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.
Russian forces are pushing towards Ukraine’s capital, Kieve, from several directions after Russian President, Vladimir Putin, authorised the invasion of Ukraine two days ago in a pre-dawn television address on 24 February 2022. He said that Russia could no longer feel “safe, develop and exist” because of constant threats from modern Ukraine.
Russian missiles first targeted airports and military installations, near cities across Ukraine, then armoured vehicles, tanks and ground troops entered Ukraine from three directions, namely, north, east and south and from Belarus, Moscow’s trusted ally.
In the televised explanation for the invasion, President Putin said that his goal was to protect people subjected to bullying and genocide by Ukraine and aim for the “demilitarisation of the Ukraine” . About fourteen thousand people have died in the separatist-led eastern regions of Luhansk and Donetsk where Russian-backed rebels have been fighting the Ukrainian army since 2014. Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelensky has denied any claims of genocide on Ukraine’s eastern border.
Zelensky has likened the Russian attack to Nazi Germany’s invasion in World War II.
Putin has often accused Ukraine of being taken over by extremists, ever since its pro-Russian president, Viktor Yanukovych, was ousted in 2014 after months of protests against his regime.
Russia retaliated by occupying Crimea and triggering a rebellion in Donetsk and Luhansk, backing separatists who have fought Ukrainian forces in a war that has claimed 14,000 lives.
In late 2021, Russia began deploying a large contingent of troops and military hardware to Ukraine’s borders, while repeatedly denying any intention to invade Ukraine. In mid-February 2022 Putin scrapped a 2015 peace treaty for the eastern region and recognised Luhansk and Donetsk as independent states. He announced that he would send a peace-keeping force to these newly recognised areas to keep the peace. This move was heavily criticised by the United States, the European Union and the UK.
As these developments were taking place, NATO members, particularly the USA and the UK, kept on supplying military hardware to Ukraine and promising support against any attack by Russia. Diplomatic solutions were not given sufficient attention as the US kept on flexing its muscles and promised Ukraine that any invasion of its territory will be met with appropriate measures.
Russia has for a long time fought against Ukraine’s move towards the European Union and the West’s defensive military alliance, NATO. As he announced Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine, Putin accused Nato of threatening “our historic future as a nation” and declared that any country that would even think of intervening in the military campaign in Ukraine would be met with a swift response and such consequences that have never been experienced in history. For three days, Western allies could only watch in horror as Ukraine stood alone against against the might of the Russian army. They exercised restraint in order to avoid the outbreak of World War III. The best that they could do was to impose multiple economic sanctions against Russia, including its leader, Vladimir Putin and foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov. But Putin appears not to be bothered by the imposition of sanctions in the short-term.
As tens of thousands of Ukrainians flee the country to neighbouring countries to the west, is there anything that can be done to bring a quick end to the invasion? Putin himself has said that he will only accept a surrender from the Ukrainian army and that Ukraine should undertake to refrain from joining the EU or NATO. In other words, that Ukraine should remain neutral and act as a buffer between NATO and Russia.While President Zelensky has indicated his willingness to talk, he has refused to surrender the Ukraine and encouraged all able-bodied citizens to take up arms and defend their country. He even called upon those in western countries with military training to avail themselves to assist Ukraine while their politicians remain undecided.
The United States submitted a motion to the Security Council calling upon Russia to withdraw from Ukraine forthwith. The motion was vetoed by the Russian ambassador to the UN. What remains now is for the motion to be referred to the UN General Assembly where there are no veto powers. It is not clear when the General Assembly will meet. NATO has deployed additional troops and military hardware to NATO members bordering the Ukraine.
The Democratic Alliance leader, John Steenhuisen, and his campaign team went on a campaign trail in the Modimolle-Mookgophong local municipality in the Waterberg district of the Limpopo Province on 15 October 2021. This is what the DA leader had to say:
“My fellow Democrats, Thank you for welcoming me to your beautiful corner of the country. This part of Limpopo is looking lovely, but it would look even better under an outright DA government for the next five years. And that’s why these next two weeks are of such critical importance. We are now just two weeks away from what could be an historic moment for our country, and for the people of the Modimolle-Mookgophong municipality. As municipalities across South Africa collapse, one by one, under the weight of their failed ANC local governments, South Africans have a once-in-five-years chance to secure the future of their towns or cities by electing a local government that does the exact opposite of these failed ANC governments. This is the chance to elect a local government that truly understands that there can never be dignity without clean water, reliable electricity and sanitation. A local government that understands what it takes to create jobs – that it’s not government itself that creates these jobs, but rather businesses that are able to thrive where government works. A local government that goes beyond its job description and even fights to improve or supplement the services that are meant to be delivered by national government, such as visible policing, rural safety and electricity provision. In short, a local government that gets things done. And if this is what you want for your municipality, there is only one party that ticks all the boxes and that is the Democratic Alliance. Now, not all municipalities are ANC governed.
Over the years the DA has grown from just an opposition party to a party of government in municipalities, metros and even a province. In some of these places we govern alone, meaning the voters there gave us an outright majority to bring the DA difference to their town or city. In these places it is far easier for us to implement our vision and to make sure government remains accountable to the people. In other places, the DA governs through coalitions or, as is the case here in Modimolle-Mookgophong, in minority governments, where no party has an outright majority and every decision and vote is subject to multiple players trying to pull that decision in different directions. Don’t get me wrong – coalitions and minority governments can work. They must work, because this is going to be the future for many councils across the country. But where possible, an outright majority for a competent and ethical government is a far more effective way to ensure good service delivery and progress.
Since 2016, when a DA-led minority government under Mayor Marlene van Staden took over here in this municipality, a huge amount of progress has been made. This includes major improvements in access to water, as well as general basic service delivery. In fact, I found it very amusing to hear that the Provincial Premier was upset at the lack of service delivery protests in this municipality since the DA-led government took over. Apparently he was not happy that there were regular protests back when the ANC ran this municipality, but these days they hardly happen. The Premier should know that this is what’s known as the DA difference. It’s what we pride ourselves on, and it’s what we would like to build on after the 1st of November. Another aspect of the DA difference is our zero tolerance for any form of corruption. Wherever we come in to government, the very first thing we do is we cancel all the corrupt and irregular contracts that were signed under the ANC so that the municipality can start with a clean sheet under the DA. That’s the only way to ensure that residents get value for money from their government. And that’s exactly what the DA did here in Modimolle-Mookgophong too. Immediately after taking over in 2016, they lobbied National Treasury to pay for a forensic investigation of the municipality, and then implemented every single
recommendation in that report, which included dismissing senior officials for gross financial misconduct. They also immediately established a disciplinary committee to deal with all allegations against officials, and this has already led to steps taken against an official who made fraudulent claims for overtime and travel allowances. They also got the Municipal Infrastructure Support Agent to investigate all Municipal Infrastructure Grant projects – including the stalled Leseding Sports Facility – and this lead to the dismissal and blacklisting of the appointed contractor. This project has now been re-advertised and is once again underway. Compare this to the scandalous R15m sports stadium built by the ANC in the Enoch Mgijima municipality in the Eastern Cape, which is little more than a rickety pavilion and a dusty athletics track. And finally, the DA-led government also approved several new policies – including the anti-fraud and corruption policy and the whistleblower policy – which will help ensure clean and efficient governance for the people of this municipality. Because we believe that every last cent of public money should be spent in service of the people, and this means putting in place every possible measure to hold government to account. Democrats, what the DA-led minority government managed to achieve here since 2016 is just a taste of what we can do when we, alone, are in the driving seat. When there are no other parties yanking the steering wheel this way and that, or pulling up the handbrake on our vision to deliver better and more services. That is the ultimate goal here – five years of uninterrupted, uncompromised DA governance. Because that’s when you really get to see and experience the DA difference.
Ask anyone who lives in South Africa’s best run municipalities, and they will confirm this. All the top municipalities in the country are DA-run, and all of them have had outright DA governments for multiple terms. That is when you start to see the kind of progress that today separates places like Drakenstein, Stellenbosch, Mossel Bay, Swellendam and Midvaal from all the ANC-run towns and cities. There was a time when voters in those towns also had to take a chance and switch their vote to the DA. I am sure this was not an easy decision for many people who had grown up believing they had to vote a certain way because their parents voted that way. But they, too, grew tired of broken ANC promises and failed delivery, and chose to switch their vote to a party that came with a proven track record. And in many of these places, that also meant a coalition or minority government at first. But what set these towns on the path to progress was their decision to then change that coalition or minority government into an outright DA government by the next election. By giving the DA a full mandate to govern, on its own, they finally freed their towns from the corruption, the mismanagement and the sheer incompetence that had been holding them back all those years. Now, I’m not saying everything is perfect in every DA-run municipality or metro. Running a government in these hard economic times and with our country’s many social challenges is not an easy job. But the DA knows where its challenges lie and it constantly strives to overcome them. That is one of the biggest differences you’ll see under a DA government – we are never satisfied with the progress we’ve made. We always look to improve. I assure you that this will be the case here in Modimolle-Mookgophong too.
If you give the DA a chance to show what it is capable of, and to show that it never stops trying to be a better government, you will never go back. All it takes is for people to open their minds to the possibilities of life under a DA government, and to stop listening to the lies that other parties tell about us. And there are many such lies. I know there are people going around saying that you will lose your house or you will lose your grant if the DA gets into office. None of that is true. In fact you are more likely to take ownership of a house, with full title deed, where the DA governs. And no one has ever lost a grant after the DA took over. It didn’t happen after 2016. It didn’t happen after 2019. The DA believes our country needs a strong and secure safety net of social grants for everyone who needs one. But we also believe the best way to ensure dignity and progress is through a real, liveable income. And that is why our big mission is to lift people out of poverty and into jobs. And we do that by doing the basics right. By ensuring reliable services, by keeping communities safe, by looking after public money and by staying on top of all maintenance and repairs to infrastructure. When you do these things right, your town starts to attract new businesses, and this brings new jobs. It is a cycle of progress that starts with clean, efficient governance. And that is what we want for the people of Modimolle-Mookgophong municipality for the next five years. Give the DA a chance to prove what we are capable of on our own. If we then disappoint you, you can fire us again at the next election. But if we prove ourselves to you in those five years, you then have the opportunity to make it ten straight years. That is how your town can end up as one of the best-run municipalities in the country. It all starts with your vote in two weeks’ time. So go out and vote for a government that will put this municipality on the map – a government that gets things done. On 1 November, vote for a DA government. Viva, DA! Viva!”
Media Enquiries John Steenhuisen MP Leader of the Democratic Alliance Charity McCord Media Officer: DA Leaders Office 078 126 2765
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.
Read also: Zuma Appears in Court
D-Day for Zuma, The Constitutional Court Decides.
Zuma Refuses to Attend the State Capture Commission.
Zuma Defies the Commission Again.
” 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.
READ ALSO: His Majesty King Goodwill Zwelithini is “Laid to Rest.”
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.