In the wake of the latest mass shooting in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio, in which 22 and 10 people respectively, were killed, the question arises whether gun control laws in the US are adequate to prevent persons who are unfit to possess firearms from being in possession of such arms. Statistics have shown that 8 in every 10 Americans are in lawful possession of a firearm. This is a very high number when you compare it to what the position is in other countries. This high number of firearms in the hands of citizens would not be an issue if there were no incidents such as the ones in El Paso and Dayton. If citizens were handling their firearms in a responsible manner, then no problem. However, that is not the case in the US today. The frequency of mass shootings has gone out of proportion. The people rely on the Second Amendment to the US Constitution and was ratified by Congress on December 15, 1791 as part of the Bill of Rights. This provision in the Bill of Rights was influenced by the English Bill of Rights of 1689. The amendment was ratified by the States and authenticated by the Secretary of State, Thomas Jefferson, and reads as follows:
” A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”
The English settlers at the time viewed the right to bear arms or raise militias as important for one or mire of the following reasons, namely:
Today, the United States, with almost 330 000 000 million people, and one of the best trained and equipped army and police force in the world, those concerns raised by the founding fathers appear to have lost their validity and yet the country has held onto the provisions to its own peril. In Dist of Columbia v Heller (2008), the Supreme Court affirmed that the the right belongs to the individual, exclusively for self defense in the home and that the right is not unlimited and does not preclude the the existence of certain prohibitions such as those forbidding the possession of firearms by felons and mentally ill persons. Although there is a certain measure of screening and checks and balances when people apply for permission to purchase a firearm through a licensed weapons’ dealer there are loopholes in the system to such an extent that 1 in 5 firearms transactions are finalized without necessarily going through the screening process.
According to the ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives), anyone can sell a gun without an FFL (Federal Firearms License) from their home, online, at a flea market or at a gun show as long as he or she is not conducting the sale as part of regular business activity. One example would be someone who sells a firearm from his or her personal collection. Others who are exempt include those giving guns as gifts. Only individuals whose “principal motive” is to make a profit via sale must obtain an FFL.
Commonly referred to as the “gunshow loophole,” this ambiguity also explains how a purchase can occur without a background check — and without breaking the law. A 2017 survey by Harvard and Northeastern universities estimates that roughly one in five transactions occur without a background check.
Perhaps the United States can learn something from those countries with very strict gun control legislation. In South Africa, for example, licenses to possess a firearm are controlled by a single central registrar within the police department and only one licence to possess a firearm for self defense purposes can be issued . No licence for an automatic or semi-automatic weapon can be issued for self defense purposes. As a result there are very few legal firearms in private hands. Penalties for illegal possession of a firearm are very stiff . Although criminals do acquire illegal firearms and use them in the commission of crimes, they know that if they are caught, they will have to answer for both the crime committed and the possession of the illegal firearm and ammunition. This serves as a deterrent as people know that the punishment for the unlawful possession of a firearm is harsh. On the other hand, in the United States, there has been several mass shootings in several states where a number of people lost their lives or were injured leaving them with both physical and emotional scars. The reasons appear to be disillusioned youth, mental illness, workplace conflicts, as well as family disputes. President Trump has vowed to bring an end to the scourge of violence in the USA. We hope that this happens sooner before another mass shooting happens.
Former South African President, Jacob Zuma has been granted parole by the national commissioner of Correctional Services, Arthur Fraser, on medical grounds. The Department issued a statement on Sunday afternoon that it is in possession of medical reports which indicate that Mr Zuma is entitled to be released on medical parole and that he will complete the remainder of his 15 months jail sentence in a home environment. Zuma was sentenced to 15 months imprisonment by the constitutional court following his refusal to appear before the commission of inquiry into state capture, better known as the Zondo Commission, after having been ordered to do so by the same court.
The Jacob Zuma Foundation has since confirmed the news and said that they will release a full statement after meeting with Zuma’s legal team.
Opposition parties are sceptical about this developments with the Democratic Alliance saying that the release is unlawful and that they will need to have access to the records placed before the parole board which qualified Mr Zuma for early release.
Dennis Bloem of the Congress of the People also expressed his concern saying that it is obvious that Mr Zuma’s friends are doing favours for him and that there are many people who are more entitled to medical parole than Mr Zuma, but who have been denied that right and some of them have even died in prison.
Mr Zuma will be given conditions for his release including that he must not commit further offences while he is out on parole. Zuma has only served two months of his 15 months sentence. While in prison, s large part of his home province of KwaZulu-Natal and parts of Gauteng went up in flames as his supporters demanded that he be released and resorted to looting businesses to make their point. Government’s response was very slow as a result which many businesses suffered extensive damages. Initial police deployments were overwhelmed by the rioters.
President Joe Biden made a decision to withdraw all US forces in Afghanistan by the end of August 2021 and announced this intention. Little did he know that the Taliban would take full advantage of this announcement. The Taliban commenced their attack three weeks ago. They made a swift advance across Afghanistan and captured one provincial capital after another while the US stood by and watched hoping that the 300 000 strong Afghan army that they had spent years training would offer resistance. But the US had everything wrong. The Afghan army only existed on paper. They offered no resistance whatsoever. As the Taliban advanced, the Afghan army, which was highly demoralised by the US and NATO withdrawal plans, began switching sides or simply retreated allowing the Taliban easy victories over the provincial capitals. Meanwhile, this was happening as the Taliban, the US and the Afghan government were sitting in settlement negotiations in Doha. Within 10 days of the beginning of the offensive, the Taliban was at the gates of Kabul, the Afghan capital. The Afghani President, Ashraf Ghani, fled the capital to an unknown destination. On the 11th day, Kabul surrendered. It was chaotic scenes as foreign nationals and Afghans alike scrambled to reach the airport to be evacuated. Ambassadors were instructed to just simply abandon their embassies and run for safety. Although the Taliban had given an undertaking not to destroy the capital, no one could trust them given their history twenty years earlier.
Despite billions of dollars spent on intelligence gathering, US and NATO top officials appear not to have been aware of the Taliban’s plans until the very last moment. US President Joe Biden still maintained that he had made the right decision to withdraw from Afghanistan by August 31, 2021 although he admitted that they did not expect the Afghan government to fall so swiftly. He refused to return the US army to defend the Afghan people. Many amongst the Afghans who had worked with the US forces in the last twenty years as interpreters, military and police personnel, female school teachers, government officials, judges etc now feared reprisals as the Taliban re-entered Kabul after twenty years of absence. International human rights organisations feared for women and girls as the Taliban would reintroduce its strict version of sharia law.
At the international airport in Kabul, it was chaotic scenes as the US sent in C17 military planes to evacuate its citizens and those Afghans who qualify for evacuation into the the USA. But no one wanted to be left behind. It was scenes reminiscent of the 1975 Saigon withdrawal as people climbed on roof tops and hanged on departing aircraft. Many fell to their death while trying to escape.
And yet, Joe Biden insisted that he had done the right thing and that the US could no longer justify its continued involvement in a civil war in a foreign country. Nor could it justify the almost one trillion dollars spent on the war in Afghanistan. He maintained that the US went to Afghanistan twenty years ago in order to find those who had attacked them and to ensure that Afghanistan could no longer be used as a base from which to launch terrorist attacks against the US. He said that those objectives have been achieved and the US was justified in its decision to finally withdraw from Afghanistan.
Many were critical of Biden’s timing of the withdrawal and that not enough safeguards were put in place to protect the US-Afghan allies against the Taliban. Even Biden’s media allies turned against him on the chaotic withdrawal. Many argued that the sudden and chaotic withdrawal was an insult to those soldiers who have sacrificed so much in the twenty years in Afghanistan. They argued further that the President’s argument about the 1 trillion dollar costs of the occupation of Afghanistan does not hold water as that is money that has already been spent and will not be recovered by a sudden and hasty departure from the country.
No doubt this will go down in history as one of the US’ most humiliating moments. Few allies around the world will have confidence that the US will not abandon them in their moment of need. The US failed to act as a super power in its Afghan withdrawal. The families of US, British and European allies who died in Afghanistan question whether their sons and daughters and husbands and fathers died in vain. President Joe Biden refuses to accept any responsibility for the chaotic retreat.
The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) in South Africa has succeeded in persuading Interpol to issue red notices against the Guptas and their wives.
On Monday, 05 July 2021, Investigative Directorate head advocate Hermione Cronje said Interpol has issued red notices against Atul Gupta and his wife, Chetali; Rajesh Gupta and his wife, Arti; former Nulane Investment Bank of Baroda account signatory Ankit Jain; director of Wone Management Ravindra Nath; and the directors of Pragat Investments, Ramesh Bhat and Jagdish Parekh.
She said the docket had been made available to the six accused to enable them to prepare for trial.
The Bloemfontein Regional Court has transferred the criminal case relating to the R25 million Nulane Investment to the Bloemfontein High Court for trial on 06 September 2021.
The National Prosecuting Authority confirmed that the matter was postponed in the absence of the accused, as agreed between the NPA and the defence, in the wake of the Covid-19 Level 4 lockdown regulations. Warrants of arrest against the accused who were out on bail would be issued but stayed until the next appearance date.
Former Transnet board member Iqbal Sharma will remain in custody as he was refused bail in the previous appearance.
Sharma, Nulane Investment employee Dinesh Patel, former Free State head of the Department for Rural Development Peter Thabethe, former head of FSDoA Limakatso Moorosi and former FSDoA chief financial officer Seipati Dhlamini are charged withfraud and money laundering. The former government officials are also facing charges of contravening the PFMA (Public Finance Management Act).
Sharma is one of 16 persons who are facing charges relating to defrauding the Free State Department of Agriculture.
The fraud relates to a R25m feasibility study in 2011 that was irregularly granted to Nulane Investment, a company owned and controlled by Sharma. The company had to provide a report to the department within seven months. Nulane, however, subcontracted the work to Deloitte Consulting for R1.5m.
Then it subcontracted the work completed by Deloitte to Gateway Limited and paid it more than R19m. From there, the funds were diverted to Islandsite Investments, a company owned and controlled by the Gupta family.
As a result of this, the accused have been charged with fraud and money laundering.
Former government officers have also been charged with contravening the Public Finance Management Act.
They are charged together with Nulane Investment 204, Wone Management, Pragat Investment and Islandsite Investments.
The rest of the accused listed in the charge sheet are not in South Africa.
The Constitutional Court has sentenced former president, Jacob Zuma, to 15 months imprisonment for contempt of court.
Acting Chief Justice Sisi Khampepe, rendered the majority judgment on Tuesday, 29 June 2021, which found that Zuma was fully aware of the consequences of his actions and willfully defied the court order to appear before the Zondo Commission and subsequently issued politically motivated statements criticising the judiciary and the Constitutional Court. Never before has the authority and legitimacy of the Constitutional Court and the judiciary found itself under such attacks. Should Mr Zuma be allowed to continue defying court orders, this may inspire others to also do so hoping that no action will be taken.
“The majority holds that a coercive order which uses the threat of imprisonment to ensure compliance will be both futile and inappropriate,” Acting Chief Justice Sisi Khampepe said.
She said there was “no sound basis” for Zuma to claim that he was being unfairly treated by the courts.
“The majority finds itself with no choice but to find that this kind of incalcitrance cannot be tolerated,” Khampepe read.
She pointed out that Zuma’s case was exceptional because of his position as a former president as well as his criticism of the judiciary.
The Hellen Suzman Foundation applied to be admitted as an amicus curiae (a friend of the court) and the court was satisfied that the Hellen Suzman Foundation had satisfied the requirements for admission as an amicus curiae and that its submissions with regards to sentencing were very helpful.
The Court rejected Mr Zuma’s out of court public statements and found that the only appropriate sentence was an unsuspended punitive sentence of 15 months imprisonment. A coercive order compelling Mr Zuma to appear before the commission would be futile as Mr Zuma has continuously declared that he would rather be imprisoned than appear before the commission. Such an order would further plunge the constitutional court into deeper waters. Mr Zuma was given an opportunity to address the court in mitigation before a sentence can be imposed, but he declined to use that opportunity. Instead, he addressed a 21 page letter to the Chief Justice, in which he attacked the judiciary. The Court went to great length to protect Mr Zuma’s constitutional rights.
The Court ordered that Mr Zuma must hand himself over to the police at either Nkandla or Johannesburg Central police station within 5 calendar days to commence serving his sentence failing which the Minister of Police and the Commissioner of Police are ordered to ensure that he is handed over to a Correctional Center to commence serving his sentence.
Zuma supporters remained at his Nkandla residence in anticipation of the judgment. The MKMVA (Umkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans Association) members who have been stationed outside his home since late March 2021 were excited that at last the judgment would be handed down. They sang ANC songs from their tent base outside the compound and were seen parading outside.
Zuma’s son, Edward Zuma, said that the 15 months term of imprisonment imposed on his father was unfair and that Zuma will not go to prison and that instead, he, Edward, would rather die defending his father.
Zuma’s troubles with the constitutional court commenced in December 2020 when the Zondo Commission, which is probing allegations of corruption during his nine-year rule, approached the court to ask it to compel him to appear and answer all questions addressed to him.
The court then granted the order, but Zuma decided to defy it, alleging that the commission and the court were victimising him through exceptional and harsh treatment and that both institutions were politicising the law to his detriment.
The secretary of the commission, Professor Itumeleng Mosala, requested the court to punish Mr Zuma for contempt of court. On the same day, Mr Zuma issued another public statement and said that he had taken a political position not to take part in the matter because the judiciary was engaged in political battles against him.
“It is no longer my attendance that they seek, but they have joined the political campaign to destroy me. It also reveals that this was always the commission’s mandate,” Mr Zuma declared at the time.
He accused Deputy Chief Justice, Raymond Zondo, who chairs the commission as “exploiting his proximity to the Constitutional Court to protect and advance his interests as chairperson of the commission”.
When the matter was heard on March 25 this year, advocate Tembeka Ngcukayitobi, acting on behalf of the commission, requested the constitutional court to hand down a two-year sentence, saying that Mr Zuma had made serious allegations against the judiciary and the Constitutional Court without any evidence to back them up.
” Basically he’s using the language of daring the court, ‘I’m not afraid to go to prison. Even prior to coming to the court in December 2020, the commission had tried to use its coercive powers. I know that there is criticism in the judgement, but he was given leeway that would not ordinarily be given to witnesses. But the fact is the coercive powers were tried, they didn’t work. There is no scope for coercive powers, the only scope that remains now is imprisonment. Utterances that Mr Zuma has made are malicious utterances. He is also acting without any facts – Mr Zuma completely disregards the evidence,” Ngcukayitobi told the court in March when arguing why Zuma should be given a direct term of imprisonment.
The minority judgment, written by Jafta J and Theron J concurring, concluded that a punitive term of imprisonment would be unconstitutional as it denies Mr Zuma an opportunity to rectify his contempt and that an appropriate sentence would be a coercive term of imprisonment which will enable Mr Zuma to either attend the commission or go to prison if he fails to do so.
In summary, the court gave the following orders:
With the deadline looming for Zuma to hand himself over, masses and masses of Zuma supporters have converged at his Nkandla home vowing to prevent the police from arresting Mr Zuma.
Addressing his supporters outside his Nkandla home in KwaZulu-Natal, Zuma said that he has been sentenced to 15 months without any trial being held against him and that he has instructed his lawyers to bring an application to return the matter to court for a proper hearing and that he awaits the outcome of that application. He further said that sending him to prison would amount to imposing the death penalty on him as he would not survive the covid-19 pandemic in prison.
Pennsylvania’s highest court overturned Bill Cosby’s sexual assault conviction on Wednesday, 30 June 2021, and ordered that he be released from prison immediately.
This decision by the Court comes after Cosby had served more than two years of a potential three- to10-year sentence, following his conviction for sexual assault in 2018.
The court found that a previous prosecutor had made a deal with Cosby not to charge him in the case.
Bill Cosby was best known for his role as the lovable husband and father in the 1980s TV comedy series”The Cosby Show,” .
His popularity was shattered after many women accused him of sexual assault over a period of years. Cosby’s conviction was widely viewed as a landmark achievement in the #MeToo movement that brought forth a number of allegations against powerful men in Hollywood and other parts of the USA.
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court is the court of last instance in the state and has seven judges sitting on its bench. Max Baer is the current chief of the court.. The court was established by the Pennsylvania Provincial Assembly in 1722 as a successor to the Provincial Court established in 1684. It is the oldest appellate court in the United States.
As of September 2019, five judges on the court were elected in partisan elections as Democrats, one judge was elected as a Republican, and one judge was appointed by a Democratic governor.
Prophet TB Joshua, founder of the The Synagogue, Church of All Nations (SCOAN), has died at the age of 57. He died at his home in Lagos, Nigeria, on 05 June 2021, shortly after attending one of his evening services. His death came only a week before his 58th birthday. The cause of death has not been given.
TB Joshua was born on 12 June 1963. He attended St. Stephen’s Anglican Primary School in Arigidi Akoko in Nigeria from 1971 to 1977. He showed an interest in the Bible from a very early age. He organised Bible studies for the local children while doing various odd jobs after leaving school.
Joshua was very well-known throughout Africa and Latin America. He hosted the Emmanuel TV channel from Lagos, Nigeria. His Facebook page has over 3 500 000 followers while his Youtube channel has over 1 000 000 subscribers. He was awarded the Order of the Federal Republic by the Nigerian government in 2008 and was voted the Yoruba man of the decade by the Yoruba media outlet, Irohin-Odua.
According to 2011 Forbes magazine, TB Joshua was the third richest pastor in Nigeria in 2011. According to The SCOAN, more than 15 000 members attend its weekly Sunday church service with thousands of visitors from outside Nigeria. The Nigerian Immigration Service released figures indicating that six out of every ten foreign visitors to Nigeria are bound for The SCOAN making it the largest tourism attraction in Nigeria boasting hotel accommodation and restaurants and increasing flight routes to Lagos from several African countries.
During one of his sermons, Joshua indicated his intention to relocate his ministry to Israel. Several prominent Nigerians urged him to remain in the country as the relocation would affect the Nigerian economy negatively. Several thousands Nigerians and overseas visitors register for the prayer lines where they are prayed over by Joshua to heal them of various ailments. TB Joshua held several rallies in Latin America attracting several hundreds of thousands of visitors at each one. In Ghana in 2013, four people died in a stampede at a service where they were to receive anointed water and on 12 September 2014, 115 people, including 84 South Africans, died when a guest house on the church premises collapsed.
Joshua visited several countries including South Korea, Singapore, Indonesia, Australia, Colombia, Mexico, Peru and Paraguay to hold crusades. In June 2019, he held a two day service at Mount Precipice in Nazareth, Israel. It was attended by over 15 000 people. Joshua supported various community and charitable causes both within and outside Nigeria.
He was married to Evelyn Joshua and they have three children.
Former SA President, Jacob Zuma, appeared in the Pietermaritzburg High Court on 17 May 2021 on charges of corruption, bribery and money laundering relating to the Arms Deal dating back to the late 1990s. He appeared together with French arms company, Thales.The matter was previously postponed on 23 February 2021 to 17 May 2021 for the trial to commence. Upon his appearance, his erstwhile lawyers, Eric Mabuza, withdrew as Mr Zuma’s legal representatives and were substituted by Adv Thabani Masuku and Mr Roux appeared for Thales. The Court found that the withdrawal of Eric Mabuza would not prejudice the commencement of the trial. The matter was postponed to 26 May 2021 as Zuma’s new legal representatives intended to apply that the lead State prosecutor in the matter, Billy Downer, be removed from the matter as Zuma believes that he will never get a fair trial if Billy Downer is prosecuting his matter. Billy Downer is the same prosecutor who handled Shabir Sheik’s matter nearly 15 years ago.
The former president’s application is very strange to say the least. If it is successful, it will be for the first time that an accused person successfully applies that a prosecutor be removed from his case. Applications for recusal are usually directed at presiding officers and not at public prosecutors as the appointment of public prosecutors to specific cases is the sole prerogative of the National Director of Public Prosecutions and not that of the accused. It seems that the reasons that Zuma gives for his objection to Billy Downer prosecuting his case is that there are international spy agencies involved in his prosecution. It remains to be heard during the next appearance on how these spy agencies will affect Mr Zuma’s right to a fair hearing.
Mr Zuma was accompanied by various supporters by including suspended secretary general, Mr Ace Magashule, MKMVA spokesperson, Carl Niehaus, KZN Premier Sihle Zikalala and others. The ANC has previously warned its members not to support members accused of criminal cases in their official capacities as members of the ANC.
Minister of Public Works, Patricia de Lille, was called as the first state witness in the matter, but had to be excused from court due to the application by Mr Zuma’s legal representative for the recusal of the lead prosecutor in the matter. eNCA was granted leave to broadcast the trial. Judge Piet Koen is presiding over the trial.
The traditional Prime Minister of the Zulu nation, Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi, addressed the media yesterday and made it clear that there are no disputes over the Zulu throne. He advised the media that the experts who are alleging that there is a dispute in the royal family over the appointment of a successor to the late King Goodwill Zwelithini are mere speculation and not true.
Addressing the media, Prince Buthelezi accused the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal of treating him unfairly and of accusing him of using his proximity to the King to advance his own political career. He disputed this and said that it was through his own efforts that he advanced to where he was in politics and building the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) to what it is today. He said that he spoke to President Ramaphosa and indicated that at his age, he is now living on God’s grace, and he wished to see the Zulu people and the ANC reconciled, but that it has always been the ANC in KZN that was opposed to his efforts at reconciliation. He concluded by saying that he was not born yesterday and that everyone knows that he is not an ass.
Prince Buthelezi said that as far as the Zulu nation is concerned, King Misuzulu kaZwelithini is already the king. All that they are waiting for is just a formal appointment by the South African government, which he said was the legacy of colonial conquest, as since the time that Zululand was a British colony, the appointment of the zulu kings has been required to be confirmed by the colonial government. He said that he was going to sign off the minutes of the meeting of the zulu royal family whereupon it will be forwarded to the premier of the province for further action.
On speculation that the King will not be in a position to take any decisions or issue any decrees in accordance with Zulu tradition until he is married, Prince Buthelezi said that that is not true as the King is already making decisions and issuing decrees. He said that the founder of the zulu nation, King Shaka kaSenzangakhona was by choice never married. So too was King Dingaan. There is no such rule in the Zulu nation that a king is unable to make decrees until he is married.
Prince Buthelezi said that Prince Simakade Jackson Zulu is fully behind the new king and he has welcomed the appointment of the new King as the right step for the zulu people. Prince Buthelezi read a statement written by Prince Simakade dated 11 May 2021 stating that he at no stage expressed any desire to claim the throne and that the uncles and aunts had warned them that once an announcement has been made about the successor to the throne, all the children of the late king are expected to support that appointment. Buthelezi disputed any speculation that Minister of Police, Bheki Cele, and former President Jacob Zuma, were assisting the Royal family in resolving the dispute. He said that the Premier of the Province had offered to mediate and the King and Queen mother had declined the offer stating that there was no need for any mediation as the royal family was able to resolve any dispute that may exist.
King Misuzulu kaZwelithini is currently 46 years of age having been born on 23 September 1974. He is the son of the late King Goodwill Zwelithini from his third wife, Queen Mantfombi Zulu. King Zwelithini died earlier this year due to covid 19 complications. Queen Mantfombi, who is the daughter of the late Swazi king, Sobhuza II, and sister to the current Swazi king, Mswati III, acted as regent pending the appointment of a successor to the Zulu throne. She died a month after the death of her husband leaving behind speculations as to what could be happening within the Zulu royal family. Immediately after her funeral, her last will and testament was read at a gathering of the royal family in terms of which Prince Misuzulu was appointed King of the Zulus. There was initially some opposition to the appointment but it appears from the statement read by Prince Buthelezi that all disputes have been resolved and the entire royal family is fully behind the new king.
King Misuzulu attended primary school in Durban and in Swaziland and furthered his studies in International Relations in the United States. He steps into the shoes of the late King Goodwill Zwelithini, who led the zulu nation for half a century and through difficult periods in their history.
South African businessman and ANC veteran, Tokyo Sexwale, made startling revelations about a ” Heritage Fund” that was set up by an Asian businessman under the name and style of White Spiritual Boy Fund with the aim of helping poor South Africans and South African students. According to Tokyo, the fund runs into billions of US dollars and was held at the South African Reserve Bank. He alleges however that the fund has since been accessed by questionable characters and that part of the money has already been stolen and transferred out of the Reserve Bank into various bank accounts belonging to individuals known to him.
Mr Sexwale alleges that when he was contacted by the founder of the fund about two years ago and requested to act as a curator for the fund. He was doubtful and reluctant at first considering the name and size of the fund. He, however, did his own investigations for almost a month and in the end, he was satisfied that the fund was genuine and that he could associate his name with it. He agreed to act as administrator for the fund.
He alleges that he and another South African by the name of Gordon Webb are custodians of the fund which was created for the purpose of providing assistance to countries in Africa and islands in the Indian Ocean. Mr Webb did not attend the media briefing held by Mr Sexwale on 22 April 2021 as, according to Mr Sexwale, Mr Webb was not feeling well.
During the media briefing, Mr Sexwale said that for two years he has been trying to alert the South African Minister of Finance and the Reserve Bank about the theft of the money, but that he was just simply ignored. He even tried to reach President Cyril Ramaphosa, but was unsuccessful.
The Minister of Finance, Mr Tito Mboweni, and the Reserve Bank’s response is that Mr Sexwale has been scammed and that their investigations could not find any such fund as is referred to by Mr Sexwale and that he is not the first person to speak about these alleged funds. Mr Sexwale is adamant that he has not been scammed and that there is a concerted effort to conceal the existence of the fund, which if it could be released, would have pulled several South Africans out of poverty and settled several debts on behalf of South African students.
Does the fund exist? Who are the people behind this fund? Is it worth investigating any further? It seems that there is more to Mr Sexwale’s story than meets the eye. In the coming weeks and months, we will be learning more about White Spiritual Boy and the Heritage Fund. When was it established? What is the relationship between the fund and South Africa’s gold reserves?
The Chief of the SA National Defence Force, General Solly Z Shoke, will be retiring on 31 May 2021 at the age of 65. He joined the SANDF in 1994, having transferred from Umkhonto we Sizwe, the military wing of the African National Congress, when all the armed forces in South Africa, including the South African Defence Force, independent homeland armies (Transkei, Ciskei, Bophutatswana and Venda) and Apla, were brought together to form the SANDF. General Shoke served the SANDF for a period of 27 years. President Cyril Ramaphosa, in his capacity as president of the Republic and commander in chief of the SANDF announced that General Shoke, who served as Chief of the SANDF since 2011, will be succeeded by Lt General Rudzani Maphanywa as Chief of the SANDF with effect from 01 June 2021. Lt Gen Maphanywa will simultaneously be promoted to the rank of General. He is 61 years of age and will serve as Chief of the SANDF for a period of 5 years. He is currently Chief of Joint Operations. Until 1994, he was a member of Umkhonto we Sizwe which he joined in 1978.
Chief of the Air Force, Lt gen Z Msimang, also retired in September 2020. Chief of Defence Intelligence, Lt-Gen Jeremiah Nyembe and chief of the S A Military Health Services, Surgeon Gen Zola Dabula will also be retiring in due course. Maj Gen Wiseman Mbambo has been appointed as the new chief of the South African Air Force. Maj Gen Siphiwe Sangweni will take over as the new chief of Joint Operations from 01 June 2021. Maj Gen Ntshavheni Maphaha will take over as Surgeon General from 01 Nov 2021. Maj gen Thalita Mxakato will take over as chief of military intelligence from 01 June 2021. She will be the first woman to serve on the Military Command Council. These major generals will be promoted to the ranks of Lt Generals upon assumption of their new offices. The SANDF has organised tours of its bases to make the announcement officially to the troops.
President Ramaphosa praised the SANDF for its contribution in maintaining peace and stability within the country and on the African continent as part of African Union and United Nations operations, particularly in Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo and other countries in the region.
President Ramaphosa is hopeful that the SANDF will continue to carry-out its responsibilities to protect the integrity of South Africa’s borders under the new leadership.