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NPA expects more VBS arrests as first municipal official is charged
25 June 2020, 4:00 PM

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) says it expects more municipal officials to be arrested as investigations continue into the VBS Mutual Bank looting scandal. The remark comes amid the charging of former Merafong Municipal CFO Thys Wienekus for alleged involvement in the embezzlement.

Wienekus is the first official to be charged in the matter. He appeared in court on Thursday and faces an irregular expenditure charge, under the Municipal Finance Management Act, for his alleged role in depositing R50 million with VBS in June 2017.

Seven other accused were granted R100 000 bail each last week. They include former VBS CEO Andile Ramavhunga. Only two of the suspects managed to post the bail.

Wienekus will appear in court again on the 29th of July.

“Of course this is only one official with regards to that transaction so the investigation with regards to the others that may have been involved continues. In his position as a CFO, he was not in a position to have transferred that money. In terms of the investigating team, we started from the top with regards to the institution which is VBS. We are dealing in legs so this is the municipal leg of that investigation, there’s still a lot to be done,” says NPA Spokesperson, Sipho Ngwema.

In the video below, a pensioner who invested money with the bank seeks reimbursement:

EFF’s alleged involvement

Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema has once again denied any involvement in the VBS Mutual Bank saga. He says if anyone has any evidence of any wrongdoing at the bank – they must contact the police.

“When a case is opened, the Hawks have the right to have access to all our forms of communication – have my phones as well. Go into the history of our phones – they have done anyway with our colleagues who have been arrested. Nowhere will you ever find me in any form of communication with any of the VBS people.”

Malema says it is not their role to investigate party members who are alleged to have been involved in the scandal.

Brian Shivambu, the brother of the party’s deputy president Floyd Shivambu, is said to have benefited from the looting of billions at VBS.

Malema has told journalists in Johannesburg that their role as the EFF is to investigate party leaders who are implicated in wrongdoing – and not the millions of members. He says they had a conversation about the VBS matter with Shivambu, but he has been assured that there is nothing untoward involving his brother, Brian.

“We can’t investigate members – if you were saying leaders, a member. If a branch of the EFF wants to investigate that member, they can do it. But if you were saying leaders of the EFF, it is at this level. Can you imagine what we would be doing, investigating every member of the EFF every time that there is an allegation.”

 

 

Three-year-old Ansia Kheha’s murder leaves Orange Farm reeling
25 June 2020, 2:46 PM

Police have called on the community of Orange Farm to help them identify the murderer of  3-year-old Ansia Kheha.

The toddler’s body was found with stab wounds in a rubbish bin in Orange Farm, south of Johannesburg last week. Kheha was laid to rest today.

Community members turned up in their numbers to pay their last respects. They waited outside the hall as only 50 people were allowed inside due to COVID-19 regulations.

No one has been arrested for the child’s murder.

Addressing mourners at her funeral, Police Spokesperson Constable Shaan Motsapi asked the community to help them to solve this and other murders in the area.

Motsapi says SAPS is currently investigating three murders that happened hours apart. He says Orange Farm is under siege.

“As soon as we are at the scene we are also summoned to go to another scene. We are summoned to a scene where a 35-year-old woman was murdered, while we are trying to digest the two, we are also summoned to another one where a 10-year-old was murdered. Orange Farm is under siege.”

Kheha’s family says it is not sure who to trust anymore.

“We are hearing more and more deaths, young children are getting killed and they are killed by males. So we will always be scared now to run for help. To each and every man we see because we are not sure whether we will be running to one of the serial killers or the rapist or what,” says family spokesperson Thatohatso Olifant.

The little girl was found murdered in the bush after disappearing from her home. Her mother said she left her in the house to step into her storeroom. it alleged that the child was left in the care of another woman.

Kelleigh James of the Black Doek Foundation says this murder brings to focus the plight of women and children in South Africa.

“Let us remember the names of gender-based violence victims until the day we realise this is South Africa for all women and children. We aim to effect change through society to learn to appreciate, honour and protect all lives but today let the focus be on Ansia.”

While South Africans have acknowledged strides made by government in a bid to address the scourge, they believe more should be done.

In the video below, is live proceedings of Ansia’s funeral service:

 

David Mabuza
LIVE | Deputy President answers questions in Parliament
25 June 2020, 2:34 PM

Deputy President David Mabuza is in Parliament this afternoon, fielding questions from the House.

Below is the live stream:

Court orders Small Business Minister to redraft criteria for COVID-19 relief funds
21 June 2020, 7:58 PM

The High Court in Pretoria has ordered the Small Business Development Minister, Khumbudzo Ntshavheni, to redraft the criteria used to determine which businesses get coronavirus relief funds so that they include race.

The full bench says the Minister must also include gender, youth and disability in the criteria.

The High Court ruled that the BBBEE criteria used by the Minister, as it currently stands, is too vague and therefore unlawful.

The court has dismissed the DA’s bid against the use of BBBEE criteria in determining which businesses get assistance. Despite the ruling, however, South Africa’s official opposition says it welcomes the decision since it will assist in providing clarity on the selection criteria.

The DA has been pushing for the Minister to provide clarity on the criteria used for beneficiaries of the SMME Debt Relief Fund.

It has been advocating for all applicants to be treated equally, regardless of their race.

The party says the COVID-19 pandemic has been a major blow to all South Africans.

A charge supported by the Freedom Front Plus, which in May launched a “Stop BEE” fund campaign.

“The project entails, among other things, a fund that offers financial support to small business enterprises that cannot qualify for government aid due to BEE requirements. Another aspect of the project is an initiative launched by the FF Plus Youth, which focuses specifically on the current injustices brought about by BEE. Hundreds of videos from the owners of small business enterprises from across the country that outline their need and dire circumstances have been received,” says the group.

The party believes that assistance money should be channelled to people who are really needy and skin colour should not be a determinant as the country navigates the coronavirus lockdown.

 

Congo President’s chief of staff sentenced to 20 years hard labour for corruption
20 June 2020, 8:49 PM

A court in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has convicted Vital Kamerhe, the President’s chief of staff, of embezzlement and corruption.

Kamerhe was sentenced to 20 years hard labour and a large fine.

He was charged with participating in the theft of more than $50 million from infrastructure projects linked to the first 100 days of President Felix Tshisekedi’s tenure in 2019.

Kamerhe, who signed an agreement to support Tshisekedi in a 2018 election in the expectation of succeeding him in 2023, has denied all accusations of wrongdoing.

The 61-year-old has denounced the trial as a political attack by enemies of the President.

He is the most powerful politician to face graft charges in Congo. Kamerhe has been a powerful player in the country’s politics for more than 15 years. He helped lead former President Joseph Kabila’s first election campaign in 2006, after which he became National Assembly head.

Kamerhe is no longer eligible to run for the Presidency in 2023 due to Saturday’s conviction.

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