Three family members in court for 7-year-old relative’s rape
29 June 2020, 5:53 PM
Three family members made an appearance in the Kimberley Magistrate’s Court on Monday for allegedly raping their 7-year-old relative. The men are facing a schedule six offence and are expected to return to the dock next week Monday.
During their brief appearance, the three men applied for Legal Aid and indicated that they will apply for bail during their next appearance. The trio, aged between 29 and 60, allegedly sexually abused the seven-year-old girl for about six months on a farm just outside Kimberley.
Northern Cape NPA spokesperson Mojalefa Senokoatsane says they will be opposing any bail for the suspects.
“Considering the seriousness of this offence and looking at the age of the victim; a seven-year-old being victimised like this, it’s obvious the NPA will be opposing bail. The message that we have for our communities is that this is not a governmental issue, it is a societal one whereby all sectors both government and private should come together and fight this gender-based violence,” says Senokoatsane.
Over the past four months, media have been reporting on rape cases involving disabled women, elderly women and children that have rocked the province. The eldest rape survivor is aged 78 and the youngest is four.
Northern Cape African National Congress (ANC) Chaplain Pastor Dez Fransman says recent reports of violence against women and children have shown that urgent action is needed to protect them.
“The President himself said we have another pandemic in the country and that pandemic is gender-based violence and if that is a pandemic dear president, then maybe we need to declare a state of disaster on that as well and treat it with the urgency that we need to treat it with,” says Fransman.
Meanwhile, also in Kimberley, a 41-year-old man made a brief appearance in the Galeshewe Magistrate’s Court for allegedly raping his stepdaughter over the weekend. His case was postponed to Thursday.
The video below contains a report on the 41-year-old’s court appearance:
Former Deputy Finance Minister Buthelezi implicated at State Capture Commission
29 June 2020, 3:16 PM
Former Deputy Finance Minister Sfiso Buthelezi has again been implicated for corruption and wrongdoing at the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture. The commission resumed its hearings on Monday with evidence from former Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) Board Chairperson, Popo Molefe.
Molefe says Buthelezi might have been one of the enablers of state capture at Prasa. He says in November 2014, Buthelezi wanted an irregular tender for the modernisation of the Braamfontein Depot fast-tracked before resigning from the rail agency. He was at the time Prasa Chairperson of the Finance and Capital Investment Committee.
“Whether there was reason for him to have delayed it, I don’t know, but when I read Mr Montana’s report to Minister Jeff Radebe he blames the board for having delayed that tender whereas we were seeing it for the first time in that meeting in November. He wanted it approved as he was leaving whether there was any motive or not I don’t know and I don’t want to impute any motive to that,” says Molefe.
In former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s report on Prasa titled, Derailed, Buthelezi is said to have overlooked rampant mismanagement and alleged corruption during his tenure as board chair at the rail agency.
Molefe says his board became aware of the R2 billion tender involving trains manufactured in Brazil in 2014 and former Prasa CEO Lucky Montana misled them regarding it.
Molefe says they needed assurance that the tender process was proper, which Montana failed to show. He says the board then cancelled the tender and Montana then mobilised outside forces to get rid of him. He says there was a detailed report on how they could oust him and his board out of Prasa.
“When I briefed the top six of my party, I referred to the fact that our investigation showed that we were misled. There was this tender that was about to be issued and it was irregular and we are conducting several other investigations but the speed in which the media campaign, mass mobilisations, demonstrations and all these other forces were being mobilised against the board clearly to me was intended to stop those investigations.”
No proper board nor CEO
Molefe also told the commission that Prasa has not had a proper board nor CEO for the past five years. He says since the departure of former CEO Lucky Montana in 2015, the company has not been able to fill many key executive positions.
“Five years since Montana left. (Zondo) Five years? Yes, five years. They have been appointing acting people, acting this, acting that, five years and that is an organisation that is managing R173 billion of rail infrastructure. And since the departure of my board, Prasa has not had a proper reconstituted board. It has things like interim boards which are not provided for in the law,” says Molefe.
The veteran politician says he was surprised when in 2017, the then Minister of Transport Joe Maswanganyi dissolved his board at a time when they were investigating rampant corruption at the rail agency. Molefe says they were removed because they took a firm decision against graft.
He has asked Justice Raymond Zondo to invite Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Transport to testify at the State Capture Commission regarding its oversight on Prasa.
In the video below, Monday’s sitting of the commission:
National Taxi Alliance joins Santaco’s call to load taxis up to 100% capacity
Both NTA and Santaco will also resume inter-provincial travelling from Monday.
In the video below, Santaco briefs the media:
NTA Secretary-General Alpheus Mlalazi says they will withdraw their services if members are harassed by law enforcement authorities. He says NTA members will act within their legal permits.
He says they were forced to take this step after Transport Minister, Fikile Mbalula cancelled a meeting where they were supposed to discuss the relaxation of the COVID-19 regulations on the taxi industry for the fourth time.
“It’s not a defiance of government and the laws of the country, but it is a cry from the taxi industry to say, ‘can someone listen to you?’ We trust that the law enforcement agencies will be sympathetic to this call as a cry. We don’t expect that there will be a taxi that is impounded. We don’t expect that our members and the commuting public will be harassed,” says Mlalazi.
‘Disappointment at Santaco’s utterances’
The Transport Ministry says that the meeting between the department and the taxi association will still take place next week as earlier reported.
However, the department has expressed its disappointment with the South African National Taxi Council and the National Taxi Alliance’s decision to flout the lockdown regulations that restrict loading capacity to 70%.
The Minister’s spokesperson, Ayanda-Allie Paine, says the Minister is awaiting a decision from the National Coronavirus Command Council on the taxi industry’s announcement.
“It is rather unfortunate and regrettable that the taxi industry leadership has elected to violate the law and forcefully load taxis at 100% capacity and undertake inter-provincial operations without the requisite permits, rather than await a decision on the matters they have tabled,” reads a statement from the Ministry.
Ayanda-Allie Paine says the Transport Ministry is disappointed:
It further adds that “Government has a responsibility to ensure that all measures in place as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic, are driven by the commitment to preserve human life and avoid an uncontrolled spread of the virus.”
The Taxi Council has vowed to approach the courts over government’s failure to issue operating licenses to taxi operators. 190 000 taxis nationwide were not operational during the lockdown.
Taxis remained the primary means of transport for essential service workers.
Taaibosch says they are concerned over government’s attitude towards the industry.
“All legal taxi operators in South Africa who possesses an operating license also have a SARS tax clearance certificate, our proposal to the minister is that why doesn’t the government use the operating license certificate as a qualification criteria instead of creating a complicated process for the applicants. Santaco will have no choice but to approach the courts for intervention.”
Minister ‘not taking taxi industry seriously’
The taxi industry has accused the Minister of not taking them seriously following the postponement of the scheduled meeting. The meeting was organised for Saturday at 1pm and then postponed to Sunday at the same time.
“We do not appreciate his handling of this thing and I think even if you are not in the taxi industry as an ordinary person, you would realise that you are not being taken seriously. Last night (Saturday) around to 12, we did receive an SMS from the ministry saying let’s make the meeting at 13:00 today. We received a message to say the minister has requested the meeting to be postponed to tomorrow,” says Santaco Spokesperson Thabisho Molelekwa.
More reactions to Santaco announcement
Reacting to an announcement by Santaco that members will start loading their vehicles to 100 percent capacity from Monday, Western Cape Transport Minister Bonginkosi Madikizela says he is sympathetic to the plight of taxi owners.
Madikizela says taxi owners also need to survive. “We can’t have a situation where the price now that people are paying is even more than the Covid-19 price because if you look at what is happening in terms of people who are hungry, people who are depressed, anxiety, the rate of anxiety, you know. Abuse is happening in those homes. If you weigh that against the situation that we are facing people will end up taking the risk and I don’t blame them.”
Meanwhile, KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala has urged the public transport industry to comply with COVID-19 regulations. Speaking during a media briefing in Durban, Zikalala said they have observed that public transport was not regularly decontaminated.
“There’s virtually no sanitisation that is taking place and in some of these activities, there’s no social distancing and no regular decontamination in those transport facilities. This is causing a risk of spreading infections at a rate that will overwhelm all of us we are taking this opportunity to appeal to all involved in the public transport industry to ensure that they fully comply.”
Suspect arrested in KwaZulu-Natal following a double rape incidents
28 June 2020, 8:48 PM
A suspect has been arrested for the double rape of a 51-year-old woman and her 7-year-old granddaughter at Chesterville in Durban. It’s alleged that the grandmother opened the door to a known suspect, who then threatened her with a knife, before he raped her and the granddaughter.
Angry residents stood outside the house in Chesterville and shouted that the suspect be found, while police and social workers were busy at the scene.
The grandmother lives with her daughter and two granddaughters aged 11 and 6.
During the incident, the 11-year old allegedly escaped through the window, to look for help.
A neighbour, who wished to remain anonymous, says she found the victim traumatised inside her house.
“She confirmed that the suspect also raped and strangled the child. When I checked the child’s panties, there was blood and there was also a trail of blood leading to the toilet. I left to seek help from other neighbours and told them what happened. When I went back to the house I saw the suspect and ran away. When he was asked what he’s doing at the victims’ house so early in the morning he said he went to look for his phones.”
A relative, who cannot be named to protect the victims’ identities, says the family is very angry.
“The problem I have with this whole thing is that this guy came here and did what he did and then he went away and came back again because he forgot his phone and came back to fetch his phone. That really angers me. So, what I want from the police is for them to do their job.”
Verulam community seeks justice
In a separate incident, a community in Verulam, north of Durban, is also demanding justice after a man was arrested for repeatedly raping his 15-year-old stepdaughter.
A video circulating on social media shows women in the community trying to attack the suspect, who was apprehended by a private security company, Reaction Unit-SA. The suspect was caught in the act by the teenager’s 81-year old grandmother.
The grandmother says she heard squeaking noises from the bed and went to investigate.
“At midnight, why (is) the bed shaking? (I) reckon (sic) why the bed shaking. I rather go see there what’s happening (sic). I saw him on top of the granddaughter. I saw everything.”
KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala says they are concerned about the scourge of Gender-based Violence in the country.
Suspects in both cases have been arrested and will appear in court soon.
KZN Premier Zikalala urges transport industry to comply with COVID-19 regulations
28 June 2020, 7:35 PM
KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala has urged the public transport industry to comply with COVID-19 regulations. Speaking during a media briefing in Durban, Zikalala said they’ve observed that public transport was not regularly decontaminated.
Zikalala also expressed concern about the growing number of infections in the province’s rural areas.
Mass gatherings are still prohibited under lockdown level 3.
The KwaZulu-Natal government says they are concerned about reports of those who continue to defy lockdown regulations by attending mass funerals and family gatherings, especially in rural parts of the province.
Ugu and Harry Gwala Districts are also recording cases from the Eastern Cape due to their close proximity to the province.
KwaZulu-Natal reports about 30 news cases daily, while 6.7 million people have been screened in several communities.
Premier Sihle Zikalala says that the number of infections in rural areas is increasing because people don’t comply with lockdown regulations.
“The past few weeks have increasingly revealed that the rural areas are the most vulnerable. This is evident in the number of infections. In the rural-based districts, we are seeing key vulnerability in rural areas influenced by, among other things, funerals and cultural engagements. There are less compliance and monitoring of COVID-19 protocols during these occasions,” says Zikalala.
Below is a graphic of COVID-19 stats in South Africa:
Zikalala says they have observed that public transport is not regularly decontaminated. He expressed concern over the threat from taxi associations to fill up taxis, despite lockdown restrictions.
“There’s virtually no sanitization that is taking place and in some of these activities, there’s no social distancing and no regular decontamination in those transport facilities. This is causing a risk of spreading infections at a rate that will overwhelm all of us. We are taking this opportunity to appeal to all involved in the public transport industry to ensure that they fully comply,” says Zikalala.
Despite the growing number of infections in schools, the Education Department says most grades will be returning to school on the 6th of July. Over 100 teachers and learners have tested positive since last week.
Zikalala also says they have to work on minimising the spread of the virus in schools.
“Last week, we had 74 cases of which 57 were teachers and 13 were learners. This week the reported number of infected people in schools has increased to 187 of which 139 are teachers and 37 are learners. The Umgungundlovu District lead in terms of the number of infected teachers. What is critical is how we manage the situation in schools,” says Zikalala
Zikalala has urged everyone to adhere to wearing masks in public and encouraged social distancing. He adds that law enforcement agencies will continue to monitor compliance with lockdown regulations.