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Two-day special meeting to precede ANC lekgotla
17 January 2018, 9:49 PM

The African National Congress’ (ANC) lekgotla this weekend will be preceded by a special two-day meeting starting Thursday. This comes as speculation mounts that the party’s National Executive Committee may recall President Jacob Zuma to avoid two centres of power – one at Luthuli House and the other at the Union Buildings.

It is just under a month since the election of the new ANC leadership and the winds of change are blowing. Those accused of looting State Owned Enterprises are especially feeling the heat.

The National Executive Committee is expected to elect its national working committee and sub-committee structures and then the elephant in the room.

“This issue of having a different president of the ANC and the different president of the country is a very delicate matter and could be seen by others as having two centres of power. But we don’t see it in that regard. There is only one centre of power. The centre of power is the ANC,” says ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa.

However, the ANC is non-committal about Zuma’s immediate future. Some say even if he were to stay, his power has diminished.

“He’s clearly not making decisions at the moment. The decisions are being made by the new leadership of the ANC, not only Mr Ramaphosa but the other members of the NEC,” says Political Analyst Steven Friedman.

He also weighed in on the NPA’s newfound vigour, acting against those implicated in corruption allegations. “This would not have happened before the election of Cyril Ramaphosa. It’s happening now only because Cyril Ramaphosa is the ANC president.”

Another issue on the agenda is the future of the PECs in KwaZulu-Natal and the Free State, declared invalid by higher courts. Both are appealing the judgments.

It is yet to be seen if Secretary General Ace Magashule – also Free State chair will steer the discussion regarding his province, as he is seen to be conflicted in the matter.

Analysts say he ought to recuse himself.

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Sundowns unveil new players
17 January 2018, 9:34 PM

Mamelodi Sundowns president Patrice Motsepe and head coach Pitso Mosimane believe that their newly acquired personnel will help the Pretoria-based to dominate the local game for years to come.

Sundowns officially unveiled their four new players, as well as their head of the technical committee, Erik Hamren from Sweden. The Brazilians currently enjoy a three point lead at the top of the ABSA Premiership log.

Sundowns have dominated local football since Patrice Motsepe took full control of the club from the Tshichlas family almost 15 years ago. It is Motsepe’s wish to see the club achieve even more.

Mosimane has won two of their seven league titles, and three other domestic competitions. In the last two years, Sundowns were also crowned CAF Champions League and Super Cup champions.

“Today of course we are here to introduce the players that we are most honoured to announce and of course as Mamelodi Sundowns this is very important because we have to think what Sundowns is going  to look like two years from now, four years from now, six years from now very, very important,” says Motsepe.

Mosimane says despite all their achievements, they remain hungry for success. “What do we do as Mamelodi Sundowns when the CBD is not here, we have to try and form something different and bring another combination and as quick as possible,” says Mosimane.

The new players are expected to add value with the club returning to Champions League football in March.

“The style of play that they play, the ambition to want to win each and every trophy and competition that they participate in it, reaches and matches my personal goals,” says Sundowns forward Jeremie Brockie.

Another Sundowns forward Aubrey Ngoma says; “Finally joining a club like Mamelodi Sundowns you know it’s a dream come true for me. You know the ambition of the club to compete in all fronts as a player you want to retire having won trophies.”

The club hopes the arrival of former Sweden national coach Erik Hamren will strengthen their technical team. Sundowns have now exceeded their quota of foreign players and were forced to loan two players Yannick Zakri and Fares Hachi to Ajax Cape Town and Chippa United respectively.

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DA, EFF welcome Dr Manamela’s resignation
17 January 2018, 8:47 PM

The Democratic Alliance (DA) says former Gauteng Mental Health Director Makgabo Manamela must face criminal charges for her role in the Life Esidimeni tragedy.

The party’s Gauteng Health Shadow MEC Jack Bloom says her resignation is not surprising as she would have been fired anyway after the conclusion of her disciplinary proceedings.

Manamela has been on suspension facing charges of gross misconduct for her role in the deaths of at least 143 mentally-ill patients.

Bloom says justice has not been served by her resigning. “I think that is a good thing that she has resigned because she was still being paid well while on suspension but of course she should also be charged along with other officials and the former MEC for health for her role in the Esidimeni disaster. I think she saw the writing on the wall, she was going to get fired and now the department can hire a new person in charge of the mental health which is vitally important.”

Meanwhile the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) has welcomed the resignation.

“We are elated when incompetent individuals resign on their own but the resignation is not enough and this is an issue that we are going to take on. We know that the State of the Province Address is coming up next month and we are preparing for that in terms of what we think the government should be doing better. This department, health was given an increase of R1.2 billion, what is happening with all that money? So the government is essentially incompetent. So we are happy that that lady has left, the HOD should leave, the MEC is gone already and there are many others that should follow,” says Acting EFF Gauteng chairperson, Mandisa Mashego.

Manamela’s resignation comes a day after that of the Head of the Gauteng Health Department, Dr Barney Selebano.

At least 140 mentally ill patients died after they were transferred to unlicensed and ill-equipped Non-Governmental Organisations. This after the Gauteng Health Department terminated its contract with Life Esidimeni in order to cut costs.

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Prasa train derails due to vandalism in Germiston
17 January 2018, 7:36 PM

A train derailed in Germiston, Gauteng, on Wednesday, reportedly due to vandalism of the passenger railway system.

General Secretary of the United National Transport Union (Untu), Steve Harris, said the train derailed on the route to Pretoria between President station and the Germiston station after clamps that keep the track attached to the sleepers were stolen.

“Fortunately, nobody was injured. We are very grateful for that, but it could have been fatal to both the train crew and commuters,” said Harris.

This is the second Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) train incident over the past week.

On January 9, two trains collided at the Geldenhuys station in Germiston after it was forced to operate manually due to cable theft. More than 200 commuters were injured in the incident.

More than 5000 teachers are under-qualified: Maimane
17 January 2018, 7:03 PM

Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Mmusi Maimane says more than 5 000 school teachers have been identified by the Department of Basic Education as being under-qualified for their teaching positions. He was addressing learners at Scottsdene High School in Kraaifontein in Cape Town.

Last year over 12 million learners from Grade R up to matric formed part of the education system and this is expected to improve in 2018.

Maimane visited the school on the first day of the academic year in 2018 to pass on words of encouragement.

He says another glaring challenge is the problem of absenteeism and strike action that continue to disrupt the teaching and learning process and that black learners are the worst affected.

The party leader has also attributed this to an alleged failure by the education department to address the situation. Maimane says a lack of quality education is also a stumbling block towards a social justice, equality and prosperity.

He says to effectively deal with unemployment and hopelessness, this situation has to change.

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