Zuma’s homestead a hive of activity as Zondo standoff drags on

Zuma’s homestead a hive of activity as Zondo standoff drags on

The small rural town of Nkandla, in KwaZulu-Natal, is a hive of activity.

Members of uMkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA) have descended on the area in support of former president Jacob Zuma.

Zuma faces arrest after defying a Constitutional Court ruling, ordering that he appears before the Zondo Commission of Inquiry that’s probing allegations of state capture.

This week was set aside for the former president to answer to allegations levelled against him by more than 30 witnesses at the commission.

However, Zuma refuses to appear before commission chair, Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo.

Zuma believes Zondo is bias and says the commission therefore does not have the attributes to conduct a fair, independent and impartial investigation or hearing that involves him or that contradicts the Commission’s script on state capture.

One of his other gripes is that the Commission took him to the Constitutional Court while he was still pursuing a review application over Justice Zondo’s refusal to recuse himself from the state capture inquiry when he testifies.

On Monday, he pulled a no-show at the commission – forcing it to continue without him.

Justice Zondo slammed the former president’s move as unnecessary, saying there was no valid reason for it.

While wrapping up proceedings, Justice Zondo said the Commission will file papers in the Apex court, asking that Zuma be jailed for contempt of court.

A sentence, the former president says, he awaits with bated breath.

“Now that it seems my role in the Commission has come to an end, I wait to face the sentence to be issued by the Constitutional Court. Accordingly, I stand by my statement I made of 01 February 2021 and no amount of intimidation or blackmail will change my position as I firmly believe that we should never allow for the establishment of a judiciary in which justice, fairness and due process are discretionary and are exclusively reserved for certain litigants and not others,” he says in a statement.

Zuma’s supporters are camping outside his homestead in Nkandla and have vowed to defend him.

They believe the former president is being unfairly targeted and is innocent of corruption claims that have been levelled against him.

Traders are also taking advantage of the moment.

They have set up shop, selling ANC gear, among others.

One Wits University School of Governance lecturer has called on the Constitutional Court to act against Zuma’s defiance.

Professor Ivor Sarakinsky says Zuma is playing a political game and can’t be allowed to continue disregarding the law.

ANC in a fix

While the ANC’s highest-decision making body, the NEC, over the weekend reiterated its call for members to cooperate with the Zondo Commission, the Zuma-Zondo saga has put the governing party in an awkward position.

It has once again exposed divisions within the governing party, which some political commentators believe is the reason for its inability to be decisive on the matter.

Earlier in February, ANC Secretary General Ace Magashule defended Zuma’s refusal to comply with the Constitutional Court ruling, saying he saw nothing wrong with it.

The party’s stalwarts and veterans on the other hand expressed concern over Zuma’s position on the Zondo Commission and called on the former president to follow the example of the country’s first democratically-elected president, Nelson Mandela, who appeared in the high court in Pretoria in 2011, when he was required to do so.

Limpopo’s Ponani Makhubele finally heads to Parliament

Limpopo’s Ponani Makhubele finally heads to Parliament

Limpopo’s Ponani Petunia Makhubele is amongst four candidates who have been sworn in as members of Parliament in a hybrid swearing in ceremony by the Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly, Lechesa Tsenoli.

They are filling vacancies that were present in the National Assembly following the passing on of ANC MPs, Dr Pumza Dyantyi, Advocate Loyiso Mpumlwana, Nomvuzo Shabalala, Nombulelo Hermans and Minister in the Presidency, Jackson Mthembu.

In 2019, Makhubele’s name was mysteriously removed from the list of the ANC party members going to Parliament after the general elections.

She then took the party to court and won. However, the governing party did not implement the court ruling until now.

 “It is true that I have taken the ANC to court after my name was removed from the list of Parliament, but then between 2019 and this week nothing much has happened in particular between myself and the ANC PEC in Limpopo” she says.

Makhubela says the governing party’s highest-decision making structure, the National Executive Committee, has been discussing the matter form November last year, but because of COVID-19 the matter was not finalised.

“The ANC officials contacted me, to inform me about taking an oath in Parliament and just accepted, there is no longer a court case, any outstanding matters will be between me and the ANC,” she says.

Makhubele has defended the ANC’s integrity, saying there is nothing wrong with the party but individuals who misuse their positions of power.

The Giyani-born Makhubele replaces Hermans and has a rich political background.

Cele orders a probe into premier’s mask gaffe

Cele orders a probe into premier’s mask gaffe

The Premier of Mpumalanga had many South Africans hot on the collar for violating lockdown level 3 regulations.

She was seen not wearing a mask at the funeral service of Minister in the Presidency, Jackson Mthembu.

Refilwe Mtsweni-Tsipane has, nonetheless, apologised for the blunder.

She says her mask was damaged upon arriving at the cemetery and when she got off her car she was not aware that it had fallen off.

“The Premier was of the opinion that the mask was intact as had been the case throughout the proceedings,” a statement from her office says.

She has urged Mpumalanga residents to constantly wear masks, practice social distancing and sanitise or wash hands frequently.

Cope wants her fired and while her political home, the ANC, has welcomed her apology – the Police Minister isn’t having it.

Minister Bheki Cele says wearing of a mask under the COVID-19 level 3 lockdown in South Africa is non-negotiable.

“If South Africa wants to beat this invisible enemy which is COVID-19, we simply can’t let down our guard. This is why I have spoken to the National Commissioner of the South African Police Service General Khehla Sitole to look into the matter of the Premier and an investigation must be conducted and necessary action must be taken,” he says.

A person convicted of violating the Disaster Management Act is liable to a fine or at least six months imprisonment.

ANC, ANCYL divided over councillor accused of rape

ANC, ANCYL divided over councillor accused of rape

The ANC and its youth wing in Alexandra are singing different hymn sheets in the case of ANC councilor Kenneth Mgaga (36) , who is accused of rape.

While the mother body distanced itself from Mgaga over the weekend, the ANC Youth League (ANCYL) has thrown its weight behind him.

It believes the rape case is just a political smear campaign to tarnish Mgaga’s image.

Mgaga is accused of raping a 28-year-old woman.

He appeared before the Wynberg Magistrate’s Court on Monday and was released on R2 000 bail.

The ANC adviser in the City of Joburg is denying the charges against him.

He has been suspended from the city council and has also asked the ANC to also temporarily remove him from his position.

Mgaga’s rape case has been postponed to 22 February for further investigations.

DA Ekurhuleni says it’s humbled by support following by-election victory

DA Ekurhuleni says it’s humbled by support following by-election victory

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Ekurhuleni says it is humbled by the support the party has received during Wednesday’s by-elections in Benoni.

The party retained wards 27 and 28 in Benoni.

DA leader in the metro, Ald Tania Campbell, says the victory is a clear indication that the residents of Benoni have faith in the official opposition to deliver services.

She has expressed confidence in the new councillors that will be responsible for the wards, saying they will deliver services to the communities.

The ANC in Ekurhuleni won ward 42.

However, the governing party secured most votes nationally, winning 71% of the 24 wards contested.

The party described the results as a positive building block towards a decisive win in the 2021 local government elections.
The polls will be held in the second half of 2021.

DA Ekurhuleni retains wards with decline in support

DA Ekurhuleni retains wards with decline in support

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Ekurhuleni retained two of the three wards that were under grabs during Wednesday’s elections.

Lornette Joseph is the new councillor for ward 27 with 74.26% of the votes cast.

It was a dip to the votes former DA councillor Jacques Meiring garned during the 2016 local government elections.

Meiring won 91.89% of the votes.

Voter turnout in the ward was a low 22.17%.

Another DA councillor Mary Goby secured 78.72% of the votes in ward 28, while the African National Congress (ANC) retained ward 42.

The ANC was nonetheless the biggest winner of the by-elections nationally, retaining 12 wards and winning five new ones.

It lost only one ward, while the DA retained 6 wards and lost two. It didn’t win any new ward.

Limpopo’s Better Resident Association was the biggest loser, losing three wards it had won in 2016.

The party, formerly known as the Bushbuckridge Residents Association, was formed in 2011 by disgruntled ANC members.

Voter turnout in Wednesday’s elections, which took place in 17 municipalities countrywide, was 34.56%.

According to the Independent Electoral Commission, the highest turnout was 62.93% in ward 3 in Ward 3 in !Kheis Municipality, in the Northern Cape.

Ward 15 in the City of Cape Town had the lowest number of voters turning up to make their mark.

Fourteen political parties and 18 independent candidates took part in the polls.

Lungisa receives a warm welcome after a stint in prison

Lungisa receives a warm welcome after a stint in prison

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).

The DA governed the Nelson Mandela Bay metro until Athol Trollip was ousted during a council vote in 2018.

Lungisa says he doesn’t lose sleep thinking about his victim, Kayser.

@Nazo_Buso

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.

Racists are emboldened under current regime, says EFF following Brackenfell brawl

Racists are emboldened under current regime, says EFF following Brackenfell brawl

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) says the assault on its members who were protesting outside the Brackenfell High School in Cape Town is a confirmation that racists are emboldened under the country’s current regime.

On Monday, a violent confrontation broke out between a group of parents from the school and members of the party who were protesting against alleged racism at the school.

The red berets were upset over a private matric celebration organised by some parents of learners who attend the school.

Only White learners were apparently at the party, which the school did not organise.

One resident was arrested for public violence after firing several shots into the air.

The EFF is threatening to return to the school to teach “racists” a lesson.

“These terror attacks will not go unanswered. The EFF will descend on Brackenfell in its entirety and ensure nothing operates. All those White racists who have an uncontrollable desire to control the movement of Black people, and dictate where we can and cannot go, will be taught the humility we taught racists in Senekal,” says the EFF in a statement.

The Western Cape education authorities have condemned the violence.

MEC Derby Schafer says: “I strongly condemn both the actions of the EFF members and those parents outside the school, who used violence to address their concerns. Violent attacks are simply not acceptable and will in no way benefit our leaners. Violence is also not the solution to solving disagreements.”

Schafer says the educators who attended the matric event won’t be disciplined as they had been invited as private guests. She called for a peaceful engagement on the racism concerns, while urging the police to protect learners who have begun writing their matric examinations.

Brackenfell High School did not host a matric ball this year due to COVID-19.

Western Cape Premier Alan Winde is visiting the school today and called for calm.

The Democratic Alliance (DA), which governs the City of Cape Town, has blasted the EFF for protesting outside the school, sparking backlash from some members of the public.

The situation remains tense in Brackenfell as some parents have reportedly returned to the school. Members of the ANC and its alliance partner, Cosatu, in the Western Cape are also protesting outside the facility.

‘A past we shouldn’t seek to return to’

President Cyril Ramaphosa has described the confrontation outside Brackenfell High as deeply regrettable and has called on all parties involved to act responsibly.

He says the brawl brings back hurtful memories of a past the country should never seek to return to.

He adds that allegations of racism levelled against the school needs to be urgently investigated. “We should be ever mindful of the extent to which our actions, both publicly and in private, undermine the cherished principle of non-racialism upon which our democracy was founded,” he said. 

The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) has also expressed shock and disappointment at the news of a racially segregated matric celebration. “More disappointingly, is the fact that this event was attended by their parents and two teachers from the school,” the commission says.

“The alleged holding of a “whites only” event, if true, is also strongly condemned. No one should be allowed to bring back racial segregation to this country. The deep racial divisions of South Africa’s apartheid and colonial past cannot be healed whilst children are socialised separately on the basis of race and thus, as a nation, we will never be able to forge a South Africa where all are equal, free and are treated with dignity.”

The SAHRC has also called on the police to trace and charge the man who was caught on camera repeatedly beating a woman in EFF uniform with a stick. It has described the assault as beyond shocking.

Ex resident shares his experience of Brackenfell

Brackenfell is a small town in Cape Town situated between Durbanville and Kraaifontein. It is almost 40 minutes away from the City of Cape Town and is said to be conservatively White.

In a Facebook post, Pastor Aubrey Sibaya describes the town as racist. 

“In 2013 I lived in Brackenfell. I experienced first hand racism firstly at the complex where I lived and in the shopping complex nearby just close by the school. In Brackenfell there’s a primary school, but because of racism there Black parents choose to take their children to nearby towns and suburbs. One Sunday morning I decided to have a haircut and at the Mall I found a salon owned by a White person and have coloured employees no Black person worked there then. The salon caters for all races, as usually I cut my chiskop and was asked to pay R90 and one White guy who I found at the salon had the same chiskop and paid R30 and I lost it. Those in the vicinity couldn’t believe I was standing up to this racial bigotry and asked me to calm down even though my friend requested we leave. But I stood my ground. Just where there’s Brackenfell High School there’s a complex frequented by White folks unlike one other close by to Kraaifontein.”

Sibaya is urging South Africans to work together to root out racism wherever it rears its ugly head.

“We also have to be mindful that it will take years for white folks to come around simply because of the racial indoctrination they have been exposed to. Not all White folks are racists. We need to stand up and fight for inclusivity and racial harmony, our tasks is to free the White folks from racial bigotry and we should not practice racism too. The Economic Freedom Fighters are not racists but they have total disgust for racial behaviour in our society and I agree with them in the fight against racism and though we may have a different approach as to how to wage that struggle but we all have a common understanding that racism is evil,” he adds.

The United Nations declared the apartheid’s racial policies a crime against humanity and Sibaya says South Africans of all races should also do the same.

“We may not be in the frontlines but in our workstations, schools and churches we must always speak truth and not shy away also to condemn the wrongs in our own government that is our mandate. As a man of the cloth my task is to tell you what makes you both comfortable and uncomfortable. We cannot allow these racists act happen unchallenged because they breed and or are fertile grounds for the genesis of a low intensity civil war we see emerging in our beloved country. We gonna be caught napping let us channel our efforts towards goodwill and racial harmony. We must condemn acts like the ones in the photos.”

Alex fire highlights lack of housing

Issues of housing have come to the fore again in Alexandra where more than ten houses were destroyed in a fire over the Easter weekend.

Issues of overcrowding were at the heart of recent protests in the Johannesburg township, where residents complain that 25 years into democracy, thousands of families still live in poor conditions.

The weekend blaze engulfed houses on 14th Avenue, and residents speculate that an electrical fault caused the fire.   Thoko Mbukazi, who lost her home in the fire, said, “the electricity went off and it came back around 11:00 pm and that’s when the fire started.”

Residents say they have lost all their belongings including ID documents and clothing and are pleading to the community for assistance.

The African National Congress (ANC) in Alex used the opportunity to campaign by coming to the community’s aid with food parcels and blankets.

ANC’s ward 76 Councilor Mosses Pandeka said, “the City of Joburg is run by the DA but it is still our responsibility to assist the community because they are the voters.”

An investigation into the fire has since be launched. – Alex FM (edited by Siya Motha)

Alex residents Thoko Mbukazi and Zodwa Ngwenyama Mamabolo describe their losses in the devastating Easter weekend fire
APC accuses EFF, ANC of removing posters in Alex

APC accuses EFF, ANC of removing posters in Alex

The African People’s Convention (APC) in Alexandra has accused the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) and the African National Congress (ANC) of removing APC campaign material in the community.

The APC’s  Thabo Mopase said he had received a tip-off from a community member that children dressed in black T-shirts with ANC regalia were removing his party’s posters. “We realized that this problem was not done by ordinary children, they might have been youth who are well coordinated to do this,” Mopase said.

Mopase, who left the ANC’s Alexandra branch in December 2018 to join the APC, has since requested the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) to investigate, as he believes the incident represents a violation of their freedom of expression and the rules of open, free and fair democratic elections.

According to the IEC’s Electoral Code of Conduct it is prohibited to destroy, remove or deface posters of other political parties.

The ANC secretary in Alexandra,  Banele Sangcozi, has refuted Mopase’s claims stating that the party advocates for political tolerance.  Sangcozi has called Mopase to provide evidence of ANC members’ involvement, and says he will deal with any members found to have been involved.

Meanwhile the chairman of the ANC in Alexandra, Thulani Ndlovu, has launched a formal investigation into Mopase’s claims. – Alex FM (edited by Veronical Makhoali)

The APC’s Thabo Mopase accuses other parties of taking down posters
The ANC’s Banele Sangcozi says his party is tolerant of others