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APC calls for nationalisation of land, Reserve Bank
23 February 2019, 1:12 PM

The president of the African People’s Convention (APC) has committed to the nationalisation of land and the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) among other pledges in its election manifesto on Saturday.

The party’s leader Themba Godi was addressing supporters in Mninginisi village, outside Giyani, Limpopo.

Godi started his address by acknowledging contributions by struggle icons and emphasised that the APC believes that socialism is the solution for the attainment of happiness and well-being of the African nation and the working class.

In its manifesto, the APC commits to improve infrastructure, employment and to prioritize agriculture and mining.

“There will be a standardisation of farm sizes for substinence farming, small and large scale commercial farming. No individual will have more than one farm, however, co-operatives can be allocated more than one farm on account of their production excellence…The APC will ensure that strategic minerals are in the hands of the State through total ownership or in partnership with private companies,” says Godi.

Scores of supporters have gathered in a local sport stadium for the launch of the manifesto ahead of the May general elections.

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Read the APC’s election manifesto below:

 

 

First private cardiac facility opens in Soweto
23 February 2019, 10:28 AM

Residents of Soweto in the south of Johannesburg will get world class care as a private cardiac facility opens in the area.

The Gauteng Department of Health has given the Clinix Health Group a licence to operate the facility at its Dr SK Matseke Memorial Hospital in Diepkloof.

Clinix is a black-owned health company that operates in various hospitals in South Africa.

Dr Mpho Sebesho, a cardiologist with the Clinix Health Group, says there has been an increase in heart diseases among black men and women.

“A lot of patients, particularly black patients, now recently a lot of them have these metabolic issues with heart attacks, diabetes, hypertension and all of that. The problem with these diseases is they’re all diseases of lifestyle. People don’t walk long distances that they used to walk when they used to live in rural areas.

“People have cars, people don’t go to gym, you know. People watch TV essentially lead a very sedentary lifestyle. People are not active and even the food that we eat we eat a lot of processed food. Now I mean even youngsters it’s not uncommon to see a 30 year old who comes in with a massive heart attack and it’s all related to this diseases of lifestyle,” says Dr Sebesho.

 

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DA hopeful of winning Gauteng
23 February 2019, 10:27 AM

The Democratic Alliance (DA) says it is expecting more than 20 000 people to attend the launch of its election manifesto at the Rand Stadium in Johannesburg on Saturday.

The party says it’s confident of a win in Gauteng in the general elections on the 8th of May.

Party leader in Gauteng, John Moodey, says the DA’s document, which is titled ”Manifesto for Change” is a culmination of consultations with South Africans.

“Yes the DA will be out here in out masses, we expecting around 20,000 people this event – the biggest event ever held by the DA. And this reminds me of the April 2016 when we hosted our campaign right here in the very same venue – and this time around, two or three years later we hosting the event in a DA metro,” says Moodey.

As the DA prepares to launch its election manifesto, it is facing several challenges including internal divisions.

However, the party is hopeful that it will make gains on its electoral support that currently stands at 22% in the May general elections.

Political Analyst, Ralph Mathekga, says the party’s flip-flopping on empowerment policies reflects an inadequacy in genuine policy formulation and articulation.

“What is going in the DA regarding black economic empowerment is a demonstration of the party’s inability to formulate its own position. It appears to me that when the DA wants to take a position on an issue, they seem to be worried about firstly, how that will be received in the public dialogue, who’s saying what in the public dialogue and they take a position. They just improvise as they go along, they change their position as if they’re just gauging the public mood,” says Mathekga.

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Read the DA Election Manifesto below:

 

 

Sudan’s Bashir declares state-of-emergency
23 February 2019, 8:49 AM

Sudan President Omar al-Bashir, facing the country’s biggest popular protests since he came to power 30 years ago, declared a one-year state of emergency on Friday and called on parliament to postpone constitutional amendments that would allow him to seek another term in a 2020 presidential election.

In a televised speech, Bashir said he would dissolve the central government as well as state governments.

“Firm economic measures should be taken in a new government”, says Bashir adding that he would assign that task to a qualified team.

“I extend a sincere invitation to the opposition forces, who are still outside the path of national reconciliation … to move forward and engage in the dialogue regarding the current issues of our country,” says Bashir.

In a subsequent decree, Bashir set up a caretaker administration comprising a senior official from each ministry but kept the defence, foreign and justice ministers in place.

The anti-government demonstrations began on 19 December, triggered by price increases and cash shortages but quickly developed into protests against Bashir’s rule.

After Bashir’s speech, angry protesters in the city of Omdurman chanted “Freedom!” and set fire to tyres while others blocked a main road, a Reuters witness said. Police there fired tear gas and chased protesters through small streets.

The National Consensus Forces, one of Sudan’s main opposition groups, said the response to Bashir’s declaration of a state of emergency should be more protests.

“(T)he regime declared a state of emergency to counter our popular revolution, which will not stop, God willing, before we achieve our goals and topple the regime”, the group said in a statement.

Two weeks before the protests broke out, a majority of lawmakers had backed proposed amendments to the constitution that would allow Bashir to run for another term.

However last Saturday, the parliamentary committee tasked with amending the constitution said it would indefinitely postpone a meeting to draft these changes.

Ahead of Bashir’s speech, security forces fired tear gas to disperse at least 200 protesters in the capital, Khartoum, eyewitnesses said. The Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA), the main protest organizer, issued a call for additional demonstrations.

“The demands of this revolution are clear … foremost that this regime and its head step aside, including its repressive institutions”, the SPA said in a statement.

Bashir, an Islamist and former army officer, came to power in 1989 after a military coup. He won elections in 2010 and 2015 after changes in the constitution following a peace agreement with southern rebels, who then seceded to form South Sudan.

Bashir had previously blamed the protests on foreign “agents”, and challenged his rivals to seek power through the ballot box. He had shown no sign that he was prepared to concede any power.

But earlier this month he softened his tone dramatically, saying the protesters are mostly young people with poor prospects.

Even then Bashir warned against destabilising the Sudanese state, saying, “You can look at what happened in Libya”, which has been in a state of turmoil since a 2011 civil war led to the overthrow of longstanding dictator Muammar Gaddafi.

Activists say nearly 60 people have been killed during the protests, while authorities put the death toll at 32, including three security personnel.

Security forces have used tear gas and live bullets to disperse protesters, and have made hundreds of arrests, including of opposition party members, activists and journalists.

Bashir is wanted by the International Criminal Court overcharges of masterminding genocide in the Darfur region, which he denies. He has been lobbying for Sudan to be removed from list of countries which Washington deems state sponsors of terrorism.

The listing has blocked the investment and financial aid that Sudan was hoping for when the United States (US) lifted sanctions in 2017, economists say.

R Kelly surrenders to police after sexual abuse charges
23 February 2019, 7:08 AM

United States (US) musician, R Kelly, has surrendered to police in Chicago after being charged with 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse.

The R&B singer who has faced charges of sexual misconduct for two decades, was indicted by a grand jury in Cook County, Illinois. He is expected to appear in court later on Saturday and will be formally charged on the 8th of March.

In the latest development, Cook County prosecutors reportedly received a 45-minute video tape said to show R.Kelly performing sex acts with a girl who talks about her age and her 14-year old genitalia.

The multi-award-winning musician known for hits like “I Believe I Can Fly” has consistently denied the charges with a statement from his lawyer indicating that he’d never knowingly engaged in sex with underage women or forced anyone to do anything.

Multiple women have accused the 52 year-old singer of physical, mental and sexual abuse. A documentary series released and aired earlier this year titled “Surviving R Kelly” focused on Kelly’s history of sexual abuse and brought an international spotlight on his alleged predatory behaviour.

In 2002 he was indicted and later acquitted on 21 counts of child pornography over a video made in the late 1990s purportedly showing him engaged in sexual acts with a 13-year old.

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