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‘Give law enforcement bodies time to thoroughly probe elements of criminality’
26 January 2022, 1:35 PM

Retired head of the Assets Forfeiture Unit (AFU) at National Prosecuting Authority, Advocate Willie Hofmeyr says law enforcement bodies should be given enough time to thoroughly investigate commercial transactions that have an element of criminality.

His statement comes after the Special Investigating Unit (SIU)’s report into COVID-19 procurement made over 900 referrals for disciplinary and administrative action.

Other sanctions in the report include the blacklisting of implicated officials in government and state entities.

Advocate Hofmeyr says investigating economic crimes is a long process which has to be conducted thoroughly.

“It’s important that we don’t put undue pressure on law enforcement forces to try and push these investigations. Everything has to be done properly and thoroughly. These things really can only be done with the collaboration of people in the state, probably in the ruling party.”

“I think that’s partly what makes these investigations very, very difficult and why it’s so important that you’re absolutely sure about your facts,” explains Hofmeyr.

The video below is the full interview with Advocate Willie Hofmeyr:

Meanwhile, the SIU investigated more than 5 400 contracts awarded to over 3 000 service providers with a total value of R14.3 billion.

At this stage, investigations have been finalised with respect to 4 549 contracts, of which 2 803 contracts were found to be irregular.

This amounts to 62% of the finalised investigations.

The rand value of actual cash and assets to be recovered on the basis of the investigation is R551 million.

President Cyril Ramaphosa says the investigation targeted individuals who believed they could exploit a moment of national vulnerability to enrich themselves through the abuse of public resources.

Below is the report:

[WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT] Malephane tells the court how he killed Tshegofatso Pule
26 January 2022, 1:02 PM

The man convicted of the murder of Tshegofatso Pule, has told the Johannesburg High Court that he was offered R70 000 to kill her.

Muzikayise Malephane has taken the stand to testify against Ntuthuko Shoba, the alleged mastermind behind the murder.

Malephane who has turned state witness alleges that Shoba offered him money to kill Pule, who was eight months pregnant at the time.

Shoba was allegedly in an on-and-off relationship with Pule.

Malephane says he picked up Pule at Shoba’s house on June 4, 2020, the day of the murder.

In the video below,  in 2021, Tshegofatso Pule’s murder accused pleads guilty:

Acting judge Stuart Wilson has asked Malephane if he needed time to compose himself as he struggled to look at pictures of the crime scene.

Looking down and constantly rubbing his eyes, Malephane testified that Shoba called to inform him to pick up Pule.

Malephane says he ultimately picked her up outside Shoba’s house in a silver Jeep – which was meant to be an Uber.

He testified that he shot and killed her at Noordgesig and then went to Durban Deep in Roodepoort to hang her body from a tree.

Malephane says Shoba called him the next day to check if the job was done.

The two men later met in Meadowlands – Soweto, where Shoba allegedly told him that he was still trying to raise the money he promised to pay him.

The trial continues.

Tsitsipas hammers Sinner to book Australian Open semis spot
26 January 2022, 12:15 PM

Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas will be hoping it is third time lucky in an Australian Open semi-final after his scintillating 6-3 6-4 6-2 victory against Jannik Sinner in the last eight on Wednesday at Rod Laver Arena.

The fourth seed, a semi-finalist in Melbourne in 2019 and 2021, was stretched to five sets by Taylor Fritz on Monday but showed no signs of fatigue in a match that started in blazing sunshine but finished under the roof after a storm hit.

The 23-year-old will play the winner of the quarter-final between Russian Daniil Medvedev and Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime later on Wednesday.

With Melbourne’s big Greek population, Tsitsipas has always drawn strong support at the Australian Open and it was the same again in the clash against Sinner.

“I think my humility helped a lot today. I knew I was going on the court facing a very good player. I tried to focus on my best shots and it paid off more than I thought,” he said in his on-court interview.

“Once again, stepping on to that court, having the crowd support, it is truly unbelievable.”

A finalist at Roland Garros last year, Tsitsipas was troubled by elbow problems at the end of last season and was concerned he might not be able to play in Australia.

“I am pretty sure my doctor is watching right now. He has been sending me texts after every single game,” he said.

“He said ‘I don’t expect to see you playing in Australia’. But I proved him wrong. I am happy I have found the right man to bring me back even stronger.”

Scopa to inform Mkhwebane about its role following Mervyn Dirks’ complaint
26 January 2022, 12:05 PM

Parliament’s Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) will inform Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane that it is dealing with certain aspects of a complaint that African National Congress (ANC) MP Mervyn Dirks has brought to her attention.

Dirks has also lodged a complaint with Mkhwebane’s office.

The complaint relates to President Cyril Ramaphosa’s knowledge of alleged misuse of state funds for political party activities.

Dirks also wants the President to share information about his knowledge of the allegations with Scopa.

This follows a leaked audio recording which is circulating on social media about Ramaphosa’s utterances during an ANC NEC meeting.

It will give the President up to ten days to respond in writing.

Scopa Chairperson Mkhuleko Hlengwa has noted that Dirks has instituted a parallel investigation into the matter.

On Tuesday, Hlengwa explained the importance of informing the Public Protector.

“That we are dealing with a particular aspect now of an issue which is being brought before her by Mr Dirks and to also maintain a healthy co-operation with all institution of the state.”

Parliamentary legal advice indicated that the Public Protector is the one who investigates the conduct of the President in terms of the Executive Ethics Code.

This means she will also come up with her own findings and recommendations after concluding the investigation.

The outcome may include whether the President has breached the Executive Ethics Code or not – and if there are any sanctions that should be taken against him for breaching the Code.

Meanwhile, political analyst Dr Ralph Mathekga has described as unprecedented  Dirks’ decision to write a letter to Scopa, about Ramaphosa.

SCOPA meets over call for Ramaphosa to be held accountable:

Head of security implicated in Amathole District Municipal councillor’s assault case suspended
26 January 2022, 11:30 AM

The head of security implicated in the assault case of the Amathole District Municipal councillor in the Eastern Cape has been suspended pending the finalisation of the investigation.

This after a video that went viral in social media platforms showing Nanziwe Rulashe being dragged out of office yesterday by people claiming to be security officers.

The video sparked public outrage.

The head of security and four other accused charged with assault were on Monday night released from police custody in Cambridge, East London in the Eastern Cape on R500 bail.

The suspects will appear in court again in March.

Municipal spokesperson Nonceba Madikizela-Vuso says, “The municipality has taken a step to suspend the Head of Security of the District pending the finalisation of the investigation. We have also requested the security company that provides services to the municipality to act against the security officials that were responsible for the unfortunate act of violence.”

“The security company has to provide us with a report regarding remedial actions taken. We have managed to get the names of the security personnel involved and we will ensure that they never get to work in any building of Amathole District Municipality,” explains Madikizela-Vuso.

Meanwhile, Rulashe says she fears for her life.

She says her understanding of the duties of the security officers employed by the municipality is to not only protect the property of the institution but also those that occupy the building, including her.

Councillor Rulashe alleges that her only transgression was to insist on doing things the proper way in an institution where she is a political principal deployed as the strategic planning portfolio head.

Rulashe says she is still traumatised by the incident.

“It has put my dignity to a level that l cannot even express. I was humiliated and I am not feeling good about it. I am really traumatized. I am not even fit to go to the offices because that’s my workplace and I was dragged out of those offices.”

Rulashe speaks to SABC News in the video below:

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