South Africa

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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EFF, Contralesa push for Section 25 amendment

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The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) and the Congress of Traditional Leaders of South Africa (Contralesa) say they’re in agreement that Section 25 of the Constitution, which deals with right of property ownership, should be amended.

This as Parliament’s Constitutional Review Committee is holding countrywide public hearings into whether the Section should be amended.

However, King of Amazulu Goodwill Zwelithini has said government should back off from the land issue.

The King strongly warned those suggesting that he lose his land and vowed to take the Ingonyama Trust issue to the Constitutional Court if the need arises.

During a joint media briefing in Braamfontein, Johannesburg, the EFF and Contralesa emphasised their view that the State should be the custodian of expropriated land.

Contralesa Secretary-General Zolani Mkiva says: “We do not buy into the narrative that Section 25, as it currently stands with the market value being at the centre of its compensation regime, can be a vehicle for a meaningful land redistribution programme. Contralesa and the EFF further agree that the state shall be the overall custodian of all SA land. We also agree that the land, which currently falls under the custodianship of traditional leaders, will continue to be held as such subject to the primary ownership on the state on behalf of the people.”

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Another cash in transit heist in Boksburg

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Police are yet to confirm reports of a cash-in-transit heist in Boksburg East of Johannesburg.

It’s believed the cash heist happened on Atlas and Northrand road in Boksburg.

Motorists have reported hearing sounds of gun fire and explosions.

This is the same vicinity where in May this year five people were arrested after two cash vans were blown open and an undisclosed amount of cash stolen.

Spokesperson for the Motor Transport Workers’ Union Tlhasenyane Motaung says an alleged robber has been shot dead.

“They did try to bomb the vehicle but failed, and one robber was shot dead. Three of our members are injured. One of the guys from the Tactical Support Unit was shot on the leg. There’s also reports that two civilians may have been injured but that’s not confirmed as yet.”

All the wounded have been taken to hospital. Police are currently searching for the other suspects.

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KZN institution under fire for ill treating mental health patients

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The Durban and Coastal Mental Health Home is under fire for the second time this month, as more people continue to make allegations against it.

These range from sexual abuse to ill-treatment and exploitation of patients.

The home is the largest mental health institution in South Africa. It has seven centres around Durban alone, and cares for people who are mentally-ill or have physical disabilities.

Earlier this week the institution was accused of sexually abusing a patient. The claim was made by relatives of the victim.

Another family which chose to remain anonymous told the SABC that the institution used patients as security guards.

One of the patients who works as a security guard at the Phoenix branch of the institution in the north of Durban says he works from Monday to Sunday and earns R300 per month.

He says” “I stay inside here, and only in the morning, I work from 10 o’ clock to 2 o’ clock. They pay R300 monthly. I work everyday.”

In response to the allegations regarding the security staff, the institution says it uses patients as security guards as part of psycho-social rehabilitation and economic integration.

It claims that they are supported by staff.

However, the SABC can confirm that there was no one supporting these patients at the centres it visited.

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SA journalists living in fear – Report

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An alliance of civil rights organisation The Right2Know says many journalists in South Africa are fearful that someone is spying on them.

The organisation revealed this in its latest report titled ‘Spooked – Surveillance of Journalists in South Africa’.

The report presents a range of case studies of journalists who appear to have been spied on, with the aim to give them a better picture of the threats they might face so they can better defend themselves.

The Right2Know’s Murray Hunter says the main surveillance law is the RICA Act.  He says the AmaBhungane Centre for Investigative Journalism will soon challenge the law in the Constitution Court.

“What Rica says is that everyone who has a sim card and has registered their identity with the sim card, and that if the state wants to intercept their communications, they need the permission of the judge. But we have seen that it hasn’t done enough to protect people’s privacy against surveillance abuses.

“We have seen whistle-blowers, journalists, activists have been spied on. What we want from this constitutional challenge is more protection for our privacy. If you are spied on, at some point you need to get notified that your information has been handed over. The current secrecy around Rica has meant that when people are spied on illegally, they have no way of detecting it and acting to protect their rights.”

Right2Know says journalists in South Africa are targets of state and private sector spying particularly those uncovering corruption, state capture and in-fighting in the state security agencies.

Meanwhile, the South African National Editor’s Forum (SANEF) says they are not surprised by the contents of this report. SANEF chairperson Mahlatse Mahlase says journalists have been complaining that their communication devices including cellphones have been intercepted.

“Over the years we have heard from journalists complaining that they suspect that their phones have been tapped. We know that many of the journalists that have uncovered corruption in this country have been targets and this is a serious threat to media freedom.

“And whistle-blowers come to journalists because they are gatvol with the corruption within the state. They come to journalists trusting that they will be protected. We have to see action where there are gaps with the Rica laws. And also we are hoping that this review by the President of the State Security will actually look at all of these issues and bring them to an end,” Mahlase added.

President Cyril Ramaphosa has initiated a panel to review the mandate and functioning of the State Security Agency, which has been implicated in a range of abuses relating to its surveillance work.

The Right2Know says surveillance affects all members of society, including whistle-blowers and activists. The report recommends among others increased vigilance from media organisations and more accountability from communication service providers.

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Limpopo prison warder in court for rape

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A 41-year old prison warder has been arrested for allegedly raping a 19-year old girl at Madombidzha, outside Louis Trichardt in Limpopo.

The suspect who works at the Kutama Sinthumule correctional services centre as a Custodial Officer is alleged to have abducted the girl at gunpoint and taken her to a lodge where he raped her.

The incident took place on June 23.

Police spokesperson, Moatshe Ngoepe says an unlicensed firearm and ammunition were recovered from the suspect.

The suspect has briefly appeared before the Louis Trichardt Magistrate Court.

He will make his second appearance at the Louis Trichard Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday.

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King Goodwill Zwelithini holds land imbizo

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Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini

Thousands of people are on Wednesday expected to descend on Ulundi, north of KwaZulu-Natal, to attend an imbizo convened by Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini.

At the centre of the imbizo is the land debate which has attracted opposing views from the society.

The King has in the past accused government of trying to take away land from his people.

This follows the proposal by the High level panel, led by former President, Kgalema Motlanthe, that the Ingonyama Trust should be scrapped.

The Zulu King wants the Trust to remain intact.

At the dawn of democracy the apartheid government signed over control of at least three million hectares of land in rural KwaZulu-Natal to the Zulu King.

Traditional leaders currently manage the land on behalf of the monarch.

Now the panel led by Motlanthe has said ordinary people don’t benefit from the land under the Ingonyama Trust.

It recommended that the Trust be scrapped and people be granted title deeds.

The Zulu King has in the past said he will not give government the land his forefathers fought for.

 

 

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Ramaphosa urges improved economic integration in Africa

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President Cyril Ramaphosa

President Cyril Ramaphosa says South Africa will work with countries in the continent to rid the world of unemployment, poverty and inequality.

He was addressing new ambassadors and heads of missions who are assigned to the country.

These new diplomats are from Angola, Zimbabwe, Jamaica, Indonesia and Mexico among others.

This was his first reception of diplomats since becoming president in February this year.

Ramaphosa singled out the recent signing of the agreement on the African Continental Free Trade Area as key to the realisation of economic integration in Africa.

At least 44 countries including South Africa have signed the agreement adopted at the last African Union (AU) Summit in Rwanda.

The Continental Free Trade Area will amongst others allow the free movement of goods and people in the continent.

The new diplomats are equal to the task, with Ambassador Filomena Delgado from Angola saying she hopes for better relations with mutual economic spinoffs.

Zimbabwe’s Ambassador to South Africa, David Hamadziripi, says his mission is to ensure Harare becomes the next best investment destination for South African companies.

Jamaican Ambassador Veronica Comfort hopes to broaden trade and strengthen contact.

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Temperatures expected to drop even further

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With the icy cold weather gripping the country, temperatures are expected to drop on Tuesday night below zero degrees celsius.

Motorists have been advised to drive with caution in the regions where recent snow had fallen and could now be melting.

Temperatures are expected to remain low for the rest of the week.

Several passes had also been closed due to heavy snow falls.

Meteorologist Azwi Tuwani says, “Tonight we are expecting sub-zero temperatures for the interior and mountainous areas. The lowest high temperature is Sutherland at 8, the highest temperature been 24 for Phalaborwa. For the rest of the week, the temperatures remain very low in the mid-teens for the interior, but will see a little bit of a pick-up going to the weekend. Maybe some areas starting to be at 20.”

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