South Africa’s deputy president slams government corruption

By CHRISTOPHER  TORCHIA,  ASSOCIATED PRESS

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South Africa’s deputy president on Wednesday denounced government corruption in what was seen as a rebuke to President Jacob Zuma, who has faced calls for his resignation because of scandals and graft concerns.

“We now know, without any shred of uncertainty, that billions of rands of public resources have been diverted into the pockets of a few,” Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa said, according to local media organization News24. There are just over 13 South African rands to the U.S. dollar. Read more…..

 

South Africa: Do Not Open Unknown Emails

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Pretoria — South Africans have been warned not to open any unknown emails and to urgently update their security software as a global cyber ransom attack spread on Friday.

Friday’s global cyber-attack has affected more than 200 000 victims in 150 countries and regions, Europol chief Rob Wainwright said on Sunday.

Hackers reportedly used a tool known as Eternal Blue and a malicious software called WannaCry to lock users’ computers and to demand a payment for the decryption.

The global cyber-attack has so far swept across more than 100 countries including the United States, Britain, Germany and China. Cyber security experts said it could be the biggest cyber-attack of its kind ever.

“Many of those victims were businesses, including large corporations. The global reach is unprecedented,” Wainwright said in an interview with Britain’s ITV.

Wainwright said he was concerned that the numbers of those affected would continue to rise when people returned to work on Monday morning.

“We’re in the face of an escalating threat, the numbers are going up,” he said, adding that the current attack was unprecedented.

Wainwright told ITV that the world faced an escalating threat, and there was concern about the level of potential attacks on Monday morning.

Wainwright warned the healthcare sector “in many countries” was particularly vulnerable, but that all organizations should ensure they prioritise cyber security and update their systems.

The virus took control of users’ files, demanding payments.

Russia and Britain were among the worst hit countries.

Dozens of Russian public institutions including the Bank of Russia said on Saturday that they have thwarted a massive cyber-attack and prevented vital data loss.

The central bank’s security and information protection division, responsible for monitoring computer attacks in the credit and financial sphere, has registered massive spread of malicious programs, but no instances of compromise were detected, said the Bank of Russia, quoted by Sputnik, a major media outlet in Russia

The Russian Interior Ministry and Health Ministry also said earlier in the day that they have “repelled” such attacks as the virus was promptly detected and localized, according to Russian news agencies.

Britain’s official emergency committee, known as Cobra, met in London on Saturday afternoon to discuss the cyber-attack that has caused widespread disruption to the country’s National Health Service (NHS).

Around 45 NHS organisations in England and Scotland, including hospitals, family doctor surgeries, and health services, were hit in the cyber-attack which prevented doctors, nurses and staff from accessing vital patient information.

However, Wainwright said Europol was working on the basis that the cyber-attack was carried out by criminals rather than terrorists, but noted that “remarkably few” payments had been made so far.

“Most people are not paying this, so there are not a lot of money being made with this by criminal organisations so far,” he said. – Xinhua/Sputnik

Source : S.A news

South Africa: Police Minister to Address Media On Decision to Withdraw Ntlemeza Appeal

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Police Minister Fikile Mbalula is expected to address the media on Thursday on his decision to withdraw his application to appeal the ruling of the High Court in Pretoria to set aside the appointment of Hawks head Berning Ntlemeza.

In March the court found that when then police minister Nathi Nhleko appointed him head of the elite police unit he had ignored two court judgments which found that Ntlemeza lacked integrity and honesty.

The court found that the findings in both judgments constituted “direct evidence” that Ntlemeza lacked the requisite honesty, integrity and conscientiousness to hold public office.

Ntlemeza, however, continued with his application for leave to appeal the judgment.

On Wednesday afternoon, the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria dismissed his application and ordered him to vacate his office with immediate effect.

The matter was brought to the High Court by the Helen Suzman Foundation and Freedom under Law.

Source : News24wire

South Africa: Ntlemeza Ruling a Boost for Rule of Law – Helen Suzman Foundation

The court ruling against Hawks head Berning Ntlemeza supports the principle that state administration should be rational and within the confines of the law, Freedom Under Law and the Helen Suzman Foundation said on Thursday.

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“In this exceptional case, the court found that the applicant had shown that were Major-General Ntlemeza to remain in office, the public would suffer irreparable harm,” the organizations said in a joint statement.

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The High Court in Pretoria on Wednesday denied Ntlemeza leave to appeal a previous judgment declaring his appointment unlawful and invalid and setting it aside. The court ordered him to vacate his office immediately.

On March 17, the same court found that former police minister Nathi Nhleko had ignored two court judgments which found that Ntlemeza lacked “integrity and honour” when he appointed him head of the elite police unit.

Police Minister Fikile Mbalula on Wednesday said he had withdrawn the ministry’s application to appeal the March judgment.

He is expected to brief the media on his decision on Thursday.

Source : News24wire

Zimbabwe: Mazoe Evictees Report Grace to Botswana, SA Embassies

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“We cannot fight the First Family with all the resources at their disposal. They are using armed police and there is nothing much we can do but just to approach the courts and the regional bodies to which the country is a member,” said Dube.

Villagers who were evicted from both Arnold and Manzou farms in Mazoe district by First Lady Grace Mugabe have formally reported their plight to Botswana and South African embassies as as SADC.

Botswana is led by President Ian Khama, the only regional leader openly critical of President Mugabe’s rule.

The decision to approach regional leaders comes after Grace Mugabe continues to defy court orders stopping her from illegally and forcibly evicting the villagers.

The Arnold farmers were evicted two weeks ago from the land they had been staying in for the last 17 years after they forced a white commercial farmer out.

Officials from the Lands Ministry argue that the land belongs to the First Family and Grace, who wants to expand her projects, needs an additional 1.400 hectares of arable land.

Over 700 people have been affected.

In an interview with NewZimbabwe.com, the secretary of the Arnold Farmers and Residents Association (ARA), Innocent Dube, said apart from using divide and rule tactics the First Family also continues to defy court orders apparently showing that they are above the law and disregard the country’s Constitution.

“We have already filed a report at the South African Embassy in Harare and they said they were going to forward it to Swaziland,” said Dube.

He added, “We also went to the Botswana Embassy whom we told of our fate and are sympathising with us and honestly speaking they have been very helpful.

“So we are looking forward to get a positive response from the regional body to tell Mugabe to respect the rule of law and the right of Zimbabweans despite of their class.”

Dube said as villagers they were powerless as they could not fight the Mugabe family.

“We cannot fight the First Family with all the resources at their disposal. They are using armed police and there is nothing much we can do but just to approach the courts and the regional bodies to which the country is a member,” said Dube.

On March 23, the police went to Arnold farm and demolished the farmers’ homes. They then bundled villagers into lorries during the night and dumped them along Mvurwi road near Riverside Farm.

It is then that the villagers approached the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights who made an urgent court application to stop the evictions but the police refused to comply with the court order.

The police continued to demolish the farmers’ homes arguing that they only take orders from the First Lady.

The villagers then filed another urgent chamber application for contempt of court and, again, relief was granted by the High Court.

The land dispute between the farmers and Mugabe’s wife has been on-going since 2014 which is when she first attempted to evict them.

At the time, the famers’ representatives went to court which ruled that villagers should not be evicted until the government had offered them another place to stay.

The ministry of lands then gave offer letters to the five representatives in what was seen as a way of silencing them.

Source : New Zimbabwe

Grace Mugabe Defies Court Order, Destroys Villagers’ Homes

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Despite a Zimbabwean court ruling against First Lady Grace Mugabe’s demolishing villagers’ houses and evicting them from a farm , the police, under the First Lady’s order, proceeded with the illegal evictions of mostly women and children.

Black Ops, alternate facts and damn lies: The ANC’s escalating credibility crisis

Ranjeni Munusam

South Africa

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As more details emerged at the weekend about the covert operation to pump up the ANC’s election campaign and spread fake news about opposition parties, the party continued to deny knowledge and involvement. It has “nothing to do with the ANC” was spokesperson Zizi Kodwa’s response to a report of a secret recording implicating ANC general manager Ignatius Jacobs in the war room operation to influence public opinion during the election period. This is not only about the criminal acts and big personalities being shamed. It is also about the erosion of trust and further diminishing of the ANC’s credibility. By RANJENI MUNUSAMY.

There is already a big problem deciphering the messaging of the ANC. Who carries the true voice of the ANC? President Jacob Zuma? ANC Secretary-General Gwede Mantashe? ANC Deputy Secretary-General Jessie Duarte? National spokesperson Zizi Kodwa? ANC chief whip and communications subcommittee head Jackson Mthembu? ANC elections head Nomvula Mokonyane?

All these people speak for and on behalf of the ANC. Rarely do you find them saying the same things.

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Then there is the problem of who is the authentic ANC? The national executive committee elected at the last national conference in Mangaung in 2012? The Zuma camp elected at Polokwane in 2007 – before they all turned on each other? Thabo Mbeki’s ANC? Nelson Mandela’s ANC? The ANC in exile? The struggle veterans who have served in the party structures for over 40 years?

Kebby Maphatsoe?

Of course, the ANC prides itself on being a “broad church” made up of and representing people from all walks of life. But it is problematic when the interests and messaging of those who lead the party are conflictual. It is even more of a dilemma when doubt is cast about whether the elected leadership represents the true values and essence of the ANC.

After the ANC’s decline in the 2014 election, it was quite clear that the 2016 local government elections would be an uphill climb for the party and that they were in serious danger of losing control of the metros. It is hardly surprising therefore that the ANC would have employed new tools, particularly social media, and additional resources for its election campaign.

But if there was confusion previously about the ANC’s voice and messaging, the 2016 campaign splintered these even more. It became difficult to identify what exactly the ANC was telling its voters with an explosion of people speaking, seemingly on behalf of the ANC.

Official campaign messages were drowned out by crude attacks on the opposition, social media bullying of journalists, celebrity “twars”, government spokespeople usurping the ANC’s voice, and concerted efforts to present the ANC as “trendy”. Selfies of people in ANC regalia flooded social media. The ANC even held a fashion show to showcase its brand. The “dab” was all the rage.

It certainly was an energetic and obviously high-budget campaign. With all this activity, the ANC suffered heavy losses in the election, dropping to 53.9% nationally and losing control of three metros. One of the main reasons for this is that through all the noise and Twitter trends, the ANC did not pay significant attention to the issues that impacted on voters. Delivery failures, corruption, wastage of taxpayers’ money, scandals involving ANC leaders and the refusal to be held accountable all created negative perceptions among the electorate.

It is convenient to blame the media for generating and fuelling these negative perceptions. But the reality is that the ANC created the basis for adverse commentary in the media by failing to do its job or doing it badly.

We now know that the ANC campaign went beyond what was apparent and engaged in a “black ops” manoeuvre to influence public opinion. Amabunghane  that a covert war room was set up on behalf of the ANC with a planned budget of R50-million to pay people to create false narratives favouring the ANC and targeting opposition parties. This included printing fake opposition posters, which is in violation of the Municipal Electoral Act and the election code of conduct.

The story broke after public relations consultant Sihle Bolani, who worked on this covert campaign, brought a case against the ANC for non-payment. It created a sensation because of the large amount of money and the personalities involved, one of which is Shaka Sisulu, grandson of struggle icon Walter Sisulu. The story also proved that certain people were being paid for their pro-ANC tweets.

On Sunday, amaBhunganerevealed in the City Press that Bolani had secretly recorded meetings with ANC officials at the party headquarters, Albert Luthuli House. The recordings implicate the ANC’s general manager Ignatius Jacobs in directing the campaign to take a “dig at [the ANC’s] opponents” and also confirmed that R50-million was the targeted budget for the campaign.

Despite attempts by the ANC and Sisulu to distance themselves from the activities of the war room and to play down the black ops campaign, there are serious implications.

The claim that the ANC’s senior leadership did not know about the war room is no excuse for what happened. How could millions of rand be raised in the name of the ANC without the knowledge of the officials? The fact that it was done during an election campaign is even more damning as all parties should be extra careful to avoid scandals during an election period. Second, how could a covert operation be run from the ANC headquarters without anyone else knowing about it? What else goes on in that building, possibly illegally, that the officials do not know about?

The most serious indictment on the ANC leadership is why so many people felt comfortable in engaging in surreptitious and illegal behaviour on the ANC’s behalf. Did they not fear getting caught out and facing negative repercussions for trying to manipulate South African voters?

Is it that the prevailing atmosphere in the ANC is to disrespect the public and to treat people like idiots? Was that the reason this group of people felt it was perfectly acceptable to raise millions of rand and wilfully engage in behaviour to deceive voters, all in the name of the ANC?

The ANC cannot simply wash its hands or throw someone under the bus. If it wants to affirm its credibility, there needs to be a thorough investigation into who was involved, how the money raised was spent and a disclosure of all the activities of the war room. Those who committed illegal acts, such as producing fake opposition party posters, should be charged.   

But the ANC also needs to ask itself some hard questions.

Why has it surrendered its brand and its voice to a range of people who use and abuse them as they please? Why are government spokespeople speaking for the ANC and using the party to elevate their own status? Why are celebrities engaging in social media fights on behalf of the ANC? Why do so many people feel entitled to use the ANC brand to amass wealth for themselves?

And why is the ANC’s image so diminished?

The answer to these questions is that the ANC leadership has lost control and is disrespected by the very people who claim to be advancing their cause. If the ANC wants to deal with the chaos in its communications structure, it must shut down the gallery of illegitimate people peddling “alternate facts” and outright lies on the party’s behalf.

The ANC should wake up to the fact that neither “fake news” nor “paid Twitter” has helped the party win votes or public confidence. The social media pseudo-celebrity pack are in fact doing further damage to the ANC brand and eroding the credibility of the party.

Hillary Clinton had the world’s biggest stars campaigning for her and still lost the US elections to someone who could not even get a G-grade celebrity to sing at his inauguration. The next election in South Africa will be won by whoever best taps into people’s interests and needs. And there will be dire consequences for those who continue to lie to and disrespect the people of this country.

Photo: ANC’s Top Six at the January 8th rally in Soweto, 2017. (Greg Nicolson / Daily Maverick)

Source : Daily Maverick

South Africa: Inquiry Report Submitted to Phiyega

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Pretoria — The Board of Inquiry that was established to investigate allegations of misconduct and the fitness of the National Commissioner of the South African Police Service, General Victoria Phiyega to hold office has submitted a copy of its report to the National Commissioner.

According to section 9 of the South African Police Act, 1995, at the conclusion of the inquiry, the Board must submit its report to the President, the National Commissioner and Parliament.

The report was submitted to President Jacob Zuma on 15 December 2016. The President is still considering the report.

Arrangements are being made by the Board to submit a copy of the report to Parliament.

The Presidency has written to General Phiyega requesting her to make additional written representations that may assist the President in considering the recommendations of the Board of Inquiry.

Source : Sa news.gov.za

South Africa: Calls for Human Rights Commission to Probe Racist Facebook Beach Rant

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The South African National Civic Organisation (Sanco) on Monday called on the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) to investigate racist comments allegedly posted by a Sandton Facebook user on a picture of a packed Durban beachfront over the weekend.

Spokesperson Jabu Mahlangu also called for criminal charges to be laid against Ben Sasonof.

“We wish to condemn in the strongest terms possible the alleged provocative insults which seek to rekindle racial hatred and polarise racial relations in our society,” he said.

Mahlangu said unless the resurgence of racism is dealt with harshly and perpetrators faced the wrath of the law, it will sow seeds of conflict that has the potential to undermine reconciliation, unity, nation-building and social cohesion.

“Vitriolic and barbaric comments of this nature have no place in the united, non-racial, non-sexist, equal, prosperous and democratic society we are striving to build,” he said.

The South African Jewish Board of Deputies joined the chorus of condemnation.

‘All racism unacceptable’

“It is with a sense of déjà vu that the SA Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD) condemns yet another South African, Ben Sasonof, for similar offensive comments he made concerning the Durban beachfront this weekend,” comparing his comments to those of Penny Sparrow.

“All forms of racism are unacceptable in a South Africa where we strive daily to build a culture based on human rights and principles of dignity and freedom, for all of who live in it.

“The SAJBD calls on all South Africans to stand up and fight against discrimination wherever it is found. We have just celebrated Reconciliation Day, and now more than ever, we should be dedicated to building a non-racist country.”

At the weekend Sasonof posted: “Eh eh Wena…must have smelt like the inside of Zuma’s asshole,” with the apparent reference to President Jacob Zuma.

His comments raised the ire of other Facebook users who accused Sasonof of being a racist.

In response to those condemning his comments, he wrote: “So fuck you and your bf. Go suck on Zuma’s dirty, tyrant asshole if you love it so much.”

Sasonof also lashed out at one of his detractors directly, calling him a monkey.

“Mohammed Jameel Abdulla you’re a fuckin little idiot! Every person you tagged there is a friend of mine from school! I dated a black girl you fuckin idiot fuck! Stupid Monkey bastard you!”

Source: News24

South Africa: Coca-Cola Statement on Investigation Into Fraudulent Bottled Water Facility

Press Release

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We are aware of the SAP investigation into the illegal production facility where our products are allegedly being fraudulently produced and distributed. We would like to assure the public and consumers that we are urgently looking urgently into the matter and we are fully cooperating with investigators.

The safety of our products is of the utmost importance to the Coca-Cola Company and we would like to encourage consumers to purchase Valpre products only through well-known and established retailers.

Head of Communications

Coca-Cola South East and Africa Business Unit