In the latest news, Nkandla remains tense as the clock winds down on South Africa’s former president Jacob Zuma’s time as a free man.
At the end of an eventful week, we’ve got the latest news in South Africa, with all the top stories making waves across the country on Friday 2 July 2021.
There was drama in Nkandla on Thursday 1 July as supporters of Jacob Zuma gathered to defend their leader against a 15-month jail term. Meanwhile, President Cyril Ramaphosa faced a legal verdict of his own in the ConCourt, but his day ended far better, when the apex court cleared him of ‘wilfully misleading Parliament’.
Things are getting a little chaotic outside of Nkandla on Thursday afternoon. The collective of supporters who arrived to ‘defend’ Jacob Zuma has now ballooned in this part of KZN – and some of these devoted followers aren’t afraid to show off what they have in their armouries.
A large convoy arrived at Nkandla earlier in the day. Hundreds of supporters have made their way to the village Jacob Zuma calls home. The sprawling homestead is now heaving with Msholozi’s die-hard fans, sparking a serious security concern. With gatherings banned at Level 4, the police will have a tough job of dispersing such fervent crowds.
Doubts remain as to whether the 79-year-old will hand himself over to the police. If he fails to do so by Sunday, JZ will then be arrested by SAPS officers. However, both his supporters and family members are determined to stop this happening.
Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng has ensured that the CR17 debate will rage on for the foreseeable future, after he presented a minority verdict that deviates from the official judgment handed down by ConCourt on Thursday. Justice Jafta handed down the ruling, which essentially clears Cyril Ramaphosa of lying to Parliament about campaign funds.
However, as we saw with the Jacob Zuma case earlier in the week, a split vote on the benches brings two judgments. The majority one, which is enacted as law, and the minority one – which serves as a legal record of the arguments ‘on the other side of the coin’. As a result, Ramaphosa will not be obligated to reveal details about CR17 donors, either.
The success for Cyril marks another damaging blow for Busisiwe Mkhwebane, whose losing streak against the president in court continues unabated. Ramaphosa and his legal team have swatted away every challenge made by the Public Protector’s office, and her actions have cast a cloud of doubt over her interpretation of legal matters.
You love to see it: The Sisonke vaccine trials in South Africa – using the Johnson & Johnson jabs – have yielded some extremely positive results for the one-shot inoculations. According to data released by the SA Medical Research Council (SAMRC), a massive majority of people who catch COVID after being vaccinated ‘only end up with mild symptoms’.
These so-called ‘breakthrough infections’ in vaccinated persons happen infrequently. J&J jabs have an efficacy rate of 85%, and in epidemiological terms, this is a wonderful number. However, that does still mean that roughly 15% of those jabbed will be susceptible to an infection. No vaccine is 100% perfect – they never have been, and perhaps never will be.
But it’s not just about preventing cases: Vaccines are administered with the primary goal of saving lives – and boy, can the Johnson & Johnson vaccines do that. The numbers coming from their SA-based research trials are glorious. If you fall into the minority that does have a J&J shot and still gets COVID, the odds are very much in your favour:
The rollout of the new AARTO Bill – which aims to punish dangerous drivers through a ‘demerit points system’ – has come with very little fanfare over the past few weeks. As of Thursday 1 July 2021, the government will officially implement the provisions set out by the new legislation. Although you’d do well to find a politician that’s talking about it.
In fact, the only public officials who are acknowledging the start of our AARTO era on the roads are ones who want the scheme delayed. Daylin Mitchell, the Western Cape Transport MEC, has asked Fikile Mbalula to put things on hold:
“I urge Minister Mbalula to reconsider the current rollout date. My plea is that we negotiate a methodically determined, practical and realistic date for the implementation of AARTO. Alongside that negotiation, we must find common ground on certain aspects of the legislation and its regulations that remain deeply problematic.”
The recurring nightmare of load shedding has been particularly brutal during 2021. We’ve had countless power cuts this year, reaching Stage 4 (and possibly beyond) on some days. In the middle of a pandemic, it’s the last thing anyone needs – which is why the eThekwini Municipality and its officials in Durban are planning to escape Eskom’s clutches.
As reported by Bloomberg, eThekwini has asked for a ‘request for information’ from the national government, in order to establish how they would go about securing 400 MW of power from private companies instead. This would go a long way towards taking the City of Durban away from Eskom’s grid, allowing them access to a more reliable energy source.
These developments come after the ANC government stated that municipalities COULD seek their own electricity providers last year. Just a few weeks ago, Ramaphosa made a series of amendments to the Electricity Regulation Act – in order to allow independent power producers (IPPs) to augment the power supply to the national grid.
“We’re in the midst of the worst economic crisis in our country’s recent history. Eleven preferred bidders have been approved as part of the emergency power procurement programme, which will deliver nearly 2 000 MW of power to the grid over the next 18-months. This will ensure that we’re able to bring online as much new capacity as possible.”Cyril Ramaphosa
Horrific events have unfolded in the Free State, with the bodies of a family found in a Bloemfontein house that was set alight on Thursday morning. Initial reports suggest that two children were murdered, with their mother and father also killed in the blaze.
No signs of forced entry have been found, but the two children, aged 14 and 17-years old, were found with stab wounds and their throats slit.
South African Police Service (SAPS) spokesperson Colonal Thandie Mbambo said in a statement on Thursday that police and emergency services responded to reports that a house was alight on Victoria Road in Bloemfontein early on Thursday morning.
“A family of four was found dead in the morning of 01 July 2021 at about 05:00. This after Parkweg Police received information about a house that was burning in Victoria road, Bloemfontein,” she said, adding that the grim discovery of the deceased family was made once the fire was contained.
“On arrival at the scene, after the fire brigade had extinguished the fire, four bodies, that of the father, mother and two children were found.”
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