Weekly News Brief

Weekly News Brief
Ladysmith, South Africa - photo creddits: britannica.com

HEADLINE NEWS THIS WEEK

On Thursday last week, President Cyril Ramaphosa delivered the State of the Nation Address (Sona). This was his third Sona and it included the outline for his vision of a better South Africa, a vision that includes the creation of two million jobs for young people in the next 10 years. The National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces held a joint sitting on Tuesday to debate the President’s Sona.  The president was criticised by the opposition over his ambitious dreams to build a new city and a high-speed bullet train network. He was also criticised over a lack of detail in last Thursday’s speech. Some contributors like Economic Freedom Fighter (EFF) MP Naledi Chirwa were forced to withdraw a statement she made during her maiden speech in the National Assembly.

President Cyril Ramaphosa on Wednesday responded to debate saying a new city in South Africa was not a dream but a desired reality.  Ramaphosa said he was advised by officials to put his desire to create a new city under the section on dreams. The President also said that he will soon make public the report of the Presidential Advisory Panel on Land Reform and Agriculture. The panel, chaired by Dr Vuyo Mahlathi, submitted its report to Ramaphosa earlier this month. Ramaphosa said that the report would guide the finalisation of “a far-reaching and transformative land reform programme”. He was replying to debate on his State of the Nation Address in a joint sitting of Parliament on Wednesday.

The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) and Lanxess Chrome Mine management in Rustenburg, have reached an agreement that will see the more than 200 mineworkers who for nine days, refused to come to the surface end their strike. The workers went on the underground strike demanding that action be taken against a mine captain who was alleged to have sexually assaulted and victimised a female employee. Numsa had earlier called on the government to intervene and assist in negotiating a peaceful end to the standoff. The union had also accused mine management of not allowing food to be taken down to the striking workers underground.  Numsa has said its members would return to work at North West on Monday, though they did not divulge the details of the agreement struck with the mine management. Workers who were dismissed have been reinstated but subject to arbitration processes, which will take place

It now falls to Parliament to weigh in on President Cyril Ramaphosa’s decision to fire top National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) prosecutors Nomgcobo Jiba and Lawrence Mrwebi. This comes after the Constitutional Court on Thursday ruled they can continue to practise as advocates, but didn’t make a ruling on whether they were fit for office. Justice Chris Jafta said the case did not have any constitutional bearing.

A report by the Judicial Inspectorate for Correctional Services says that close to 500 inmates die in prisons across the country each year. The JICS has released the latest numbers recorded between 2015 and 2018. A total of 1,495 natural deaths occurred over this period; with most inmates dying from Tuberculosis and HIV/Aids. A further 28 unnatural deaths and 78 suicides were recorded across the 243 correctional services centres in the nation.

At the same time, Minister of Police Bheki Cele says that South Africa is 60 000 police officials away from achieving United Nations standards, according to. The former national police commissioner revealed this during an SABC News interview on Sunday.  At the moment, the country has more than 193 000 officers who ensure that the country’s citizens are safe. But an extra 60 000 officers will help the country meet the basic ratio of one police officer for every 200 people. Currently, SA has one officer for every 383 people – almost double the ratio the UN set.

OTHER THINGS WE LIKED

Caster Semenya will run in her favoured 800m event on Sunday at the Stanford Diamond League in California, free of regulations forcing her to take medication to reduce her testosterone levels. According to Semenya’s lawyers, the Swiss Federal Supreme Court on Friday extended its deadline for submissions relating to the IAAF’s controversial Differences of Sexual Development (DSD) regulations, until 1 July. The court’s deadline extension means the IAAF’s regulations remain suspended until the Swiss court receives submissions from the Court of Arbitration for Sport and arrives at a decision, allowing Semenya to race on Sunday.

Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba now says that the city’s development agency has been responsible for the Alexandra Renewal Project. The project has been under the spotlight amid allegations of misappropriation of funds and corruption after protests over housing in Alexandra. Mashaba said a forensic investigation was under way to find out what happened to the funds and it had already discovered alarming issues related to the project. The mayor said they took a decision to close the project due to a lack of financial assistance.

While Eskom claims Soweto residents now owe the utility more than R18 billion in unpaid electricity bills. In just six months, Soweto residents’ debt increased by more than a R1 billion, pushing the bill to R18 billion. Eskom’s new target was to install more than 26,000 pre-paid electricity meters in the township by the end of March next year. In other developments, Minister in the Presidency Jackson Mthembu said government would produce a white paper, detailing the road map for Eskom’s future within the next three months. Mthembu briefed the media on the outcomes of Wednesday’s Cabinet meeting on Thursday, where the ailing power utility was discussed. Mthembu said work on the white paper had to be completed as soon as possible.

The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) on Tuesday assured its staff that salaries would be paid at the end of June. This followed reports that the broadcaster was struggling to find money to pay employees. Workers union Bemawu said their members were assured that their salaries would be paid.

The Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane has threatened to take legal action against South African Communist Party second deputy general secretary Solly Mapaila over his scathing comments about her capacity. On Wednesday, Mapaila told delegates at National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union policy conference that Mkhwebane should not allow herself to be used as a hired gun  of African National Congress factions. Mapaila said the Public Protector was pursuing what he described as “moral cases,” not criminal matters.

ICYMI

International Maritime Defense Exhibition and Conference 2019

July 23 @ 08:00 – July 24 @ 17:00

Commemorating the 60th anniversary of the Ghanaian Navy, the inaugural International Maritime Defense Exhibition and Conference 2019 will feature the largest gathering of Africa’s maritime industry, as we host regional and international Chiefs of Naval Staff to celebrate this important milestone.