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Church hostage
Police Commissioner tasks Gauteng Police to finalise investigation into church hostage attack
12 July 2020, 7:12 AM

National Police Commissioner General Khehla Sitole has tasked Gauteng police to quickly finalise its preliminary investigations into an attack that took place at the International Pentecostal Holiness Church in Zuurbekom, west of Johannesburg on Saturday.

The church hostage drama left five people dead, more than 40 others arrested and firearms seized.

National police spokesperson Vish Naidoo says those arrested include law enforcement officers. He says four people were found shot and burnt in a car, while the fifth victim, a security guard, was fatally shot in his car.

Police also rescued men, women and children said to have been living in the church compound. Police are now investigating the possibility that the attack may have been motivated by a feud between conflicted parties in the church.

Naidoo says six of the arrested were wounded and taken to hospital.

“We’ve arrested over 41 suspects including six who have been taken to hospital, purportedly after suffering injuries and gunshot wounds. We’ve also seized over 40 firearms including rifles, shotguns and handguns. Among those arrested are members of the SAPS, Johannesburg Metro Police and Correctional Services. We are investigating certain theories. When the attackers arrived, they indicated that they have come to take over the premises because there is an existing feud between conflicting groups in the church,” explains Naidoo.

IPHC pleads with courts to intervene to resolve church leadership issues

The leadership of the International Pentecostal Holiness Church (IPHC) in Zuurbekom, west of Johannesburg, has called on courts to play their part in ensuring that the leadership battle in the church is resolved.

The church, one of the biggest in Southern Africa, has about three million members.


A church member, who also serves as a security marshall and witnessed the incident, says, “Around after 12, we heard gunshots from the outside. We were inside. I’m a security marshal. I ran towards the gate. When I got to the gate I saw cars parked. In my mind, I thought of alerting others that we were under siege. I ran with the siren speaker to the Whitehouse to alert security. Within seconds, I saw over 10 gunmen. I ran and never looked back.”

Spokesperson of the church, Abie Wesie says the leadership battle is out of control of the church.

“All we want is that the law must take its cause and bring these perpetrators to book. But over and above that is that leadership battle that is before the court … the court must speed up the process so that this leadership battle can be finalised. Because in that way, there will be a court order that will prevent such things from happening.”

In the video below, the SABC News reports on the kidnapping and shooting incident at the International Pentecostal Church that claimed five lives:

Leadership battle

Six of those arrested are under police guard in hospital, where they are being treated for gunshot wounds. The church has been going through a leadership battle since 2016 over who should replace the church’s late founder, Fredrick Modise.

The church has three factions. Wessie says those arrested were church members.

“It’s dismaying to see that these people have law enforcement members inside. The people that we saw who came in are church members. And they are the members of the splinter group that after the comfort of the church passed on thy broke away and occupied one of our buildings. So they came in and wanted to capture our headquarters. So that they take complete control.”

Former TRC commissioner Tom Manthata passes away
11 July 2020, 11:33 AM

Former commissioner of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Tom Manthata has passed away at the age of 80 after having succumbed to the coronavirus.

The ANC says he succumbed to COVID-19-related complications last night.

Manthata was born November 29, 1939 in Soekmekaar in the Northern Transvaal.

In 1967 he began teaching at Sekano Ntoane High School in Soweto, where he became known as a rigorous, critical teacher who encouraged political debates among his students, including Cyril Ramaphosa and Amos Masondo.

In the early 1980’s, Manthata was involved in every organised form of opposition politics in the Transvaal which also led him to spend six years behind bar in a series of detentions and court cases.

It was after 1990 that Manthata obtained a master’s degree at Coventry University in Britain and was then a commissioner of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and served on the Human Rights Commission.

Health Department and DA MP Gwarube in war of words over R10 million scooter project
11 July 2020, 9:39 AM

The Health Department and Democratic Alliance (DA) MP Siviwe Gwarube are engaged in a war of words over the Eastern Cape’s R10 million scooter project.

At the launch of the project last month, Eastern Cape Health MEC Sindisiwa Gomba said that the scooters were meant to transport patients from rural areas to the nearest health facilities.

On Friday, Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize defended the controversial project after telling Parliament that the scooters did not meet the necessary requirements.

The issue has caused a furore after Gwarube’s comments on social media, that Mkhize and Gomba had made contradictory statements on the matter.

However, Mkhize says the scooters are not a replacement for ambulances but are meant to broaden access to primary health care in the most remote areas of the province.

“It’s not an ambulance. It was just an additional support to help those health workers when the community was struggling to get someone to the clinic or to the hospital. That’s all what it was all about,” says Mkhize.

In a written reply to a Parliamentary question by Gwarube who wanted to know if the scooters were suitable for transporting patients and whether the national Health Department was consulted before the procurement, Mkhize said the Eastern Cape did not consult his department on the specifications of the medical scooters that the province has procured.

He said the scooters, do not meet the criteria for transporting patients and the province has been informed that none of the scooters should be used as ambulances.

The province awarded a King Williamstown company the R10-million tender to procure the 100 scooters.

Last month, Mkhize and Eastern Cape Health MEC Sindiswa Gomba unveiled six scooters fitted with a bed on one side, an overhead gazebo with a first aid kit and oxygen on board.

In the video below DA member of parliament Siviwe Gwarube says Mkhize is contradicting himself:

In the video below, the Eastern Cape Health Department reacts to backlash over the scooters:


KwaZulu-Natal ANC spokesperson Mthembu to be laid to rest
11 July 2020, 8:32 AM

African National Congress (ANC) KwaZulu-Natal spokesperson Ricardo Mthembu is to be buried in KwaDukuza on the north coast of Durban on Saturday. Mthembu died of COVID-19 related complications in hospital this week.

Other political party leaders have described the former chairperson of the Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs portfolio committee in the provincial legislature as someone who respected people including those that did not belong to his party.

Mthembu served as both ANC chairperson in the Greater KwaDukuza region, as well as KwaDukuza Mayor for eight years before becoming the ANC’s provincial spokesperson.

Premier Sihle Zikalala is expected to attend the funeral service, which will be held in terms of COVID-19 regulations limiting the number of people.

ANC KwaZulu-Natal Secretary Mdumiseni Ntuli says Mthembu fought until the end.

“I can confirm that comrade Ricardo, it is quite correct that he tested positive of COVID-19. That’s why I am saying that when we are waging this war, we must not be despondent only because some of our greatest soldiers are falling.”

“As we move along, I think that is what the spirit of comrade Ricardo, and many others like him, it’s what must propel us to move forward. We must embrace that fighting spirit. He has been in the hospital for more than two weeks. It demonstrated the level of courage and tenacity that he had. To stay in hospital and stay on the machine and ventilators for such a long time, it shows that this was a comrade who was determined to fight.”

Cold front
Snow recorded in Matroosberg and Hex River Mountain as cold front intensifies
11 July 2020, 7:45 AM

Snow has fallen in the Matroosberg and Hex River Mountain in Worcester in the Breede Valley area. The South African Weather Service has forecast another intense cold front for Sunday and Monday.

Forecaster Bafana Msimang says coastal areas between Lamberts Bay and Plettenberg Bay are expected to experience strong gale force winds ranging between 70 and 100 kilometres per hour.

Msimang says the Cape Metropole will also experience the strong winds which will be accompanied by torrential rains.

“Flooding and cooling are also expected for the City of Cape Town as well as the Overberg and Cape Winelands as well. The coastal areas between Port Norloth and Plettenberg Bay will experience a wave height of six to eight metres and these waves are expected to reach between nine and ten metres on Monday between Cape Point and Plettenberg Bay, so very high seas will be as a result, temperatures will drop significantly into a cold to a very cold category.”

Video below is the day’s weather forecast:


City of Cape Town Disaster Management spokesperson Charlotte Powell says none of the residents affected by the cold front has been displaced. Inclement weather has wreaked havoc on many parts of the Western Cape.

Various informal settlements and residential areas are experiencing flooding and power outages. The first of a series of cold fronts made landfall on Thursday, accompanied by heavy rain, strong winds and stormy seas.

However, residents who live in informal settlements say they are battling to keep warm and dry.

“Yes, here it’s difficult to live here. Sometimes I have to go to my family in Delft because of my daughter. She’s four years and she has got an asthma problem. Every time I go to Red Cross, they ask me why am I living here because this place is very sensitive for my child,” says one resident.





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