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Parliament approves Minister Cele’s notice to have new firearm amnesty
11 June 2020, 8:17 PM

Parliament’s Police Portfolio Committee has approved the notice by Police Minister Bheki Cele to have a new firearm amnesty period ending early next year.

Cele asked for a second amnesty period because the lockdown period prevented many people from handing-in their guns.

The previous amnesty was valid from December 2019 to the end of May.

During this time, 19 000 weapons were handed in. The new period would be effective from the first of August to the end of January in 2021. The next step is for the new period to be tabled and approved by the National Assembly.

Chairperson Tina Joemat-Pettersson presided over the committee approving it, with only an objection from DA MP Ockert Terblanche.

In the video below, fewer people handing in firearms during the amnesty due to lockdown:

In January, the South African Policing Union (SAPU) called on Police Minister Bheki Cele to cancel firearm amnesty.

The union deems it problematic and says it undermines accountability.

However, in April some firearm owners petitioned the Minister to consider extending the amnesty.

They said many gun owners were finding it difficult to take advantage of the amnesty, which was due to expire at the end of May, due to lockdown regulations.

KZN conservation body ready to reopen parks and game reserves
11 June 2020, 6:45 PM

KwaZulu-Natal conservation body Ezemvelo and the iSimangaliso Wetland Park Authority say they have prepared themselves for the re-opening of several parks and game reserves to visitors and hikers. The national lockdown, which was announced over two months ago, led to the shutting down of many sectors including tourism, to curb the spread of the COVID 19.

Following an announcement by Tourism Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane that some parts of the tourism sector will be opened to boost the economy, Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife has been gradually opening some of its Game Reserves in line with the COVID-19 regulations. Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife Spokesperson Musa Mntambo says their staff members have been trained to ensure that all level 3 regulations are followed.

“We would be able to receive funds from our gates because the past two months have been very difficult for Ezemvelo because we are part of tourism. There was no activity taking place inside our parks. We’ve only opened 16-game reserves including those that belong to iSimangaliso. We have made sure that all our Reserve staff have PPEs and also we are continuously cleaning all our ablution facilities for this who will be entering our Game Reserves at any time. For now, Midmar Resort, which was supposed to have opened, will only open next week Monday,” says Mntambo.

Chairperson of the Mountain Backpackers Club Heidi Cox says they will be prioritising health and safety in hiking.

“We’re really pleased to be able to get back out into nature reserves again full-time to Spring, we can enjoy those natural areas again, obviously responsibly and we doing our best within the club to make sure that members hike responsibly. There must be compliance with all the rules when they do go hiking again. By nature hiking can be a social distance activity and obviously lots of fresh air in the process helps along with the exercise to improve health.”

Meanwhile, iSimangaliso Wetland Park Authority CEO, Sbusiso Bukhosini, says the reopening of the park will also benefit the locals.

“The activities that are taking place there in the main as in line with the regulations is recreational fishing, we do not allow the charter fishing. Self-drive excursions are also allowed. Day visitors only. Beach walks and swimming are also allowed. Automatically when we reopened and there are visitors who are now coming back into the park it means that those who are also selling whether it’s fruits or vegetables, crafts, they are also going to benefit and there will definitely be spin-offs for local communities.”

However, accommodation facilities remain closed to the public.

In the video below, is a reminder of what awaits prospective travellers to the province:

Men in military gear kill at least 20 Malian villagers
8 June 2020, 12:16 PM

Armed men dressed in military gear attacked a village of Fulani herders in central Mali, killing at least 20 people, a local government official and a Fulani association has said.

The attackers on Friday targeted the village of Binedama in the Mopti region, which has seen dozens of tit-for-tat ethnic massacres over the past few years.

The Fulani, semi-nomadic herders present across West Africa, have been accused by rival farming communities of supporting local jihadist groups, making them targets of violence from ethnic vigilante militias and sometimes government forces.

Moulaye Guindo, the mayor of the commune of Bankass, which neighbours the commune to which Binedama belongs, said between 20 and 30 people were killed by men in military attire.

Fulani association Tabital Pulaaku said 29 people were killed, including a 9-year-old girl. It blamed the attack on Malian soldiers, who it said surrounded the village in pick-up trucks before killing the villagers and setting houses on fire.

“The victims are all from the peaceful civilian population who had not committed any crime except for their ethnic identity,” Tabital Pulaaku said in a statement.

Mali’s army spokesman did not respond to requests for comment.

Human rights groups have accused the Malian military in the past of conducting extrajudicial killings, kidnappings, torture and arbitrary arrests against suspected jihadist sympathisers – charges it has promised to investigate.

In 2018, the government said some of its soldiers were implicated in “gross violations” after the discovery of mass graves in the centre of the country.

Mali has been in crisis since 2012 when al Qaeda-linked militants seized its desert north. French forces intervened the following year to drive them back, but the militants have since regrouped and extended their operations into neighbouring Burkina Faso and Niger.

malema eff
Malema calls on Black people across the world to unite in the fight against racism
8 June 2020, 11:49 AM

EFF leader Julius Malema has called on all Black people across the world to unite and intensify the fight against racism. He was speaking in Pretoria at the US Embassy offices, showing support for African Americans who have been protesting against the killing of George Floyd by a White police officer.

Malema took time and kneeled down for eight minutes, alongside EFF members in paying respect to Floyd. He says it will take fellow Black people to show support for one another for racism to be a thing of the past.

“You can’t say South Africa first, we must say Black first and defend these Black lives here and defend the Black lives everywhere, including here in South Africa. Let us treat Black lives with respect and dignity. We will never be respected if we suffer from self-hate.”

He also took a swipe at President Cyril Ramaphosa, accusing him of having sold South Africa even before he became President.

EFF members also gathered in Cape Town, in front of the US Consulate in Westlake and outside the US Consulate General in Sandton, Johannesburg. In Limpopo, they marched to the Polokwane Police Station.

Khosa’s wife healing

The widow of Collins Khosa, Nomsa Montsha, was part of the protest in Pretoria. Montsha says she is grateful to be part of the protest as it is helping her to heal from the loss her husband, allegedly, at the hands of South African Defence Force (SANDF) members.

“Black Lives Matter, I was there with my husband when SANDF took his life. I watched everything, I was there. I’m happy to be here. And thank you EFF for the support you have given me. Thank you.”

The EFF had urged participants to respect Level 3 lockdown regulations that allow jogging in a proper social distancing form.

The party called on all South Africans to take to main roads and police stations across the country and take a knee for 8 minutes and 46 seconds, which is the amount of time the US policeman placed his knee on Floyd’s throat leading to his death.

In the video below, Malema addresses protest against police brutality:

Since Floyd’s death in May, thousands have been protesting around the world calling for an end to racism and police brutality.

SA Express
SA Express employees take their picket to Public Enterprises headquarters
8 June 2020, 11:27 AM

SA Express employees will picket outside the offices of the Public Enterprises Department in Pretoria on Monday.

The employees picketed outside the Union Buildings on Friday to demand their pay.

The frustrated employees want government to respond and delay the provisional liquidation of SA Express before a final order of liquidation is made. Government has until Tuesday to oppose the liquidation.

The High Court in Pretoria placed SA Express under provisional liquidation in April after the airline’s Business Rescue Practitioners filed an urgent court application.

Employees were told their salaries could not be paid because the airline was facing financial difficulties.

“DPE is our shareholder and we are hoping they will be there to accept our memorandum which addresses three things – one pay employers salaries; two retrench employees and pay retrenchment packages as required by labour law; three delay liquidation until all staff have been retrenched and proper salaries paid through funding from DPE. This will enable faster access to pension and provident fund money for employees. The government has taken care of all other SOEs besides us,” says the employees’ representatives, Thabisile Sikakane.

In the video below, SA Express workers demand payment of outstanding salaries:

SA Express is one of a string of State-Owned Entities that are in the red. The National Union of Metal Workers (Numsa) has blamed the government for the complete financial breakdown of SA Express.  The union believes looting and corruption at the airline are partly to blame for its current financial situation.

SA Express has been running at a loss for years. The airline recorded losses to the tune of R590 million for the financial year that ended on the 31st of March 2019.

COVID-19 has compounded the airline’s financial problems as it was forced to halt operations. South African Airways’ financial problems are also said to have added further financial strain to the airline. While SA Express was operationally independent of SAA, it had incorporated its flights within a strategic alliance with the cash-strapped national carrier.

In May, the Democratic Alliance said it wanted Finance Minister Tito Mboweni to probe how the airline used R1.2 billion government bailout issued in 2019.

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