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Cabinet structure will align to government priorities: Ramaphosa
15 May 2019, 1:25 PM

 

President Cyril Ramaphosa says a more capable and configured cabinet will be announced soon. He says  the structure of his new cabinet will align to government key priorities to grow the economy and create jobs.

The President was addressing the Goldman Sachs Investor Conference in Johannesburg Wednesday morning.

“The key problem that we face as a country is low economic growth. The structure that we have of government is going to speak to that and the coordination will also be seeking to address that.  We will be seeking to get men and women who have great competence, great capabilities to serve the needs of the people of SA. I don’t want to hear any excuses from anyone.”

Meanwhile, Ramaphosa has told investors not to be deterred from seeking investment opportunities in the country – amid the land reform debate in South Africa.

He has assured potential investors that land grabs will not be tolerated if and when land is being expropriated.

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Cyril Ramaphosa
Ramaphosa allays investor fears amid land reform debate
15 May 2019, 12:14 PM

President Cyril Ramaphosa says investors should not be deterred from seeking investment opportunities in the country – amid the land reform debate in South Africa.

Ramaphosa was speaking at an investor conference in Westcliff, Johannesburg.

He has assured potential investors that land grabs will not be tolerated if and when land is being expropriated.

“Investors should not be worried about that. The constitution does allow for land to be expropriated, but there will never be land grabs. We will not allow land grabs to happen. We say to people do not fear. This is a process that has to address the original sin, but it takes into account the current imperatives and does it carefully in terms of the rule of law,” he adds.

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KZN ANC divided on eThekwini Mayor issue
15 May 2019, 6:01 AM

The ANC in KwaZulu-Natal appears to be divided on how the Mayor of Ethekwini Zandile Gumede should be dealt with.

The ANC Youth League in the eThekwini region is calling for her resignation. However, the party in the province has issued a statement calling for the law to take its course.

Gumede and two others, councillor Mondli Mthembu and service provider Craig Ponnan, appeared in the Durban Commercial Crimes Court on Tuesday facing charges of fraud, racketeering and corruption over a R208 million on Durban Solid Waste tender. They were granted bail of R50 000 each.

The league’s regional spokesperson, Thulisa Ndlela says, “Without expressing a view on the guilt or the innocence of them we believe that given the seriousness of the charges it is important that the Mayor speaks to her conscience and resigns to achieve two things – first and foremost giving her an opportunity to focus on the charges and mounting a defence, and responding to the charges against her. Number two, in order to protect the dignity and the good name of the African National Congress, it is important for the Mayor to resign to ensure that the ANC is not punished by these allegations.

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Zandile Gumede
KZN ANC not aware of mayor’s arrest
14 May 2019, 8:46 AM

The ANC in KwaZulu-Natal says it’s not aware of the arrest of eThekwini Mayor, Zandile Gumede, on corruption charges. This follows media reports that Gumede has handed herself over to the Hawks and will appear in the Durban Commercial Crimes court this morning.

Last year it emerged that Gumede, was being investigated by the Hawks for money laundering‚ fraud and corruption, allegedly to pay back those who helped her political ambitions.

KZN ANC spokesperson Dumisani Ntuli says the law must take its course. The mayor has never informed me or the ANC in the province that she will be appearing court, but the ANC is an organisation that respects laws of the country irrespective of who becomes suspected perpetrator, so if that happens it will happen and the ANC position will always be that we must always allow the law to take its course.

Meanwhile, Hawks national spokesperson Hangwani Mulaudzi has declined to confirm or deny reports that Gumede has handed herself over to the police.

Mulaudzi told the SABC this morning that three people will appear in the Durban Commercial Crimes Court today. He did not divulge the names or any further information. Mulaudzi says the names of the accused will only be known once they appear in court.

In recent weeks two Ethekwini officials were arrested for similar offences in the Ethekwini municipality.

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Islanders complain to UN over Australia’s climate change inaction
13 May 2019, 1:29 PM

A group of islanders off Australia’s north coast are set to file  a human rights complaint to the United Nations against the Australian government on Monday over inaction on climate change, which they say is threatening their homes, their lawyers said.

The complaint by eight Torres Strait Islanders marks the first climate change litigation brought against Australia based on human rights, said Client Earth, the UK-based law firm handling the complaint.

“We’re currently seeing the effects of climate change on our islands daily, with rising seas, tidal surges, coastal erosion and inundation of our communities,” said Kabay Tamu, one of the eight islanders bringing the case.

Torres Strait Islanders are part of Australia’s indigenous population, along with Aborigines, who live on small islands dotted between Australia and Papua New Guinea.

Australia’s environment minister had no immediate comment on their case.

The claimants, backed by U.S. environmental group 350.org, also launched a petition highlighting they want the Australian government to commit at least A$20 million ($14 million) for measures such as seawalls to shield the islands from rising sea levels.

“Australia’s continued failure to build infrastructure to protect the islands, and to take action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, constitutes a clear violation of the islanders’ rights to culture, family and life,” Sophie Marjanac, the lead lawyer on the complaint, said in a statement.

The Torres Strait Islanders also want Australia to cut carbon emissions by at least 65% below 2005 levels by 2030, which would be far more ambitious than the targets set by the conservative government and the opposition Labor party.

At the same time the islanders want thermal coal to be phased out in domestic power generation and for export. Thermal coal is Australia’s fourth-biggest resources export.

The complaint is the latest in a string of climate change cases worldwide targeting companies and governments, which lawyers expect will proliferate.

“I think that probably these types of actions will fail initially,” said Andrew Korbel, a partner at law firm Corrs Chambers Westgarth.

“But over time the prospect of them succeeding is likely to increase, partly because the science linking climate change and specific climatic events to actions or failure to take action seems to be improving,” he said.

The U.N. Human Rights Committee has previously raised concerns about Australia’s record on issues such as its treatment of asylum seekers and indigenous people, but with little response.

The complaint comes just as United Nations Secretary-General Anttoino Guterres is on a Pacific tour focused on climate change, flagging that the world was “not on track” to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

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