Top 5 Stories This Week

SOUTH AFRICA - Top 5 Stories This Week

Former Minister of Sports and Recreation Fikile Mbalula’s testimony is what South Africans have been salivating for. His name has been thrown out and about at the commission that one would wonder where and what he would start defending himself for, the Dubai trip? Secret meetings with the Guptas? On Friday, Mbalula really brought out the juice, following what has been banal testimonies throughout the week.

At the commission, Mbalula denied he
had any relationship with the Gupta family. He says because he was once a
Minister of Sport, he did interact with the family members during various
sports events.

He also confirmed his emotional
outburst in 2011 at an NEC meeting when he acknowledged that Ajay Gupta had
called and congratulated him on his appointment as Sports Minister. He says the
call came through before then President Jacob Zuma formally told him about his
new appointment. He says he spoke out because he felt the Guptas were having
more privileges than ANC members. Mbalula says no one supported his view at the
meeting but one member stood up and rubbished his claim and that’s when Mbalula
got emotional. Mbalula has refused to name the person.

Human Rights Day  has come and gone on Thursday with much fanfare and pomp. The ANC elite, including their president, Cyril Ramaphosa visited Sharpeville, on the Vaal Triangle, right on the forgotten edge of Gauteng to convey their belated condolences to families who were affected by the massacre and to commemorate the day. After all, this massive tragedy against black humanity occurred 59 years ago, when the apartheid system in South Africa was legal and entrenched. Still now, the families are waiting for some form of compensation, a promise the president has vowed to fulfil. It’s quite unfortunate and typical of politicians to remember this part of history and piece of land, Sharpeville on 21 March, and this year, close to the political general elections in May.

That’s exactly what happens to other ‘important days’, read public holidays on the South African calendar.  They are remembered on those days, and quickly forgotten. The youth? They will be remembered in June. And the women? In August. What about Heritage? Only in September. Unfortunately, Sharpville also has a one day slot in the month, on the date it actually happened, and on the other days, the survivors are forgotten in the memory of history and put on a back shelf, to be displayed on the next 21 March.

It’s also typical of  EFF leader Julius Malema, to come up with ideas to one can ponder, if there is time. He says Human Rights Day should be called Sharpeville Day. On Thursday, he also trekked to the favourite town for Thursday, Sharpeville, made his speech and left.

For those that history escapes them, the Sharpeville massacre is commemorated because 69 people lost their lives when they raised their dissatisfaction with the apartheid government’s system of pass laws. Malema says this day should be commemorated as one on which the PAC fought for the rights of black people.

In an opinion piece, ANC member, Omry Makgoale details how the Sharpeville struggle has not entirely left the landscape of today’s South Africa. Heexplains the fact that members of Parliament are not directly chosen by people who voted a party in power. He says this has left party members powerless and denied them their human basic right, of electing each individual in power.

Electronic Toll Collection Company says it will apply for default judgements against those who have not yet paid e-tolls. This has left Gauteng motorists who are sitting on their e-toll summons probably scratching their heads as to what to do with the announcement they might be black listed. The ANC in the province says no one should panic yet because they will not be blacklisted. On the other side, the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse, OUTA, has urged motorists not to ignore a summons from the Road Agency, SANRAL over unpaid e-tolls. OUTA is preparing a test case against the agency.

OUTA CEO Wayne Duvenage says: “If you
get a summons, ignoring it could lead to have a default judment brought against
you.  Because the final push that SANRAl
might do is to start executing warrants of attachments and start to attach your
goods and your property if they want to go that far. Don’t ignore summons. If
you get a summons make a decision are you going to defend it. If you are an
OUTA supporter send that summons to us.”

Now, all this wrangling on e-tolls has
left motorists asking themselves, “To pay or not to pay?”

Eskom’s non-stop load shedding has left South African citizens and businesses hugely frustrated. Even an announcement on Friday that the power utility hopes to keep load shedding to lower levels this weekend is not a consolation. How about just fixing the problem and people’s lives go back to normal and not go on pause because there are power cuts? Eskom’s promise is that of stage 2 load shedding from early in the morning to 11pm. Eish-kom has apologised for the inconvenience and says this is due to a shortage of capacity. But for sufferers, this lights out theatrical piece called load shedding resembles incompetence.

The president, Cyril Ramaphosa has
also vowed that government will overcome the electricity crisis the way it
overcame the evil of apartheid. If one doesn’t cry over this statement because
of sheer frustration, one can only laugh. Absurdity at its best.

season has descended on most South Africans’ mindsets and most are taking to
the street to voice their unhappiness.
Most are disgruntled about houses, service
delivery or bad road conditions.

Residents of Bergman, in Bloemfontein did
not want to be left out of the trend, what with the general elections just
around the corner; the residents probably reason that government will hear
their cries. They barricaded roads with burning tyres. They   complain about blocked toilets and uncollected
waste, among other endless issues. 

On Friday morning, police had to monitor Parkwood and Lavender Hill residents in Cape Town following violent protests there. They also barricaded roads with burning tyres. They were complaining about lack of housing in their area. Also, supporters of housing rights group, Reclaim the City protested at the Rondebosch Golf Course, to demand affordable housing. For sake of peace and roads to be opened again, and just for government to do its work, that of providing help to people who need it, one hopes their cries will be heard.

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