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Police
Communities need to stand up and not rely on government: Kathrada Foundation
27 July 2021, 7:21 AM

The Ahmed Kathrada Foundation says communities needed to defend themselves in light of the state’s failure to do so and it is understandable, but it cannot come at the cost of violating the human rights of others.

The foundation says the response by the police to the recent unrest and looting in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng was sluggish and resulted in the loss of faith in the structures meant to protect and serve the public at large.

The Executive Director of the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation, Neeshan Bolton, says the country’s security forces have failed dismally.

“I think fundamentally people were left defenceless and in that instance, you had ordinary civilians, security companies and I am told you had gang leaders and gangsters all reeling together to fight what was thought to be a threat to life and property.”

“You also have instances of people who appeared to have been going to look for either food or petrol and simply because they were African they were abused and they died. Now in that instance the need to defend one set of life you could not justify the taking of life on the other side. Fundamentally had the state done its job it should not have come to that kind of point where people had to do the work of policing,” adds Neeshan.

Clean up operations following unrest

Several community organisations have rallied together to clean up. This after the mass looting, rioting and civil unrest resulted in shops, malls and centres being raided and trashed by suspected opportunistic criminals.

Roads are clear of trash and debris but some community members still have barricades in place and have been seen huddled around fires to keep warm whilst on night patrol.

In Berea, several South African National Defence Force (SANDF) members made their way into the area to boost patrols with police and community members.

Clean up operations in Gauteng

 

Busisiwe Mkhwebane
Mkhwebane hopes Constitutional Court will judge her application with a sober mind
27 July 2021, 6:53 AM

Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane says she hopes the Constitutional Court will judge her application on its merits and will not be swayed by what she claims are personal biases.

Mkhwebane is challenging the apex court’s ruling that sets aside her report on President Cyril Ramaphosa’s CR17 campaign. She says the legal challenge is to protect the integrity of the Public Protector’s office.

Mkhwebane applied on Friday to the court for a rescission of the ruling. She says she hopes the court can act in the interest of justice.

“I will always remain hopeful but to be honest a lot of the judgments and comments that have been made they’ve made me reach a point where I am worried about the justice system of the country. And I am hopeful that they will consider the merits of the issue, nothing personal.”

Busisiwe Mkhwebane on Constitutional Court’s CR17 campaign ruling:

EFF leader vows to unseal CR17 statements through courts

Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader, Julius Malema, has vowed to lodge a direct appeal with the Constitutional Court to unseal the CR17 bank statements. The High Court in Pretoria dismissed the case with costs earlier this month.

However, speaking during his party’s 8th anniversary on Monday, Malema claimed the refusal to unseal the documents was akin to capture of the judiciary.

Malema said it was amazing to hear the court say Ramaphosa’s ascendency to power was not in the public interest. He has also claimed that people who supported the president’s bid to lead the ANC at its 2017 national conference are now beneficiaries of state tenders.

“We must speak against the decision to refuse to unseal the CR17 documents by the North Gauteng High Court as an exhibition as a possible capture of the judiciary. The court has given no reasonable explanation as to why the president’s ascendency to power is not in the public interest. What type of a judge can say don’t unseal these documents even when there are allegations that there are names of judges in those documents. We want to guarantee you South Africans everybody who donated money into CR17 none of them has received a tender of less than 300 million all of them,” says Malema.

EFF leader vows to unseal CR17 statements through courts:

Home affairs
An elderly Limpopo woman wrongfully declared dead wins case against Home Affairs
27 July 2021, 6:10 AM

The family of an elderly Limpopo woman whose identity was altered after she was wrongfully declared dead, has won a case against the Home Affairs Department at the High Court in Pretoria.

Johanna Adams was declared dead on two occasions in 2005 and 2016. This led to problems with her social grant which was terminated.

She shared the same names and identity number with a woman from Boksburg in Gauteng, who had died.

Adams has expressed relief that she will soon reclaim her identity.

“I am so grateful that my life could now be restored and I would reclaim my original identity. I am eternally grateful, I wish to thank God and all those who made sure that I can put the matter behind me.”

Johanna Adams who was wrongfully declared dead wins her case against Home Affairs:

Lab
Tracing COVID-19 origins is “no time for finger-pointing,” says Karim
27 July 2021, 5:55 AM

Discourse around the origins of COVID-19 or its source tracing investigation is the terrain of qualified Scientists and politics should never be allowed space to interrupt scientific research work.

This is the view of leading international Scientists including South Africa’s Prof Salim Abdool Karim, the director of the Centre for the AIDS Program of Research in South Africa (CAPRISA).

He was recently in a frank conversation with the Chinese news channel Phoenix TV, shedding scholarly light on COVID-19 origin-tracing and vaccines. The interview took place on July 19, 2021.

It was conducted amid the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) efforts to mobilise scientists around the world to collaborate in joint studies to investigate the actual origins of Coronavirus.

WHO has been urged particularly by authorities in China, the first country to carry out joint research with the WHO on COVID-19 origins, to guard against the politicisation of the scientific probe into the origin-tracing of the pandemic that has claimed millions of lives around the world since its outbreak in 2019.

Chinese authorities have also urged the WHO to leave no stone unturned and “seek answers across regions worldwide”. The plea comes in the wake of the USA’s rejection of the 34-member joint WHO-China expert team whose findings into COVID-19 origin-tracing, which looked into humans, animals and the environment, were released in March 2021.

This sparked concerns that Washington was politicising the issue over its Geopolitical differences with Beijing. The Biden administration has ordered its intelligence services to conduct their own probe into the Covid-19 origins and submit a report within 90 days.

Prof Karim was asked for his opinion on the joint report by the WHO-China Study Group which looked into the origins of SARS-Cov-2.  Prof Karim was all too happy to offer professional insights, especially to the question: Do you agree that the international community should look at the origin-tracing matters in a science-based, objective and fair manner, and oppose politicizing the origin-tracing of the virus?

Prof Karim, who has been at the forefront of South Africa’s effort to flatten the curve of Covid-19, offered an elaborate reply.

“It’s very important that we identify sources of new viruses because it gives us clues as to what we can expect in the future. For example, we understand that the first SARS-Cov Coronavirus probably came from bats via civets into humans. We need to ensure that we collect the data to understand that for SARS-Cov-2.”

He continued: “We must do that in a scientifically rigorous way. This is not a time for political posturing and finger-pointing. This is a time for cool heads to make sure we collect the scientific evidence. And we need all the authorities to cooperate. We need to do so in a transparent way so that all the different possibilities are explored. The evidence is collected and the answers are obtained. It’s in everyone’s interest to get an answer that is scientifically credible,” he said.

COVID-19 origin-tracing is very complicated since no scientific evidence has yet been produced that the pandemic started in China’s Wuhan laboratory.

Discourse in Scientific epistemology points to look-alike symptoms that erupted in Europe and the Americas around the same time that Coronavirus was spotted in China as factors of interest.

But objective Scientists have called for open-mindedness in the global origin-tracing work so that a recurrence is avoided in future. They seek “scientific value and not blame or punishment”, according to the US-based CEO of Corvus Health, Kate Tulenko.

Other scholars want the origin-tracing to be “collaborative, international, unbiased, data-driven and transparent”.

Prof Walter Ian Lipkin, professor of Epidemiology at Columbia University in the US also believes strongly in collaborative work among the experts.

“The origin-tracing work needs to shift away from blame it’s Chinese, or Malaysia or US, whatever, it doesn’t matter. Viruses don’t recognise borders. They are everywhere. We need to ensure that the very best minds in the world focus on this probe,” Prof Lipkin says.

Zoologist Peter Daszak, who was a member of the WHO-China research team, says claims from some quarters in the US that Coronavirus was caused by a spill-over from a laboratory in Wuhan is factually inaccurate. “The evidence says extremely unlikely,” he says, “and that was a unanimous opinion. It’s not worth continuing that pathway of thought.”

He continues: “I do think that is a very significant finding. These are the findings of Scientists who know what they are doing.”

Speaking on the Chinese global news network CGTN’s programme, World Insight, Scientist Dr George Gao Fu, Director of the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, said “As there is no evidence yet on where the virus originated I am calling on everybody to calm down. Let’s work together to figure out where the virus originated. From the Chinese standpoint, we are also eager to find out where the virus came from because this will help us for the future. Let’s leave this (probe) in the hands of Scientists.”

Police
ANCYL members protests outside the Verulam Court as alleged unrest suspects appear
26 July 2021, 1:06 PM

African National Congress (ANC) Youth League National Task Team spokesperson Sizophila Mkhize along with some party members and Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) members are protesting outside the Verulam Magistrate’s Court north of Durban.

This as seven suspects are due to appear in court in connection with the violent unrest two weeks ago. It is alleged that at least 20 people were killed in Phoenix amid racially motivated attacks. More than 300 people died in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng during the unrest.

Mkhize says leaders should not shy away from calling the brutal killing of people racially motivated acts.

“Part of the reasons we are here today is because there is a leadership vacuum in South Africa when it comes to government in SA. They are not doing what they are supposed to do. Look what is here, what is happening, there are two groupings, and these two groupings there are two races, I do not know why are we in denial of taking the bull by its horns, this is not a racial conflict, there have been racial killings here, there are Indians, there are Black people, who are not seeing eye to eye. If government was serious about fixing this situation of Phoenix and surrounding, part of the things that they were supposed to do was to be here today.”

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