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Beheaded teacher Paty will get France’s highest honour – minister
20 October 2020, 9:26 AM

Samuel Paty, the 47-year old history teacher beheaded by a suspected Islamist last week, will posthumously get France’s highest award, the “Legion d’Honneur”,education minister Jean-Michel Blanquer told BFM TV on Tuesday.

Paty was murdered on Friday in broad daylight outside his school in a middle-class Paris suburb by an 18-year-old of Chechen origin. Police shot the attacker dead.

The teenager sought to avenge his victim’s use of caricatures of the Prophet Mohammad in a class on freedom of expression. Muslims believe that any depiction of the Prophet is blasphemous.

The murder shocked France, and carried echoes of the attack five years ago on the offices of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. Public figures called the killing an attack on the Republic and on French values.

A national ceremony in honour of Paty will be held at Paris’Sorbonne university on Wednesday.

Suspects found in possession of endangered plants in N Cape to appear in court
20 October 2020, 7:25 AM

Two suspects, allegedly found in possession of endangered plant species worth R200 000, are due to appear in the Springbok Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday. The two were nabbed at Springbok in the Northern Cape during a joint police operation.

Conophytum is a specialist succulent plant and removing it from its natural habitat is illegal.

Those found in possession of it can be jailed or heavily fined. Provincial police spokesperson Mohale Ramatsheba says: “The two were arrested in connection with dealing with in protected plants. The suspects were found in possession of endangered plants valued at R200 000. Police also confiscated a VW Jetta car which was used in the transportation of the plants. The suspects are to appear before the Springbok Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday.”

Vhembe Concerned Pensioners Group going to Constitutional Court over pensions
20 October 2020, 7:01 AM

An organisation called the Vhembe Concerned Pensioners Group in Limpopo – which represents about 23 000 former Venda Homeland government pensioners – is going to the Constitutional Court to force the Department of Finance to adhere to the Public Protector’s remedial action to have their pensions paid. In 1992 some government employees were paid some of their pension and the rest was privatised and invested in the PIC.

Eight years ago the then Public Protector Thuli Madonsela ruled that it was improper to privatise their pensions. She ruled that the process prejudiced the beneficiaries and that the national treasury should start the process of recalculating the money using actuaries. Last year Finance Minister Tito Mboweni went to court to have the remedial action set aside and reviewed – saying if it could open a floodgate of claims.

The Group’s spokesperson Tshimangadzo Tshiololi says in 1992 the pension money was R800 million and could be running into billions now.

“We are preparing to go to the Constitutional Court to seek an order that will compel the minister of finance; to comply with the remedial action contained in that report of 2011/2012 because people who are suffering most of them are dying just because they can’t access specialist medical attention because they can’t access their pension funds treasure is not willing to pay.”

Spokesperson of the office of the Public Protector Oupa Segalwe says Mboweni’s review case is still in court and beneficiaries should wait for it to be finalised.

So far there is no court that ruled that beneficiaries must be paid. He says however his office still wants the remedial action to be followed by the Department of Finance.

“The Public Protector issued a special report that of 2012 in 2017 to guide the implementation of remedial action after the Treasury expressed worry at the potential of opening the flood gate in the event the Public Protector were effect as it is. Last year Mr. Mboweni took both the 2012 and the 2012 report on the review and that review case is still ongoing.”

Free State mother, five children die from poison
18 October 2020, 1:56 PM

A Free State family has been left horrified, confused and overwhelmed after a mother poisoned herself and her five children in Phamong village in Qwaqwa. The woman and two children were declared dead on the scene.

The other two children died in the hospital. Only a six-month-old infant survived the tragedy.

Free State police spokesperson Motantsi Makhele says it is believed that the woman had an argument with her husband.

A police investigation has revealed that the incident happened after a dispute between the woman and her husband.

“On Saturday the 17 October 2020 at about 15:20 the mother found her 29 years old daughter and her five children lying on the floor. An ambulance was called and the mother and two kids aged 9 and 6 were declared dead at the scene.  A case of inquest and a murder case has been registered for further investigation.”

A psychologist, Dr Sam Chwenemang, believes the woman could have been overwhelmed by her social challenges.

“Quite often people have a very intense feeling or sense of helplessness or hopelessness. They really think death and suicide is the only option that is left for them, under those circumstances. It’s unfortunate that outside having contacted as assessment one cannot directly attribute this to something specific.”

In 2018, a Soweto woman poisoned herself and her three children. The video below is related to the Soweto deaths:

Smart Maid app offers domestic work services
18 October 2020, 12:44 PM

Smart Maid, an on-demand app, is a new way of finding assistance in your home, be it for cleaning, nanny duties, or general house chores. Smart Maid connects people to a number of service providers.

It was created to turn an informal sector into a formal one by professionalizing it. Since its launch, the app has assisted in creating jobs for a number of people who have been trained in their areas of specialization.

Founder of Smart Maid app Abas al Hassan says they have put every measure in place to make sure that the app is secure and that the people who come to one’s home are secure.

“For instance, you have to provide a police clearance before you become a provider. You have to provide your ID and we need to verify your ID. And we need to make sure that you have formal training.”

Al Hassan adds: “Once a person requests a maid, the system generates a one-time password that you provide to the maid once they arrive so that they can put it in the system before they start work. This is to ensure that it is the right person showing up at your door.”

In the video below founder of Smart Maid app Abas al Hassan speaks to SABC News:

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