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Multi-million drug lab discovered at Limpopo game farm
18 June 2020, 10:26 AM

The National Commissioner of the South African Police Service Khehla Sitole will on Thursday visit a game farm outside Marble Hall in Limpopo following the discovery of a multi-million-rand drug lab.

Two foreign nationals have been arrested for dealing in drugs and being in possession of unlicensed firearms.

Police say that they have launched a manhunt for an unknown number of suspects.

The private game farm is situated in a quiet farming area outside Marble Hall.

The owners of the farm purchased the farm a few months ago in a multi-million rand cash exchange.

Police conducted a raid on Wednesday where drug manufacturing equipment was discovered.

Police have confiscated drugs, illegal firearms and ammunition with an estimated value of R10 million.

Drug manufacturing equipment was also recovered at the Terra Nostra Game farm.

The suspects will appear at the Marble Hall Magistrate’s Court soon.

Seven VBS suspects to appear in court
18 June 2020, 9:33 AM

Seven of the eight suspects arrested for their alleged involvement in the Venda Building Social (VBS) Mutual Bank scandal are expected to appear in the Palm Ridge Regional Court in Gauteng on Thursday morning.

One of the suspects remains in quarantine due to the coronavirus.

The arrests were made on Wednesday nearly two years after the theft of more than R2-million from the bank was exposed.

In what is dubbed as one of the biggest bank robberies in the country, the arrested group faces 47 counts of fraud, racketeering, corruption, theft and money laundering.

It’s believed stokvel groups, pensioners and 20 municipalities lost billions of rands.

Arrests welcomed

The Public Investment Corporation (PIC) has welcomed the arrests of suspects involved in the collapse of VBS mutual bank.

The PIC was a significant shareholder in VBS when it was placed under curatorship by the Prudential Authority of the South African Reserve Bank (SARB).

It says the arrests is an important step in ensuring those who were responsible for the collapse of VBS are held accountable.

The National Director of Public Prosecutions Advocate Shamila Batohi has also welcomed the arrests.

One of the investors in the liquidated VBS Mutual Bank and former Board Chairperson, Madambi Muvhulawa, says investors and depositors are also pleased with the arrests. 

Muvhulawa says properties of those implicated in the looting must be sold for depositors to recoup their money. 

Ordinary depositors who invested over R300 000 each have not yet received their money back.

Senior Legal Journalist Karyn Maughan gives analysis of the arrest and its implications:

-Additional reporting by SABC News. 

Increase in gender-based violence amid global COVID-19 battle: WHO
18 June 2020, 8:14 AM

The World Health Organisation says there has been an increase in cases of gender-based violence across the world as the fight against the coronavirus pandemic continues.

According to the UN Health Agency, over 100 women are killed globally every day.

Women have been forced to stay at home as their movement has been restricted, leaving them in the same space as their abusers.

President of the Inter-Parliamentary Union, Gabriela Cuevas Barron says, “Violence against women has already reached epic proportions in all societies with 137 women killed every day globally by a member of their own family. The level of domestic violence and sexual exploitation further increases as a result of confined living conditions and economic stress.”

SA court officials to undergo sensitivity training

The African National Congress (ANC) says it welcomes the announcements made by President Cyril Ramaphosa on how the country will move with speed in making sure that gender-based violence is rooted out of society.

During an address on Wednesday evening, Ramaphosa told the nation that GBV is another pandemic facing the country, equally with COVID-19.

He said the courts will receive a major boost, which will see all officials going for “sensitivity training” in order to better handle cases of abuse.

ANC National spokesperson Pule Mabe says this could not have been done at a better time.

“I think one of the things which the President brought up and we cannot ignore – is our continued fight against gender-based violence – calling on all South Africans to unite and make sure that those that are involved in this act are named and shamed. They cannot be kept in our homes and we don’t alert the police of such men who give men a bad name.”

In the video below, SABC News takes a closer look at gender-based violence under lockdown in numbers: 

– Additional reporting by Abongile Dumako 

 

 

ANC saddened by death of Patrick Jelele
18 June 2020, 7:03 AM

The ANC in the Western Cape has described the death of fellow comrade Patrick Jelele as deeply saddening.

Jelele who succumbed to COVID-19 was the first chairperson of the branch in Ward 93, Khayelitsha.

He was also the husband of African National Congress (ANC) Women’s League Provincial Coordinator, Lulama Jelele.

Jelele died at the Khayelitsha Day Hospital after battling the disease.

He is survived by his wife and four daughters.

Over 40 new COVID-19 related deaths

South Africa’s COVID-19 death toll has now risen to 1 674, an increase of 49.

The Western Cape, which is the epicentre of the virus in the country, accounts for 46 of these deaths, while the other three are from the Eastern Cape.

The total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases is 80 412  and the total number of recoveries to date is 44 331.

This translates to a recovery rate of 55.1%.

The Infographic below provides a provincial breakdown of cases:

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Protests
June 16 shines spotlight on youth activism
15 June 2020, 12:40 PM

For the first time, Youth Day will not be celebrated with the youth gathered in large numbers due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The day will be celebrated virtually under the theme “Youth Power: Growing South Africa together in a period of COVID-19”.

This year marks 44 years since the June 16 uprising, which saw a shift in the country’s youth activism and power.

Perhaps the most recent memorable event of Youth Activism in the country is the #FeesMustFall movement.

Much like the 1976 Uprising, it was not politically affiliated but purely students and youth driven.

Much like June 76 protests, #FeesMustFall successfully changed the discourse on social issues in the country.

While many of the activists have either joined political parties, others made other career moves.

This seems to have left a vacuum in youth activism in the country.

One of the activists is 27-year-old old Lindokuhle Ntuli.

Youth movements amplified on social media

A practicing lawyer now, Ntuli says social media is playing a crucial role in youth activism.

“#FeesMustFall went wild on social media and that brought about a certain level of consciousness between young and also those who are in social media so it is definitely an effective form of activism but it should not be retained to that ’cause there is a need to connect with the real life struggles of people on the ground in communities where most do not have access to social media and really experience what life is outside of social media.”

Political Analyst Levy Ndou believes that most youth formation exists only at leadership level.

“The majority of young people don’t even know the existence of some youth formations and think it is also created by the distance that is existing between those in leadership and ordinary young people and they feel not being adequately represented and that is why their voice is not actually heard.”

Youth activism and politics

On political parties’ impact on youth activism, Ntuli says it’s both positive and negative.

“I do believe that also the ascension of young people into parliament and positions within political parties is impacting youth activism to the extent that it is negative, is where we look at the age disconnect between those who are in prominent positions and those who are in low positions. We still have the older generation that is holding prominent positions and that has been going on for quite some time and a change in that would be positive and to the betterment of society.”

Political Analyst Ralph Mathekga concurs.

“Our mainstream politics does not necessarily have a special attention to what matters to the youth. This is quite a concern because if the majority of the population is the youth and the policy framework does not actually work to the advantage of the majority of the population, then there is something fundamentally wrong and if you look across different parties you don’t really see the distinct kind of presence of the youth except in political parties such as the EFF where one can see that it is a party dominated by the youth.”

Electoral Act ruling

Ntuli believes that the recent ruling by the Constitutional Court declaring parts of the Electoral Act unconstitutional will go a long way in encouraging youth activism.

“I think that will raise a certain level of activism as activism has been previously and historically associated with political parties and the activism of the ideologies of those specific political parties, but there’s a huge change in dynamics here and I think young people will certainly find room to navigate around issues of activism, challenging issues of society without belonging to certain political spaces.”

In the video below, the Electoral Act  judgment has been widely welcomed:

 

 

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