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AfriForum joins the Zuma case, says ConCourt’s concession violates principle of equality before the law
4 July 2021, 8:20 PM

AfriForum has ordered its legal team to start preparations to join the rescission application by former president Jacob Zuma against his 15-month sentence for contempt of court.

The lobby group wants to join as a friend of the court.

The Constitutional Court last week found Zuma in contempt of court for ignoring the court’s directive to continue testifying at the State Capture Commission. On Saturday, it agreed to hear Zuma’s application, on the 12th of July, for a rescission of his sentence.

This means that Zuma is not required to hand himself over tonight to start serving his 15-month jail term.

AfriForum CEO, Kallie Kriel, argues that ordinary citizens would not receive the same treatment as Zuma before the courts.

“Afriforum decided to get involved in Mr Zuma’s court case because the special treatment he is getting at the moment infringes on the principle of equality before the law. We as ordinary people would not been able to get the same treatment as Mr Zuma is getting at the moment, and therefore is time we as normal citizens we demand equality before the law,” Kriel says.

He says the initial constitutional judgment, ordering Zuma to hand himself over to authorities in five days, was seen as a victory for equality before the law.

The organisation says Zuma’s application to have his guilt verdict set aside does not comply with rule 42 of the Uniform Court rules since “since his absence during his hearing was of his own doing.”

The organisation has described the Constitutional Court’s decision to hear Zuma’s appeal as strange.

Opposing parties in the case have until Tuesday to file their papers.

Earlier, Zuma said he is ready to state his case before the court.

Former President addresses supporters and leaders in Nkandla:

OPINION | Developing world can learn a lot from China’s book
4 July 2021, 7:26 PM

Last Thursday, on July 21, the Communist Party of China celebrated the 100th anniversary since its founding. With only some fifty members on that day in 1921, the CPC has since grown in leaps and bounds. Today, it boasts more than 950 million members. Thirty percent of the total party membership is made up of young people under the age of 40.

The occasion caused Chinese President Xi Jinping, who is also the head of the ruling CPC, to reveal very telling foreign policy standpoints. First, he said, China will never be bullied by foreign forces again. However, China seeks no confrontation with anyone and promotes global peace and cooperation. Said President Xi: “We are eager to learn what lessons we can from the achievements of other cultures. We welcome helpful suggestions and constructive criticism. However, we will never accept lecturing from those self-appointed preachers.”

President Xi continued: “The Party and the Chinese people will keep moving confidently forward along the path that we have chosen for ourselves. We will make sure that the future of China’s development and progress remains firmly in our own hands.”

This is a fertile formula for certain “uniquely Chinese” future party growth – when young people are active in party activities and junior and middle leadership. It bodes well for the future, for the development of China, by Chinese people, for the Chinese people.

China’s success has been based on “Socialism with Chinese characteristics”. And the country’s future will continue to develop in the same trajectory, according to President Xi, who said: “On the journey ahead, we must continue to adapt the basic tenets of Marxism to China’s specific realities and its fine traditional culture.”

At the reception held by the China embassy in SA last week, several SA political bigwigs were in attendance and spoke highly and enviously about China’s ferocious development from a one-time occupied territory to the world’s second largest economy after only the USA. Projections by scholars point to a China’s destined emergence as the world’s biggest economy within the next decade.

Among those who spoke were former South African president Kgalema Motlanthe, SA Communist Party leader Blade Nzimande, Bathabile Dlamini of the ANC Women’s League, Cosatu’s president Zingiswa Losi, Water and Sanitation minister Lindiwe Sisulu, Social Development minister Lindiwe Zulu, who is also Chair of the ANC’s National Executive Committee’s Sub-committee on International Relations, Nathi Mthethwa spoke in his capacity as the country’s Arts, Sport and Culture minister and the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) was represented by its deputy minister Candith Mashego-Dlamini. All spoke in glowing terms about the global envy that China has become.

The New China, as some protagonists in Beijing call it, has rescued more than 700 million peasants out of their socio-economic misery into a booming middle class.

As Cosatu’s Losi put it: “Under the visionary guidance of the CPC, China, whose philosophy is people-centred, has achieved unprecedented success in poverty alleviation in human history. The CPC’s people-centred philosophy has led to the upliftment of over 700 million people out of poverty since its inception, and economic reforms put the people of China at the forefront of its quest for economic development.”

Now the war on poverty is one the UN’s ten millennium goals. As Losi noted with great interest, “the accomplishment put China on achieving the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Goals 10 years ahead of time.” This is no mean feat.

China’s ambassador to SA, Chen Xiaodong, speaking at the CPC@100 celebrations, revealed non-negotiable “musts” on which China’s development in the second centenary will be based. “First,” he said, “we must uphold the firm leadership of the party.” This is because, as President Xi said during his address to the nation on July 21, “China’s success hinges on the CPC. Without the CPC, there will be no New China and no national rejuvenation. The CPC was chosen by history and the Chinese people.” That is the depth of pride that the people of China place on the work, the historical mission and accomplishments of the CPC. All these achievements have been based on “Socialism with Chinese characteristics,” Xiaodong said.

“Second,” he continued, we must work to deliver a better life for the people. A country is its people, and the people are the country. The CPC has been fighting to earn and keep the people’ support.”

He quoted President Xi, who is also the CPC’s general-secretary, saying “any attempt to divide the party from the Chinese people or to set the people against the party is bound to fail. The more than 95 million party members and the more than 1.4 billion Chinese people will never allow this to happen.”

The third “must”, according to Xiaodong, was that “we must firmly uphold and develop socialism with Chinese characteristics. It is the right way to go for rejuvenating the Chinese nation.”

This, according to the CPC, “is a uniquely Chinese path to modernisation, and created a new model for human advancement”.

Xiaodong added: “Fourth, we must continue working to promote the building of a human community with a shared future. Peace, concord, and harmony are ideas the Chinese nation has pursued for more than 5 000 years.”

And finally the fifth “must” was identified as “a need to continue to advance the great new project of party building”.

Former President Motlanthe said: “As witnesses to China’s advances into the future, we take our cue from virtuous leaders of the past who were armed with the correct tools of analysis to envision a future free of homelessness, disease, ignorance, poverty, and hunger.”

There are many lessons that the developing world can copy out of China’s book. Among them is the recognition that every nation has its own unique characteristics, traditions, culture and language.

Philosophies of life also differ from one country to the other. China’s resounding economic boom and towering political global stature are premised on its early acknowledgement that it is better to develop one’s self and one’s domestic understanding rather than to copy foreign traits because carbon copy offers no guarantee for success.

President’s silence on Nkandla reinforces claims that those connected to ANC’s elite are above the law: Steenhuisen
4 July 2021, 6:40 PM

The Democratic Alliance (DA) has called on President Cyril Ramaphosa to intervene after thousands of supporters of former president Jacob Zuma congregated in Nkandla in contravention of level four lockdown rules.

DA leader, John Steenhuisen, says in a statement that the Zuma supporters were not wearing masks and not practicing social distancing. All gatherings are not allowed under level four of the lockdown.

South Africa experienced a second straight day of record numbers of new coronavirus infections with over 26 000 new coronavirus infections being reported on Saturday.

Steenhuisen says no-one is above the law and he is concerned that the gathering of Zuma supporters at Nkandla could turn into a super-spreader event.

“The President’s silence on this matter only reinforces what many South Africans have come to believe: that nobody is above the law, except those connected to the ANC’s elite. Lockdown regulations at any level must either be enforced with consistency or be scrapped altogether. There is no reason why restaurants cannot host a sit-down dinner service, or bars cannot safely serve patrons if thousands of Zuma supporters can gather on a whim without consequence,” he says.

Several gunshots rang out just meters away from the former president’s homestead:

Earlier, the National Freedom Party (NFP) also raised concerns over the possible impact of the Nkandla gathering on the country’s efforts to slow down the spread of COVID-19.

Law enforcement bosses have increased the capacity on the police on the ground in Nkandla following the concerns.

The National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure has warned that criminal action will not be tolerated at Nkandla.

Nkandla a hive of activity:

 

Mali says four soldiers killed in ambush by suspected militants
4 July 2021, 5:55 PM

Four soldiers were killed when their patrol was ambushed by suspected militants in central Mali on Sunday, the army said in a statement.

The region is where Mali is battling militants linked to al Qaeda and the Islamic State. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.

The army said in a statement that the patrol was ambushed near the town of Lere on Sunday morning.

“The provisional toll is at four soldiers killed,” it said.

The attack comes as France, which has deployed over 5 000counter-terrorism soldiers in Mali to help combat militants, said on Friday that it has resumed jointed military operations with Mali after they were suspended following a coup.

AU suspends Mali’s membership with immediate effect and warns of sanctions:

Some Philippine troops jump before military plane crashes in flames, killing at least 45
4 July 2021, 5:23 PM

A Philippines Air Force troop plane crashed and broke up in flames on a southern island on Sunday, killing at least 45 people after some jumped free, officials said, in the country’s worst military air disaster in nearly 30 years. Pictures from the scene showed flames and smoke pouring from wreckage strewn among coconut palms as men in combat uniform milled around, while a column of thick black smoke rose into the sky.

The Lockheed C-130 transport aircraft, carrying troops bound for counter-insurgency operations, crashed with 96 people onboard. The plane had attempted to land at Jolo airport, but overshot the runway without touching down. It failed to regain enough power and height and crashed at nearby Patikul.

“A number of soldiers were seen jumping out of the aircraft before it hit the ground, sparing them from the explosion caused by the crash,” the Joint Task Force Sulu said in a statement. It was not immediately clear how many jumped or whether they had survived.

Military chief Cirilito Sobejana said the plane had “missed the runway trying to regain power”.

The Department of National Defence said 45 people had been killed, including three civilians on the ground, while 53 were injured, including four civilians. Five military personnel were still missing. A military spokesman, Colonel Edgard Arevalo, said there was no sign of any attack on the plane, but an investigation had yet to begin as efforts were focused on rescue and treatment.

The military command said the soldiers aboard had the rank of private and were being deployed to their battalions. They were flying to the provincial airport of Jolo from Laguindingan, about 460 km (290 miles) to the northeast.

The army in the sprawling Philippine archipelago has been fighting a long war against Islamist militants from Abu Sayyaf and other factions. “They were supposed to join us in our fight against terrorism,” said Commander William N. Gonzales of Joint Task Force Sulu.

Jolo airport has a 1 200-metre runway that usually takes civilian turboprop flights though occasionally some military flights, according to a Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines spokesperson. Jolo island, part of the Sulu archipelago, is about 950 km(600 miles) south of the capital, Manila.

The Lockheed C-130H Hercules aircraft, with registration5125, had only recently arrived in the Philippines. It was one of two aircraft provided by the US government through the Defense Security Cooperation Agency, a government website said in January. It quoted an air force spokesman assaying the aircraft would boost capability for heavy airlift missions.

The website C-130.net said the plane that crashed had first flown in 1988. The model is a workhorse for armed forces around the world. The Philippines armed forces have a patchy air safety record.

Last month, a Black Hawk helicopter crashed during a training mission, killing six people. A Philippines Air Force C-130 crash in 1993 killed 30people. A 2008 crash of the civilian variant of the Lockheed plane flown by the Philippines Air Force killed 11 people, the Aviation Safety Network says.

The country’s worst plane crash was that of an Air Philippines Boeing 737 in 2000, which killed 131 people.

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