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University of Fort Hare students call for justice in Nosicelo Mtebeni
28 September 2021, 3:01 PM

Students at the University of Fort Hare in the Eastern Cape are calling for justice to be urgently served in Nosicelo Mtebeni’s murder case. The man accused of Mtebeni’s murder Alutha Pasile appeared in the East London Magistrate’s Court today.

He has been in custody since last month after abandoning his bail application. Mtebeni was brutally killed last month and some of her body parts were dismembered and put in a suitcase.

During the court proceedings Aluta Pasile indicated that he still does not want to apply for bail.

He also did not want a legal representation.

Meanwhile, students braved a chilly weather chatting and demanding justice for Nosicelo.

Student Representative Council member, Siphokazi Mbalo says they are disappointed with the justice system for postponing the case again.

“I’m very disappointed that the case has been postponed. I feel like the justice system thinks we will lose momentum on fighting for justice for Nosicelo because even the perpetrator abandoned his bail and does not want representation. So, we want him to be sentenced.”

Students demonstrate outside court: 


Social Development MEC,  Siphokazi Mani Lusithi was also part of the the demonstration.

“Part of justice is a speedy trial. We are disappointed for Nosicelo and her family and unfortunately, this is not common in cases of this nature,” says Lusithi.

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) says it is building a strong case against the accused.

“We are continuing with the case building an even stronger case so that the prosecution goes on strongly during trial. We believe we have got a good case and building more evidence,” says the spokesperson for NPA in the province is Anelisa Ngcakani.

Alutha Pasile will again appear in court on 9 November.

DA concerned over UK’s decision to keep SA on travel red list
28 September 2021, 2:52 PM

Democratic Alliance (DA) leader, John Steenhuisen has expressed concern over the decision by the United Kingdom, to put South Africa on a red list, following uncertainty on the number of COVID-19 infections.

The United Kingdom (UK) has announced that it will be using data and expertise from South Africa when it reviews its COVID-19 travel red list.

An updated list of the countries that fall under the red in that country shows that South Africa remains there, while Kenya and Egypt will soon be moved from the list.

Steenhuisen addressed the media in Johannesburg this morning, during the unveiling of the DA’s City of Joburg Manifesto for the upcoming local government elections.

He says the blame should be put on President Cyril Ramaphosa for a slow vaccination race.

“If we are on the red list, it’s going to make it far difficult for us to be able to attract tourists and bring some light into our tourism industry, which has been completely decimated during the course of COVID-19. Maybe, we need to go back a step on why we are still on that red list, and part of it is because we have a very low number of vaccinated people, and blame for that must lie into the Ramaphosa administration, who woke up far too late in the vaccine race.”

On Monday, scientific experts from the UK and the South African government met to discuss the latest trends around COVID-19, respective COVID-19 testing strategies, and the prevalence and risk posed to vaccination programmes by variants of concern.

The meeting was initiated by the UK High Commission and South African government to ensure the most up-to-date and accurate sharing of information.

According to a statement, the insights provided will feed into the next review of UK border measures.

Experts also discussed the recognition of each other’s vaccine certificates.

The UK side explained that, following some initial pilots, it was now seeking to extend its recognition of vaccine certificates around the world as rapidly as possible.

Western Cape Minister of Finance and Economic Opportunities, David Maynier says he’s written to the UK Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Elizabeth Truss requesting that South Africa be removed from the UK red list.

Under the UK red list, travellers in those countries will have to undergo a mandatory quarantine at a determined hotel for 10 days at own cost, before being allowed into the UK.

Maynier says the letter to Truss is one of the steps the provincial government is taking to engage key decision makers in the UK as well as South Africa ahead of the summer season. Maynier says the province has lost over 75-thousand jobs in the tourism sector in the last year alone.

Earlier, Western Cape Premier, Alan Winde, called for the province to be moved to Alert Level 1 immediately with the termination of the National State of Disaster as soon as possible.

COVID-19 cases have decreased significantly in the province.

Last week, there was a total of 434 new cases daily based on the 7-day moving average.

Winde says this shows that the province has exited the third wave. He encouraged residents to get vaccinated as soon as possible.

He says vaccination rates need to be as high as possible so that visitors return to the county during the peak summer season and help grow the economy.

“This specific sector is a key sector for us in the Western Cape – a key jobs driver, key economic driver, and it has been under severe pressure for the last 18 months because of COVID-19. Let us use this time as we are moving towards summer to celebrate our own country, our own experiences, our own offerings that we normally offer the world.”

Israel’s new Prime Minister affirms efficacy of third coronavirus booster shot
27 September 2021, 9:09 PM

In his maiden speech to the United Nations General Assembly, Israel’s new Prime Minister made no mention of the Palestinians but affirmed the efficacy of a third booster shot in their battle against the coronavirus as a key peg to re-opening their economy.

Naftali Bennet, who leads a coalition government of seven parties after replacing long-serving former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in June, highlighted two plagues challenging the fabric of societies – a pandemic and the disease of political polarisation.

His speech followed that of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Friday in which he accused Israel of destroying the two-state solution and threatened to withdraw Palestinian’s recognition of Israel if it does not withdraw from the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem in one year.

Bennett called Israel a beacon of democracy, a miracle of Jewish revival as he touted his country’s embrace of a third COVID-vaccine booster shot, even while millions around the world struggle to get the first dose.

“We faced a choice to either drag Israel into yet another set of lockdowns, further harm our economy and society, or double down on vaccines. We chose the latter. Israel pioneered the booster shot. Now, two months in, I can report that it works with a third dose. You’re seven times more protected than with two doses, eight months in, and 40 times more protected than without any vaccine. The booster works. As a result, Israel is on course to escape the fourth wave without a lockdown.”

Iran’s nuclear programme

He used his coalition government as an example of a push-back against growing political polarization that erodes public trust in institutions while focusing a large chunk of his speech to accuse Iran of crossing all red lines and violating IAEA safeguards in its nuclear programme, citing uranium enrichment levels of 60%, one step away from weapon’s grade material. Iran has long dismissed claims that its nuclear programme is being used to build a weapon – something the Israeli PM rejects.

“Iran’s nuclear programme has hit a watershed moment. And so has our tolerance. Words do not stop centrifuges from spinning. There are those in the world who seem to view Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons as an inevitable reality, as a done deal, or they’ve just become tired of hearing about it. Israel doesn’t have that privilege. We cannot tire. We will not tire. Israel will not allow Iran to acquire a nuclear weapon. “

Territories 

Earlier speaking virtually, the Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas gave Israel a one-year deadline to withdraw from occupied territories, vowing to no longer recognize the Israeli state based on pre-1967 borders as he bemoaned the lack of progress towards a two-state solution.

“To ensure our initiative is not open-ended, we must state that Israel, the occupying power, has one year to withdraw from the Palestinian territory it occupied in 1967, including East Jerusalem, and we are ready to work throughout this year on the delineation of borders and solving all final status issues under the auspices of the international Quartet and in accordance with United Nations resolutions. If this is not achieved, why maintain recognition of Israel based on the 1967 borders? Why maintain this recognition?

He vowed to go to the International Court of Justice on the issue of the legality of the occupation of land that Palestinians seek for a future state. “We remind everyone that Israel seized by military force half of the land dedicated to the State of Palestine in 1948, which is a solution in conformity with international legitimacy. If the Israeli occupation authorities continue to entrench the reality of one apartheid state as is happening today, our Palestinian people and the entire world will not tolerate such a situation.”

Israel’s UN Ambassador Gilad Erdan later dismissed Abbas, accusing him of irrelevance while calling his demands “delusional ultimatums” that do not truly support peace and negotiations.

 

Ramaphosa admits ANC made mistakes and pledges to do better
27 September 2021, 8:14 PM

African National Congress (ANC) President Cyril Ramaphosa has admitted that the party has made mistakes and pledged that the party will do better.

Ramaphosa was speaking at the party’s manifesto launch in the City of Tshwane’s Church Square.

He says the party has not always chosen the best people to run government institutions, has not always been responsive to people’s needs, and has not done enough to hold its officials accountable.

“This evening we pledge to you people of South Africa that we will do better, much better than we have done in the past. This is a pledge and this is what we dedicate ourselves to you on. We have not always done the best that we were meant to do and we have not only done the best that we were capable of doing. Yes, we stand here and admit that we have made mistakes.”

Ramaphosa says improving the provision of water and electricity will be high on the agenda of the ANC-led local government within the next five years.

During his campaign trail in the past few days, Ramaphosa was confronted by angry communities over water and electricity.  He said all these problems will be addressed in the next five years.

The launch was also attended by former Presidents Thabo Mbeki and Kgalema Motlanthe among others. ANC outlines its priorities for the next five years: 

SA exits third wave, 578 new cases recorded
27 September 2021, 7:45 PM

The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) says South Africa has exited the third wave of the coronavirus pandemic. The national 7-day moving average of daily case numbers, positivity rate, and testing rate continue to decrease, with sustained decreases seen in all provinces.

The country has 578 new COVID-19 cases, which brings the total number of laboratory-confirmed cases to 2 897 521. This increase represents a 3.8% positivity rate.

A  further 164 COVID-19 related deaths have been reported, bringing total fatalities to 87 216 to date.

17 588 025 tests have been conducted in both the public and private sectors.

Below are the latest statistics: 

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