For all the latest news in South Africa, be sure to check out headlines making waves across the country on Tuesday 13 October.
Government’s better-late-than-never crackdown on corruption continues at a steady pace, with a Deputy National Police Commissioner, Lieutenant General Bonang Mgwenya, becoming the latest public official charged with fraud and money laundering. Meanwhile, Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula fires back at his detractors in a controversial Twitter rant which has since been deleted. In sports news, Steve Komphela joins defending PSL champions Mamelodi Sundowns as part of the coaching team.
TODAY’S LATEST NEWS IN SOUTH AFRICA, TUESDAY 13 OCTOBER
Top cop charged with fraud and money laundering granted bail
A pre-dawn raid spearheaded by the National Prosecuting Authority’s (NPA) Investigative Directorate (ID) on Monday netted a top-ranking police official. The arrest of Lieutenant General Mgwenya is the latest in several high-profile swoops carried out by the NPA and South Africa’s Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation, the Hawks, in the wake of a ‘no-nonsense’ pep talk by President Cyril Ramaphosa.
Mgwenya, the Deputy National Commissioner for Human Resources Management within the South African Police Service (SAPS), appeared before the Palm Ridge Magistrates Court facing charges of corruption, fraud and money laundering.
Mgwenya is accused of profiting, illegally, from a lucrative contract which was signed-off in 2017. It’s alleged that the high ranking SAPS official boldly flouted procurement processes in the supply of emergency lighting equipment.
Former SAPS National Commissioner Khomotso Phahlane and 11 other suspects will join Mgwenya, who was granted R20 000 bail, in the dock in mid-November.
The contract awarded to Instrumentation for Traffic Law enforcement (Pty) — led by Vimpie Manthatha — totalled almost R200 million. Red flags were raised when Mgwenya and Manthatha’s close personal relationship was exposed.
Tensions remain high in Durban following Quarry Road protests
While the dust may have settled in Reservoir Hills, Durban, the violent protest action which disrupted traffic and left vehicles ablaze on Monday morning, has raised tensions among various communities in the area.
Disgruntled residents from a nearby informal settlement, Quarry Road, took to the streets to voice their anger over ‘inhumane’ living conditions. Police eventually managed to disperse the crowds which had barricaded the M19 highway between Umgeni Road and Westville but not before shops had been looted and vehicles set alight.
A car belonging to the local Community Policing Forum’s Chairman was gutted by flames alongside a metro bus.
Durban Metro Police Spokesperson Parbhoo Sewpersad confirmed that 10 protesters were arrested and added that police presence in the area remained on high alert amid threats of continued action.
#PayTheGrants: Calls for government to extend and increase financial relief
South Africa’s extended National State of Disaster — implemented in mid-March 2020 in response to the global coronavirus pandemic — is due to expire this week and, with it, a host of regulations aimed at balancing lives and livelihoods during lockdown.
In an attempt to mitigate to mass financial ruin and the steep slope to destitution, the Department of Social Development (DSD) implemented a COVID-19 Social Relief of Distress (SRD) Grant which afforded unemployed South Africans a R350 a month lifeline. While a host of issues plagued the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA), charged with administering funds to beneficiaries, the SRD grant’s looming end — and lack of clarity from DSD Minister Lindiwe Zulu — has desperate citizens and civil societies up in arms.
The #PayTheGrants movement — which calls for an extension and increase of the SRD scheme in line with a Basic Income Grant — has built momentum over the last few days. Almost 80 civil society organisations have demanded that Minister Zulu extend the grant regardless of the status of the National State of Disaster. Additionally, the movement is calling for grants to be increased from R350 per month to R585.
Former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela has thrown her weight behind the #PayTheGrants movement, explaining that lockdown’s economic repercussions would be felt long after the State of Disaster expired and South Africa returned to some semblance of normality.
While Minister Zulu has alluded to an extension of the SRD grant, no official confirmation from the Department of Social Development has yet been delivered.
Mbalula admits railway system in shambles, will cost R4 billion to fix
Fikile Mbalula has lashed out at his critics, taking direct aim at the Umkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA) which recently called for the transport minister’s arrest. The MKMVA, which marched on Gauteng Premier David Makhura’s offices on Monday, has labelled the collapse of South Africa’s railway service — under Mbalula’s watch — as criminal.
In a series of fiery Tweets — many of which have since been deleted — Mbalula hit back at MKMVA President Kebby Maphatsoe, spokesperson Karl Niehaus, former President Jacob Zuma and African National Congress (ANC) General Secretary Ace Magashule. Mbalula said:
“Kebby Maphatsoe ran away from the camps, that is why he’s got one hand. He lost his hand from cowardice not in a fight against apartheid. Coward.
Karl Niehaus is a well-known thug employed by Magashule at Luthuli House.”
Mbalula admitted that Gauteng’s railway system was in a dire state but placed the blame solely on the “ineptness” of the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa), saying that it would cost at least R4 billion to get trains moving again.
In response to Mbalula’s rant, Maphatsoe said he was confident that President Ramaphosa would hold the transport minister accountable for the collapse of national key points.
Steve Komphela the latest addition to Mamelodi Sundowns
Veteran soccer coach, Steve Komphela — who has served at the helm of Maritzburg United, Kaizer Chiefs, Bloemfontein Celtics, Golden Arrows and Bafana Bafana — has joined forces with PSL heavyweights, Mamelodi Sundowns.
This comes after Sundowns lost coach Pitso Mosimane to Egyptian giants Al Ahly.
Komphela, who will hold a senior position at Sundowns, will work alongside head coaches, Manqoba Mnqithi and Rhulani Mokwena who were drafted to lead the squad in the wake of Mosimane’s departure. Komphela, who has already hit the ground running at Chloorkop, said:
“I look forward to this exciting challenge and hope to contribute to the growth and success of Mamelodi Sundowns in South Africa and on the African continent.”
In defence of their 2019/2020 PSL title, Mamelodi Sundowns get the new season underway on 24 October when they take on Komphela’s former stars, Kaizer Chiefs.
Bafana star Percy Tau one step closer to English Premier League
Bafana Bafana star Percy Tau could realise his dream of featuring in the English Premier League (EPL) as early as next January, according to a report by The Athletic.
The 26-year-old joined Brighton and Hove Albion from Mamelodi Sundowns in 2018, but is yet to feature in a competitive match in the United Kingdom.
He is now in his third consecutive loan spell in Belgium, where Club Brugge afforded him the opportunity to feature in the group stages of the Uefa Champions League, as well as the Europa League, coming up against former champions such as Real Madrid and Manchester United in the two respective tournaments. This was during a fruitful season with the Blue-Black, where he helped the club to domestic success.
Now at rivals RSC Anderlecht, managed by Manchester City legend Vincent Kompany, his stay at the one-time European champions could be cut short by several months.
The Athletic claims that Brighton inserted a January recall clause in his current loan contract, with fresh optimism that his long-standing work permit issues could be a thing of the past by then.
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