Weekly News Brief

Weekly News Brief
photo:: iinfo TZANEEN

HEADLINE NEWS THIS WEEK

The South African elections have come and gone. The president has appointed his cabinet and now the time for the State Of The Nation Address. The event this year will be without a lot of the usual pomp and trimmings. Parliament has cut the budget for the event to R2 million down from R9.5 million five years ago. Deputy National Assembly Speaker Lechesa Tsenoli said there would be no junior or civil guard of honour for the state procession and eminent persons from the nine provinces wouldn’t be present. There’ll also be no praise singer, or imbongi, to lead Ramaphosa into the chamber. On the same note, Several former ministers have resigned over the last two weeks. Their resignations come not too long after they were sworn in as MPs after the May elections.

This week, the State Capture Inquiry Turned To SAA. The inquiry heard how the South African Airways (SAA) board, the national carrier’s former treasurer Cynthia Stimpel, testified that the SAA board irregularly made decisions and ordered them to be carried out by the state-owned company. She told how the South African Airways (SAA) board unilaterally rejected the recommendations related to a R15 billion loan and instructed that the finance be obtained from the Free State Development Corporation (FDC). Earlier on Monday, Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo revealed that he plans to establish a special task team to investigate whether Parliament properly exercised its oversight role in relation to state capture and corruption.

In the corridors of justice, Adam Catzavelos,  the South African man who went on a racist video rant while on holiday on a Greek island, is now facing prosecution in Greece as well. Meanwhile here in South Africa, he has approaching the National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP) regarding the jurisdiction of South African law on his crimen injuria charge. The case has been postponed to 10 July. Vicki Momberg who was convicted on a racist charge on Tuesday said the justice system had closed its doors on her, after being abandoned by her sixth lawyer.  After failing to convince the court that she would be able to secure representation, Momberg was forced to argue her case on Tuesday. The Western Caper High Court handed Constantia businessman Rob Packham a 20-year sentence for the murder of his wife Gill Packham. And wife killer Christopher Panayiotou  has gone to the Constitutional Court to appeal his conviction. The Port Elizabeth businessman was serving a life sentence for orchestrating the murder of his wife, Jayde Panayiotou, in 2015.

The embattled eThekwini Mayor Zandile Gumede has taken a 30 days leave of absence, starting from Monday. The mayor is currently on a R50,000 bail after being arrested on fraud and corruption charges for allegedly defrauding the city on a tender worth R208 million. The African National Congress (ANC) in KwaZulu-Natal asked her in a resolution to give the party time to finalise her matter. Gumede has said she will not resign from her mayoral post.  In other developments, Tshwane Mayor Stevens Mokgalapa said he has kept to his promise to not be an office mayor but rather to be a service delivery mayor. He said terminating the GladAfrica consultancy agreement was among his achievements in his first 100 days in office.

OTHER THINGS WE LIKED

Police have established a specialised team to track down the gunmen who ambushed anti-gang unit (AGU) members in Samora Machel in Nyanga. Six officers came under attack while conducting an operation on Wednesday.

Caster Semenya won Tuesday’s rarely-run 2,000m race in Montreuil, east of Paris, amid her ongoing legal battle with the IAAF over its testosterone rules. The double 800m Olympic champion, who was racing for the first time since a controversial new gender ruling came into effect, finished in 5min 38.19sec ahead of Ethiopian pair Hawi Feysa and Adanech Anbesa.

Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi said on the smart identity cards said the full roll-out of the cards should bring about an end to cases of fraudulent marriages. The green bar-coded ID was vulnerable to security breaches which allowed for instances of identity duplication to the detriment of unsuspecting victims. According to an EWN exposé, many women have been trapped in fake marriages following the theft of their identity cards and forgery of marriage documents using the stolen cards.

ICYMI

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