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["Maverick News","South Africa"]

Judge in Kinnear trial tells ex-cop and key State witness if murder accused ‘goes down’, so could he

Judge Henney's sharp words cut through the courtroom drama as Bradley Goldblatt's tangled web of illegal pinging activities unravelled during cross-examination in the Western Cape High Court, shedding light on a murky world of pinged locations and deadly consequences.
DIVE DEEPER ( 4 MIN)
  • Judge Henney criticises Bradley Goldblatt's illegal pinging activities in court testimony
  • Goldblatt admits to selling pings illegally and alerts authorities to threat against Lt Col Charl Kinnear
  • Zane Kilian admits to pinging Kinnear's phone, claims he did so at Nafiz Modack's request
  • Modack and Kilian, along with 13 co-accused, face multiple charges including murder and corruption
Former police officer Bradley Goldblatt and co-owner of pinging company 1 Track Solutions had sold pings to former debt collector Zane Kilian since November 2018. (Photo: Vincent Cruywagen)

Judge Henney made the remarks as Bradley Goldblatt was wrapping up his testimony and being cross-examined by Zane Kilian’s counsel, Adv Pieter Nel, in the Western Cape Division of the High Court on Monday, 20 May.

Goldblatt admitted to the court on 16 May that he sold pings illegally, but that he had alerted authorities on 3 September 2020 to a possible threat to the life of the Anti-Gang Unit’s Lt Col Charl Kinnear.

He gave the court a detailed account of Kilian’s purchase of pings and of how Kilian pinged Kinnear, lawyer William Booth and alleged Sexy Boys gang leader, Jerome “Donkie” Booysen.

Read more in Daily Maverick: “Hawks were monitoring pinging of Kinnear’s phone when he was assassinated, court hears”

Kilian has admitted to pinging Kinnear’s cellphone to trace his location, and claims he did so at the behest of co-accused Nafiz Modack. 

Kinnear was gunned down in September 2020.

Initially, Kilian was the sole accused, but Modack was added to the charge sheet. Both men have also been charged with attempting to murder Booth.

Modack and Kilian, along with 13 co-accused, are collectively facing 124 charges including murder, attempted murder, corruption, gangsterism, extortion, the illegal interception of communications, money laundering and contravention of the Prevention of Organised Crime Act.

The other accused are Jacques Cronje, Ziyaad Poole, Moegamat Brown, Riyaat Gesant, Fagmeed Kelly, Mario Petersen, Petrus Visser, Janick Adonis, Amaal Jantjies, former Anti-Gang Unit Sergeant Ashley Tabisher, Yaseen Modack, Mogamat Mukudam and Ricardo Morgan.

Nafiz Modack, Zane Kilian

Nafiz Modack (left) and Zane Kilian in the Western Cape Division of the High Court, where they and 13 co-accused face a slew of charges, including the murder of the Anti-Gang Unit’s Lieutenant Colonel Charl Kinnear. (Photo: Jaco Marais / Die Burger / Gallo Images)

Pattern of pinging

The court also heard on 16 May that Goldblatt did not have any authorisation under the Rica Act to perform pinging and that he was doing so illegally.

Asked by Nel to explain the process in layman’s terms, Goldblatt replied: “The pattern of movement of the person being pinged showed Kinnear’s work and home addresses, the times he left and arrived, and the car he was driving, all provided by the MarisIT system. The pinging indicates whether a person was going to his home, a shopping mall or to work.”

Henney then told Goldblatt: “You are ultimately responsible for this pinging because you caused it. The LAD system you used was illegal. Kilian interfaced with the MarisIT system, from which he obtained the person’s actual identity and address.

“Once you had the MarisIT system combined with the information from the LAD system, you could trace a person, provided you had an address given to you by MarisIT, which is illegal. You shouldn’t sell the MarisIT system. You put Kilian in a position to ping Kinnear. If Kilian has to go down as a client, you also have to go down.”

Goldblatt replied: “Yes, my Lord, I realise that.”

Nel asked Goldblatt if he was aware that his name was included in the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) report on Kinnear’s murder, and he replied, “Yes, I was aware, and I made a statement to Ipid.”

Leaked Ipid report

A leaked Ipid report compiled by Lt Gen Moeketsi Sempe, divisional commissioner of visible policing and dated 6 October 2020, outlines the investigation into Kinnear’s assassination.

According to the report, statements were obtained from, among others, Kinnear’s widow, former Major General Andre Lincoln, former Major General Jeremy Vearey, Warrant Officer Wynand Olivier, Major General Ebrahim Kadwa and Lt Col Buyani Mabasa.

Vearey, according to the report, stated that Modack could have had a relationship with General Mzwandile Tiyo, then Western Cape head of Crime Intelligence, Major General Patrick Mbotho, and Captain Paul Hendricks from the Hawks.

“During 2018, Vearey redeployed the deceased, Kinnear, to the Anti-Gang Unit, where, soon after, Kinnear informed him about the existence of a rogue unit which had intentions to arrest amongst others, the deceased,” the report reads.

Caryn Dolley, author and investigative reporter for Daily Maverick, also reported in October 2022 that Ipid was grilled in Parliament about why a report on the assassination of Kinnear was suddenly restricted, preventing public access to it. 

Police Committee chairperson Tina Joemat-Pettersson, during a meeting in Parliament on 14 October, accused Ipid of putting Parliament in an unfavourable position via its submission of the restricted report.

Read more in Daily Maverick: “Ipid’s ‘secret’ report into top cop Charl Kinnear’s killing has compromised Parliament, police committee hears”

In November 2022, it was reported Parliament was told that the police watchdog report into Kinnear’s assassination was restricted as senior officers were implicated.

At first, the widely leaked Ipid report into the assassination of Kinnear – and critical shortcomings in the SA Police Service – was not res­tricted. 

Daily Maverick and other publications ran several articles on its contents.

However, it later emerged the report had been classified “Top Secret”, meaning only those with special clearance were allowed to see it. No reasons for this were initially provided.

Read more in Daily Maverick: ‘We were lied to’ – The fiasco of ‘Top Secret’ Ipid report into the assassination of senior cop Charl Kinnear

When Nel asked Goldblatt if he was aware that his name and that of Warrant Officer Olivier were mentioned in the Ipid investigation into Kinnear’s shooting, he replied, “I knew what I was getting myself into from the start, and I gave statements to Ipid.”

The State will at a later date call Olivier, Lincoln and Vearey to testify. The matter continues on Tuesday. DM

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["South Africa","Maverick Citizen"] age-of-accountability

Judge Mandisa Maya will be SA’s first female Chief Justice – but is anyone paying attention?

In a whirlwind of judicial drama, from the controversial appointment of Judge Mogoeng Mogoeng to the quiet confirmation of Judge Mandisa Maya, the evolution of South Africa's Chief Justices raises questions about public engagement, political influence, and the future of the judiciary.
DIVE DEEPER ( 5 MIN)
  • In 2011, Judge Mogoeng Mogoeng's controversial nomination for Chief Justice sparked outrage due to his views on homosexuality and questionable judgments, leading to protests and public scrutiny during the JSC hearings.
  • Fast forward to 2024, Judge Mandisa Maya's confirmation as Chief Justice lacked public engagement, with her nomination being a foregone conclusion and the JSC interview lacking depth, raising concerns about her leadership of the judiciary.
  • Maya's vision for the judiciary and her political ties, particularly with the ANC, have raised questions about her ability to maintain the judiciary's independence and handle potential political pressures.
  • Despite outlining plans to strengthen relationships between the judiciary, executive, and legislature, Maya's lack of substantive responses during the JSC interview has left doubts about her ability to navigate the complexities of the Chief Justice role.
Deputy Chief Justice Mandisa Maya. (Photo: Gallo Images / Daily Maverick / Felix Dlangamandla)

The year was 2011, and just one candidate had been put forward by then-president Jacob Zuma to be interviewed by the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) for the post of South Africa’s Chief Justice.

That was Judge Mogoeng Mogoeng, whose nomination had caused horror from many sections of the legal establishment, the press, and a social media platform which was just beginning to spread serious tentacles across the country: Twitter.

The Mogoeng-focused consternation was well-founded. For one thing, there was an eminently suitable candidate for the post who had been overlooked for a second time: then Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke. 

For another, Mogoeng’s prejudiced views on homosexuality, his questionable judgments in sexual violence matters and his habit of stirring lavish seasonings of religion into his jurisprudence were by then well known.

Moseneke, who was chairing the JSC session, summed up the concerns in advance: “We have gender sensitivity, we have homophobia, we have the issue of religious faith,” he said at the outset.

Little wonder that the hearings were accompanied by protests outside the venue from activists.

What is more surreal, looking back, is what a public spectacle the hearings were – deliberately held over a Saturday and Sunday at the Cape Town International Convention Centre to enable anyone who felt like it to pull in and observe. The interviews went on for the best part of two days.

Fast forward to May 2024, some 13 years later. How very different things are now – and perhaps not entirely in a positive way.

The JSC interview to confirm the nomination of Judge Mandisa Maya as the country’s Chief Justice was held at a Johannesburg hotel on a Tuesday morning. The audience was comprised of a handful of journalists, and proceedings were wrapped up by lunch.

Of course, Maya is no Mogoeng (and even Mogoeng turned out to be no Mogoeng, at least in the sense that his harshest critics feared). But there has been a striking lack of public engagement on the issue of South Africa’s next Chief Justice – perhaps partly because her identity has been a foregone conclusion since President Cyril Ramaphosa announced Maya as his sole nominee for the post in February; and partly because the nation’s attention is elsewhere, with the elections just a week away.

More problematically, however, this lack of deep engagement seemed to filter down to the JSC itself.

Judge Maya has a tendency to start JSC interviews strong and then almost visibly run out of steam. This was very much the case on Tuesday as well, where the current Deputy Chief Justice was energetic in setting out her vision for the judiciary, and then gave answers of rapidly diminishing substance to the already pretty insubstantial questions posed to her by commissioners.

By the end of the interview, her responses were of astonishing brevity; sometimes just a few words in length. But perhaps that was a reflection of the nature of the JSC questioning, which rarely seemed designed to test her in any significant way.

Yet this is the person who will be leading South Africa’s judiciary until March 2034, holding unquestionably one of the most significant posts in the country.

The Chief Justice, as Maya laid out in her opening remarks to the commission, is responsible for: sitting in the Constitutional Court; administering the apex court, including allocating cases; providing oversight of all South Africa’s courts; chairing bodies like the JSC; determining budgets; swearing in public figures; representing South Africa in various international legal forums; and much else besides.

One responsibility which Maya did not mention, but which her predecessor Judge Raymond Zondo has had to manage on a number of occasions, is that of defending the judiciary against attacks from politicians and maintaining a steely division between the executive and the judiciary.

One of the concerns of legal insiders is that Maya may fundamentally be a more political figure than Zondo. She is known to enjoy the support of the ANC’s National Executive Committee, for instance, although as a trailblazing black woman from the rural Eastern Cape this is not surprising.

Still, it may have raised eyebrows to hear Maya tell the JSC that one of her intentions as Chief Justice was to “intensify the relationship between the leaders” of the judiciary, the executive and the legislature.

Maya’s argument was that much of what the South African courts need to function better lies within the gift of the executive and the legislature, and a closer relationship could thus improve judicial functioning. 

But she was not seriously probed on her thoughts regarding the doctrine of the separation of powers – unlike, say, the candidates for the Supreme Court of Appeal who were interviewed on Monday.

Most of Maya’s ideas for the enhancement of judicial functioning seemed otherwise uncontroversial, and have long been on the agenda of the office of the Chief Justice, including the appointment of more legal researchers, the upgrading of court infrastructure, appointing panels of judges or experienced lawyers to assist with the sifting of cases, and scrutinising the process of appointing acting judges.

Much of this takes money which Treasury has informed the office of the Chief Justice is currently unavailable, however. Asked by Justice Minister Ronald Lamola how she would deal with the problem of ever-shrinking budgets, Maya responded rather vaguely that there were departments which had been excluded from budget cuts.

In her prefatory comments to the JSC, Maya noted that getting a taste of what the Chief Justice job entails has been a “sobering experience”.

Addressing Zondo, she said: “There is absolutely nothing attractive about your job, Chief Justice… If I had my way I would go and hide in a hole somewhere. I’m not sure I want it. It’s too hard.”

She was, needless to say, being at least partly tongue in cheek – and probably also partly adopting the mantle of self-deprecating humility which society still demands from professional women to a much greater degree than from professional men.

But there is little doubt that the post Maya will be given for a decade is indeed a punishing one. 

And while there is much to celebrate about the ascent of the first woman to this job, it would be comforting to feel that there was a greater degree of scrutiny and analysis around this appointment. DM

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["Maverick News","Sport"]

History-making City under dark cloud until pending Premier League charges are dealt with 

Despite Manchester City painting the Premier League sky blue, a dark cloud threatens to rain on their parade.  
DIVE DEEPER ( 4 MIN)
  • Manchester City's historic achievement of winning four consecutive English league titles showcases their brilliance and consistency in the soccer sphere.
  • Even the legendary Manchester United sides under Alex Ferguson did not achieve the feat of four league titles in a row, highlighting City's dominance.
  • City's success is marred by allegations of financial breaches dating back 14 years, casting a dark cloud over their achievements and threatening their progress.
  • Previous legal action and ongoing charges against City for flouting financial rules raise concerns about their compliance and integrity in European and English soccer.
Kyle Walker of Manchester City lifts the Premier League trophy with the squad at Etihad Stadium in Manchester, England. 19 May 2024. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

Everyone in the soccer sphere should be celebrating the achievements of Manchester City. People should be in awe of the team’s brilliance, the beautiful football and the consistency they display on a weekly basis.

Focus should be on their perennial dominance of the league over the last few seasons — which resulted in the Manchester club making history by being crowned English champions for the fourth season in a row.

Even the greatest Manchester United sides assembled by the legendary Alex Ferguson did not achieve the feat of a dominant four league titles on the trot. Though they twice completed a hattrick of league wins, first between 1999 and 2001. Then again between 2007 and 2009. However, the quadruple of Premier League titles on the spin remained elusive.

Prior to the Premier League era, which began in 1992, only three other teams had clinched a trio of consecutive leagues. Huddersfield Town, Arsenal and Liverpool all won the old Football League First Division three times on the trot.

By fending off Arsenal by a narrow two points to complete a quadruple of consecutive titles in the league marathon, City ripped apart that existing script. Their Spanish manager Pep Guardiola also added to this historic feat as he became the first head coach working in the English top flight to be victorious four times in a row.

Pep Guardiola, Premier League

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola with the Premier League title trophy. (Photo: Michael Regan/Getty Images)

“It’s the mentality. Of course, we have the best players in the world and one of the best generations I’ve seen in English football and in Europe.

But the mentality we’ve built — there’s no other way [to explain it]. Because there are lots of great players in every club,” City’s midfield anchor Rodri said in the aftermath of City’s fourth league crown.

“It’s the most special because nobody ever did this. We came from last season winning everything [after we won the continental treble]. But trying to build again, finding the hunger to win again, is the toughest thing in football,” the Spanish midfielder added.

Hovering dark cloud

Yet, despite constantly pushing the boundaries in English soccer, a dark cloud hovers over all of City’s incredible achievements. A cloud that threatens to revoke their strides over the last decade-and-a-half.

This includes the gains made under the revolutionary and exceptional leadership of Spanish tactician Guardiola, who joined the club in 2016.

The reigning Premier League champions are facing allegations over financial breaches dating back 14 years. City are alleged to have committed multiple financial breaches between 2009 and 2018. Thus, gaining an unfair advantage over their fellow competitors.

The charges emanate from a set of documents which were made public by German publication Der Spiegel, amongst other European publications. In them, the publication alleged countless instances of malfeasance by City’s hierarchy — which is headed by United Arab Emirates (UAE) vice-president Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Premier League

Manchester City owner Abu Dhabi royal Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan. (Photo: Tom Jenkins/Getty Images)

The sheer number of charges brought by English soccer’s bosses against City for flouting the league’s Profit and Sustainability Rules (PSR) suggests some form of guilt for the English side.

These charges have to do with City allegedly manipulating their financial records, as well as funnelling money into the club via inflated sponsorship deals with UAE-based companies. The purpose and principles around PSR are simple: don’t spend more than you can make.

European charges 

It’s not the first time City’s financial affairs have been the subject of legal action.

Four years ago, the club successfully appealed a two-year suspension from European club football handed down by Uefa, after the governing body’s financial control wing found them guilty of “serious breaches” of club licensing and Financial Fair Play rules.

City took the matter to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), which overturned the ban and reduced the fine they had received from €30-million to €10-million.

The CAS said the alleged breaches had happened too long ago, without Uefa acting. In legal lingo, they were time-barred offences. And that was that.

The Premier League has said it has no such restrictions in its case, which it is confident it can nail City on.

In the recently ended season, Everton were twice punished with a points deduction for breaching PSR regulations. Nottingham Forest were also sanctioned for similar offences. But the duo’s misdemeanours are dwarfed by those facing City.

Premier League

West Ham’s Lucas Paqueta (right) and Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne (left) during their English Premier League clash in Manchester, Britain. 19 May 2024. (Photo: EPA-EFE/Ash Allen)

Which has led to speculation of the Manchester club’s punishment should they be found guilty. This includes talk of expulsion from the top flight. Or them being stripped of the titles they won in the period in question.

Everyone following the saga has been curious about when proceedings on the City inquest will begin. Premier League chief executive Richard Masters has confirmed that a date has been set, though he refused to delve into more details.

“All we have said is that a date has been set for the hearing. We haven’t said when that is. Our rulebook requires these commissions to be held in private, and everything to be confidential,” Masters told The Times.

Former Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp, who could have won more league titles than the one he managed, if it was not for the domination of the Citizens, said that despite the alleged financial shenanigans at City — they still had to perform on the field. Which they did.

“No matter what has transpired at Manchester City, Pep Guardiola is the best manager in the world. And that is truly significant. If you put any other manager in that club, they don’t win the league four times in a row. That’s down to him and his team,” Klopp stated.

“Does that mean they can do whatever they want? No. But I don’t know what they did, if they did anything. I’m not here to say they have. We will see. Of course, I would like to know [if they are guilty or not one day]. Everyone wants to know,” the German added.

Though the Premier League is keeping its cards closely guarded, indications are that the independent inquest into City’s dealings will commence sometime next season. DM

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["Maverick Citizen","South Africa"] learning-and-job-creation

‘All indications are that premier Mabuyane’s master’s proposal was a sham’ — arrested forensic investigator

Two forensic lawyers, arrested on charges relating to criminal activity at Fort Hare University, say their arrests were triggered when they handed over a forensic report and a docket of documents to the Hawks detailing allegations of academic fraud against Eastern Cape premier Oscar Mabuyane.
DIVE DEEPER ( 14 MIN)
  • South African Local Government Association withdraws nominee from University of Fort Hare council amid ongoing saga
  • Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande summons university council to meeting, despite vice-chancellor's absence
  • Investigation reveals former ANC chair Oscar Mabuyane's alleged academic misconduct at the university
  • Forensic report uncovers evidence of irregularities in Mabuyane's master's degree registration
Eastern Cape premier Oscar Mabuyane has been snagged in an investigation into fake degrees at Fort Hare University. (Photo: Gallo Images / The Times / Masi Losi)

In two more twists in the ongoing saga at the University of Fort Hare, the South African Local Government Association has withdrawn its nominee on the university council, and Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande has peremptorily summoned the entire university council to a meeting in Johannesburg on Thursday, 23 May — even though the university’s vice-chancellor is not in SA at present. 

In 2017, before he became premier, Oscar Mabuyane, then the Eastern Cape chairperson of the ANC, was ostensibly working on a thesis for a master’s degree (an MAdmin) titled A Critical Analysis of the Application of the Inter-Governmental Relations Policy: The Case of Two Eastern Cape Government Departments. 

In 2019, Horizon Forensics started a wide-ranging investigation into the ongoing situation at the University of Fort Hare. Mabuyane was by then the premier of the Eastern Cape.  

In their investigation, the forensic lawyers called Mabuyane “the Big Student”. 

When, in October 2020, a senior manager at the university expressed her concern that Mabuyane was registered for a master’s degree in Public Administration without meeting the minimum academic requirements for entry, namely an honours degree, it raised a flag for the university. This led to his deregistration.   

Horizon Forensics, however, was only commissioned by the university to investigate Mabuyane six months later and played no part in the decision to deregister Mabuyane.  

Horizon Forensics’ director, Sarah Burger, found that Mabuyane had no application for recognition of prior learning on file with the university to bridge the academic gap. 

Mabuyane’s supervisor was Professor Edwin Ijeoma. He resigned from the university after evidence was led against him at his disciplinary hearing that he had effectively defrauded the university of approximately R4.8-million. He was later arrested on a charge that he stole one of the university’s fleet vehicles, but this charge was withdrawn because of insufficient evidence. 

Mabuyane’s proposal 

According to a forensic report on Mabuyane’s thesis, there were allegations that Ijeoma was involved in the irregular registration of students and that the university had awarded them degrees in questionable circumstances. 

In their report, investigators said they found numerous emails and hard-copy documents that suggested serious irregularities in Mabuyane’s registration. Electronic files were subjected to metadata analysis, which allows digital or computer forensic investigators to understand the history of a particular electronic file, including when the file was created, modified and accessed. 

The evidence against Mabuyane was compiled from documents found in the offices of Ijeoma and his assistant, Candyce Dawes.  

“What we have discovered in assessing the available evidence is deeply tragic and adds further credence to the university’s decision to deregister Mabuyane, albeit from a completely different angle,” the report detailing the “Big Student” investigation reads. 

An email thread that began on 17 April 2018 asked Mabuyane to choose a topic for his MAdmin dissertation from two options provided by Ijeoma, but he could also choose his own topic.

Number two on this list was “An in-depth analysis of the application of the IGR Policy: The case of the Eastern Cape Government ( 2010-2015)”

On 17 July 2018, a postdoctoral student in Ijeoma’s department sent Mabuyane a proposal titled “An in-depth analysis of the application of the IGR Policy: The case of two Eastern Cape Government Departments (2010-2015)”.  

In October, Ijeoma asked Mabuyane to “complete” the proposal “as discussed”. 

Many emails followed. 

Fort Hare

Horizon owner Bradley Conradie appears in the Dimbaza Magistrates’ Court in the Eastern Cape. (Photo: Deon Ferreira)

In her report, Burger said metadata on the proposal sent by Mabuyane showed its origin as the computer of one of the students in Ijeoma’s department.

The only differences were minor changes in the title, some paraphrasing and the addition of information.

Mabuyane presented his proposal to a departmental committee. Beforehand, he requested Ijeoma to point him to the relevant parts of the proposal as he “was in trouble”. After his presentation, Ijeoma congratulated him on a job well done. 

A letter was found to motivate Mabuyane’s late registration for a PhD. This, Burger found, was generated from Dawes’ computer. 

“All indications are that Mabuyane’s master’s proposal was a sham. It was conceived, authored and constantly refined by Ijeoma and his researchers. At most, Mabuyane titivated and paraphrased here and there.

“It is not possible for Mabuyane to claim innocence and argue that he did not know what was being done for him. The evidence against him is too compelling. It is clear … that several university employees were assisting Ijeoma and Mabuyane in their attempts to deceive the university into believing that Mabuyane was doing what was expected of him as a student, not to mention a master’s student. Appropriate action will need to be taken against them,” the forensic report by Horizon reads.

Mabuyane has filed a legal review application against the decision by the university to deregister him and the Horizon forensic report.

Horizon Forensics’ owner, Bradley Conradie, said he and Burger believed their arrests were linked to their handing over evidence relating to Mabuyane to the Hawks.

Other cases 

Conradie said BCHC attorneys and Horizon Forensics were contracted in 2018 to investigate the goings-on at the University of Fort Hare.  

They made a significant impact but were frustrated by the slow pace of law enforcement. 

In an interview last week, Conradie and Burger said it was “incomprehensible” that out of about 20 cases they had referred to the SA Police Service over six years, complete with reports and detailed evidence, no arrests were made.  

“At most, only two individuals were interviewed and arrested this year regarding a case from 2019,” they said. 

Just before this year’s Easter weekend, they themselves were arrested.  

Horizon director Sarah Burger in court. (Photo Deon Ferreira)

Successes at Fort Hare 

Several criminal syndicates that had infiltrated the university, including Nigerian, local business, staff, student and politically connected syndicates, were exposed by Horizon Forensics’ investigations. About 40 employees were dismissed or resigned and 20 cases were sent to the Hawks. 

Horizon Forensics drew up a comprehensive report detailing the corrupt networks operating within the institution, which formed the basis for a submission to the President in support of a proclamation that the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) intervene. Horizon Forensics brought the SIU to the university so it could use its powers to take investigations beyond what Horizon Forensics could do, such as accessing bank accounts.

Read more in Daily Maverick: Eastern Cape Premier Oscar Mabuyane asks court to exclude him from ‘malicious’ SIU Fort Hare probe

Read more in Daily Maverick: Eastern Cape premier Oscar Mabuyane wins interdict forcing SIU to back down, pending judicial review 

As soon as the SIU started probing Mabuyane’s stint under Ijeoma, he approached the court to stop the probe, claiming that it fell outside the mandate given and signed by President Cyril Ramaphosa. 

In February, a senior prosecutor and two captains from the Hawks in East London visited Horizon Forensics’ offices in Cape Town for three days. During this time, Burger provided a statement for a case in which she was to be a witness and assisted with two other high-profile cases. This was not unusual because they had shared information with law enforcement agencies for several years, including the Hawks, the SIU, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) and the National Task Force. 

Security camera footage of the raid on Horizon’s offices showing heavily armed policemen guarding investigators. (Screengrab: Supplied)

Arrests

In what the pair described as “an unnecessarily dramatic show”, Burger and Conradie were arrested on 28 March by about 24 members of the National Task Force and the National Intervention Unit (NIU). 

They were flown to East London in a private jet. Conradie estimates that the operation cost between R2-million and R3-million.  

“As court officers, we could simply have been summoned to appear in court,” he said. “There was no need for this elaborate arrest.” 

CCTV footage of the raid on Horizon Forensics’ offices shows most of the armed members of the arresting task team sitting on couches and scrolling on their phones.  

Conradie said the search and seizure warrants used during this operation were “patently unlawful” and would be challenged in court. He said investigators spent seven hours seizing electronic devices and information at Horizon Forensics and even searched the fridge. Conradie and Burger believe investigators were looking for evidence in the Mabuyane case. 

Conradie said he received information from an NIU member that the instructions for the extreme measures taken during his arrest originated “from Pretoria”. The team that arrested him was briefed that he was “dangerous, will resist arrest and has armed bodyguards. The officer concerned then commented: ‘Now all I see is a quiet and gentle man,’” Conradie said.

Read more in Daily Maverick: Fort Hare VC says alleged criminal syndicate masterminds were connected before arriving at university 

Burger spent five nights in holding cells before the State agreed to grant her bail. Conradie spent the Easter weekend behind bars and was told his bail application would be opposed. He spent another nine days in prison with people he described as hardened criminals before he was granted bail.

Conradie said that after the Easter weekend, his attorney, William Booth, offered R100,000 in bail. This was rejected on the basis that bail was opposed. Then, nine days later when the bail hearing took place, the State indicated that it did not oppose his bail and agreed to an amount of R50,000. This meant that he spent nine additional days in prison for no reason, Conradie said.

Now he and Burger are sharing the dock with former employees and associates of the University of Fort Hare on an allegation that they had “all run and were part of a criminal enterprise”. 

But they only knew a few of their co-accused and had investigated some of them.  

Some charges against them, formulated in terms of the Prevention of Organised Crime Act, were dropped because the prosecutor did not obtain permission from the National Director of Public Prosecutions as required by law. 

Warnings 

Burger said that towards the end of 2023, Conradie, in her presence, received a telephonic warning from senior law enforcement officials that he was being targeted politically and a decision had been made to “deal with him”. 

Conradie consulted the lawyer John Riley, who advised him to take the threat seriously, given his and Burger’s work at Fort Hare. The Hawks, the SIU and the NPA also warned them, on separate occasions, that their lives were in danger given the evidence they had gathered against a diverse range of people.  

“You know,” Conradie said, “our position after the assassination of Mr Petrus Roets was that we would meet with law enforcement anywhere but in East London.” At the time of his murder, Roets — who was the fleet manager at the university — was working with Horizon Forensics to identify corrupt employees in his department at the university.  

In 2022, Conradie and Burger were urged to attend a meeting at the SIU’s offices in East London and reluctantly agreed. At a traffic light, their car was rushed by four men, one of whom brandished a pistol. They managed to speed off unharmed. The incident was later described as “a robbery that had gone wrong”. 

Discredit 

Conradie and Burger believe their arrests are an attempt to discredit them.  

“In any functioning democracy, the university could go to their local police station and complain about possible fraud and corruption. The police would do what is necessary — investigate and arrest after following due process. 

“Not in South Africa. This work has to be done by private forensic companies and even after it is done, the police do not follow it up despite all the evidence already gathered and prepared for trial,” Conradie said. 

A few weeks before Burger and Conradie were arrested, former University of Fort Hare residence manager Thobeka Portia Heshula (68), her son Ngcwengo Collin Uhuru Heshula (41) and his company, Heshula Solutions, appeared in the Alice Magistrates’ Court facing 53 counts of fraud, amounting to more than R1.5-million, and forgery and uttering.

The charges related to the awarding of tenders to the son’s company by the mother as the official responsible for appointing service providers and authorising payments to those service providers.  

They were each released on bail of R1,000. 

Conradie said that before their arrest, he and Burger were in a civil court helping the SIU to reclaim the money the university lost in the Heshula matter.   

Burger was supposed to be a witness in the civil and criminal cases. 

It is alleged that Thobeka Heshula, who has since retired from Fort Hare, had firsthand knowledge of tenders and contracts that the university needed to procure. Ngcwengo Heshula allegedly generated three quotations on his mother’s advice, creating the misrepresentation that they were from three separate entities. These quotations were allegedly issued under fictitious or fronting entities’ names. 

This scheme ensured that Heshula Solutions, or entities with ties to it, would be appointed as the university’s favoured service provider. The two accused also allegedly authorised payments of invoices submitted by alleged entities for services not rendered. An internal investigation by the university uncovered the alleged scheme and the Heshulas have, after civil proceedings in the Makhanda High Court, paid back the money with interest, totalling R2-million.   

Burger said that after Isaac Plaatjies, the axed senior director at Fort Hare, was arrested this year on fraud and corruption charges, they decided to no longer work for the university.

Read more in Daily Maverick: University of Fort Hare’s head of investigations arrested for murder and attempted murder 

Read more in Daily Maverick: Criminal enterprise at Fort Hare created an atmosphere of terror for kick-backs

“The university is rotten to the core. We wanted to give up on them several times before. They were just draining us,” Conradie said. 

 “I also want to point out that we benefited nothing from this. The university did not pay us on time. We committed our lives to this and are now treated like dirt.” 

Discussing his relationship with Plaatjies, Conradie said: “Before 2020, I had never met or heard of Isaac Plaatjies. Till today, I do not know any personal details about him. I do not know where he lives, the name of his wife and how many children he has. When I met him, he was a contractor at the university on a month-to-month basis. He had no position and no budget. By then, we had been providing services to the university since 2018.

“In December 2020, my previous partner of seven years, who ran the day-to-day operations at Horizon Forensics, suddenly announced he was leaving the country. An urgent replacement was required and Isaac Plaatjies, given his go-getter skills, was a consideration, among several other people in the forensic industry.

Heavily armed agents entering Horizon’s offices. (Sreengrab: Supplied)

“In the end, I offered Isaac Plaatjies my former partner’s shareholding (49%) and salary, which he accepted.

“I subsequently reneged on the agreement for reasons I won’t go into now, and we reached a financial settlement. That he was joining me was known to the university in January 2021 and subsequent disclosures were made.

“Had the police followed the most basic step of investigating a matter, they would have approached me and asked me for an explanation about my relationship with Isaac Plaatjies and any payments to him. I would have explained it to them with supporting evidence. They did not do so, and till today, they have not asked me for an explanation.”   

Also, read in Daily Maverick: University of Fort Hare VC’s roller-coaster ride for justice in face of murder and criminal syndicates 

Conradie and Burger appeared along with their co-accused in the Dimbaza Magistrates’ Court last month. The matter was adjourned to September “for further investigation”.

Mabuyane’s response 

Mabuyane’s spokesperson, Yanga Funani, promised to provide us with answers to a wide range of questions but has not yet done so.  

However, Mabuyane did share some information in court papers when he interdicted the SIU from questioning him and searching his office and house. 

In his affidavit, he said he “supports an investigation into corruption and maladministration at the university”. He added, “There seems to be a malicious plan to cause me damage.”  

Mabuyane objected to the investigations being run in the media and the use of “draconian” and “unfairly oppressive” measures. 

“I never claimed that I have an honours academic qualification or its equivalence,” Mabuyane said. 

One of the documents that the SIU sought from Mabuyane was “an original copy of your proposal which is a requirement for study towards a master’s degree by research”. 

Mabuyane claimed he “intends to produce this in a lawful investigation”.  

The court ordered a halt to the SIU investigation into Mabuyane but said the proclamation that mandated its Fort Hare investigation could be amended. In April, Justice Minister Ronald Lamola said this amended proclamation had been submitted in July 2023 but was still being “processed”.

Mabuyane also instituted a review of the decision to deregister him from the MAdmin course and of the Horizon Forensics report into his thesis. In these court documents, he denied using ghostwriters to write his thesis. 

Vice-chancellor’s affidavit

In an affidavit, Fort Hare Vice-Chancellor Sakhela Buhlungu supported the university’s opposition to Mabuyane’s review applications. 

He stated that the Horizon Forensics report was never submitted to the university’s Senate and played no role in the decision to deregister Mabuyane. He said Mabuyane should not have registered in the first place as he was “in flagrant breach” of admission requirements for an MAdmin degree (he didn’t have an honours degree).

The university’s counsel, Ncumisa Mayosi and Eshed Cohen, wrote in their heads of argument filed at the court that Mabuyane took so long to review the decision to deregister him that his case should fail on those grounds alone. They argued that the fact that he did not have the requisite qualifications to register for an MAdmin degree should be the end of the matter. 

NPA comment 

The spokesperson for the Eastern Cape NPA, Luxolo Tyali, said the case against Conradie and Burger was in court because the NPA had evidence linking them to crimes.  

“If they have evidence of political motivation, they can make representations to the Director of Public Prosecutions or escalate it to the National Director of Public Prosecutions. The separate case being investigated by the Hawks on allegations against Oscar Mabuyane can be best answered by the Hawks.”  

Tyali said the case of theft against Ijeoma was withdrawn due to a lack of credible evidence. “I am not aware of the fraud/corruption case. Maybe it is still with the Hawks.” 

The Hawks have not yet responded to a request for comment.

Salga withdraws from Fort Hare Council

Last week, the South African Local Government Association (Salga), which nominates a council member for the University of Fort Hare, “temporarily withdrew” its council member.

In a letter written by Salga’s Eastern Cape chairperson, Mesuli Ngqondwana, the organisation stated that while it remained committed “to continuing to play a meaningful role in enhancing the developmental mandate of the university, after careful consideration, the provincial leadership of Salga has decided to suspend its participation from the university council [to give] the institution an opportunity to address both its council and administrative challenges and significantly reduce prospects of finding our organisation being involved in the intricacies of the foregoing.

“As the leadership of Salga, we wish to reiterate our commitment to continue playing this important role and therefore look forward to lifting this suspension as soon as both leadership and administrative stability prevail within the university.” 

Buhlungu denied that there was a governance crisis at the university.

Compulsory in-person meeting

On 14 May, Nzimande sent a letter to the chairperson of the Fort Hare Council, Professor Lungisile Ntsebeza, ordering an “in-person” meeting with the full council on Thursday, 23 May at the Southern Sun Hotel at OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg. 

The minister stipulated that no virtual attendance would be allowed.

He expressed his “deep concern” about the university’s stability, functionality, accountability and reputation. 

He asked for information about the vetting procedure followed before the appointment of Plaatjies as the university’s director of vetting and investigation. He also asked for an explanation of how those arrested in the corruption case worked under the vice-chancellor’s watch.

Another of the accused in the corruption case is Paul Tladi, the university’s human resources director, and the minister asked what impact his arrest and subsequent dismissal would have on disciplinary action taken at the university. 

“It is clear to me that the minister wants to get rid of me,” Buhlungu said. He said there were no administrative challenges at the university.

Sources at the university said Nzimande had asked a former professor at the institution to take over as administrator.

Buhlungu said he was in Sweden at a global vice-chancellors’ conference and it would be extremely difficult for the council members to attend a meeting on such short notice. “It will also come at a huge expense for the university,” he said.  

Nzimande’s spokesperson, Ishmael Mnisi, has not yet responded to a request for comment. DM

Comments

All Comments ( 30 )

  • None

  • Penny Philip says:

    That this is allowed to continue for so long just shows the level of corruption in the Eastern Cape. And who authorised a private jet & ‘swat’ team to effect an ordinary arrest?? The ANC has ripped the guts out of this province with corruption & maladministration, thus allowing organised crime to move in (including taxi syndicates attacking long haul bus services to the region). Nzimande needs to retire now……. everything he touches is an utter mess.

  • Fel D says:

    I remember a story from a family member who worked in a delivery store, the Fort Hare Kitchen dept had dealings ( may still be) with local Speciality food company Burbridge, they had ordered ‘food’ for the top brass.. only to do a huge shopping spree at the liquor store, then delivered both. Billed all as food but enough booze to drown a herd of elephants, all on taxpayers. When will these guys go to jail for wasting our money.. ?

  • Roel Goris says:

    This is the university that our dear Minister Naledi Pandor singled out for praise in her misguided and misplaced efforts to instigate anti-Israel protest at SA universities, saying that other universities should follow Fort Hare’s example. It all figures!

  • Lo-Ammi Truter says:

    Not surprised at all.

    Having been a working part-time student at the law faculty of UNISA and, knowing what it takes to work a full day, have a family with children and study at the same time, I am still wondering how Julius Malema got his degree out of the blue without any prior mention anywhere that he was a registered student even. Perhaps a peek at the meta data of his assignments would enlighten us as to their true origins. And, knowing how much Julius loves publicity, one wonders why he was not even once during his 3 or 4 years of study pictured in any media, including the social media of fellow students/class mates, arriving at exam venues.

    It seems (fake) university degrees have joined Breitlinger watches, imported shoes and designer suits as status symbols of the caste of clowns in recent years.

    It is time to get rid of these pretenders once and for all.

  • Gerrie Pretorius says:

    Just another day in the life and land of anc deployees and cadres. Nothing new and nothing unexpected.

  • Indeed Jhb says:

    These days everybody is a ”masters” student – now we know how.
    The value of South African qualifications are being eroded by these criminals – we should just allocate a matric, degree and masters based on age, that way we will all know nothing together.

  • Chris VZ says:

    I think that Blade “not the sharpest knife in drawer” Nzimande has a lot to account for. This is not something new and he has probably been aware of it but chose to nothing as it wasn’t politically expedient. But now that it is an election year, he suddenly starts paying attention to his portfolio.

  • Iam Fedup says:

    It’s more common than you think. I was a sessional lecturer for one of SA’s “top” university business schools, and the HR Director of one of SA’s cell phone companies submitted an assignment which he had copied, almost word for word, from one of his subordinates that had completed the course a few months earlier. (He had also previously failed an examination, and I was asked to reset the exam just for him. His performance was, to be blunt, barely a pass.) When the plagiarism thing happened and I exposed him to the programme director, I was called in to meet with the Dean of the Business School, who embarrassedly explained to me that we should let it ride because the cell phone company had 300 more potential delegates to come through the course, and the said HR Director was influential in deciding on the supplier. I wasn’t prepared to “let it ride”, and do I need to say that I also wasn’t invited back to lecture again? As it turned out, the cell phone company in any event shifted their business elsewhere to another business school. In the process, it was also implied that my resistance was because I was a “racist.”

  • Nnete Fela says:

    from my reading there are no innocents here, everyone pulled their own strand to weave this sordid entanglement.
    I’m interested to know what motivation Nzimande has to go after Buhlungu. There seems to be quite a bit potting in our communist ministers’ backyard. R500K in a garbage bag, corruption in SETA’s, the corrupt shambles that is NSFAS. Seems more and more that our president is a Manchurian Candidate

  • Geoff Coles says:

    But why were Conradie and Burger arrested. Why a 24 man goon squad, armed and masked, and to whom do they work for….Ramaphosa?, the ANC, NPA, SAPS??
    All very confusing and seemingly intent is around shoring up of corruption practices at Fort Hare , the E Cape Government and its Premier. Where does Nzimande feature?

  • Impressed by your objective journalism, which in most cases is credible

  • Rae Earl says:

    The order for Conradie’s arrest “came from Pretoria”. Where specifically in Pretoria? Ramaphosa’s office? The ANC is a stinking cauldron of corruption and treasonous behaviour. South Africa simply can’t afford to give them another 5 years of this tyranny and undermining of our democratic institutions and values.

  • Luxolo Rangile says:

    We are victims of this whole Saga of Sarah Burger, Bradley Conradie and Paul Tladi and Isaac platjies, Sarah Burger was the witness of both my Disciplinary hearing and CCMA and now Labour Court. Bradley was the initiator of my hearing and the lawyers at CCMA and Labour court. They must not act as victims after they had been victimising university staff at Fort Hare and they were running HR department of Fort Hare maliciously with Tladi and Plaatjies. For further information contact me.

  • Denise Smit says:

    So if understood right, Ronald Lamola is also involved? How far does the rot go?

  • Richard Bryant says:

    The basic question is: Does Oscar Mabuyane use a fake degree to hold onto his status and position as a very highly paid civil servant? Ask Pallo Jordan what happens when you fake a degree. In Mabuyane’s case, it’s not only his Masters degree but his bachelor’s degree as well because the requirement for admission to do the latter is a bachelor’s degree.

    The forensic evidence seems compelling that not only was his admission to register fraudulent, but that other people wrote the dissertation.

    And the silence from Ramaphosa???? Here’s one of the most senior people in his political circle and a year has passed since this matter was exposed. But it seems Ramaphosa is doing what he does best. Say one thing and do another. Send in Blade to get rid of the good guys. Kill the investigation at its source. Tell the world you are waiting for processes to complete. That you are taking action to combat corruption. Then have the forensic investigators arrested. And fire the vice chancellor. And then wait for the dust to settle. And look the other way.

    The consequences are pretty dire for the ‘learned’ premier. He needs to pay back the salary which he has fraudulently obtained over the years he has been premier. It would seem the highest qualification he has may be matric.

    In any case, they knew all along what they were dealing with. Crispin Olver exposed this character in his book How to Steal a City.

  • Trevor Gray says:

    Felt like weeping after reading this! The ANC still allows Oscar M to play a role in their organization?
    The NPA and Hawks complicit in strong arm tactics makes one recognize that they are fatally flawed and compromised. You is pulling the string and where is CR as the lead of the criminal enterprise called the ANC?

  • J vN says:

    Fort Hare: Along with many, many other institutions, yet another transformation success story.

  • This paper keeps us informed about what’s happening around us

  • William Kelly says:

    Sad. Predictably so. This is why we have to have investigative journalism, heck even just journalism, to showcase stories just like this one. Braver people than I are working hard to save SA, to stem the rot, to stand up and be counted. No one else is coming, and we are on our own with a predatory government circling like sharks around the bait ball that is the tax payers pot of cash.

  • Hayi yhuuu

  • Pet Bug says:

    Very hard to follow the twists and turns.
    Complete sht show.

 
["Maverick News","South Africa","Maverick Citizen"] age-of-accountability

Daily Maverick journalists came to cover death in Shoprite cold room - security guards retaliate with rubber bullets

A man allegedly dies in a Shoprite cold room over a chocolate bar, sparking chaos as security fires rubber bullets at protesters and journalists seeking answers in a mall in Heidelberg, Gauteng.
DIVE DEEPER ( 4 MIN)
  • Man allegedly dies in Shoprite cold room, sparking protest at Ratanda Mall in Gauteng.
  • Crowd of 100 gathers outside Shoprite, security fires rubber bullets at protesters and journalists.
  • Residents seek answers about death of community member, security guards continue shooting despite securing the area.
  • Bystanders, shoppers and pedestrians sought shelter behind trees and cars.
Daily Maverick’s journalist Nonkululeko Njilo takes shelter behind a car from a hail of rubber bullets fired by a private security company near Shoprite at Ratanda Mall. (Photo: Felix Dlangamandla)

Njilo’s account

We had been alerted on the morning of 20 May that a man had allegedly been held in a Shoprite cold room for stealing a chocolate bar. The information we had was that he had died. It was around 1.50pm when we arrived at the Ratanda Mall in Heidelberg, Gauteng.

Read more in Daily Maverick: Man allegedly dies in Shoprite cold room – security fires rubber bullets at protesters and journalists

A crowd of about 100 people was gathered outside Shoprite and we parked well away from the mall’s entrance, which is dominated by the anchor tenant, Shoprite.

Shoprite

Residents hid behind cars and fled while private security shot at them outside Shoprite supermarket in Ratanda Mall. (Photo: Felix Dlangamandla)

We approached the crowd and introduced ourselves. The community spokespeople were welcoming. About 15 minutes later they pointed out family members of Bandile Tshabalala, the man who had died.

At the centre’s entrance, I introduced myself to his sister Simangele Tshabalala. Then a man claiming to be the centre manager came up to us and told us to leave the premises, threatening: “Get out or you’ll have serious problems”.

It was obvious that I was a journalist as I was recording interviews with my phone and writing in a notebook. A colleague from Kaya FM had also joined with their recording equipment.

We stood alongside the crowd, which had grown restless. Then the security guards fired rubber bullets and stun grenades and the crowd scattered.  Some in the crowd retaliated by throwing stones at the guards, who continued to fire even after the crowd had fled the premises.

Bystanders, shoppers and pedestrians sought shelter behind trees and cars. Like everybody else, I ran for my life, and sought shelter in front of a vehicle.

Nearby, a woman was hiding with her child in a school uniform. “They are killing us, they are killing us,” the woman screamed.

The seemingly trigger-happy, uniformed and heavily armed private security guards, some of whom wore masks, were terrifying to behold.

Shoprite

Residents and TV crew hiding behind cars while private security shoot rubber bullets outside Shoprite Supermarket in Ratanda Mall. (Photo: Felix Dlangamandla)

All the residents wanted was answers about the death of a member of the community. Afterwards, another resident, Thokoza Dlamini, told me that last year her niece stole a packet of cheese from Shoprite and was locked in the supermarket’s cold room. This was a standard procedure, according to the more than 10 residents we spoke to.

I am left with the question of why the security guards continued shooting even after they had secured the area.

Residents hide behind cars while private security shot at them outside Shoprite Supermarket in Ratanda Mall. (Photo: Felix Dlangamandla)

Shoprite did not respond to questions and only confirmed they had instituted an investigation into the incident.

“The supermarket chain extends its condolences to the family following their loss. The allegations are seen in an extremely serious light and the necessary steps will be taken pending the outcome of a full investigation.

“We cannot comment on the details of the incident as it is a police matter…”

Shoprite, Ratanda Mall

Private security shot at residents after the death of Bandile Tshabalala after allegedly being locked in a cold room for about 11 hours, at Ratanda Mall. 19 May 2024. (Photo: Felix Dlangamandla)

Dlangamandla’s account  

As shots were fired in our direction, I lost sight of Nonkululeko. I saw people running in different directions seemingly in a bid to find shelter of some sort. My first instinct was to film all of it, to get the images.

I took a couple of images, but the situation appeared to be getting out of control and dangerous with the shots continuing. As someone who has covered many unrest situations, I felt the response was excessive — the crowd was small and not violent. I also knew rubber bullets can kill you if fired at close range or cause serious damage such as the loss of an eye.  When a police van drove past, I was left with no choice but to take cover behind it to avoid being shot — while still doing my job, trying to get a picture or two.

Voetsek, voetsek,” one policeman shouted at me. Then he saw my cameras and said, “Oh, journalist … sorry.”

I noticed Nonkululeko taking cover behind the car, many others were doing the same, desperately trying to find shelter behind trees and cars. I continued taking pictures.

Shoprite

Residents hiding behind cars and fleeing while private security open fire outside Shoprite, Ratanda Mall. 19 May 2024. (Photo: Felix Dlangamandla)

The guards fired non-stop and some people retaliated by throwing stones.

Crouching while running to the car, I successfully opened the doors and Nonkululeko immediately jumped into the back seat — still crouching and shouting at me that we urgently needed to get out. “Felix, you are endangering our lives,” she shouted.

I started the car, drove to the other end of the mall and parked under a tree.

We could have left, but our job was not done. We walked back. My colleague did this while limping after hurting her knee. Although most of the crowd had dispersed, we had to duck the rubber bullets which were still being fired.

The guards did not stop shooting, although the few individuals throwing stones did so from a distance and the guards were in no danger.

We were able to locate the sister of the late Bandile Tshabalala. While interviewing her, shots still rang out and continued as we left. DM

Daily Maverick has made attempts to contact Shoprite management directly. However, we have been referred to an email address with no name or indication of who the communication will be addressed to. Daily Maverick will continue to make efforts to reach Shoprite senior management and will be reporting the incident to the SA National Editor’s Forum. 

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["Maverick News","South Africa"] safety-and-belonging

SA’s elections stand out globally ‘for very real’ threat of violence — assassination report

A politically motivated hit has been carried out roughly every fortnight between January and April this year — the run up to South Africa’s critical elections next week. This is according to a new report on killings in the country. 
DIVE DEEPER ( 6 MIN)
South Africa’s upcoming elections face the ominous shadow of potential violence, with a new report shedding light on the deadly collusion between criminal networks and state actors vying for power and enrichment. (Graphic: Bogosi Motau)

“While there are some 64 elections being held the world over in 2024, South Africa’s elections stand out for the very real threat of violence that they bring, a cumulation of the influence of criminal networks and state-embedded actors in driving criminality.”

This is according to a new report, The Politics of Murder: Criminal governance and targeted killings in South Africa, authored by Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime (GI-TOC) analysts Rumbi Matamba and Chwayita Thobela.

The May 2024 report draws on research from sources including GI-TOC’s South Africa Organized Crime Observatory (SA-Obs) as well as a local and national news database.

Battle for power and enrichment

“Targets of political killings in South Africa include activists, whistle-blowers, local councillors, party supporters and government administrators, but local councillors make up the majority of victims,” the report said.

“At the heart of this is the battle for power and self-enrichment in a highly unequal society, which is reflected in the assassination trends.”

It found that “a higher number of political assassinations and spikes in violence are more likely to occur in municipal election years than in national election years”.

However, “the greatest number of political assassinations recorded in the database was in fact during the 2019 national elections, when 42 incidents were noted.”

10 assassinations in 4 months

A few days ago, South Africa’s security cluster assured residents measures were in place to see that voting goes off smoothly on 29 May, which marks the most pivotal elections in the country in three decades.

Read more in Daily Maverick: Poll will ‘proceed without any incidents of crime or disruptions’, says NatJoints chief

Violent incidents have already happened, though.

“In the first four months of 2024 alone, the SA-Obs recorded 10 politically motivated assassinations, an average of at least one hit every two weeks between January and April,” Matamba and Thobela found in their report.

(Source: Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime (GI-TOC) analysts Rumbi Matamba and Chwayita Thobela.)

“The incidents continue the grim pattern of previous years: the killings are brutal, often carried out by hitmen with little regard for bystanders and frequently targeting high-profile individuals.

“The killings have also become more brazen, with victims targeted at public gatherings, often in front of children and community members.”

Read more in Daily Maverick: Shock and sadness after former ‘poo fighter’ Loyiso Nkohla gunned down in Philippi

Matamba and Thobela said political assassinations in the country could be understood “as part of a system of collaborative criminal governance, involving local politicians and government administrators colluding with criminal actors to eliminate rivals”.

Collusion and cash incentives

Their report stated: “Under a system of collaborative criminal governance in South Africa, hitmen typically kill because there is a financial incentive for them to do so.

“This is different from the divided form of criminal governance seen in places such as Mexico, for example, where hitmen kill as part of competition with the State for territorial control.”

Targeted killings in the country were enmeshed in criminal networks that involved “State-embedded actors.”

Such killings, the report said, “lead to increased violence in gang-afflicted communities, influence transparency and accountability in state-owned enterprises, and affect the provision of essential services such as water, electricity and sanitation”.

Killings and KwaZulu-Natal

There had been political assassinations in all nine of South Africa’s provinces.

But KwaZulu-Natal experienced the majority of attacks — 158 of 280 recorded cases between 2015 and 2024.

Political assassinations in SA

(Source: Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime analysts Rumbi Matamba and Chwayita Thobela.)

Read more in Daily Maverick: Assassination nation – political contract killings escalate in KZN as hitmen are offered ‘job after job’

“In addition to its long history of violence, the province has a substantial number of illegal firearms in circulation from internal arms flows, as well as from arms trafficking related to the instability in Mozambique,” Matamba and Thobela found in their report.

“The province also has a notoriously violent taxi industry, which provides firearms and hitmen to the rest of the country and sometimes to other parts of southern Africa.”

This — “the ready availability of contract killers and illicit firearms in the province” — posed a threat to political stability.

Drugs, thugs, extortion

In terms of broader organised crime killings, the report said victims “included suspected drug dealers, gang members and law enforcement officers investigating organised crime cases, mostly related to gang rivalries, and extortion and protection racketeering by criminal gangs.”

It added that “Business owners and people in the entertainment industry, including DJs and musicians, were also targeted”.

Read more in Daily Maverick: Beyond DJ Sumbody’s murder – business tensions, underworld fears and a court order

Examples pointing to that included the February 2023 murders of Kiernan Forbes, also known as AKA, and his celebrity chef friend, Tebello Motsoane, who were shot outside a Durban restaurant.

Gauteng recorded the highest number of organised crime killings in 2023 and some of the violence was linked to the Boko Haram extortion gang.

Read more in Daily Maverick: When gangsters came to the party: The ANC’s links to Tshwane’s ‘Boko Haram’

“Competition between Boko Haram and other offshoot gangs led to the targeting of members of rival gangs, often in mass shootings, such as the shooting in Mamelodi on 19 May 2023, which resulted in the death of four Boko Haram members,” Matamba and Thobela’s report said.

Turf wars and key cases

Meanwhile, in the Western Cape in 2023, gang turf wars and infighting likely contributed to attacks.

The report referenced the murder of Simon Stanfield in March 2023 — he was the cousin of alleged 28s gang boss Ralph Stanfield.

Read more in Daily Maverick: Another cousin of alleged 28s gang boss Ralph Stanfield murdered, this time while Stanfield in custody

It also pointed out certain court matters expected to have a broad impact in the Western Cape.

“The arrests of alleged high-profile gang leaders in 2023, Nafiz Modack for the 2020 murder of Anti-Gang Unit Lieutenant Colonel Charl Kinnear, and Ralph Stanfield and his wife, Nicole on charges of car theft, fraud and attempted murder, are key cases to watch in this regard, as they may lead to changes in gang dynamics in the Western Cape,” Matamba and Thobela’s report said.

Modack is among a group on trial in the Western Cape High Court in connection with Kinnear’s assassination.

Gangsterism and government

Stanfield and Nicole Johnson are also detained ahead of a potential trial in the car theft case.

The report highlighted that “gangsterism in South Africa is inextricably caught up in issues of governance”.

Read more in Daily Maverick: Company previously flagged over ‘28s gang’ suspicions still building houses for Western Cape government

“There have been allegations of collusion between municipal officials and alleged underworld figures who run businesses such as construction companies,” it said.

“In the Western Cape, for example, there were accusations that some tenders were manipulated by municipal and council employees in favour of companies accused of having criminal connections.”

Last year in February, a City of Cape Town official — Wendy Kloppers was murdered in a shooting in Delft, at the Symphony Way Housing Project building site.

City manager Lungelo Mbandazayo had told IOL Kloppers was killed after the City refused to give in to gangsters’ demands for work from contractors at the housing project.

Read more in Daily Maverick: ‘I want to live my life’ — ex-Cape Town mayco member Malusi Booi quits as councillor seven months after police raid

Daily Maverick reported that the month after Kloppers was killed, in March last year, Malusi Booi was fired as mayoral committee member for human settlements after his City of Cape Town office was raided during a fraud and corruption investigation.

Booi was not criminally charged.

Stanfield’s name had cropped up in that investigation. DM

Comments

All Comments ( 7 )

  • Peter Merrington says:

    So much for liberty and democracy. Some think that a cushy position in governance is the easiest way to a fortune and murder gets you there. This is a disgrace but it’s pointless to sound off about the moral high ground if the moral high ground is a distant memory or faint hope or sweet delusion. What is the purpose of History and all of its supposedly progressive lessons?

  • What comment because I have not read the news

  • Rae Earl says:

    These hit men are the scum of SA. The ANC no doubt has a hand in many of these hits (particularly in KZN) as they cling to power by all means possible. Fikile Mbalula was blatantly on the side of the Taxi gangsters in the Cape, refusing to take action against them in their attacks on the long distance bus companies who had requested help many times. Mbalula was ably assisted by minister of police Bheki Cele who also displayed a lack of interest apart from his rank incompetence in fighting crime. He and other corrupt cabinet ministers are protected by Cyril Ramaphosa in return for support.

  • Andre Fourie says:

    A gangster state run by a gangster political party. Only 10 years ago the press continuously warned of the damage Zuma would do to law and order as he normalised gangsterism in his party, habitually hung out with gang leaders and taxi bosses (which are often the same thing), acted with impunity, gave the country the middle finger whenever he was interviewed (literally flipping the bird as he “adjusted his glasses”), and gutted our law enforcement capacity through the cynical deployment of crooks and incompetents.

    Now we all get to live under the conditions the Zuma clan and its cronies created. And until we boot the criminal syndicate masquerading as a political party out of public office, this situation will only worsen.

 
["South Africa","Business Maverick","Maverick Citizen"] safety-and-belonging

Let’s be pragmatic — the NHI has constructive and contentious aspects

President Cyril Ramaphosa's signing of the National Health Insurance (NHI) Act amid election fervour may be a savvy political move, but the real question remains: will this bold step truly propel South Africa towards universal health coverage, or is it just another bureaucratic hurdle on a long and winding road to reform?
DIVE DEEPER ( 5 MIN)
  • President Cyril Ramaphosa's signing of the National Health Insurance (NHI) Act ahead of the elections is a strategic move to solidify political support, but concerns remain about the NHI's impact on achieving universal health coverage.
  • Despite the long-term nature of the NHI project, budget cuts and potential legal challenges may delay its full implementation, raising questions about the allocation of resources and timeline for success.
  • The NHI offers opportunities for evidence-based decision-making and cost reduction in healthcare, but controversial aspects around the fate of medical schemes and potential corruption risks need to be addressed.
  • While South Africa's service coverage aligns with global standards, high out-of-pocket health expenditures pose financial risks for individuals, highlighting the need for effective prepayment and risk-pooling mechanisms in the pursuit of universal health coverage.
Professor Susan Cleary delivers her inaugural lecture as part of a lecture series by the University of Cape Town. (Photo: Supplied / Spotlight)

President Cyril Ramaphosa signing the National Health Insurance (NHI) Act on the eve of the elections is a smart move from the perspective of a political party seeking to shore up its base. The concern, though, to those of us working to strengthen the health system is whether the NHI will enable the country to move closer towards universal health coverage.

For the NHI naysayers, perhaps it would be important to alleviate some fears and concerns. The NHI is a long-term project. In the 2024 budget, Treasury reduced the conditional grant allocations to the NHI in comparison with what was allocated in the 2023 budget. While signing the NHI Bill into law is a step forward, the reduction in resources towards NHI implementation reminds us that this is a long-term project. In addition, it is likely that there will be legal challenges which will lead to considerable delays for the scheme to be fully implemented.

The NHI is a wide-ranging reform, with many positive aspects sitting alongside some key controversial aspects. Positive aspects include the opportunity to enable greater use of evidence and transparency in priority-setting through the further institutionalisation of health technology assessment processes (akin to “NICE” in the UK), as well as the opportunity to use national-level purchasing power to drive down the prices of commodities such as medicines. The role of private multidisciplinary practices (GPs, nurses, health and rehabilitation professionals, etc) in the future NHI also holds some promise to improve access to healthcare, particularly to parts of the country with limited access to public clinics.

On the other hand, there are two key controversial aspects. The first is related to what may or may not happen to medical schemes and medical scheme administrators once the NHI is fully implemented. My sense is that there is no short-term concern in this regard. A bigger concern is whether a single pot of money in the NHI fund will present a larger or a smaller corruption risk than the current situation of many pots spread across provincial treasuries and medical aid schemes.

Another concern is that the NHI reform might disrupt our ongoing progress towards universal health coverage within our existing public sector. Our public sector is not perfect, but it is a system that has equity at its heart. The common definition of universal health coverage is to provide all individuals and communities with access to needed promotive, preventive, resuscitative, curative, rehabilitative and palliative health services of sufficient quality to be effective, while ensuring that the use of these services does not expose users to financial hardship.

The two main goals of universal health coverage are: (1) The provision of quality healthcare services to those in need and (2) The avoidance of financial catastrophe in this process. Clearly healthcare is far from free – indeed it is very expensive – and so the goal of avoiding financial catastrophe is about implementing prepayment and risk-pooling mechanisms, whether these are tax or insurance based.

Let’s first look at how we are doing on the provision of quality services. The figure below plots countries according to their achievements on the Universal Health Coverage Service Coverage Index. In this context, coverage of essential health services is measured based on indicators that include reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health, infectious diseases, noncommunicable diseases and service capacity and access, among the general and the most disadvantaged populations.

On this index, South Africa’s achievement is at just over 70%, similar to many other middle-income countries. While there would be room for improvement, our performance is in line with our global peers.

NHI

Global comparison of countries in terms of service coverage and quality. (Source: World Health Organization – Global Health Observatory, 2024) processed by Our World in Data. Accessed May 2024.

The second indicator is financial risk protection. The figure below plots countries against the percent of total health expenditure that is paid out of pocket at the point of use. On this indicator, we score 5.7%, indicating extremely high levels of financial risk protection.

NHI

Global comparison of countries in terms of the percent of total health expenditure that is paid out of pocket. (Source: World Health Organization, via World Bank, processed by Our World in Data. Accessed May 2024)

This does not mean there are no instances of financial catastrophe. Undoubtedly there would be, particularly for those seeking treatment for certain types of cancers. That said, over the past two decades I have studied this issue extensively. Across a wide range of conditions in diverse settings, we have interviewed tens of thousands of people to understand the costs they face in using health services – everything from transport to food, shelter or accommodation, childcare, lost income, under-the-counter payments to public sector providers (which we never found), fees paid to private providers or money spent at pharmacies. This research consistently showed that the level of catastrophic spending was very low. Our performance on financial risk protection is outstanding. I celebrate the work of those colleagues who shepherded in the removal of user fees in our national health system during the dawning of our democracy. We should all be thanking them.

Read more in Daily Maverick: NHI fund will take decades to roll out — we answer your burning questions

Read more in Daily Maverick: Everything you ever wanted to know about the NHI but were afraid to ask

Despite these successes on universal health coverage, there are areas of concern for the South African health system. We do not achieve health outcomes commensurate with our level of investment. My sense is that this is driven by our relatively high burden of disease; for example, we continue to have the world’s largest HIV treatment programme. While our average life expectancy steadily increased with the introduction of antiretroviral therapy (although note the downturn from 2020 which coincides with the Covid-19 pandemic – see the figure below), the HIV epidemic has been a cruel setback that needs to be considered when we seek to make global comparisons on life expectancy and avertable mortality.

NHI

Global comparisons of life expectancy: 1970-2020. (Source: United Nations World Population Prospects, 2022, processed by Our World in Data. Accessed May 2024)

Now that the NHI Bill has become the NHI Act, it is time to move on from debates about whether we need NHI or not, and rather focus on how we can make the NHI work for us.

Our public sector will be the backbone of our future NHI and so we should seek to continue to strengthen this system. It would also be wise to put in place measures to strengthen our private system given that private providers are intended to play a key role in the NHI. We should be pragmatic.

The NHI includes many exciting opportunities for leveraging big data and artificial intelligence in health systems strengthening, but at this stage we hardly have any electronic health data. A clear step forward would be the further implementation of the National Digital Health Strategy (2019-2024) which includes the establishment of a patient electronic health record, among other needed developments.

In addition, the NHI places emphasis on the achievement of a purchaser-provider split via establishing “Contracting Units for Primary Health Care” (CUPS). These new entities will contract with both public and private providers within a defined geographic area, on behalf of a particular population. The establishment of CUP “proof of concept” sites is therefore a priority, but must be done in a way that generates learning and enables adaptation to different contexts.

Let’s continue to push forward on many of these complex undertakings. It is going to take time, but it is needed, irrespective of the name that we choose to give to our health system. DM

Cleary is professor of health economics and the head of the School of Public Health at the University of Cape Town.

This article was published by Spotlight – health journalism in the public interest. Sign up to the Spotlight newsletter.

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["Maverick News","South Africa","Scorpio"] age-of-accountability

‘Lift the cap’ - Tshwane transport tender ballooned from R88m to nearly R800m

A City of Tshwane transport tender somehow ballooned from R88m to nearly R800m. 'Tall trains' Auswell Mashaba is at the centre of it all.
DIVE DEEPER ( 4 MIN)
  • Businessman Auswell Mashaba linked to R3.5-billion Prasa contract scandal
  • Investigation reveals AMCE's R10-million ANC donation funded by inflated CoT tender
  • AMCE's fees skyrocket from R88.5-million to nearly R800-million, raising corruption concerns
  • City officials approve excessive billings, allowing AMCE to earn R1.46-billion from CoT contract
Illustrative Image: An A Re Yeng bus at its depot in Tshwane on 15 May 2020. (Photo: Gallo Images / Lefty Shivambu) | Auswell Mashaba. (Photo source: AM Consulting Engineers, accessed via Internet Archive)

Businessman Auswell Mashaba gained tender infamy due to Swifambo’s R3.5-billion Prasa contract.

Much less is known about the projects Mashaba’s other companies had been involved in.

We’ve done some digging into a major tender Mashaba’s A-M Consulting Engineers, or AMCE, had clinched from the City of Tshwane (CoT). The CoT tender largely provided the funds for a R10-million donation to the ANC, as detailed in this investigation.

Based on what we’ve found, it seems fair to say that Mashaba’s other activities deserve as much scrutiny as the corrupt trains deal.

Documents in our possession detail how the CoT hiked the value of one of AMCE’s tenders. The increase in AMCE’s fees was nothing short of gobsmacking — after CoT officials had motived for the tender’s “cap” to be “lifted”, the contract’s value swelled from R88.5-million to nearly R800-million.

One source, a CoT official who spoke to us on condition of anonymity, didn’t hold back in his assessment of the development: “This was an obvious, elaborate scheme to loot and fleece the coffers of the city.”

We made several efforts to contact Mashaba, but he could not be reached for comment. He did not answer his cellphone, nor did he respond to multiple text messages and emails.

AMCE did not respond to emailed queries.

The City of Tshwane stated: “If there was any wrongdoing on the matter, the city will not hesitate to institute an investigation and take appropriate action against those involved, including those that have left the institution.

“The city was candid with your media enquiry and cooperated fully because we have nothing to hide. We pride ourselves in openness and transparency.”

AMCE was first appointed in 2011 to oversee a project management unit (PMU) for the city’s Integrated Rapid Public Transport Network (IRPTN), which included Tshwane’s A Re Yeng bus service.

This was a three-year contract. In February 2014, the CoT advertised a new tender to appoint someone to run the PMU for another three years.  Initially, the city entertained nine acceptable bids. After further evaluation, only two companies remained in the race. Mashaba’s AMCE, with a bid price of R29.5-million per annum (R88.5-million over three years) was pitted against multinational engineering group Aurecon, which had a bid offering of R30-million per year.

AMCE won the tender. The CoT’s letter of appointment confirmed that the new contract period was to start on 1 June 2014.

AMCE’s website lists the Tshwane IRPTN as one of its flagship projects. (Photo: amce.co.za)

No sooner had the second contract period started when things turned strange. AMCE’s billings for a single month grew larger than the fees it should have earned in an entire year.

In July 2014 alone, AMCE submitted invoices to the city for payments totalling R57.5-million — nearly double the capped annual fee of R29.5-million. And the invoices kept rolling in. By the end of August, AMCE’s billings had climbed to over a R100-million. By all indications, the metro didn’t flinch. Instead, it simply settled each invoice.

Evidently, someone within the metro realised that there might be some sort of a reckoning for this overspending. A request was therefore directed to the city’s Executive Acquisition Committee (EAC) to summarily “lift the cap on the tender amount”.

But the EAC didn’t like the idea. Minutes from a EAC meeting on 4 September 2014 confirm as much. “During the discussion on this matter . . . the Committee did not agree with the recommendation … with regards to the lift of the capped amount. The Committee noted the [bid] evaluation done and was of the view that approval be granted per the rates (as evaluated) to a maximum amount of R29,502,190.08 per annum,” reads the document.

AMCE should have earned no more than R29.5m per annum. In the end, it earned nearly R800-million.

The EAC’s decision clearly didn’t hold much weight. In the end, those city officials who had pushed for lifting the cap clearly had the final say.

On 19 September 2014, the CoT sent a new appointment letter to AMCE, one that in effect scrapped the earlier appointment letter.

According to the document, AMCE was now free to bill the metro in accordance with hourly rates, without the limitations of a pesky annual cap.

By the end of 2014, AMCE’s billings stood at R188-million. The CoT paid every single invoice.

In 2015, AMCE submitted invoices totalling R248-million. The city settled each invoice.

In the last two years of the contract period — 2016 and 2017 — AMCE’s billings were a combined R360-million. Again, the CoT paid every last invoice.

By the time the contract period came to an end, AMCE had earned R796-million from a contract that should have cost the city no more than R88.5-million.

Together with the roughly R665-million that AMCE had pocketed in the first three-year contract, the company ultimately banked R1.46-billion in fees from the city. DM

Comments

All Comments ( 29 )

  • Malose Nyatlo says:

    Feeding frenzy!
    CoT should go after the culprits and recover every cent stolen.
    It’s so easy to find culprits, they own expensive properties in the exclusive estates.

  • Lisbeth Scalabrini says:

    All these findings by Scorpio should be sent to all households in South Africa by mail…..a pity that the post office is no more 😡

  • Dhasagan Pillay says:

    @DM – have you sent a copy of everything to the AG’s office with a request for comment? One must hope that will give the office a reason to take a bite out of everyone involved.

  • Geoff Coles says:

    The ANC Mayor at the time in Cape Town joined Government at a Minister and became in due course Ambassador

  • Jo Van says:

    Follow the money. See where it went and prosecute them all. That seems like the rational thing to do. In our reality Mashaba is being rewarded with more contracts and there are no consequences for his crimes. Corruption has become a culture and the new normal, so just imagine how rapidly all monies will be drained from the NHI scam, leaving all South Africans equally without medical services. Whatever Verwoerd, Vorster and Botha had predicted has proven to be exponentially worse in reality. We have to vote correctly! We can’t afford these scoundrels any more! Yes, I am dreaming on!

  • Just imagine. Under the leadership of a party that speaks clean governance. I suspect collaboration.

  • Martin Kunhardt says:

    Reading the articles showing vast sums on money flowing to individuals begs a question. If I, as a lowly taxpayer was to suddenly receive an amount in the millions, the bank would ask questions. There must be someone who oversees the banks clients financial affairs, especially when tender monies are concerned, and who raises a flag regarding these deposits and withdrawals. SARS knows but stays quiet, maybe big brother is watching!?

  • Brian Cotter says:

    No Babita around at that time.
    This is big. Needs to be all out in the open before elections.

  • Richard Owen says:

    Inflation of tender fees way way above the actual costs seems to be a core methodology of state corruption. There is vast criminality throughout the world and sadly South Africa appears to be a leading practitioner. Powerful oversight regulations and specifically focused arrest and prosecution empowered institutions (eg Scorpions +++) are required to curb such corruption.
    It doesn’t help that the world seems so focused on money money money and the number of billionaires is increasing daily.

  • Scott Gordon says:

    Hmm , see so many comments by WMC , please remember this is a democracy !
    The poor voters must be happy that the top guys are ‘ redistributing ‘ the $$$ amongst themselves .
    So , R700m , will not be spent on schools / houses / health clinics .
    Clearly what the masses want . Stay poor while their ‘ leaders ‘ wallow in luxury !
    Anyone done a tally of all the wasted taxpayer money has gone ?
    Leaving out the SOEs 🙂
    The many billions gone , would have made the NHI a breeze .
    Sort of ironic all the talk about the NHI , how many pit toilets do we still have ?

  • Thomas Cleghorn says:

    Wow! Did no one ask what the extra monies over and above the annual 29mil were for? Did anyone check the work or what was allegedly bought with the money? Again, wow! Unbelievable.

  • Jucy Malema says:

    Bring the death penalty back for this pos. Shoot all corrupt government officials under the death penalty!

  • Fanie Rajesh Ngabiso says:

    Is it still considered arrogamt to say that if you dont vote DA in this election you are just plain stupid?

  • Murray Burt says:

    I’m sick of being sick and tired. Hawks, over to you.

  • Ompaletse Mokwadi says:

    Just unbelievable that such grand corruption can happen under people’s eyes, with the so called “corruption watch dogs” looking on.

  • The mayor needs to investigate, since he is so hell bent on rescuing the city.

  • Jane Crankshaw says:

    How much longer is this going to be allowed to go on???
    Current taxpayers just cant keep contributing unwittingly towards this theft and abuse of power….
    We need to see some real convictions now before the next wave of taxpayers leave the country taking their contributions and expertise elsewhere.

  • Jane Crankshaw says:

    All in the name of “ radical economic transformation!!!” Known by taxpayers as theft!

  • Karl Nepgen says:

    How is such a scam at all possible, by a respected professional engineering business (which AMCE must be, in order to fairly win a tender against a highly reputable competitor like Aurecon).
    I can only imagine that apartheid and WMC is to be blamed.

  • D'Esprit Dan says:

    Arrest, charge and imprison everyone involved for life. No bail, no parole, no medical relief, justvlife behind bars and take everything they own. Absolute scum, every one of them.

 
["Maverick News","South Africa"] age-of-accountability safety-and-belonging

Nine-year-old girl fighting for her life after being shot in EFF-ANC fight

The distraught parents of a nine-year-old girl who was hit in the head by a bullet during a clash between EFF and ANC supporters in Juju Valley settlement in Seshego, Limpopo, say their daughter is in a coma fighting for her life in hospital.
DIVE DEEPER ( 4 MIN)
  • Grade 3 pupil Tsiamo Lebaka in a coma after being shot during clash between ANC and EFF supporters
  • Unidentified 25-year-old man also wounded in the incident
  • EFF calls for calm in Juju Valley, condemns violence by supporters of both parties
  • IEC condemns violence, urges parties to allow free political campaigning
Nine-year-old Grade 3 pupil Tsiamo Lebaka, who was wounded during a clash between ANC and EFF supporters at Juju Valley Settlement in Seshego. (Photo: Supplied)

Tsiamo Lebaka, a Grade 3 pupil, is in a coma in the intensive care unit of the Polokwane Provincial Hospital after she sustained a bullet wound during a clash on Sunday afternoon between supporters of the African National Congress (ANC) and the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF).

An unidentified 25-year-old man was also wounded.

In a video widely circulated on social media, supporters and members of the two political parties can be seen throwing stones and other objects at each other while a man in a black jacket on the side of the ANC supporters brandishes what appears to be a firearm. ANC members can be seen moving into the settlement while EFF supporters block their way.

Tsiamo, who was playing nearby, was struck in the head by a bullet. She was rushed to hospital by ambulance. Her mother, Tebogo Lebaka, who was at home at the time, was informed of the shooting by other children. Tsiamo’s father, Matikwe Mosomane, who works in Johannesburg, rushed home on Tuesday.

“The child is in critical condition in hospital,” Mosomane said. “She is not talking and nobody from the parties and government has visited our residence since the incident took place.

“All I want is for my daughter to get healed — she is a bright child who loves netball. If our politicians are genuine and peaceful, how can they carry guns when they go to the communities to campaign?”

Matikwe Mosomane, the father of Tsiamo Lebaka

Matikwe Mosomane, the father of nine-year-old Tsiamo Lebaka, who was shot and injured in a clash between EFF and ANC supporters at Juju Valley. (Photo: Rudzani Tshivhase)

Mosomane said they wanted those involved to at least take the girl to a private hospital. “On Monday, while I was at the hospital, the EFF leadership told me they are busy trying to get quotes from private hospitals to make sure that she is taken there,” Lebaka said.

Limpopo ANC spokesperson Jimmy Machaka claimed that EFF members started the fight by blocking them and throwing stones.

“Unfortunately, some of our members were heavily injured and some were taken to various hospitals for treatment. Everyone who was responsible for this act must take full responsibility.”

Call for calm

The EFF has called for calm in Juju Valley. The party issued a statement calling on EFF supporters and ANC leaders to allow free political campaigning in the area.

The EFF’s Limpopo convener, Godrich Gardee, condemned the violence by supporters and members of both parties. He called on police to investigate who fired the shots and arrest those responsible.

“The EFF remains committed to ensuring a peaceful, fair and democratic process as we move towards the elections,” Gardee said.

An Electoral Commission (IEC) provincial electoral officer, Nkaro Mateta, condemned the violence and reminded political parties they had signed pledges agreeing that they would allow all parties to campaign without interference or violence.

Juju Valley Settlement, EFF

Juju Valley Settlement at zone one in Seshego township was established by Julius Malema but lacks in-house water connections, electricity and proper streets. (Photo: Rudzani Tshivhase)

“We are convening an urgent engagement with the two parties to try to mediate between the two. We are also aware that cases have been opened with the SAPS and will allow them to investigate.

“We are hopeful that the two parties will find each other and allow the spirit of peace and free access without hindrance to all areas of Limpopo,” Mateta said. The two parties will meet with the IEC on Thursday.

Read more in Daily Maverick: 2024 elections hub

The Juju Valley settlement at Seshego Zone 1 was established by EFF leader Julius Malema several years ago. In a recent SABC interview, Malema said the Juju Valley model was a “best practice” SA could follow to address land redistribution.

Malema said the land had belonged to a white family, who agreed to give some of it to the community for settlement purposes. Residents say that since then the area has been regarded as an EFF stronghold.

ActionSA’s Ward 13 branch chairperson, Potego Shadung, said the area was a no-go zone for other political parties. “We do put up posters and they are later on pulled down,” Shadung said.

EFF election boards

Only EFF election boards are seen posted around Juju Valley Settlement at zone one in Seshego township. (Photo: Rudzani Tshivhase)

Inside the settlement, only EFF posters could be seen. A resident, who requested anonymity, said, “You can see even the government is not doing anything for us. We don’t have in-house water connections, proper streets and electricity. After the EFF takes over the government after the elections we are sure that Julius Malema will make sure that we have basic services.”

Meanwhile, police spokesperson Brigadier Hlulani Mashaba said they were investigating two cases of attempted murder in relation to the shooting and four additional cases, including malicious damage to property and contravention of Section 87 of the Electoral Act of 1998.

“The violence erupted during a campaign event between rival political parties, leading to an escalation that endangered the lives of people and damaged infrastructure. Preliminary investigation indicates that several other people sustained injuries after they hit each other with stones and several shots were fired,” Mashaba said.

No arrests have been made. DM

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["Maverick News","World"] safety-and-belonging

Passenger dies, up to 71 injured after Singapore Airlines flight hits severe turbulence

A Singapore Airlines flight turned into a turbulent nightmare, leaving one passenger deceased and 30 injured, as the aircraft hit severe turbulence over Myanmar, causing chaos in the cabin and forcing an emergency landing in Bangkok, with gashes in cabin panels, bruised crew, and a tragic heart attack adding to the airborne drama.
DIVE DEEPER ( 3 MIN)
  • One passenger dies and 30 injured in severe turbulence on Singapore Airlines flight to Bangkok.
  • Incident occurred over Myanmar, with pilot declaring medical emergency before emergency landing.
  • Photos show chaos inside the plane, with gashes in cabin panels and injuries to passengers and crew.
  • Singapore Airlines expresses condolences and apologises for traumatic experience on the flight.
The interior of Singapore Airline flight SG321 after an emergency landing at Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi International Airport, Thailand, May 21, 2024. (Photo: Reuters / Stringer)

One passenger died of a suspected heart attack and 30 were injured after a Singapore Airlines flight hit severe turbulence on Tuesday, flinging passengers and crew around the cabin and forcing the plane to land in Bangkok, officials and the airline said. A hospital said it had treated 71 patients. 

The flight from London bound for Singapore fell into an air pocket while cabin crew were serving breakfast before it encountered turbulence, prompting the pilots to request an emergency landing, Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport general manager Kittipong Kittikachorn told a press conference.

The sudden turbulence occurred over the Irrawaddy Basin in Myanmar about 10 hours into the flight, the airline said. The pilot declared a medical emergency and diverted the aircraft to Bangkok, it said without giving further details.

Reuters was not able to confirm the sequence of events or whether the medical emergency came before the turbulence.

Photographs from the interior of the plane showed large gashes in the overhead cabin panels, gas masks and panels hanging from the ceiling and items of hand luggage strewn around. A passenger said some people’s heads had slammed into the lights above the seats and punctured the panels.

“I saw things lying everywhere and many air crew injured” with bruising, Kittikachorn said after the most critically injured passengers and crew had been evacuated.

A 73-year-old British man died during the incident, probably from a heart attack, Kittikachorn said. Seven people were critically injured, some with head injuries. He added people were calm as they were led from the plane.

“Singapore Airlines offers its deepest condolences to the family of the deceased. We deeply apologise for the traumatic experience that our passengers and crew members suffered on this flight,” the airline said.

Singapore Airlines

Rescue medical teams prepare to move the injured to a hospital near Suvarnabhumi Airport, in Samut Prakan province, Thailand, 21 May 2024. (Photo: EPA-EFE / NARONG SANGNAK)

Some tallies of the injured out of the 211 passengers and 18 crew differed.

The airline said 18 were hospitalised and 12 were treated in hospitals. Samitivej Hospital said it was treating 71 passengers, including six who were severely injured.

It was not immediately possible to reconstruct the incident from publicly available tracking data, but a spokesperson for FlightRadar 24 said it was analysing data which showed the plane tilting upwards and returning to its cruising altitude over the space of a minute.

A passenger who was on the Boeing 777-300ER plane told Reuters that the incident involved the sensation of rising and then falling.

“Suddenly the aircraft starts tilting up and there was shaking so I started bracing for what was happening, and very suddenly there was a very dramatic drop so everyone seated and not wearing a seatbelt was launched immediately into the ceiling,” Dzafran Azmir, a 28-year-old student on board the flight told Reuters.

“Some people hit their heads on the baggage cabins overhead and dented it, they hit the places where lights and masks are and broke straight through it,” he said.

Kittikachorn said most of the passengers he had spoken to had been wearing their seatbelts.

The spokesperson for FlightRadar 24 said regarding data showing a drop in height, “Our initial thinking is the turbulence event is prior to the standard descent from 37,000 to 31,000 feet. That appears to just be a flight level change in preparation for landing.” 

Turbulence

Turbulence-related airline accidents are the most common type, according to a 2021 study by the National Transportation Safety Board.

From 2009 through 2018, the US agency found that turbulence accounted for more than a third of reported airline accidents and most resulted in one or more serious injuries, but no aircraft damage.

Singapore Airlines, which is widely recognised as one of the world’s leading airlines and is a benchmark for much of the industry, has not had any major incidents in recent years.

Its last accident resulting in casualties was a flight from Singapore to Los Angeles via Taipei, where it crashed on 31 October 2000, into construction equipment on the Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport after attempting to take off from the wrong runway. The crash killed 83 of the 179 people on board.

Singapore Airlines has had seven accidents according to records by the Aviation Safety Network. DM

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