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Tag Archives: south

Can Native research codes avoid culture clash?

The San people of southern Africa seek to encourage mutually beneficial collaborations with scientists with an official code of research ethics. Can lessons from past conflicts help bypass future battles? San men make fire in the Living Museum of the Ju/'Hoansi-San in Namibia.

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Why Africa remains in chains – Independent Online

Post-independent African countries have witnessed a host of civil wars, internecine conflicts and political instability.

Although the politics of the Cold War contributed in no small measure to the instability that bedevilled Africa from the 1960s to the end of the Cold War in the early 1990s, the colonial policy of divide and rule - and define and rule, as political commentator and historian Mahmood Mamdani would put it - the arbitrary demarcation of borders, the reification of tribes as a marker of identity and the struggle for control over scarce economic opportunities have combined to weaken state capacity for social cohesion, nation-building and inclusive development.

In over five centuries of encounters with other parts of the world, Africa’s experience has been marked by exploitation, oppression, subjugation and alteration of the distinct identities of the peoples through a long process of psychological distortions.

Both the Arab and European slave trade, which lasted for centuries, effectively truncated the process of population growth, distorted economic development (through the loss of an able and young work force) and militarised the whole continent through the promotion of inter-tribal wars, as historian Walter Rodney described.

The succeeding imposition of imperial domination and colonial intrusion also disrupted the process of economic development as the economies of the continent were organised to serve the interests of the metropoles.

As Nigerian political scientist Claude Ake explained, the introduction of wage labour and the constraints to pay taxes resulted in the loss of opportunity to pass through an agrarian revolution, which could have been a precursor for an industrial revolution in Africa.

The organisation of the global economy since the end of World War II has ensured the continuation of peripheralisation of African countries through the institutionalisation of unequal international division of labour, in which the rules of the game are set by the West and its allies.

In this regard, the Bretton Wood institutions - the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund - and their Geneva-based counterpart, the World Trade Organisation, have imposed financial and trade rules and policies that undermine the capacity of African states to adopt indigenous approaches to socio-economic development.

Although the globalisation processes have created some opportunities for a few segments of African society, through access to more information, the organising principle of neo-liberal globalisation has ensured an inappropriate integration of the continent into the global capitalist order, and in an asymmetrical manner. Despite the recent optimism and euphoria about “Africa rising”, expressed mainly through the growth in Gross Domestic Product, the challenge of the lack of fundamental transformation in the structures of the economies of virtually all the countries has led to a short-lived experience. Many of the fast-growing economies of early 2000s are back in the throes of debt, poverty and inequality.

For many decades, the parlous state of economic growth has hampered technological development and limited the capacity of African countries to build military hardware etc - African economies are effectively performing below their potential.

In a world that has continued to be defined by the principle of realism, state-centric power and influence, the lack of economic and military power has kept African countries at the margin of global influence. A classic example of this is that no African country is a permanent member of the UN Security Council today. Neither are any of the main global economic institutions headed by an African.

While the West remains stubbornly stuck in their supremacist position of privileges, through which they maintain the status quo by rights, African leaders have been complicit in the marginalisation of the continent.

Many of them have stolen their countries blind, while many others have continued to serve as surrogates of the West in acting as destabilising agents in their respective countries.

Lack of understanding of the question of identity and common positionality in the global hierarchy of power have continued to make Africans work at cross-purposes at multilateral levels. Rather than speak with one voice and negotiate as a bloc, African leaders either prefer allegiance with their former colonial masters or resort to their facile national patriotic base when issues of international diplomacy and negotiations are involved.

The few instances where African leaders have taken bold initiatives to advance the interests of the continent, especially under the presidencies of Thabo Mbeki, Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria, Muammar Gaddafi of Libya and a few others before them, have suffered either discontinuity or outright suppression. The leadership deficit, especially in relation to thought leadership, is widening.

These leaders had tried to take the baton from earlier African nationalists who ensured the political independence of the continent. Nowadays the continent is losing momentum and it is probably worse off than it was 10 years ago. It is encouraging, though, that there is a new momentum of engagement with Africa, especially from non-traditional partners in Asia and Latin America. Even though this engagement is also motivated by the desire for raw materials and markets, it presents a new opportunity for Africa to redefine its mode of engagement with the rest of the world.

This will require crafting a new strategy that is underpinned by the principle of Pan-Africanism and African renaissance.

It is in this context that we look forward to Professor Mahmood Mamdani’s lecture in this year’s Thabo Mbeki Africa Day Lecture, which was inaugurated by former president Mbeki in 2010.

Mamdani will lecture on Africa and the Changing World on May 26, a day after the official Africa Day. As has become a new tradition, a debate on his lecture will take place after his lecture.

* Professor Gumede is head of the Thabo Mbeki African Leadership Institute at Unisa.

** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Media.

The Sunday Independent

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Goldie Hawn Reveals Her Zulu Dance Passion

Goldie Hawn has also had a passion for dancing, long before she made a name for herself as an actress. She did ballet and tap from the age of three, but her latest fascination is with the tribal dances of certain Southern Africa groups.

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Charity worker’s Nigerian mission

A WINCHESTER charity worker has visited Nigeria as part of efforts to help millions of people left homeless by conflict. David Pain of Clifton Road travelled to the west African country to meet families who have fled their homes amid the ongoing violence caused by terrorist group Boko Haram, The trip to the north-east of the country was also a chance to witness the work of charity Christian Aid where he is fundraising director, ahead of the annual Christian Aid Week.

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#CourtneyPieters: Farewell to ‘little girl that crawled into our hearts’ – Independent Online

Cape Town – The funeral of murdered three-year-old Courtney Pieters was attended by hundreds of mourners in Elsies River in Cape Town on Saturday morning.

Community members turned up in large numbers to show their support to the family at the Adriaanse Community Centre in Elsies River.

After several tributes to the murdered toddler, her cousins sang a song paying tribute to the short life she had lived with them.

Hundreds of mourners packed the community hall for the little girl's funeral. Photo: ANA/Ayanda Ndamane

Courtney’s mother Juanita Pieters was just as emotional in the hall as she had been when she carried the body of her child into their Pluto Street home for the last time. After arriving in the hall, she remained seated in the same place, staring in disbelief at the coffin of her little girl.

Murdered three-year-old Courtney's mother Juanita Pieters and an unidentified companion at the toddler's funeral in Cape Town. Photo: ANA/Ayanda Ndamane

Earlier, the funeral got underway with a ride past by a local motorcycle club, a brass band, and a cadet regiment.

Family members gathered in the Pluto Street home when Courtney’s body arrived for the funeral procession. The hearse was accompanied by the motorcycle escort and brass band.


Motorcycle riders formed part of the funeral procession for little Courtney Pieters. PHOTO: Tamaryn Africa/ANA

From there, the funeral procession made its way to the Adriaanse Community Hall where hundreds of people had crammed in for the service.

An Apostolic church official opened by saying: “We all know today is about a little girl that crawled into our hearts in two weeks.”

Hundreds of residents had earlier also taken part in a peace march from the nearby Elsies River High School.

VIDEO: Tamaryn Africa/ANA

The rape and murder of the little girl shocked South Africa, with President Jacob Zuma, Police Minister Fikile Mbalula, and Western Cape community safety MEC Dan Plato all taking turns to visit the family this past week.

Zuma had also visited the site in nearby Epping where Courtney’s body was discovered last Saturday, nine days after she went missing.

Thousands of people turned out for the funeral of three-year-old Courtney Pieters who was murdered recently. PHOTO: Tamaryn Africa/ANA

A 40-year-old man who lived with the Pieters family appeared in the Goodwood Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday charged with Courtney’s rape and murder.

In a statement issued by the presidency earlier this week, Zuma expressed shock and repulsion at Courtney’s murder and other similar cases around the country where women and children had been violently attacked.

VIDEO: Tamaryn Africa/ANA

“Our prayers and thoughts are with the families during this difficult period. The incidents have caused untold pain among South Africans and this is the time for us to unite and isolate these cruel perpetrators of this shameful and hateful crime against women and children,” Zuma said at the time.

Courtney was buried at the Modderdam Road cemetery in Belhar.

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South Africa is taking its breakup with General Motors badly – Quartz

After more than 90 years, General Motors is leaving South Africa, and South Africans aren’t handling the separation very well.

The US car company announced May 18 it will cease manufacturing and the sale of Chevrolet cars in South Africa by the end of the year. The company’s plant in the coastal city of Port Elizabeth will be taken over by Isuzu, hopefully avoiding the loss of nearly 2,000 jobs in the city that is known as South Africa’s car-making hub. GM called it “a business decision, based on GM’s global business priorities” which include a strategy to increase profitability (pdf) in a changing passenger-vehicle market.

GM’s decision comes months after French car manufacturer Citroën backed out of the South African market. GM has also decided to stop selling cars in India, the world’s fifth largest car manufacturer where the car maker has struggled to compete with Japanese and Korean vehicle manufacturers.

South Africans received the message as more bad news in an already pessimistic economy. The decision comes weeks after credit ratings agencies downgraded South Africa’s credit rating. The main opposition party, the Democratic Alliance, saw it as the government’s failure to create local jobs and restore international investment, even blaming recently appointed finance minister Malusi Gigaba.

“It must worry us, as a country, living in a high-tech industrial age, that we do not produce our own automobiles,” said the Economic Freedom Fighters, the second opposition.

South Africa is still home to manufacturing plants for Volkswagen, Ford and others. While GM has been in the country since 1926, it has lately struggled to compete in a more open post-apartheid market, with vehicle sales falling consistently in the last five years.

The South African government plans to launch a “master plan” in the coming year to boost domestic manufacturing.

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Silicon Valley has idolized Steve Jobs for decades—and it’s finally paying the price

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Africa: Politicians Don’t Do Shame Very Well

Photo: South African Broadcasting Corporation

Brian Molefe, former Eskom CEO and now a member of parliament

analysisBy Judith February

In every government, there are those who prize the trappings of a ministerial position above their own integrity, who are intoxicated by power and loyal to leader and party no matter what.

British Prime Minister Theresa May has called an early election for 8 June despite being unequivocal in saying she would never call a snap election. Never?

Across the pond, Donald Trump's presidency reflects a rather more brazen and dangerous shamelessness. His narcissistic lack of conscience has allowed him not only to fire the head of the FBI, James Comey but also to provide contradictory reasons for doing so.

In South Africa, our own President and many in his Cabinet have taken shamelessness to a new level. We need only think back to Nkandla and the travesty that is the ongoing Sassa debacle under Social Development minister, Bathabile Dlamini. There is an endless list of corrupt acts which dot our political landscape with such regularity that we are almost inured.

In every government, there are those who prize the trappings of a ministerial position above their own integrity, who are intoxicated by power and loyal to leader and party no matter what. Public Enterprises minister Lynne Brown is in that camp and that will be her tattered legacy. Behind the show of faux authority and her slow, pointed use of words, Brown is an empty shell, now completely exposed. Her boss, President Zuma, knows better than anyone that there are enough people who have their price and who will do his bidding. And so Brown's Friday press conference explaining the reinstatement of former Eskom CEO, Brian Molefe, was just that - Brown doing Zuma's bidding.

As she contorted her way through the briefing, one wondered one thing, "Where is the shame?" In a comment pregnant with several pauses - either for dramatic effect or because she was making it up as she went along - Brown seemed to sneer at those who have "ethical" problems with Molefe's reappointment because "he is captured".

"The man is innocent until proven guilty," she said, almost half-lecturing the public.

The issues here really are crisp.

Molefe's resignation letter is in the public domain and, unfortunately for Brown, our memories are not that short either.

More on This

South Africa's ANC Wants Eskom CEO's Reappointment Scrapped
Public Enterprises Minister Ordered to Rescind Molefe's Return to Eskom
Brian Molefe, The Latest Gupta Deployment to South African Govt?
South Africans Must Reject Molefe's Appointment As MPInside Former Power Utility Chief's Paradise
South Africa: Revolving Door at Eskom as Molefe Returns as CEO
Numsa Slams Molefe ReinstatementOpposition to Ask Court for Review of Molefe Return Decision

In early November 2016, Molefe tearfully resigned as CEO of Eskom. His statement then said that he was doing so "voluntarily in the interests of good corporate governance". This followed a damning State of Capture report released by the Public Protector in late October. In that report, it was revealed that Molefe was in regular contact with the President's associates, the Guptas, over an extensive period. This was alleged to have included 58 phone calls to Ajay Gupta and several visits the to the Guptas' home in Saxonwold. Molefe famously denied the visits as ones to a "Saxonwold shebeen".

So Molefe resigned then. Brown accepted his resignation. At the time her exact words were, "I am saddened by the announcement of Mr Molefe's resignation. However, I do respect his decision to do so."

Yet, Eskom is now saying Molefe "took early retirement", in an attempt to allow for his reinstatement, presumably? Brown told the media that reinstating Molefe was better than having to pay him the R30-million pension. Brown allegedly feared that Molefe would sue for the R30-million. Strange, when Zuma's government is drowning in litigation to protect the President himself, that it fears a lawsuit from Molefe?

So, did Molefe resign in November or did he take early retirement? Where is the truth? In any event, why was he due a R30-million payout? One might also ask why Molefe is the best person for the job given the serious nature of the allegations against him.

It's unlikely that we will get the answers any time soon. Brown has said she will conduct a joint press conference with the Eskom Board to provide greater clarity. The board itself is compromised and so we can expect no clarity, only more shameless spin. At the heart of former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela's investigation was Eskom's contract with Tegeta, a Gupta-linked company. That contract was for the supply of coal to Eskom at grossly inflated prices.

The report found that the contract between Tegeta and Eskom potentially constitutes a contravention of the board's duty to prevent fruitless and wasteful expenditure under the Public Finance Management Act. In addition, it found that the board appears to have been improperly appointed. The Public Protector's report goes on to detail a tangled web between the Guptas, Molefe and the Eskom Board. It sets out several instances of alleged conflicts of interest between Board chair Ben Ngubane, several past and present board members and the Guptas or their associates.

Yet even after this, Ngubane and the board remain in their positions and Brown has no appetite for investigate the breaches of corporate governance at Eskom or even a semblance of curiosity to get to the bottom of allegations of corruption. If Brown were interested in good governance and not protecting her job and her boss, she would seek to ensure that government uses its powers as majority shareholder in Eskom to fire the board and appoint members of integrity. In addition, she would seek to clarify the glaring contradictions between her initial statement that Molefe resigned and the latest statement from Eskom that he actually took early retirement.

Given what this Molefe reinstatement symbolises, we can expect more of the same in terms of the continuing dysfunction within State-Owned Enterprises in general and Eskom specifically in the next year and beyond. Presumably Molefe's tears last year did not end his association with the Guptas?

Brown has called for a "decisive investigation" into state capture allegations. That was the recommendation made by the Public Protector but Zuma would have to set that process in motion. Predictably, he has stalled any such commission. One has to wonder why? Perhaps it is too blatantly obvious that Madonsela's report only scratched the surface of the network of patronage, capture and corruption which exists within SOEs and which the President himself is at the centre of in some way or another?

For its part, the ANC has criticised Molefe's reappointment. Yet, one is left to wonder which part of the ANC was speaking? And where was this ANC when Molefe was spirited into Parliament after "leaving Eskom under a cloud" - the ANC's own words? The only explanation is that the ANC has lost control of what Zuma does in government. The irony, of course, is that Zuma's ascent to power was about enabling the ANC to insert itself into the processes of government more effectively. Well, that has been a wholesale failure as Zuma and his cabal of ministers govern only in their own interests and to benefit a broader patronage network.

For Zuma, the state capture project, therefore, continues apace given that he is consistently able to rely on his acolytes to bolster his next move.

The facts, however, are in the public domain and, as an ANC voter asked on a radio talk show late last week, "Do they think we are idiots?"

Apparently, yes, though Zuma and his cronies in the ANC would do well not to underestimate the increasingly simmering anger of their constituents too much. Hubris has a tendency to come back to bite when least expected.

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Former senior Wits University official pleads guilty to stealing grant funds

Eugene Sickle‚ 47‚ a chemist and the former deputy executive director of the WRHI‚ was asked to plead last week after being arrested earlier this year in the US.

In a statement released by the US Department of Justice‚ US Attorney Channing Phillips said: "Eugene Sickle abused his position to steal more than $200‚000 meant to promote safer childbirth practices in South Africa."

Wits University said on Tuesday that the university and the institute were able to detect the theft because it already had strong systems in place‚ and moved to assure potential donors that the university would act strongly against future attempts of irregular use of donor funding.

Phillips said of Sickle: "His actions undercut efforts by the US Agency for International Development to help those in need. His arrest and prosecution demonstrate our commitment to ensuring US dollars are spent properly."

Sickle is expected to be sentenced on August 1‚ with the plea agreement requiring him to repay $206‚250 in restitution‚ in addition to a possible prison sentence of six to 12 months.

After Sickle's arrest earlier this year‚ Wits University said the irregularities were originally identified by the WRHI which embarked on a full investigation. Following his questioning‚ he resigned immediately.

The statement by the US Department of Justice also quoted Jonathan Schofield‚ a special agent in charge of the USAID Office of Investigations‚ as saying Sickle violated the law and the "very dignity of America's ideals and largess".

"When individuals are entrusted by the United States to help implement its overseas development programmes‚ nothing but the highest ethical and legal standards are demanded‚" Schofield said.

"Theft from those who have nothing - from a programme dedicated to safer childbirth no less - not only violates the law but is an affront to the very dignity of America's ideals and largess. Whether such egregious behaviour transpires domestically or overseas‚ the Office of the Inspector General stands ready to ensure perpetrators are held to account.”

Sickle's work at the WRHI was focused on sexual and reproductive health as well as vaccine-preventable diseases‚ with him being the administrator for project funds and USAID being one of the primary funders. In an elaborate scheme‚ Sickle created a company called Alzar‚ which was based in the British Virgin Islands‚ and was meant to create a mobile application which would help facilitate safer childbirth deliveries in South Africa.

As part of the scheme‚ which Sickle admitted to in a statement‚ he created an alias called Dr. Carla Das Neves who was Alzar's director. The childbirth application was never developed‚ and Sickle was found to have been the sole owner of the company.

The statement by the US Justice Department said Sickle "shepherded" the research institute's contract with Alzar through the approval and compliance process‚ while signing the contract as himself and under the Carla Das Neves alias.

Wits University spokesperson Shirona Patel said: "The University welcomes the arrest of a former employee of the Wits Reproductive Health and HIV Institute (WRHI) who was arrested in the United States following allegations of fraud. We have noted that he has pleaded guilty to the charges."

Patel said the university wouldn't tolerate the misuse of donor and grant funds.

"It is precisely due to the University’s strong systems‚ quick action and cooperation with partners‚ that these alleged fraudulent activities were identified‚ managed and pursued‚" she said.

"Wits entities will continue to work with all relevant parties to finalise the matter. The management of this case demonstrates that the University will deal decisively with any form of misrepresentation‚ fraud or illegal activity‚" Patel said.

She said the university remained a leading research-intensive university on the continent with significant support from corporates‚ individual donors‚ trusts and foundations.

"The WRHI remains one of the leading research institutes in its field in the world‚ producing important work that saves and betters the lives of millions every day‚" she said.

“I commend the work of USAID's South Africa-based Special Agents for conducting the investigation which led to the arrest‚" said Alonzo Wind‚ USAID/Southern Africa Acting Mission Director. “Any fraud is unacceptable‚ but fraud which undermines our ability to help the people of South Africa is particularly upsetting."

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Ugandan troops face sexual abuse charges in central Africa

Ugandan soldiers in Central African Republic have sexually exploited or abused at least 13 women and girls since 2015, including at least one rape, Human Rights Watch said Monday. The rights group said in a report Monday that two of the women were girls when the abuse happened, charging that some of the victims have been threatened into silence.

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Nigeria: Former Aviation Minister Fani-Kayode Rearraigned

By Ben Ezeamalu

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has rearraigned a former Aviation Minister, Femi Fani-Kayode, before a Lagos Division of the Federal High Court.

Mr. Fani-Kayode, who was part of former President Goodluck Jonathan's re-election campaign, was rearraigned alongside Nenadi Usman, a former minister of state for finance on a 17-count charge of money laundering and alleged diversion of N4.6 billion.

Others include one Danjuma Yusuf and a company, Joint Trust Dimension Nig. Ltd.

The defendants pleaded not guilty before Justice Rilwan Aikawa, a new judge.

The judge had taken over trial after Mr. Fani-Kayode applied for the previous one, Muslim Hassan, to recuse himself from the trial on the grounds that he was the EFCC officer who signed a criminal charge filed against him.

Mr. Hassan worked as an EFCC legal officer before his elevation to the bench.

Nigeria

Court Adjourns Suit Seeking Final Forfeiture of Patience Jonathan 'U.S.$5.8 Million'

A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos on Monday adjourned to May 22, a suit seeking final forfeiture to the Federal… Read more »

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Karabo Mokoena murder: Suspect charged in South Africa court – BBC News

Image copyright kayfab_27 Image caption Karabo Mokoena's killing is being seen as symbolic of the wider violence faced by women in South Africa

The man believed to be the boyfriend of a 22-year-old woman, whose killing has shocked South Africa, has been charged with her murder at a court in Johannesburg.

Karabo Mokoena's mother wept as she arrived at the hearing.

A widespread online campaign to find Ms Mokoena was called off on Wednesday when her father confirmed her death.

The case has sparked a fierce debate about the levels of violence faced by women in South Africa.

South Africa crippled by rape culture More on this and other African stories

The suspect, who has not yet pleaded, will remain in custody after the case was adjourned until 24 May, local Jacaranda News reports.

Police are still waiting for DNA tests to confirm the identity of the body, which they said was "badly burned".


A woman's life in South Africa: Pumza Fihlani, BBC News, Johannesburg

Being a woman in South Africa is like being trapped in a locked room - you can hear someone walking outside and you know someone will come one day and you won't be able to stop them.

There is nothing you can do to stop him.

Nothing can protect you - not the pepper spray in your bag, not the self-defence classes you got as a gift for your birthday when your breasts developed, not travelling in groups, not the NO you've been taught to say should that day come - nothing.

It is learning to be "vigilant" before you even know what it is to feel safe.

It is feeling unsafe everywhere, all the time.

African societies are built on patriarchy - every young girl grows up knowing that a man is the head, that he is powerful, that he is a go-getter, a conqueror. We are taught to admire these very traits about you, and I do. But dear God I am afraid of you - and with good reason.

The statistics in this country are not in my or any woman's favour. They say that one day I, or someone I know, will be your victim.


The hashtags #RIPKarabo and #MenAreTrash have been trending across the country as women call for an end to violence against them.

The case has prompted an outpouring of anger and grief in South Africa, mostly by women who took to social media to share stories of abuse they had suffered at the hands of their partners.

One woman's account of how a man had abducted and viciously beat her while she was returning home from a shopping centre in Johannesburg was shared by thousands of people on Twitter:

Image copyright Twitter

Others shared similarly harrowing tales of violence against women by their partners.

Image copyright Twitter

There were also those who were keen to point out that Karabo Mokoena's case, though widely publicised, was by no means unique.

Image copyright Twitter

South Africa has among the highest rates in the world for the rape and murder of women.

More than 40,000 cases of rape are reported every year, figures which are thought to only represent a fraction of actual attacks.

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Karabo Mokoena murder: Suspect charged in South Africa court

Image copyright kayfab_27 Image caption Karabo Mokoena's killing is being seen as symbolic of the wider violence faced by women in South Africa

The man believed to be the boyfriend of a 22-year-old woman, whose killing has shocked South Africa, has been charged with her murder at a court in Johannesburg.

Karabo Mokoena's mother wept as she arrived at the hearing.

A widespread online campaign to find Ms Mokoena was called off on Wednesday when her father confirmed her death.

The case has sparked a fierce debate about the levels of violence faced by women in South Africa.

South Africa crippled by rape culture More on this and other African stories

The suspect, who has not yet pleaded, will remain in custody after the case was adjourned until 24 May, local Jacaranda News reports.

Police are still waiting for DNA tests to confirm the identity of the body, which they said was "badly burned".


A woman's life in South Africa: Pumza Fihlani, BBC News, Johannesburg

Being a woman in South Africa is like being trapped in a locked room - you can hear someone walking outside and you know someone will come one day and you won't be able to stop them.

There is nothing you can do to stop him.

Nothing can protect you - not the pepper spray in your bag, not the self-defence classes you got as a gift for your birthday when your breasts developed, not travelling in groups, not the NO you've been taught to say should that day come - nothing.

It is learning to be "vigilant" before you even know what it is to feel safe.

It is feeling unsafe everywhere, all the time.

African societies are built on patriarchy - every young girl grows up knowing that a man is the head, that he is powerful, that he is a go-getter, a conqueror. We are taught to admire these very traits about you, and I do. But dear God I am afraid of you - and with good reason.

The statistics in this country are not in my or any woman's favour. They say that one day I, or someone I know, will be your victim.


The hashtags #RIPKarabo and #MenAreTrash have been trending across the country as women call for an end to violence against them.

The case has prompted an outpouring of anger and grief in South Africa, mostly by women who took to social media to share stories of abuse they had suffered at the hands of their partners.

One woman's account of how a man had abducted and viciously beat her while she was returning home from a shopping centre in Johannesburg was shared by thousands of people on Twitter:

Image copyright Twitter

Others shared similarly harrowing tales of violence against women by their partners.

Image copyright Twitter

There were also those who were keen to point out that Karabo Mokoena's case, though widely publicised, was by no means unique.

Image copyright Twitter

South Africa has among the highest rates in the world for the rape and murder of women.

More than 40,000 cases of rape are reported every year, figures which are thought to only represent a fraction of actual attacks.

Read More »

DA could beat ANC in 2019 with coalition help, says Maimane – Times LIVE

The ANC has comfortably won every parliamentary election since it swept to power under Nelson Mandela at the end of apartheid in 1994 and the DA had previously made ruling South Africa a long-term ambition.

Most analysts put the chances of a DA-coalition victory in 2019 as low but believe it is achievable in 2024 if the ANC continues to disappoint its poor black support base.

Opposition parties to lead ‘Zuma quit’ march on day of ConCourt secret ballot hearing 

The ANC has lost popularity under Zuma following a string of scandals and a failure to address slow economic growth, high unemployment and gaping inequality.

The DA hit a new high last year by taking control of three of the largest cities from the ANC in local elections as part of coalitions with the hard-left Economic Freedom Fighters and smaller opposition movements.

The results took many politicians and political analysts by surprise and opened a divide in the ANC ahead of a conference in December where it will choose Zuma's successor as party leader. Zuma can stay on as South African president until 2019.

Surprise Northern Cape reshuffle leaves ANC livid 

Maimane said the local election results and Zuma's unpopularity will give the DA the edge in two years time.

"The people must be aware that the project ultimately is about the removal of the ANC and in 2019 there must be a DA-led coalition of governments, as we’ve seen in the cities,” said Maimane, a former preacher and the DA's first black leader.

"I’m convinced that the starting point is Zuma."

The ANC won 62 percent of the vote in the 2014 national election, down from 66 percent in 2009. The DA increased its share to 22 percent, from 17 percent. If the ANC falls below 50 percent, the DA could rule under a coalition.

ANC presidential battle will be 'vicious' – Phosa 

Although Maimane has helped to broaden the DA's appeal, one of its biggest challenges is changing the perception that it is a party for the white-minority, an accusation the ANC promotes.

"The criticism that we protect white interests is ANC propaganda. They want to say there are black parties and there are white parties," Maimane, who is married to a white South African, said.

"The dream is always for a non-racial party."

Ramaphosa's presidential bid buoyed by Zuma missteps 

Zuma has faced public protests calling for his resignation in the last month after he fired his fourth finance minister in less than two years, shaking investor confidence.

Zuma also faces a no-confidence vote in parliament this month following the cabinet reshuffle that the DA and some opponents in the ANC said was intended to insert loyalist who will prevent him from being removed.

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Africa: Battling to Save the Ethiopian Wolf – Africa’s Rarest Carnivore

Photo: Rod Waddington

Ethiopian wolf, Sanetti Plateau.

analysisBy Claudio Sillero, University of Oxford

Most members of the Canidae family, such as wolves, dogs and foxes, are versatile and opportunistic animals, thriving in many habitats and some even living in urban and suburban settings. In contrast, Ethiopian wolves are highly specialised to life in the Ethiopian highlands. Also called the "Roof of Africa", it encompasses 80% of Africa's land above 3,000m.

They are remarkable rodent hunters, with long muzzles and slender legs. Their tight social bonds help them protect their precious family territories from competitors. For a canid of their size (about 14-20kg - the weight of a medium-sized dog), Ethiopian wolves are unique at surviving on small prey (most highland rodent species weigh less than 100g) and are solitary foragers. With their striking red coats and black and white markings, they appear physically distant from their closest relative, the grey wolf.

These qualities made them successful colonisers of an expanding ecosystem as the African glaciers retreated during the end of the last ice age, but paradoxically have contributed to their demise.

Due to a warming continent, in the last 100,000 years the tree line has gone up by 1,000m encroaching on open Afroalpine grasslands and meadows. Due to the pressure of humans, livestock and domestic dogs, the wolves are now restricted to tiny mountain pockets on either side of the Great Rift Valley and are constantly being pushed up the slopes.

Although they were never particularly common, today there are fewer than 500 adult wolves in the mountains of Bale, Arsi, Simien and Wollo, over half of whom are harboured within the Bale Mountains National Park. This makes them Africa's rarest, and most threatened carnivore species. As an indication this is 10 times fewer than African wild dogs and fifty times rarer than lions.

But there is hope. The Ethiopian Wolf Conservation Programme and its Ethiopian partners continue to put all their strength into fighting the wolves' various challenges through awareness, education and science-led approaches to disease and population management.

The challenges

The challenges they face are diverse.

It's not for lack of food that wolf numbers are small. Their environments harbour a particularly high rodent biomass, some 3,000kg of rats per km2 in some meadows. The wolves live in large family packs, where all patrol and scent mark the boundaries of small communal territories. This protects their rich food patches from neighbouring wolves and other carnivores such as spotted hyenas and jackals.

The most immediate and real threat to wolves is in fact domestic animals. While many highland wildlife species have been able to coexist with highland shepherds and their livestock, domestic dogs bring an additional challenge.

The dogs not only compete for food but, as dogs and wolves are inexorably drawn to each other and interact, dogs transmit rabies and canine distemper virus to their wild cousins. This has the potential to decimate wolf populations in a short period of time. In extreme cases dogs may even mate and hybridise with the wolves, threatening the genetic integrity of this rare and endemic canid.

Disease ultimately determines the dynamics of the last remaining wolf havens. Three out of four wolves typically die in populations hit by outbreaks, and may result in local extinctions.

In the last three years, populations in the Bale Mountains have endured back-to-back rabies and distemper outbreaks. Smaller populations are at even greater risk. At the end of last year disease decimated the smallest wolf population in Wollo, now feared on the brink of extinction.

The other great threat to the wolves is Ethiopia's a changing landscape due to farming. Expanding populations and the need for arable land bring about an incessant pressure on natural habitats.

By and large the people that live in the Ethiopian highlands are relatively tolerant of wildlife, but their priority is survival. Unless their livelihoods can be brought into line with sustainable practices, the meadows and moors they need for grazing, to gather firewood and tend their crops, will soon be degraded to bare rock.

Bouncing back

Nevertheless, there are reasons to be optimistic about the future of the Ethiopian Wolf. In the Bale Mountains the Ethiopian Wolf Conservation Programme have vaccinated over 80,000 dogs to prevent rabies getting across to wolves. And when the deadly virus strikes, swift interventions to vaccinate the wolves have taken place.

There are early signs that the wolves in Bale are bouncing back. By the end of January, nearly all of 18 focal packs monitored - and most recently vaccinated - had bred successfully. As many as seven pups were born to a dominant female and there were over 80 healthy pups located in the Bale Mountains alone. It was also encouraging to see some of the larger packs split, increasing the number of breeding families.

In a shift from reactive vaccination of Ethiopian wolves following outbreaks to a preventive approach, an oral vaccine has been trialled. This will offer protection from future rabies outbreaks.

More to be done

Rare, ecological specialists such as these wolves, will continue to be threatened as environments change and human populations grow. That means that heavy intervention is needed to secure their survival.

A critical factor in their preservation is the commitment and dedication to finding common ground between the needs of people and wildlife. For example, Ethiopia's long-term conservation view is that within protected areas there should be no domestic dogs. More can be done to facilitate this, such as improved night protection for people's livestock with predator-proof enclosures. This would reduce their dependence on guard dogs and, in time, reduce the negative impact of dogs on wild carnivores.

Another key intervention would be to implement a metapopulation management paradigm under which isolated populations are treated as part of a single (or meta) population and animals are trans-located between them. This enables recovery and a healthy flow of genes.

In the meantime, our vaccination work brings us closer to the local communities and provides a channel of communication to transmit our environmental education message.

Disclosure statement

Claudio Sillero receives funding from the Born Free Foundation, Wildlife Conservation Network, Fondation Segré, Ethiopian Public Health Institute, UK Animal Plant Health Authority, US Fish & Wildlife Agency, and others. He is Head of Conservation of the Born Free Foundation and Chair of the IUCN SSC Canid Specialist Group.

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More details emerge in Franziska Blöchliger case – Independent Online

Cape Town – More shocking details emerged on the second day of the murder trial of Howard Oliver in the Western Cape High Court. Oliver is accused of raping, robbing and killing 16-year-old Franziska Blöchliger.

Franziska went missing while jogging with her mother in Tokai Forest a year ago.

Howard Oliver, 28, is accused of robbing, raping and killing 16-year-old Franziska Blöchliger in Tokai Forest. File picture: Bertram Malgas

Constable Donivan Pietersen from Kirstenhof SAPS was the first witness of the day, and testified that he arrested the accused on a farm. Pietersen told the court he had asked Oliver if he gave the murdered girl's iPhone to Jerome Moses.

Moses was one of the three men who were charged with receiving and possession of stolen property, namely, the teenager’s cellphone. The other two men were Jonathan Jonas and Daniel Easter.

Pietersen stated that Oliver said Jerome Moses asked him to sell phone. Oliver was arrested, and read his rights. Pietersen said that he knew Oliver before Tokai Forest murder, and he also knew Jonathan Jonas.

The Kirstenhof cop says he made four arrests, and that all the suspects lived in Westlake, which is approximately 10km from Tokai Forest.

On 8 March 2016, a person called Baby brought the stolen iPhone to the station. It was off and the the police then took a statement. Pietersen said that Moses led him to Oliver.

Moses was in the van when they took Oliver into police custody. Oliver, through his lawyer, then objected and said that the officer who is testifying did not arrest him, but Pietersen maintains he did.

Andre van Rooyen was called as the next witness in the case, and he gave evidence saying he worked with Oliver at Klein Constantia vineyard last year. On day of murder, Van Rooyen said Oliver spoke to farm manager before lunch and then left.

“I got 2 calls from Oliver that day, I did not recognise the number the first time. He said we must meet at a shop.” Van Rooyen met with Oliver for Mandrax, saying “he did not look lekker, he looked twitchy”, Van Rooyen said.

Van Rooyen and Oliver both took a drag of Mandrax and dagga when Oliver opened up and said “this thing will bother me”. Van Rooyen says that Oliver did not say what was bothering him.

Van Rooyen and Oliver travelled together the next morning, and said that farm workers on truck were talking about a murder.

The state witness after Van Rooyen was only 17 years old, and because he is a minor, journalists and the public were expected to wait outside while he finished testifying.

Deon Bock, Hout Bay police captain, was the next witness, and said that Oliver had a lawyer present during pointing out.

The court then proceed to watch a video which started with Oliver, his lawyer and Captain Bok in his office at Kirstenhof SAPS on 8 June 2016.

In the video Oliver's rights are explained, and within it he told Bok he wanted to point out crime scene.

In another video Oliver was in a police car with lawyer, showing the grassy path he walked after lunch that day. The next video had Oliver going to Tokai forest, and in it he walked along the path in Tokai.

Oliver and the team walk through fynbos and then on the boardwalk.

The video showed that Oliver went deep into reserve to smoke, then proceeded to take a shortcut home through the bush.

Oliver told the officer he saw a girl jogging with earphones. He saw her phone and grabbed her from behind. He said he and the teen fell to floor, she tried to loosen his arms from her neck – “We struggled”.

Daniel Easter, who got a suspended sentence after admitting he paid R200 for teen's stolen iPhone in February, was supposed to be in court, but was absent. The state asked for a warrant of arrest which was authorized by the court.

The trial will continue on Monday with a with video showing Oliver describing how he robbed teen.

Independent Media

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Schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram freed

Schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram freed

AFP | 2017-05-08 06:56:07.0

Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari applauds as he welcomes a group of Chibok girls, who were held captive for three years by the militant group Boko Haram, in Abuja, Nigeria, May 7, 2017.
Image by: HANDOUT / REUTERS

Eighty-two of the more than 200 schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram in northeast Nigeria in 2014 arrived in Abuja yesterday to meet President Muhammadu Buhari after a prisoner swap deal secured their release.

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Presidency spokesman Femi Adesina said the schoolgirls from Chibok, in Borno state, were met at the capital's airport by Buhari's chief of staff Abba Kyari.

Military and civilian militia sources in the town of Banki, on the border with Cameroon, said the girls had left for Borno state capital Maiduguri on board six military helicopters.

Boko Haram kidnap 22 girls, women in northeast Nigeria

"One of the girls was carrying a baby with her, a boy of less than two years," said the source on condition of anonymity.

The International Committee of the Red Cross, which said it "facilitated the safe return" of the girls as a "neutral intermediary", tweeted photographs of a line of girls boarding a military helicopter.

The presidency announced late on Saturday that months of talks with the jihadists had "yielded results" about six months after 21 other Chibok girls were freed with the help of international mediators.

"Today 82 more Chibok girls were released," it said.

"After lengthy negotiations, our security agencies have taken back these girls, in exchange for some Boko Haram suspects held by the authorities."

Nigerian women displaced by Boko Haram hold protest

No details were given about how many suspects were released or their identities.

Shehu Sani, a Nigerian senator who has been involved in previous negotiations, said the talks lasted for "three to four months". The government would now look to secure the release of the remaining hostages, he said.

Boko Haram fighters stormed the Government Girls Secondary School in Chibok on the evening of April 14 2014 and kidnapped 276 teenaged girls.

Fifty-seven managed to escape in the hours that followed but the remaining 219 were held by the group.

Boko Haram's Abubaker Shekau claimed in a video that they had converted to Islam.

The girls have become a symbol of the Nigerian conflict. Last month parents and supporters marked the three-year anniversary of the abduction, describing the situation as an unending "nightmare".

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As the World Cuts Back on Coal, a Growing Appetite in Africa – National Geographic

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A coal mine in Zimbabwe is one of the signs of activity for the fossil fuel in a developing Africa.


Photograph by Beverly Joubert, National Geographic Creative

Few places in the world exude a sense of timelessness as Lamu, an island off of Kenya’s northern coast home to the oldest and best preserved Swahili settlement in East Africa. Lamu’s old town, a UNESCO World Heritage site and an epicenter of Indian Ocean trade for centuries, is a maze of narrow winding streets that cut through neighborhoods of limestone and coral houses, past elaborately carved mahogany doors and several dozen mosques and churches. Only a handful of motor vehicles are allowed on the island; transportation is mainly the domain of donkeys or men pushing wooden carts thorough the tropical swelter.

Yet Lamu Island’s 24,000 residents are faced with what many here call an existential crisis. Some 15 miles north of town, on a sparsely populated seaside area of the mainland formerly used for growing maize, cashews, and sesame, a Kenyan company known as Amu Power is preparing to erect a $2 billion coal power plant, the first of its kind in East Africa.

Financed with Chinese, South African, and Kenyan capital, and built by the state-owned Power Construction Corporation of China, the plant is intended to add 1,050 megawatts of capacity to Kenya’s national grid and power operations of an adjacent 32 berth deep-water port. Both are part of an ambitious government plan to transform Kenya into a newly industrializing, middle-income country by 2030.

The project is controversial in part due to the risks it poses to Lamu’s delicate marine environment, which many fear will harm its two most vital industries: fishing and tourism. Yet it is also emblematic of Africa’s growing appetite for coal, the most polluting form of power generation, which until now has existed in significant quantities only in the continent’s most industrialized country, South Africa.

According to data compiled by CoalSwarm, an industry watchdog, more than 100 coal-generating units with a combined capacity of 42.5 gigawatts are in various stages of planning or development in 11 African countries outside of South Africa—more than eight times the region’s existing coal capacity. Nearly all are fueled by foreign investment, and roughly half are being financed by the world’s largest coal emitter: China.

This comes at a time when China and India, which accounted for 86 percent of global coal development over the last decade, are putting coal projects on hold at record rates due to existing overcapacity, the lowering cost of renewables, and crippling pollution that is thought to kill more than a million people a year in the case of China alone. Many of the world’s more developed countries are also in the process of phasing out the fuel as a power source.

“So many states are now withdrawing coal because of its emissions—because of its environmental destruction,” says Walid Ahmed, a member of Save Lamu, a local coalition that’s trying to stop the Amu Power project. “So we don’t see why they should bring it here.”

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Powering Development

Africa’s embrace of coal is in part the result of its acute shortage of power. Although the continent’s economy has doubled in size since 2000, more than two thirds of residents south of the Sahara still live without electricity and most states lack the grid capacity to drive the expansion of job-creating industries.

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The International Energy Agency projects the region’s electricity demand to triple by 2040, with roughly half of new capacity coming from renewables. Yet coal-fired plants, which generate 41 percent of the world’s electricity today, remain attractive because coal is relatively cheap and their operation isn’t subject to the whims of nature—unlike solar, wind, or hydro.

In Kenya, for example, the country’s 800 megawatts of hydropower, one third of its total capacity, has become increasingly unreliable due to recurrent drought and is virtually inoperable at present, according to Richard Muiru, an advisor to Kenya’s Ministry of Energy and Petroleum. Although the country has extensive wind and geothermal resources, which it has started to exploit, these projects aren’t coming online fast enough, Muiru says, to keep up with Kenya’s projected demand.

“Coal will give us some breathing space,” he says. “We see it as a shot in the arm as we continue to develop our renewables.”

For those financing Africa’s embrace of coal, the continent also offers an opportunity to counter-balance diminishing investment opportunities elsewhere. This is particularly true of China, which saw 300 gigawatts of domestic coal projects put on hold in 2016, largely due to existing overcapacity. Chinese state-owned enterprises, abetted by low-cost loans from domestic financial institutions, have played a major role in building Africa’s renewable and fossil-fuel energy infrastructure since the Communist Party unveiled its “going abroad” strategy in the early 2000s.

Although Chinese President Xi Jinping announced in September 2015 that the country would limit public investment to overseas carbon-intensive projects, analysts say Chinese lenders are increasingly pushing cut-rate coal on African governments in order to support Chinese contractors and equipment manufactures impacted by the domestic slowdown.

“China built so many coal plants so quickly that there are now a lot of state-owned companies facing a lack of demand at home,” says Christine Shearer, a senior researcher at CoalSwarm. “We’re seeing coal being offered to African governments even if it’s not necessarily the energy source they would want.”

Smokestacks in Paradise

China’s push into the African coal market, ironically, comes as its shelving of domestic coal projects has injected a new sense of optimism into the battle against climate change’s most destructive impacts.

According to a report published in March by CoalSwarm, the Sierra Club, and Greenpeace, China’s cutback helped drive a near 50 percent reduction in the amount of coal power under development worldwide during 2016—a development, it argues, that has finally brought the international goal of holding global warming below 2° C from pre-industrial levels “within feasible reach.”

Africa, where warming temperatures have already contributed to rising food insecurity, may yet avoid the role of climate spoiler: its coal capacity under development, outside of South Africa, is just five percent of the global total, and more than half comes from projects in the most preliminary “announced” stage, which means they could easily be derailed by shifting government priorities or financing challenges.

Still, critics warn the continent’s growing use of coal for power will have other harmful consequences, including the environmental impacts of mining the continent’s previously unexploited coal reserves. These include deposits from Kenya’s Mui Basin, which will feed the Lamu plant once a proposed railway is in place. (Until then, the power station will rely on coal shipped to the new port from South Africa).

Individual coal projects, moreover, are likely to have an acute impact on the communities in their midst—especially those home to fragile ecosystems such as Lamu’s. In particular, residents here fear that the discharge of warmer water from the plant’s cooling system and seepage from its open air ash pit will prove ruinous to local fishermen—who support an estimated 75 percent of Lamu households—by driving fish away from the shallow waters that are accessible with traditional cast net methods. Fouling the adjacent bay would also impact vulnerable marine life, including coral reefs, mangrove channels, three species of sea turtles that nest in the Lamu vicinity, and the dugong, a manatee-like sea cow that feeds on sea grass near the shore.

An environmental impact assessment also warns of respiratory dangers associated with the release of fine particulates, which locals say will blow over town during the annual December to April kaskazi monsoon winds.

Opponents of the plant may still have a chance to stop it: In November, Save Lamu, a local coalition, filed a notice of appeal with Kenya’s National Environmental Tribunal contesting the granting of the environmental impact assessment license. Although a victory in a hearing scheduled for May 11th and 12th wouldn’t halt things outright, it could delay the start of construction until after Kenya’s August elections and, theoretically—if the country’s opposition were to win—a new regime less committed to the project.

Barring that, however, many Lamu residents say the prospect of thwarting such a high-priority project is unlikely.

“It’s very difficult to win against this government,” says Mia Miji, a local businessman, as he looks out over Lamu’s harbor, which pulses with children swimming in the water and dhows bobbing in the surf. “We are not opposed to progress. We just wish they would bring us power more safely.”

Jonathan W. Rosen is a journalist reporting from sub-Saharan Africa.

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Ramaphosa visits undermined tradition, says ANC – Independent Online

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa File picture: Elmond Jiyane/GCIS

Durban – Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa “blatantly undermined a longstanding tradition” of the ruling party last week when he attended a cadres’ forum in Newcastle and visited the Shembe church in Empangeni, without letting the party’s provincial leadership know he would be doing so, the African National Congress in KwaZulu-Natal said on Wednesday.

“The deputy president is the second most senior elected leader of the ANC. Whenever he is invited, whether it is a church or a cadres’ forum, irrespective of who has organised that occasion, he has to inform the leadership of the ANC in that province that ‘I am going to be walking into your space because I have been invited by such and such,’” the party’s provincial spokesperson, Mdumiseni Ntuli said.

Ntuli said that the “longstanding tradition” allowed provincial leadership to determine who would be deployed with the deputy president. It applied to all cadres, he said and was “nothing political”.

“The Deputy President was with us on Friday. When the provincial secretary left for Durban, [Ramaphosa] left for a cadres’ forum, which in our view was not a genuine cadres’ forum because you could not exclude an invitation to the PEC and the regional task team of the ANC in eMahleni region and go to an occasion that the ANC structures are not formally told about,” he said.

He said that Ramaphosa was invited by the provincial executive committee (PEC) to campaign in the province, but on his first night of a two-day campaign he “engaged in an activity that did not include the leadership of the ANC”.

“He was not here out of his own volition. He came here on invitation of the PEC and unfortunately he decided that later in the evening he would be diverted to something that was not known by the leadership of the ANC,” said Ntuli.

If Ramaphosa’s behaviour were allowed, it would “grow” in the organisation. An organisation had to function on the basis of traditions and practices, said Ntuli. These could not be abandoned because of the party’s elective conference in December.

“If we allow [that kind of behaviour] to grow in the organisation, because of our reluctance that when we question something that is abnormal it may be seen to be a political witch hunt against the deputy president, then in the near future we are not going to have an organisation,” he said.

Provincial secretary, Super Zuma, said the PEC mandated provincial officials to raise the matter with secretary general Gwede Mantashe for the attention of the national executive committee.

“This tendency is both divisive and introduces a completely new but also dangerous culture,” he said.

Zuma said he campaigned with Ramaphosa the whole day on Friday and Ramaphosa never mentioned that there was another programme he would be attending.

“We are not saying he mustn’t attend programmes, but the structure should be respected and informed. We don’t want to come to a conclusion that this was a factional meeting; we don’t want to reduce our deputy president to that situation,” said Zuma.

Mantashe told ANA that when the matter was raised with his office, it would be dealt with.

“If KZN has an issue, they will raise it through us, not the media,” he said.

A source working closely with Ramaphosa – who asked not to be named – told ANA that there was no need for the deputy president to let anyone know that he was attending church and seeking prayer.

African News Agency

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