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SA envoys to Zimbabwe accused of snubbing the opposition
10 August 2020, 10:40 PM

Zimbabwean opposition party, the MDC Alliance, claims it has been snubbed by President Cyril Ramaphosa’s Special Envoys to that country. Sydney Mufamadi and Baleka Mbete were scheduled to meet party leaders on Sunday but the meeting was cancelled.

The envoys were tasked by the President to meet with all relevant parties in relations to recent allegations of human rights violations, including police brutality in Zimbabwe.

The MDC Alliance claim they waited the whole day for the special envoys – only to receive the cancellation message late in the day. It says they were informed the would be returning to South Africa without honouring the meeting.

MDC Alliance accuses the ruling party ZANU-PF of persuading the Mufamadi and Mbete to not engage opposition parties. It says Zimbabwe is in crisis and is in a de facto state of emergency.

The opposition says it will continue to pressurise government to engage in dialogue in order to resolve the current tough times.

The envoys paid a courtesy visit to President Emmerson Mnangagwa this afternoon.

In the video below, is a discussion on the envoys’ meeting with Mnangagwa: 

Britain says deeply concerned by Hong Kong arrest of media tycoon
10 August 2020, 3:46 PM

Britain accused China of using a national security law as a pretext to silence opposition after the Hong Kong media tycoon Jimmy Lai became the highest-profile person arrested under the new rule.

“This is further evidence that the national security law is being used as a pretext to silence opposition. The Hong Kong authorities must uphold the rights and freedoms of its people,”Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s spokesman said.

“We are deeply concerned by the arrest of Jimmy Lai and six other individuals in Hong Kong. Freedom of the press is explicitly guaranteed in the Sino-British Joint Declaration, and basic law, and is supposed to be protected under Article Four of the National Security Law.”

Mainland-born Lai has been one of the most prominent democracy activists in the Chinese-ruled city and an ardent critic of Beijing.

China supports media tycoon’s arrest

China supports the arrest of Lai by Hong Kong police, state media said on Monday, stressing the need to “severely punish” those who collude with foreign forces to endanger national security.

Lai, 71, is now the highest-profile person arrested under the new national security law in Hong Kong. A spokesman for China’s Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office told the Xinhua agency that Lai was a representative of people who were “anti-China, anti-Hong Kong” and who were a danger that must be removed before there could be peace in Hong Kong. “He arrogantly called on people to fight for the United States, participated in the planning, organisation and instigation of a series of illegal protests,” Xinhua quoted the spokesman as saying.

He said that Lai also funded pro-independence forces and used his media to spread rumours and instigate violence. The spokesman said Lai and the others arrested on Monday should be severely punished, to show that “justice may be late but never absent”.

EU urges respect for human rights and press freedom in Hong Kong

The European Union urged respect for human rights and freedom of expression in Hong Kong on Monday, after Lai’s arrest. “The recent arrests of Jimmy Lai, members of his family and other individuals, and the raid on the offices of newspaper Apple Daily, under allegations of collusion with foreign forces,further stoke fears that the National Security Law is being used to stifle freedom of expression and of the media in Hong Kong,”European Commission foreign affairs spokesman Peter Stano said in a statement.

“The European Union recalls that the respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms is a central element of the Basic Law and the ‘one country, two systems’ principle.”

Omeros reports full recovery from severe COVID-19 in six-patient study
10 August 2020, 3:16 PM

Omeros Corp on Monday reported positive results from a six-patient study of its investigational treatment for Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome caused by COVID-19.

The company said all the six patients, who needed mechanical ventilation before treatment, recovered and were discharged from hospital.

A manuscript detailing the results of the study has been accepted for publication in the peer-reviewed journal Immunobiology, Omeros said.

Shares of the company soared 44% to $20.25 in premarket trading.

The news comes as efforts to find a cure for the coronavirus continue around the world.

Pharmaceutical giant CIPLA has manufactured thousands of dosages of the anti-viral drug Remdesivir, which has been shown to shorten recovery time for COVID-19 patients.

CIPLA was granted a licence to manufacture after the drug was first tested by the United States’ Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in May.

The pharmaceutical giant now manufactures and distributes Remdesivir to 127 countries. South Africa is among those countries.

SABC News correspondent Patrick Foknreeports on promising COVID-19 vaccine trials:

OPINION: SABC a critical element in the advancement of SA’s language agenda
6 August 2020, 12:52 PM

On 01 August 2020, the South African Broadcasting Cooperation (SABC) celebrated its 84th year anniversary of broadcasting, a commendable feat that the Pan South African Language Board (PanSALB) could not let pass without due regard to the public broadcaster’s immense contribution to the development of indigenous language in South Africa.

The SABC is a critical element in the advancement of the language agenda in the country, and its representation of all the languages of the land have a positive impact in not only developing these languages but also promoting social cohesion. It is important, therefore, to recognise the value of having a public broadcaster that has ensured eighty (80) years of dedication and uninterrupted commitment to promoting and protecting indigenous languages. From a tumultuous past during the apartheid era and its very first broadcast in indigenous languages in 1940 during World War II with languages such as isiZulu, isiXhosa, Sesotho and Setswana, the SABC has come a long way.

Today, the SABC boasts programming that is authentic and is representative of its culturally and linguistically diverse public, through broadcasting in all official languages as enshrined in the constitution of the Republic of South Africa.

Over the course of the coronavirus pandemic, we have seen the SABC rise up to the challenge as it sought to address challenges often faced by the Deaf community through the inclusion of South African Sign Language in all its current news broadcasts. However, more still needs to be done to ensure equal inclusion of all language groups across all programming.

Whilst progress and provisions have been for many languages, others still remain on the outskirts of mainstream representation. That is why it is important for us to reflect on what has been achieved in order to chart a way to bring to the fold those languages that have been underrepresented in our public domains.

We ought to acknowledge, however, radio stations such as Ukhozi fm, Umhlobo Wenene, Lesedi fm and Thobela fm, not only for their excellence in broadcasting, but also for having successfully served different indigenous language groups, with each securing a spot in the top 10 of South Africa’s most popular radio stations. The establishment of these powerhouses paved a way to the establishment of Munghana Lonene fm, Motsweding fm, Phalaphala fm, Ikwekwezi fm, and Ligwalagwala fm and created an opportunity to give voice to other official languages such as Xitsonga, Setswana, Tshivenda, IsiNdebele, and Siswati. In a world that is increasingly becoming smaller and homogenic, radio stations serve as the true vessels of our languages and the SABC has been a trailblazer in this department.

Perhaps its lesser known but most notable achievement is the establishment of X-K FM, a community radio station founded in 2000, that has had a significant contribution towards the preservation of the Khoe, Nama and San languages. Situated in Platfontein, Northern Cape, the station broadcasts in !Xun and Khwe, both endangered languages in the country.

Maintaining the oral tradition and giving a voice to even the smallest of language groups and communities is what makes up a truly diverse nation that recognises all its citizens and  is a critical aspect in promoting unity and provides a platform to uphold our constitutional values of multilingualism.

Radio stations have kept the torch burning when it comes to the preservations of indigenous languages. Therefore, it is important to recognise the role the SABC plays in shaping the linguistic landscape in South Africa and its contribution towards the promotion of all our languages, lest we take for granted the linguistic freedoms we now enjoy. Today, South Africa has 19 public radio stations with more than 25 million weekly listeners and five television broadcasts to the general public.  All these stations continue to broadcast in the languages that our people understand, and it is important to applaud these efforts made in language preservation.

This should also serve as a reminder of where we come from as a nation, what we have achieved and awaken us to what must still be done to ensure that our languages are represented and fully recognised.

There has been a lot of ground covered and yet still more remains.

Happy 84th anniversary to the SABC, we look forward to many more years of unwavering dedication to language promotion! By Chairperson of the Pan South African Language Board, Dr Tebogo David Maahlamela.


Percy Tau’s move to Anderlecht confirmed
6 August 2020, 11:44 AM

South African footballer Percy Tau’s move to Belgian giants Anderlecht was confirmed late yesterday, with player/coach Vincent Kompany officially welcoming him to the club on their social media platforms.

The former Mamelodi Sundowns mid-fielder joins the side on loan from another Belgian team – Club Brugge – where he found the back of the net four times and provided assists for a further eight strikes in 30 matches, last season.

This was Kompany welcome to the club and Tau’s response.

According to KickOff, the 26-year-old had spent the previous two campaigns in Belgium, winning the Jupiler Pro League title with Club Brugge last season, and being named as the Player of the Season in the second division with Union Saint-Gilloise in the 2018/19 campaign.

He has expressed excitement over the move, saying he wants to help take Anderlecht back to the top of Belgian football.

Some South Africans have taken to social media to celebrate Tau’s milestone: 



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