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Graeme Smith, Mark Boucher appointments ‘flawed’: Ombudsman report
15 December 2021, 3:14 PM

Cricket South Africa (CSA) has published the report compiled by the Social Justice and Nation Building Ombudsman, Advocate Dumisa Ntsebeza, following the hearings that took place this year.

The hearings focused on the causes, nature and extent of racial discrimination and lack of transformation in all cricket structures since unification 30 years ago.

It found that the appointments of Graeme Smith as director of cricket and Mark Boucher as national coach were flawed from a procedural perspective.

The report recommends improved internal and confidential grievance procedures and for mediation procedures to be put in place as a means of giving aggrieved players the platform to air their frustrations.

The ombudsman also found that race played no part in the match-fixing investigation.

Cricket South Africa also confirmed that although the Report is titled an “interim Report”, the Ombudsman has now discharged his mandate and no further report is expected.

CSA Chairman Lawson Naidoo says the cricket body is looking forward to engaging the report and its recommendations.

EFF labels court’s decision to send Zuma back to jail as ‘political revenge’
15 December 2021, 3:03 PM

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) says that former President Jacob Zuma’s returning to jail will serve no purpose.

Earlier the High Court in Pretoria ordered that Zuma go back to prison after setting aside his medical parole.

The party has labelled the judgment of the High Court in Pretoria as political revenge.

EFF spokesperson Vuyani Pambo says “Arresting Zuma is nothing but political revenge. If the law must serve the purpose of rehabilitation or bringing order to society, what is the purpose of arresting Zuma again? Why is Zuma a threat to society or what need is there to rehabilitate him? It’s the malicious use of the law. The point is that he must be corrected and in this case, it looks like there is a clear mandate to punish as opposed to correct.”

‘Medical parole unlawful’

The court has ordered Zuma to go back to prison after setting aside his medical parole. It has ruled on Wednesday that former National Commissioner of Correctional Services, Arthur Fraser’s decision to place Zuma on medical parole was unlawful.

Arthur Fraser’s decision to parole Zuma unlawful

This follows Zuma’s 15-month prison sentence for contempt of court after he refused to continue to appear before the Commission of Inquiry into Allegations of State Capture.

Fraser’s decision was against the advice of the Medical Parole Board. The court declared that the time Zuma was out of jail on medical parole should not be included in his sentence.

Zuma was imprisoned at the Escourt Correctional Services Facility for fifteen months.

The court states that it is declared that the time Zuma was out of jail on medical parole should not be counted for the fulfillment of [Zuma’s] sentence of 15 months imposed by the Constitutional Court.

Correctional Services spokesperson Singabakho Nxumalo says the department is still studying the judgment.

“We have noted the High Court judgment and we have stated that we are studying that particular judgment upon which thereafter we will make pronouncements in terms of the way forward so for now, that’s where we are. Allow us space to study it and in relation to Mr Fraser, he took that decision in his capacity as the National Commissioner so it is not about him as an individual but about the office of the National Commissioner.”

Application for leave

Meanwhile, the legal team of former President Zuma has filed its application for leave to appeal the judgment.

The court declared that the time Zuma was out of jail on medical parole should not be counted for the fulfilment of his sentence.

Foundation Spokesperson, Mzwanele Manyi says, “Indeed the legal team of his excellency, President Zuma has just delivered its application for leave to appeal in terms of Section 17 of the Superior Courts Act on the grounds that the judgment is clearly wrong and there are strong prospects that a higher court will come to a totally different conclusion.”

Carl Niehaus reacts to court’s ruling on Arthur Fraser’s decision to parole Zuma:

US House passes measure clamping down on products from China’s Xinjiang
15 December 2021, 2:43 PM

The US House of Representatives passed legislation on Tuesday to ban imports from China’s Xinjiang region over concerns about forced labor, part of Washington’s continued pushback against Beijing’s treatment of its Uyghur Muslim minority.

The measure passed by unanimous voice vote, after lawmakers agreed on a compromise that eliminated differences between bills introduced in the House and Senate.

The House last week passed its version of the bill, but that measure failed to advance to the Senate. But the Senate is expected to pass the compromise version as soon as Wednesday, sending it to the White House, where President Joe Biden has said he will sign it into law.

“The Administration will work closely with Congress to implement this bill to ensure global supply chains are free of forced labor, while simultaneously working to on-shore and third-shore key supply chains, including semiconductors and clean energy,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement.

Republicans and Democrats in the House and Senate have been arguing over the Uyghur legislation for months.

The compromise keeps a provision creating a “rebuttable presumption” that all goods from Xinjiang, where the Chinese government has set up a network of detention camps for Uyghurs and other Muslim groups, were made with forced labor, in order to bar such imports.

China denies abuses in Xinjiang, which supplies much of the world’s materials for solar panels, but the US government and many rights groups say Beijing is carrying out genocide there.

Republicans had accused Biden’s Democrats of slow-walking the legislation because it would complicate the president’s renewable energy agenda. Democrats denied that.

Burnt, decomposed bodies of five family members discovered in KwaZulu-Natal
14 December 2021, 10:06 PM

Police have finally made a breakthrough in the disappearance of a family of five from Boston in the KwaZulu-Natal midlands.

The gruesome discovery of the bodies including two children under the age of two was made inside a dense forest in Richmond.

The deceased couple is believed to have been involved in a land dispute.

64-year-old Sizwesenkosi Ngcobo, his fiancée Thandazile Khuboni-Zondi and their two children aged one month and two as well Khuboni-Zondi’s brother Bonokwakhe Khuboni were last seen on their farm last month.

Thandazile’s mother who’s 90-year-old was the only one spared.

After lengthy investigation police arrested two suspects at the weekend. They led the police to this forest, where they made the grisly discovery.

Police are yet to determine whether the family was killed at the scene or elsewhere before being dumped here. Their vehicle which had been set alight was found about 2 kilometres away from the bodies.

Sizwesenkosi Ngcobo’s nephew, Siyabonga Ngcobo says the family is devastated. “The way they were killed is very brutal. What kind of a person in their right mind would decide to kill a child who is one month old. We are devastated.”

Police say they’re following other possible leads which may lead to the capture of the masterminds behind the plot to kill the family.

Provincial police spokesperson Brigadier Jay Naicker says “The five burnt and decomposed bodies of the missing victims were found. More arrests are imminent as investigations progress. Charges of murder and kidnapping are being investigated.”

The two suspects are set to appear in the Richmond Magistrate’s Court on Friday.

YEAR ENDER: Athletes, teams and leagues confront abuse and bullying
14 December 2021, 9:49 PM

Painful revelations of abuse and misconduct rocked the world of sport in 2021 as athletes from all levels of competition across the globe demanded greater accountability of trainers, coaches and the governing bodies that oversee them.

A report released in October sent shockwaves through the National Hockey League (NHL) after an investigation found that the Chicago Blackhawks failed to act on allegations made by player Kyle Beach that video coach Brad Aldrich sexually assaulted him during the 2010 Stanley Cup playoffs.

Aldrich stated that the encounter was consensual.

The report led to the resignation of Florida Panthers head coach Joel Quenneville, who was coach of the Blackhawks when the allegations were made, and promises of reform from the upper echelons of the NHL.

“This has to serve as a wake-up call to all clubs that you need to make sure you understand what your organisation is doing because you are going to be held responsible,” NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman told reporters, promising change within the league while defending his own handling of the case.

The National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) was forced into a reckoning of its own as The Athletic in September outlined allegations of sexual abuse by former North Carolina Courage head coach Paul Riley, after speaking to more than a dozen players he had coached since 2010.

The report and subsequent fallout engulfed the league, prompting the departure of former Commissioner Lisa Baird and demands for reform, as soccer’s world governing body FIFA launched its own investigation.

“(Everybody involved) didn’t have much of a choice than to kind of put their hands up and go ‘Okay, this needs to change,'” league MVP Jess Fishlock told Reuters.

“Do I think now that the league is sitting down going, ‘Ok, let’s have this conversation’ – rather than before where they were like ‘We don’t care what you think’? I think that has definitely changed.”

ACTION DEMANDED

Across the globe, athletes demanded action.

“Many of us still have trauma and mental wounds,” two dozen Venezuelan women’s soccer players wrote in an open letter accusing former national team coach Kenneth Zseremeta of abuse and harassment.

Trainers for the Swiss Gymnastics Federation’s women’s team resigned en masse in September after in investigation upheld athletes’ claims of psychological abuse.

Football Australia set up an independent complaints body in October after retired striker Lisa De Vanna said she had been the victim of sexual assault and harassment during her career.

Weeks after promoting fresh conversation around athletes’ mental health at the Tokyo Games, Olympic gymnast Simone Biles appeared before the US Senate Judiciary Committee to condemn USA Gymnastics, the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee and FBI for inaction in the Larry Nassar sexual abuse case.

“I blame Larry Nassar and I also blame an entire system that enabled and perpetrated his abuse,” said Biles.

On Monday, the victims of Nassar’s abuse reached a $380 million settlement with USA Gymnastics, the US Olympic & Paralympic Committee and their insurers after a five-year legal battle.

“This settlement is about the brave survivors who came forward, forced these organisations to listen, and demanded change,” Michelle Simpson Tuegel, who represents more than two dozen Nassar survivors, said in a joint statement with Tasha Schwikert Moser, co-chair of the Survivors Creditors Committee.

In July, the US Centre for SafeSport barred famed coach Alberto Salazar permanently from track and field, citing sexual and emotional misconduct, after American middle-distance runner Mary Cain in 2019 accused her former coach and the now-shuttered powerhouse Nike Oregon project of emotional and physical abuse.

The US Center for SafeSport is an independent non-profit organisation that provides sports with guidelines on how to provide safe environments for athletes and training for coaches and administrators.

“Culture change is happening at all levels of sport,” US Centre for SafeSport CEO Ju’Riese Colon told Reuters.

“SafeSport accountability, training and policies are making athlete well-being sport’s top priority but to see it fully realized those resisting change need to get on board, or get out – it’s happening with or without them.”

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