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Khusela Diko
Gauteng ANC summons Diko and the Masukus over controversial multi-million rand PPE tender
27 July 2020, 4:58 PM

The African National Congress (ANC) in Gauteng will meet with Premier David Makhura to discuss a controversial tender that allegedly involves Presidential Spokesperson, Khusela Diko.

A date for the meeting with the premier has not been disclosed. But the provincial ANC leadership says it has summoned Diko, Health MEC Dr Bandile Masuku and his wife, who is a Johannesburg Councillor, Loyiso Masuku to a meeting today over the awarding of a R124 million tender, awarded to Royal Bhaca – a company owned by Diko’s husband.

Diko and Masuku’s wife are said to be close friends.

In the video below, SABC’s Samkele Maseko weighs in on the matter:

There are concerns that Diko might have used her position to garner the multi-million rand tender for the company. The business deal with the Gauteng Health Department is said to have been for the provision of Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs).

The move comes amid mounting calls for Diko’s suspension.

Earlier EFF leader Julius Malema urged President Cyril Ramaphosa to sack her, saying he need to lead by example.

Below, Malema elaborates on his call:

Civil organisation, Sanco, in Gauteng has also called for an investigation into the provincial Health Department’s awarding of tenders.

The Democratic Alliance in Johannesburg has also called for a probe into the matter.

The DA’s Jack Bloom says it is outrageous that anyone could seek to profit from the COVID-19 crisis in Gauteng, while health staff complain about a lack of PPE.

“I think it is critically important that there is no cover up of the alleged corruption in the Gauteng health department with PPE contracts. Its hundreds of millions of rands and it’s utterly that people could seek to make profits out of the misery of others especially since we are trying to fight this COVID19 pandemic. I really think there should be a full investigation, this time with consequences,” he says.

The Special Investigating Unit has said it is already investigating COVID-19 related procurements.

‘Above board’

Over the weekend, Diko and her husband King Madzikane the second Thandisizwe Diko released separate statement.

The King says his contract with the department was cancelled and he did not receive any form of payment. This is after concerns were raised that this could create a potential conflict of interest.

Diko, who is also an ANC Gauteng Executive Committee member, has denied using her potential influence to help her husband.

 

ANC veterans denounce Zuma headlining Mlangeni’s memorial service as inappropriate
24 July 2020, 10:35 PM

ANC stalwarts and veterans have described the headlining of former President Jacob Zuma at struggle stalwart Andrew Mlangeni’s memorial this evening as a direct contradiction to the moral and revolutionary integrity embodied by the former Robben Islander.

In a statement, the struggle veterans say Zuma’s constitutionally improper conduct during his tenure as President of the ANC, the raft of very serious charges of corruption for which he is to stand trial for and his alleged involvement in State Capture are reasons for their misgivings.

“Moreover, Cde Mlangeni was most forthright in his condemnation of Cde Zuma’s behaviour, going so far as to say that, despite having spent 10 years with Cde Zuma on Robben Island, should he be found guilty of the offences levelled against him, Cde Zuma should be returned to that, go back to serve his sentence. These were not idle words, but a damning indictment. Consequently, we are perplexed by the very idea that Cde Zuma was selected to conduct this sombre and profound homage to the last of the Rivonia trialists and custodian of the finest values of our proud movement.”

The stalwarts say sullying Mlangeni’s memory in a cynical manner is distasteful and unbecoming of the African National Congress.

They distanced themselves from Friday’s programme, saying the move was “in favour of one that properly honours Cde Mlangeni’s great legacy.”

Earlier, the June and Andrew Mlangeni Foundation distanced itself from what it calls “internal battles” within the ANC, saying will honour the legacy of Mlangeni in a way they see fit.

In the video below, Zuma reflects on Mlangeni’s life:

Political animal

Paying tribute to Mlangeni, Zuma describe the struggle stalwart as a political animal, who lived for the ANC.

“He believed in the ANC policies, he believed in the Freedom Charter and I’m sure as we say goodbye to him we need to promise him that we are going to fulfil the task that was given to all of us by the people of our country that we should implement the Freedom Charter because the Freedom Charter is the document that was produced by the people under the leadership of the ANC,” he said.

The 95-year-old Mlangeni, who was the last remaining Rivonia trialist, died on Tuesday night at 1 Military hospital in Pretoria, after he was admitted with an abdominal complaint. – Additional reporting by SABC Radio

SA records 13 944 new COVID-19 cases, death toll now at 6 343
24 July 2020, 9:28 PM

South Africa has recorded 13 944 new COVID-19 cases. This takes the country’s total number of infections to 421 996.

The Health Ministry announced this in a statement on Friday night.

It says there have been 250 new deaths, taking the death toll to 6 343.

“13 from the Eastern Cape, 139 from Gauteng, 50 from KwaZulu-Natal, 47 from the Western Cape and one from the Free State,” the department of Health said in a statement.

Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize has conveyed his condolences to the bereaved families.

He says more than 245 000 South Africans have recovered from the disease.

Below is an overview of the statistics:

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Cape Town hospitality, tourism industries’ protest turns chaotic
24 July 2020, 9:20 PM

The Western Cape provincial government and the City of Cape Town have slammed the heavy handedness of police during a peaceful protest at Parliament this morning. A group of people under the banner of the #Serve-Us-Please movement tried to form a human chain with rope for social distancing, while highlighting the dire situation that millions of people in the tourism and hospitality industry face.

The protest, however, did not last long. Police moved in on the group while it was still organising itself, forming a chain with rope between people. They were given five minutes to disperse, as the gathering is illegal under Level 3 of COVID-19 regulations.  Soon after, there was chaos with police using a water canon and stun grenades to disperse them.

Many people were shocked and outraged by police action.

“My tax money is feeding them and they’re spraying me, no no no, I’m hungry man, I’m hungry…Cyril please sir, please sir, with respect, my people are hungry, please sir, I want my job, I want to work for this country,” pleaded one.

“I’m shaking, I’m shaking, I was very afraid, that’s not fair, they mustn’t treat us like that, please, please. This is outrageous, we live in a democracy, not a police state, I’ve never seen this in my life, I’m actually shaking, I feel so angry and so sad. We want our money and our jobs back, please open tourism, we are hungry, our kids are hungry what should we do, just open tourism,” said another.

The protesters also called for the lifting of the ban on the sale of alcohol.

Protest organiser, Brent Perremore, says the industry is a major job creator in the province, and tens of thousands of people have been cut off from any income for months.

“The issue is dire, speaking as an ordinary South African. I haven’t received any salary in five months and I’m one of the lucky ones. My wife is, fortunately, earning a salary but we are here standing in solidarity with the people who don’t have that luxury, you know. There are single moms with three kids and two kids and people with families to provide for,” he says.

Both Provincial Minister for Finance, David Maynier and the MEC for Community Safety, Albert Fritz, condemned the heavy-handed police action, calling it hypocritical as police are under-resourced and unable to adequately attend to violent and malicious protests that have been ongoing.

“Our tourism and hospitality industry is hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic and the current restrictions are having a major impact on these businesses who are facing severe job losses and closure but instead of a common-sense response the tourism industry has been subjected to flip-flopping and today unnecessary use of violence against a peaceful protest,” Maynier explains.

Meanwhile, in small coastal towns like Gansbaai in the Overberg, which are almost entirely reliant on tourism, protesters came out to plead for government to heed their call.

“In Gansbaai, the major part of our income is tourism we have got the whales we have guest houses of world-class and with foreign tourists not being here I am losing 70 percent of my turnover this year. It’s a major effect and Gansbaai is bleeding, everyone is affected by this from restaurants to guest houses to the hardware stores, we are all affected, we are dying,” said businessman, Riaan Franken.

Employees in the hospitality and tourism industries in Gansbaai, who have been without an income for months, also pleaded to have their jobs back.

Hospitality, tourism industries in Gauteng call for full operation:

John Lewis
US civil rights leader Lewis’ body to lie in state on Monday
24 July 2020, 8:10 PM

The body of the late Congressman and civil rights leader John Lewis will lie in state at the United States Capitol Rotunda on Monday, as Congressional leaders announced that the public would be allowed to pay their respects over two days.

The 80-year-old Lewis died last Friday after a battle with pancreatic cancer.

“We are one people, one family, we are one house, we all live in the same house. So I say to you, my brothers and sisters, we cannot give up. We cannot give out. And we cannot give in. We must get out there and push and pull.”

These are the words Lewis lived by throughout his eight decades walking and struggling on this earth. A leader who commanded widespread respect over his more than 30 years serving as a legislator in Washington where he was called the conscience of the US Congress.

While paying tribute to him earlier this week, Speaker Nancy Pelosi said: “This big picture of John Lewis was just put up here. “Rest In Power.” Since you can’t see from the TV, but over here in the front row is a big bouquet of white flowers. It’s a place where John usually sat in the front row of a section that many of the members of the Congressional Black Caucus held forth, conspired sometimes, plotted, and made progress for the American people. It’s appropriate that we have those flowers there where John sat for so many years.”

The US Embassy in South Africa shared an undated picture of Lewis meeting former President Nelson Mandela – the congressman dying a day before what would have been Madiba’s 102nd birthday.

John Lewis spent his life fighting injustice and racism. If it weren’t for the bravery of John and men and women like him, many of us wouldn’t be in this chamber today. And as a black man, I’m not sure I would have had the same rights as my fellow countrymen,” said Congressman Will Hurd of Texas.

Flags were ordered flown at half-staff at federal buildings by President Donald Trump, who expressed sadness at the Congressman’s passing.

Lewis famously questioned Trump’s legitimacy after his election in 2016 by refusing to attend his inauguration.

Former President Barack Obama, who awarded Lewis the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2011, wrote in a tribute that the Atlanta Congressman not only gave all of himself to the cause of freedom and justice but inspired generations that followed to try to live up to his example.

Congresswoman Sheila Jackson-Lee concurs with Obama’s sentiments.

“John Robert Lewis, Dr. King said, Are you the boy from Troy? He loved to tell that story. He loved to tell that he preached to the chickens, but his voices were heard by kings and queens. John Robert Lewis, a saint walking on Earth,” she says.

Lewis will be laid to rest on Thursday.

In the video below, tributes pour in for Civil Rights Leader John Lewis:

Weather

 

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