national shutdown

A police officer stands guard during operation clean-up and rebuild following days of looting and anarchy at Ndofaya Mall on Mandela Day on July 18, 2021 in Soweto, South Africa. Photo: Gallo Images/Sharon Seretlo

South Africa: Today’s latest news and headlines, Tuesday 20 July 2021

In the latest news in South Africa on Tuesday 20 July, we have official confirmation that the country experienced a ‘failed insurrection’ last week.

national shutdown

A police officer stands guard during operation clean-up and rebuild following days of looting and anarchy at Ndofaya Mall on Mandela Day on July 18, 2021 in Soweto, South Africa. Photo: Gallo Images/Sharon Seretlo

We’ve got the latest news stories and headlines in South Africa on Tuesday 20 July 2021 to keep you abreast of what’s happening around the country.

Former president Jacob Zuma was back in court on Monday 19 July – this time from prison, where he appeared virtually in the Pietermaritzburg High Court. The court was expected to hear Zuma’s special plea to have state advocate Billy Downer, SC, removed from the trial, however, Zuma is seeking a “declaratory order” ruling that the hearing of his special plea virtually violates his constitutional rights.

It goes without mentioning, security was beefed up outside the court, despite Zuma’s absence. In related news, more arrests are expected to be made in light of last week’s riots in KZN and Gauteng. But, was it an insurrection or wasn’t it? It seems President Cyril Ramphosa and his Defence Minister


South Africa faced a ‘failed insurrection’ – Minister in the Presidency

Minister in the Presidency, Khumbudzo Ntshavheni, has put the record straight and reiterated the president’s stance that South Africa had faced a “failed insurrection” despite claims to the contrary by Minister of Defence and Military Veterans Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula.

Ramaphosa had described the unrest in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal as a “failed insurrection” during his address to the nation on Friday 16 July.

“It is clear now that the events of the past week were nothing less than a deliberate, coordinated and well-planned attack on our democracy…Using the pretext of a political grievance, those behind these acts have sought to provoke a popular insurrection,” Ramaphosa told the nation.

Mapisa-Nqakula later contradicted the president when she told the Joint Standing Committee on Defence on Sunday evening, that the unrest in South Africa was not an insurrection and there was nothing to suggest it had been an attempted insurrection or coup.

“The issue is, if it is an insurrection, then the insurrection must have a face. If it is an insurrection against government. If it is about a coup, the coup will also have a face… but none of those so far talk to that,” News 24 Reported.

However, Ntshavheni told journalists at briefing on Monday that she would like to clarify “the instance where the media is running with that the minister of defence has contradicted the president”.

Former Ukhozi FM DJ arrested for inciting violence and anarchy

A former Ukhozi FM radio DJ has been arrested, allegedly for inciting violence. The suspect handed himself over to police at the Durban Central police station on Monday, 19 July following allegations of inciting violence and anarchy in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN).

Earlier this month, following former President Jacob Zuma’s incarceration, the radio personality gave President Cyril Ramaphosa three days to release Zuma from jail or “all hell will break lose”. He was addressing scores of Zuma supporters in KwaMai-Mai in Johannesburg, Gauteng.

‘No insurrection here’: Defence Minister rejects Ramaphosa’s coup claims

Well, this is a terrible look for President Ramaphosa, and the ANC government as a whole. After spending the last two days preaching ‘unity’ for a country supposedly divided by an insurrection, it seems that Cyril can’t even get his own Cabinet to sing from the same hymn sheet – as Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula proved on Sunday.

The senior ANC politician has rejected the notion that South Africa had just defeated an ‘insurgency’, and Mapisa-Nqakula is convinced that the recent round of riots and looting were simply the work of ‘criminal counter-revolutionaries’.

“We are not seeing signs of a coup or insurgency, but rather a ‘counter-revolution creeping in, in the form of criminality and thuggery. This was designed to sow the seeds of division in the country.”

COVID-19: South Africa life expectancy slashed by more than THREE years

South Africa’s (SA) life expectancy has taken a significant drop due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Stats SA released its 2021 mid-year population estimates this week and it has revealed some notable facts. 

The estimates show that the COVID-19 pandemic impacted mortality and migration in the country since the start of the pandemic early in 2020.

The population of South Africa was estimated to be 60.14 million at mid-year 2021, which is an increase of about 604 281 (1,01%) since mid-year 2020.

Julius Malema has lawyered up big-time, after DA leader John Steenhuisen accused him of ‘inciting violence’ during the alleged insurgency against the ANC government last week. The 40-year-old Red Beret has rejected these claims, and he’s now pursuing a R1 million legal case against the leader of the official opposition.

Meanwhile, TimesLive report that Steenhuisen himself has not been made aware of this course of litigation. From what has been established so far, the main details of this million-rand political showdown are as follows:

  • Malema has enlisted some top-level lawyers to force John Steenhuisen into withdrawing a number of his claims.
  • They want the DA to publicly apologise, and rescind the criminal charges filed against Juju last week.
  • The EFF leader is seeking a R1 million settlement in this bitter legal feud.
  • Ian Levitt Attorneys have defended Malema’s comments, claiming that he is the victim of ‘spurious allegations’.
  • If successful, the DA would have to share a statement of apology on their social media channels.
  • According to the lawyers, there is nothing illegal about any of the Tweets Malema has posted about the riots.

Snow forecast: Several regions now face ‘Level 4 snowfall warnings’

Let it snow, let it snow, let it… well, you know the rest. The weather outside is indeed frightful this week, as temperatures are forecast to plunge across the country. Western and southern regions will be the first to encounter these icy blasts, before the big chill reaches SA’s central interior. Over the next few days, Level 4 warnings for snowfall will be in place.

At a time where a killer virus is running wild, and there’s talk of another round of load shedding in the next few days, the plummeting mercury on our collective thermometer is probably the last thing any of us were hoping to see. This winter has so far been a bitter one, with several snowstorms wreaking havoc already. And yet, there’s more to come…

“Light snowfalls are expected over the southwestern mountain peaks of the Western Cape on Tuesday morning, whilst bitterly cold conditions are likely to set in over much of the province. Light snowfall is expected in high-lying areas and mountain ranges of the Eastern Cape, including the Tsitsikamma, Kouga, Sneeuberg, and Winterberg mountains.”


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


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