Are you up to date with latest news stories and headlines in South Africa on Wednesday 21 July 2021? We’ve got all the details to keep you in the know.

EFF leader Julius Malema has suggested an unusual form of imprisonment for former president Jacob Zuma, who is serving 15 months for contempt of court. The red berets’ commander-in-chief thinks Msholozi should spend the rest of his sentence in the harsh confines of… Nkandla. Yes, the R246 million rand luxury residential complex built with tax payers’ money, that one. The one that includes a fire pool, helipad, underground bunkers and a chicken run.

It’s unlikely Justice Minister Ronald Lamola will listen to Malema’s sage advice. Lamola was too busy rolling out life-saving vaccines to prisoners across the country.

TODAY’S LATEST NEWS IN SOUTH AFRICA, Wednesday 21 July

Malema defends EFF for receiving cash from alleged ‘tobacco smuggler’

Adriano Mazzotti became one of the most infamous names in the cigarette smuggling underworld a few years ago, and allegedly had links to Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and her political ambitions. The Minister has since denied any association with the tobacco kingpin – but Julius Malema hasn’t been anywhere near as coy on Tuesday.

In discussing the issue of Cyril Ramaphosa’s CR17 funding on Kaya FM, Juju spoke about the differences between money received by the president, and the cash donations that made their way into the EFF’s reserves. According to Malema, the party was fine to accept funds from a ‘suspicious character’ – because he’d never been criminally charged.

“We said that we are not involved in Adriano Mazzotti’s businesses. We don’t know what Mazzotti is up to but we knew where the money came from and we accepted it with a clear conscience. Do you know that Mr. Mazzotti has never been investigated or charged for any crime? We knew this before we accepted any money.”

Cele denies receiving intelligence from state security

The contradictions in the South African government continue in the wake of the deadly unrest in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng. On Tuesday, 20 July, Police Minister Bheki Cele denied that the State Security Agency provided police with intelligence before the violence started as last week.

Cele addressed the parliament’s joint standing committee on police on Tuesday and said that he had never seen any intelligence documents that warned of the protests, looting and violence that would occur.

Last week, State Security Minister Ayanda Dlodlo said that her department provided the police with ‘adequate’ intelligence before the violence broke out. “That information that we received, that information that we analysed and packaged, was handed over to the police,” said Dlodlo.

Cele, however, denied receiving any such information – which he referred to as “the product” – and told the committee that if such information was shared with the police it would have been sent directly to him, first.

“It would have to come via me and I would give it to the national police commissioner,” said Cele. “I want to repeat here, I have never seen that product.” The police minister urged Members of Parliament to “go check [his] signature on the supposed intelligence, maintaining that he never received any such documents.

Panel recommends postponing Local Elections until 2022

Former Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke has presented his findings, after being asked by the Independent Electoral Commission to investigate the feasibility of holding Local Elections in South Africa this year. On Tuesday, the head of the panel revealed that ‘it would not be reasonable’ to go ahead with the voting cycle in October.

Instead, Moseneke has recommended pushing the Local Elections, set to take place in less than three months, back no further than February 2022. The legal expert concluded that the pandemic poses too much of a risk to the electorate:

“Having considered all these submissions of stakeholders, applicable law, research on electoral practice during the Covid-19 pandemic and the related science, we conclude that it is not reasonably possible or likely that the local government elections scheduled for the month of October 2021 will be held in a fair and fair manner.”

Nearly 500 burials in ONE week, City says ‘alternatives’ may need to be considered

The City of Cape Town says the fact that nearly 500 burials were recorded in the last week is a stark reminder of the need for continued vigilance amid the COVID-19 third wave. 

According to a statement that was sent out on Tuesday 20 July, the City’s cemeteries have experienced incremental increases in the number of burials in recent weeks. From just over 300 in one week towards the end of June, the number of burials last week was recorded at 483.

The City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Community Services and Health, Councillor Zahid Badroodien said that, for the moment, the cemeteries in Cape Town are able to cope with the increased demand, however, that does not mean that nothing can be done. 

Badroodien said residents are urged to consider burials on weekdays and, where possible, consider alternatives to burial.  

“We renew our appeal to residents to please consider burials on weekdays and where possible, to consider alternatives to burial. We also ask that funeral organisers be mindful of the current regulations in terms of the number of attendees and time allowed at the cemetery,” said Badroodien. 

‘Sinister forces’ fuelling ongoing taxi violence in Cape Town

With taxi violence continuing in Cape Town as members of the South African National Taxi Association (SANTACO) remain in talks with Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula, the City has called for government to remove power from taxi associations and hand authority over to regulatory bodies. 

Thousands of commuters were left stranded at bus terminals in the pouring rain on Monday night as relentless violence forced public transport operators like Golden Arrow busses to suspend operations. 

Speaking to eNCA on Tuesday City of Cape Town’s Mayoral Committee member for Safety and Security, Alderman JP Smith, said that metro police had to resort to escorting Golden Arrow busses to various destinations along routes where it was assessed that there was risk of violence. A Golden Arrow bus driver was shot on Monday morning while other shooting incidents led to arrests in Langa, and Smith said that escorting jeopardised public transport operators is not a sustainable intervention.

Did AKA’s tell-all interview clear his name in the Nelli Tembe investigation?

The initial probe into the death of rapper AKA’s fiancée, Anele “Nelli” Tembe, was concluded by police on 25 May, just three days after his tell-all interview with eNCA news anchor Thembekile Mrototo. Could this mean the interview helped him clear his name?

Nelli Tembe plunged to her death from the 10th floor of the Pepperclub Hotel in Cape Town on 11 April, just two weeks after AKA paid lobola for his bride-to-be.

While her death was speculated as a suicide, there was no confirmation. Now, after reviewing the docket, the National Prosecuting Agency (NPA) reverted back to police for further investigation.

The Citizen reports that AKA’s detailing various instances of Tembe trying to take her own life during his tell-all interview, was of particular interest to the NPA. These instances include Tembe’s suicide attempt at the Hilton Hotel in Durban and a time she allegedly tried to jump out of a moving car, according to AKA. 

“In my past time with Anele, it was not the first time that she had attempted to do that (harm herself) or threatened to do that. She had done that here in this home and over the phone. She had also threatened to drive her car into the wall and also had to be talked down off the ledge at the Hilton in Durban,” said AKA. 

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Presh JM Reporter

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