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Ramaphosa to depart for G7 summit on Friday
11 June 2021, 6:32 AM

President Cyril Ramaphosa will be leaving for the United Kingdom on Friday to attend the G7 Leaders Summit held in Cornwall over the weekend. He was invited to attend the gathering of the G7 group of rich nations by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Among other things, the leaders will be discussing efforts to end the COVID-19 pandemic, global trade as well as climate change.

Ramaphosa will be accompanied by International Relations and Cooperation Minister Naledi Pandor.

The Director-General of the Royal United Services Institute, Karin Von Hippel, says the G7’s invitation to South Africa to attend the summit is a strategic move.

“South Korea, Japan, they’re also joining… I think Prime Minister Johnson sees these countries as like-minded and really wants to get them on board with the agenda being promoted, it can’t just be… the G7 countries, it needs to expand further and South Africa represents an anchor in Africa in many ways and so I think getting these countries on board will really help push forward the agenda that they’re trying to set.”

Leaders of G7 nations prepare for three-day summit: 

South African High Commissioner to the UK, Nomatemba Tambo, says SA has also contributed an extraordinary amount of work, research and collaboration through the coronavirus pandemic.

“I think that it’s generally understood and appreciated that South Africa through this pandemic has done an extraordinary amount of work, research and collaborations in order to try to be part of the conversation around weakening this virus… So I think it’s for reasons like that that Prime Minister Boris Johnson thought we had a place at the table.”

G7 Summit  to focus on recovering from COVID-19 and Climate Change: 

 

Bheki Cele called to desist from making pre-emptive comments
11 June 2021, 5:44 AM

Popcru has called on Police Minister Bheki Cele to desist from making pre-emptive comments, following his announcement that there won’t be any salary increases for police officers for the next three years.

Cele was delivering his budget vote speech in the National Council of Provinces when he made the comment.

Popcru spokesperson Richard Mamabolo says the Police Minister prematurely made the announcement while the salary negotiations were still underway.

“We find it disturbing that we would have a Minister who makes such presumptions especially being the Police Minister. He would know that there are a lot of challenges, there’s been a lot of budget cuts over the years and of course, police require funding to ensure SAPS function properly. As unions, we have been in meetings with the department to see if government can improve on this and it’s unfortunate pre-emptive for the Minister to suggest that there won’t any salary increase in the coming years.”

Popcru angered by thre-year salary freeze:

Meanwhile, Police Minister Bheki Cele says 150 posts are expected to be filled in the police’s Forensic Chemistry Laboratory by the beginning of July. The unit specialises in the examination of physical exhibits from a crime scene.

Cele has acknowledged that the Lab has been battling with capacity challenges for years.

“In addressing the issues of capacity, a total of 127 scientists have been promoted to critical posts within the FSL (Forensic Chemistry Laboratories) and an additional 150 posts of forensic analysis warrant officer level have been advertised externally and  the new incumbents will commence on the 1st of July.”

Police Minister admits to DNA forensic backlog during a debate in parliament:

Days before G7, PM Johnson’s lawmakers attack “unBritish” aid cuts
8 June 2021, 9:45 PM

Lawmakers from the Governing Conservative Party railed against Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s cut to foreign aid spending on Tuesday, a show of defiance just days before their leader hopes to show off “global Britain” at a summit.

The criticism is embarrassing for Johnson, coming as he prepares to host the leaders of the world’s seven largest advanced economies when he hopes to “reinvigorate the international community” on climate change and COVID-19.

His critics say by breaking its commitment to spend 0.7% of gross national income on international development, the government is punishing the poorest during a global pandemic, a stance that could weaken its position in those talks.

But they have so far failed to force the government to change its policy, but several said they still hoped to bring a vote on the cuts in parliament.

“I want to argue… that what the government is doing is unethical, possibly illegal and certain breaks our promise,” said Andrew Mitchell, the Conservative lawmaker leading the call for funding to be reinstated.

“He (Johnson) goes into the summit in the teeth of a global pandemic when Britain is cutting its support to the poorest. No other country represented in the G7 is doing such a thing,” he told parliament.

Late last year, finance minister Rishi Sunak said the government would spend 0.5% in 2021 to prioritise “our limited resources on jobs and public service” to help Britain weather the coronavirus pandemic.

Mitchell accused Johnson of pandering to lawmakers who represent the so-called “red wall” voting districts in northern England, which after traditionally backing the opposition LabourParty supported the Conservatives at the 2019 election.

But the government repeated its argument that it had acted legally and would restore the funding as soon as it can.

One Conservative lawmaker supportive of the government said many voters believed that “charity starts at home”.

Duchess Meghan releases debut children’s book ‘The Bench’
8 June 2021, 9:40 PM

Meghan, Britain’s Duchess of Sussex, released her debut children’s book on Tuesday, dedicating it to her husband Prince Harry and their two-year-old son Archie.

“The Bench”, which looks at the relationship between father and son through a mother’s eyes, hit bookstands days after the couple welcomed their daughter Lilibet Diana, named after Queen Elizabeth and Harry’s late mother Princess Diana, last week.

Meghan has previously said the book, written with rhyming text, began as a Father’s Day poem she wrote for Harry shortly after Archie was born in 2019.

In a handwritten-like note inside the book, Meghan wrote: “For the man and the boy who make my heart go pump-pump”.

Meghan also narrates an audio version of the book, which features watercolour illustrations by artist Christian Robinson.

Harry and Meghan quit royal duties last year, leaving Britain for California, where they now live.

ANC slams insinuations Mkhize’s woes may be politically motivated
8 June 2021, 9:15 PM

As the decision by President Cyril Ramaphosa to put Health Minister Zweli Mkhize on special leave was announced, the African National Congress (ANC) National Working Committee (NWC) slammed insinuations that Mkhize’s woes may be politically motivated.

Mkhize on Tuesday apologised for the dark cloud the allegations around Communications Company Digital Vibes have caused.

Mkhize is implicated in the issuing of a contract to Digital Vibes worth R150-million.

The insinuations relate to the fact that Mkhize is being smeared to avoid him threatening President Ramaphosa’s bid for a second term.

ANC Deputy Secretary-General Jessie Duarte has welcomed Mkhize’s apology.

 

“We welcome the decision by Comrade Zweli Mkhize to present himself to the Integrity Commission, in line with the resolution of the 54th National Conference. The NWC rejected any insinuation that investigations by law enforcement agencies in general and the SIU (Special Investigating Unit) , in particular, have been influenced by factors other than those provided for in the law. Investigations by the SIU are initiated at the request of government departments or other state institutions. They are formally proclaimed by the President once due legal processes have been followed.”

In a statement released on Tuesday afternoon, the Presidency said the special leave period “will enable the Minister to attend to allegations and investigations concerning contracts between the Department of Health and a service provider, Digital Vibes”.

Minister of Tourism, Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane, will serve as the  Acting Minister of Health.

President Ramaphosa places Minister Mkhize on special leave: 

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