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Congo President’s chief of staff sentenced to 20 years hard labour for corruption
20 June 2020, 8:49 PM

A court in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has convicted Vital Kamerhe, the President’s chief of staff, of embezzlement and corruption.

Kamerhe was sentenced to 20 years hard labour and a large fine.

He was charged with participating in the theft of more than $50 million from infrastructure projects linked to the first 100 days of President Felix Tshisekedi’s tenure in 2019.

Kamerhe, who signed an agreement to support Tshisekedi in a 2018 election in the expectation of succeeding him in 2023, has denied all accusations of wrongdoing.

The 61-year-old has denounced the trial as a political attack by enemies of the President.

He is the most powerful politician to face graft charges in Congo. Kamerhe has been a powerful player in the country’s politics for more than 15 years. He helped lead former President Joseph Kabila’s first election campaign in 2006, after which he became National Assembly head.

Kamerhe is no longer eligible to run for the Presidency in 2023 due to Saturday’s conviction.

Senior police officers, underworld kingpin nabbed for fraud and corruption
17 June 2020, 12:04 PM

Sixteen people, including senior police officers and an alleged underworld kingpin, have been arrested in connection with fraud and corruption.

The arrests follow a three-year investigation into the issuing of gun licenses without verification or following protocols.

Police say the National Anti-Gang Unit conducted the investigation in the Western Cape. They found that a number of people, including alleged Cape Town underworld figures obtained firearm licenses from the Edenvale, Norwood and Kempton Park police stations in Gauteng in an allegedly wrongful manner.

Five suspects are yet to be arrested.

National Police Spokesperson Vish Naidoo says the suspects will appear in court today.

“The suspects were arrested on the 16th of June 2020 and they will thereafter join other accused who were arrested  between the beginning of June and middle of June in the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg on the tenth of July 2020.”

The arrests come more than a week after eight police officers, a retired lieutenant-general and six citizens were arrested for alleged links to a police tender fraud scandal.

National Police Commissioner Khehla Sitole established a Special Anti-Corruption Task Team following serious allegations of corruption and related crimes, dating back to 2017 against some members of the SAPS.

Below is a SABC News report on the arrest of eight senior police officials:

 

Free State Stars chair dies
17 June 2020, 11:53 AM

Free State Stars chairman, Michael Mokoena, has died. His family says he died at a Johannesburg hospital this morning after losing the battle to cancer.

Bro Mike, as he was affectionately known, was a respected businessman and football administrator. His club was originally formed in 1977, but sold the status to the Premier Soccer League (PSL) in 2002 when the league reduced clubs from 18 to 16.

Mokoena later bought the status of first division club Maholosiane FC in 2003.

Among other honours, Mokoena’s club became Second Division champions in in 1985, and won the 1994 Coca Cola Cup against Hellenic, in the game in which former striker, Bunene Ngaduane was unstoppable.

His insatiable lust for football did not end there. Under Mokoena’s stewardship, the club regained their Premiership status in 2005 after winning the then-Mvela Golden League. However, it was relegated in the 2005/6 season. Even though the Ea Lla Koto club did well in the 2017/18 season by claiming the Nedbank Cup, they got relegated the following season.

Boipatong victims remembered, 28 years on
17 June 2020, 11:15 AM

Today marks 28 years since the Boipatong massacre, which some say was a watershed moment in South Africa’s negotiated transition.

On the night of 17 June 1992, simmering tensions between the residents of Boipatong and Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) supporters boiled over and armed hostel dwellers pounced on unsuspecting locals, stabbing, shooting and hacking at least 45 of them to death.

A four-month old infant, a four-year-old child and a pregnant woman were among the victims of the onslaught.

The assailants were from the KwaMadala Hostel and were suspected to have collaborated with the apartheid police.

During the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s (TRC) amnesty hearing in Vanderbijlpark in 1999, 16 men who had been convicted for the massacre rejected claims of the police’s nor high ranking IFP members’ involvement.

This despite a testimony by a former ANC supporter, who had defected to the IFP two years before the massacre.

He had accused the late IFP Gauteng leader Themba Khoza and a former police sergeant, Pedro Peens of involvement.

British criminologist Dr. Peter A.J. Waddington, who was tasked to probe the attack, found that while police had done a shoddy job in investigating the massacre, there was no evidence of police complicity or involvement in the massacre. According to South African History Online, Waddington concluded that the South African Police (SAP) lacked proper investigative procedures in dealing with sensitive cases such as the massacre.

The incident sparked public outcry, with ANC members responding by burning the homes of police and IFP members.

It also came during a deadlock of South Africa’s CODESA talks, which were meant to chart a way for a new democratic society. The ANC withdrew from the talks in protest, but the negotiations were later revived, leading to elections two years later.

In the Voices of Boipatong, Historian and Researcher James Simpson says: “Boipatong’s people were not a passive audience. Their anger with police was manifest hours before their leaders sought to rouse it. Whether or not the accusations they levelled were true, their call for change reverberated across the country, through the authoring of testimonies, the stamping of feet, the singing of songs, and throwing of stones. South Africa and the world stopped to listen.”

Simpson says it was the people’s anger that forced then President F.W de Klerk to finally give in to a future of majority rule.

“Ensuing struggles over the meaning of Boipatong saw the gap it had opened expand ominously into a darkening chasm, threatening to force the pieces of South Africa’s torn landscape further and irrevocably apart. It was de Klerk who chose to relent. The swirling mass anger that animated the abyss was aimed at him and his government, as was the brunt of international reproach. Before Boipatong, he had fought tenaciously to retain minority powers, all the while seeking majority support. After the massacre, he resigned himself to the new role of benefactor to the ANC’s inevitable rise. The National Party would no longer pursue the retention of power through collaboration with the Inkatha Freedom Party, nor would it stand idly by as violence continued unabated.”

South Africans on social media are paying homage to those who lost their lives to the bloodshed.

 

Weather bureau warns of heavy rain in KwaZulu-Natal, icy weather to subside soon
17 June 2020, 9:06 AM

The South African Weather Services has forecast heavy rain, which may cause localised flooding in the next two days in north-east KwaZulu-Natal. It has also warned of cold temperatures – especially in high-lying areas in the Drakensberg, it could be as cold as minus 10 degrees Celsius. Forecaster Thandi Gumede says there is a 30 to 60% chance of rain in other parts of the province and an 80% chance on the north coast.

“The Eastern parts will include areas like the Umkhanyakhude District as well as some parts of King Cetswayao, and the eastern parts of Zululand – including areas like Phongolo, Nongoma, Jozini, Umhlabuyalingana, Mtubatuba coming towards the south through to Umfolozi including some parts of Umhlathuze, which includes Richards Bay,” says Gumede.

The forecasters also say yesterday was the coldest day in eight years in Gauteng. The SA Weather Services says the current cold weather pattern in some parts of the country will continue until tomorrow afternoon. Many other parts of the interior are also expected to start warming up towards the end of the week.

Light snowfalls could be experienced in parts of the Free State, Mpumalanga and the North West. Gauteng, where some light rain has been forecast, is expected to remain cold today.

Forecaster Edward Elgelbrecht says the weather will improve before the weekend. “The last time we had these extreme temperatures where there was even a possibility of snow over north-eastern parts of the country was back in 2012 when we had snow over Gauteng. So, it’s a similar system that we have currently. Previous winters have been fairly mild, especially for the interior of the country. This winter, definitely, it seems like a bit colder than the previous ones. In terms of another cold front, we do expect one again on Saturday to reach the Western Cape.”

Weather

 

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