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Zuma’s family vows to defend him from going to prison
30 June 2021, 4:34 PM

The Zuma family in Nkandla in northern KwaZulu-Natal has vowed that former president Jacob Zuma is not going to jail.

The Constitutional Court yesterday sentenced Zuma to 15 months imprisonment for contempt of court after he defied a court order that he appear before the State Capture Commission.

Constitutional Court hands down Zuma’s 15-month jail term:

Zuma’s family members are fuming about the Constitutional Court sending him to prison. The former president’s brother Khanya Zuma says some leaders refused to testify before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and they were never taken to court.

“If those judges who have sentenced my brother say there is no one above the law, [PW] Botha who is lying in his grave was above the law, he refused to go to the TRC. Before they arrest my brother they need to go after [FW] De Klerk, he was also called to the TRC and he refused, he is alive. Why are they not bothering him? If there is no one above the law, to my view De Klerk was above the law by refusing to go to the TRC, my brother Gedleyihlekisa is not going to jail, they need to arrest others as well.”

Brother of the former president on the jail sentence: 

Zuma’s son Edward told SABC News that his father has been in Johannesburg since the Constitutional Court judgment, consulting with his legal team.

MKMVA stands by Zuma:

MKMVA members at Zuma’s home stopped a police vehicle from entering the premises. They asked the officer from the local police station what the purpose of his visit was.

The police vehicle left.

The MKMVA’s Mfanafuthi Gumede says they believe Zuma’s rights have been violated.

“The president’s rights have been violated as a senior citizen he should not be going through all this. We hold the view that being stationed here in Nkandla and we are at the right place to protect the [former] president while the land struggle is continuing. They feel that [former] president Zuma’s persecution is because he is one pushing that the land should be returned to its rightful owners. They want to stop the land issue being openly discussed.”

Meanwhile, the chairperson of the Radical Economic Transformation Forces,  Nkosentsha Shezi believes the Constitutional Court had allowed itself to be dragged into the political arena.

“The Constitutional Court is being dragged into a political arena.  The judgment that has been handed down emanates from [former] president Jacob Zuma’s ascension of his own rights not to subject himself in a Kangaroo kind of a commission. So [former] president Jacob Zuma had to make a stand that he did.  One would have hoped for a Constitutional Court to find in itself to protect [former] president Jacob Zuma’s rights rather than being dragged into a political arena because this commission has been nothing short of a weapon against political opponents. ”

The Department of Correctional Services says they will not play to the public gallery and make any statements regarding Zuma’s incarceration.

The department said they will wait for the police to bring Zuma to them, as is the case with any other sentenced person.

The department would not be drawn on which of their facilities either near Nkandla or in Johannesburg are expected to receive Zuma.

The court gave Zuma five days to hand himself over. However, should he fail to do so, Police Minister Bheki Cele and National Police Commissioner Khehla Sitole have been ordered to have Zuma arrested.

Opposition parties say resignation of Taung Municipal mayor a calculated move by the ANC
30 June 2021, 3:35 PM

Opposition parties in the North West say the resignation of the Greater Taung Local municipality Mayor Oageng Seleka is a calculated move.

Seleka was appointed as the Mayor of the municipality two months ago after the previous Mayor, Kgosi Motlhabane, was removed through a motion of no confidence.

“I decided to listen to the ANC to say irrespective of the circumstances that let me hand over my resignation. I am doing this after engaging with the leadership of the ANC.”

MEC of Corporative Governance in the province Mmoloki Cwaile has welcomed the resignation

“As the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs including Human Settlements, we welcome the developments unfolding at Greater Taung Local Municipality. We can assure the public that there hasn’t been any unrest or failure to provide service by the municipality as a result of change of leadership.”

However, opposition parties are not impressed, they allege that the ANC wants to reappoint Seleka’s predecessor, Motlhabane.

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) in the province says the North West ANC IPC is intending to reappoint Kgosi Motlhabane, who was removed as a mayor of the municipality in April.

EFF provincial secretary Papiki Babuile says, “It must be noted that the EFF welcomes the resignation of the current mayor of Taung and we want to state it on record that the ANC wants to bring back the mayor who was removed through the motion of no confidence by the EFF and a mayor who failed to lead the municipality and make sure that the municipality is stable.

The Democratic Alliance alleges the ANC intends to reappoint Motlhabane in order to benefit from the reported mining license of Batlhaping Ba-Ga-Maidi.

“We understand that there is a pending matter of the mining license for the Gamaidi community that the ANC can benefit strongly from if Kgosi Motlhabane is brought back. Remember Mgosi Motlhabane is a Kgosi and he can use his influence to talk to the community, especially the community that vowed not to vote if the mining matter is not resolved” , says DA spokesperson for CoGTA, Freddy Sonakile.

The North West ANC IPC did not refute the allegations of Motlhabane’s intended reappointment, but says the party will convene a caucus to discuss the matter.

The ANC in the North West province welcomes the resignation of comrade Seleke. Comrade Seleke’s resignation represents an affirmation of the centrality of the ANC in matters related to deployment and redeployment of mayors. The IPC through its deployees has met with the troika of the said municipality. We will subsequently convene an ANC caucus to shed more light on this matter,” says spokesperson of the North West ANC IPC, Kenny Morolong.

Meanwhile, political analyst Professor Andre Duvenhage says municipal councils are left with their hands tied as they are now dictated to by the ANC IPC as to whom to elect.

We have a number of municipalities were there’s so called parallel structures or conflicts resulting into more than one leader prominent and that is also the case in Taung. Clearly that is leaving the council of this specific municipality and other municipalities without a proper definition, without a proper task. At the end of the day there’s no good governance and management and the result is service delivery that is not happening

A new mayor for the Greater Taung Local Municipality will be announced in due course.

Taung mayor removed from office:

 

Hong Kong journalist fears new crackdowns on press freedom
30 June 2021, 2:43 PM

A Hong Kong journalist said he feared his outlet and other local publications could be forced to eventually shut down, reflecting on the one-year anniversary of a contentious national security law being imposed on Hong Kong.

“I am just doing the work of a journalist. Reflecting somebody else’s opinion,” said Lam Yin-pong, an assignment editor for the online media outlet Stand News. “By doing so, I have to be afraid of being arrested. I have to be afraid of my company being raided by the police, I have to be afraid of my company being shut down by the national security law.”

His remarks come following the recent shutdown of Apple Daily, a boisterous tabloid with a distinct pro-democracy standpoint, which sent a chill through the city’s media.

Apple Daily folded last week following a raid by 500 police on its headquarters on June 17 and the freezing of key assets and bank accounts. It printed its final edition on Thursday (June 24).

“As a journalist working in Hong Kong, I doubt if we can still say there’s any press freedom,” he said. “What happened at Apple Daily is a very alarming case that the government can indirectly take down any media outlet that they don’t like, by simply accusing them of breaking the national security law.”

A government spokesperson told Reuters the investigation of Apple Daily related to suspected acts of collusion that are in breach of the city’s national security law and had nothing to do with the freedom of the press or the background of the media company.

The government spokesperson added that the government is firmly committed to protecting and respecting the freedom of the press.

On Sunday (June 27), Stand News announced it would remove some opinion pieces and stop accepting donations from readers, which had been the basis on which it operated. Instead, it plans to run on its existing savings. Several directors, including barrister Margaret Ng and singer Denise Ho, stepped down. Stand News said its actions were aimed at protecting supporters, authors and editorial staff.

Lam said a plan was in place if the outlet was targeted by law enforcement but declined to provide specific details.

Founded in 2014, Stand News gained recognition for its comprehensive live video coverage of massive anti-governmental protests that took place in 2019, often streaming footage via Facebook.

“We placed a lot… of reporters and efforts, to try to cover every single one of them. And then put them live. Put them on the internet. And leave a record on the internet, to just let the audience (understand) what’s happening outside and let them make their own judgment,” Lam said.

One of the most well-known live streams showed about 100 men in white shirts entering a train station in the Yuen Long district and attacking commuters and people returning from protests.

The reporter who filmed it, Gwyneth Ho, later left journalism to enter politics. She is currently remanded in custody on national security charges after participating in a “primary election” intended to choose the strongest candidates to contest in elections that were later scrapped due to coronavirus.

Stand News and other online media have sometimes been the subject of verbal attacks from Hong Kong government supporters and Chinese state media. But Lam said Stand News upholds professional standards, adding that it plays an important role in deepening people’s understanding of current events.

“We have the responsibility to try to let the society understand why all this happened, instead of just taking the government’s line. So if by doing so we’ll be labelled as yellow media, or even black media, then let it be.

VIDEO: Noma Gigaba back at State Capture Commission
29 June 2021, 6:09 PM

Nomachule Gigaba is testifying at the State Capture Inquiry in Johannesburg.

The estranged wife of former Public Enterprises and Finance Minister, Malusi Gigaba, is being cross-examined by Gigaba’s legal representative.

Link to the proceedings:

Raymond Zondo
LIVE | State Capture Inquiry continues to hear Gupta-related testimony from Cwele
29 June 2021, 2:36 PM

The State Capture Commission of Inquiry continues hearing evidence from Former State Security Minister Siyabonga Cwele.

Earlier, Cwele denied allegations that he stopped an investigation into the Guptas in 2011.

Below is the live stream for today’s proceedings:

Cwele says he merely instructed the three State Security Agency (SSA) seniors who had initiated a communications interception into the Guptas to first obtain approval from a judge.

During an appearance before the State Capture Commission of Inquiry, former State Security boss Gibson Njenje said Cwele put a stop to an investigation into the Guptas.

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