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Abestos project did not comply with Treasury regulations: Mokhesi
28 August 2020, 8:47 PM

Free State Human Settlements Head of Department Tim Mokhesi has conceded at the State Capture Commission in Johannesburg that the 2014 asbestos project did not comply with Treasury regulations. He gave his testimony on the 2014 asbestos project on Friday.

This after State Capture Commission Chair, Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo dismissed his application to suspend his taking the stand until criminal proceedings against him have been completed.

Mokhesi said this would be to protect his rights not to incriminate himself as he faces an investigation by law enforcement agencies for his role in the project for which the department paid R255 million.

Currently suspended from his position – Nthimotse Mokhesi gave evidence at the State Capture Inquiry. SABC’s Abongile Dumako reports…

 

Mokhesi’s lawyer Dali Mpofu opened proceedings on Friday by asking that Mokhesi’s obligation to testify be suspended until the conclusion of the criminal case against him with regards to 2014 Free State asbestos project or at the completion of a review of a decision in that case.

Mpofu said the changes in the commission’s regulations made it risky for his client to testify.

“Regulation 11 was introduced so that the commission may assist other law enforcement agencies and it is in that context that the risk that we perceive arises.”

However, Commission Evidence leader Paul Pretorious opposed the application arguing that there was no basis in law for Mokhesi to be let off the hook.

“Apart from perjury anything that Mr Mokhesi says before you here in court, Chair today, even if he answers a self-incriminating question and that answer incriminates him that answer cannot be used against him in criminal proceedings. It’s as if he exercised a right to remain silent. But in respect to that question but there is another remedy that Mr Mokhesi may use perhaps I’ve said it too often, 34 of the act that he can refuse to answer the question and rely on that.”

Commission Chair Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo appeared swayed by Pretorious’ arguments and dismissed the application, forcing Mokhesi to take the stand.

Dealing with his role in facilitating the 2014 asbestos project, Mokhesi then testified that he had relied on the supply chain management section of the department to do its due diligence with
regards to the project.

He says, after the fact, he asked the supply chain management department why it did not ensure that the Free State contract mirrored the original Gauteng contract as required. The Free State sought to copy an earlier Gauteng’s project to audit asbestos in low-cost houses.

“One the joint venture the 16A6A requires that it must be the same company two did you request documents you know if it irregular on the other side you cannot regularise it yourself and the only way that you can be in a position to know is to get all the documents and the third issue is the unit price you can to an extent if you participate to increase the price but they know you have to make a motivation to the treasury.”

Mokhesi justified the payment of R139 million to Blackhead-Diamond Hill joint venture which conducted the audit even after a July 2015 Auditor General report concluded that the contract was irregular. He cited a judgment in the unsuccessful case the Democratic Alliance had lodged in June 2015 requesting the court to issue an urgent interdict to stop payment on the contract prior to the Free State AG’s report in his explanation.

“The work was already done what we could not continue with was the second phase now the question is value for money which is a point of contention you will recall also that there was a judgment that was sponsored by a political party what was in that judgment was the finding that says there was no overpayment because that was part of the issue those payments were made in terms of that understanding.”

Mokhesi’s testimony will continue at a date to be determined. Then he will also answer questions related to alleged bribes official received as well as R650 000 he received from Blackhead Consulting towards his house.

Below is Mokhesi’s testimony: 

Mashaba
Countdown to the launch of People’s Dialogue party
28 August 2020, 8:32 PM

All eyes will be on former Johannesburg Mayor, Herman Mashaba as he will be launching his party on Saturday. During a virtual pre-launch press conference on Thursday, Mashaba reiterated that the main goal of his new party is to unseat the African National Congress (ANC).

Shortly after his departure from the Democratic Alliance (DA) last year, Mashaba established the People’s Dialogue, as a discussion platform with South Africans on the political vision they have for South Africa.

Mashaba formed the People’s Dialogue which served as a vehicle to gain support for the formation of his new political party. He said the party will not follow the trajectory of political parties formed post-1994.

“The party I will unveil on Saturday will be the hope that South Africans are looking for. We will put down real solutions to the problems in South Africa. We will avoid the political pettiness and point-scoring that has become part of the politics of our country. We will exist for the sole purpose of unseating the ANC and providing an alternative, better future for our country.”

While the party plans to contest the three major metros in Gauteng – Johannesburg, Tshwane and Ekurhuleni – Mashaba said they are open to contesting more metros.

“We will focus our resources where we can win in next year’s elections. While, ladies and gentlemen, we initially believed that this would be focused in Tshwane, Johannesburg, and Ekurhuleni, it is clear that more and more municipalities are becoming winnable and can no longer be ignored.”

In the video below, Mashaba says the new party will be a game-changer:

Leadership of the party 

While announcing current leaders, Mashaba said the leadership will be nominated by the party structures.

“I will serve as the party’s president and appointed Michael Beaumont as the National Chairperson of the party. I’m also pleased to announce that Lerato Ngobeni, another newcomer to politics will bring her vast experience and skills to the role of National Spokesperson. Funzi Ngobeni, Andre Coetzee and Paul Boughey will form part of our leadership team as strategic individuals who have been with us since the early days of the People’s Dialogue.”

Former ANC MP, Dr. Makhosi Khoza was announced as the latest prominent political figure to join the party and its leadership.

“Ladies and gentlemen, they will be joined by Makhosi Khoza, Vytjie Mentor, Lt.Gen De Lange David Tembe and Vivian Low. This leadership team will form the nucleus of our party going forward. It is a strong team that brings a huge amount of experience. Most importantly, they are great South Africans who are committed to the service to the people of this country.”

The virtual launch will start from 10 in the morning on all platforms of the People’s Dialogue.

Herman Mashaba speaks to SABC’s Chriselda Lewis on his political party launch: 

 

Police
Five people killed in Mntuntloni village
28 August 2020, 8:31 PM

Five people, including a headman and his brothers, have been shot and killed at Mntuntloni village in Ngcobo, Eastern Cape.

The name of the headman has not yet been released, but local chief Jongisizwe Gwarhubane says the Moyi family is traumatised.

The killings come two days after a family of five was murdered at Phepheni village at Mt Ayliff, also in the Eastern Cape.

Chief Gwarhubane says the headman was central in resolving community issues and would always fight for development in the village.

“We are very saddened because this is not the first time our traditional leaders are being killed in this manner. The headman’s father was also killed like this. He was killed and Nkosi Gwarhubeni was also killed not a long time ago. What worries me the most is that this headman was very key in dealing with the issues and always defended the traditional council interests. This is very shocking.”

Officer accused of fatally shooting Nathaniel Julies still on duty
28 August 2020, 7:16 PM

It has emerged that the Eldorado Park police officer who has been accused of fatally shooting Nathaniel Julies, the 16-year-old boy who had Down Syndrome, is still on duty. The boy was allegedly shot by a police officer known to the community on Wednesday evening, not far from his home.

Police Minister, Bheki Cele, has visited the teenager’s family and says they will wait for police watchdog, IPID, to complete its investigation before acting.

The Democratic Alliance’s (DA) Gauteng leader, John Moodey, has called on Gauteng Police Commissioner, Elias Mawela, to appear before the provincial legislature to account.

Cele has appealed to the angry Eldorado Park community to allow IPID time to conduct its investigation.

“He is not suspended until the investigation tells us what is the story. The investigation started yesterday. The head of the IPID briefed me this morning. But he’s also coming to brief the family. As anything tells us, any wrongdoing has happened, we’ll allow them to act as they’re supposed to. If we find that the police were responsible for this one, like all other police that have been responsible for ill-doing like murder, rape, they’re sent to prison-like all other South Africans.”

There is a large crowd gathered outside the home of the family.

There has been outrage over his death with the family and community demanding justice 

The Democratic Alliance’s (DA) Gauteng leader, John Moodey, has called on Gauteng Police Commissioner, Elias Mawela, to appear before the provincial legislature to account.

Zuma ‘rubbishes’ Ramaphosa’s open letter to ANC members
28 August 2020, 4:53 PM

Former African National Congress (ANC) president Jacob Zuma has rubbished the open letter written to all party members and leaders by President Cyril Ramaphosa on the issue of corruption in government.

The seven-page letter by Ramaphosa last week made an appeal to ANC structures to refrain from continuing to seek to make quick money through corruption as it is against ANC values.

But Zuma, hitting back at Ramaphosa, says it is fundamentally flawed in many aspects. The former ANC president claims in the letter that Ramaphosa does not have a basic understanding of how to be a legitimate leader of the ANC and how to communicate with party members.

In a 12-page letter, Zuma says under Ramaphosa there is only a lip-service to the 54th national conference of the ANC  such as nationalisation of the Reserve Bank, land expropriation and radical economic transformation.

He adds that he wants to see action from the current ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa.

SABC’s reporter Samkele Maseko gives an analysis of the letter: 

NEC meeting 

The ANC is currently preparing for a Special National Executive Committee meeting to discuss corruption. One other issue that will be dealt with is the redeployment of former eThekwini Mayor Zandile Gumede. The decision has been met with a lot of criticism from different organisations.

Political analyst, Tessa Dooms weighs in on Zuma’s letter on the eve of the NEC meeting:

 

Answering questions in the National Assembly on Thursday, President Cyril Ramaphosa said the matter will be dealt with by the NEC.

He was asked twice by the leader of the Official Opposition, John Steenhuisen whether he supports the redeployment.

“It’s a simple question. It’s a simple answer. The matter is being discussed within the structures of the Africa National Congress. That matter that has caused, yes, admittedly,  everybody agrees that it has caused a lot of disquiet, and the matter is being discussed within the structures of the African National Congress in a very democratic manner and leave it to those structures to deal with the matter. Thank you very much,” Ramaphosa said.

On Friday, the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal has asked Gumede and the ANC deputy Chairperson Mike Mabuyakhulu to step aside pending their appearance before the ANC’s Integrity Commission.

In the video below, President Cyril Ramaphosa answers questions in Parliament: 

 

 

 

 

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