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Free State community living in fear over suspected gang violence
12 September 2020, 6:35 PM

Residents of Virginia in the Free State live in fear. Suspected gang violence has led to the murder of 24-year-old, Pule Klaas. Klaas was stabbed to death after he was accosted by six men in an open field on Thursday morning.

The Klaas family’s home was attacked a few hours before Pule’s death. His sister, Puseletso Klaas says they are deeply hurt.

“We are hurt and there is nothing we can do. We can’t get any assistance. This is not the first time a member of our family has been killed.”

Three years ago – seven gang members were sentenced to life imprisonment for gang-related offences. And this week – 13 suspects were arrested following recent incidents. Residents say they are terrified by the flare up of gang violence in the area.

“We are deeply hurt as residents because we are not part of the gangsters. But the problem is when they fight they come and destroy our homes. So we are now scared we cannot be free in our homes because we are constantly scared as to what will happen at night.”

Another resident adds: “As a community we are affected, we are not protected. We’ve got single mothers who are staying with their kids. And again you go to the police station to lay a charge. They return us home, we can’t eve open a case they don’t take our story. They tell us that if there’s fight this side they’ll come if they see a dead body.”

Soldiers deployed in the Matjhabeng Municipality for lockdown regulations enforcement will work with the police to restore order in the area.

“Members of SAPS with assistance of South African National Defence Force launched a manhunt for the suspect/s which led to the arrest of a 15-year-old suspect for this murder. On a separate incident, other cases emanating from these gang wars such as murder, assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm (GBH) and malicious damage to property led to the arrest of 12 more suspects aged between 15 and 32 years which includes a 15-year-old arrested for Klaas’s murder. All the suspects will be appear at Virginia Magistrate’s Court soon,” says Free State Police Spokesperson, Motantsi Makhele.

Police continue to monitor the situation in the area.

All set for Jozi’s first ever virtual Jazz on the Lake
12 September 2020, 5:56 PM

The beginning of spring in Johannesburg usually means the beginning of the arts calendar for revellers, but things will be different this year due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The 28th edition of the Arts Alive Festival officially kicked off this week, and because of restrictions on gatherings, many digital platforms will carry the productions.

On Sunday, Jazz on the Lake will be held virtually. The concert will feature performances from award-winning South Africa artists Zoe Modiga, Shekhinah, Andile Yenana, Blaq Diamond, Thandi Ntulu, Ami Faku and others.

Modiga has been using the past few months to reflect and write music on Gender-Based Violence (GBV) and other social ills across the globe.

“Initially it was a very devastating time because there was a lot of plans and hard work that was put into the year. It seems like all that hard work was for nothing. But it started being a time to reflect as well and to improve. It’s also been a great time to release my album Inganekwane, which is a love letter to Black bodies around the world.”

Although she draws her energy from live audiences — Zoe says she slowly adjusting to the new norm and excited to perform for a virtual audience.

“I consider myself to be an empath and it is very much a power that I use when there is a live audience. When I’m in a space with people, I really feel everyone’s spirit and emotion and I really feel. I can connect with an audience a lot better with live interaction. I definitely do miss that. But in these times I’m trying to perform in good faith knowing that people that are watching the show are excited to experience something and excited to be watching. So I will definitely have that at the back of my mind.”


Teacher and pianist, Andile Yenana, says the lockdown created a lot of anxiety for him.

“I remember from lockdown stage 5 will I ever come out of this, alive? Will the music industry still be there? We are waiting for 1 and what happens after 1 will it ever be normal?”

However, Level 2 has awarded Yenana the opportunity to travel from KZN and be part of the Arts Alive festival.

“I come from a generation where things were done differently. So live for me will always be live. I’m slowly getting into this digital sphere; it’s the real industrial revolution coming so I can’t be left outside. Preparing for the Sunday show was a bit of a challenge I live outside of Gauteng. I’m in KZN so I had to travel. The last time I was in a plane was in January so you can imagine what kind of anxiety I had.”

Vocalist and composer Thandi Ntuli is still trying to wrap her head around the virtual space. She says preparing for the show and performing with a band is something she has been longing for.

“It’s the first show that I really played at this year. And I look forward to how we are going to be making art going forward. The live space really makes it wonderful to interact with the audience. And I feel like the audience is part of the band because the energy that people bring to the show is part of the music. Working on a virtual space is a very beautiful space in terms of, it gives people who are not in the city or in the country to watch what it is that is being streamed.”

Arts Alive events will be recorded at the Joburg Theatre and in other regions of the City. The festival will showcase visual arts, educational workshops and master classes, music, theatre, poetry, dance within the month of September as well stretching through until December.

SA economy drops by 51%
8 September 2020, 12:12 PM

South Africa’s economy has shrunk by 51% in the second quarter of 2020.

Statistics South Africa released the data today.

In the statement, the organisation describes this as a severe punch in the gut.

“Perhaps the second quarter of 2020 will become known as the pandemic quarter. South Africa’s economy suffered a significant contraction during April, May and June when the country operated under widespread lockdown restrictions in response to COVID-19.”

The organisation says the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) fell by just over 16% between the first and second quarters of 2020, giving an annualised growth rate of ‑51%.

“This contraction dwarfs the annualised slowdown of 6.1% recorded in the first quarter of 2009 during the global financial crisis. Historical data from 1960, sourced from the South African Reserve Bank, show that the second quarter of 2020 experienced the biggest fall in GDP since that year, far steeper than the annualised 8.2% decline in the fourth quarter of 1982.”

Nearly all industries experienced a massive drop in output in the second quarter of 2020. The construction industry was hardest hit, slumping further by 76.6%.

It was already in bad shape before the pandemic. This was the sector’s eighth consecutive quarter of economic decline.

Manufacturing output shrank by 74.9% due to work stoppages and low demand for steel.

The ban on alcohol sales is said to have also had a heavy impact on the food and beverage division of manufacturing.

Expenditure on GDP tumbled by 52.3%. Falling exports and household spending are cited as reasons for this.

Economists had been expecting the slump with Chief Economist at Efficient Group Dawie Roodt earlier telling SABC News that they expected it to be  the country’s biggest drop in history.

Analysis of SA economy during COVID-19 pandemic:

Matona disputes Ngubane’s claim that he was offered his job back at Eskom
8 September 2020, 6:16 AM

Former Eskom CEO Tshediso Matona has denied the claims made by former Board chair Ben Ngubane that they offered him his job back after he was removed over loadshedding in 2015. He was testifying at the State Capture Commission in Johannesburg.

Matona together with other executives were suspended from Eskom in 2015 after the Board passed a resolution for an external inquiry.

Ngubane claimed to have offered Matona his job back after the former CEO approached the CCMA claiming unfair dismissal. Matona told the Commission on Monday that Ngubane’s claims are untrue and he would have jumped at the offer to get his job back, but this never happened.

“I would have because to start it would have probably suggested a change of heart on the part of the Board, suggested that maybe they made a mistake and I could work with them. I would have gone, the only reason that I decided to move on is because I realised I was never going to work well with this Board, I realised there was no support that a CEO requires from a Board that had taken this kind of action that the Eskom Board did.”

The Commission will today hear evidence from former Board chairperson of Eskom Zola Tsotsi, who was implicated in alleged wrongdoing when he was at the helm of the power utility.

Former Eskom CEO’s testimony on his suspension:


Fallout over sewage spillage in Bushbuckridge
5 September 2020, 10:55 PM

The Bushbuckridge Local Municipality in Mpumalanga has committed to fix leaking pipes that are causing raw sewage to spill into streets and homes in Malaynini section, Bushbuckridge. This follows residents’ complaints of an unbearable stench in the area. The community alleges that the local municipality is aware of their plight, but does nothing.

“The stench is unbearable. The children will get sick even the elders, we are now worried about coronavirus and now it’s the sewer spillage. You can’t even eat here. Where would we go because this is home, they should help us,” pleads resident, Herold Mashego.

He says they have been living with these unhealthy conditions for about two months.

Another resident, Kgomotso Malomane, claims to have written letters asking for assistance from the municipality without success. She says her daughter is now asthmatic as a result.

“It has been 3 years having this problem of sewerage, in and out of hospital for the baby girl. The problem is they don’t come she is asthmatic by now because of this thing; it is not because of the ground or what. It’s because of this thing, even us the elders, we can smell it; I am blocked.”

The Bushbuckridge Local Municipality has acknowledged the sewer spillage in the area, but denied that it’s been continuing for two months. Spokesperson for the municipality, Claiton Khosa, says the mushrooming of houses in the area is to blame.

“It only started last week; we have been attending to the issue. The problem of buildings there has led to people building on top of the sewer and last week when our team went they had to dig mostly bricks and other materials, which is the cause we had to wait to get manpower from our regional office as we speak now the team is on site.”

The Bushbuckridge Local Municipality has warned communities against land invasions to avoid damaging existing infrastructure.

Raw sewage spills into residents’ yards in Bushbuckridge:



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