Hawks kzn gauteng riots instigators

Image via Twitter: SA Police Service

South Africa: Today’s latest news and headlines, Friday 23 October

Arrests and disciplinary processes: Unpacking corruption within Gauteng’s health department.

Hawks kzn gauteng riots instigators

Image via Twitter: SA Police Service

Never miss a beat when it comes to the latest news in South Africa; be sure to check out what’s making headlines on Friday 23 October.

While cops continue to crack down on public sector corruption — with Gauteng health department officials being the latest to be cuffed — the trial of two men charged with murdering 21-year-old farm manager, Brendin Horner, has taken an unexpected twist in the Senekal Magistrate’s Court. Meanwhile, in sports news, we look ahead to a jam-packed weekend of rugby and soccer action.


Gauteng health department saga deepens amid arrests and disciplinary processes

The depth of corruption within Gauteng’s health department knows no bounds and while recent scandals involving the irregular supply of personal protective equipment have dominated the headlines, a series of arrests executed on Thursday paint a picture of deep-rooted misdeeds.

South Africa’s Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation — better known as the Hawks — have spearheaded the latest blitz which coincides with a large-scale inquiry, sanctioned by President Cyril Ramaphosa, led by the Special Investigating Unit (SIU).

On Thursday morning, the Hawks swooped on four former senior government officials. Sybil Ngcobo, Mmakgosi Mosupi, Valdis Romaano and Obakeng Mookeletsi all appeared before the Specialised Commercial Crimes Court in Palm Ridge on charges which date back to 2007. All four accused have been implicated in corruption associated with a R1.2 billion tender which allegedly flouted proper procurement processes and contravened the Public Finance Management Act.

The accused were granted bail and are expected to return to court on 3 December 2020.

Meanwhile, allegations of corruption made more recently — involving Presidential Spokesperson Khusela Diko and Gauteng Health MEC Bandile Masuku — are attracting more attention from the SIU and the ruling African National Congress (ANC). While the former has revealed its intention to have banks accounts and pension funds, of those implicated, frozen, the ANC has resolved to suspend Diko and Masuku from organisational activities.

Additionally, ANC Gauteng Treasurer General, Parks Tau, confirmed that the party’s Provincial Executive Committee (PEC) had decided to refer Diko and Masuku to the disciplinary committee.

It’s alleged that Diko’s husband scored a lucrative contract to supply the province with personal protective equipment. Masuku was implicated for facilitating the over-inflated tender which allegedly cost the state R125 million.

Senekal: Matlaletsa’s bail puts State’s case on shaky ground

One of the suspects standing trial for the murder of farm manager Brendin Horner has been granted bail by the Senekal Magistrate’s Court. Sekola Matlaletsa was released on R5 000 bail with Magistrate Deon Van Rooyen ruling that the State’s case against the accused was not particularly strong after DNA evidence recovered from Horner’s stolen vehicle failed to deliver a match.

The court added that Matlaletsa posed no flight risk and that keeping the accused behind bars could not be justified.

While Matlaletsa has been released, his co-accused, Sekwetje Mahlamba, referred to as ‘accused number one’ during the bail hearing, will remain in custody for the duration of the trial. Van Rooyen added:

“For Mr. Mahlamba, there is a prima facie case to answer, due to witness statements. He lied to police about a shack at his property being locked – perhaps because he knew the trousers with bloodstains on were hidden in the chest freezer.”

Horner was murdered on a farm near Paul Roux on 1 October; his body allegedly tied to a pole after being mercilessly beaten. The State alleges that Mahlamba and Matlaletsa — who were well-known in the area as brazen stock thieves — were startled by Horner when attempting to drive livestock off the farm. This confrontation, the State claims, ultimately led to Horner’s demise.

Horner’s murder sent shock through the Free State, with fed-up farmers leading a protest in the small town of Senekal during Mahlamba and Matlaletsa first appearance. The protest turned violent, with farmers storming the courthouse. Two locals, Andre Pienaar and Stefanus Johannes Fourie, were arrested on charges of public violence, attempted murder and incitement.

Tensions ran high last week when the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), led by Julius Malema, confronted farmers and their supporters in Senekal. Luckily, violence was averted, due, in part, to a strong police deployment authorised by Minister Bheki Cele.

From bad to worse: Bosasa’s Agrizzi on life support after heart attack

Former Bosasa Chief Operations Officer, Angelo Agrizzi, who provided invaluable testimony on the roots of state-backed corruption before the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture, is currently on life support after suffering a near-fatal heart attack on Thursday afternoon.

Agrizzi, who implicated several high-ranking government officials in dodgy dealings and vowed to continue cooperating with Deputy Chief Justice Judge Raymond Zondo, was arrested on corruption charges on 1 October. Agrizzi was denied bail, despite his legal defence team pleading with the court and detailing serious health concerns.

Less than 24 hours into his prison stay, Agrizzi was transferred to a public hospital. The former Bosasa bigwig’s health deteriorated further and his family took the decision to move him to a private facility last week.

Agrizzi’s lawyer, Daniel Witz, stressed the seriousness of his client’s condition, criticising the court for not taking health concerns into consideration. Shortly after Witz updated the media on his client’s condition, Agrizzi suffered a near-fatal heart attack and needed to be resuscitated. Agrizzi is currently on life-support.

Agrizzi’s life and death predicament comes just over a year after Bosasa Chief Executive Officer, Gavin Watson, was killed in what has been labelled a ‘car accident’. Watson never got the chance to testify before the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture and, with Agrizzi ‘at death’s door’, Witz fears that public officials implicated in corruption will avoid prosecution should Bosasa information be buried.

Former ANC MP entrusted to turn embattled commuter rail services around

The Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) is in a state of decay, with a legacy of mismanagement and the systematic dismantling of infrastructure, through vandalism and theft, adding the passengers’ woes. Prasa’s bad luck may soon change…

For the first time in three years, a permanent board of control has been appointed, with former ANC MP Leonard Ramatlakane leading the charge as chairperson. Last year, Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula fired the interim board and a successful legal challenge by #UniteBehind overturned the appointment of Bongisizwe Mpondo.

Ramatlakane, who is expected to hit the ground running in an attempt to revive rail services in the wake of government’s hard lockdown, is no stranger to the system. Ramatlakane previously held a position in the oversight committee which kept a close watch over all entities belonging to the Department of Transport between 2014 and 2019. He also served as Community Safety MEC and Transport and Public Works in the Western Cape.

Matodzi Mukhuba, Dinkwanyane Mohuba and Dr Alison Emslie Lewis have also been appointed to the board.

Mabuza: Land expropriation without compensation not a ‘magical solution’

Answering questions before Parliament on Thursday afternoon, Deputy President David Mabuza touched on a number of topics, including the contentious push for land expropriation without compensation. Mabuza said that while government remained committed to economic redress through legislative change, South Africa’s accelerated land reform programme would contain multiple mechanisms. Mabuza explained:

“Expropriation of property with Nil compensation is not a magical solution. It is only but one acquisition mechanism that in appropriate cases will enable land reform and redress, as recommended by the Advisory Panel on Land Reform and Agriculture.

However, the Bill does bring certainty to South Africans and investors as it outlines how expropriation can be done and on what basis. This legislative certainty is critical as we rebuild the economy and invest in our communities.”

Mabuza added that, as part of government’s accelerated land programme, practical steps had been taken to fast track claimants’ concerns. The Deputy President reiterated that the primary beneficiaries of government’s land reform strategy would be women, youth and people with disabilities.

Super Rugby Unlocked: Marcel van der Merwe return bolsters Bulls

Marcel van der Merwe will get his first start since returning to Pretoria from France earlier this year, when the Bulls host Sharks at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.

Director of Rugby Jake White has made a few changes to his team for this clash against the Sharks, after the Bulls narrow defeat against the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein last weekend.

In a strength for strength change van der Merwe is included at tighthead prop in place of another Springbok, Trevor Nyakane, who drops to the bench for the visit of a reinforced Sharks team.

Joining Nyakane on the subs bench is Arno Botha, who will provide loose forward cover while former Junior Bok Elrigh Louw will get his first start at this level at flank.

What to expect when England faces the Proteas on SA soil in November

Government has given Cricket South Africa (CSA) the green light to host England in November, after assessing travel regulations during lockdown and ironing out immediate managerial challenges. England will face-off against the Proteas in three T20 International and three One-Day International matches from 27 November to 9 December 2020.

In line with government’s travel regulations, the English squad will arrive in South Africa in mid-November for a quarantine period. All matches will be played in the Western Cape, with two ODI matches and two T20 matches to be played at Newlands Stadium, and one ODI and one T20 match at Eurolux Boland Park in Paarl.

CSA Acting Chief Executive Kugandrie Govender said that while all matches would be played behind closed doors, with no fans in attendance, the series would provide a massive boost for local cricket.


Take a look at weather forecasts for all nine provinces here.


Stay one step ahead of the traffic by viewing our live traffic updates here.


Free daily horoscope, celeb gossip and lucky numbers for Friday 23 October.