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Mdluli sentenced to 5 years in prison for kidnapping and assault
29 September 2020, 12:16 PM

Former Crime Intelligence Head Richard Mdluli and co-accused Mthembeni Mthunzi have been sentenced to five years in prison for kidnapping and assault at the Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg.

Both suspects were sentenced to three years for two counts of kidnapping which will run concurrently. Two years imprisonment for common assault will also run concurrently with two years for assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.

The case relates to the 1999 murder of Oupa Ramogibe, who allegedly had a relationship with Mdluli’s customary wife – Tshidi Buthelezi.

In July last year, Mdluli and Mthunzi were found guilty of kidnapping and assault as well as four counts of intimidation.

In the video below are  the sentencing proceedings

2.2 million jobs lost in SA in second quarter
29 September 2020, 11:17 AM

Statistics South Africa has released the much-anticipated job numbers for the second quarter of 2020 after more than a month of postponements.

The number of employed persons decreased by 2,2 million to 14,1 million compared to the first quarter of 2020. Unemployment declined substantially as well by 2,8 million to 4,3 million compared to quarter 1 of 2020 and resulting in a decrease of 5,0 million (down by 21,4%) in the number of people in the labour force.

The number of discouraged work-seekers, like the number of unemployed, decreased by 447 000, and the number of people who were not economically active for reasons other than discouragement increased by 5,6 million between the two quarters, resulting in a net increase of 5,2 million in the not economically active population.

These changes resulted in a significant decrease of 6,8 percentage points in the official unemployment rate from 30,1% in quarter 1 2020 to 23,3% in quarter 2 2020.

The unemployment rate according to the expanded definition of unemployment increased by 2,3 percentage points to 42,0% in quarter 2 2020 compared to quarter 1 2020.

The unemployment rate was recorded at 30.1% in the first quarter of this year.

The unemployment figure is reflecting the worst impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the economy. This follows the hard-lockdown — which halted most economic activities from March until June.

In August Stats SA announced a second delay of the Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS) for the second quarter.

This was due to the implementation of a new method of collecting data, which was imposed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Fieldwork and face-to-face methods of conducting questionnaires were suspended following lockdown in March as part of measures to deal with coronavirus outbreak.

Economic growth

Earlier Labour analyst Terry Bell said that economic growth will not be enough to fix South Africa’s unemployment problem. He says the country has a long past of jobless growth which calls for a new approach.

Bell says the answer to slowing down the unemployment rate lies in reducing the wage bill of cabinet ministers and executives in the private sector.

“So economic growth should not be the only thing we look at.  We should be looking at the health of the economy, the health in terms of people having decent jobs at decent pay. And perhaps we need to seriously start to consider the huge wage and welfare gap.  I mean if you start at the top by looking at Parliament where ministers are paid over R2 million just in terms of their salary where with all the perks in terms of transport expenses etc its worth much more and the same applies in the private sector.” Additional reporting Amina Accram and Naledi Ngcobo

Nehawu in N Cape calls for termination of outsourced security after hospital shooting
29 September 2020, 11:16 AM

The National Education, Health and Allied Workers Union – Nehawu – in the Northern Cape has called for the immediate termination of the outsourced security company at the Robert Mangaliso Sobukhwe Hospital in Kimberley.

This comes after a patient, Deon Mkhwanazi, was shot and killed in his hospital bed in full view of other patients on Friday last week. Nehawu provincial secretary Steffen Cornelius says the shooting incident has left the union baffled.

He says that how armed men gained access to the hospital with the presence of security guards is incomprehensible.

“We have more than many times raised the issue of insourcing securities in government departments. The fact that we are paying millions of rands to a private company and then get thugs gaining access with firearms baffles us. This act gives strength to the call that outsourcing is a wasteful expenditure and our call to the MEC of health, comrade Maruping Lekwene, to rather terminate the current security contract with immediate effect and insource all workers.”

Meanwhile, the family of Mkwanazi is demanding answers from the provincial Department of Health on how security was breached at the hospital.

Mkwanazi’s brother, Lawrence, says his family is struggling to come to terms with the shooting.

“The Department of Health, the Premier Dr. Zamani Saul, they should tell this family and all other families that have people at that hospital how those people entered those premises. They must come and tell this family and they must take responsibility for the death of my brother. The security company which is there also should account for the death of my brother. We want the Department of Health to take responsibility for what happened; the manner in which my brother got shot.”

Stats SA to release employment statistics
29 September 2020, 9:04 AM

South Africans are anxiously waiting for the much-anticipated employment numbers which Statistics South Africa will release during a media briefing in Pretoria on Tuesday, the Quarterly Labour Force Survey – which was due on August the 11th.

The second-quarter number is expected to reflect the worst impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the economy resulting from the hard lockdown which saw the halting of most economic activity from April to June.

The unemployment rate was recorded at 30.1% in the first quarter.

Last month Stats SA reported that the delay in the release of the job numbers resulted from new data collection methods which the agency had to adopt as a result of COVID-19.   The agency said that in the past it would send out field officers to collect data but due to COVID-19 restrictions, it had to collect the data by telephone.

Analysts expect unemployment to have accelerated to over 34% in the second quarter of this year.

The expected increase in the unemployment rate is attributed to the hard lockdown government implemented from March in an effort to arrest the spread of the COVID-19.

Dire predictions about South Africa’s unemployment rate: 

 

‘Over 5200 houses built in 2010 Free State housing project’
29 September 2020, 7:52 AM

Advisor to Former MEC for Human Settlements Mosebenzi Zwane in the 2010 R1 billion housing project insists there were some positive aspects to the scheme. Mmbuso Tsoametsi who was the former Deputy Director-General in the Free State Local Government and Housing department says there were over 5 200 houses built and small contractors were capacitated.

Tsoametsi was testifying at the State Capture Commission.

The scheme however also saw R600 million unaccounted for and six junior officials lose their jobs.

Mmbuso Tsoametsi says he was tasked by then MEC Mosebenzi Zwane to do research on a so-called expenditure recovery plan to accelerate the delivery of houses and rapidly spend money allocated from the national government before the end of the financial year. The scheme saw material suppliers and contractors irregularly paid upfront to expedite the work. Tsometsi says he did not explore the legalities of the plan.

“When discussions are taking place and somebody says it is not in accordance with supply chain I assume chair that the CFO will then take the responsibility to then deal with issues of financial management. If the HOD had issues with legal service the opportunity that availed he could have requested the head of legal or requested the office of the premier to provide him. Myself I did not go to that level.”

The scheme resulted in an estimated R600 million unaccounted for and some contractors simply not building the houses allocated to them.  However, he says there were positive aspects including the capacitation of many emerging contractors who did not have to go looking for capital from commercial banks and the building of approximately 5 200 units.

“It will be very important to check with the same contractors that were assisted that whether by doing this we were able to assist them to then start to be financially better by providing them with the material without having to …what I am saying Chair is that the impact in terms of units that were produced during that financial year that are contained in the annual report of that year indicates that on the ground there is completeness.”

Tsoametsi denied any knowledge of Zwane’s alleged strong-arm tactics to get former HOD Mpho Mokoena to sign off on documents linked to the scheme – which Mokoena said he knew were irregular. He did however admit to subcontracting to a contractor to build 500 houses but said he did not see any conflict of interest.

“This 500 project chair did not receive the advance so it did not benefit on the scheme we are talking about. The material that was bought there was bought from the resources that we provided not the resources from the scheme. So when I was asked the question do you see a conflict of interest in subcontracting to a contractor that has received work from the state, I then said I do not see a conflict of interest.”

In the video below Mosebenzi Zwane implicates Free State housing officials

Meanwhile, Free State Human Settlements Head Tim Mokhesi who also testified at the State Capture Commission on Monday says with hindsight he should not have entered into what he characterises as a commercial property investment with Director of Blackhead Consulting Edwin Sodi.  Sodi was part of the service provider that received R230 million from the Free State Human Settlements for a 2014 project to assess and audit asbestos in low-cost houses.

“It was a commercial transaction. My trusteeship was declared. I had no intention of hiding that transaction. It is auditable or traceable and one wanted to keep it on that particular level so that you deal with it in case anything happens and I contributed substantially more in that particular transaction, but maybe in hindsight maybe I shouldn’t have.”

The State Capture Commission continues on Tuesday with Sodi expected to take the stand again and Zwane expected to make an application to postpone his testimony.

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