Malawi’s election cheer dampened by coronavirus surge
4 July 2020, 8:01 PM
Malawi’s new President Lazarus Chakwera on Saturday ordered his inauguration ceremony be scaled down amid a surge of coronavirus cases, dampening excitement around his election win. Chakwera was sworn in last Sunday for a five-year term, hours after unseating Peter Mutharika in a re-run election, and this Monday the country is holding a formal celebration.
Chakwera said capacity at the national stadium would be halved to 20 000 and at least 100 000 face masks would be distributed in the capital Lilongwe. “We’re in a worse situation today than we were three months ago. Coronavirus is spreading everywhere in Malawi and it’s spreading to kill,” he said in a televised address.
COVID-19 cases have more than doubled in the past two weeks to reach nearly 1 500, with 16 deaths. Opposition politicians and activists had criticised Mutharika’s response to the pandemic, calling it inadequate and aimed keeping him in power.
In April the High Court struck down Mutharika’s order of 21-day lockdown after a petition from a human rights organisation. However Chakwera indicated restrictions on movement were imminent, saying new measures would be announced on Tuesday when he appointed a new health minister.
“Community transmission has escalated in the last three weeks,” he said. “However, we must strike a balance between public safety and social functioning of our country.” Chakwera’s win in last month’s re-run election was a dramatic reversal of the result of the original election in May 2019, which courts had later overturned citing irregularities.
In the video below, Malawi’s new President promises to serve the people:
Ramaphosa hails Twala-Mhlongo as a great icon of SA’s creative community
4 July 2020, 6:29 PM
President Cyril Ramaphosa has joined the nation in mourning the passing of Mary Twala-Mhlongo, describing her as a great icon of the nation’s creative community.
Mhlongo passed away at the Parklane Hospital in Johannesburg. She was 80.
Mhlongo had an extensive career in film and television. She has featured in the small screen in drama series such as Hlala Kwabafileyo and Molo Fish.
In her long career she was nominated for various awards, including in the Africa Movie Academy Award for Best Actress in a Supporting role in 2011.
In the video below, Lillian Dube pays tribute to her late friend:
Ramaphosa says her performances brought to life the meaning of being South African and appealed to all generations.
Like millions of South Africans, I am saddened by the passing of a great icon of our nation’s creative community; someone who was a household name and face to all of us and brought home the joys, the struggles and the humour under pressure that characterises our national life. pic.twitter.com/3EPIRB7Sf7
— Cyril Ramaphosa 🇿🇦 #StaySafe (@CyrilRamaphosa) July 4, 2020
Ministers Lindiwe Sisulu and Fikile Mbalula, the EFF’s Mbuyiseni Ndlozi and Julius Malema as well as Professor Thuli Madonsela are some of those tweeting their condolences to Mhlongo.
The tributes describe Twala as a legendary trailblazer whose departure is a loss not only for her son, but also a great loss for the nation. Actress, Connie Chiume, says she was undoubtedly the ‘mother of theatre ‘ whose legacy will live on.
The last time I saw her on TV was at Somizi’s wedding. I’ll never forget the look she gave Somizi before he walked down the aisle🥺 that woman loved her son & was proud as hell❤ #RIPMaryTwalapic.twitter.com/VEIt0gk0cv
Officers involved in Khayelitsha forced evitions will be dealt with: Cele
4 July 2020, 3:16 PM
Police Minister Bheki Cele says the officers involved in the forceful evictions that took place in Khayelitsha will be dealt with as their conduct during the operation was unacceptable. Cele has visited the area to meet with the community and Bulelani Qhalani, the man who was evicted with no clothes on while his shack was being broken down.
Four law enforcement officials have been suspended. The city says it had a court order to conduct the evictions but lockdown regulations state that all eviction orders must be stayed until the end of alert level three.
Cele says the Western Cape policing structure must ensure accountability for all those involved.
“As South African police we are working on it and as I’ve said that even if its legitimate the court has granted you permission you are not evicting pigs, you are evicting human beings. You need to behave in a human way but secondly there must be accountability and these structures don’t have any form of accountability here.”
Minister Cele has called for patience as the community of Ethembeni informal area, where the eviction took place, call for swift action against the officers involved.
Cele says a dedicated senior police team has been appointed to investigate the case.
“There is a case here that must be investigated and there is no Cele that is going to spoil the case doing things that he’s not supposed to do, for the fact that we have a team, for the fact that we have a dedicated team, actually I have even instructed that the case of 2018, when the woman was dragged, must be taken by that team, but let’s follow the law,” he says.
In the video below, Minister Cele addresses the community of Khayelitsha:
‘Put the city under administration’
Member of Parliament Hendricks has asked the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) to put City of Cape Town under administration for human rights abuses.
He made the submission during a Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Portfolio Commitee meeting on Friday, which continued until the early hours of Sartuday.
In a statement, Hendricks says the two city officials who were fingered by the Chairperson of the Committee as being behind the evictions should be investigated.
“AL JAMA-AH has received complaints from residents in the precinct that there is a cabal of City officials linked to at least two political parties that conduct a reign of terror to protect the R2 billion tender of upgrades to the nearby Zandvliet water treatment plant,” the statement reads.
Hendricks likens the plant to a gas chamber he saw in Austria Hitlers first concentration camp, while admitting that these matters were brought to his attention at the initiative of AL JAM-AH by chemical and environment professors at the universities of Cape Town and the Western Cape.
Hendricks also wanted to know from the Minister of Cogta why city politicians were not arrested for violating her regulation that there be no evictions during lockdown. Hendricks also chastised ANC members of the committee for allegedly calling the man who was seen being manhandled while naked, Bulelani Qolani, an invader.
He has written to the Speaker of the National Assembly, requesting a special debate on the Cape Town evictions.
Hendricks hopes for the debate to result in a commission of inquiry into the last 1000 evictions carried out by the City of Cape Town, which he claims were masterminded by the two officials fingered by the Chair of Cogta.
In the video below, Qhalani talks to SABC News about his plight:
Backlash over City officials’ handling of evictions:
Qhalani has opened a case against the City of Cape Town, so has the South African Human Rights Commission and some opposition parties. The City of Cape Town has also established its own probe into the matter.
Smash the silence on GBV, Amnesty International SA urges South Africans
2 July 2020, 12:37 PM
Amnesty International South Africa is calling on South Africans to stop inaction and silence on Gender-Based Violence (GBV).
The organisation says South Africa cannot allow increased surges of femicides to continue, only for silence to follow. “It must end now. The government must tackle GBV with the same zeal and coordinated effort as they demonstrated with COVID-19.”
“It is time to smash the silence. Not just government silence but societal silence too. Each and every one of us must ring the bell on abuse, interrupt abusers and refuse to stand back and allow this shadow pandemic of violence to continue.”
The organisation has also reiterated its call for government to increase its efforts in ensuring that the rights of women and girls are protected and upheld. It also wants violations of these rights documented and dealt with in a timely manner by the justice system.
“It must also fulfil its promise to introduce and implement legislation on GBV without any further delays,” the organisation says.
Amnesty International SA was responding to a debate in Parliament on gender-based violence (GBV), which was held on Tuesday and a subsequent protest outside the building.
“Amnesty International South Africa agrees that additional debates and speeches on GBV are not changing anything. Only urgent, decisive and concrete action will bring the crucial change needed to stop South Africa’s war on women and girls,” says Amnesty International South Africa Executive Director, Shenilla Mohamed.
The country has seen an increased number of reported cases of GBV since the start of level 3 lockdown in June. One of the shocking incidents was that of a pregnant Soweto woman who was found hanging from a tree. Her body had stab wounds.
It has various suggestions for South Africa to adopt during the hard lockdown.
These include the country uniting to ensure a supply of food, water and sanitation to the poor; regulation of food prices and that all financial institutions be forced through legislation to give a three-month interest-free payment holiday to non-essential workers and businesses.
In May, the party rejected the moving to level 4 lockdown as reckless and senseless.
In the file video below, EFF criticises some of government’s lockdown steps: