latest news in South Africa

PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA – FEBRUARY, 01: Angelo Agrizzi appears in the trade court in Pretoria on the 1 st of February 2019. He appeared with others who were arrested after Agrizzi’s statements at the Zondo Commission. (Photo by Gallo Images/ Netwerk 24 / Beeld)

South Africa: Today’s latest news and headlines, Wednesday 21 October

According to sources close to the matter, former Bosasa boss Angelo Agrizzi is ‘at death’s door’.

latest news in South Africa

PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA – FEBRUARY, 01: Angelo Agrizzi appears in the trade court in Pretoria on the 1 st of February 2019. He appeared with others who were arrested after Agrizzi’s statements at the Zondo Commission. (Photo by Gallo Images/ Netwerk 24 / Beeld)

Never miss a beat when it comes to the latest news in South Africa. Check out all major headlines on Wednesday 21 October.

While former Bosasa bigwig and corruption-accused Angelo Agrizzi ‘fights for his life’ in a private ICU ward after being denied bail and subsequently experiencing severe health issues, the Senekal Magistrate’s Court has postponed the bail verdict for the two men accused of murdering Brendin Horner. In sports news, England look ahead to meeting the Proteas on South African soil but it’s not ‘all systems go’ just yet.


Angelo Agrizzi’s condition worsening, lawyers blame bail rejection

Former Bosasa Chief Operations Officer, Angelo Agrizzi, who was recently arrested for corrupt dealings alongside African National Congress (ANC) MP Vincent Smith, is currently fighting for his life in a private ICU ward.

Agrizzi’s lawyer, Daniel Witz, confirmed that his client’s condition had deteriorated after being placed behind bars and subsequently transferred to a public hospital last week. The former Bosasa bigwig, whose testimony before the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture implicated several high-ranking ANC officials and exposed the ruling party’s self-enriching policy of patronage, was denied bail by the Palm Ridge Magistrate’s Court last Wednesday.

Witz says that while Agrizzi’s serious medical condition — and cooperation with the State Capture Commission — was reiterated to the court in hopes of a reprieve, the bail rejection had ultimately placed the former Bosasa boss at death’s door. Witz explained that if Agrizzi were to die, those implicated in the State Capture project — by association with Bosasa — would escape successful prosecution.

This, Witz added, would be a travesty of justice.

Agrizzi was transferred from Johannesburg Central Prison less than 24-hours after being led from the courtroom.

The Department of Correctional Services’ Spokesperson, Singabakho Nxumalo, confirmed that Agrizzi’s family paid and facilitated the accused’s private healthcare.

In what has turned out to be a cruel and ironic twist of fate, Agrizzi, as COO of Bosasa, authorised tender agreements, to the value of R1 billion, with the Department of Correctional Services.

Bail verdict postponed for suspects accused of murdering Senekal farm manager

Sekwetje Mahlamba and Sekola Matlaletsa, the two suspects charged with the murder of 21-year-old farm manager, Brendin Horner, which inflamed tensions in the small Free State town of Senekal, will remain behind bars. This comes after a full day of cross-examination in the Senekal Magistrate’s Court which ultimately decided to postpone the bail hearing to Thursday.

The State’s case against the accused was dealt a blow when the court heard that DNA samples, gathered by a private laboratory, compared with those recovered from Horner’s vehicle — which was stolen during the attack and later recovered on the neighbouring farm — was not a positive match for one of the suspects.

This exclusion has poked a major hole in the State’s argument. Further complications arise from a ‘defective’ DNA sample associated with the other accused. It is not yet known whether it is Mahlamba or Matlaletsa who has been excluded.

Hawks promise ‘more arrests’ this week as corruption crackdown intensifies

South Africa’s Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation — more commonly known as the Hawks – have vowed to make more high-profile arrests in the next 48 hours. Addressing the Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) on Tuesday afternoon, Hawks head, Lieutenant-General Godfrey Lebeya, confirmed that the crackdown on corruption associated with coronavirus relief funds would net a big fish on Thursday.

Updating Parliament on progress made following President Cyril Ramaphosa’s emboldened plea to root out corruption, Lebeya revealed that the Hawks were investigating 154 cases involving the looting of coronavirus relief funds.

Lebeya was joined by the National Prosecution Authority (NPA) and Special Investigating Unit (SIU). Cooperation between the three institutions has resulted in several high-profile arrests — predominantly associated with damning testimony before the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture — in recent weeks.

The latest crackdown comes after presidential spokesperson, Khusela Diko, was alleged to have facilitated an exorbitant contract, for the supply of personal protective equipment, between her husband and the Gauteng Health Department. Initial investigations uncovered glaring procurement irregularities and, as a result, Diko and Gauteng Health MEC Bandile Masuku were placed on precautionary leave.

While the anti-corruption collaborative has made good progress, Lebeya noted that the immense backlog — currently over 80 000 identified illegal payments which still need to be probed further – required greater investigative resources and time.

Job losses and licence outrage: SABC’s death spiral

The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) is facing a torrid financial and operational predicament. After burning through at least R3 billion in government bailouts over the past year, the embattled broadcaster is, once again, standing before the National Treasury, cap in hand.

Teetering on the brink of bankruptcy, the SABC recently dismissed 13 employees who had been ‘irregularly appointed’. These dismissals coincide with a bitter back-and-forth between the Broadcast, Electronic Media and Allied Workers Union amid looming mass retrenchments.

SABC Head of Human Resources Mojaki Mosia confirmed that engagements with union representatives — in line with the Labour Relations Act — had been concluded. Unions argue, however, that the broadcaster had failed to finalise consultations with staff members.

It’s estimated that 600 SABC staffers could lose their jobs as the broadcaster desperately attempts to drive down costs in accordance with its restructuring strategy.

The broadcaster won little sympathy during a parliamentary presentation on Tuesday, wherein the Deputy Minister of Communications Pinky Kekana explained that the SABC would be looking to expand TV licenses rules to other “gadgets”.

This proposal – if successfully approved and implemented — would see video-on-demand providers like Netflix forced to absorb TV licencing fees, which, in turn, would drive up prices for users.

Pastor Bushiri and wife arrested for fraud, money laundering worth R102 million

Following the arrest of his wife, controversial pastor Shepherd Bushiri, leader of the Enlightened Christian Gathering (ECG) church, handed himself over to police on Tuesday to face charges of fraud and money laundering.

Bushiri, who has previously been arrested on similar charges, and his wife, Mary, who, according to the Hawks’ Serious Commercial Crime Investigation unit, attempted to evade arrest, are accused of laundering money to the value of R102 million. In addition to being accused of violating South Africa’s exchange control regulations in a separate case, the Bushiris will be required to explain their business interests in company called “Rising Estate”.

ECG church spokesperson Ephraim Nyondo explained that the Bushiris had arranged to meet with the Hawks on Tuesday morning but that the crime fighters pounced earlier than ‘agreed upon’, raiding the pastor’s home and arresting Mary in the process.

England tour to SA will be confirmed this week; will CSA’s house be in order?

England’s tour to South Africa in mid-November is expected to go ahead, with government’s support, despite the crisis impacting Cricket South Africa (CSA) and travel restrictions placed on the United Kingdom.

The Proteas, who will be eager to get back on the pitch after a protracted period of dormancy since their last outing against Australia in February and March, have yet to confirm the England series but are expected to, following final consultations with government and Sports Minister Nathi Mthethwa, provide finer details on the clash.

According to reports, England players and technical staff are expected to arrive in South Africa on 17 November, and all matches in the tour will take place in the Western Cape.

The crisis at CSA has, however, complicated matters, with Mthethwa threatening to get involved. Government interference at CSA could see South Africa booted from the International Cricket Council (ICC) which would scupper any pending plans.

Khune deserves to be suspended for ‘violent conduct’ – former PSL GM

Former PSL general manager and referee Ace Ngcobo has called upon the league’s disciplinary committee to take action against Kaizer Chiefs goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune.

Khune was caught involved in an off-the-ball incident with Maritzburg United striker Judas Moseamedi during Kaizer Chiefs’ 2-1 victory over The Team of Choice in the MTN8 quarterfinals.

Khune, the former Bafana Bafana first choice goalkeeper, has been accused of ‘violent conduct’ after he swept through Moseamedi immediately after conceding a goal on Saturday afternoon.


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