Weekly News Brief

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Hello South Africa,

2019 Day Of The African Child Commemoration, SONA Budget Cut Drastically, Semenya Wins 2,000M Race In France, State Capture Turns To SAA, In The Corridors Of Justice and more…

Something To Ponder

2019 Day of The African Child Commemoration

This weekend, on Sunday to be precise, South Africa leads the rest of the world in commemorating the International Day of The African Child. Every year, June 16 is remembered world over as the day the South African black child said enough is enough to oppression in education provision and took to the streets, to protest the brand of education they were getting in schools designated for blacks by the apartheid system. They wanted better education and a right to be educated in their own language not the forced language of the apartheid masters, Afrikaans.

On this day in 1976, about a ten thousand strong throng of students marched in Soweto in order to make their cry for a better chance in life heard. As a result, hundreds of unarmed students were shot by the security forces. Many died and more were maimed. Two weeks of protests followed and many more died. These children in 1976 sacrificed their lives so that the South African child of today could enjoy better opportunities. Granted, not all our schools are of the highest standards, and the system is not perfect, but we have come far from what there was in 1976. The vision of the children who died in the Soweto protests lives on.

June 16 was first recognized by the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) in 1991. The day was set apart as a day to celebrate the African Child as well as a way to commemorate those killed during the Soweto Uprising. Today, the day is a globally recognized one where the courage of the students who marched for their right to an education is recognized and awareness is raised for the need to better education for children throughout the world. The need is still there today. Of the over 57 million primary school age children currently out of school around the world, it is estimated that over half this number are from sub-Saharan Africa

The theme for the 2019 Day of the African Child is “Humanitarian Action in Africa: Children’s Rights First”. According to African Library Vibes, “Humanitarian actions are mainly offered to assist those who have no power or abilities on their own to seek and acquire basic amenities for everyday living while upholding their human dignity.  It is estimated that there are at least 13.5 million African children who have been displaced from their homes through conflicts, climate change and poverty and are in need of humanitarian help. These children live as refugees, migrants or internally displaced persons, existing from day to day without the facilities and opportunities to fulfil their potentials in life. The figures become more worrisome when Orphaned and Vulnerable children (OVC) are added to the total tally.”

Zeroing in on the South African scene, where it all began, it is sad that this year’s commemoration is falling on a week and month that the education sector has been in the news for all the wrong reasons. On Tuesday this week, a teacher was shot and killed at Masuku Primary School in KwaZulu-Natal.  A 15 year old was caught on CCTV footage entering a classroom at his high school in Sea Point where an exam was being written last week. He and other suspects allegedly robbed the teacher and pupils at gunpoint before fleeing the scene. Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi said on Tuesday that he was shocked that 13 pupils are awaiting court appearances for various crimes in the province. In the last couple of weeks, a number of students have died at the hands of other students.

These events beg for an answer. The security situation in the South African schools needs immediate and long lasting solution as the trend cannot go on. When teachers feel they have to carry arms for self protection, it is a sign that things are not going well at all. This, if allowed to happen will only aggravate the situation. The Basic Education Department has said in a statement, that crime prevention and the teaching of positive values and morals required a joint effort from parents and communities. During this time as we remember the sacrifices of those who died for a better education system and by extension better life for the South African child, let us take heed not to be the generation that trampled underfoot this expensive legacy.

Viva the African Child!

Lucy Thairu


The South African elections have come and gone. The president has appointed his cabinet and now the time for the State Of The Nation Address. The event this year will be without a lot of the usual pomp and trimmings. Parliament has cut the budget for the event to R2 million down from R9.5 million five years ago. Deputy National Assembly Speaker Lechesa Tsenoli said there would be no junior or civil guard of honour for the state procession and eminent persons from the nine provinces wouldn’t be present. There’ll also be no praise singer, or imbongi, to lead Ramaphosa into the chamber. On the same note, Several former ministers have resigned over the last two weeks. Their resignations come not too long after they were sworn in as MPs after the May elections.

This week, the State Capture Inquiry Turned To SAA. The inquiry heard how the South African Airways (SAA) board, the national carrier’s former treasurer Cynthia Stimpel, testified that the SAA board irregularly made decisions and ordered them to be carried out by the state-owned company. She told how the South African Airways (SAA) board unilaterally rejected the recommendations related to a R15 billion loan and instructed that the finance be obtained from the Free State Development Corporation (FDC). Earlier on Monday, Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo revealed that he plans to establish a special task team to investigate whether Parliament properly exercised its oversight role in relation to state capture and corruption.

In the corridors of justice, Adam Catzavelos,  the South African man who went on a racist video rant while on holiday on a Greek island, is now facing prosecution in Greece as well. Meanwhile here in South Africa, he has approaching the National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP) regarding the jurisdiction of South African law on his crimen injuria charge. The case has been postponed to 10 July. Vicki Momberg who was convicted on a racist charge on Tuesday said the justice system had closed its doors on her, after being abandoned by her sixth lawyer.  After failing to convince the court that she would be able to secure representation, Momberg was forced to argue her case on Tuesday. The Western Caper High Court handed Constantia businessman Rob Packham a 20-year sentence for the murder of his wife Gill Packham. And wife killer Christopher Panayiotou  has gone to the Constitutional Court to appeal his conviction. The Port Elizabeth businessman was serving a life sentence for orchestrating the murder of his wife, Jayde Panayiotou, in 2015.

The embattled eThekwini Mayor Zandile Gumede has taken a 30 days leave of absence, starting from Monday. The mayor is currently on a R50,000 bail after being arrested on fraud and corruption charges for allegedly defrauding the city on a tender worth R208 million. The African National Congress (ANC) in KwaZulu-Natal asked her in a resolution to give the party time to finalise her matter. Gumede has said she will not resign from her mayoral post.  In other developments, Tshwane Mayor Stevens Mokgalapa said he has kept to his promise to not be an office mayor but rather to be a service delivery mayor. He said terminating the GladAfrica consultancy agreement was among his achievements in his first 100 days in office.


Police have established a specialised team to track down the gunmen who ambushed anti-gang unit (AGU) members in Samora Machel in Nyanga. Six officers came under attack while conducting an operation on Wednesday.

Caster Semenya won Tuesday’s rarely-run 2,000m race in Montreuil, east of Paris, amid her ongoing legal battle with the IAAF over its testosterone rules. The double 800m Olympic champion, who was racing for the first time since a controversial new gender ruling came into effect, finished in 5min 38.19sec ahead of Ethiopian pair Hawi Feysa and Adanech Anbesa.

Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi said on the smart identity cards said the full roll-out of the cards should bring about an end to cases of fraudulent marriages. The green bar-coded ID was vulnerable to security breaches which allowed for instances of identity duplication to the detriment of unsuspecting victims. According to an EWN exposé, many women have been trapped in fake marriages following the theft of their identity cards and forgery of marriage documents using the stolen cards.


AOP London Investor Forum 2019

June 17 @ 08:00 – 17:00

On June 17, 2019, the forum will once again unite the continent’s top executives and leading government officials with investors from around the world in London. The one-day program will highlight the most pressing issues facing the industry today, and bring together policy makers, financiers and the private sector to tackle the issues and opportunities in Africa’s energy sector.