ANC Eastern Cape top gun Andile Lungisa returned home to a hero’s welcome on Tuesday. Lungisa was released from jail on parole after serving two months of his two-year jail term for hitting DA councillor, Rano Kayser, with a jug full of water in 2016 during a heated council meeting.
Correctional Services Spokesperson, Singabakho Nxumalo, says his release is part of the President’s Special Remission of Sentences aimed at reducing overcrowding in prisons.
It reduced Lungisa’s sentence by a year, making him one of the over 14 000 inmates who have benefitted from the Special Remission of Sentence.
“Classified as a first time offender with a positive support system, and having responded positively to rehabilitation programmes, parole placement for Lungisa is in line with Section 73(7)(a) of the Correctional Services Act. The Act determines the minimum period of sentence that must be served before consideration for possible parole placement. This must be read together with Section 276(1)(i) of the Criminal Procedure Act as it stipulates a mandatory one sixth of the sentence to be served before any consideration for parole,” Nxumalo says.
The Andile Lungisa Campaign organised the welcoming bash for the former ANC Youth League leader.
His supporters gathered at the Vuyisile Mini Square in Port Elizabeth.
“He is the hero amongst heroes and his history of activism speaks for itself. He was sent to jail for defending the gains made by fighting for democracy,” the Release Lungisa Campaign has said.
Former North West Premier Supra Mahumapelo was one of the former ANC leaders who welcomed Lungisa back into society.
Mahumapelo accused some people of working hard to destroy Lungisa’s political career.
On his part, Lungisa said he went to prison because he fought the Democratic Alliance (DA). He said he doesn’t lose sleep thinking about his victim, Kayser.
Lungisa called on President Cyril Ramaphosa to stop attacking his predecessor, Jacob Zuma. Lungisa believes the ANC’s fight against corruption is selective. He says while some governing party leaders are targeted in the crusade, some are persecuted within the party due to dissenting views. He also blamed the COVID-19 crisis in the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro to lack of leadership.
The former deputy president of the ANC Youth League also blasted the country’s leadership for failure to pluck poor South Africans out of poverty. He says he will be visiting villages in preparation for, what he termed, the biggest conference the country has seen.
He says that’s where they will table an economic programme for South Africa before the ANC’s National General Council. The governing party was due to be held in the second half of the year but was postponed due to COVID-19. It has now been scheduled for May 2021.
The NGC discusses and debates strategic organisational and political issues facing the movement. While it charts the way forward – it cannot change policies or resolutions adopted by the party’s five-yearly national conference.
The ANC Eastern Cape Provincial Executive Committee says it will release a statement on the Lungisa matter in due course.
South Africans have meanwhile reacted with mixed views to the former ANC Youth League deputy president’s release from prison, with some questioning the country’s justice system.
A 17-year-old woman and her 32-year-old boyfriend will return to the Protea Magistrate Court on Wednesday for the death of the teenager’s daughter.
Baby Nyiko Mthimunye was raped and allegedly assaulted on 15 November in Diepkloof, Soweto.
Her mother had left the two-year old in the care of her boyfriend for about two hours at the time of the incident.
On her return after 8pm, she told the police that found the child sleeping. They boyfriend was not around; only his father was at the house. She said she also went to sleep, not wanting to disturb the child.
The teenager says she woke up in the middle of the night to check on baby Nyiko, only to notice that she had serious injuries to her face. She took the child to the nearby Baragwanath Hospital for treatment and it was found that she had been raped. The doctor called the police.
Baby Nyiko succumbed to her injuries three days later and was laid to rest on Tuesday.
The mother and the boyfriend are charged with her murder. They first appeared in court last Wednesday and the case was shelved for today.
Police suspect that baby Nyiko may have suffered previous abuse at the hands of her stepfather and the matter was never reported. “This is the basis of the arrest of the teenage mother who in this instance, only reported the incident to the police two days later,” Police Gauteng Spokesperson, Brigadier Mathapelo Peters says.
Welcoming the duo’s arrest, Acting Provincial SAPS Commissioner, Major General Patricia Rampota, urged the investigating team to do a thorough job in order to ensure that justice is served for the two-year old Nyiko.
“The SAPS remains committed to upholding the rights of victims of gender based and domestic violence and femicide, and to prioritise the investigation of all cases where women, children and other vulnerable persons are victims,” she has said.
The Department of Environment, Forest and Fisheries (DEFF) is taking Eskom to court over alleged failure to comply with air pollution standards.
The power utility’s Kendal Power Station is at the centre of the legal tussle. Officials allegedly supplied falsified and misleading information in reports to an Air Quality Officer at the power station, violating Section 51 (1) (g) of the Air Quality Act.
The alleged offense took place between 2018 and 2019. Eskom representatives have been summoned to appear in the Malahleni Regional Court on 28 January 2021.
According to energy expert Chris Yelland, the power utility could be fined up to R10 million and implicated officials could be jailed for up to 10 years – if found guilty.
The power utility has confirmed the receipt of the summons.
Spokesperson Sikonathi Mantshantsha says the organisation is charged with three counts, including exceeding emissions limit on air pollutants.
In May, Minister Barbara Creecy ordered the shutting down of one the two units of the Kendal Power Station found to have been posing serious health risks to surrounding communities, while corrective measures were being taken to ensure compliance with the Kendal’s Atmospheric Emissions License.
Greenpeace Africa has welcomed the Department of Environmental Affairs and Fisheries’ move to lay criminal charges against Eskom.
The court case comes amid another looming legal showdown between environmental justice groups and the government.
GroundWork and the Vukani Environmental Movement have lodge an application to the High Court in Pretoria to declare that the poor air quality in the Highveld Priority Area, in Mpumalanga, constitutes a violation of the Constitutional right to an environment that is not harmful to health or well-being of residents.
“Every day, people living and working on the Mpumalanga Highveld are breathing toxic, polluted air that is harmful to their health and well-being. This is the basis of the Deadly Air case, which will be heard by the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria on 17 to 19 May 2021,” the organisations say.
“Living in Witbank, one of the most polluted areas in the country, has hugely affected our health and lives. Both government and industry have continuously failed to deal with the problem, irrespective of our efforts to engage with them to ensure they take steps to protect human health. Together with groundWork, Vukani has decided to use litigation to push government to take urgent steps to deal with the high air pollution and in the interest of our health and to protect our right to clean air”, says Vusi Mabaso, Chairperson of Vukani.
The applicants are represented by the Centre for Environmental Rights and the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and the Environment, Prof David Boyd, was admitted as an amicus curiae (friend of the court) in the case by the Pretoria High Court in early November. Professor Boyd is represented by Lawyers for Human Rights.
According to the organisations, Mpumalanga accounts for about 83% of South Africa’s coal production, and Eskom owns the 12 coal-fired power plants located in the area in and around the HPA. The area has been plagued with deadly air quality for decades, with the high concentration of coal-fired power plants in the province, Sasol’s coal-to-liquids plant located in Secunda, and the NatRef refinery in Sasolburg contributing large amounts of pollution.
Greenpeace Africa has also been complaining about the country’s Sulfur Dioxide (SO2) emissions for years.
Over a week ago – while welcoming a sharp drop in the emissions in 2019 – the organisation raised concern that they were still well above the recommendations of the World Health Organisation (WHO).
It highlighted that the decrease was not due to any proactive action by the government to curb South Africa’s air pollution crisis. Instead, it believes, the temporary reduction in coal-fired power generation, which led to load shedding, could have played a role in it.
Greenpeace has identified the Kriel area in Mpumalanga as a global hotspot for SO2 emissions, and is still a global hotspot by annual emission amount. It says it is also the largest hotspot in Africa and the largest hotspot driven by coal combustion worldwide.
Below are the organisation’s demands to reduce emissions:
President Cyril Ramaphosa to halt all investment in fossil fuels and shift to safer, more sustainable energy sources, such as wind and solar,
Minister of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries, Barbara Creecy to strengthen SO2 emissions standards by reinstating South Africa’s 500 mg/Nm3 minimum emission standard and applying flue gas pollution control technology at power plants, smelters, and other industrial SO2 emitters,
South Africa’s National Air Quality Officer, Dr Thuli Khumalo, to enforce existing minimum emission standards,
Minister Creecy to hold carbon majors accountable for their emissions resulting from the use of fossil fuels by implementing and enforcing national environmental legislation,
Minister for Mineral Resources and Energy Gwede Mantashe to revise the commitments made in the Integrated Energy Plan and,
abandon plans for installing new coal-fired power stations of 1500 MW capacity scheduled for 2023 and 2027, and
increase uptake and implementation of renewable energy generation capacity through radical and deliberate policies and programmes, and
Minister Jackson Mthembu to ensure the development of a comprehensive and inclusive Just Transition programme that moves the country away from the use of fossil fuels to renewable energy.
The family of a KwaZulu-Natal taxi driver, who was allegedly killed by police in Ulundi, is still reeling from the tragedy.
Lindani Dludla’s grandmother, S’bongile, says his death is painful as he was the breadwinner and now there is no one left to support the family.
The family claims that the police beat up and took the taxi driver away last month.
He was being investigated for being in possession of an unlicensed firearm
They say when he returned, he was bleeding severely. He died the next day in the hospital.
“They tightened his hand and beat him up. His girlfriend was told to go to another room and the girlfriend heard the noise as they were beating him up. He was taken to the local clinic but they referred him to the hospital as he was over-bleeding, and he couldn’t even talk to his mother.”
Gogo Dludla says the family wants answers.
“We want to know who killed Lindani and why he was brutally killed like this. Nobody will support his children and we are disappointed as a family as we don’t know what we are going to do.”
Dludla’s death sparked violent protests in the community of Embilane as residents barricaded roads and closed the town.
They were demanding justice for Dludla.
The Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) is investigating the matter. – Report by Slindile Zuluand picture credit: Zululand Observer
The Diepkloof community, in Soweto, has come together and formed street committees following the incidents of crime spiralling out of control in the area.
Wits Radio Academy’s Ishmael Sibeko says the move is aimed at creating a safe environment for working residents who get up for work in the early hours and come back late in the evenings.
The residents are hoping that this will also help them avoid taking the law into their own hands, as some of them have previously done.
Police have welcomed the move, calling on residents to work together by reporting crime.
Street committee members work on voluntary basis.
The concept dates back to the apartheid era.
The committees are credited with having been instrumental in bringing down the oppressive regime as they mobilised communities towards a common purpose in protest against that era’s unjust laws.
They had fizzled out after the dawn of democracy.
However, various communities across the country have revived the strategy to increase safety.
The committees are referred to as block watches in other areas.
Among other attributes needed in committee members are integrity, professionalism and a proven focus on the interest of the community rather than individual goals. – Reporty by Ishmael Sibeko and picture credit: sowetocapturedd.blogspot.com