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Parktown Boys’ High reputation has to be safe guarded: Lesufi
24 January 2020, 9:42 PM

Following a meeting between Grade 8 parents from Parktown Boys’ High and the Gauteng Education Department, MEC Panyaza Lesufi says that all stakeholders agreed that the reputation of the school has to be protected. The school has come under fire following the death of 13-year-old Enock Mpianzi,  who drowned at a camp organised by the school.

Earlier, the Gauteng Education Department says it had to respect the wishes of the parents of Parktown Boys’ High School learners. This after members of the media and parents of former learners, were asked to leave a parents’ meeting of the school at Wits University’s Education Campus in Johannesburg on Friday.

Lesufi was meeting with parents following the death.

Department spokesperson Steve Mabona says a few parents raised concerns about the presence of the media.

“There are few parents that raised the issue with us to say, ‘we do not understand why you invited the media. We thought that this is a parents’ meeting, the SGB, the Department and the school.’ So we then said that as a matter of principle, we can’t ignore it when it’s raised by parents because this is their meeting.”

This is not the first time that the school has been in the news. In 2018, a water polo coach was sentenced to 23 years in jail for abusing young boys.

One of the parents that was chased away, Michelle Hobkirk says it looks as if there are more cover-ups.

“It’s getting boring doing this because last year (2019) and the year before Mr Panyaza [Lesufi] commissioned Mr Molebatse to investigate claims by children and the MEC admitted prima facie evidence, it was all true. We still have not gotten that report. That’s the same SGB that’s trying to cover it up.”

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Media kicked out of Parktown Boys’ High parents’ meeting
24 January 2020, 8:29 PM

Members of the media and parents of former Parktown Boys’ High School learners have been kicked out of a meeting that is under way at Wits University’s Education Campus in Johannesburg. Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi is engaging parents following the death of 13-year-old Enock Mpianzi who drowned at a school camp.

One of the parents that was kicked out, Michelle Hobkirk, has accused the SGB of trying to cover-up.

“I’m an ex SGB member of Parktown Boys’ High. I’m extremely concerned about the code of silence; first of all, the media being asked to leave. This should be open and transparent, the community want answers. And this is to discuss the SGB who is to enforce child safety policies. How did this child die? We know he drowned, but why did he die? The SGB needs to answer. We need a new SGB actually that is transparent, honest and non-captured.”

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Earlier on Friday, Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi said preliminary investigations revealed many inconsistencies that have forced his department to suspend the principal of Parktown Boys’ High School.

Investigations revealed that the school went on an unauthorized Grade 8 camp at the Nyathi Lodge in the North West. This is where Mpianzi died during a water activity last week.

The school did not comply with the department’s policy, which requires schools to apply for authorisation from the district three months before the proposed trip. The school only applied in November for the January trip.  Lesufi also announced that some district officials would also be suspended.

Lesufi appointed an independent firm to investigate what led to Mpianzi’s death.

Donald Trump
House of Representatives Impeachment Managers to press for the removal of Trump
24 January 2020, 7:41 PM

House of Representatives Impeachment Managers will use their final day of opening arguments in the Senate Impeachment trial of United States President Donald Trump to press for his removal from office.

The managers, who act as prosecutors in the trial, spent the first two days presenting evidence from witness testimony in their House Inquiry and how that evidence relates to the two articles of impeachment; Abuse of Power and Obstruction of Congress.

This comes as a number of Republican Senators sitting as jurors in the trial complain about the repetitiveness of the evidence being presented despite continued pressure from Democratic Senators for the Senate to subpoena documents and new witnesses.

In the absence of any new consensus around new witness testimony and moves to see documents blocked by the White House, impeachment managers have painstakingly gone through the charges Trump faces while providing a timeline of his alleged misconduct.

Democratic House Impeachment Manager, Hakeem Jeffries, says Trump sought to advance his personal political interests.

“The president’s defenders may argue, as Mick Mulvaney tried to do that, quid pro quo arrangements are a common aspect of US foreign policy. Nonsense, there are situations where official United States acts like head of state meetings or the provision of foreign assistance are used to advance the national interests of the United States. That is not what happened here. Here, President Trump sought to advance his own personal political interests facilitated by Rudolph Giuliani, the human hand grenade.”

Adam Schiff, the lead House prosecutor, says a president’s first and only objective is to get foreign leaders to do what is in the best interest of the US.

“Consistent with the faithful execution of his or her oath of office, a president’s first and only objective is to get foreign leaders to do what is in the best interests of the United States. That’s not what happened on July 25th. On that date, President Trump used the head of state call with the leader of Ukraine to help himself; to press a foreign leader to investigate the president’s political opponent in order to help his re-election campaign. President Trump abused his authority as commander-in-chief and chief diplomat to benefit himself.”

While Senators and the President’s Defence team are not allowed to speak or interrupt presentations inside the Chamber, they have taken to the cameras waiting just outside as Trump’s attorney Jay Sekulow did. He says they will refute the case.

“Look, anytime a good lawyer listens to the other side’s arguments and you respond accordingly. We will build, as I said before, we’re going to present…we will refute their case and we will present our case.”

Republicans have expressed frustration at what they believe to be the repetitive nature of the facts being presented. First Republican Senator and Juror, Tim Scott, says Democrats have recycled facts.

“If you say it often enough it must be true. And the good news is the Democrats have literally bought into that premise that if you just say it often enough, it must be true, and we’ve heard the same story. Rinse it, recycle it and repeat it. Rinse it, recycle it, repeat it.”

This sentiment was echoed by Republican Senator and Juror, John Barrasso.

“What we heard from the managers yesterday, the day before, it is the same thing day after day after day. It does seem that after about an hour and a half, they start repeating themselves as if you could impeach by just kind of repeating the same thing by repetition. We are ready for the president’s team to put their defence on. The president didn’t have a chance to do that in the House.”

This is an inaccurate statement given the White House’s rejection of an invitation to participate in hearings before the House Judiciary Committee.

Democratic Senator and Juror, Mazie Hirono, say Republicans have fought all efforts to present new evidence and documents.

“One of the things said that’s that I noticed is that the Republicans have said that we’re being repetitive. Well, you know what? They spent all of Tuesday fighting back all of our efforts to present new evidence and new documents, so they’re being totally hypocritical in saying that this is all…We haven’t produced any new stuff as though the things that have already been presented isn’t damning enough of what the president did, and what the president did is are impeachable offenses in my view.”

With Impeachment managers concluding their opening arguments late Friday, the President’s defence team will then have the next three days of the Senate hearings to argue for why he should not be removed from office; expect to hear language about an unfair process in the House, that Democrats are seeking to nullify the last and next election and that their client has done nothing wrong.

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Africa on high alert over spread of coronavirus: AU
24 January 2020, 7:34 PM

The African Union says the continent is on high alert over the spread of the coronavirus that has been reported in Asia. The Africa Centre for Disease Control is asking countries in the continent to start applying preventive measures.

The coronavirus has claimed the lives of at least 20 people and infected more than 800 within China alone. It is also spreading to neighbouring countries.

The Director of the African Centre for Disease Control, Dr John Nkengasong, says this is not the time to panic, but to put public health measures in place.

“It is important to know that we are not an island, that there many flights that leave Ethiopia, South Africa, Egypt and Morocco to China. The traffic between China and Africa in terms of people and air traffic has increased a lot over the last couple of years. This is not the time to panic; it is the time to put in public health measures in place, infection controls that people should wash hands, if they feel sick they should stay home, if you come down with a common cold, it’s better to stay away from a mass gathering. So I think this is a time for everybody to exercise self-discipline so that we can protect not only one’s family but the general population as a whole,” says Dr Nkengasong.

Uganda has started screening travellers from China to stop the spread of the coronavirus. Uganda is China’s key trading partner in the east Africa region.

Uganda’s Health Minister Jane Aceng says their airports have thermal scanners for the purpose of screening.

“The good news is that our airport, because of the various outbreaks that we’ve been having, already has thermal scanners in place for purposes of screening. Of course, it is important that we give a travel advisory to Ugandans traveling to China and particularly to Wuhan city in China. This travel advisory will be issued shortly.” Additional reporting by Hillary Ayesiga.

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Eben Etzebeth
Out of court settlement possible in Etzebeth’s racism case : SAHRC
24 January 2020, 6:41 PM

The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) in the Western Cape says there is a possibility of an out of court settlement in the alleged racist assault case of Springbok rugby star, Eben Etzebeth. The case will proceed to the Equality Court after Etzebeth’s lawyers withdrew a review application in the High Court in Pretoria on Friday.

Etzebeth is alleged to have been part of a group that assaulted and racially abused four people in the West Coast town of Langebaan in 2019. It’s also alleged he used a derogatory term for Coloured people.

Etzebeth has denied the allegations.

SAHRC Commissioner, Andre Gaum, says the parties involved are looking at possibilities to settle the matter.

“It has been agreed between the parties that Mr Etzebeth withdraws his application against the decision of the commission to take the matter to the Equality Court. The matter will therefore continue in the Equality Court. However, the parties will also look at the possibility of settling the matter.”

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