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SA’s COVID-19 related deaths now at 611
29 May 2020, 10:11 PM

South Africa’s COVID-19 deaths have climbed to 611 following 34 fatalities in the past 24 hours. The confirmed number of infections now stands at 29 240.

The country has recorded 1 837 new infections.

Latest COVID-19 stats for SA below:

As of today, the cumulative number of confirmed #COVID19 cases in South Africa is 29 240, total number of deaths is 611 and the recoveries to date are 14 370. pic.twitter.com/1ZlVDVRKVi

The continued rise comes as the country prepares for Level-3 lockdown, which will allow more businesses to resume operation. Some learners are also due back to school on Monday, raising fears of a further rise in infections.

 

Police officer arrested and charged with murder in George Floyd’s case
29 May 2020, 9:01 PM

The police officer who allegedly killed George Floyd by placing a knee on his neck has been arrested and charged with third-degree murder.

“He is in custody and has been charged with murder,” Hennepin County attorney, Mike Freeman, said of Derek Chauvin, who is White.

The arrest comes after three nights of violent protests in the Midwestern city sparked by the death.

“We have evidence, we have the citizen’s video, the horrible, horrific, terrible thing we’ve seen over and over again.” Freeman said a detailed complaint would be made available later on Friday.

The cellphone footage showed Floyd repeatedly moaning and gasping while he pleaded to Chauvin, kneeling on his neck,”Please, I can’t breathe.” After several minutes, Floyd gradually grows quiet and ceases to move.

Earlier on Friday, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz called for an end to the violent protests that have rocked Minneapolis and said the state’s National Guard would work to restore order following three nights of arson, looting and vandalism.

Below is a SABC News report on the protests:

 

EFF, Mkhwebane lose case before Constitutional Court against Gordhan
29 May 2020, 6:27 PM

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) and Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane have lost their bid to interdict Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan’s review of the SARS rogue unit report.

In 2019, Mkhwebane found that Gordhan had unlawfully constituted a unit that conducted illegal intelligence gathering.  He was the SARS Commissioner at the time.

Gordhan was granted an interdict to halt remedial action taken while he took the report on review. The EFF and the Public Protector were appealing that interdict.

The SARS Rogue Unit report had recommended that President Cyril Ramaphosa discipline Gordhan for maladministration and corruption.

The EFF, which has been baying for the Public Enterprises Minister’s blood for a while, approached the apex court, seeking the interdict to allow for disciplinary action against Gordhan.

However, the Constitutional Court found that the High Court ruling had been in accordance with the law. It found that the argument that a stricter test for interim interdicts against the Public Protector was without merit.

The Apex court also ruled that the High Court had followed precedent set out in previous cases and was within jurisdiction.

Gordhan’s lawyer Teboho Malatsi has welcomed the ruling.

“Significantly for Mr Gordhan it means that, but for the interim interdict he would’ve been subjected to an unspecified disciplinary action by the President of the Republic not withstanding that there was a pending court case to review the report of the Public Protector,” says Malatsi.

Below is a file video of the legal showdown between Gordhan and Mkhwebane in the High Court in Pretoria:

Former Lesotho First Lady’s bail revoked, rearrest imminent
29 May 2020, 5:01 PM

Lesotho’s police say they will rearrest murder accused and former First Lady, Maesiah Thabane.

The country’s Appeal Court revoked Thabane’s bail earlier on Friday.

The former First Lady was granted bail in February under unclear circumstances by Lesotho’s Acting Chief Justice, Maseforo Mahase.

Thabane is accused of being involved in the assassination of her husband’s then estranged wife, Lipolelo Thabane, in 2017. Maesiah Thabane hid in South Africa for a few weeks before turning herself in.

In the video below, SABC’s Noma Bolani takes a look at Maesiah’s background:

In Friday’s ruling, the Appeal Court Judge President Kananelo Mosito found that the granting of bail to Thabane was highly irregular and erroneous. He ruled that the murder accused had a history of fleeing the law and concerns of intimidating the witness was legitimate.

Mosito said Thabane would have to petition the court again for a new bail hearing. Police say they are now awaiting formal documentation that will allow them to take Thabane into custody until her next court appearance.

Veteran politician Thomas Thabane, Maesiah’s husband, resigned last week Tuesday amid pressure for him to exit office after police named him and his wife as suspects in Lipolelo’s murder.

Lipolelo Thabane was shot dead in her car in June 2017 two days before her husband’s inauguration.

She had reportedly refused him a divorce. Thabane married Maesaiah two months after her death.

AfriForum gives Dlamini-Zuma ultimatum as battle over cigarette sale ban rages on
28 May 2020, 9:18 PM

AfriForum has given Co-operative Governance Minister Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma until the first of June to respond to its legal papers regarding the continued ban on the sale of cigarettes.

The pressure group want Dlamini-Zuma, who leads the National Coronavirus Command Council, to revoke the ban or face court action.

The move comes amid a public outcry over government’s decision to allow for the sale of alcohol and yet extend the ban on tobacco.

The Fair Trade Independent Tobacco Association has also taken government to court over the matter and the Tobacco Transformation Alliance has called for an inquiry into alleged links between illicit tobacco traders and high profile politicians.

In the video below, illicit cigarette trade costs South Africa’s economy billions of rand:

AfriForum argues that the continued ban is unjustifiable and limits people’s basic freedoms.

“In our letter, we state that we regard this ban as irrational we are also very much concerned about wide-spreading rumours about the ministers alleged connections with people in the underground, who illegally sell tobacco products and so forth. We need an accountable government and we need a government that is able to make rational decisions. We regard these decisions as irrational and an unjustifiable limitation on people’s basic freedoms,” says AfriForum’s Deputy CEO Ernst Roets.

DA Member of the National Council of Provinces, Cathlene Labuschagne, has also slammed Dlamini-Zuma over the ban, saying it is odd that the illegal sale of cigarettes have been continuing while the sale of tobacco and cigarettes have been prohibited under the lockdown.

On Tuesday, Dlamini-Zuma defended government’s stance during a virtual briefing of the NCOP. She said health experts and the World Health Organisation (WHO) have warned that smokers who contract the virus could face serious problems. These include shortness of breath that would need ventilators for smokers who are infected with the virus.

In the video below, government retracts decision to allow the sale of tobacco products under Level- 4 lockdown:

 

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