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Manyi denies links between ANN7, New Age and the Guptas

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Jimmy Manyi continues to deny any existing links between the TV news channel ANN7 and the New Age newspaper and the Guptas.

This despite the fact that the two media entities are still listed on the Guptas’ holding company Oakbay’s official website as part of its group of companies.

Manyi acquired ANN7 and the New Age from the Guptas six months ago for R450 million by way of vendor financing- which means the Guptas lent him the money to buy their assets from them.

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Tony Leon gets tongue lashing for calls to support Ramaphosa

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The Democratic Alliance (DA) in KwaZulu-Natal has lashed out at its former leader Tony Leon for calling on the party to support the newly elected ANC leadership.

Leon told DA supporters in Chatsworth that Ramaphosa’s election is a game changer. He says the party needs to be open and generous to Ramaphosa for making the fight against state capture and corruption his primary job.

“We have got to start off by recognising that there has been a big change in the political weather. When a hurricane comes your way you must change tactics from when there was a drought and I think Ramaphosa has actually renewed people’s hopes,” said Leon.

KwaZulu-Natal DA leaders have hit out at Leon and say his statement does not represent the views of the party. They say it is not the time to confuse and demotivate supporters as they are on the cusp of taking over the government of the country.

“As the leadership of KZN there is no way we can allow a situation where a former leader of this party to come to our province, engage our members and tells them things will be changing just because Ramaphosa is in power. We do not believe Ramaphosa will do anything for our country,” said KZN leader, Zakele Mncwango.

Leon also used the platform to call on President Jacob Zuma to vacate office and to make it easier to start rebuilding the economy.

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Banyana Banyana face Sweden in maiden game in Cape Town

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The South African national women’s football team is excited about the friendly international match against Sweden at the Cape Town Stadium on Sunday.

It’s a big year for Banyana Banyana who won the 2017 Cosafa Cup and who are the No.: 1 ranked team in Africa and the match against Sweden will be good preparation in their attempts to qualify for the 2018 African Women’s Cup of Nations and the 2019 Soccer World Cup.

The team is hard at work after the December holidays.

2017 was a great year for South African women’s football under interim coach, Desiree Ellis, but even bigger challenges and competitions lie ahead.

Banyana Banyana Captain, Janine Van Wyk says: “Preparation for the game against Sweden on Sunday is going really well. We’ve been well together after a long break that we had in December holidays and working towards our goal is obviously, qualifying for the world cup.”

Sweden, who are ranked 10th in the world and 5th in Europe, will be a tough nut to crack, but with players like Thembi Kgatlana, who was voted Cosafa player of the tournament in their ranks, anything is possible.

Kgatlana says, “It’s a good preparation for us because we ended the year on a good note, winning Cosafa Player of the Tournament and the team won the Cosafa Cup.”

It will be Banyana Banyana’s first-ever match in the Mother City and the players are hoping fans will take the opportunity to come and support the team.

Banyana Banyana midfielder Leandra Smeda says, “We very excited to play Sweden in Cape Town, my home city. It’s the first time we are playing in the Mother City. So, hopefully, a lot of supporters will come out to support us.”

Entrance to the Cape Town Stadium will be free on Sunday, but fans will have to acquire a ticket from Computicket, Shoprite, Checkers, Checkers Hyper, OK Furniture or U Save stores.

The post Banyana Banyana face Sweden in maiden game in Cape Town appeared first on SABC News – Breaking news, special reports, world, business, sport coverage of all South African current events. Africa's news leader..

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US government shutdown looms

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The United States government could be shutdown for the first time in four years as Republicans and Senate Democrats struggle to reach consensus on measures to be included in a bill to fund the government.

Federal funding runs out at midnight on Friday.

The Republican-controlled House of Representatives passed a stopgap continuing resolution or “CR” to keep the government funded for the next month, but the real battle looms in the Senate where a super majority of 60 votes is required for any passage on a spending bill – that would require at least 9 Democrats to vote with Republicans in a move that is increasingly looking unlikely.

The last time the government was shutdown was in 2013 when Republican lawmakers tried to include language in a spending bill that would have delayed or defunded the Affordable Care Act, former President Barack Obama’s signature domestic legislation.

In this instance, Senate Democrats are refusing to budge unless the bill protects young immigrants brought into the country illegally as children among other measures.

“I ask the American people to understand this: The only people standing in the way of keeping the government open are Senate Democrats. Whether there is a government shutdown or not is now entirely up to them. I also want people to understand that Senate Democrats do not oppose any efforts in this bill. They’re just holding this critical funding hostage for a deal on it completely unrelated the immigration issue,” said Republican Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan.

“The American people want to government open for veterans, military families and the vulnerable. They want food and drug inspections to continue without interruptions. They want death benefits to continue to go out to families of service members killed in action. They want children and low-income families to continue to receive health coverage through SCHIP. They want a sensible compromise on immigration. But they cannot, Madame President, for the life of them understand why, why some senators would hold the entire country hostage,” said Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on the Senate floor.

Trust deficit between the two sides is at a historic low, particularly after the racist comments attributed to the President in the Oval office last week.

“The leader is looking to deflect blame, but it just won’t work. We all know what the problem is. It is complete disarray on the Republicans side. The bottom line is very simple – our leader, our republican leader has said that he will not negotiate, until he knows where President Trump stands. That’s why negotiations haven’t gotten anywhere,” said Democratic Minority Leader, Chuck Schumer, responding to McConnell .

Schumer indicated they are open to a short-term continuing resolution to allow for negotiations to conclude.

“There is no promise, and no likelihood that another kicking of the can down the road will get something done. We have to sit down together and solve this, with the President, or without. Until that happens, no amount of CR’s will get this done. I would suggest that we all vote for the motion to proceed, but instead, move a very short-term CR and we will negotiate it ourselves, or the president will join us and we can get the job done,” he added.

If a compromise is not found, the shutdown will happen midnight Friday affecting payments to active military personnel, national parks and museums could be closed while over 800,000 government employees could be furloughed on a daily basis.

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Hoërskool Overvaal pupils receive trauma counselling

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Several pupils at Hoërskool Overvaal are receiving trauma counselling, following protests outside the school.

Violent clashes outside the Vereeniging high school have led to almost 40 people being arrested this week.

Protesters are demanding the school to review its language policy after the High Court ruled that the Afrikaans medium school did not have the space to accommodate 55 English speaking pupils.

For pupils at Hoërskool Overvaal, the academic year began with a protest outside their gates. Rubber bullets and stun grenades were fired with a police vehicle petrol bombed.

The school is trying to maintain normality.

Life coach, Pierre Ronquest says, “Protesters are demanding that 55 non-Afrikaans speaking pupils be admitted to the school despite the High Court’s ruling saying the school does not have capacity to admit them.”

Hoërskool Overval SGB, Hardus Visagie  says, “Since Wednesday parents, along with African National Congress, Economic Freedom Fighters and Cosas members have picketed outside, while on the other side of the road, Afrikaans activists and residents gathered to ensure the pupils’ safety.”

Twenty-seven people were arrested on Thursday for the police vehicle that was petrol bombed, while eleven others were arrested on Wednesday.

On Friday, the situation was calm with police and private security at the scene.

 

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Zimbabwe politicians remember Roy Bennett

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Several Zimbabwe politicians are expressing their shock at the passing of Roy Bennett.

The former Treasurer-General of Zimbabwe’s Movement for Democratic Change, his wife, Heather, and three other people died in a helicopter crash in the American state of New Mexico on Wednesday.

Former Minister of Finance and Leader of the People’s Democratic Party Tendai Biti says it is a serious loss to mankind and a blow to his family and the struggle.

Biti, who served with Bennett under Morgan Tsvangirai before he formed the PDP, says he can’t believe he will never speak to Bennett again. Many are passing condolences to their children Casey and Charles.

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Sharks upbeat about 2018 Super Rugby season

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The Sharks head coach Robert du Preez says there’s great energy in his squad ahead of the tough 2018 Super Rugby season. He’s banking on a team with a good mixture of youth and experience to produce the results this season.

The Sharks are not taking the 2018 rugby season lying down. They’re sweating it out in the sweltering Durban heat stretching themselves to the limited.

They are sharpening their skills ahead of a tough couple of months of rugby.

Sharks head coach, Robert du Preez says, “We’ve got some really talented youngsters and these guys haven’t looked out of place. A guy like Pepsi Buthelezi, who is the Sharks under 18 captain last year and JJ Van Der Mescht, they’ve trained with us right through pre-season and they haven’t looked out of place, it’s great to have a mix of the youth and the more experienced guys.”

The Sharks are heading into the 2018 Super Rugby competition with a pep in their step, but say they want to take it one step at a time.

Sharks player, Franco Marais says, “So obviously we are playing New Zealand sides this year and we got two weeks in Australia and two weeks in New Zealand and I think we need to take it week for week. I know it’s an old cliché but Super Rugby is a tough competition and you can’t aim to far in the future, but for us a home a quarter final is definitely one of our goals and hopefully a home final.”

They’ll be playing two warm-up matches prior to the competition.

On the 27th of January they meet the Bulls in Polokwane and on the 3rd of February they head to Hong Kong, where they’ll take on Racing 92.

On Saturday, Sharks fans are in for a treat. They’ll get an opportunity to meet the entire squad at Kings Park.

The post Sharks upbeat about 2018 Super Rugby season appeared first on SABC News – Breaking news, special reports, world, business, sport coverage of all South African current events. Africa's news leader..

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U.S, North Korea tensions continue

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The United States has warned North Korea it will pursue a military option if Pyongyang fails to engage in discussions. The warning comes after a meeting between the U.S. and Canada, which China says was one that displayed a Cold War mentality.

Tension between the U.S and Korea continues with both countries sounding threats against each other.

Now the U.S. has warned of a military option.  U.S Secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, says: “If North Korea does not choose the pathway of engagement, discussion, negotiation, then they themselves will trigger an option.”

It’s a strong message from U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to Pyongyan, at a meeting in Vancouver where 20 nations gathered to talk about the regime’s weapons program and enforce tougher sanctions against the North.

Both China and Russia were not at the meeting and diplomats say any agreements made in Vancouver are limited at best.

The meeting also comes as the two Koreas sit down for their first talks after two years of soaring tensions, but across the globe warnings that the world shouldn’t be fooled by Pyongyang playing nice.

Japanese foreign minister Taro Kono, says: “It is not the time to ease pressure or reward North Korea.”

The majority of nations in Vancouver supported South Korea during the Korean War and the North’s allies, China and Russia, have slammed the meeting calling it an example of what they refer to as “Cold War”-era thinking.

China’s foreign ministry, Lu Kang, elaborates: “This can only create divisions within the international community and damage the joint efforts made to promote a proper settlement to the nuclear issue on the Korean peninsula. The main channel to handle and resolve the nuclear issue on the Korean peninsula should still be the framework of six-party talks and the United Nations Security Council and also because of this, this meeting’s legitimacy and representativeness was in doubt from the beginning by the international community.”

Twenty nations agreed to consider tougher sanctions to press North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons, but the country has refused to give up the development of nuclear missiles in spite of increasingly severe U.N. sanctions, raising fears of escalating tensions on the Korean peninsula.

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DUT staff, Vice Chancellor at loggerheads

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Employees at the Durban University of Technology (DUT) in Durban say they have lost confidence in Vice Chancellor Professor Thandwa Mthembu after he failed to engage with them three days into their protected strike.

Members of three unions, National Education Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu), National Tertiary Education Union (Nteu) and Tertiary Education National Union of South Africa (Tenusa) are demanding a 10% increase to their salaries.

The strike coincides with similar protest action at Unisa where students protested in solidarity with employees who downed tools are demanding a 12% increase. Both employers have offered only 4%.

Speaking on behalf of the three unions, Nehawu’s Milton Estrice says, “There’s been no talks with management, Rome is burning and they are writing love letters; but one thing is clear staff will not stop this strike until there is engagement and an amicable solution found.

“So on Wednesday we marched to let the Vice Chancellor know that he cannot turn a blind eye to what is happening and we have given him a memorandum indicating that staff has taken a vote of no confidence in him because he has failed to engage the union for the past three days.”

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Hawks wait for NPA directive on Guptas

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The Gupta brothers Ajay, Atul and Rajesh relocated to South Africa from India in 1993.

The Hawks have denied claims that the arrest of the Gupta brothers is imminent. A local newspaper reported that the Hawks had obtained a warrant for the arrest of at least one of the brothers.

Hawks spokesperson, Hangwani Mulaudzi says they are awaiting a directive from the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA).

The Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU) has already taken action against two Gupta-linked companies – Trillian and McKinsey – hoping to recoup R1.6 billion in assets related to consultancy work done by the companies for Eskom and Transnet.

The Gupta brothers Ajay, Atul and Rajesh relocated to South Africa from India in 1993 at the dawn of democracy – when the country was seen as a land for opportunities.

Previously small-scale businessmen in India, they built a sprawling empire with interests in computers, mining, media and IT.

They were all housed under the listed entity Oakbay, and their mining asset, Shiva Uranium looked forward to the consummation of a nuclear deal.

They also developed close links with the ruling African National Congress (ANC), and particularly with President Jacob Zuma, well before he became president in 2009.

The Guptas’ relationship with President Jacob Zuma often made headlines… members of the President’s family were employees, shareholders and former directors of the Gupta firms.

There has been deep concern that the Guptas enjoy inside knowledge of cabinet and executive appointments, and allegedly have influence over the appointment of the heads of state-owned enterprises and cabinet ministers.

Atul Gupta was listed among the Sunday Times richest list worth R10 billion

As such, they are the subject of the Public Protector’s State of Capture report, from which a judicial commission has been set up, after much legal back and forth.

According to a letter submitted to the Public Protector’s office, included in the State of Capture report, total revenues from their business activities for the 2016 financial year amounted to R2.6 billion, with government contracts contributing a total of R235 million of the revenues.

In 2016 Atul Gupta was listed among the Sunday Times richest list worth R10 billion.

The Gupta family businesses had a fall out with the banks when their accounts were closed.

The controversial family made headlines again when they landed a chartered aircraft, carrying Indian politicians and 300 guests at Waterkloof Air Force Base for the Gupta wedding at Sun City in 2013.

This was followed by another controversy when the New Age televised business briefings that were sponsored by state-owned enterprises.

Reports say State Owned Enterprises like Transnet forked out R17.5 million for 18 breakfast sessions, while Eskom paid R7.2m to sponsor six sessions.

It was also reported that Telkom sponsored 12 business breakfasts to the tune of R12m in the 2012/13 financial year.

And in a series of the Gupta leaks emails, it emerged that global consultancy firm McKinsey lined up a R9.4-bn bonanza from Eskom with the help of Gupta-linked Trillian Capital Partners.

The emails also show that after Eskom cancelled the consulting engagement in July 2016, it also paid Trillian R565 million.

This was without any contract in place, but on the basis Trillian was McKinsey’s empowerment partner, though McKinsey and Trillian had already parted ways.

Now the Pretoria High Court has authorised the freezing of R1.6 billion in assets earned by global consultancy McKinsey and Trillian.

The court made the decision in December, after a request by the NPA to freeze the fees earned by McKinsey and local consultancy Trillian for advising Eskom.

Meanwhile, some of the political parties welcomed the decision by the Asset Forfeiture Unit to freeze the Gupta family assets.

The NPA’s forfeiture unit served a summons to preserve the Gupta’s assets which are worth billions of rands.

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Source: SABCNews

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