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ANC calls for probe into SAA contracts
22 January 2020, 3:07 PM

The ANC has called for investigations into all historical contracts impacting negatively on South African Airways.

This after SAA was placed under voluntary business rescue, ahead of the arrival of a R2 billion cash injection from government.

The airline has cancelled at least 30 domestic flights between Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban and ten return flights to the city of Munich in Germany.

The airline says it cannot rule out further flight cancellations.

Speaking during a media briefing at Luthuli House in Johannesburg, ANC Secretary-General Ace Magashule delivered the outcomes of this weekend’s NEC meeting and NEC Lekgotla.

“We need to ensure there is improved performance. We investigate all historical contracts impacting negatively on SAA including the lease of airplane and contracts. The socio-economic mandate of Public Enterprises needs to be strengthened and government oversight structures should be streamlined and respond more rapidly to challenges as they arise. Business models of Public Enterprises should be reviewed and those under financial pressure should be prioritised.”

Aggett’s family decries time taken for inquest into his death
20 January 2020, 4:55 PM

The family of anti-apartheid activist Dr Neil Aggett says it’s disgraceful that they’ve had to wait for 26 years after democracy before the reopening of an inquest into his death.

Aggett was found hanging in his cell at the then John Vorster Square Police Station in Johannesburg on 5 February 1982.

He was the only white anti-apartheid activist to die in detention.

The hearing got under way in the High Court in Johannesburg on Monday morning.

An inquest following Neil Aggett’s death under the apartheid regime had found no one was to blame for his death.

However, family lawyer Howard Varney argues there was an elaborate cover-up by the apartheid security police of how Aggett actually died.

Varney says he’ll demonstrate that the security police officers were responsible for his death.

During his opening remarks, the lawyer for the implicated persons says they’re not here to justify the torture of people and human rights abuses, and are willing to help the inquest to find the truth.

Lesufi to pay condolence visit to family of drowned learner
18 January 2020, 6:38 PM

Gauteng Education MEC, Panyaza Lesufi will visit the family of the 13-year-old Keamohetswe Shaun Seboko in Eldorado Park, South of Johannesburg on Sunday. The Grade 7 learner from Laerskool Bekker in Magaliesburg, was found dead in the hostel’s swimming pool on Wednesday afternoon.

Police investigations into the drowning incident are underway and the Education Department says that learners at the school will continue to receive counselling on Monday.

Departmental spokesperson, Steve Mabona says the aim of the visit is to offer comfort to the family.

“The MEC will then visit the family just to interact with them, to convey his sincere condolences, and to assure the support that the department will give to the family accordingly,” says Mabona.

Investigations are underway following the death of the learner. The police were called after the incident and they’ve already opened a case to which they are investigating the circumstances surrounding the matter.

Mabona highlighted that the department will await results of the investigation. “ We’ll then have to await for them to guide us on what might have transpired there.”

The incident comes after the Department of Basic Education had expressed disappointment at the lack of immediate communication by two schools in Gauteng following the fatal drowning of two learners.

Earlier in the week, Grade 8 Parktown Boys High learner Enock Mpianzi went missing while on a school excursion in the North West. His body was found in the Crocodile River on Friday.

The provincial department was only notified late Friday about Seboko’s death and learnt late on Thursday about Mpianzi’s disappearance.

The national department’s spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga says thorough investigations must be conducted into both incidents.

“We are extremely shocked and saddened by these because we didn’t expect that we would start off in this way. I mean the families of those learners are grieving at the moment and we convey our condolences to them. It’s quite shocking that learners would still be drowning and when you listen to what is being said about the circumstances around it – it does indicate that some more investigation needs to be conducted to understand why a learner would drown.”

“Where were other people? There are rules I mean, there has to be someone to take care of them. There has to be measures put in place to make sure that everyone is alive, all activities that they are undertaking are safe,” expresses Mhlanga.

Meanwhile, Parktown Boys High School on Saturday has released a statement to clarify the circumstances around the drowning of Mpianza. The school has emphasised that there was adult supervision at the camp.

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Calls for Gordhan to step down are sidetracking corruption fight: Kathrada Foundation
18 January 2020, 6:16 PM

The Ahmed Kathrada Foundation has again thrown its weight behind embattled State Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan.

This comes amid calls in certain quarters for action against Gordhan following the earlier than expected return to load shedding.

The group this week endorsed a statement by a group of African National Congress (ANC) veterans supporting  Gordhan and expressed dismay at the attacks leveled at the Minister.

The foundation’s executive director Neeshan Balton says their support for Gordhan is consistent with the ethics that he holds in the fight against corruption.

There is a need to focus on the big issue of State Capture rather than to be sidetracked by the particular function of Eskom, or where the minister should and shouldn’t be,” expresses Balton.

WATCH | Ahmed Kathrada Foundation backs embattled Pravin Gordhan

The Ahmed Kathrada Foundation also called on President Cyril Ramaphosa and the ANC not to relent to threats by the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) to disrupt next month’s State of the Nation Address if Gordhan remains in office.

The support for Gordhan comes as the Minister will this weekend present the African National Congress (ANC) National Executive Committee with a detailed report on the progress made in dealing with the challenges faced by state-owned enterprises. The NEC is holdings it’s meeting in Irene, Pretoria.

Meanwhile, the ANC has denied that it’ll be discussing the future of Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan at its current NEC meeting Pretoria.

ANC spokesperson, Pule Mabe says SOEs are indeed being discussed.

“The National Executive Committee has never sat and discussed individual deployees, we don’t do that. It is the prerogative of the President to deploy members of the executive. We have got full confidence in all our comrades we deploy that serve in the NEC. We still believe in their ability to implement our resolutions as of the elective conference. All that is happening here including a report from comrade Pravin on the work they do to turn the situation around,” expresses Mabe.

ANC-alliance partner the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) is among those calling for Gordhan’s resignation following the load shedding that took place before January 13th.

Roads Traffic Agency defends controversial demerit system
11 January 2020, 5:25 PM

The Roads Traffic Infringement Agency (RTIA) says it is not true that the planned points demerit system is another way for government to make money out of motorists.

The Aarto Act passed by President Cyril Ramaphosa last year, will see the introduction of the system which may lead to bad drivers losing their drivers’ licenses.

The Act has been met with resistance from institutions such as the Automobile Association and the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse, OUTA. RTIA demerits manager, Kwazi Ncobo says the system will work as planned to ensure that the country’s roads are safer.

“What will happen is that you will accumulate points based on the nature of the traffic violation that you commit. So there will be more points for more serious traffic violations and fewer points for less serious violations. For example, drunk and driving you can accumulate six points. For driving without a license is four demerit points.”

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