Category Archives: Politics

Mzwandile Masina says SA should close Durban harbour ‘so no minerals leave’

Ekurhuleni Mayor Mzwandile Masina wants South Africa to close its Durban port to compel “international manufacturing” to “descend to South Africa.”

Masina made the call in a tweet he posted on Sunday, arguing that this would grant South Africa “full independence from Western imperialists.”

“Democracy is nice and good, but to get our full independence from Western Imperialists we must close down the Durban Harbor so that no Minerals leave this country. In that way, International Manufacturing will descend to SA since we hold 90% of platinum, which the Works so need [sic],” he wrote.

Intense debate

Not surprisingly, the startling tweet has triggered intense debate on social media, racking up more than 800 replies so far.

Some Twitter users, like Masoga Kekana, agreed with Masina. He wrote, “Africa needs to stand firm and have a mineral export pause for the month.

“Can’t have a continent with the GDP smaller than Silicon Valley yet it would be close to nothing without the minerals here. Renegotiate the deals, ensure some finished goods are made here!!”

@Rebaone59275709 added, “I agree with you man, but why don’t you take that to your ANC meetings formally and lobby people in your corrupt organisation to support this so it can be done rather than being talked about?”

However, others slammed Masina’s idea. @mike_superb replied, “When you read things like this written by one of our mayors, then you can understand why our economy is shrinking and unemployment is growing. This is the quality of leadership in SA. He makes Zuma look clever.”

“Actually I was concerned the tweet exposes deep/scary ignorance by someone who served in DTI as a Deputy Minister,” wrote @mokabah.

Masina’s anti-WMC views

Masina is known as an ardent critic of “white monopoly capitalism” (WMC) and supporter of the radical economic transition (RET) grouping in the African National Congress (ANC).

He made headlines in the run-up to ANC’s 54th national conference in 2017 when he declared he won’t serve under the leadership of Cyril Ramaphosa should he win.

News24 reported at the time that Masina said if Ramaphosa won, “white people will lead South Africa.” However, he didn’t make good on this threat to resign as Ekurhuleni Mayor after Ramaphosa won.

More recently, he publicly criticised Ramaphosa’s decision to reappoint Pravin Gordhan to the Cabinet.

In a News24 article he penned in August, Masina also criticised those who defended Ramaphosa’s CR17 campaign donations.

“We cannot and must never normalise a culture where we defend individuals who commit questionable acts in their personal capacities, and then want to claim that such defence is necessary or even revolutionary,” he wrote.

Ndlozi accuses Lamola of presiding over Trump’s ‘imperialist capture’ of NPA

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) is being “captured” by US President Donald Trump’s government, claims Dr Mbuyiseni Ndlozi.

And, in a tweet posted on Sunday, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) spokesperson believes Justice Minister Ronald Lamola is “presiding over” this capture.

Ndlozi tweeted, “Ronald Lamola, previous Deputy President of the anti-imperialist ANC YL, is now presiding over the imperialist capture of South Africa’s National Prosecuting Authority by Donald Trump’s United States of America.”

US department to train NPA officials

Ndlozi was reacting to news that officials from US Department of Justice are set to hold two training workshops for NPA officials this week.

Officials from South African Reserve Bank (SARB), South African Revenue Service (SARS), the Financial Services Conduct Authority, and the Independent Police Investigative Directorate will also attend the workshops.

Last week, the US government also announced that it had blacklisted three of the infamous Gupta brothers and their associate Salim Essa.

Lamola later revealed that it was South Africa that had sent a “mutual legal assistance” request to the US and seven other countries.

In a statement, he said, “The interests of justice must not be shackled by any boundary or border and justice must be seen to be done without fear or favour.”

Ndlozi’s followers react

Although Lamola hasn’t responded to Ndlozi’s claim, the latter’s Twitter followers have had plenty to say about it.

Some agreed with him. Sisa Dangeni replied, “The proximity to the US is worrying some. What does the US expect in return – silence from SA on the decimation of the Palestinians in defence of Israel?”

@SheWaseMbo added, “Chief justice articulated it perfectly….there is no free lunch!”

However, others, like @Kay_Gee22 disagreed, “Hahaha the looters are attacking everyone who takes initiative to prosecute corruption.”

“The looters are running scared. I welcome any efforts to capacitate South African law enforcement agencies in the fight against corruption,” added John Baloyi.

Cyril on being president: ‘I wish I’d come in when economy was better’

President Cyril Ramaphosa has said he wished he had become President of South Africa “when the economy was better.”

Ramaphosa made the comment during an interview with The Economist magazine on Sunday.

Former President Nelson Mandela was said to have wanted Ramaphosa to succeed him. The magazine therefore asked Ramaphosa whether he wished he had ascended to the high office sooner or not.

He responded, “It’s a difficult one. It’s a tough job…being the president of South Africa at this time…I wish I had come in when the economy was better.”

Mboweni’s draft economic recovery strategy

Ramaphosa is currently in London, UK, where he will deliver a keynote address at the Financial Times Africa Summit 2019.

During his interview, he expressed support for Finance Minister Tito Mboweni’s draft economic recovery strategy.

Among the suggestions contained in it is for municipalities to pay their debts to power utility Eskom. Soweto in Johannesburg reportedly owes R18 billion.

Ramaphosa recalled the struggle days when, as the leader of National Union of Mineworkers, he called for rent boycotts in townships.

However, he said, the era of boycotts is now over, “But now I’m saying the war is over, the struggle is over, we’ve now got to pay our way.”

The president was however more cautious about selling off Eskom’s power stations – one of Mboweni’s suggestions. He said he’s open to selling the old ones, but only as long as affected local communities get a “just transition.”

Where are the corruption arrests?

The Economist also asked Ramaphosa about the impatience South Africans are beginning to have over the lack of corruption arrests.

He responded that while arrests may take some time coming, the process of restoring institutions such as the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) “is irrevocable.”

“Once the institutions are strengthened, they should be able to go after anybody – including the president,” he said.

Mboweni regrets sending woman R3,000 after alleged extortion attempt

Finance Minister Tito Mboweni has regretted sending a woman R3,000 after she allegedly tried to extort money from him.

Mboweni gave “his side of the story” via a Facebook post on Saturday evening, saying he was only “trying to assist a desperate student.”

He published the WhatsApp chat between him and the woman, whom he named as Asanda Viwe, that took place on 5 September.

‘R6,000 deposit’

Viwe appears to pester Mboweni for R6,000 for what appears to be a rental deposit.

She wrote, “Its not like if I’m asking u for money to go shopping or anything like that. This I’d really urgent and important to me but no, u don’t want to say or do anything [Sic].”

When the minister didn’t respond, Viwe seemingly made an implicit threat, “Well, it’s fine Tito. Let’s see how this will end. Have a great week.”

Mboweni said he finally relented and asked for her bank account details.

He wrote, “Account details sent but names different. I smell a rat! R3,000.00 deposited. Trying to assist a desperate student, so it seemed. Naively.”

Thulani Majola’s ‘R100,000 offer’

However, Mboweni said Viwe subsequently told him that a businessman, Thulani Majola, was offering her R100,000 to “expose” their WhatsApp chats and “voice call recordings.”

Viwe said she initially agreed, but changed her mind because Mboweni is “a very kind and sweet man” and “a father figure.”

Nevertheless, she asked for more money from the minister, “I have not told him that I’m no longer doing this for him but will do so tonight before I change my number. All I’m asking for you is R7k so I can pay my rent and settle my outstanding registration fee. Then I will leave you alone in peace [Sic].”

Mboweni said “out of the blue,” he received inquiries from a Sunday World reporter about the matter.

At this point, he said he decided to contact his lawyers. He wrote, “I went to my lawyers to ask that we write legal letters to Asanda (her name) and Thulani Majola to Stop and Desist this nonsense or else we will bring charges against them for extortion and injury to the person.”

He concluded, “That is my side of the story. LESSON LEARNT: DO NOT BE KIND TO PEOPLE YOU DO NOT KNOW.”

Both Viwe and Majola have not publicly reacted to the matter.

Businessman ‘offers woman R100k to reveal WhatsApp chats with Tito Mboweni’

A “prominent” businessman has reportedly offered a woman R100,000 to publicise WhatsApp chats and recorded conversations she had with Finance Minister Tito Mboweni, News24 reports.

Both the businessman and woman’s identities remain undisclosed.

According to the report, Mboweni has threatened to take legal action against the woman for alleged attempted extortion.

‘Met online’

The Finance Minister reportedly met the woman over the internet, but he insists that they never went ahead to meet in person.

The woman apparently asked Mboweni for money to pay her rent, but he refused to send her the funds.

Mboweni has not yet commented publicly on the matter.

He is one of the more active politicians on social media and is popular for his informal and humorous posts.

He regularly shares his cooking “experiments” on Twitter and Facebook. More recently, he took jokes about his “old” shoes in his stride.

‘Account infiltrated’

It is perhaps because of his social media activity and huge following that he has got into trouble with unscrupulous elements from time to time.

On 10 October, he revealed on Facebook that his account had been “infiltrated.”

He wrote, “Good evening everyone. My account seems to be infiltrated by some people. I am not asking for money. Imagine… Just ignore them. But I am not closing my address. I refuse to be bullied.”

One of Mboweni’s followers, Sai Mayor Jola, commented on his post with a screenshot of a WhatsApp chat with a person purporting to be the minister.

The person requested Jola to send him R1,500 via eWallet. However, Jola didn’t fall for the scam.

Morakane Mosupye is new Gauteng economic development MEC as Ramokgopa resigns

Gauteng Premier David Makhura has appointed Ms Morakane Mosupye the new MEC for Economic Development, Agriculture and Environment.

Makhura made the announcement in a statement on Friday. He said the decision is “in keeping with the ANC’s commitment to ensure that women are well represented in executive structures.”

Mosupye is a former councillor and member of municipal council (MMC) in the City of Tshwane.

She also became the first female Speaker of the City of Tshwane in 2011, a position she held until 2016.

She is currently a member of the Provincial Executive Committee (PEC) of the African National Congress (ANC) in Gauteng.

‘New assignment’ for Ramokgopa

Dr Kgosientsho Ramokgopa, who occupied the position before Mosupye’s appointment, has resigned.

In a tweet, Makhura hinted that Ramokgopa will be appointed to a new position soon.

He wrote, “Wishing Dr Sputla Ramokgopa well in his new assignment which will be announced soon!”

The Premier was under pressure from the ANC’s top leadership to drop one male MEC.

This follows an earlier ANC National Executive Committee (NEC) decision to have 60-40% women representation in provincial cabinets where the Premier is male.

Dropped to be deputy minister?

There has been speculation that the dropped MEC could be appointed deputy minister of minerals and energy following the recent passing of Bavelile Hlongwa.

In a statement, Ramokgopa thanked ANC in Gauteng and Makhura for his deployment to the provincial legislature and subsequent appointment as MEC.

He expressed support for Mosupye, but made no mention of his possible appointment as a deputy minister.

Nompumelelo Ntuli-Zuma to take legal action against Hawks, NPA

Former First Lady Nompumelelo Ntuli-Zuma has decided to sue the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) and the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (Hawks), Sowetan reports.

Ntuli-Zuma is suing the two institutions for malicious prosecution after they reportedly marked her as a suspect in the alleged poisoning of former President Jacob Zuma.

Zuma and Ntuli-Zuma, who was popularly known as MaNtuli, are now estranged.

NPA’s decision not to charge MaNtuli

The NPA recently decided that it will not charge Ntuli-Zuma. KwaZulu-Natal Director of Public Prosecutions Elaine Zungu said there’s no evidence that Zuma was poisoned.

However, former National Director of Public Prosecutions Advocate Shaun Abrahams insists that there was evidence.

Ntuli-Zuma’s legal action may now compel NPA to produce the evidence it used to mark her out as a suspect.

Speaking to Business Day, she said she had to take lie detector tests and endure hours of interrogation at the hands of the Hawks and intelligence officials.

‘Political pressure’

Ntuli-Zuma’s lawyer, Ulrich Roux, also claimed that NPA and the Hawks were under “severe political pressure” to prosecute her.

Ntuli-Zuma has always maintained her innocence. Other allegations she denied included having an affair with a bodyguard and contacting a foreign intelligence agent.

Former President Zuma has repeatedly claimed that foreign intelligence agencies and government were behind the alleged attempt on his life.

He has also claimed that they engineered several attempts to remove him from office. He believes his forced resignation in February 2018 was a culmination of these attempts.

On Thursday, Zuma claimed Western governments wanted him removed because he’s the one who came up with the idea of a BRICS bank.

He made the claim during his memorial lecture for the late Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe in KwaZulu-Natal over on Thursday.

Zuma loses bid for permanent stay of prosecution in corruption trial

Former President Jacob Zuma has lost his bid for a permanent stay of prosecution in his corruption and arms deal matter.

The Pietermaritzburg High Court dismissed Zuma’s application with costs in a short order on Friday morning.

The order was unanimous and handed down by a bench of three judges – Judges Thoba Poyo-Dlwati, Bhekisisa Mnguni and Esther Steyn.

Parts of Zuma’s affidavit struck out

The court also struck out parts of Zuma’s replying affidavit on the grounds that “they are scandalous and/or vexatious and that they constitute impermissible new matter.”

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) made the application to strike out the parts after Zuma claimed Advocate Billy Downer, who acts for the state, was “nostalgic for apartheid-era prosecutions.”

The Court further dismissed an application by Thales, the French company accused along with Zuma, to strike out parts of Downer’s answering affidavit.

The order means that trial may begin on 15 October. The full judgement will be made available in due course.

Zuma was present in court with only a smattering of his supporters. He joked with them that he has to sell his hats and socks to pay his legal bills.

Controversial Black First Land First leader Andile Mngxitama was also seen outside court.

Zuma’s arms deal matter

Zuma faces 18 charges dating back to 2005. They relate to 783 payments, amounting to around R4 million, he allegedly received from his ex-financial advisor Schabir Shaik and his companies.

The state also alleges that Thales had agreed to pay Zuma an annual amount of R500,000 for “political protection” from investigations relating to the controversial arms deal. Shaik allegedly facilitated the agreement.

During hearings in May, Zuma’s lawyers argued that the state’s 15-year delay in bringing the charges against him meant there wouldn’t be a fair trial.

They also argued that there was political interference because NPA allegedly discussed the trial with “political players.”

US govt blacklists infamous Gupta brothers and associate Salim Essa

The United States government has blacklisted the infamous Gupta brothers Ajay, Rajesh and Atul Gupta, as well as their associate Salim Essa.

A statement from the US Treasury department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) made the announcement on Thursday.

The Office referred to brothers and Essa as “members of a significant corruption network in South Africa that leveraged overpayments on government contracts, bribery, and other corrupt acts to fund political contributions and influence government actions.”

‘Pay-to-play political patronage’

It said the blacklisting, officially called Global Magnitsky designations, targets the network’s “pay-to-play political patronage.”

Sigal Mandelker, Treasury Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, said, “The Guptas and Essa have used their influence with prominent politicians and parties to line their pockets with ill-gotten gains. 

“We will continue to exclude from the U.S. financial system those who profit from corruption.”

The Office said the sanctions demonstrate US government’s commitment to supporting South Africa’s anti-corruption efforts.

Commission of inquiry

The alleged “state capture” reportedly perpetrated by the Gupta brothers was among the main reasons for the establishment of the ongoing commission of inquiry into state capture.

They are alleged to have used their friendship and proximity to former President Jacob Zuma to enrich themselves by influencing awarding of contracts at state-owned enterprises.

The Gupta brothers were business partners with Duduzane Zuma, former President Zuma’s son.

They are yet to appear at the inquiry. However, Zuma and Duduzane have already appeared, with the former president set to make two more appearances later in October and November.

The brothers left South Africa around the time Zuma resigned from office. They haven’t returned, apparently fearing that they would be arrested.

The inquiry’s chairman, Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, rejected their request to testify via video link from outside the country.

Mbuyiseni Ndlozi: ConCourt ruling has ‘confirmed that Afrikaans must fall’

Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) spokesperson Dr Mbuyiseni Ndlozi has said Thursday’s Constitutional Court ruling on Stellenbosch University’s language policy confirms that “Afrikaans must fall.”

The Court upheld the university’s 2016 decision to give preference to English over Afrikaans as the main medium of teaching under certain circumstances.

In a Twitter post, Ndlozi said “the ‘End of Afrikaans’ as a language of domination is being consolidated.”

He was seemingly directing his tweet at those “who seek [Afrikaans’] usage to maintain dominance and exclusivity.”

ConCourt’s language policy ruling

The Constitutional Court ruled that Stellenbosch University’s decision was aimed at enabling equitable access to “black students who are not conversant with Afrikaans.”

It found that retaining the previous policy that gave preference to Afrikaans would have excluded non-Afrikaans speakers from full participation at the university.

A number of political figures have welcomed the ruling, including Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi.

He tweeted, “The debate is now officially over – an Afrikaans-only academic institution cannot be justified.”

Ndlozi’s followers react

Ndlozi’s tweet sparked an intense debate among his followers. Some argued that he had misunderstood the ruling.

Adrian John Kennedy replied, “I wish you would just read and understand the judgment. It enforces the 2016 language policy of the university which still preserves and maintains Afrikaans alongside English.

“How does this translate to the Court confirming, on your allegation, that Afrikaans must fall?”

Langale Balele added, “Please read with understanding if you are capable of that scarce South African skill.”

Others, such as Luke Waltham, agreed with Ndlozi: “As a student at Stellenbosch University and a member of the progressive forces calling for transformation, we welcome this and hope that all mechanisms and systems of oppression are dismantled.”

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