Today's Big Stories

Momentum over various 'statues and symbols' movements across SA

Paul Kruger's statue in Church Square, Pretoria: Wikipedia

Statues+Symbols Movements: Kruger, Rhodes

In Pretoria this lunchtime is a small group of activists including singer Sunette Bridges who are now at the statue of Paul Kruger in Church Square demanding that it be guarded against vandals. It was sprayed with lime paint over the weekend amid a national discussion about statues in public places. EWN's Thando Kubheka:

About 100 people have come out here to Church Square, which is the home of the statue of Paul Kruger, organised by the Freedom Front Plus (FF+), Sunette Bridges and Steve Hofmeyr, saying 'hands off our heritage' and the symbols of apartheid. The FF+ have addressed the people here and there are also other prominent Afrikaners present who will be speaking. Bridges and Hofmeyer are going to chain themselves to the statue, as a symbol that they want their heritage to be preserved.

FF+ leader, Dr Pieter Mulder:

We haven't organised this gathered, it was organised by civic society, this is a very sensitive issue, a very emotional issue and at the moment, it's been very one-sided. I don't like (Cecil John) Rhodes, but if you look at Paul Kruger's history, he fought British imperialism, he fought colonialism. Ask what he did for the Royal Bafokeng. In current South Africa, he (Kruger) would be racist, but all Europeans would be racist, in the same way that (Abraham) Lincoln who advocated for the end of slavery was also racist because he said that black people should be sent to their own country, Liberia and not live in the United States.

Meanwhile there was meeting of the convocation at the University of Cape Town last night to discuss the statue of Cecil John Rhodes that you could say caused all the trouble. EWN's Masa Kekana:

Last night UCT alumni met to express their opinions of the Rhodes statue, with some saying that management were bowing down and not addressing transformation sufficiently. Tonight, the decision will be whether to have that statue removed, but it is the decision of the Heritage Council, ultimately.

First on EWN: security-cluster infighting affecting Intelligence

An exclusive report in the EWN bulletins this morning is that in-fighting within our security cluster – including the Police and the Hawks – is making it harder for police to gather Crime Intelligence. The last few months have seen the head of the Hawks and the head of the Independent Police Investigative Directoriate (Ipid) suspended, along with claims that there is also infighting right at the top of the police service itself. EWN's Barry Bateman:

The concern that's been raised came out in a conversation on the murder of murder police officers from last week - and the concern is that the guys aren't talking to each other, these informants are reluctant to talk due to a fear that gangs have infiltrated in the operations of the police. A study from the Institute for Security Studies also notes a steady decline in the production of intelligence reports from our Police Intelligence.

Did Malema use EFF funds to pay Sars?

A claim on Tuesday by the Former Treasurer of the Economic Freedom Fighters' (EFF) Chief Financial Officer, Wiekus Kotze that the party’s leader Julius Malema rules through fear and that the party’s money is being misused by Malema. Kotze was speaking a press conference he called with several other party members. EFF Secretary-General, Godrich Gardee:

We must correct the notion that he has ever been a Treasurer of the Economic Freedom Fighters. I've seen some media reports where he's referred to as the Chief Financial Officer - the EFF doesn't even have that position in its organogram. He was seconded to the Headquarters to assist in the financial controls at HQ, coming from the Gauteng structure. When his work was done, he was asked to return back to the Gauteng structure. This same man was involved in no more than 5 transactions, all of which were fraudulent.

ARV cocktail for preventing HIV contraction?

News this week of a new study that is trying to find out if an ARV pill could actually prevent people from contracting HIV. The pill is called Truvada. Head of the Wits Reproductive Programme, Professor Helen Rees:

This is a combination of two ARV's with a number of clinical trials in various populations and this has shown that giving this combination to HIV- people could help to prevent them contracting HIV. We're hoping there will be a place where people will use ARV treatment to prevent HIV, but we are aware that most people when they're healthy often don't bother with treatment.

Premier Makhura on RDP housing and poverty

A Tuesday comment made by Gauteng Premier David Makhura is that places where RDP homes have been built have become incubators of poverty. Gauteng Human Settlements MEC Jacob Mamabolo:

We find that we build houses, but people have no income or access to any social amenities and we find that these houses we build aren't attracting people from different race groups either. We want to build post-apartheid structures, we need to build mega-cities. Apart from architectural design, we also need to make land available and the Premier was saying we need to build economically-sustainable human settlement developments, not just employment opportunities during construction.

What would it take to fill Maharaj's shoes?

Confirmation from the Presidency on Tuesday that Mac Maharaj will be stepping down from the position of President Jacob Zuma’s spokesperson at the end of the month - when he turns eighty. Maharaj has been on the Midday Report many times after being appointed Presidential Spokesperson in 2011. Presidential Spokesperson during President Thabo Mbeki's tenure, Bheki Khumalo:

We are an emerging country that has to interact with the rest of the world and deal with the challenges that face the continent. You have to be able to understand the interface between politics, the economy and the law, because it is a very demanding job, and punishing.

Spin doctor, Chris Vick:

It's probably one of the hardest gigs in Africa to be honest. Given what Mac Maharaj was dealt, promoting and protecting the image of the Principle. He wasn't every journalist's friend - not everyone will be - but if you look at the hand he was dealt with Nkandla, I think he did a great job. And the fact that Mac has tremendous political experience as well will make the person who is to step into his shoes a very difficult job, because it's not about what you communicate, but also about who you are.

Sex could be criminalised for under-16's

A proposal this week is that changes to the Sexual Offences Act would make it impossible for anyone under the age of sixteen to consent to have sex. This would essentially mean anyone who had sex with someone under the age of sixteen would automatically be guilty of rape. Attorney at the University of Pretoria's Centre for Child Law, Carina du Toit:

The status of this Bill is currently unclear, it is very radical, because finding someone guilty of rape isn't as easy as charging someone with statutory rape. We definitely wouldn't (support this proposal), because there would be some people who would get caught up in this. Where we would support it is if there were a 45-year-old engaging with an under-age person in sexual relations, versus two under-age children engaging in consensual sex together.

Mugabe's about his money

At the Union Buildings in Pretoria, Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has now been officially welcomed by President Jacob Zuma. EWN Africa's Jean-Jacques Cornish:

It might be that they were taking extraordinary care laying out the red carpet, given what happened the last time with him and a red carpet! On a serious note, no one knows why he was so late, but he was looking in great health, especially for a man of 90. They've already had a press conference, I doubt he will stay long thereafter to entertain too many questions. There will be a signing later today and there'll be a business forum tomorrow morning. This visit is about money, but South Africa is taking this visit very seriously, we want to have a successful Zimbabwe just north of us.

This article first appeared on 702 : Momentum over various 'statues and symbols' movements across SA



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