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Newcastle farm couple’s murder case postponed to October
28 September 2020, 12:57 PM

The case of the man accused of the murder of a couple in Newcastle in KwaZulu-Natal has been postponed to October 29, to allow for further investigations into the matter.

Siyabonga Macu appeared in the Newcastle Magistrate’s Court on Monday and he abandoned his bail application.

He is charged with the murder of farming couple Glenn and Vida Rafferty in August.

It is believed that he was part of the group that ambushed and gunned down the couple.

 

A peaceful protest took place outside Newcastle Magistrate’s Court ahead of Macu’s appearance.

There has been tension in the area over recent farm attacks.

Mokhesi concedes he could have done more to ensure money was better spent in Free State asbestos project
28 September 2020, 12:15 PM

Head of the Free State Human Settlements Department Tim Mokhesi has conceded that he could have done more to ensure that money was better spent in the 2014 project to assess and remove asbestos in low cost housing.

In his testimony before the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture in Johannesburg, he initially pointed a finger at officials responsible for supply chain management who he said failed to understand that appointing joint venture Blackhead-Diamond Hill as the service provider went against legislation on the transfer of contracts from one province to another.

The case saw over R230 million paid to the joint venture which used a sub-contractor to conduct the assessment for just R21 million.

Mokhesi says no asbestos was subsequently removed from a single house.

“In terms of accountability I am not abdicating from that Chair. If I can put that on record I am taking accountability for what happened and also looking at hindsight in terms of what should have been done and so on and what lessons can I take from there you know this particular issue is happening at the end of my career and its not good for me Ntate,” says Mokhesi.

Mokhesi told the commission that he was under the impression that Blackhead did have qualifications and accreditation to do the removal of the asbestos.

He says if if knew that they did not have qualifications, he wouldn’t have appointed or allowed them to do the removal of the asbestos in the Free State.

State Capture Inquiry live stream:

Government to increase electricity generation capacity for economic growth: Ramaphosa
28 September 2020, 11:00 AM

Government has vowed to increase its electricity generation capacity in order to grow the economy and attract investment. This as the country recovers from months of limited economic activity due to the coronavirus pandemic.

In his weekly letter, President Cyril Ramaphosa says they have now gazetted ministerial determinations that will facilitate the development of more than 11 800 megawatts of additional power generation.

After months of load shedding that negatively affected economy, an extra over 11 000 megawatts will soon be added onto the national grid to overcome the country’s power problem.

President Ramaphosa says this is one of the key reforms needed to unlock growth and attract investment. He says the new energy will be sourced from solar, wind, gas and coal among others.

To avoid corruption, the President said this electricity will be procured through a transparent tendering process that prioritises competitiveness and cost-effectiveness.

Ramaphosa also said as part of the regulatory reforms, draft amendments to regulations that would enable municipalities in good standing to procure their own power from independent power producers will soon be gazetted.

The video below talks about Eskom’s power supply constraints:

Trump frequently didn’t pay federal income taxes in years leading up to presidency: Report
28 September 2020, 10:40 AM

President Donald Trump paid just $750 in federal income taxes in both 2016 and 2017, after years of reporting heavy losses from his business enterprises to offset hundreds of millions of dollars in income, the New York Times reported on Sunday, citing tax-return data.

In a report that Trump dismissed as “fake news,” the Times said the Republican president also paid no federal income taxes in 10 of the previous 15 years through 2017, despite receiving $427.4 million through 2018 from his reality television program and other endorsement and licensing deals.

The disclosure of previously private tax information came little more than a month before the November 3 election between Trump and Democrat Joe Biden. Democrats were quick to seize on the report to paint Trump as a tax dodger and raise questions about his carefully groomed image as a savvy businessman.

Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer took to Twitter to ask Americans to raise their hands if they paid more in federal income tax than Trump.

Calling the report “total fake news” at a White House news conference, Trump again cited an ongoing audit as his reason for not releasing his returns. In a statement to the Times, Alan Garten, a lawyer for the Trump Organization, said Trump had paid millions of dollars in personal taxes over the last decade, without weighing in on the specific finding of minimal income taxes.

Trump’s consistent refusal to release his taxes has been a departure from standard practice for presidential candidates. He is currently in a legal battle with New York City prosecutors and congressional Democrats who are seeking to obtain his returns.

He also previously indicated he preferred to minimize his tax bill, saying in a 2016 presidential debate it made him “smart.”

The Times reported that Trump was able to minimize his tax bill by reporting heavy losses across his business empire. It said he claimed $47.4 million in losses in 2018, despite saying he had income of at least $434.9 million in a financial disclosure that year.

The Times emphasized the documents reveal only what Trump told the government about his businesses, and did not disclose his true wealth.

The Times said it had obtained tax-return data covering over two decades for Trump and companies within his business organization. It did not have information about his personal returns from 2018 or 2019.

The Times also reported that Trump was currently embroiled in a decade-long Internal Revenue Service audit over a $72.9 million tax refund he claimed after declaring large losses. If the IRS rules against him in that audit, he could have to pay over $100 million, according to the newspaper.

Gauteng officials allegedly involved in PPE tender corruption to appear before SIU in October
28 September 2020, 10:30 AM

The Special Investigating Unit (SIU) says Gauteng Health MEC Bandile Masuku, his wife Loyiso Masuku who is a Member of the Mayoral Committee for Group Corporate and Shared Services as well as Presidential Spokesperson Khusela Diko will appear before it on October 6.

The SIU says they must account for their alleged involvement in the controversial Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) tender.

The SIU has ordered the Chief Financial Officer and Head of the Gauteng Health Department to pay back R30 million to the provincial government.

Advocate Selby Makgotho, Spokesperson of the SIU’s Special Tribunal, says the three will have to argue the merits of the case because there was an interim relief to freeze their accounts was to enable the SIU to proceed with their investigations.

“Where we are at the moment, the Head of the Department as well as the CFO, there is a prima facie evidence that they will come and respond to hence the issuing of the summons but in relation to the other parties whose bank accounts have been frozen, they will be coming to the special tribunal next week Thursday on the sixth,” says Makgotho.

In the video below, Makgotho explains further: 

Last week, the ANC in Gauteng extended the leave of absence for Masuku, his wife Loyiso and Diko by two weeks.

The ANC PEC  in the province resolved that investigations must continue into the controversial multi-million PPE tender involving the three officials.

The PEC rejected a report into the matter by the Provincial Integrity Committee, saying there was inconsistency and inadequate information. The PEC also felt the report was contradictory in terms of oversight by the MEC.

It has further resolved to engage with the government and the SIU to speed up their investigations.

SIU report to decide fate for Khusela Diko, Bandile Masuku and Loyiso Masuku

 

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