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UN Security Council slams mutiny in Mali
20 August 2020, 8:11 AM

The UN Security Council has expressed its deep concern regarding recent developments from Mali – just as the AU Peace and Security Council suspended the country due to the unconstitutional change of government.

The New York based Council met virtually on Wednesday to discuss the situation.  It has strongly condemned the mutiny in Kati, Mali, which led to the arrest of the President of the Republic, the Prime Minister and several members of the Government.

The Council urged those mutineers to immediately and safely release all officials detained and return to their barracks without delay.

Council members also underlined the urgent need to restore rule of law and to move towards the return to constitutional order. They reiterated their strong support to the Economic Community of West African States’ initiatives and mediation efforts in Mali and expressed their support to ECOWAS and the African Union.

In the video below, Ambassador Jerry Matjila on UNSC’s position regarding Mali:

Alleged infighting and graft at law enforcement agencies under spotlight
20 August 2020, 6:40 AM

The State Capture Commission of Inquiry will today hear testimony of alleged infighting and corruption among the country’s law enforcement agencies. These include the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) and the South African Police Services (SAPS).

Brigadier Pharas Ncube and Major-General Jan Mabula will be giving testimony while Robert McBride and Major-General Johan Booysen will undergo cross-examination.

On Wednesday, Director of Blackhead Consulting, Edwin Sodi, defended his account to State Capture Commission investigators that he had no idea who could be the persons initialled in a cost of business spreadsheet related to the 2014 Free State asbestos housing project.

The spreadsheet was prepared by Sodi’s partner in the Blackhead-Diamond Hill joint venture which was awarded a R255 million tender to audit asbestos in low cost housing in the province.

Former Free State MEC Mxolisi Dukwana testified at the Commission last year that initials in the document are those of people – including then Free State Premier Ace Magashule and Human Settlements DG,  Thabane Zulu – who allegedly received bribes. But Sodi has told the commission in Johannesburg that he doesn’t want to speculate.

“I did not want to speculate on the initials I think Chair you would understand that that would have been a grave mistake because if I speculate on initials and it turns out that the speculation is incorrect.  I would have mislead the commission I would have given them incorrect information more so because I was not involved in putting it together so it would have been difficult if it was the full name I would have said definitely this name refers to this person but it was initials.”

Nothing underhanded

Sodi maintains that there was nothing underhanded about the R650 000 he put towards a house where Free State Human Settlements Head of Department Tim Mokhesi currently stays.

Mokhesi was instrumental in ensuring that the province’s business plan was amended to accommodate the  2014 Free State asbestos project that Blackhead together with Diamond Hill were awarded in a R255 million tender. There are claims the tender was riven with corruption and bribes. Sodi says he viewed the property as an investment.

“It was recorded in our books as an investment in our financial books it was recorded there the transfer was made from Liket consulting so it was not concealed at all if this was meant to be some underhanded payment Chair. We wouldn’t have done it the way we did we would not have recorded it in our financial records we wouldn’t have paid and left a paper trail we wouldn’t have done the contracts that we did so it was a perfectly legitimate commercial transaction.”

Proceedings of yesterday’s hearing in the video below:

US President Donald Trump’s brother dies
16 August 2020, 10:42 AM

Robert Trump, the younger brother of US President Donald Trump and a business executive who avoided the spotlight, died on Saturday night, a day after the president visited him in a New York hospital.

Trump announced the death in a statement. “It is with heavy heart I share that my wonderful brother, Robert, peacefully passed away tonight. He was not just my brother, he was my best friend,” the president said.

“He will be greatly missed, but we will meet again. His memory will live on in my heart forever. Robert, I love you. Rest in peace,” Trump said.

Robert Trump, who at 71 was younger than the 74-year-old president, was a business executive and real estate developer. Unlike his reality TV star brother, Robert Trump shunned the limelight.

President Trump made an emotional visit to see his ailing brother on Friday at New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Centre before going to his golf club at Bedminster, New Jersey, for the weekend.

The president was expected to attend the funeral, an aide said. He has a busy travel schedule in coming days with plans to visit four battleground states as part of his re-election campaign.

 

Limpopo ANC welcomes ruling clearing Msiza on some VBS allegations
11 August 2020, 9:45 PM

The Limpopo ANC Provincial Executive Committee has welcomed the decision of the High Court in Pretoria, which has cleared treasurer Danny Msiza on some of the allegations in the looting and collapse of the defunct VBS Mutual Bank.

Judge Vivian Tlhapi has set aside parts of the Reserve Bank report findings on Msiza. The court found that Advocate Terry Motau did not afford Msiza the right to procedural fairness before he released the report. Msiza was suspected to be a kingpin who coerced the municipalities to invest funds in VBS.

“That decision is binding on us as the African National Congress we will not comment on the merits and demerits of the judgment because we were not a party to that litigation of utmost importance is that it sets a very good example to members and leaders of the ANC that when there are reports or accusations against you the honours is on you as an indivdual to clear your name and restore your integrity we heartily welcome the judgement,” says Limpopo ANC secretary Soviet Lekganyane.

Msiza’s lawyer, Joseph Maluleke, has described allegations that were levelled against his client as a smear campaign aimed at undermining his reputation, credibility, and character.

Maluke says his client has been vindicated.

“Those are allegations and of Motau had called my client to the inquiry he would have had a full opportunity to put all those questions to him and allow him to respond to them because he didn’t do that its very unfair. Our position has always been that given what was pronounced by the ANC had no legal basis whatsoever, those issues remain hearsay part and parcel of what our client construe as a smear campaign by certain political detractors who do not what to see him carry on with his political duties as a treasury of the ANC in Limpopo.”

Msiza and Florence Radzilani were recently reinstatement into the Limpopo PEC following a fallout on the VBS matter.

In the video below, contradictions over the duo’s reinstatement:

Limpopo government suspends multi-million rand shacks project
11 August 2020, 4:47 PM

Limpopo’s Human Settlement Department has suspended the construction of multi-million rand shacks in Burgersfort.

The 152 shacks to the tune of about R10 million were being constructed at Apiesdoring, Burgersfort. The provincial department says the aim was to alleviate overcrowding in informal settlements during the pandemic.

Following the public outcry about the amount of money being spent on the shacks, the provincial Human Settlement department has suspended the project in Burgersfort. The shacks are similar to the 40, which were handed over to the Talana hostel dwellers in Tzaneen last week.

MEC Basikopo Makamu says the construction will be on hold until they receive the report on quality of the shacks.

“We have decided to say the Burgersfort Extension 10 project should be suspended until we received the report that is commissioned by the national on the issue of Talana so there will be no longer continuing to do the project for now we will not be talking about the costs implications around Burgersfort and the construction because everything has come to halt we will be able to resume immediately after we have received a discussion with national HDA on the matter of Talana.”

In the video below, Uproar over Limpopo housing project in Talana:

Makamu adds that no contractor will be paid until investigations on the quality of work and cost is done.

“The procurement process has been done with the HDA and the contractor I don’t think there will be anybody who be paid for now before we can finish the report in Talana the congestion in the extension 10 is very terrible but the facts remains that we will have to wait and see how do we come with a measure that we will be able to relocate them pending the outcomes of the Talana because we wouldn’t be say we will go and look for an RDP now.”

Fetakgomo-Tubatse SANCO regional chairperson – Putiputi Mokgakala – says the project must just be scrapped not suspended.

“We will never relocate to that place because is far from town so we therefore calling for the MEC Bssikop Makamu and the premier that their project must be scrapped down the SIU must be involved in terms of price inflation those Mikhukhu and shacks we don’t want to see them in Tubatse.”

A report on the investigation is expected to be released next week.

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