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UK’s Johnson vows to set up COVID inquiry
11 May 2021, 7:07 PM

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said, on Tuesday, his government would set up an inquiry into the COVID-19 pandemic during this parliamentary session.

Johnson addressed the British parliament after Queen Elizabeth presented the House of Lords with Johnson’s plan to “level up” Britain by tackling inequality and driving an economic recovery from the pandemic with a raft of laws.

In the 18 months since Johnson’s Conservatives were re-elected with a big parliamentary majority, his agenda has been eclipsed by the pandemic, which caught his government off guard and has absorbed many of its resources for making policy.

With Britain’s vaccination programme now far ahead of many other countries and the spread of the virus at low levels, Johnson, 56, is keen to revive his “levelling up” agenda and re-set a premiership also clouded by accusations of cronyism, which he denies.

NPA ready for trial in Lesedi FM’s Ratselane case
11 May 2021, 6:32 PM

The National Prosecution Authority (NPA) in the Free State says it’s ready for trial in the case against Mackenzie Ratselane. Ratselane is accused of stabbing his estranged wife, and Lesedi FM Current Affairs presenter, Dimakatso Ratselane, multiple times, in February.

Mackenzie appeared briefly in the Bloemfontein Regional Court on charges of attempted murder, kidnapping, assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm and possession of an unlicensed firearm and ammunition.

The case was postponed to 19 May 2021 for further negotiations between the state and the defence.

The defence has requested to iron out some issues with the state. This after Ratselane changed the legal representative.

The state is not happy with the further postponement of the case.

Free State NPA Spokesperson, Phaladi Shuping says they were hoping the accused would plead to the charges against him.

“We were hoping that we were going to get a plea from the side of the accused, but when he got to court today he informed the legal representative to inform the court that there are issues that he still wants to negotiate with the state. We don’t know what are those issues. So, the magistrate granted postponement up until the 19th so that the state and the defence can iron out whatever issues the defence wants to discuss with the state.”

ANC Women’s League Mangaung Secretary, Nobanele Mkrola, voiced the League’s dissatisfaction with the court processes.

“As the ANC Women’s League, we are not happy. (The) last time we were here and they didn’t give us the full information on what was happening inside. Even today, we are here. Since in the morning, we don’t have full information of what is happening inside. It seems like there is something they are hiding from us. So, all we want from now is (for) justice to be served to Dimakatso. We are not happy at all. We are here, but we don’t have the information that is full (on) what is happening inside.”

Dimakatso Ratselane and her family were also present in court.

ANC gives Magashule 48 hours to apologise for suspension letter to Ramaphosa
11 May 2021, 5:11 PM

The  African National Congress (ANC) has given its suspended Secretary-General, Ace Magashule, 48 hours to apologise publicly for the suspension letter he sent to party President Cyril Ramaphosa.

Last week, after being suspended for failing to step aside in line with the National Executive Committee (NEC) resolution, that members facing criminal charges must volunteer to step-aside or face suspension, Magashule instead issued a suspension letter to the President.

Magashule issued the letter without any mandate and authorisation of the NEC or the National Working Committee (NWC).

ANC Deputy Secretary-Genera, Jessie Duarte says they are hoping to hear from Magashule this week and they are expecting him to apologise.

Duarte was addressing the media at the ANC headquarters at Luthuli House, in Johannesburg.

Video: ANC briefing on Special NEC outcome

Over the weekend, the ANC NEC met virtually.  Magashule and NEC member, Bongani Bongo were booted out of the meeting.

Duarte says this apology is important as it will bring stability to the ANC.

Reading out the outcomes of their three-day meeting on Monday, Ramaphosa says the governing party’s highest decision body has reined in Magashule.

Magashule ordered to apologise to party structures:

DA seeks justice for people unstripped of their SA citizenship
11 May 2021, 3:20 PM

The Democratic Alliance (DA) says it is a step closer to getting justice for thousands of South Africans who were unfairly stripped of their citizenship.

The party says it presented arguments to the High Court, on Monday, on behalf of people who lost their citizenship without their knowledge.

The DA is taking the Home Affairs Department to court to challenge parts of the Citizenship Act 88 of 1995 which it deems to be unconstitutional.

It says a section of the Act has meant that some South Africans who apply for a second nationality automatically lose their citizenship unless they successfully apply for its retention from Home Affairs.

The DA says almost two million South Africans currently live abroad. It says the court has reserved judgment on the matter.

Refugees
New deadline set to evict refugees rejecting voluntary repatriation
11 May 2021, 2:38 PM

The City of Cape Town says it has spent millions in unbudgeted funds on accommodation and other services for a group of refugees over the past two years.

Role players such as the United Nations Refugee Agency, the Department of Home Affairs, City of Cape Town and the Human Rights Commission, briefed Parliament’s Home Affairs Portfolio Committee on the latest developments around foreign nationals protesting in Cape Town.

A new deadline of 15 May has been set to evict those who do not want to accept voluntary repatriation or reintegration into their former host communities.

JP Smith from the City of Cape Town says they can no longer afford to fund the exercise.

“To date, tents have cost R6 million that doesn’t include all costs. If we had to do a complete calculation, it would come to much more than that,” says Smith.

Video: Minister Motsoaledi speaks about the Refugees Amendment Act:

Home Affairs hopes to eliminate refugee status appeals backlog

Meanwhile, Home Affairs Minister, Aaron Motsoaledi, says his department hopes to eliminate the backlog of refugee status appeals within four years.

The Refugee Appeals Authority of South Africa (Raasa), an independent body that adjudicates appeals by refugees who have been denied asylum by the department, says it has made progress in dealing with appeals.

However, the authority says a lack of resources and cuts in their budgets are hampering their work.

Measures aimed at easing the backlog include the commitment of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to provide assistance.

Motsoaledi says an agreement is to be signed soon, under which the UNHCR will pay for 36 new members of Raasa, including their training and equipment.

“That situation is going to dramatically change and as I said last week, we are in discussion with the United Nations High Commissioner for refugees to choose a day on which we are going to sign the agreement on them helping us with this backlog project. They’re going to help us financially and technically in terms of capacity,” explains Motsoaledi.

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