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Slovenian Tadej Pogacar poised to retain Tour de France title
17 July 2021, 9:24 PM

Slovenian Tadej Pogacar is poised to win a second consecutive Tour de France title after the Slovenian retained the overall leader’s yellow in the 20th stage.

Saturday’s 30-point-8-kilometre individual time trial from Libourne to Saint-Emilion was won by 26-year old Belgian Wout van Aert.

Van Aert’s time of 35 minutes 53-point-34 seconds ensured that the Belgian registers his fifth win of the Tour de France.

Twenty six year old Kasper Asgreen of Quickstep was the second fastest in the time trial.

Barring a crash in Sunday’s final stage in Paris, the 22-year-old Pogacar will finish ahead of Dane Jonas Vingegaard and Ecuador’s Richard Carapaz, who are set to end up second and third overall, respectively.

Pogacar who will win the Tour de France back to back finished eighth overall in today’s time trial.

Zuma foundation slams high court’s decision to hear ex-president’s graft case virtually
17 July 2021, 9:01 PM

 

The Jacob Zuma Foundation is unhappy with the Pietermaritzburg High Court’s decision to hear the former president Jacob Zuma’s corruption trial virtually.

In a media statement issued on Friday, the court says the hearing will resume at 10am on Monday.

However, the Zuma foundation says it is concerned by the court’s directive as it is not consistent with provisions of both the Criminal Procedure Act (CPA) and the Constitution.

The foundation is calling for the matter to be heard physically on Monday or at a later date when the country is calmer following the violence and looting that engulfed parts of Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal in recent days.

The riots began after the incarceration of former president Zuma, who is serving a 15-month jail term for violating a Constitutional Court order.

But the matter at the centre of contention at the moment is related to his corruption trial.

He is accused of benefitting from South Africa’s multi-billion rand arms procurement deal with French defence firm, Thales, in 1999.

Zuma has pleaded not guilty to all 16 charges against him and describes the case as a political which-hunt.

Zuma Corruption Trial | Former president pleads not guilty:

Botswana to use other vaccines for second shots due to delay in delivery of AstraZeneca
17 July 2021, 6:41 PM

The ministry of health in Botswana says there has been a delay in the arrival of the AstraZeneca vaccine in the country.

The vaccine was expected to be used as the second dose of the vaccination rollout.

The ministry expected the doses to be available by the end of June.

“The ministry was expecting the AstraZeneca vaccine consignment procured through the COVAX facility by the last week of June 2021. The ministry has been informed that the expected delivery is now likely to take place in August,” says departmental spokesperson, Christopher Nyanga.

Nyanga says those who are awaiting their second dose will get other COVID-19 vaccines.

“Some vaccination centres across the country have started experiencing shortages. The shortfall in the AstraZeneca vaccine is about 15 000 doses, resulting in people of the same number likely to get their second doses beyond the initially anticipated 12 weeks. A decision was taken that all those affected by these developments be offered Moderna or Pfizer vaccines as second doses,” he says.

Botswana has 86 133 COVID-19 cases and 1 274 so far.

Government urges South Africans to help violence-affected communities in honour of Madiba
17 July 2021, 6:00 PM

On the eve of International Mandela Day, government is calling on all South Africans to help communities that were ravaged by the recent violence to clean up the devastation left behind.

Acting government spokesperson, Michael Currin, says this year’s theme is “One hand can feed another”.

He says the public can donate non-perishable food items to the Nelson Mandela Foundation’s #Each1Feed1 distribution network at all participating malls on Mandela Day.

Participating malls will have clearly marked signage and those dropping off donations will be met by a Mandela Day representative at the collection point.

Currin says this initiative will run for six months.

“One call: Clean up. #CleanUpSouthAfrica. Let’s make our founding father proud of us, that we clean-up our country. We start the rebuilding process, we give a helping hand to neighbours who might be in distress. We make sure we don’t turn a blind eye to anyone who hasn’t got a meal or something to eat. And we take our nation forward. And we build on our democracy that was left to us by our giant leader,” says Currin.

Government’s call comes as South Africans join together to clean-up areas that were affected by the violence that has claimed the lives of 212 people and led to the arrest of thousands others.

In Alexandra township, north of Johannesburg, hundreds of residents and volunteers have come together to clear rubble, debris and litter from the streets.

The same scenes have been seen in other areas affected by the recent riots:

Other South Africans have also started opening their hearts and wallets to assist victims of the mayhem.

Humanitarian organisations and airlines deliver food aid in KwaZulu-Natal:

OPINION | Protests are not about Zuma but the unchanged social structure of SA, 27 years into democracy
17 July 2021, 4:32 PM

In 1793 France, the Reign of Terror commenced as a rallying cry against a system that encouraged the richer to be richer and left the poor for dead. The society was divided into the wealthy few and the many poor and destitute. As a result, tensions were high. An estimated 27 000 were killed. The widespread starvation and executions popularised a saying attributed to philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau: “When the people shall have nothing more to eat, they will eat the rich.”

The historic ruling by the Apex Court of our country read out by Justice Sisi Khampepe to sentence former president Jacob Zuma to 15 months in prison for contempt of court has been hailed as a victory for democracy and the rule of law by some and a miscarriage of justice by others. Those who support the latter argue that:

1. All commissions of inquiries in South Africa are established under the Commissions Act, which clearly stipulate that a witness who fails to come and testify should be imprisoned for no more than 6 months.

2. Former apartheid president, P.W Botha, refused to appear before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and was given a fine of R10 000 and a suspended sentence of 12 months in jail with his age considered.

3. It’s unprecedented in South Africa that a contempt of court judgment does not have a suspended sentence.

However, this article will not discuss the merits or demerits of that sentence by the Constitutional Court. For this article, the protests that have ensued take precedence.

Since the former president handed himself over to the police, protests in the name of #FreeZumaNow have led to looting of malls and the destruction of private property and in true domino effect: starting off in KwaZulu-Natal, spilling over to Gauteng and Mpumalanga. The already ailing economy exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic will undoubtedly take a blow, therefore, the question then arises: with pervasive poverty and record high unemployment rates, why would people destroy property and loot, all in the name of freeing the former president. Why do they ‘search’ for him in malls instead of the Estcourt Correctional Facility which he is being kept in? Why have these protests become a spree of criminal activities?

The answer: these protests are a reflection of the frustration of Black people who are in the peripheries. The destruction of property and looting is a result of poverty and inequality – these are structural and deliberately designed through unequal education or lack of access thereof, limited economic activity enforced by spatial injustice to put Black people at the bottom of the food chain to inherit a life of destitution.  South Africa is characterised by a very tense post-apartheid situation where justice and equality are constantly being reviewed by the citizens, through their participation in the political environment, after realising that the constitution is slow in bringing about their material benefits of being a citizen. The South African government is struggling to adequately cater for Black people’s social and economic needs.

These protests are not about the incarceration of the former president, they are about how the strategic sectors of the economy do not represent the broad demographics of the population; they are about how the ANC is in government but not in power; they are about poverty and unemployment having a Black face; these protests are about the ANC government that has failed ordinary Black South Africans and today South Africa is the most unequal society in the world; these protests are a reflection of how, in 1994, the government changed but the social structure remained the same.

In short, people are frustrated. People are hungry. And the incarceration of the former president was what they needed to let the frustration out.

But aside from the immediate material harm caused by this looting and destruction of property, in the longer term it could damage our society irreparably. Until South Africa fast-tracks the wheels of transformation, this vicious cycle will continue.  – By Vusi Gumbi, a Masters candidate in Politics at the University of Johannesburg and the winner of One Day Leader Season 8.

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