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Ernest Mabaso who committed suicide and Fita Khupe
Vlakfontein community angry over withdrawal of charges against Fita Khupe
7 June 2019, 3:19 PM

The Vlakfontein community, south of Johannesburg, is up in arms following the withdrawal of multiple murder charges against, Fita Khupe.

The 61-year-old faced seven counts of murder for allegedly killing 7 Khoza family members in October 2018.

His co-accused 27-year-old Ernest Mabaso took his own life in jail in January 2019. He had confessed to being involved in the murders and had fingered Khupe as the mastermind.

The National Prosecuting Authority’s Gauteng Spokesperson Phindi Mjonondwane says the state couldn’t prove beyond reasonable doubt that Khupe was behind the killings.

She says Mabaso’s death had a devastating effect on the case, as prosecutors are prohibited by the law to use Mabaso’s confession as evidence in court.

Mjonondwane says witnesses, who gave information to the police, couldn’t link Khupe to the murder.

However, the community is having none of that. Residents are protesting in the area, demanding justice for the Khoza family.

The community has blocked the Golden Highway.

The police are on the scene to make sure that no motorists are affected and that the protest is peaceful.

Watch residents’ response to the Vlakfontein ruling:

 

President Ramaphosa
This week in focus: President Ramaphosa’s cabinet
31 May 2019, 4:14 PM

 

It’s been a week of mixed emotions for South Africans. Following days of waiting for the country’s new National Executive and mixed messages about who would deputise President Cyril Ramaphosa, the truth finally came out on Wednesday night.

While it was infuriating to some and a breath of fresh air to others – history was undoubtedly made. For the first-time ever in democratic South Africa, the country’s cabinet has a 50/50 gender representation.

Ramaphosa revealed his new look cabinet after days of horse-trading with the national leadership structures of the ANC and its alliance partners, the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) and the South African Communist Party (SACP). The announcement came four days after the President took his oath of office, a clear sign of the pressure Ramaphosa was under to find a gender, age and politically balanced team.

It was also a day after his deputy David Mabuza took his oath of office as a Member of Parliament. Although the Presidency has not confirmed this – it was suspected that Ramaphosa delayed the announcement to give Mabuza time to appear before the ANC’s Integrity Commission to answer to claims that he’s brought the governing party into disrepute.

Over the years, Mabuza has been accused of corruption and being behind political killings that once rocked Mpumalanga ANC. In August 2018, he opened a defamation case against his fellow comrade, Bishop Hangwi Maumela who had referred to him as a “murderer”. He also claimed that Premier Refilwe Mtshweni was Mabuza’s girlfriend.

A man of action

The National Executive is Ramaphosa’s first since occupying the country’s highest office after having inherited the previous one from his predecessor, Jacob Zuma after the former President was unceremoniously forced out of office by the governing ANC. He, nonetheless, did tweak it on 26 February 2018, showing several ministers the door, including the Ministers of Public Enterprises, Mineral Resources and Public Service and Administration. 

Ramaphosa kept his word about reducing the size of the national executive in a bid to deal with the bloated public service bill. He’s cut it from 75 to 64 members.  It has 28 ministers, compared to Zuma’s 35.

While the move has been widely well received – some weren’t that impressed. The Democratic Alliance (DA) felt he could have done more. The opposition party also dismissed the cabinet as a matter of having the same script with a different cast.

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) and the African Transformation Movement (ATM) are on the other hand  hoping mad over Pravin Gordhan’s re-appointment as Public Enterprises Minister. Ekurhuleni Mayor Mzwandile Masina also didn’t take the news well.

The group wanted Gordhan left out of the cabinet following a damning Public Protector report against him. Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane has found the Public Enterprises Minister to have violated the Constitution for approving former SARS Deputy Commissioner Ivan Pillay’s pension pay out and early retirement. However, legal experts say there was nothing untoward with the President appointing Gordhan as the report is up for review. The Minister has filed papers in the North Gauteng High, asking for it to be set aside.

Surprises in the appointment 

There were a few surprises with the country’s longest serving minister, Jeff Radebe not returning to cabinet. Good Party leader, Patricia de Lille was a pleasant surprise to many South Africans, with some hailing it as good strategic move by the President. However, others are concerned the corruption buster could be neutralised. De Lille, on the other hand, is optimistic about her new role and has promised to continue her fight for justice.

The injection of young blood like former ANC Youth League leader, Ronald Lamola, was also well received. The 35-year-old Lamola is the youngest member of Ramaphosa’s cabinet. He has taken over the Justice and Correctional Services portfolio from Michael Masutha. The accomplished lawyer is also part of a Presidential appointed panel that’s looking into land expropriation without compensation.

South Africans, who had been glued to their television screen awaiting a delayed announcement, were thrilled to see some of the high ranking ANC officials, who they felt were too compromised to continue holding public office, left out of the new National Executive. Former Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini is one such.

Majority of the minister are in their 60, while most deputy ministers are in their 50s. Only four deputy ministers are in their 30s and seven in their 40s.

Looking at the Mandela era

The anticipation for Ramaphosa’s cabinet was almost as high as it was during Nelson Mandela’s. In both instances – the country was coming from bruising eras. In 1994, Black South Africans were reeling from years of oppression. Everyone was now free to rewrite history and correct past injustices. The country was also grappling with a stagnant economy and a high poverty rate among the majority of South Africans.  The Ramaphosa era is also dealing with the same issues, however this time with both Black and White South Africans jaded over the rising unemployment rate, self-seeking leaders and corruption.

Mandela announced his cabinet a day after he was inaugurated on May 11, 1994. He had 27 ministers and his national executive included the ANC’s erstwhile political rivals, the National Party (NP) and Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP). This was part of the ANC’s government of National Unity – aimed at healing the wounds of apartheid and forging a non-racial South Africa.

A national executive is responsible for developing and implementing national policy as well as coordinating the functions of state departments and administration.  Mandela’s team was credited with having laid the foundation for a long-term democratic country through the adoption of the 1996 Constitution. It is hoped that Ramaphosa’s national executive will also become a powerful and effective decision-making body that will set South Africa on a path of economic recovery and clean governance. An expectation Ramaphosa also expressed while revealing his cabinet to the nation.

Watch national executive members being sworn in:

 

Radio studio
SABC radio stations continue to grow
31 May 2019, 12:20 PM

 

SABC radio stations continue to top listenership charts in South Africa, with some of them recording significant  growth for the period of October 2018 to March 2019.

According to the latest Radio Audience Measurement (RAM), Ukhozi FM remains the giant of radio in Africa – commanding a weekly audience of 7 670 million. Metro FM on the other hand, remains the country’s favourite commercial radio station, with a 4 372 million weekly listenership.

Good Hope FM is also holding its own, with a weekly listenership of 680 000. Radio 2000’s new line-up seems to be getting the nod from listeners with the station having secured a 51.8% year-on-year increase in weekly audiences.

Ikwekwezi FM, Lesedi FM, Munghana Lonene FM, Phalaphala FM, RSG, Thobela FM and Umhlobo Wenene FM are also doing well; having exceeded weekly time spent listening levels of 20 hours.

The SABC has thanked South Africans for their continued support, reiterating its commitment to delivering compelling content that is informative, educational and entertaining.

 

 

Lesufi back at the helm of Gauteng Education
31 May 2019, 11:33 AM

 

Panyaza Lesufi has been returned to the Gauteng Education portfolio.

Premier David Makhura had appointed Lesufi as MEC for Finance and e-Government, while announcing his Members of the Executive Council of the sixth administration this week.

However, South Africans from various quarters felt the move could jeopardize the transformation project the Education MEC had started and was overseeing with diligence.

Makhura says he took into account concerns raised and took the decision after careful consideration.

“While there is an appreciation of the appointment of MEC Panyaza Lesufi to the Finance and e-Government portfolio, the overall non-partisan feedback from society, the education sector and the movement in general is that it will serve Gauteng better that he remains in the Education portfolio to continue the good work of ensuring that our province is the leader and pioneer of educational transformation.”

Makhura has now deployed Nomantu Nkomo-Ralehoko to the Finance and e-Government portfolio.

Read the Gauteng Premier’s full statement:

New app to keep SA motorists from trouble
31 May 2019, 11:07 AM

 

Google Maps will soon be introducing new features that will keep South African motorists from trouble with traffic officials.

The move is part of the company’s roll out of a functionality that warns drivers about speed limits and speed traps to 40 countries around the world.

The feature will also help motorists see mobile speed cameras and notify them of upcoming traps.

Notifications will pop up in the navigation application.

The information had been available in a few markets only.

Another interesting feature Google Map users will be enjoying – is one that assist motorists find their parked car.

The features are being integrated from Google’s popular navigation app, Waze.

Google bought Waze in 2013, but has been slow to implement some of the App’s most popular features.

The roll out is taking place on both Android and iOS.

Android users will additionally be able to report mobile speed cameras and stationary cameras, while both iOS and Android users will be able to see those updates during their drive.

Google Maps reportedly uses a combination of authoritative feeds along with feedback from Google Maps users in order to locate the speed cameras.

 

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