The Citizen
10 minute read
26 Feb 2021
5:45 am

Daily news update: Mbalula-Malema friendship, Ivermectin case and Motsepe’s CAF presidency

The Citizen

An easy-to-read selection of our top stories. Stay up to date with The Citizen – More News, Your Way.

Cosafa backs Patrice Motsepe for Caf presidency (Pic: Moneyweb)

Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula says his friendship with EFF  leader Julius Malema is real and solid, despite their political differences.

“My political opponents are not my enemies. My enemies are those who want to destroy my country and make it start afresh, those are my enemies,” Mbalula said in an interview with Radio 702 on Thursday.

eNCA under fire for not asking FF Plus’ Groenewald to wear his mask

FF+ leader Pieter Groenewald and his wife, Hedwig, arrive at parliament for the Sona, 20 June 2019. Picture: Jacques Nelles

News channel eNCA has come under fire from social media users for interviewing Freedom Front Plus (FF Plus) leader Pieter Groenewald without him wearing his face mask in public.

The outrage from some Twitter users has even sparked questions around white privilege and unconscious bias by the broadcaster.

This followed an interview by eNCA reporter Lindsay Dentlinger with Groenewald outside the steps of Parliament after Finance Minister Tito Mboweni delivered his budget speech.

EFF seeks clarity on Mkhize’s Covid-19 corruption claims linked to family friends

Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize. Picture: GCIS

The EFF says it will be writing to Minister of Health Zweli Mkhize seeking accountability and clarity on Covid-19 corruption allegations linked to his family friends.

The party said it would be making sure Mkhize is “suspended with immediate effect to allow a smooth process of investigation”. The Special Investigating Unit (SIU) said on Wednesday it was investigating Mkhize’s close associates on allegations of benefiting from Covid-19 contracts by the Department of Health valued at more than R82 million.

Mboweni paints sobering picture: ‘We owe a lot of people a lot of money’

Finance Minister Tito Mboweni

Finance Minister Tito Mboweni has a tough juggling act ahead of him. Image: Twitter/ @treasuryRSA

South Africa’s national debt servicing costs are forecast to surge by over 15% this year to almost R270 billion, swallowing more 20% of anticipated tax revenues.

This was revealed in 2021 budget documents tabled by Finance Minister Tito Mboweni following his budget speech in Cape Town on Wednesday. Mboweni did not specifically cite the debt servicing costs figure during his speech, but did note that the country’s gross loan debt will increase from R3.95 trillion in the current fiscal year (2020-2021) to R5.2 trillion in 2023-2024.

Ivermectin has been legal all along and SAHPRA knew, says AfriForum

Hannes Strydom, former Springbok rugby player turned pharmacist and owner of the Pharma Valu pharmacy group. Picture: AfriForum

There was a dramatic turn of events on Thursday in the fight for the legal use of Ivermectin to treat people with Covid-19 between lobby group AfriForum and Dr George Coetzee against the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA).

AfriForum and its legal team dropped a bombshell on Thursday when it announced the medicine had been legal all along but SAHPRA had kept this a secret.

Carl Niehaus an ‘unrepentant thug’ that no one takes seriously, says Mbalula

Minister of Transport Fikile Mbalula. Picture: Neil McCartney

Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula has once again laid into Umkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans (MKMVA) spokesperson Carl Niehaus, saying he is “an unrepentant thug who majority of us in the ANC and South Africa at large don’t take serious”.

Mbalula was responding to a tweet by Niehaus, where Niehaus said Mbalula was “opportunism, inconsistency and turncoating [sic]” personified.

SABS updates rules on what should be in hand sanitiser

Picture: iStock

The South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) has amended SANS 490, the national standard that defines alcohol-based hand rubs and sanitisers, to specify the minimum alcohol content of liquids, gels, foams and aerosols.

The SABS said in a statement the changes were driven by global guidelines, such as the requirements specified by the World Health Organisation and the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA) to fight the coronavirus pandemic.

Cosatu special meeting will discuss support for ANC ahead of local polls

Cosatu president Sdumo Dlamini (right) speaks at a press conference, 20 September 2016, at Cosatu House in Braamfontein, following the special CEC, while General Secretary Bheki Ntshalintshali looks on. The special CEC resolved to mobilise all workers to mark the international day of decent work on October 7. Picture: Michel Bega

Cosatu on Thursday said it planned to convene a special meeting of its central executive committee (CEC) to deliberate on its support for the ANC ahead of this year’s local government elections.

The labour federation recently concluded a meeting of its CEC which discussed challenges facing the ANC-led alliance that includes the SACP. Cosatu general secretary Bheki Ntshalintshali said the alliance faced a “serious crisis of legitimacy” and they were finding it hard to rally workers behind the governing party.

‘Autonomous’ ANCWL can meet with Zuma whenever they want, says ANC

General views of the African National Congress (ANC) headquarters Luthuli House in Johannesburg, 9 December 2020. Picture: Michel Bega

The ANC has reacted to the decision by the ANC Women’s League’s (ANCWL’s) national leadership to visit former president Jacob Zuma at his Nkandla homestead in KwaZulu-Natal, amid his legal stand-off with the Commission of Inquiry into Allegations of State Capture.

ANC national spokesperson Pule Mabe on Thursday emphasised that the ANCWL was an autonomous structure of the governing party that could take its own decisions. This is despite President Cyril Ramaphosa earlier this month reaffirming the party’s support for the commission and called on ANC members and all South Africans to cooperate with the inquiry.

Five people nabbed after security guard shot dead in Hillbrow

Picture: iStock

Five people have been arrested for allegedly gathering illegally and one for discharging a firearm in public following unrest in Hillbrow on Wednesday after a security guard was shot dead the previous night.

In multiple videos shared on social media, groups of men can be seen walking and chanting through Johannesburg’s inner city streets carrying sticks and plastic chairs. In another video, police vehicles are seen chasing the group.

Limpopo health workers threaten to strike over new overtime rules

A nurse exits the change room before entering the red zone at the Nasrec quarantine/isolation site in Nasrec, 3 July 2020. Picture: Neil McCartney

Healthcare workers in Limpopo have dug in their heels threatening court and strike action over the introduction of a new standardised roster system.

Under the new system, workers will have 12-hour shifts three times a week and a 7-hour shift once a week, while no roster should be designated night or day shift.

Doctors says these and several other sweeping changes could affect their fixed overtime contracts. According to SAMATU spokesperson Dr Nkathekiso Mnisi, the department did not conduct proper consultation with workers before releasing the circular.

Prisoners show pupils how it’s done – score 86% pass rate

Kgosi Mampuru inmates sing the national anthem during the launch of the Gauteng Offender Soccer Development League at the Kgosi Mampuru Correctional Services sport grounds, 30 May 2017, Pretoria. Picture: Jacques Nelles

The 2020 prison inmate matric cohort achieved a resounding 86.3% pass rate compared to the 76.2% rate achieved by outside daily scholars.

This was announced by Correctional Services Minister Ronald Lamola at the Leeuwkop Correctional Centre on Thursday, accompanied by  Gauteng education MEC Panyaza Lesufi. Lamola congratulated the convicts for their achievements despite their challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic since March last year.

Limpopo businessman charged for Kusile corruption faces additional R5m tax fraud charge

Maphoko Hudson Kgomoeswana in the Pretoria Regional Court on 25 February 2021 on tax fraud charges. Picture: Supplied.

A Limpopo businessman charged alongside two former senior Eskom executives who were allegedly involved in a R745 million corruption case at the Kusile power station now faces an additional R5 million tax fraud charge.

Maphoko Hudson Kgomoeswana appeared in the Pretoria Regional Court on Thursday when his case was postponed to 15 April 2021.

SA woman kills giraffe, poses with its heart in gruesome photo

Merelize van der Merwe posing with the giraffe she hunted and killed for Valentine’s Day in a reserve not far from Sun City. Picture: Facebook

A 32-year-old South African woman has come under fire for posing with her gruesome Valentine’s Day gift and showing it off on social media.

Merelize van der Merwe made international headlines after she took to her public Facebook page to brag about killing a giraffe on a Valentine’s Day hunting trip.

After taking the animal apart, Van der Merwe posed with its heart, uploaded the images and captioned the post: “Ever wondered how big a giraffe’s heart is? I’m absolutely over the moon with my BIG Valentines present!!!”

After winning trains tender, I had to pay ANC R80m – Swifambo boss

Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo. Picture: Karen Sandison/African News Agency

The Commission of Inquiry into Allegations of State Capture has revealed that Swifambo Rail Leasing director, Auswell Mashaba, admitted to the commission that he paid R80 million to the ANC after his company was awarded a R3.5 billion contract by the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) to deliver locomotives in 2012.

The businessman defied summons to appear before the commission on Wednesday, following in the footsteps of former president Jacob Zuma who last week refused to comply with a Constitutional Court order to answer questions before the inquiry.

SAA flight fetching second batch of vaccines lands in Brussels

South African Airways’s ability to remain solvent is being questioned in court.

An SAA flight fetching the second batch of Johnson & Johnson vaccines for South Africa has landed in Brussels, reports eNCA.

Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula said on social media on Thursday morning the flight had departed to fetch the 80,000 vaccines. While concerns over the cost of flying to Brussels and back with only vaccines have been raised, Mbalula said the flight would come back with “other cargo” as well.

CAF presidency candidate Motsepe vows to make Africa global force

JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA – FEBRUARY 25: Patrice Motsepe speaks during the Dr. Patrice Motsepe CAF Manifesto launch at Sandton Convention Centre on February 25, 2021 in Johannesburg, South Africa. (Photo by Sydney Seshibedi/Gallo Images)

Confederation of African Football (CAF) presidency candidate and South African billionaire Patrice Motsepe vowed Thursday in Johannesburg to unite and develop football on the continent to globally competitive levels.

One of four candidates for the post, the owner of 2016 African champions Mamelodi Sundowns unveiled a 10-point manifesto at a plush convention centre ahead of the March 12 elections in Morocco.

Another appeal as Caster Semenya keeps up the fight

Caster Semenya

Olympic 800m champion Caster Semenya could compete in the 200m event at next year’s Tokyo Games. Picture: Getty Images

Olympic 800m champion Caster Semenya says she is fighting to set a precedent for athletes with differences of sexual development (DSD) after launching another appeal in her ongoing legal battle to have international rules overturned.

Semenya, who remains sidelined from her specialist two-lap distance ahead of the Tokyo Olympics in July, confirmed on Thursday she had filed an appeal at the European Court of Human Rights.

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