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Corruption Watch pleased with Cronje’s appointment at NPA
18 May 2019, 9:34 AM

Executive Director of Corruption Watch David Lewis says President Cyril Ramaphosa’s appointment of Advocate Hermione Cronje as Head of the new Investigating Directorate at the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) demonstrates his commitment to fighting with corruption.

The establishment of the unit was announced in the State of the Nation Address in February.

In March, Ramaphosa proclaimed the establishment of the new Investigating Directorate.

The Investigating Directorate is tasked with investigating common law offences including fraud, forgery, uttering, theft and any offence involving dishonesty.

Lewis has described the appointment as a great development.

“We’re very positive about the pace at which this has unfolded because I think the principal purpose of the directorate as it was stated in the State of the Nation address is to deal with corruption offences effectively. It was the right idea from the start. Advocate Cronje has a very solid, impressive reputation. I don’t know her but I have read about her and heard about her,” says Lewis.

From 1998 to 2012, Adv Cronje was employed in various capacities in the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) of South Africa – first as an assistant to the first National Director of Public Prosecutions; as founding member of the Asset Forfeiture Unit, and for 10 years as Regional Head of the Asset Forfeiture Unit in the Western Cape.

In her last year in the NPA she was involved in the establishment of the Anti-Corruption Task Team (ACTT), a multi-agency task team established to investigate, prosecute and recover the assets of persons involved in large-scale corruption.

Since 2013, Adv Cronje has been engaged as a consultant on behalf of the Stolen Assets Recovery Initiative (StAR) – a joint initiative of the World Bank and UNODC. In this capacity she has worked as an advisor and mentor to asset recovery and anti-corruption units in Tanzania, Uganda, Namibia, Kenya, Nigeria, Romania, Ukraine, Moldova and Sri Lanka.

She is also a practising advocate of the High Court of South Africa.

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Australian voters tipped to elect Labor government
18 May 2019, 7:40 AM

Australians began voting in a federal election on Saturday, with bookies predicting a return to power for the Labor party after six years in the political wilderness and a campaign in which it has put climate change and tax reform at the top of its agenda.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has made economic management the centrepiece of the campaign for his conservative Liberal-National coalition, which has held power since 2013.

Poll opened at 8 a.m. (2200 GMT on Friday) and will close at 6 p.m. (0800 GMT). Voting is compulsory in Australia and the result should be known on Saturday evening.

The campaign ended on a sombre note, with the death on Thursday of the popular former prime minister and Labor stalwart Bob Hawke. Hawke, who was prime minister from 1983 to 1991, was 89.

While it seems unlikely that Hawke’s death will have any impact on how voters cast their ballots, Labor leader Bill Shorten said it had made him more determined than ever.

“I already feel a responsibility to millions of people to win. But sure, I want to do it for Bob as well. I don’t want to let his memory down,” Shorten told Channel Nine.

Shorten seems to have struck a chord with voters who feel financially left behind and are worried about the environment with his promise to cut both generous tax concessions enjoyed by the wealthy and greenhouse gases.

Morrison has criticised Labor’s policy as an attack on people’s aspirations.

A final opinion poll conducted by Newspoll for The Weekend Australian on Friday showed Labor’s lead over the National-Liberal coalition at 51.5 percent to 48.5 percent.

“I am nervous because it’s a big day, it’s a very big deal,” Shorten said on Saturday. “But I’m confident that we have done the homework.”

Shorten will vote in Melbourne in his seat of Maribyrnong, while Morrison is spending the day visiting polling booths in Tasmania before heading home to Sydney to vote.

Opinion polls indicate that Morrison has narrowed Labor’s lead during the campaign, but many voters are still angry about the ousting of his socially moderate predecessor, Malcolm Turnbull, in a backbench revolt last August.

Turnbull was the second prime minister to be ousted while in office by the ruling Liberal Party amid deep divisions over climate and energy policy.

While polls show most Australians support stronger action to tackle climate change, Morrison’s coalition strongly supports the coal industry.

Morrison has said Australia would meet its commitment under the Paris Accord to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by between 26% and 28% on 2005 levels, but says more ambitious targets would damage the economy.

Shorten said that, if elected, his government would aim to cut carbon emissions by 45% from 2005 levels by 2030, with net zero emissions by 2050.

With about 17 million eligible voters, the Electoral Commission is operating more than 7,000 polling stations in venues such as surf clubs, schools and public halls.

There will also be about 90 voting centres overseas.

A time difference of two hours between the east and west coasts means voting centres in Western Australia will still be open as the initial counts start coming on the populous east coast.


Voting proceeded peacefully in Gauteng, despite unrest: IEC
9 May 2019, 9:53 AM

The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) says despite several incidents of unrest over service delivery concerns in the run-up to the elections; overall voting proceeded peacefully in Gauteng. Two elderly people died at voting stations in Tshwane and the Vaal on Thursday.

Police received reports of a car theft incident and another of an attempted car theft in Pretoria. Acting Gauteng IEC Provincial Officer Thabo Masemola has acknowledged they had challenges with faulty scanners, shortage of ballot and unprofessional conduct by some IEC officials.

He says they managed to open all 2 771 voting stations across the province.

“One of our major problems yesterday was that people were shopping for shorter queues. So remember for national and provincial elections, you can vote at any voting station so it becomes a problem to predict how many people are going to turn up at that specific voting station.”


Steady progress in vote counting: Gauteng IEC
9 May 2019, 6:09 AM

The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) in Gauteng says it expects a spike in the number of results coming in later on Thursday.

Currently, there’s steady progress in the counting of votes and results are slowly trickling in.

In the last hour, about 5% of voting districts had completed counting votes.

The African National Congress (ANC) was in the lead with 50% of the votes followed by the Democratic Alliance (DA) with 26% and in third position was the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) with 13% of the votes.

These are initial statistics and no predictions can be made at this stage.

Deputy Manager for Electoral Matters at IEC Ledimo Nthejane says their teams are working hard.

“The picture has changed substantially from the point when the voting stations closed. During the course of today, there will be a spike as presiding officers will be finalising their counting. There will be significant progress on the results that will be processed as the day progresses towards the afternoon and evening.”



Voting signals hope for the future: Sithole
8 May 2019, 12:59 PM

DA Premier Candidate in Mpumalanga Jane Sithole says politicians have to give people hope to participate in the voting process.

Sithole made the remarks after casting her vote at Bankenveld in Emalahleni.

Sithole encouraged voters to go to the polling stations to vote in order to give a mandate to the party of their choice.

Most of the 114 voting stations opened on time.

She says a vote is a symbol of hope for the future.



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