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The South African National Defence Force is Deployed to the Cape Flats.

Cape Town, South Africa

CAPE TOWN, with its deep blue skies, the two oceans and table mountain in the background, is one of the most beautiful cities in the World, and yet it is ironic that just a few kilometers from this most beautiful city, which is an attraction for both domestic and international tourists and home to South Africa’s legislative authority, rages some of the most bloodiest gang battles in the world. The Cape Flats, townships such as Mitchell’s Plain, Manenburg, Phillipi, Delft, Bishops Court and others. Very romantic names, and yet people in those areas live in conditions no different from a war zone.  Gangs such as the Hard Livings, the Americans, The Clever Kids, The Thug Life and up to 130 others are competing for territory with deadly consequences for the gang members and for members of the communities in which they operate. For years, the measures taken by the Government were inadequate to address the growing problem which is fueled by drug deals, poverty, unemployment, lack of adequate housing and ineffective schooling. It is hard to imagine how it should be for women and children living in these areas. Gun battles erupt at any moment during the day or night in the streets. Hundreds of residents, mainly children, have been caught in the crossfire, and in most cases, have been killed by stray bullets. The police have been trying to maintain some resemblance of law and order with very little success as shown by the number of murders reported particularly on weekends.

Gang Violence on the Cape Flats

Recently, gang violence has skyrocketed, so much so that in one weekend, up to 50 people were reported killed. The Minister of Police, General Bheki Cele, had very little choice than to turn to the South African National Defence Force for assistance. The State President authorised the deployment of the Defence Force and immediately thereafter, the gangs were outgunned and the guns were silenced.

Members of SANDF on parade.

There are those who have cautioned against the deployment of the army in a matter which might seem to be a purely police matter. But in this instance, the police were running out of options and the place resembled a war zone. The residents of those areas welcomed the deployment of the army. Within a week of their deployment, community leaders reported a huge decline in gang violence, an indication that the army was already succeeding in its objective. It is only hoped that the deployment will remain in place until the violence has been eliminated for the sake of the people of the Western Cape. No one deserves to be murdered or to live in fear of being murdered.

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Battle Lines are Drawn Between President Cyril Ramaphosa and Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane.

South African President, Cyril Ramaphosa, at loggerheads with the Public Protector.

Following the release of the public protector’s report that President Cyril Ramaphosa has deliberately misled parliament in connection with a donation of R500 000.00 by Bosasa to his campaign for the ANC presidency in 2017 and that there is evidence of money laundering against him, President Ramaphosa has decided to refer the report on judicial review. The Public Protector says that she has referred the money laundering issue to the National Prosecuting Authority-the NPA, for further investigation. By releasing this report, the Public Protector has thrown the cat amongst the pigeons. There are a whole lot of consequences that will arise from her report that will impact on the programmes that the President has embarked on. The timing of the release of the report, when former President Jacob Zuma was testifying before the Zondo Commission, and while he was at pains to withdraw from giving any further evidence under cross-examination, only serves to strengthen the arguments that the Public Protector has taken sides in the divisions within the ANC and that her actions are designed to strengthen the Zuma faction against President Cyril Ramaphosa.

Public Protector, Busisiwe Mkhwebane

If you consider the PP’s report on the Estina Dairy Project, which is also under the spotlight at the Commission on State Capture, and the ruling made by the Court in that regard, then questions should be legitimately asked whether the PP has any desire to assist South Africans in the fight against corruption, led by President Cyril Ramaphosa. If questions are placed upon the President’s integrity, then his capacity to fight corruption will be undermined. Add to that the PP’s report and recommendations relating to Minister Pravin Gordhan, also another anti-corruption campaigner, on whom the PP has also cast suspicions. All these reports and their timing, only serve to weaken the fight against corruption and to dash away the hopes of millions of South Africans who are really struggling to make ends meet as a result of the plundering of state resources. It is understandable that the Public Protector did not start to investigate these matters out of the blue, but that she did so following complaints lodged by certain individuals, but it is the timing of the release of these reports, and the enthusiasm with which she is pursuing cases against the current President and his supporters, that gives the impression that those who benefited from the corruption of the past are desperately fighting back with serious disregard for the economy and the country.

The Constitutional Court of the Republic of South Africa, Johannesburg

The Constitutional Court, the highest court in the land, has dismissed the Public Protector’s appeal against a cost order granted by the High Court in Pretoria, that the Public Protector, in her personal capacity, pays 15% of the legal costs incurred in a matter involving ABSA Bank and the Reserve Bank, in which she had found that ABSA was liable to pay back an amount of R1.125bn bail out provided by the Reserve Bank to Bankorp between 1985 and 1992. All these decisions are a bad reflection on the Public Protector in that she appears to be making wrong decisions on a frequent basis. The impact of her decisions on those who are affected is tremendous. It is not clear as to what could be prompting the Public Protector to make these hasty decisions. The SACP has accused her of being a hired gun, a charge which she has denied. It may also be speculated that, perhaps there are powerful individuals in her office, who are churning out these reports and misleading the Public Protector. Why would the Public Protector be prepared to damage her reputation? Who is pressurising her to make these reports which all seem to be designed to protect those who are accused as being the masterminds and active participants in the State capture projects?

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Five Simple Ways to a Healthy and a Longer Life.

Although disease and illness are beyond our control, our lifestyle choices determine whether we will eventually develop certain disease and illness. Heart disease is the number one killer of most men and women in the world. Factors that lead to the risk of developing heart disease are preventable. A few apparently simple actions on your part can add up to 10 or even more quality years to your life. Those steps are simple and not complicated at all and can be summed up as follows:

  1. exercise for at least 45 minutes, 3-4 times a week,
  2. drink alcohol in moderation,
  3. avoid smoking,
  4. eat healthy, ie, more fruits and vegetables,
  5. avoid stressful factors,

These five simple steps help reduce: (a) abdominal obesity, (b) high blood sugar, (c) high cholesterol, (d) high blood fats, (e) high blood pressure and (f) stress.

More than 250 000 000 people worldwide live with diabetes and what is worse is that the majority of them are unaware that they are living with this condition. Clinical depression is fast becoming a major health crises affecting millions of people in the world. Early detection of disease and illness can make a huge difference. Regular check-ups with your doctor are very important for early diagnoses of chronic illness. Investing a small amount of time in your health can indeed make a huge difference in the quality of your life and can save you huge expenses in terms of time and money at a later stage. Information is critical in helping you to make informed decisions about your health issues.

In the next issue, we will be discussing Cardiovascular Disease(CVD). Please send us your details as well as your email address to enable us to advise you whenever we release any new articles.

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Zuma threatens to withdraw from the State Capture Enquiry in South Africa.

Judge Raymond Zondo, Head of the Zondo Commission into State Capture in South Africa

Former President Jacob Zuma’ s lawyers have questioned the line of questioning adopted by evidence leader for the commission, Adv Paul Pretorius. Former President Zuma always said that he would like to be given an opportunity to clear his name as he says that he has continually been targeted by the media on allegations of having allowed state institutions to be captured by the Guptas. Now that the former President has been given the platform, he should be utilising it to the full.

Former President of South Africa, Jacob Zuma, in the witness stand at the Commission.

He has been implicated by a number of witnesses who testified before the commission. It is only fair that their vesions be put to him so that he can get an opportunity to put the correct version on record. Listening to the arguments by his advocates, one would get the impression that they are being overprotective of him and are afraid that the case might implicate him more. Withdrawing from further participation in the commission might also leave the evidence before the commission unchallenged and might lead the commission to make negative findings against him. But perhaps further participation might be even worse. But to say that the evidence leader should limit his questions will leave many questions unanswered.

JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA – Adv Paul Pretorius

In the meantime, Zuma’s supporters have vowed to stand by him during the inquiry. Carl Niehaus of the MK Veterans said that they will support Zuma and ensure that he is not treated unfairly by the commission, but that they are not against the work of the commission. It is a show down between those who blame state capture for South Africa’s economic woes and those who deny its existence. Developments that will be even more interesting in the weeks to come. President Ramaphosa has been placed in a very difficult position because his tough stand on corruption is alienating many of his erstwhile comrades. No doubt that his tough move has already stemmed the tide of corruption, particularly with the exit of the Guptas from the country and the expulsion of Bosasa from Correctional Services, but more support is needed for the mop up operations to clean municipalities, which is another frontier where the country was bleeding rands and cents.

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Watch “Phalaborwa, Kruger National Park Kids Show No Fear for Lions.” on YouTube

The story about the 14 lions that were spotted in the area around Foskor Mine in Phalaborwa, South Africa, has been widely publicised. On our recent tour of the town, we found that people were not at all concerned about the lions.

The town of Phalaborwa is the only town in South Africa which directly shares its border with the world renowned Kruger National Park. So sightings of wild animals in this town is not an unusual occurrence. Some of the locals told us that they are living in harmony with the wild life. Elephants can be seen foraging for plants and reeds on the banks of the Selati river which is just within walking distance from the town. At night, hippos can be spotted crossing the streets in town and drivers have to be careful when they drive around town at night as the hippos are not clearly visible at night due to their dark brown colour. Other than that, and for time immemorial, there has never been any incident of wild animals attacking humans in this town. A local tour guide told us that other than the crocodile, no other wild animal, including lions and leopards, will actively hunt for humans. They prefer to keep a safe distance from humans and will only attack humans if threatened.

However, recently, and ironically at the same time as the 14 lions were spotted near the town, an elephant trampled a security guard, contracted to Foskor Mine, to death. The circumstances under which the incident occurred are not known as the guard was alone on night duty at one of the mine’s work sites at the time of the the incident.

Despite this, the locals insist that their town is very safe and they appeal to both domestic and international tourists to visit their unique town in order to experience nature first hand.

Nature enthusiasts are streaming from as far afield as Germany, the Netherlands , France, Italy, Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, Britain, the USA, Canada etc to come and enjoy the hospitality of this town. South Africans are also not to be outdone in this gold rush.

There are many local lodges, hotels and guest houses specifically designed to cater for these international and domestic tourists. The local Phalaborwa Accommodation Association has registered in excess of thirty establishments ready to serve the needs of these tourists. For anyone travelling to Phalaborwa and looking for the best accommodation, TT can be contacted at thete-at@nix.co.za or +2779 581 1841 to get in touch with any of the establishments. The tourism association has said that Phalaborwa is referred to as the town with two summers as there is hardly any winter here with the lowest average temperature being 15 degrees Celsius.

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Ramaphosa’s Dream City: A Missed Opportunity for Zuma.

In his State of the Nation address on 20 June 2019, President Cyril Ramaphosa spoke about building the first city since the end of apartheid in South Africa. This idea and its potential to solve a multitude of social and economic problems is long overdue. If Zuma had had such a dream, and spent the billions of rands lost to state capture in building such cities, we could have had at least three such mega cities and the population composition of places such as Soweto and Alexander would be very different today as masses of people from these townships would be encouraged to settle in the new cities. And President Zuma would have been justified in naming the city after himself. Imagine Zuma City, a lasting legacy for South Africans.

Zuma had bad advice, and we are where we are today. But it is not too late for Ramaphosa to start with the project and no doubt the support from the private sector will be tremendous as there will be enormous benefits to be gained from such a project. In my view, once the first city is well under way, then a second one should commence, then the third one.And President Ramaphosa can have the pleasure of naming it after himself. Imagine Ramaphosa City or Matamela City or even RMC City. Then a lasting legacy would have been bequeathed to successive generations of South Africans.

This project in my view, should start tomorrow as it will solve our unemployment and crime problem at once. There is plenty of land between existing towns and cities as for example, between Johannesburg and Witbank/Emalahleni or between Pretoria and Emalahleni. There is no need to wait.

TT Thete is a contributor for DigiiNewsNetwork

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D-Day: 06 June 1944 -The Invasion of France by the Allied Forces.

D-Day 06 June 1944, the Invasion of France by the Allied Forces

Background to the Invasion: Germany invaded France on 10 May 1940 and the battle of France began. By 26 May 1940, German troops had advanced deep into France, trapping over 336 000 British, French, Belgian, Dutch and other allied troops at the port of Dunkirk. Hitler ordered his forces to halt. This gave the British an opportunity to organise the biggest evacuation of troops in history. Historians do not agree as to the reasons why Hitler would have made such an order as the French and British troops were trapped at Dunkirk and their defeat was a foregone conclusion. There are those who argue that he was persuaded by Herman Goring, chief of the Luftwaffe, to halt the advance of the ground forces so as to give the Luftwaffe and opportunity to finish the battle and claim victory for themselves. Others would say that he wanted to give the rest of the German infantry a chance to catch up with the panzers which had advanced rapidly across France. Yet others would say that he wanted to give Winston Churchill, the British Prime Minister,  an opportunity to negotiate for peace under favourable terms, while others would say that the German panzers advanced so rapidly into France that Hitler was convinced that the French and British forces would strike back viciously while the German troops were over-stretched and vulnerable. Whatever the reason was, the British were given an opportunity to evacuate thousands of troops within a matter of days. The French sued for peace and it so happened that France, for the next four years, until June 1944, remained under German occupation while elsewhere in Europe and the World and on the Eastern Front, the war raged on.

A meeting of Allied Commanders Planning for D-Day.

Operation Overlord was the codename for the Battle of Normandy, the Allied operation that launched the successful invasion of German-occupied Western Europe during World War II. The operation was launched on 6 June 1944 with the Normandy landings (Operation Neptune, commonly known as D-Day). A 1,200-plane airborne assault preceded an amphibious assault involving more than 5,000 vessels. Nearly 160,000 troops crossed the English Channel on 6 June, and more than two million Allied troops were in France by the end of August.

The decision to undertake a cross-channel invasion in 1944 was taken at the Trident Conference in Washington in May 1943. General Dwight D. Eisenhower was appointed commander of Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force (SHAEF), and General Bernard Montgomery was named as commander of the 21st Army Group, which comprised all the land forces involved in the invasion. The coast of Normandy of north-western France was chosen as the site of the invasion, with the Americans assigned to land at sectors codenamed Utah and Omaha, the British at Sword and Gold, and the Canadians at Juno. To meet the conditions expected on the Normandy beachhead, special technology was developed, including two artificial ports called Mulberry harbours and an array of specialised tanks nicknamed Hobart’s Funnies. In the months leading up to the invasion, the Allies conducted a substantial military deceptionOperation Bodyguard, using both electronic and visual misinformation. This misled the Germans as to the date and location of the main Allied landings.  Adolf Hitler placed German Field Marshal Erwin Rommel in charge of developing fortifications all along Hitler’s proclaimed Atlantic Wall in anticipation of an invasion.

The Allies failed to accomplish their objectives for the first day, but gained a tenuous foothold that they gradually expanded when they captured the port at Cherbourg on 26 June and the city of Caen on 21 July. A failed counterattack by German forces on 8 August left 50,000 soldiers of the 7th Army trapped in the Falaise pocket. The Allies launched a second invasion from the Mediterranean Sea of southern France (code-named Operation Dragoon) on 15 August, and the Liberation of Paris followed on 25 August. German forces retreated east across the Seine on 30 August 1944, marking the close of Operation Overlord.

The ruins of Caen, World War 2

The battle for Caen.

Summary of the scale of the battle: The invasion took place from 06 June 1944 until 30 August 1944 in northern France and resulted in victory for the allies.  Soldiers from the following countries took part In the invasion on the side of the Allies namely, The USA, the UK, Canada, France, the French Resistance, Poland, Australia, New Zealand, Belgium, Czechoslovakia, Greece, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway and Danish sailors. On the Axis side, only Germany was involved, Italy having been taken out of action with the demise of Benito Mussolini on 25 July 1943. Japan was preoccupied with the United States in the Far East and could not come to the assistance of the Third Reich.

General Bernard L. Montgomery watches his tanks move up.” North Africa, November 1942

Field Marshal Erwin Rommel  and General Bernard L. Montgomery

The Commanders: The Allied Forces were commanded by Dwight Eisenhower as the Supreme Allied Commander, Arthur Tedder as Deputy Supreme Allied Commander and Bernard L Montgomery as Commander in Chief of Ground Forces. The German Forces on the Western Front were under the overall command of Adolf Hitler himself, Field Marshall Gerd von Runstedt OB of the Western Front and Field Marshall Erwin Rommel, commander of Army Group B. The Allies deployed just over 2 million soldiers while Germany could only manage to deploy just over 640 000, just a quarter of the troops deployed by the allies.  Close to 40 000 civilians were killed during this phase of the conflict.

TT Thete is a World War II Historian based in Phalaborwa, South Africa.

This Article is published courtesy of Wikipedia. Pictures are supplied by Goodfreephotos.