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ANC Secretary General Ace Magashule
24 hours for Zuma
13 February 2018, 2:35 PM

The African National Congress (ANC) has finally resolved to recall President Jacob Zuma if he does not step down within the next 24 hours.

Party Secretary General Ace Magashule says the marathon meeting of their National Executive Committee on Monday night resolved to ask President Zuma to resign, failing which he will be recalled.

Earlier on Tuesday, Magashule and his deputy Jessie Duarte delivered the news to President Zuma.

At a briefing with the media at Luthuli House on Tuesday, Magashule said the party has run out of patience with President Zuma.

This follows mounting pressure from internal structures of the ANC and other political parties that President Zuma should resign.

However, Magashule says Zuma has requested a longer transition period.

Magashule says that the Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa should take over as the President of the country.

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Mabuyakhulu’s arrest may cripple his camp’s chance in elections
8 February 2018, 9:18 PM

Political analysts say the questions being raised about the timing of the arrest of former KwaZulu-Natal MEC Mike Mabuyakhulu underscore the fierce contesting of leadership positions within the ANC in the province.

Mabuyakhulu was arrested this week on charges of corruption linked to a R28 million tender to hold the North Sea Jazz Festival in Durban in 2012.

The national leadership of the ANC recently set aside the results of the KwaZulu-Natal provincial leadership election held in 2016 after it was challenged in court.

Mabuyakhulu was then appointed convenor of the task team set up to organise new party elections within the next few months.

Political analyst Bheki Mngomezulu says Mabuyakhulu’s arrest may cast doubt on his integrity and hurt his camp’s chances in the election.

“If that was to happen it will definitely mean that the squabbles that are currently underway in KwaZulu-Natal will not subside because those who are from Senzo Mchunu’s side will not take this thing lying down and then of course, those who are in Sihle Zikalala’s camp might be rejoicing at this development.”

Meanwhile, Hawks Spokesperson Simphiwe Mhlongo has denied that the timing of the investigation and arrest were politically motivated.

Mhlongo has pointed out that the case was actually referred to them by the provincial government after alleged irregularities were noticed concerning a R28 million tender to hold the North Sea Jazz Festival in Durban in 2012.

Mhlongo says the Hawks completed their investigation first before bringing the suspects to book.

“The issue of political association is not the thing that the Hawks are taking into consideration when they are investigating. Remember, the Hawks’s mandate is to investigate serious corruption, serious organised crime, and serious commercial crime without any fear or favor of who the suspects are.”

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Eskom’s financial crisis could be over soon
8 February 2018, 7:02 PM

The power utility says local financial institutions are now queuing up to lend it money following the drastic changes in management recently.

Not long ago, Eskom was facing collapse amid allegations of widespread corruption and mismanagement.

But now there’s a new board and a new Acting CEO and they’ve wasted no time cleaning up the place and getting rid of senior managers accused of corruption.

The efforts are already paying off. Eskom needs R20 billion to stay afloat until the end of its financial year next month.

It already got R5 billion from the PIC this week and it’s about to secure the remaining R15 billion from local banks.

Thereafter, it will have to secure R70 billion for the next financial year beginning in April.

Meanwhile, the new disciplinary hearing against the controversial Head of Generation Matshela Koko is set to begin next week.

He remains suspended until the matter is finalized.

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Fall Army worm cripples farming in Limpopo
8 February 2018, 6:12 PM

Emerging farmers at an irrigation scheme at Matangari village, outside Thohoyandou in Limpopo, say the presence of the Fall Army Worm is affecting their maize produce.

Farmers belong to an irrigation scheme in the area which covers 1000 hectares and worm has been detected for a second season in all five districts of the province.

The provincial Agriculture Department says Vhembe is one of the areas that are experiencing the worst outbreak.

The department confirmed the return of the worm in two provinces last week.

The seasonal pest mostly feeds on maize.

Farmers fear incurring financial losses if spraying missions are not intensified.

Emerging farmers operating under the Tshiomo Irrigation Scheme have projected losses estimated between R200 000 and R300 000.

The scheme is a joint venture by more than 900 farmers. Some of the female farmers at one of the farms have painted a bleak picture.

The invasive worm breeds quickly. After voraciously feeding on healthy green plants, the caterpillar will pupate before becoming an adult moth to restart the cycle.

The Department of Agriculture in Limpopo says its budget for combating the Fall Army Worm is limited.

Agriculture specialist at the department, Prudence Nenweli, says they are working with the communal farmers.

“This new pest that is invading the farms, they have no information about it. So, as the Department of Agriculture, we are working really well with them on how best to manage this pest. We also have a minimum budget on giving them pesticides.”

Although experts with Grain SA say food production and exports will not be affected, the subsistence farmers in areas like Matangari remain nervous.

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Blue Bulls player accused of rape granted bail
8 February 2018, 5:33 PM

The Blue Bulls rugby player accused of rape has been granted bail of R10 000 in the New Brighton Magistrate’s court in Port Elizabeth.

He was arrested on the 28th of December and has remained in custody since.

The accused may not be named or identified until he has pleaded in court.

The 19-year old man stands accused of raping an 18- year old. He maintains the sex was consensual.

His bail hearing was concluded on Wednesday with strict conditions. The accused must report to the Sunnyside police station in Pretoria three times a week.

He is also prohibited from contacting the complainant or any of the state witnesses.

In granting bail, the magistrate found that the applicant is not a flight risk.

The state opposed bail arguing that the anger of the community towards the accused must be taken into account and it is not in the interest of justice to grant bail.

This argument was rejected by the magistrate. The next court date is set for the 27th of March.

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