Motsoeneng to be an ANC Cabinet member in 2017

Group Executive of Corporate Affairs Hlaudi Motsoeneng is likely to join the African National Congress (ANC) as a cabinet member in 2017, following the High Court judgment.

Judge Owen Rogers on Monday ruled that Motsoeneng must be removed from his position and should not hold any position at the SABC.

This judgment will now be viewed as stepping stone to have the SABC board rendered unfit to run the office, as this court ruling coincides with the Parliamentary inquiry into the broadcaster’s board.

The Parliamentary Ad Hoc Committee is expected to compile its final report later this week.

During the Parliamentary inquiry, the has been revelations that Communications Minister Faith Muthambi is behind Motsoeneng’s appointments as Chief Operation Officer and Group Executive of Corporate Affairs and that both appointments were done without due process.

Former SABC Board Member Vusi Mavuso on Thursday provided evidence that Motsoeneng’s permanent appointment in 2014 as COO was forced by Muthambi.

He said in July 2014 they were summoned to attend a special emergency board meeting, while in that meeting, Mavuso said  Muthambi unexpectedly arrived to also attend the meeting.

It was in that meeting that Muthambi said Motsoeneng has been “acting” CEO for a long time and should be made permanent.

Muthambi is well known to be Motsoeneng’s protector, she has proved that she is Motsoeneng’s and the SABC’s loyalist by refusing to dismiss or suspend SABC Board members that were on her side.

Muthambi went as far as to defying her own party’s instructions, the African National Congress (ANC) by allowing the board members to continue working at the public broadcaster.

ANC National Spokesperson, Zizi Kodwa, Secretary General Gwede Mantashe and Chief Whip Jackson Mthembu in October instructed Muthambi to apply the necessary steps on disciplining the board members.

However Muthambi remained mum on the matter. And now the Minister has been summoned by the committee to clarify her involvement at the SABC.

With Former SABC executives appearing before the Ad Hoc Committee and revealing SABC scandals, there is a probability that the committee might rule that the SABC board is unfit to run the public broadcaster.

Meaning that Motsoeneng might be left without a job, as the broadcaster has also failed to provide the necessary documents to prove that Motsoeneng’s appointment was legit.

Having no qualifications, it’s a ministerial position that doesn’t require tons of qualifications, hence in 2017 we might see Motsoeneng being Muthambi’s Deputy or having his own department to run.

The ANC Youth League in KwaZulu-Natal recently made in known that they want Motsoeneng to part of the ANC NEC.

“We want to announce that we will support your name at the ANC NEC conference in 2017…we want to give you a five-year term as the member of the ANC so that you can be deployed to an even more strategic position in the Cabinet as a minister,” said the ANCYL.

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Students set to picket outside Parliament

University Students around the Western Cape are expected to march to Parliament, to demand answers for the Fees Must Fall crisis.

Universities including: the University of Cape Town (UCT), University of the Western Cape (UWC), Stellenbosch University (SU) and Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) have been in support of the Fees Must Fall movement and are expected to be part of the march.

The march is set to coincide with Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan’s medium-term budget speech in Parliament.

CPUT’s Fees Must Fall spokesman Lukhanyo Vangqa said is the prpose of the mach is to get the government to respond to the issues of higher education.

“The purpose of the march is to highlight the plight of students, to legislature, who are unable to access higher education because they are poor and black,” said Vangqa.

UCT Vice-Chancellor Dr Max Price urged staff members and the general public to join the students’ picket outside Parliament.

 “Members of the UCT executive will participate in the UCT Employees Union picket. We invite staff and students to show their support for the cause of greater state funding for higher education and more affordable education for all by participating in one or other of the protests,” said Prince.

On the other hand Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande said the government is working on plans to address the crisis.

He then said the government is expanding efforts to provide free education to poor students.

DA set to battle Motsoeneng’s redeployment

The Democratic Alliance (DA) is set to battle former SABC Chief Operation Officer(COO)  new appointment as the Group Executive of Corporate Affairs.

DA’s Federal Executive Chairperson Jamie Selfe said Motsoeneng’s redeployment illustrates a lot of irregularity

“The speed and apparent secrecy with which the “process” was carried out raises questions about the credibility of the appointment hot off the heels of the Supreme Court of Appeal’s (SCA) dismissal of leave to appeal,” said Selfe.

On Tuesday the SABC at a media briefing announced Motsoeneng will return to his previous position of Group Executive, Corporate Affairs.

Selfe said the appointed raised many questions and added they will be consulting their lawyers on any possible actions they can take against the SABC. He added they also request answers for their questions.

“This appointment raises questions specifically around: Who had the position of Group Executive: Corporate Affairs before? Was the position even vacant? Was the position advertised? Were proper appointment procedures duly observed?,” said Selfe.

“It is also particularly concerning because the CEO and acting COO are one and the same person- James Aguma. During the press conference it was also suggested that the board may not have been consulted on the appointment,” added Selfe.

On the other hand Public Protector Thuli Madonsela has warned the SABC that she will investigate it for not complying with the law by appointing Motsoeneng into another top position at the public broadcaster.

She said she will be probing the processes followed by the public broadcaster to appoint Motsoeneng to the position he previously held. She added she told the broadcaster that any appointment for Motsoeneng by the SABC is illegal and had warned all parties this week not to go ahead and appoint the former chief operations officer to any position.

By Senzile Kubheka

Zuma qualified for the home loan- VSB Mutual Bank

The Venda Society Building (VSB) Mutual Bank stated that they granted President Jacob Zuma the home loan as he was a qualifying individual.

In a statement released by the bank, Chief Executive Officer, Andile Ramavhunga said they adhered to the strict principles of sound corporate governance when they granted Zuma the loan.

“…like any financial institution the bank lends to qualifying individuals only,” said Ramavhunga.

This follow after calls from opposition parties requesting the bank to releases documents to prove that Zuma acquired the loan through good merit.

Ramavhunga said they will not release the requested informantion as they have to abide by the bank’s privacy regulations.

“…like any other responsible financial institution, would not release information about the business dealing of its clients under any circumstances,” said Ramavhunga

“As a responsible corporate citizen, the Bank abides by regulations pertaining to the privacy of customer information,” he added.

On questions of how the bank assisted Zuma as he is not a Venda reside, Ramavhunga said the Bank focuses specifically on traditional communities.

On Monday Zuma paid the full amount for all non security upgrades for his Nkandla homestead, through the assistance from VBS Mutual Bank which is one of the few financial institutions which offer home loans in respect of land owned by traditional authorities.

Following the announcement, Opposition parties questioned on how the bank managed to assist Zuma as he is not from Venda.

Democratic Leader (DA), Mmusi Maimane said he has written to Zuma to request that he produces proof that the correct procedures were followed in order for him to acquire the loan.

“…I have written to President Zuma requesting him to provide proof to the National Assembly, which he is accountable to, of his R7.8 million loan with VBS Mutual Bank. The details I have requested include: The loan application, the loan agreement, including the details of the loan repayment; and any other relevant supporting documentation,” said Maimane.

Civil society groups set to challenge Arms Deal findings

Civil Society Groups, the Corruption Watch (CW) and the Right2Know Campaign (R2K) are set to challenge the finding of the Seriti Arms Procurement Commission (Arms Deal).

The organisations said they are aim is to have the outcome set aside on the basis that the commission failed to carry out a full and independent investigation of the matter.

“The court application will be primarily aimed at setting aside a finding which has been widely criticised on the basis that the commission did not carry out a proper investigation and simply accepted evidence which was presented to it by those who were involved in the arms deal, without questioning it or testing it,” said the organisations.

The commission, which was chaired by Judge Willie Seriti, ended its three-year investigation by stating that it could find no evidence of corruption.

President Jacob Zuma appointed Seriti to probe allegations of corruption in the multi-billion rand arms procurement deal in 1999.

The commission did not make any recommendations and the African National Congress said it was a closed chapter.

However the organisations said they want to ensure that of one of the worst examples of corruption in South Africa’s history will not be whitewashed.

They added the commission failed to look at massive evidence during the investigation that cost the public more than 100-million.

 “Literally millions of documents, collected and stored by the now disbanded Scorpions, went unexamined,” said the groups.

The organisations are set to court proceedings in September at the North Gauteng High Court.

By Senzile Kubheka

Pistorius’s sentencing an insult to woman- ANCWL

The African National Congress Women’s League (ANCWL) said it is dissatisfied and is disappointed by the six year sentence for murder granted to Oscar Pistorius.

ANCWL Secretary General Meokgo Matuba said the judgement was an insult to woman as it excluded issues of gender based violence.
“The ANCWL is dissatisfied with the judgement …due to the fact that South Africa has high rates of gender based violence cases and statistics indicate that a woman is killed in every eight hours in our country,” said Matuba.

On Wednesday, Judge Thokozile Masipa handed down Pistorius’ sentence saying the mitigating factors outweigh aggravating ones, which justify deviating from the minimum sentence of 15 years.
Pistorius was been sentenced to six years in prison for the murder of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, a sentencing more than two years in the making.
Matuba said they believe that the sentence is just a slap on the wrist on a murderer case and spit on the faces of the family and relatives of the victim.
“The sentence creates loss of trust in the judiciary system for many women who are abused and murdered daily in our country,” the SG said.
She added they have studied the judgment and have developed a position that they planned to make public following sentencing.
“We have closely followed the trial and Judge Masipa gave undue sympathy to the murder accused Pistorius. As the ANCWL we are appalled by the assertions made by the judge that this was not a gender based violence case. The pathology report had enough evidence to prove that the victim had injuries outside the shooting,” said Matuba.
“It is ANCWL’s view that if there is an appetite from judiciary system to deter people from committing this gruel acts of abusing and murdering women, the judiciary system must ensure that abusers and murderers receive the harshest maximum sentences and be locked in correctional facilities to fully serve their sentences and be released when they have been fully rehabilitated,” she added.
Matuba further said they will continue fighting for transformation within the judiciary system for all the women who are abused murdered and then receive a slap on the wrist from the judiciary system.

Pistorius’ trial sparks racism among South Africans

Oscar Pistorius’s sentencing of 6 years in jail for the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp by the High Court in Pretoria has brought South Africans, particularly blacks, to believe that the country’s Judicial System ‘reflects and promotes’ cultural clashes in the country.

On Wednesday, Judge Thokozile Masipa handed down Pistorius’ sentence saying the mitigating factors outweigh aggravating ones, which justify deviating from the minimum sentence of 15 years.

A huge debate about the quality of High court Judges has heated up as Pistorius’s trial has been compared with Sindisiwe Manqele who was sentenced to 12 years behind bars for the 9 March 2015 killing of her rapper boyfriend, Skwata Kamp Member Nkululeko ‘Flabba’ Habedi and the two men who were convicted and sentenced to 15 years each for robbing an South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) news crew at gunpoint during a live broadcast outside Milpark Hospital.

Former estate agent, Penny Sparrow who was fined R150 000 for likening black beachgoers to monkeys‚ once again through twitter praised Masipa and said she deserves to be a change of skin colour.

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Not only did the verdict ‘promote’ racism within the country’s justice system, but it has also brought the quality of work done by South African high court judges back under public scrutiny, leading to black lawyers being labelled as regularly stereotyped and having their competence questioned.

This is not a new phenomenon in South Africa, but underlying the debate is much more than the quality of the country’s judges, it is about race.

South Africa’s judiciary is highly dominated by men and has a higher proportion of white judges compared to the country’s race demographics.

It also puts the spotlight on transformation of the legal profession as a whole, drawing questions like is transformation about creating conditions that are open, bias- free and non-hierarchical? Or transformation is a shield of prejudice and hindered assumptions linked to race? The Judicial Service Commission role to ensure transformation is also now been placed under scrutiny.

But as it seriously stands now, Masipa is in need of serious defence, with social commentary racially prejudiced, ‘blacks’ are livid and the Supreme Court I presume had anticipated the public discourse footed by this verdict.

And lingering in people’s minds is the question whether he will at least serve the sentence as according to the Criminal Procedure Act‚ he must serve 50 percent of his murder sentence before he can be considered for possible placement on parole.

A consolation for citizens is that Pistorius will celebrate his 30th birthday in jail.

By Senzile Kubheka

Nkoana-Mashabane makes another international blunder

International Relations Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane has once again stunned the world as she publicly claimed to know nothing about Britain’s referendum to exit the European Union (Brexit).

Nkoana-Mahabane was on Monday in Pretoria questioned by journalist on whether Bexit would affect South Africa’s Trade relations with France.

The Minister replied and said: “Brexit? We don’t know about it, we saw it on television. We hear that it will impact, when it started, negatively to our trade and investment relations with the countries from that part, but we haven’t seen real evidence,” Nkoana-Mashabane told journalists.

“Maybe it is still coming. But one thing first, we are not members there [at the EU], and we can only say is viva democracy,” she added.

The Minister’s latest utterances have thrown her credibility as South Africa’s chief diplomat into serious question, as President Jacob Zuma is set to go on a state visit to France next week.

Earlier this year the Nkoana-Mashane messed up an interview which was done at the global news network’s studios in Doha, Qatar, By South African-born journalist Jane Dutton.

During the Al JAzeera’s interview on international current affairs, the Minister responded to questions incoherently and void of any grasp of the domestic and international matters within her purview as a Minister.

She later then said she was acting in “defence” of the country when she shot down questions during the interview.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) said if South Africa is to weather the storm brought on by Brexit, the country needs a Minister of International Relations that is fit to navigate the complexities of the potentially challenging renegotiations of our trade agreements.

“Nkoana-Mashabane’s ignorance notwithstanding, the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation’s apex priority is to act on South Africa’s behalf and diligently engage with, and respond to, world events in the interests of South Africans,” said the DA

The Party then called on the President to exercise his power and reconsider Nkoana-Mashaba’s fitness to be the country’s national diplomat-in-chief.

Zuma ‘allies’ no longer interested in assisting with Nkandla debt

President Jacob Zuma is now set to pay the R7.8 million for all his non-security upgrades on his Nkandla homestead on his own.

This follows after Zuma’s ally and pioneer BEE Don Mkhwanazi, who earlier this year together with other businessmen offered to assist the President repay the Nkandla debt, died of what is believed to be a heart attack.

With the deadline looming, the Sunday Times also reported that prominent businessmen from Kwa-Zulu Natal (KZN), who also came forward offering help to the President, are no longer willing to do so because his term in office will soon come to an end. One source said, “What will they get in return?”.

A week ago the National Treasury handed Zuma a R7.8-million bill for upgrades at his Nkandla homestead, on which more than R240-million was spent.

On the other hand Zuma’s family has led out a cry to plea saying they have no idea where the President will get the money from.

They also cried and said: “We are not a rich family”. They also claimed that the family would not be able to afford the multimillion-rand sum that the president has to pay.

Meanwhile both Zuma have made it clear that the President is no seeking out any donations or assistance to settle the debt.

And the African National Congress (ANC) has also said that it no plans of assisting or donating any funds for Zuma but reiterated that he will pay back the full amount as ordered.

The party added paying up shouldn’t be an issue as Zuma understands his commitment in court.

On the other hand, with the Gupta family having cornfirmed that they have returned to South Africa after being away over several controversial issues tied to their name, the family has kept its silence on whether will assist the President or not.

But according to the family’s spokesperson, the Guptas are not just back in the country full time, but their relationship with the president is still intact.

Possibility is Nkandla debt might be secretly paid for by the Guptas family, as they have warned the media to halt trying to follow their every move and publishing unfounded speculations.

According to the Constitutional Court order, if Zuma received any type of donation to pay for the non-security upgrades, he’d have to pay a donation tax and publicly declare the donation.

Zuma has until 24 August to settle the amount with the National Treasury.

 

DA calls on Nhleko to give Hawks ’head, Mokotedi the boot

The Democratic Alliance (DA) has called on Police Minister Nathi Nhleko to remove Head of Gauteng Hawks, Prince Mokotedi for allegedly not having a security clearance.

DA’s Kate Lorimer said according to documents in their possession, Mokotedi has two court judgements against him outstanding debts. She added both judgements were made in December 2015 and Mokotedi was appointed on the 3rd of February this year.

“The first in favour of Investec for the amounts R1 002 million for a bond and R100 480 for accredit card, as well as one in favour of ABSA for R9 559 on a credit card,” said Lorimer.

She also reiterated that with these judgments against him, Mokotedi would never qualify for a security clearance as this makes him a high risk for future corrupt or criminal activity.

“Did Mokotedi declare these civil judgements at the time of his appointment?  If he did, why was he still appointed to the position of Gauteng Hawks Head?  If he did not declare them, will he now be removed from his position?” asked Lorimer.

She further said that Hawks’ Hangwani Mulaudzi should be investigated as at the time of Mokotedi’s appointment, it was reported that he underwent a formal application and interview process.

Mokotedi responded and said when he applied for the position; he had stated that he had been tied up in court with two banks relating to his payments being in arrears.

He added he is aware that his bid for the security clearance currently being spoiled by the pending civil litigation relating to his personal finances.

Lorimer added: “Either way, Mokotedi does not seem to be a man of integrity and should not be in a position of responsibility. He must not be allowed to continue as Head of the Hawks without security clearance nearly five months after his appointment”.