The battle for top ANC posts in Mpumalanga has begun

The real contest is for the powerful positions of chairperson and provincial secretary, which are key in provincial politics.

The stage is set for the battle for control of the ANC in Mpumalanga and senior members are putting their names in the hat to replace former ANC chairperson David Mabuza. Mabuza, who is also premier, was elected as the party’s deputy president at the December national conference. He is also expected to vacate the premiership portfolio. The real contest is for the powerful positions of chairperson and provincial secretary, which are key in provincial politics. Last week, party activists put forward David Dube as their candidate for chairperson. Dube shot to prominence as a campaigner for ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa, alongside veteran politician Fish Mahlalela, who is also said to be eyeing the position. Dube and Mahlalela belong to the same faction, but one side within the camp wants Dube and another backs Mahlalela. Dube’s supporters said he was a “humble” and “down-to-earth” leader whose PhD would put him in good stead to guide municipalities and provincial departments to deliver services. Peter Nyoni, head of the department of co-operative governance and traditional affairs, is also vying for the post. Dube, Mahlalela and Nyoni will be challenged by current provincial secretary Mandla Ndlovu, who also wants the chairperson position. Provincial ex

How Zuma refused to resign

A top official of South Africa's governing African National Congress (ANC) has given dramatic details of how President Jacob Zuma stubbornly refused to agree to resign at a meeting on Sunday. The scandal-hit Mr Zuma was urged by the party's top six officials to step down in favour of new ANC leader Cyril Ramaphosa, but he refused, ANC treasurer-general Paul Mashatile said in a leaked audio published by the Times Live news site. "We were saying to President Zuma on Sunday that we don't want two centres of power; we want President Ramaphosa to take control not only of the ANC‚ but [also] the affairs of the state. And we were very clear about it," Mr Mashatile said. He quoted Mr Zuma as replying: 'What do you guys mean by transition?' He said this is a strange word that you guys have just coined. What is this thing you are talking about called transition?...I'm not going anywhere‚ I'm not convinced by you guys so I'm not going to resign." Afterwards, the officials - including Mr Ramaphosa - agreed to call a meeting of the party's top leadership body, the National Executive Committee (NEC), to decide Mr Zuma's fate. However, the meeting was called off after Mr Zuma and Mr Ramaphosa held direct talks, agreeing to resolve the leadership dispute in the coming days without "discord or division", according to a statement by Mr Ramaphosa. SOURCE:

Doctor must apologise publicly for separating patients

The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) has instructed a Limpopo doctor who separated patients according to race to make a public apology‚ do community service and participate in anti-racism advocacy workshops. The SAHRC concluded its investigation into a complaint received about Dr Jimmy van den Berg‚ a general practitioner in Mokopane‚ the commission said on Thursday. The commission received several complaints that Van den Berg segregated patients into different waiting areas‚ consultation rooms‚ and reception areas. “It was further alleged that staff had segregated toilets and kitchens and could not use the same kitchen utensils. The complainants told the SAHRC that black patients were billed more than white patients for the same medical services. The Commission conducted several inspections at the medical rooms and confirmed that patients and staff were being segregated on the basis of race‚” the commission said. Van den Berg agreed to co-operate with the commission and indicated his willingness to resolve the matter expeditiously and amicably. “Dr Van den Berg is to provide the commission with a written undertaking to immediately desist from segregating patients and staff according to race and to refrain from any similar actions‚ words or attitudes‚ which violate Chapter 2 of the Constitution in the future‚” the SAHRC said. The commission also sought a written public apology for this violation of the rights to equalit

Jacob Zuma will be a very rich man, thanks to taxpayers

Political parties and officials have been calling on President Jacob Zuma to resign and have even threatened to oust the President. If he resigns though, he will still live a comfortable life and enjoy several benefits. Zuma will reportedly be paid his annual salary of R2 989 845 after stepping down for the rest of his life. In addition to this hefty salary, he will also enjoy a security team and an official vehicle. He will be given an office, secretary and be entitled to free domestic flights on the national airline. These benefits have likewise been enjoyed by former presidents, FW de Klerk and Thabo Mbeki. The entitlements that these former presidents are granted is outlined in the Presidential Handbook. List of benefits given to all former state presidents in South Africa: - Personal security that will protect him, his entire family and immediate family. - A home which the state will either contribute towards partially or fully, dependent on Zuma's safety requirements. - Health insurance and special treatment at military hospitals . - An official salary of R2.87 million which was approved in 2016. An increase in this salary is subject to government gazettes. - An indirect line to government. This will permit the former president to apply his services at diplomatic functions which is ultimately at the discretion of the incumbent president. However, whilst still occupying office, Zuma and his family benefit from family medical cover.

Ramaphosa and Zuma’s Meeting

ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa on Wednesday allayed fears surrounding speculation about President Jacob Zuma's future as the head of state. In a statement, he said he met with Zuma on Tuesday night to discuss the transition and matters relating to his position as state president. "The discussions were constructive and lay the basis for a speedy resolution of the matter in the interests of the country and its people," said Ramaphosa. He said it was agreed to postpone a special meeting of the ANC's national executive committee that was scheduled to take place on Wednesday afternoon. "This will enable President Zuma and myself to conclude our discussions and report back to our organisation and the country in the coming days." Ramaphosa said he was aware and it was understandable that there was a lot of uncertainty surrounding Zuma's position as the president of the country. "However, I am certain that the process we have now embarked on will achieve an outcome that not only addresses these concerns, but also unites our people around the tasks that all of us must necessarily undertake to build our country. "We will be able to communicate further on President Zuma’s position as President of the Republic once we have finalised all pertinent matters."   He added that, while the situation made it necessary to postpone the State of the Nation Address until further notice, the work of the government and Parliament would continue. "This is a challengi

Zimbabwe’s Tsvangirai critically ill in South Africa

Zimbabwe’s main opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, is critically ill in a South African hospital and his supporters should “brace for the worst”, a party source with knowledge of his condition said on Tuesday. The 65-year-old has been in and out of hospital since disclosing in June 2016 that he had colon cancer. He returned to Johannesburg in neighboring South Africa for his latest round of treatment in early January. “From the medical report that I received yesterday the situation is not looking good. He is critically ill and we should brace for the worst,” the source said. Tsvangirai’s illness has divided his Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party, with officials publicly jockeying to succeed the former trade union leader. Last month, Tsvangirai said it was time for the older generation to step back and make way for “new hands”, raising prospects of leadership change. Without its founder at the helm, the MDC is likely to face immediate instability and could even split, handing a gift to new President Emmerson Mnangagwa in an election expected within the next six months. Mnangagwa came to power in November after a de facto military coup against 93-year-old Robert Mugabe, the former guerrilla leader who had run Zimbabwe since independence from Britain in 1980. Tsvangirai spokesman Luke Tamborinyoka said the MDC leader was “stable but the nation should keep on praying.”

South African Farmers Lose Crops And Workers Amid Crippling Drought

Tony Largier grows apples, plums and nectarines at Little Oaks Farm, near Villiersdorp, in South Africa's Western Cape province. It's a beautiful piece of land in a valley between mountains. The closest peak gets snow in the winter. We walk amid his nectarine trees. "This variety is summer bright. It's sweet, crunchy. It's a good nectarine. It's one of the newer varieties," says Largier. He and other farmers in the area pull water from the nearby Elandskloof Dam — part of a network of dams that farmers, villages and the City of Cape Town share. Farmers here work on a quota system. An irrigation board determines how much water each farmer needs to grow certain crops, and how much the dam can spare. The allocations have gotten smaller amid a three-year drought. "All these farms pull off the dam, and we have a measured amount that we can pull every year," Largier says. "If you get your 100 percent quota, that would be what they reckon you need to grow a hectare of fruit." This year, Largier only got a 17 percent allocation, because the Elandskloof Dam is only one-third full. "You're living on borrowed time at that. Seventeen percent is a huge problem," Largier says. Agriculture is big business here in the Western Cape. Industry economists estimate that apples and pears are worth hundreds of millions of dollars per year. South Africa is one of the world's largest pear producers. The Theewaterskloof Dam is the biggest in the network. Located about 85 m

South Africa’s Zuma faces new no-confidence vote this month

South Africa’s Jacob Zuma faces a no-confidence vote this month, a new attempt to unseat the president by opponents emboldened by splits within his own party. Zuma, who is battling corruption allegations, is in a weakened position since he was replaced as leader of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) party in December by Cyril Ramaphosa, the deputy president. The 75-year-old president is expected to meet the ANC’s six most powerful officials this weekend, but the agenda of the meeting has not been disclosed. Ramaphosa, 65, has been lobbying the ANC’s national executive to force Zuma to resign. The ANC has said it has discussed Zuma resigning before the end of his term in mid-2019, although his staunch supporters within the party say that will not happen. Zuma, who has not said whether he will step down voluntarily before his second term as president ends, has been deserted by several prominent allies in the ANC since Ramaphosa took over leadership of what is the only party to govern South Africa since the end of apartheid. On Friday, parliament speaker Baleka Mbete agreed to a request from the opposition Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) for a motion of no-confidence, though she refused to hold the vote before the president’s state of the nation address on Feb. 8, and scheduled it for Feb. 22. The rand, which tends to strengthen on signs Zuma could leave office, pared losses on the announcement from parliament. Investors associate Zuma’s te

Rescued Sibanye Gold miners receiving medical attention after being trapped underground for over 24 hours

The National Union of Mineworkers confirmed on Friday morning that all 955 Sibanye Gold mine workers who were trapped underground have been resurfaced. "The mine workers were rescued at around 06:30 this morning," the union's national spokesperson Livhuwani Mammburu confirmed to News24. "They are currently getting medical check-ups. No injuries were sustained - they are just exhausted." A meeting was set to be held later at the mine's training centre with management after all the workers had been attended to medically. Sibanye Gold spokesperson James Wellsted also confirmed that the miners had been brought to the surface and that there were no serious injuries. "There were some people with dehydration and few cases of high blood pressure and 16 of our older employees needed drips - but everything was successful. "We are providing counselling for them and their families where it's necessary," Wellsted told News24. Storm The miners were trapped underground at their Beatrix mine unit following an electric cable outage after a storm on Wednesday night. The mine worked around the clock to restore the power supply in order to rescue them. "[They have been trapped for quite some time now and [are] quite fatigued, but they are in an area that is ventilated," Wellsted said on Thursday evening. He added that they had been in constant contact with the miners, who had access to food and water and were in no danger.  


Gauteng Premier David Makhura says that disciplinary processes against provincial Health Department officials who were found not guilty for their roles in the Esidimeni tragedy will be restarted. Makhura concluded his testimony at the arbitration hearings in Parktown on Wednesday. He apologised to the families who lost their loved ones as a result of the chaotic patient transfer project. At least 144 mentally ill people died. Makhura has been questioned about health officials who were charged for their roles in the Esidimeni tragedy but then found not guilty and only given written warnings. These officials include the deputy director of mental healthcare services in Gauteng, Hannah Jacobus. Jacobus, a professional nurse with more than 30 years experience, admitted earlier this year that she bypassed legal processes when licensing the NGOs where patients subsequently died. Makhura says he plans to have people such as Jacobus be subjected to another disciplinary hearing because a warning letter is not enough. “We’re so determined to proceed with those disciplinary processes of any of our officials who did something that was wrong.” Makhura has also assured families that former health MEC Qedani Mahlangu's resignation does not mean further action can't be taken against her.