Weekly News Brief

Weekly News Brief
Union Buildings-Nelson Mandela Statue. photo credits: flickr.com

HEADLINE NEWS THIS WEEK

The State Capture Commission this week had former President Jacob Zuma on the witness box to answer questions regarding happenings during his reign especially in regards to the effect his relationship with the Gupta’s and the influence they had over his appointments of cabinet ministers. Zuma’s lawyers on Wednesday withdrew their client’s participation at the proceedings, citing unfair questioning. However, on Friday morning, Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo announced  the decision that the former president would no longer participate in the proceedings had been withdrawn. with the former president’s lawyer Muzi Sikhakhane telling the commission that Zuma would take no further part in the proceedings. The former President has been invited to the state capture commission to tell his side of the story and answer to allegations that implicated him in matters involving corruption and irregular happenings during the time he was in power.

In Johannesburg, illegal land invasions issues continue to make headlines as more and more communities rise up in arms to protest what they accuse the authorities of turning a blind eye to land invasions. More officers have been deployed to southern Joburg on Friday morning as protests over illegal land occupation spread to more areas. Residents in Kliptown and Protea South have now joined communities from Lenasia South, Ennerdale, Zakariyya Park and Eldorado Park in voicing their anger and frustration. They’ve now taken matters into their own hands, bringing the areas to a standstill by barricading main roads. On Friday morning, Zakariyya Park was in total shutdown; roads were closed with burning tyres and bricks. Drivers and commuters had a hard time getting to work as a result.

The week has also seen the Public Protector find that President Cyril Ramaphosa deliberately misled Parliament in relation to a R500,000 donation to his African National Congress (ANC) election campaign fund. Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane released the findings of her report at a briefing in Pretoria on Friday. In November 2018, Ramaphosa responded to a question in which he claimed that the money was in fact payment to his son for services but he later corrected. Mkhwebane has not only found that President Cyril Ramaphosa misled Parliament but that he also improperly exposed himself to a situation involving a conflict of interest. She also found that there was an improper relationship between the president and his family and African Global Operations – formerly known as Bosasa.

In Cape Town, the war on gangs has culminated in the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) troops being officially deployed and are expected to continue operations indefinitely. SANDF rolled into gang-plagued Cape Flats neighbourhoods on Thursday causing a sense of excitement among residents. The army was in Manenberg and Hanover Park providing support to SAPS members. The Police minister Bheki Cele, who made the announcement last week said there are 10 key areas that have been identified where army deployment could help police, including Manenberg, Bishop Lavis, Mitchells Plain, and Nyanga. Residents have desperately waited for the deployment of the SANDF to gang-stricken neighbourhoods.

The week also saw South Africa lose two of her valued artists, Johnny Clegg, the 66-year-old musician and anthropologist, dubbed the “White Zulu”, passed away on Tuesday after battling pancreatic cancer. He was on Wednesday laid to rest in a private ceremony attended by his family and some of his band members. Clegg has been described as a unifier who fought against apartheid through his music and teachings, Clegg was honoured worldwide. Veteran actress Nomhle Nkonyeni, also passed on and her funeral was today, Friday, in her hometown of Port Elizabeth. Thousands of mourners are expected to gather at the Nangoza Jebe Hall in New Brighton to bid farewell to Nkonyeni, who passed away last week after a short illness. She was 77-years-old.  Nkonyeni was a respected member of the arts and entertainment community, having had many roles in her decades-long career in television, film and theatre. May their souls rest in peace.

OTHER THINGS WE LIKED

In yet another front, the Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane and President Cyril Ramaphosa have been at loggerheads for weeks over the implementation of one of her reports, official correspondence attached to court papers reveal. Mkhwebane has accused Ramaphosa of failing to uphold the integrity of the Constitution and said he would need to act to implement the remedial action or risk causing a “Constitutional crisis”. On Monday, Ramaphosa filed urgent court papers seeking a declaratory order that confirms he has complied with remedial action set forth by Mkhwebane in her report over the early retirement and pension payout of former SARS deputy commissioner, Ivan Pillay.

Water and Sanitation Minister Lindiwe Sisulu in a bid to bring  changes in the troubled department has said she wants officials to be hands-on seven days a week. Sisulu tabled her department’s R16 billion budget vote on Tuesday where she promised to clean up the department which had run out of money last year. Last year, Parliament also called for a full inquiry into the department, formerly led by Nomvula Mokonyane. Sisulu said that access to water, like many sectors in SA, needed to be transformed.

While presenting his budget for the Department of Defence to Parliament on Tuesday, the Minister of Defence and Military Veterans Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula said budget cuts were putting the ability of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) to carry out its constitutional mandate into question. Mapisa-Nqakula presented the Department of Defence’s R50.5 billion budget . She said over the past few years, the department had been forced to continuously scale down its plans in response to a declining budget. Mapisa-Nqakula said the situation was worsening.

On a brighter note, the South African unit of Ford Motor Co said on Wednesday it would hire an additional 1,200 staff at one of its local assembly plants, an increase of over 25%, to add an extra shift and raise production. The additional shift, which will increase production to 720 vehicles per day, is the result of a R3 billion ($215 million) investment in South Africa that was announced in 2017, aimed at increasing annual production to 168,000 units.

The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) has appealed to the public to allow for the process of funding to be finalised and not to create panic and uncertainty among staff. On Sunday, the Sunday Times reported that the cash-strapped public broadcaster plans on cutting its staff by 33% as part of its turnaround strategy. The paper also claimed the SABC was hoping to save R279 million a year and close down five regional offices. The SABC’s Vuyo Mthembu said this was not true.

ICYMI

Globetrotting Soweto Based String Ensemble Buskaid Perform In Joburg

Linder Auditorium , St Andrew’s Road Parktown, Johannesburg

 July 21 @ 08:00 – 17:00

Tickets 180 to R280

Buskaid, which is based in Diepkloof, Soweto has now entered its 22nd year. In that time, the Buskaid Ensemble has travelled the world 26 times to huge international acclaim. It’s the only South African orchestra to have played at the BBC Proms and was subsequently named as one of the world’s 10 most inspirational orchestras by the UK’s Gramophone Magazine. 

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.