Hanekom on Duduzane's 'assistance' to UKZN students: Where's the money coming from?

Former minister Derek Hanekom has reacted to a report that Duduzane Zuma, the son of former President Jacob Zuma, has offered financial assistance to University of KwaZulu-Natal students.

IOL reported on Monday that the young Zuma had offered the students an undisclosed amount of money in a video sent to them.

In the video, he is heard urging the students to stop burning university property because “we’re smarter than that.”

‘Ordinarily to be welcomed, but…’

He added, “I understand your frustrations, I understand your anger. Let’s channel our frustrations, let’s hone in on our anger and let’s make a difference. We will sit down, I will come to you and we will do what needs to be done.”

In his response via Twitter, Hanekom said, “Ordinarily to be welcomed. The question in this case is where that undisclosed amount of money comes from.”

Hanekom is known as a fierce critic of “state capture” which allegedly involved the infamous Gupta brothers. It is alleged that they used their proximity to former President Zuma to advance their business interests.

The Guptas held directorships and shares with Duduzane Zuma in several companies that allegedly benefitted from state-owned companies (SOEs).

‘I’m not corrupt’

The young Zuma appeared before the commission of inquiry into state capture chaired by Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo in October last year.

During his testimony, he said, “I’m looked at as a criminal, I’m looked at as the face of corruption, this guy that’s plundered billions out of his country which is not the case.

“I’d just like to say to the public out there: I’m not corrupt. I’m not taking any money from anyone. I never have and never will.”

Hanekom and ex-President Zuma, who are both long-serving members of the African National Congress National Executive Committee (ANC NEC), are critics of each other.

Hanekom reportedly tabled a motion of no confidence in Zuma at an ANC NEC meeting in 2017, but it did not succeed.

He successfully sued Zuma for defamation last year after the latter called him an “enemy agent.”

Mashaba's new party to hold primaries for members to directly elect candidates

Former Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba says his soon-to-be-formed political party will hold primaries to allow its members to directly elect candidates for local, provincial and national elections.

Mashaba, who is the founder of The People’s Dialogue, made the announcement in a statement and video he issued on Monday via his Twitter account.

He said most submissions to the Dialogue revealed a sense of “deep frustration” with how political parties choose and “impose” their candidates on voters.

‘A first for South Africa’

Mashaba said this system “serves political parties and career politicians,” therefore necessitating a change in South Africa’s electoral system which would nevertheless take time.

He said his new party will therefore give its members the final say after they register with it soon after its formation.

He added, “When the time comes, candidates will apply to stand for political office in their respective communities and cities or be nominated by the community.

“We will host town hall debates so that the voters can assess the candidates and ultimately, these voters will take part in a primary election to decide who they want to see on the ballot. This is a first for South Africa.”

Performance assessment

The ex-Mayor said his party will also give power to its members to assess the performance of their public representatives and replace them if need be.

“By adopting this system, we will have public representatives who are loyal and accountable to those who elected them and not the political party,” he said.

Mashaba’s decision is similar to calls for electoral reform made by his former colleague in the Democratic Alliance (DA), Mmusi Maimane.

In a Daily Maverick article last week, Maimane reflected on the chaotic scenes in Parliament during the State of the Nation Address (SONA) debate and wondered, “On whose behalf are these representatives speaking: the party or the people?”

He wrote, “The current strict proportional representation system gives political parties too much power and maintains an ever-growing gap between the public and those in power.

“A mixed system, similar to our current local government elections, shifts power from public representatives to the public. This is so that when an MP speaks in Parliament, the people of their community are represented.”

Both Maimane and Mashaba quit the DA last year. While Mashaba is intent on forming a new political party, Maimane is more focused on growing his “Movement for Change” across all political parties.

Arrest warrant issued for Malema after his failure to appear in court

The East London Magistrate’s Court has issued a warrant of arrest for Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema and his co-accused Adrian Snyman after they failed to appear in court on Monday.

However, the court stayed the warrant until 8 May when their trial resumes. The two face charges related to Malema’s alleged discharging of a firearm in public.

A video of the incident taken during the EFF’s 5th anniversary rally in Mdantsane, Eastern Cape, in 2018 was widely shared on social media.

NPA’s charges against Malema

In November last year, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) announced that Malema will face five counts of charges related to the incident.

They include unlawful possession of a firearm, unlawful possession of ammunition, discharging a firearm in a built-up area or public place, and reckless endangerment to people or property.

Snyman’s charges include failing to take reasonable precautions to avoid danger to person or property and providing a firearm or ammunition to any person not allowed to possess it.

In August last year, Malema said the incident was an act of simulation, adding, “It’s not a firearm and no real bullets were shot.”

Malema’s defence of Zuma

Malema and his former nemesis, former President Jacob Zuma, now find themselves in the same predicament.

The Pietermaritzburg high court similarly issued a warrant of arrest for Zuma in early February when he failed to appear in court citing ill health.

The court doubted the veracity of a medical certificate that Zuma’s lawyer had presented and similarly stayed the warrant until 6 May.

Speaking during a question-and-answer session at the Cape Town Press Club on 13 February, Malema criticised the court’s decision and said Zuma must be treated fairly.

He said, “The judge should have called the doctor to court to come and explain the medical certificate.”

It’s not the job of lawyers to explain medical certificates in court, he said, adding that Judge Dhaya Pillay shouldn’t have made a conclusion that the certificate was dubious without calling witnesses to explain it.

“We are creating a wrong precedent because it’s happening to a man we don’t like. We question the credibility of the military, we question the credibility of the medical practitioner because we don’t like the man,” Malema said.

Cyril Ramaphosa: 'We'll not be reckless in implementing NHI'

President Cyril Ramaphosa has used his weekly newsletter to the nation on Monday to make a spirited case for the National Health Insurance (NHI) Bill.

Parliament’s portfolio committee on health has been conducting countrywide public hearings on the Bill, which has drawn strong opposition from some quarters, including the Democratic Alliance (DA).

Ramaphosa said the public hearings have shown that there is “broad support for fundamental change in our health care system.”

‘We will not be reckless’

He sought to reassure NHI critics that the government will implement the NHI in a careful and incremental manner.

“We will not be reckless in implementing the NHI. We will implement it in an incremental fashion and aim to cover the whole country by 2025. We will use an affordable approach to progressively move towards a comprehensive NHI  environment,” he wrote.

The President said pegging access to quality healthcare to one’s ability to pay for it “is one of the greatest travesties of our time.”

He explained, “South Africa has two parallel health care systems. Around R250 billion is spent annually on less than 20% of the population. This is the section of our population that has access to private medical insurance. On the other hand our country spends R220 billion on rest of the population.”

‘Segregation of health services’

Ramaphosa said this undermines the constitutional right of access to healthcare for all citizens, adding that the NHI is a far-reaching “act of social transformation” that would address this anomaly.

He said while segregation of health services in the 18th century was “on the basis of colonial settler status,” today it is on the basis of who can pay.

Ramaphosa called on the public to support the NHI, adding, “We must move away from a culture driven solely by self-interest and embrace the spirit of ubuntu, meaning solidarity. This is the vision of the NHI. It is the vision of our Constitution.

“We cannot build a prosperous and economically thriving nation if a small minority of our workforce is healthy while the majority is vulnerable to ill-health and disease. In this respect, NHI is as much an economic issue as it is a fight for social justice.”

Scepticism remains

Ramaphosa’s spirited defence of the NHI has however not fully convinced some sceptics such as political commentator Justice Malala.

In a Twitter post, he wrote, “This is one of the most persuasive pieces on NHI yet written by the President. Who can argue? It’s all true. Heart is in the right place.

“Yet he says not a word on implementation and how this will be different to Eskom, Transnet and so many other inefficient government institutions.”

The NHI Bill proposes to give access to health services to every citizen, permanent resident, refugee and individuals falling into specific categories of foreign nationals “agreed upon” by the health and international relations ministers.

According to its proposals, medical aid schemes will not be able to provide cover for services that are paid for by the NHI and will only provide “complementary cover.”

Critics, such as medical aid scheme provider Discovery, have said limiting people’s options “will seriously curtail the healthcare they expect and demand.”

Ramaphosa declines to approve salary increases for Deputy President, Ministers

President Cyril Ramaphosa has decided not to adopt recommendations for salary increases for the Deputy President, Ministers, Deputy Ministers and other senior public office bearers.

However, he approved a 3% salary increase recommendation for public office bearers earning less than R1.5 million per annum across national and provincial governments.

His decisions are contained in a government gazette notice published on Friday. The new salary determinations are effective as from 1 April, 2019.

Ramaphosa’s salary dependent on Parliament

The Independent Commission for the Remuneration of Public Office Bearers had recommended a 3% increase for public officer bearers earning more than R1.5 million and a 4% increase for those earning less than R1.5 million.

Following Ramaphosa’s decision, Deputy President David Mabuza will continue earning R2,845,470 per annum.

Ministers’ salaries will remain at R2,401,633 and those of Deputy Ministers at R1,977,795. The Speaker of the National Assembly and Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces will also continue earning R2,845,470 per annum each.

Ramaphosa is not permitted to set his own salary. According to the Commission’s recommendations, his salary could rise from R2,989,845 to R3,079,540 if Parliament approves.

Mboweni’s salary freeze announcement

The salaries of Premiers and Members of Executive Councils (MEC) will also remain at R2,260,409 and R1,997,795 per annum respectively.

This is the second year in a row that Ramaphosa has not fully adopted the Commission’s recommendations.

His decision is also in line with Finance Minister Tito Mboweni’s announcement in his October 2019 Medium Term Budget Policy Statement (MTBPS) that there will be a salary freeze for ministers, deputy ministers, premiers and MECs.

The government is battling to contain the wage bill. In the MTBPS, Mboweni said government will seek spending reductions of R21 billion in 2020/21 and R29 billion in 2021/22.

He said, “29,000 public servants, plus members of the national executive, members of Parliament, members of provincial executives, and so forth, each earned more than R1 million last year [2018].”

This is double the number of public servants earning the same amount in 2006/07, he added. Taking into account inflation, the average government wage has increased by 66% in just 10 years.

To read Ramaphosa’s gazette notice, click here.

Mantoa accepts Ramaphosa's apology but slams him for assault 'under your watch'

Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema’s wife, Mantoa Malema, has accepted President Cyril Ramaphosa’s apology.

On Thursday, Ramaphosa apologised to Malema and Mantoa after African National Congress (ANC) MP Boy Mamabolo accused Malema of abusing Mantoa.

He said, “And Honourable Malema, as the allegation was made against you, I felt for Mantoa, your wife, because it was uncalled for, I must say. It was improper, it was not correct for it to be raised, and if I can offer an apology to you about this, I would like to because it was uncalled for and Mantoa responded.”

‘Assault under your watch’

Following Malema’s statement on Thursday accepting Ramaphosa’s apology, Mantoa also issued her own statement on Friday morning.

She said, “I wish to acknowledge and confirm acceptance of your apology, on behalf of myself, my husband and my children. I also want to assure you that I am willing to put this matter aside and dismiss it as a thing of the past.”

Nevertheless, she still had some critical words for Ramaphosa. She said Mamabolo made his claims against Malema, which she termed as an “assault” against her, “under your watch.”

“Thus, the assault on me, under your watch in Parliament, was, in essence, an assault on your daughter, your wife, your mother and all the women in the country,” Mantoa said.

‘I cannot conceal violence in my own home’

Mantoa added that she’s raising three boys to be gentlemen and she cannot do so by “concealing violence in my own home.”

However, both she and Malema have not yet reacted to Mamabolo’s apology contained in a statement he issued late on Thursday.

Mamabolo said he had been influenced by messages he received from a “jealous” group known as “Friends of Mantoa” to make the claims.

Earlier this week, Malema and Mantoa gave Mamabolo until close of business on Wednesday to retract and apologise for the claims or face two separate R1 million defamation lawsuits.

The ANC MP initially rejected the demand and said he had evidence to back up his claims. He therefore missed the deadline.

However, his apology on Thursday came soon after Ramaphosa’s apology to Malema and appeal for MPs not to use issues of gender-based violence to score political points.

Mamabolo apologises to Malemas: I was misled by 'jealous Friends of Mantoa'

African National Congress (ANC) MP Boy Mamabolo has apologised to Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema and his wife Mantoa Matlala-Malema for claiming Malema was abusing Matlala-Malema.

In a public statement he issued late on Thursday, Mamabolo suggested that he had been misled by a group calling itself “Friends of Mantoa.”

He wrote, “My question to Mr Malema in terms of rule 14L (a) of the Joint Sitting was influenced by the SMSs and WhatsApp messages that I received from the so-called ‘Mantoa’s friends.'”

‘Friends of Mantoa’

Mamabolo added, “I posed the question to Mr Malema because the President, during the Special Joint Sitting last year, called upon us to expose any form of gender-based violence in our country, and some jealous friends called ‘Friends of Mantoa’ started sending me messages since November last year.

“I was therefore actually wrong to raise the matter in public without consulting with you as my former family friends to verify these false allegations from jealous Friends of Mantoa.”

He said he had shared his statement with President Cyril Ramaphosa, Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces Amos Masondo and the ANC Whippery in Parliament led by Chief Whip Pemmy Majodina.

He further apologised to his fellow parliamentarians and the country at large. To Malemas, he added, “I humbly request you to accept my sincere apology. I wish you a Happy Malema Family (as I’ve always did [sic]). Jealous [sic] must never break you. Stay strong my comrades.”

R1 million defamation lawsuits

Malema and his wife had not yet responded to Mamabolo’s apology at the time of publishing this article.

On Tuesday, they gave Mamabolo until close of business on Wednesday to retract and apologise for his claims or face separate defamation lawsuits of R1 million each.

However, the ANC MP was initially defiant, insisting that he had evidence to back up his claims and that he was prepared for the lawsuits.

He therefore missed the deadline. It remains to be seen whether the Malemas will proceed with their lawsuits or not.

Mamabolo’s apology came soon after Ramaphosa apologised to Malema for the way ANC MPs had politicised gender-based violence issues against him.

In turn, Malema accepted Ramaphosa’s apology and issued one of his own, admitting that he was wrong “in hindsight” to accuse the President of abusing his late ex-wife Nomazizi Mtshotshisa.

Malema accepts Ramaphosa's apology, offers his own apology to him and SAns

Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema has accepted President Cyril Ramaphosa’s apology while apologising to him and South Africans at the same time.

Earlier on Thursday, Ramaphosa apologised to Malema for the conduct of African National Congress (ANC) MP Boy Mamabolo, who had confronted Malema with claims that he was abusing his wife.

Ramaphosa said, “Honourable Malema, as the allegation was made against you, I felt for Mantoa, your wife, because it was uncalled for, I must say. It was improper, it was not correct for it to be raised, and if I can offer an apology to you about this, I would like to because it was uncalled for and Mantoa responded.”

Apology to all South Africans

In response to Mamabolo’s claim, Malema made a counter-claim on Wednesday that Ramaphosa had abused his late ex-wife Nomazizi Mtshotshisa.

In a statement late on Thursday, Malema said he had also decided to publicly apologise to the President after a “long discussion” with his wife.

He said, “I hope the President can accept my apology, together with his family, which I offer sincerely.

“I also would like to apologise to all South Africans who were offended in the process, in particular victims of gender-based violence.”

‘I should have known better’

Malema repeated his assertion that he has never abused his wife, adding that he was prepared to resign as an MP and EFF leader should there be any evidence proving allegations that he has done so.

He said his decision to make the counter-claim was a “desperate act of personal defence” after Mamabolo and ANC MPs insisted that he had to answer.

“In retrospect, I accept that I should have known better not to indulge myself in the same degeneration that the ANC caucus visited on my person and that of my wife,” Malema said.

Nevertheless, Malema still had accusatory words for Ramaphosa, who he said “did nothing” while Mamabolo made his allegations.

The EFF leader concluded, “I would like to mention that I have personally communicated my apology directly to President Ramaphosa in a phone call. I therefore hope that this puts the matter behind [for] both of us.”

In light of Ramaphosa’s plea in Parliament to both MPs to resolve the matter amicably, it’s unclear at this stage if Malema and his wife will persist with their threat to sue Mamabolo, who insisted in a tweet on Wednesday that he would not retract or apologise.

Ramaphosa: Denying apartheid's immorality, devastation is 'treasonous'

President Cyril Ramaphosa has criticised apartheid’s last President FW de Klerk’s denial that apartheid was a crime against humanity.

In his reply to the State of the Nation Address (SONA) debate in Parliament on Thursday, Ramaphosa said apartheid was “inherently” a crime against humanity.

He added, “It was a crime against the oppressed people of South Africa even before it was so declared by the United Nations in 1973.”

‘Denial of apartheid’s immorality is treasonous’

The President said the countries which voted for the UN convention on apartheid could never have been “hoodwinked” or “deceived” into doing so.

“Apartheid was so immoral in its conception and so devastating in its execution that there is no South African living today who is not touched by its legacy. I would even go on to say that to deny this, in my view, is treasonous,” he emphasised.

De Klerk sparked the controversy earlier this month in an interview with SABC News in which he denied that apartheid was a crime against humanity.

In response to his denial, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) objected to his presence in Parliament at the start of SONA last week.

‘Nonracial society’

The FW de Klerk Foundation compounded the controversy a day later by releasing a statement supporting de Klerk’s views.

In its statement, it said, “The idea that apartheid was ‘a crime against humanity’ was, and remains, an ‘agitprop’ [political propaganda] project initiated by the Soviets and their ANC/SACP allies to stigmatise white South Africans by associating them with genuine crimes against humanity.”

This drew even more condemnation from public figures, political parties and other organisations, including the Desmond and Leah Tutu Foundation.

De Klerk eventually apologised unconditionally for his comments in a statement on Monday while retracting his Foundation’s earlier statement.

In his speech on Thursday, Ramaphosa said all leaders have a responsibility to build a “genuinely nonracial society in which all South Africans have an equal claim to rights, to the citizenship and to the wealth of this beautiful land.”

He added, “For us, nonracialism is not the product of our negotiated transition. It is a fundamental and immutable principle that defines the character of our democratic nation.”

Ramaphosa to Malema: Hope, Mantoa responded to claims, but Nomazizi isn't here

President Cyril Ramaphosa has addressed Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema’s claim that he abused his late ex-wife Nomazizi Mtshotshisa.

In his response to the State of the Nation Address (SONA) debate on Thursday, Ramaphosa said the late Mtshotshisa, who passed away in 2008, was “not here to respond for herself.”

Malema made the claim on Tuesday during his SONA reply after African National Congress (ANC) MP Boy Mamabolo accused him of abusing his wife Mantoa Matlala-Malema.

Ramaphosa apologises to Malema

Ramaphosa said, “[Malema] raised [this matter] in 2017 and said the President used to assault his first wife, Hope Ramaphosa. Now, Hope Ramaphosa responded and said, ‘That is not true.’

“Honourable Malema stood here and made an allegation, but before that, an allegation was made against him by a member of the ANC.

“And Honourable Malema, as the allegation was made against you, I felt for Mantoa, your wife, because it was uncalled for, I must say. It was improper, it was not correct for it to be raised, and if I can offer an apology to you about this, I would like to because it was uncalled for and Mantoa responded.

“You’ve raised the issue of my late former wife, Nomazizi. She’s not here to respond for herself.”

‘Don’t politicise GBV’

Ramaphosa urged parliamentarians to handle issues of gender-based violence with sensitivity and not to politicise them.

He explained, “I am a father of daughters. I am a grandfather of granddaughters. I’m a husband. I’m a brother to a sister, and 50 percent of the people in my Cabinet are women.

“I have members of Parliament who are women and we have South Africans, the majority of whom are women.

“These are the people whom all of us must stand up and engage in the fight against gender-based violence for. These are the people that we must serve.”

Soon after the President concluded his speech, Malema lamented that no one had spoken out when Mamabolo first made his claim during SONA last week.

However, the presiding officers did not allow him to finish his statement. Through their lawyers, both he and his wife asked Mamabolo to retract and apologise publicly for the claim or face separate defamation lawsuits of R1 million each.

In a tweet on Wednesday, Mamabolo however refused to do so and said he’s prepared for the lawsuit.

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