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Ronald Lamola
State Capture Commission will conclude its work despite funding: Lamola
3 March 2021, 9:28 PM

Justice and Correctional Services Ronald Lamola says resources will be found to ensure that the State Capture Commission concludes its work. He says they are currently engaging National Treasury and the Commission to ensure that it finalises its mandate.

About  R800 million has already been spent on the commission which was expected to conclude its work by March and this has now been extended to June.

Lamola was answering questions during a Ministerial Peace and Security Cluster oral reply session in the National Assembly.

“There are, indeed, challenges with regard to the budget of the Commission because we did not anticipate that it is going to handle issues of this magnitude which are going to be broadened and which are going to be complex. But we are now here. We have to respond to the present challenges that the Commission is confronting. Hence, we are in discussion with the secretary of the commission – with the director general of the Department of Justice and the National Treasury to find a solution to enable the Commission to conclude its work. What we can assure the people of South Africa is that the Commission will conclude its work and we will find resources to ensure that the Commission concludes its work .”

Steinhoff saga

Meanwhile, Minister Lamola maintains that investigations into accounting fraud at the embattled furniture retailer group Steinhoff remain a priority. This as German prosecutors are set to announce charges against former Steinhoff executives on Thursday.

The Steinhoff saga remains one of the biggest fraud cases in the country’s history. And there have been no charges or arrests.

The company’s alleged fraud and accounting irregularities wiped out over R200 billion in the furniture group in 2017.

The Justice Minister says the Financial Sector Conduct Authority investigations into insider trading have been finalised. And a case docket into insider trading against suspects has been registered with the Hawks.

 

SABC
SABC unions may go back to Labour Court to oppose retrenchment process
3 March 2021, 7:39 PM

Trade unions are once again threatening the  South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) with court action over the handling of the retrenchment process. They say the process, which was meant to be completed by the end of last month, is unjust, unlawful and flawed.

The  SABC initially targeted 600 employees for retrenchment citing a lack of funds. It later reduced the number to 300 employees and promised that most of them would get an opportunity to apply for new jobs in a new corporate structure to be introduced by the end of last month.

The process has been underway over the past month with numerous new posts advertised internally and interviews conducted. But now, unions are crying foul.

Unions also accuse management of misleading the workers and the public about the real number of employees that are targeted for retrenchment.

The Communication Workers Union(CWU) is also unhappy about the process.

Both BEMAWU and the CWU say the retrenchment process is being carried out unfairly and they are contemplating going back to the Labour Court to oppose it.

SABC management declined to comment and said they will do so later this week.

Meanwhile, stress and anxiety among employees are running high.

In the video below, Bemawu and CWU weigh in on proposed funding model for SABC:

Service providers

Meanwhile, the SABC has confirmed that all the payments pertaining to the services provided at the SABC North West are up to date except for the delayed payment that was due in February due to administrative issues.

SABC spokesperson, Mmoni Seapolelo, says the SABC would also want to state that the payment of the service provider’s staff members remains the sole responsibility of the service provider and not that of the SABC.

This after security personnel employed by Modise Protection Services at the SABC in the North West threatened to embark on industrial action should their employer not pay their February salaries by midday on Tuesday.

The employees say it is now becoming a trend that they do not get paid their salaries on time. They say they were supposed to have been paid on the 20th of last month, but to date, they have not received anything.

Workers say it is for the second consecutive month now that there has been a delay in their salary payments.  -Additional reporting by Sylvester Serame 

Court
Family of murdered Mpumalanga kids decries delaying tactics by accused
3 March 2021, 6:51 PM

The family of two murdered kids, Gabisile Shabane, with albinism and her cousin, Nkosikhona Ngwenya, at Hlalanikahle in Emalahleni, Mpumalanga, says it’s concerned about what seems to be delaying tactics by Thokozani Msibi, one of the accused.

This follows another postponement of the case to Friday by the Mpumalanga High Court Division, sitting in Middelburg.

Msibi, Knowledge Mhlanga and Brilliant Mkhize are accused of killing the two children in January 2018. They face charges of housebreaking, murder, kidnapping and violation of a corpse, among others.

On Monday, the case was postponed after the new legal representative of the three accused requested time to consult.

Again on Wednesday, the lawyer asked for more time to consult. When the court resumed in the afternoon, Msibi had fired his lawyer. He told the court that he was not in agreement with the legal representative on some aspects of the case.

The lawyer of the other two accused and the state were ready to proceed. The court then postponed the matter to Friday for Msibi to get another lawyer.

But, the family of the murdered children says the postponements adds to their emotional strain.

“We are very sad. We are down as you can see, because this to us. It’s torture. It’s an emotional abuse. Msibi is abusing us emotionally now. We are so hurt; (we) won’t lie to you,” says Family Spokesperson, Nomthandazo Ngwenya.

It is for the second time that Msibi fires his legal representative since the case began in 2018.

National  Prosecuting Authority Spokesperson, Monica Nyuswa, says the delaying tactics won’t be tolerated.

“Accused No.: 1, Mr Msibi has terminated the services of his legal attorney. The matter has been postponed to allow him to get another legal attorney. As the NPA, we view this as one of the delaying tactics. As the state, we are not going to allow further delays.”

The two children were allegedly abducted. Shabane’s mutilated body was found buried in a shallow grave in Cullinan, east of Pretoria. Ngwenya’s body was found on the side of the N4 toll road.

A fourth accused Themba Thubane pleaded guilty to the charges in 2019. He’s serving two life sentences.

Court hands down sentence:

A fifth accused, who was arrested with body parts in Eswatini, died before he could be extradited to the country to face the law.

People with albinism still face discrimination:

UDM meets eNCA management over mask saga
3 March 2021, 6:25 PM

The United Democratic Movement (UDM) says it has held a fruitful meeting with eNCA management over the conduct of the eNCA reporter, Lindsay Dentlinger, who was interviewing MPs in parliament.

She has been accused of racism after she told black MPs to wear masks before interviewing them while she did not do the same for white MPs.

UDM MP Nqabayomzi Kwankwa is one of the MPs who Dentlinger asked to wear a mask. Kwankwa says the party expects eNCA to now make a public apology.

“We made it clear to the eNCA leadership team that they managed the whole saga terribly, highlighting the fact that it seemed as if they were forced by the public and the uproar on social networks in order for them to apologise. They did indeed admit that mistakes were made and they used the meeting to extend an apology to the UDM. But obviously, an expectation from the party such as the UDM is that if the mistake was made public and if some of the statements were issued in public, the same apology should be made public at the time when it is relevant to do so.”

Nqabayomzi Kwankwa on eNCA mask saga:

ANC to submit complaint to BCCSA 

On Tuesday, African National Congress (ANC) members protested outside eNCA offices over the treatment of Members of Parliament by the journalists.

The ANC said it will submit a formal complaint to the Broadcasting Complaints Commission of South Africa and the Human Rights Commission regarding the conduct of Dentlinger.

ANC’s Jessie Duarte has asked eNCA to take Dentlinger to the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) for training.

The eNCA’s Norman Nenzhelele received the ANC’s memorandum at the company’s Hyde Park headquarters, in Johannesburg, saying the company will be holding workshops with its staff members in a bid to avoid incidents like the mask debacle in the future.

Dentlinger has acknowledged the outrage and disrespect felt by some members of South African society. She said it was an oversight on her part not to ask the Freedom Front Plus leader Pieter Mulder to wear a mask as he was her first interview subject after the Finance Minister’s budget speech.

ANC Spokesperson Pule Mabe says, “Both Dentliger and eNCA have wronged our nation and undermined our collective efforts of building a nation on the values of equality and non-racialism.”

List of demands by ANC:

  • eNCA must withdraw the offensive statement in which they defended Dentlinger
  • eNCA to send an unconditional apology to all South Africans for the pain and hurt that Dentlinger and eNCA have caused
  • eNCA to send its journalists and management to human rights training to learn the values of equality and non-racialism
  • eNCA must publicly acknowledge its history of mistreating its black journalists, some of whom have been forced out by the racially intolerable conditions at eNCA.
  • eNCA to issue an unambiguous commitment that it will no longer tolerate racism within its ranks and to do something practical that will demonstrate genuine remorse on its part.
  • The leadership and journalists of eNCA to engage in a process of thorough soul-searching and to confront their own racism and racial prejudice
Fashion
Digital shows here to stay as fashion week gets a makeover
3 March 2021, 5:26 PM

From models strutting inside an empty museum to designers absenting themselves from the catwalk calendar, this season’s virtual fashion weeks have been re-styled with a new look many expect will endure when traditional runway shows resume.

COVID-19 restrictions forced New York, London, Milan and Paris fashion weeks to go virtual in the past year, with brands rethinking how to keep the buzz of catwalk shows online.

While many are optimistic of a return to the events usually attended by buyers, editors and celebrities, digital presentations – which have opened up fashion week to a wider audience – are likely to stay on.

“Digital first is absolutely something that we will continue to see,” British Fashion Council Chief Executive Caroline Rush told Reuters.

While streaming shows is nothing new, the pandemic has accelerated a shift in an industry that in recent years turned to social media to target younger spenders.

Some labels, including Gucci and Tommy Hilfiger, sat out fashion week this season. Versace is presenting its collection after its usual showcase, Milan Fashion Week, ends.

“We will see physical runway shows from these very large brands who can afford to put on multimillion-dollar entertainment events. But they may not be during the traditional fashion week and they may have audiences that are primarily made up of customers,” Lauren Sherman, chief correspondent for The Business of Fashion, said.

“There’s been a real shift in the balance of power that was already happening … But now there’s proof of concept that if you want to ignore fashion week, it’s probably not going to hurt your bottom line.”

Foregoing the usual expensive catwalk events, most brands streamed pre-recorded videos on a fashion week platform.

On show this season were plenty of bright colours to lift moods in an industry that saw stores, factories and studios shut in the pandemic.

“A large part of fashion week outside of the shows was the community getting… together and feed(ing) off of that creativity and so, with that lacking, it’s not the same,” designer Rebecca Minkoff, one of the few to hold a live presentation in New York, said.

“But for those who are able to be creative and innovative, now is the time to figure out how you pivot and for those that do, I think there is great opportunity.”

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