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VIDEO: State Capture Commission hears implicated parties’ applications for leave to cross-examine
15 June 2021, 3:57 PM

The  State Capture Commission is listening to implicated parties’ applications for leave to cross-examine those who have accused them of wrongdoing.

Below are the proceedings: 

Young people pushing boundaries Part 1 | Dr John Molepo
15 June 2021, 11:30 AM

Wednesday marks 45 years since young people in Soweto, Gauteng, took the streets to voice their opposition to Afrikaans being forced down their throats as a medium of instruction and scenes of young people protesting remain a familiar sight in the country.

Earlier, this year students across different tertiary institutions protested against financial exclusion. The protests that began at the University of the Witwatersrand spread to other institutions across the country.

Civil servant, Mthokozisi Ntumba, lost his life when police fired rubber bullets at protesters.  While young people continue to face a range of challenges, some have picked up the baton from the youth of 1976 to challenge the status quo.

Dr. John Molepo (31) is one of the two game-changers SABC Digital News is focusing on as the country honours the courage and sacrifice of young people.

“If you want to go quickly, go alone, but if you want to go far, go together,” is an African proverb that University of Mpumalanga Senior Lecturer lives by.  Seeing the growing need for financial assistance among his students while he was a lecturer at the Tshwane University of Technology, Molepo founded the Thusangwaneno Non-Profit Organisation.

“I remember when I started Thusangwanageno, a student came to my office crying that she will have to drop out due to fees, I then gave her part of my salary to pay. I realised that I could not sustain this through my salary and looked for help. I started going to the streets looking for assistance and this gave birth to Thusangwanego,” says the 31-year-old.

Dr.John Molepo raising funds for underprivileged students.

Since 2015, the organisation has assisted more than 600 students with registration and tuition fees. The organisation has also expanded to helping refurbish libraries and assisting more than 150 students with learners and drivers’ licenses.

Molepo’s generous ways are inspired partly by his lecturers who played an integral part while he was a student at the Tshwane University of Technology.  Among the lecturers is Professor Mashupye Maserumule.

“I call him old man. He is one of the scholar par excellence, currently the Executive Dean at TUT and Chief Editor of Journal of Public Administration. Besides his intellectual prowess, he has a good orientation to nurturing young people. He managed to pay for many things in my life, including my drivers’ license. He instilled a culture of giving back and he is a fighter,” Dr Molepo says.

Leadership roles

Molepo grew up in Soshanguve, north of Pretoria. He says his background and job in academia pushed him to do well academically.

The journey was not without obstacles. “What also motivated me was my work environment. Amongst the requirements was the necessity to hold a Ph.D. hence I studied further. I remember in one of the meetings I attended, they said “only those with PhDs should attend the meeting”. I decided to push with my postgraduate studies. During the journey of becoming a doctor, I  was diagnosed with depression, and that led to me having to take chronic medication to deal with the stress and pressure.”

In 2019, he became the youngest Department of Public Management graduate to receive a doctorate at 29.

Molepo started assuming leadership roles at a young age. In school, he was a member of the Representative Council of Learners and later became an African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL) Chairperson in Ward 36.

He is currently an accounting officer of the South African Association of Public Administration and Management (SAAPAM), an organisation that promotes good governance and effective service delivery.

“I manage the day-to-day operations of the association which includes running of the scientific journal (one of the top journals in Social Sciences), membership drive, and many other important issues. I am supported by the administrators and so far the journey has been great with learning opportunities. I interact with academics, practitioners, and students, so I am continuously learning.”

Issues facing the youth

South Africa’s official unemployment rate currently stands at 32.6%.  Statistics South Africa’s Quarterly Labour Survey earlier this month revealed that 2.1% of the unemployed persons are graduates, while 7.5% had other tertiary qualifications as their highest level of education.

Economist Dr. Azar Jammine unpacks unemployment statistics: 

With the current status quo, how and why should young people then be encouraged to study?

“Well, amongst other things that motivate the current generation is material possessions.  With the growing graduate unemployment, it becomes difficult to encourage young people to go to school and study further. We need to instill a culture of learning in our society. Young people should be inspired by the pursuit of wisdom. In addition, graduates who are doing well should go back to their communities to encourage and support young people to go to school. We need to address the challenges of the youth by setting ourselves as good examples. We need to implement solutions that can address the problems young people are facing,” says Dr Molepo.

The academic is calling for more organisations to help equip the youth with knowledge and skills to help them to deal with alcohol and drug abuse, poverty and mental illnesses.

He advises aspiring academics to allow themselves to make mistakes and learn in the process.

Democracy In Action brings new argument against rules governing Chapter Nine institutions
10 June 2021, 9:54 PM

The challenge to the rules of the National Assembly by which heads of Chapter Nine institutions can be removed from office has entered a new phase.

Following a challenge by the Public Protector which was heard from Monday to Wednesday, the Western Cape High Court has started hearing a challenge by the group, Democracy In Action (DIA).

The DIA has introduced a new challenge that was not raised by the Public Protector. They say the new rules are unconstitutional because they did not involve public participation.

The DIA has been openly supporting the Public Protector in her legal troubles. The organisation has already raised thousands of rands to help her cover some of the personal costs imposed by courts.

Their legal representative, Advocate Vuyani Ngalwana, says the making of the rules is a lawmaking process and should, therefore, have been canvassed with a wide range of South Africans.

DIA is arguing that Parliament has no power to pass rule: 

Like the Public Protector earlier this week, the DIA has also argued that the appointment of a judge by the Speaker was unconstitutional.

Based on the rules, Speaker Thandi Modise had appointed a panel of experts led by retired Judge Bess Nkabinde to advise her on whether there were grounds for a parliamentary investigation.

Ngalwana says the Speaker has no such authority. Another of the DIA lawyers, Advocate Nomgcobo Jiba, says like judges, whose rulings are regularly overturned by higher courts, the Public Protector should not be impeached for incorrect rulings.

Jiba was once the Deputy National Director of Public Prosecutions until she was removed by President Cyril Ramaphosa in 2019 following an inquiry that recommended her removal. She has since returned to practice as an advocate after she restarted her career from scratch.

Advocate Andrew Breitenbach for the Speaker told the court that nowhere in the constitution is there a requirement for Parliament to enact legislation for the removal of heads of Chapter Nine institutions as suggested by the DIA.

Mkhwebane’s challenge in court:

 

No reason to believe elections date would be shifted: Ramaphosa
10 June 2021, 9:53 PM

President Cyril Ramaphosa has appealed to South Africans to give the Electoral Commission and the Moseneke Inquiry time to determine whether the conditions are conducive for free and fair elections this year.

He says no other date has been determined for holding the elections other than October 27 which he announced earlier this year.

Answering questions in the National Council of Provinces on Thursday, President Ramaphosa says at this stage, there is no reason to believe that the date for local government elections would be shifted.

President Cyril Ramaphosa answers questions in the NCOP: 

The Electoral Commission has appointed an independent panel led by former Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke to determine whether, in the light of the COVID-19 pandemic, elections would be free and fair.

In April this year, Ramaphosa announced that the country would go to the polls on 27 October. MPs wanted to know why this announcement preceded a decision by the IEC to appoint a panel to determine the possible impact of COVID-19 on the elections.

However, Ramaphosa says seeing that the date has not yet been gazetted, there is no reason to panic. Asked if he would move the date, he answered that – at this stage, it is not on the cards.

“As there is no determination of a postponement at this stage, no other date has been considered as election date other than 20 October 2021.”

He called on politicians not to pre-empt the panel’s outcome. “What I find most pleasing is that we have checks and balances in place. So, if we make a mistake, it can be checked to create balance. This process will check if the decision we took to have an election later this year was the correct one.”

Damage to state infrastructure

During the hard lockdown, significant damage and vandalising of state infrastructure took place. Ramaphosa says up to 1 700 schools were affected and several Metrorail stations. At this point, the government can’t put a figure on the damage.

“With respect to commuter rail, Metrorail has seen an alarming increase in vandalised infrastructure, their overhead cables, electrical subs, train stations, etc. took place in Gauteng Province, Western Cape, and KwaZulu-Natal.”

Ramaphosa says the burden of repairing the vandalised infrastructure is too much for the country’s purse. “Of course we face enormous fiscal challenges. that is why important to note that when people damage infrastructure – it’s easy to damage but to rebuild is much more expensive, in fact, impossibly expensive.”

Political organisations welcome news of Schedule 2 Electricity Regulation Act
10 June 2021, 7:04 PM

Political parties have given mixed reactions to President Cyril Ramaphosa’s announcement that the government will be amending Schedule 2 of the Electricity Regulation Act for the energy sector. This means that private companies have permission to generate up to 100 megawatts of electricity and sell it without a license.

The announcement comes as the country is currently experiencing rolling blackouts.

In terms of the National Energy Regulator of South Africa’s licensing requirements, private electricity generators can produce power from one Megawatt up to 100 Megawatts.

President Cyril Ramaphosa announces SA’s economic recovery plan: 

Some political organisations have welcomed the news. “We do welcome the President’s announcement on the alignment of the Schedule 2 of the Electricity Regulations Act, as it will allow private companies and other independent power producers to be able to produce more electricity and sell it to the grid as well,” says African National Congress’ spokesperson Pule Mabe.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) says it is pleased with the decision. “We are pleased that the president has finally woken up and has decided with speed to amend the Schedule 2 of the Act. The DA has been banging on about this for years, in fact, the president has been talking about it since February and it has taken a crisis in electricity supply to bring him to this stage where he has to move with speed and he has to because the nation is in crisis and the private sector must be brought on board, immediately,” says DA Shadow Minister of Public Enterprises Ghaleb Chachalia.

The Freedom Front Plus says no economy can grow without stable electricity. “The collapse of Eskom is detrimental to the South African economy. We welcome the announcement by President Ramaphosa that schedule two of the Electricity Act will be amended, this should have been done a long time ago. It is unacceptable that for more than a decade it has been well-known that Eskom is collapsing and that there is a looming energy crisis,” says FF Plus Wouter Wessels.

The National Freedom Party says this decision should have been made earlier.  “As the National Freedom Party welcome today’s announcement by the president, however, we feel that it is a little too late, a lot of damage has been done, a lot of businesses have been forced to shut down, people have been losing their jobs, actually the lives of the ordinary people of South Africa has been turned upside down due to the challenges at Eskom. Our belief is that the president should have acted sooner rather than later because Eskom issues are not that of today,” says NFP Secretary Canaan Mdletshe.

Al jamah-ah says the decision will boost economic growth. “Al jamah-ah welcomes the decision by the president on the main schedule two of the regulation mainly as it allows businesses to self-generate electricity to 100 megawatts. It may indeed boost economic growth by allowing small business operations to help provide energy for the grid,” says spokesperson Advocate Shameemah Salie.

Privatisation of Eskom 

Whilst some parties have accused the government of privatising the embattled power utility.”When you want to install generation capacity outside of Eskom, Nersa must give you permission. You generate electricity and connect the national grid. Ramaphosa announced that the generation projects will be allowed up to 100 megawatts from 10. So, it’s in a sense the manufactured crisis and deliberate collapse of Eskom is back door privatisation of Eskom,” says EFF spokesperson Vuyani Pambo.

The Congress of People says the ANC government has destroyed Eskom.  Spokesperson Dennis Bloem says, “What President Ramaphosa announced today, was partial privatisation of Eskom. It is very clear that Eskom doesn’t have the capacity anymore to supply energy to the people of this country. People in villages and suburbs, the economy is suffering under this load shedding.”

And the African Transformation Movement (ATM) agrees. Spokesperson, Zama Ntshona says this will see the ordinary people suffer in South Africa.  “What disturbs us the most about this particular announcement, is that its long-term strategy is to truly do two things. One de-value Eskom; and number two, it will actually get to a point where a common man suffers in South Africa.”

The announcement was described as an important move in providing a stable power supply, unblocking electricity bottlenecks.

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