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Archbishop Makgoba likens COVID-19 corruption to act of genocide
24 August 2020, 10:45 PM

The Archbishop of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa Thabo Makgoba says it amounts to an act of genocide that politicians make money out of a pandemic like the coronavirus.

This comes amid growing outrage in South Africa at rampant corruption – especially linked to PPE tenders during the coronavirus pandemic.

Makgoba says the Anglican Church will join the South African Council of Churches’ (SACC) anti-corruption campaign, which will start at the end of August. Makgoba revealed this in his online ‘Week Day’ reflections.

On Friday last week, SACC Vice President Frank Chikane said all churches had been mobilised to fight corruption. Chikane said if the ANC government does not stop corruption – the people will stop it.

Archbishop Makgoba says corrupt politicians in South Africa are simply unacceptable.

“We are all too familiar with position thinking out convoluted reasoning to justify the unjustifiable, such as making money out of a pandemic. That reasoning and conduct are genocidal.  And so we join the churches of the South Africa Council of Churches in the anti-corruption campaign starting from the 30th of August, to say to those corrupt leaders, you are more than hypocrites. Your conduct is under the watch of the society that seeks the mind of Christ and everything that they do.”

Cosatu says corruption and performance of current administration disappointing:

Earlier, the EFF urged President Cyril Ramaphosa to heed his own call and step down from public office until corruption allegations against him are resolved. The party was responding to Ramaphosa’s letter to ANC members on Sunday.

In the seven-page letter, Ramaphosa raised a number of issues and took a hard line on corruption. He urged members facing corruption allegations to insulate the ANC from reputational damage by stepping aside while their cases are being heard. EFF spokesperson Vuyani Pambo has dismissed the letter as nothing but cheap posturing.

The Congress of the People (COPE)  called on the Justice and Police Ministers to establish an anti-corruption fighting unit similar to the disbanded Scorpions – to replace the Hawks. COPE says the Hawks is a toothless anti-corruption fighting unit. The party says there are many cases investigated by the Hawks that have dragged on for too long.

 

1 677 new coronavirus cases recorded in SA
24 August 2020, 9:46 PM

Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize says 1 677 new coronavirus cases have been recorded in the last 24 hours, bring the total number of cases in South Africa to 611 450. The death toll now stands at 13 159.

Mkhize was speaking during the Gauteng General Practitioner Collaboration panel discussion on the coronavirus pandemic.

Mkhize has attributed the high recovery rate of 83% in the country to the work of health care workers.

He says the well-being and safety of healthcare professionals will be prioritised.

“All the people who have recovered, we talking about 83%, they actually have recovered in the hands of healthcare workers. Over 27 000 of our colleagues who have become infected with the virus and tragically which has robbed us of 240 of the talented health care workers. We have taken the slogan that says no PPE, no work because we want to encourage all those who are in the leadership to take the issue of the protection of health workers very seriously. It is duty to honour their sacrifice by committing fully to the safety and well being of healthcare workers,” he says.

Below is the discussion stream on managing COVID-19:

 

Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams
DA wants Parliament to discipline Minister Ndabeni-Abrahams
24 August 2020, 9:36 PM

The Democratic Alliance (DA) wants the National Assembly to take action against Communications Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams for ignoring Parliament.

The DA says Ndabeni-Abrahams failed to implement a Parliamentary recommendation on the number of councillors that have to serve on the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA). This comes after Ndabeni-Abrahams’ issued a notice in the government gazette over the weekend, stating that she will appoint five ICASA councillors.

DA member of Parliament’s Communications Committee Phumzile van Damme says her party will formally write to National Assembly Speaker Thandi Modise about the Minister’s conduct.

“The DA will be requesting that the Minister of Communications Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams be subjected to Parliamentary disciplinary action. This follows her latest decision to ignore Parliament regarding the appointment of ICASA councillors. Last month, she sought to reject a report adopted by the National Assembly saying she must appoint six councillors to the ICASA Council. She has again decided to ignore Parliament by appointing only five. While this may seem like a minor infection, it not in the sense, that the Minister brazenly decided to ignore Parliament,- despite a very clear instruction related to the appointments to ICASA,” says Van Damme.

Last week, the official opposition called for the Minister’s sacking, saying it has found further evidence for why it thinks Ndabeni-Abrahams should be fired.

The party says it is in possession of a copy of the letter written by lawyers on behalf of Post Office Chairperson, Tshikane Makhubele, to Ndabeni-Abrahams – questioning the legality of her decisions to remove her as SAPO Chairperson and her attempts to overturn decisions taken by the board.

 

Judgment reserved in Mkhwebane’s bid to halt Parliament probe into her fitness to hold office
24 August 2020, 9:00 PM

Judgment has been reserved in Public Protector’s bid to stop a Parliamentary probe into her fitness to hold office. Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane approached the High Court in Cape Town after the National Assembly endorsed a motion by the DA Chief Whip Natasha Mazzone for a panel of independent experts to be appointed to assess whether or not Mkhwebane has a case to answer.

Mkhwebane wants the High Court to halt the process pending a determination on the constitutionality of the National Assembly rules for removing the head of a Chapter 9 institution from office.

Advocate Dali Mpofu, acting on behalf of the Public Protector, took five hours to try and convince the full bench why Mkhwebane’s application for an interim interdict should succeed. This after the virtual sitting of the court was interrupted twice by technical glitches, forcing the matter to be postponed to give Mkhwebane’s legal team a chance to make their concluding submissions.

In terms of the National Assembly rules, an independent panel – possibly headed by a judge – must be appointed after a substantive motion has been received. But Mpofu argued that appointing a judge would be trenching the separation of powers between the legislature and the judiciary.

“Our issue really with that is the panel breaches separation of powers,” said Mpofu.

Mpofu also argued that the Speaker, Thandi Modise, does not have powers to appoint a judge to serve on any panel.

“If this is ultimately a political decision, judges should be kept far away, rules fatally flawed.”

Responding to the DA’s argument for the court to award a punitive cost order against Mkhwebane, Mpofu asked the court not to grant the party its wish, saying the DA has hounded Mkhwebane from day one.

“They insulted her, called her a spy from the day she was appointed. So to ask for costs, because they have an axe to grind, is thick coming from them.”

In the video below, Parliament Speaker and Mkhwebane headed for a legal showdown:

Mosque
Durban mosque building tenants escape unharmed following fire
24 August 2020, 6:29 PM

Fourteen tenants at the Juma Mosque building in the Durban CBD have escaped unharmed after a fire broke out in one of the flats that is used by people who work at the mosque.

It has now been confirmed that the fire has not affected the Juma Mosque itself- formerly known as the Grey Street Mosque- that is situated behind the block of flats. The extent of the damage has not yet been established.

Businesses in the building that caught fire were immediately closed for safety reasons. The movement of people near the scene had to be restricted as firefighters extinguished the blaze.

While initial reports from the scene indicated that it was the mosque itself that had caught alight, updates confirmed that the religious space had escaped the fire that was limited to the block of flats. AK Moola is among the tenants who narrowly escaped the fire. He says he was helped by Metro Police who came to evacuate them. But he says he lost everything including his pension money that was inside his flat.

“I saw the smoke came out, so Metro Police came out and said everyone must come out, everyone. But we are all Ok and very lucky. I lost the furniture there and I have a gym there. My wife had cash there and everything there,” says one tenant.

Ihsaan Khan is another tenant who narrowly escaped the blaze.

“I was busy taking a shower in my bathroom and I heard my child crying and screaming talking to me but I couldn’t hear what she was saying. The maid came and said see the fire and smoke. The maid told me to come out of the building as I was taking a shower. I had nothing to do but to put a towel around me and ran out of my house. All my belongings and all that I had, all gone. I have nothing, the goods that I sell at the market and over R40 000 cash, just over R40 000.”

Speaking to SABC News at the scene, a senior official of the Juma Mosque says it is difficult to estimate the extent of the damage at this stage. He says it is believed that the fire started in a single flat and spread to others rapidly.

“The fire started in flat number three and it then rapidly moved to the other flats and the Fire Department are here all I need to say is that there is no casualty on hand the mosque is not damaged in any way thanks to Allah the mighty God for that and the shops that are below the flats have not been damaged other than that there could be water damage as well.”

Meanwhile, chairperson Advocate Ahmed Mohammed says the mosque is not yet open to congregants, because it is observing lockdown regulations. He explains the legacy of the mosque that was built in 1881.

“It’s been the largest mosque in the Southern Hemisphere with more than a 100 years with a capacity of seven thousand members of the congregation and we have been observing the COVID-19 lockdown since March so we have not yet opened the mosque for any of the congregation. We have been observing that very strictly, we have to thank the All-Mighty it been contained as you can see.”

Emergency services and firefighters worked hard to extinguish the fire. KwaZulu-Natal Emergency Medical Services’ Robert McKenzie has confirmed that there were no casualties.

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