Health has been working closely with higher education and training institutions, the Department of Health, the National Institute of Communicable Diseases and the National Health Laboratory Service.

Ahluwalia said that over 3 000 students and staff have been screened and contact traced, and over 300 individuals have been tested over the last two weeks.

He said that there was fear that during the Easter holidays, students might take infections into families and communities.

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Seven officers fired after probe into Black inmate’s death

April 2nd 2021 at 12:05

Seven officers involved in the custodial death of a Black jail inmate in the US state of Texas have been fired.

The officers violated sheriff’s office policies and procedures leading up to the death of Marvin Scott III, Collin County Sheriff Jim Skinner said in a news release on Thursday.

An eighth officer resigned. Scott, 26, was arrested on March 14 at a mall in Allen on a cannabis possession charge, according to media reports.

Officers took Scott to a hospital because he was reportedly acting erratically. He was released and police took him to the county jail where Scott began to exhibit “some strange behaviour”, Skinner said at a March 19 news conference.

Detention officers placed Scott on a restraint bed, used pepper spray and covered his face with a spit mask. Scott became unresponsive at some point and was later pronounced dead at a hospital. Family members told news outlets that Scott had schizophrenia and may have been suffering a mental health crisis. A statement by family lawyer Lee Merritt said Scott’s funeral took place on Wednesday.

“Just one day after the funeral of Marvin Scott III, the Collin County Sheriff has fired 7 detention officers in connection with his death,” the statement said. “We are pleased with this decision and consider this progress.”

The statement asked the fired officers to “be arrested and brought to justice”. Skinner’s statement said the Texas Rangers were continuing to investigate Scott’s death.

ALSO READ: Oscar Pistorius is a ‘model inmate’ in prison as parole rumours swirl

The firings come as the Minneapolis trial of officer Derek Chauvin, who has been charged with murder and manslaughter for kneeling on the neck of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man, for nearly nine minutes in May last year.

Video of Floyd’s death sparked racial justice protests across the US. On Thursday, Chauvin’s supervisor said there was no justification for the officer to keep his knee on Floyd’s neck as long as he did.

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Oxfam stuffers suspended in DR Congo over sexual misconduct claims

April 2nd 2021 at 11:59

British aid charity Oxfam has said it suspended two staff members in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) as part of an investigation launched last year into alleged sexual misconduct and bullying.

Oxfam, which works in 67 countries, sent a statement to the AFP news agency saying it had suspended two staff members “as part of an ongoing external investigation, which we set up last November”.

It said this was over the “allegations of abuses of power, including bullying and sexual misconduct”. The charity said it had reported this to the Charity Commission, a government department that regulates charities.

ALSO READ: 31 dead in DR Congo plague outbreak

The Times newspaper ran a front-page story on Friday headlined: “Oxfam rocked by new sex claims against aid workers”. It said it saw a letter about the situation in the DRC, signed by current and former Oxfam staff and sent to the charity heads in February, claiming “power abuses” and “threats to their lives” and making allegations against 11 people.

It said whistle-blowers had been raising concerns about alleged misconduct in the aid mission to the DRC since 2015. Oxfam’s statement said it is “working hard to conclude the investigation fairly, safely and effectively”.

Haiti scandal The anti-poverty charity was hit by a major scandal in 2018 over the way it handled staff in Haiti who admitted using prostitutes, after British daily The Times reported on this.

The chief executive quit after it emerged that several of the aid workers in Haiti following the 2010 earthquake were allowed to quit, including the then country director.

The scandal prompted wider revelations about the lack of safeguarding in the international charitable sector.

In March, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab allowed Oxfam to reapply for state aid funds for the first time in three years after the Charity Commission said it had made “significant strides” in safeguarding since the 2018 scandal. Oxfam had received some 30 million pounds ($41m) in state aid funds per year.

ALSO READ: DRC halts AstraZeneca vaccine rollout to investigate ‘side-effects’

Sarah Champion, chairwoman of the Commons international development committee, told The Times that the latest scandal shows “the existing safeguarding and oversight mechanisms simply don’t work”.

Oxfam announced in 2020 that it was closing 18 offices and cutting nearly 1,500 jobs due to a drop in funds linked to the coronavirus pandemic.

Oxfam’s work in the DRC includes providing clean water and education on preventing Ebola transmission, according to its website.

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Magashule ‘busy consulting’, says ANC’s Mashatile

April 2nd 2021 at 10:41

The African National Congress’s Secretary-General Ace Magashule is using his 30-day grace period for further consultations after being ordered by the party’s national executive committee (NEC) to step aside.

This was revealed by the party’s treasurer-general Paul Mashatile on Friday at a wreath-laying ceremony organised by the ANC at the gravesite of struggle stalwart Winnie Madikizela-Mandela at Fourways Memorial Park in Johannesburg.

ALSO READ: Winnie Mandela would have called for unity, renewal of ANC, says Ramaphosa

Magashule did not attend the ceremony, something that raised questions as he faces the possibility of being booted out of the party as faces criminal charges.

Mashatile gave assurance that Magashule was still the party’s SG.

“The secretary-general is not suspended he is in his position,” said Mashatile.

“He has requested more time to do further consultation on matters that affect him and we are giving him that space.”

President Cyril Ramaphosa also echoed Mashatile’s sentiments.

“The secretary-general is not here because he is in Parys in the Free State doing a whole lot of other things, you can see that not all leaders (are here), the national chair is not here the DP is not here, DSG is not here so it does not mean that you know everyone has to be…” said Ramaphosa.

ALSO READ: ‘Cyril is making a terrible mistake,’ says Malema on Magashule

Ramaphosa said that the party was hard at work in ensuring unity, and demolish party factionalism witnessed lately.

“The project of unity is what the ANC is about, it is not about to collapse,” said Ramaphosa.

“Actually it is being turbocharged, it is turbocharged to another higher level of vigour, and of full commitment,” added Ramaphosa.

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Man accused of ordering hit on wife to remain in jail after trial postponed

April 2nd 2021 at 09:21

The case against a Limpopo man accused of ordering a hit on his wife and her friend has yet to be finalised, with defence lawyers arguing against further postponements because the accused has been in custody for a while.

Thabo Stanley Leshabane, 57, is alleged to have hired hitmen to kill his 46-year-old wife Makoena Mabusela-Leshabane.

She was shot dead together with her friend Tebogo Mphuti, 35, after viewing a business property in Polokwane on 10 October 2020.

Leshabane appeared in the Polokwane Magistrate’s Court on Thursday with his co-accused believed to be the “hitmen” – Ndondo Buthelezi, 25, John Zulu, 30, Bhekimuzi Phiyose, 34, and Thembelani Dlamini, 30.

Their lawyers argued against the State’s submission that the case is postponed for three months for further police investigation. Forensic tests, post-mortem results, and cellphone data still need to be finalised, and there was a backlog.

The defence lawyers said their clients, who were all denied bail, had been in custody for a long time now, and “it seems they are serving a sentence.”

WATCH: Man killed at funeral, bullets later fly at after tears

They asked Magistrate Prakash Maharaj to mark the postponement as “final”. Maharaj said he would not do this, but told the State to speedily obtain everything it needed. The case was postponed to 17 May.

Leshabane was arrested on 23 October 2020. It emerged during the bail application that he “admitted” to the crime and had also tried to commit suicide. It also emerged that his co-accused made statements apparently implicating each other in the crime.

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