R25m to bring Saffers back from Wuhan
The repatriation of South Africans from coronavirus-hit Hubei, China, is going to cost the state R25m. President Cyril Ramaphosa told parliament that he has employed 151 members of the SA National Defence Force in service to support the department of international relations and cooperation and the department of health to return the SA citizens from Hubei. In a letter to Parliament’s presiding officers, Ramaphosa reveals that the employment of the SANDF was from March 1 to April 15. “The total expenditure expected to be incurred for this employment is R25m,” said Ramaphosa. A total of 184 South Africans living in Wuhan asked the SA government to evacuate them as a precaution amid the outbreak there. Most are students, teachers and other professionals working in the city, a government statement said. Only seven have opted to remain in Wuhan.
Dros rapist Ninow loses bid to appeal
The high court in Pretoria on Tuesday dismissed Dros rapist Nicholas Ninow's application for leave to appeal against his conviction and life sentence. Ninow was convicted in September 2019 of raping a seven-year-old girl at a Dros restaurant in Silverton, Pretoria. The incident occurred in September 2018. He was sentenced him to life for the rape and five years for drug possession and defeating the ends of justice. The sentences run concurrently. The application for leave to appeal against his conviction was heard on Friday. On Tuesday, the court said there were no reasonable prospects of success.
Malema, Ndlozi cop ‘assault case’ postponed
An assault case against EFF leader Julius Malema and former party spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi was postponed on Tuesday. They appeared in the Randburg Magistrate’s Court for the start of the trial. “The case was, however, postponed to 23 and 24 June 2020 because Malema and Ndlozi’s legal representative stated they would need more time to prepare,” said AfriForum CEO Kallie Kriel. The lobby group said earlier it had pushed for the two to be charged. The alleged assault occurred at the funeral of struggle stalwart Winnie Madikizela-Mandela. At their court appearance in November Malema denied he and Ndlozi had assaulted the officer.
UJ denies student hacked system to pass
The University of Johannesburg (UJ) has rubbished reports that one of its students hacked its IT system to give herself and other students distinctions in modules they were failing. The story, which first appeared online in 2019 on the fake news website Gallant Post, went viral on social media this week. According to the report, a student named Phindile “edited her marks by accessing the IT panels of the UJ website” to reflect that she and 200 others had passed modules with which they were struggling. She claimed to have done it because she had lost her bursary, and said her parents could not afford to pay fees for her and a sibling. UJ noted the report and said it was fake - and that it would take legal action. “UJ categorically dismisses this ‘report’ as fake news, devoid of any truth,” said media liaison officer Herman Esterhuizen.
EFF ‘not shocked’ as MP Godrich Gardee resigns
Former EFF secretary-general Godrich Gardee's resignation as MP was “not a shock” for the Braamfontein-based political outfit. This is according to EFF spokesperson Vuyani Pambo, who confirmed that Gardee handed in his resignation letter as MP on February 28. Pambo said this was expected as Gardee had started doing his articles at Mabuza Attorneys, thus having a nine-to-five job that would interfere with his duties as a lawmaker. Gardee was not voted back as the party SG at their national elective conference, known as the national people's assembly, three months ago. But Pambo said there was never a political fallout over Gardee not being re-elected. Pambo said Gardee remained the party's head of international relations.
Provinces lose R400m after not spending grants
Gauteng, the Free State and Northern Cape have been stripped of R400m in housing grants after failing to spend the money in 2019. The recipients of these funds in 2020 will be the Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga and the Western Cape, each getting R98.5m. This was contained in the Government Gazette published at the end of February. The decision to redirect the grant from the three provinces was made after Gauteng failed to spend R250m, while the Free State did not spend R118m and the Northern Cape R26m, despite a well documented backlog in government-sponsored housing. The national department of human settlements then elected to redirect the funds to provinces it deemed could better use the grants.