Court stops NFP from suspending Vikizitha Mlotshwa
30 June 2020, 8:00 PM
The High Court in Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal, has granted an application for an interdict against the National Freedom Party (NFP), stopping the party from suspending or removing KwaZulu-Natal Chairperson Vikizitha Mlotshwa from the provincial legislature.
Mlotshwa took the party to court after the leadership that was elected in Ulundi in 2019 decided to suspend him from the party. He is being accused of misconduct and embezzlement of party funds.
Mlotshwa and the NFP leadership have been at loggerheads over the legitimacy of the conference. The case in which he is challenging the legitimacy of the conference is yet to be heard in court.
In May, the party asked him to resign from the provincial legislature, but he refused to do so.
The case about Mlotshwa’s suspension has been adjourned to July 10 for the NFP to file replying affidavits.
In the video below, NFP faction convenes conference:
Parliament failed in its oversight at Prasa: Justice Zondo
30 June 2020, 7:08 PM
Justice Raymond Zondo has told the state capture commission in Johannesburg that he is worried and surprised that no one took an interest in the prosecution of cases brought by the board of the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa). Zondo is chairing the commission that is probing allegations of corruption and fraud in the public sector during former President Jacob Zuma’s tenure.
Zondo says Zuma and his ministers ought to have asked questions regarding the cases of alleged corruption, among other things.
Zondo was responding to former Prasa board chair Popo Molefe’s testimony at the commission.
Molefe detailed how law enforcement agencies were allegedly paralysed and failed to act on the Prasa cases. Molefe said many competent officers and prosecutors had been sidelined during the Zuma era.
He also told the commission how former Transport Minister Joe Maswanganyi allegedly went ahead with projects worth billions of rands despite knowing they were irregular.
In the video below, Tuesday’s state capture hearing:
The former Prasa board chair cited the Moloto Corridor project as an example. He said Maswanganyi and his team went ahead with the initiative knowing very well that it had been deemed irregular and not viable by National Treasury.
Molefe says the former minister continued work on the Moloto project without any regard for procurement policies despite his board canning the project. Monies awarded to many other irregular contracts have also not been retrieved to date.
Molefe says Siyangena Technologies for instance owes Prasa about R6 billion, including interest.
A visibly angry Justice Zondo said Parliament failed in its oversight role.
“Parliament must be interested in these things, the governing party must be interested in how their own deployees perform their jobs. Are they displaying a fight against corruption that the party says it’s committed to? Is that commitment to fighting corruption? It’s very very worrying, very, very worrying. You may have been doing what was considered to be your job but it raises a lot of things because it gave an opportunity to various institutions if they were committed to fighting corruption.”
Zondo says he is also concerned that years later, not much has been done about the reported Prasa cases. He also highlighted that with COVID-19 there should be an even clearer determination by organs of state to recover monies stolen at state-owned entities.
Molefe has concluded his testimony. He was the chairperson of the Prasa board from 2014 to 2017.
Unfinished Limpopo High Court over budget by more than 100%
30 June 2020, 4:29 PM
Parliament has heard that the construction of the High Court in Polokwane has exceeded its initial budget by more than 100%.
The Special Investigating Unit (SIU) revealed this during its briefing to the Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services. The SIU says the initial budget was R3 billion, but more than R6 billion has been spent. Yet the court buildings are still not finished.
The SIU says only four out of the eight planned courts have been built. The Unit also identified poor workmanship and low quality building materials.
Committee Chairperson Bulelani Magwanishe says this is unacceptable and those responsible must be brought to book.
In the video below, parts of High Court in Polokwane officially opens:
Mapisa-Nqakula defends SA-Turkey arms deal
30 June 2020, 2:44 PM
Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula has defended the decision of the National Conventional Arms Control Committee to approve the sale of arms to Turkey.
Mapisa-Nqakula says the sale was approved after advise from departments such as State Security, Defence Intelligence as well as the Department of International Relations and Cooperation.
Answering questions in the National Council of Provinces (NCOP), the Minister said there was, therefore, nothing that prevents the country from selling arms to Turkey.
“Currently there no impediments in law to trade with Turkey in terms of our act. In terms of the provision of the act, there’s always careful analysis and consideration before granting approval. For now, there is nothing preventing us from trading with Turkey. There isn’t even an arms embargo,” she said.
Some members have raised concerns that South African manufactured arms could be used in countries like Libya and Syria.
Turkey has faced backlash over its involvement in the Libyan war with France’s President accusing Ankara of massively importing jihadists into Libya.
French President Emmanuel Macron has labelled Ankara’s intervention as “criminal”.
Turkey has intervened decisively in recent weeks in Libya, providing air support, weapons and allied fighters from Syria to help the internationally recognised government based in Tripoli repel a year-long assault by eastern military leader Khalifa Haftar.
Turkey has also been engaged in talks with Russia in an effort to find a solution to the Libyan crisis. – Additional reporting by Reuters
Used COVID-19 test kits found dumped next to Eastern Cape highway
29 June 2020, 5:16 PM
A large number of discarded used coronavirus test kits have been picked up by health laboratory service officials in the Eastern Cape.
The kits were apparently dumped next to the N2 between East London and King Williamstown.
The discarded test kits had been discovered by a passer-by. They were still in plastic sleeves and contained the details of the person from whom the sample was taken.
At this stage it is not clear how the kits ended up on the side of a national road.
The Eastern Cape health department’s spokesperson, Sizwe Kupelo, says investigations are under way but the matter is between the National Health Laboratory Services and the courier company they use.
“We are working with them to establish the facts of what happened, because it happened, while the items were in transit while outside our facilities, so NHLS has to answer together with the courier company they were using,” he says.