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KZN police call for calm following “devices” discovery

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Vishnu Naidoo

The public must not be frightened by the spate of suspicious devices found in and around Durban. Police have given the assurance that none of them was capable of exploding, but said they could have started a fire.

It’s believed about six devices were found in the space of a week, mainly in major shopping malls like Gateway and the Pavillion.

Some were hidden between cushions in major retail stores while others underneath cars.

“We are investigating exactly what these devices were intended for, who was responsible for placing these devices at the places we found them and what’s the motive behind them,” saysNational Police Spokesperson, Colonel Vishnu Naidoo.

Police called for calm and confirmed that no damage to property or injuries was caused. No one has been arrested yet and no one has claimed responsibility.

The Hawks have taken over the investigation.


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Jiba looking forward to resuming her duties at NPA

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SCA judge Connie Mocumie

Suspended National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) Senior Executive Advocates Nomgcobo Jiba and Lawrence Mrwebi have successfully challenged the High Court judgment which declared them unfit to practice as advocates. The Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) in Bloemfontein has ruled that the High Court in Pretoria misdirected itself when it ordered that Jiba and Mrwebi be removed from the roll of advocates.

The Appeal Court found that the General Council of the Bar failed to prove a case of misconduct against Advocate Jiba.

The case against the duo related to the controversial withdrawal of among other things, murder and corruption charges, against former Police Crime Intelligence head, Richard Mdluli. However, the court was more scathing on Mrwebi’s conduct.

The court ordered that Mrwebi be suspended from acting as an advocate for six months. The suspension period has since lapsed as it was effective from the 15 September 2016.

“Mrwebi provided contradictory explanation if, when and why he decided to withdraw the charges against Mdluli. The majority judgment found that in respect of Mrwebi the GCB established the alleged offending conduct. However, due to the fact that there was no personal gain from Mrwebi’s misconduct and the fact that the purpose of such proceedings are to uphold the rules regulating the profession and not to punish the wrongdoer the sanction handed down by the High Court was not justified,” says SCA Judge Connie Mocumie.

The General Council of the Bar was not immediately available for comment. Jiba’s Attorney Zola Majavu welcomed the SCA verdict and said Jiba was looking forward to resuming her duties at the NPA.


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Trek4Mandela to help save fast melting glaciers

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Letshego Zulu

The 2018 edition of Mount Kilimanjaro expedition is about more than honouring former President Nelson Mandela and keeping girl-children in school.

A 100 trees will be rooted in African soil, in a bid to help save fast-melting glaciers. Late racing driver Gugu Zulu will also be remembered. Zulu died during the 2016 trek up the mountain.

His wife Letshego Zulu kept her promise as she returned in 2017 to complete the journey she and Gugu had started.

This year she’ll help re-green the mountain’s slopes.

“This year I am going back to continue the legacy of my late husband. I am going to plant trees and why trees you may ask, trees are a living legacy. They live for many years to come and with that Gugu will be remembered for many years,” says Letshego.

Sarah Scott from the Kilimanjaro Project is working tirelessly to revive the once lush vegetation.

“She came to me with this grand idea of planting a mini forest in memory of Gugu and I thought that is the best way to remember Gugu. I can always go back to Kili to climb the mountain in his memory but something as grand as a tree I think is the best way to remember him,” says Letshego.

Launched last year, the initiative aims to reverse the effects of climate change.

Scott wants urgent intervention.

“Because of deforestation around the mountain there is less rainfall around the mountain. The cloud cover creates a blanket over the mountain allowing it to be protected from the sun because of deforestation the mountain has spent more face time with the sun and therefore the glaciers are not melting they are evaporating,” says Scott.

The goal is to plant 1 million trees this year.

Letshego will be joined by her and Gugu’s three-year-old daughter, Lelethu.


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Woman who scaled Statue of Liberty to protest immigration policy arrested

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A woman was arrested Wednesday after staging a dramatic protest against President Donald Trump’s separation of migrant families, climbing the Statue of Liberty and forcing its evacuation on Independence Day.

Wearing a “Rise and Resist” T-shirt, the woman on the fabled symbol of welcome to immigrants at one point told authorities that she would only come down when parents are reunited with all migrant children separated from them by the Trump administration.

“She resisted at the beginning. She would not come down by voice command,” National Park Service spokesperson Jerry Willis told AFP.

So police placed her in custody, Willis said, noting that the woman was facing multiple federal charges including trespassing and disorderly conduct.

“We assume that she is protesting,” Willis said, based on the woman’s remarks to police.

After nearly four hours on the statue, the woman finally accompanied police down off the monument, tethered to them by wires.

The woman, who has not yet been identified, at one point walked from one side to the other beneath the statue’s sandal.

New York police assisted US Park Police to remove her from Lady Liberty.

Local media first reported that the woman was among demonstrators opposed to Trump’s immigration policy who protested at the site earlier.

But Rise and Resist NYC, which organized the protest, said her protest on the statue was not part of the group’s move.

At least six people were arrested for hanging a banner around the base of the statue that read “Abolish ICE,” referring to US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the agency at the forefront of the immigration debate.

They too were facing misdemeanor federal charges, Willis said.

Cruise operator Statue Cruises said it had to turn away more than 2 000 people waiting to take their tour to the famed statue.

Trump has made cracking down on illegal immigration a cornerstone of his administration.

As a result of Trump’s crackdown, distraught children were separated from their families and, according to widely broadcast pictures, held in chain-link enclosures.

His one-time “zero tolerance” practice of separating migrant parents from their children at the Mexican border triggered international condemnation.

While the policy was abandoned, it is still unclear how and when some 2 000 migrant children will be reunited with their parents.

Many trying to cross the US-Mexico frontier are destitute, fleeing gang violence and other turmoil in Central America.

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SA will not reinstate ambassador to Tel Aviv

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The South African government says it will not bow down to pressure to normalise its diplomatic relations with the state of Israel.

This follows concerted efforts by pro-Israeli groups to urge the Pretoria administration to reinstate its ambassador to Tel Aviv.

The South African government recalled its Ambassador to Israel, Sisa Ngombane two months ago following the killing of at least 60 Palestinian protesters, and the wounding of about 2 000 more along the Gaza strip by Israeli forces.

The Jewish lobby groups have denounced the move to recall the country’s Ambassador as “outrageous”, whilst pro-Palestinian activists have called for the immediate downgrade of the South African embassy in Tel Aviv.

Briefing the media on Tuesday in Pretoria, International Relations Minister Lindiwe Sisulu reiterated government stance not to reinstate its Ambassador back to Tel Aviv.

“I’m very glad that I recalled the Ambassador, because we could have not been in the situation that we are at now. Its been a violation that has been going on for a long time, and we can’t be looking away. We are holding back on our Ambassador until we are certain that we are making headway. For us this is an unacceptable situation, completely unacceptable.”

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Anticipation brews ahead of Durban July

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Preparations are in place for this year’s Vodacom Durban July.

More than 50 000 people are expected at Greyville Racecourse to witness South Africa’s best thoroughbreds race to the finish off the R3-million event.

Glitz and glamour will be the order of the day, but betting and festivities will not be limited to the racecourse.

Entertainment outlets in the region are gearing up to entertain fun lovers.

Residents of townships around Durban such as Umlazi and Umgababa on the south coast say they are ready to spoil the local visitors and holiday makers.

Owner of a venue near the Old uMgababa Sunlight Beach, Mondli Mtsho Makhathini, says they are looking forward to the weekend.

“Umgababa will host a showstopper event from Friday up until Sunday, where we will be wrapping up the July fun. The Coastal Lounge just opened its doors last month, and the fun is endless. KZN holiday makers who will be returning from the Durban Vodacom July have nowhere but the Coastal Lounge to go. We boast with a sea view and fun. Security has been beefed up, and people should not miss the happiness. The festivities begin on Friday and end on Sunday night.”

This year’s event will be celebrated under the theme “It Is Time” and event organisers say the concept has been warmly received in racing, fashion and social circles.

Fashion designers, hospitality providers and race goers will give their own interpretation of this theme to find that perfect look for the day.

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Zimbabwe Defence Force refutes allegations it will rig elections

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The Zimbabwe Defence Force (ZDF) has refuted allegations that it will rig the 30 July elections saying it supports President Emmerson Mnangagwa and ZANU-PF.

The opposition MDC Alliance alleged during its protest march last month that the army was deployed to Zimbabwe’s Electoral Commission and at opposition campaign rallies.

The army told the media in Harare that if serving members were participating in political campaigns they were doing so illegally, and will be disciplined. Staying in the barracks, the Zimbabwe Defence Force says no soldiers have been ordered to intimidate people in rural areas into voting for some political parties.

The reports are mischievous. “If some serving members are participating in the on-going political campaigns, they are doing so illegally and not as a result of an instruction from commanders.  Those with information on such misconduct must provide us with full details of such individuals for appropriate disciplinary action to be taken against them,” says ZDF’s Colonel Overson Mugwisi.

On a charm offensive, the army detailed its current deployments that include clearing of landmines, parks’ rangers and construction of schools and clinics. It says it has no direct role in the upcoming 30 July elections.

“ Our role in the elections is mainly to support the Zimbabwe Republic Police in their role of the maintenance of law and order in the country before, during and after the harmonised elections, we also remain ready to support the the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission with transport.”

The army says soldiers will only be seen at political events attended by VIP’s assumingly for security, and humanitarian work. While soldiers have the right to vote they have been reminded they cannot hold political positions unless they are retired.

The opposition has welcomed this. “They have been saluting not Nelson Chamisa but the authority I carry so I am not worried they are a patriotic army in fact I respect them, if there is one thing that tickles me it is the honour of our men and boys in uniform, they are my agenda number one they are not getting what is commensurate with the smart work they are doing,  I have no problem with soldiers,” says MDC Alliance’s Nelson Chamisa.

Southern African Development Community is confident the blast in Bulawayo was an isolated incident . “ I’ve had extensive discussions with President Mnangagwa soon after the hand grenade explosion as well as during the summit, I think those who sought to attack and kill were making an assault on democracy, we are pleased that he survived, it seems that it was a once off, otherwise  I am confident that they will have a peaceful election,” says President Cyril Ramaphosa.


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King Zwelithini calls on his subjects to defend their land

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The King of AmaZulu Goodwill Zwelithini has called on his subjects to stand up and defend their land. His majesty also warned political parties not to take voters for granted and continue exploiting them.

He was addressing AmaZulu at an Imbizo at Ulundi in northern KwaZulu-Natal. Thousands of people attended an Imbizo called by the King at Ulundi in the north of the province.

Parliament’s High Level Panel led by former President Kgalema Montlante recommended that the Ingonyama Trust whose sole trustee is the King be dissolved.

Over 3 million hectares of land in KwaZulu-Natal falls under the trust. AmaZulu converged in Ulundi to get a cue from the King on the way forward on the land issue, and especially on the Ingonyama Trust.

Speaker after speaker condemned the proposal to scrap the trust which controls millions of hectares of land in rural parts of the province.

The king reiterated he would not allow government to take his land away. He strongly warned those suggesting that he lose his land. He also promised to take the Ingonyama Trust issue to the highest court in the land if need be.

The Ingonyama Trust Act of 1994 allows amakhosi to hold all land previously owned by, or belonging to, the KwaZulu Government, in the name of the Ingonyama Trust. The trust is headed by King Goodwill Zwelithini.

The land debate continues to be a burning issue for many residing in areas under traditional leaders.

Ordinary people – including women – were given a chance to air their views.

“We do not want government to take our land, because we are not going to afford rates like people in urban areas. We are using our land to feed our children,” says one participant.

MKMVA spokesperson Carl Niehaus told the gathering that the ANC had not yet taken any decision on the recommendations made by the group led by former President Motlanthe.

“Let me first apologise for the remarks made by former President Motlanthe. He delivered the recommendations but the ANC has not taken any resolution about the land under traditional leaders.”

Ingonyama Trust Board chairperson judge Jerome Ngwenya says they will be taking the fight to scrap the board to the highest court in the land.

“We have done nothing wrong in the past 20 years in existence. We have not mismanaged any funds but there are people who see it fit to call for the disbandment of the board.”

King Goodwill Zwelithini did not mince his words addressing the Imbizo. He called on politicians to respect traditional leaders.

Translation: “Politicians need not to interfere with the land under traditional leaders… I am not scared of those continuously challenging me.”  The King of AmaZulu reiterated that he will not give government the land his forefathers fought for.

The King of the amaZulu also questioned the ability of police intelligence. He referred to the torching of several trucks at Mooi River in the Midlands earlier this year, allegedly by unhappy local truck drivers, demanding employment. He says intelligence services should have been able to pick up the planned protest.


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Tough times as fuel price goes up

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South African motorists have expressed mixed feelings after the price of fuel rose again on Wednesday.

Prices at the pumps have increased five times since the beginning of the year.

The price of petrol and diesel has increased by around 26 cents a litre, paraffin by 22 cents a litre and LP-Gas by 37 cents a kilogramm.

Times are tough for most South Africans, but not everyone is willing to change their lifestyle. Not even the increases in fuel prices can deter South Africans from driving their cars.

“I bought the car and I want to use it every day to come to work so why should I use a public transport; it’s costing me but this is my car… I have to use it.”

Fuel retailers say they have seen more motorists spending smaller amounts to refill their tanks. But they say, the volume of fuel sold hasn’t changed.

Some say they will have to bite the bullet and hope that government will eventually do something.

The hike is expected to hit small business hard as not all are able to pass on the increases to their customers. Taxi drivers say the increase will make difficult to keep up with the high maintenance of their vehicles.



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England beat Colombia on penalties to reach quarterfinals

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England finally ended their penalties curse when they beat Colombia 4-3 in a shootout after drawing their World Cup last-16 clash 1-1 following extra time after the South Americans equalised in the 93rd minute.

England had previously lost all three World Cup shootouts and three of four in the European Championship but prevailed on Tuesday when Mateus Uribe and Carlos Bacca failed to convert, leaving Eric Dier to win the game for England

It was the first time Colombia had been involved in a World Cup shootout and they took first blood when Jordan Henderson missed his spot kick – but for once fortune smiled on England.

Earlier Harry Kane smashed in a 57th-minute penalty, his sixth goal of the tournament, and England looked to be through until Yerry Mina headed an equaliser in the third minute of stoppage time.

It was England’s first win in a knockout game since 2006 and earns them a quarter-final with Sweden, who were far from impressive in beating Switzerland 1-0 earlier on Tuesday.

Then comes a potential semi-final against hosts Russia or Croatia with Tuesday’s win appearing to vindicate – just – coach Gareth Southgate’s decision to field a second-string side in the the final group game loss to Belgium to secure an easier route.

Colombia’s hopes suffered a huge setback before kickoff when key playmaker James Rodriguez was ruled out with a calf injury and without him they took a defensive approach and never rarely threatened.

England were always the more purposeful side but they lacked the key final ball and needed a gift to take the lead.

The South Americans had been getting away with blatant holding and wrestling at each of England’s many corners and the referee’s patience finally snapped when Carlos Sanchez hauled down tournament leading scorer Kane once too often.

After four minutes of mayhem as the Colombians protested, Kane kept his cool and smashed in his third spot kick of Russia 2018.

When Juan Cuadrado blazed horribly over the bar with the goal gaping 10 minutes from time with Colombia’s first chance of the match it looked all over for them but there was a fiery sting in the tail of normal time.

England keeper Jordan Pickford made a superb save to touch wide a furious long shot by Uribe but from the following corner – Colombia’s first of the match – giant defender Mina rose highest to head in the equaliser and send the massed Colombian fans into a frenzy.

England substitute Dier missed the best chance of the extra period when he headed over the bar but he made up for it in emphatic fashion with the winning penalty in the shootout.

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