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News in and around South Africa. | Ramaphosa’s veteran spokesperson Ronnie Mamoepa dies

Pretoria – Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa’s spokesperson Ronnie Mamoepa died in hospital at 23:15 on Saturday night, the Presidency announced shortly after midnight.

He was 56.

“The president and deputy president convey their sincere condolences to Mr Mamoepa’s immediate and extended family, comrades, friends and colleagues,” the statement read.

“This is a great loss to me personally, to The Presidency and government at large,” said Ramaphosa.
“However, our thoughts are firstly and foremost with Ronnie’s wife, Audrey, his children and his siblings. I offer my sincere condolences to Ronnie’s relatives, friends, comrades and colleagues who have suffered the loss of someone who was much loved and respected across our country and beyond.

“We shall miss him greatly,” Ramaphosa said.

The veteran spokesperson took ill a month ago and had to undergo surgery.

At the time, Ramaphosa visited him in hospital and wished him a speedy recovery.

Served with distinction

Mamoepa was “a former political prisoner and member of the Gauteng provincial legislature, was a highly regarded and accomplished public servant and veteran communicator who served the African National Congress and various departments in government with distinction”, the Presidency said.

Mamoepa was a well known figure in media circles, having communicated the views and comments of various government ministers on topics as diverse as the Sudanese peace talks and the controversy over the Dalai Llama’s planned visit many years ago.

He was also a spokesperson for Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma when she was Home Affairs minister.

In her book Robben Island, Charlene Smith detailed Mamoepa’s involvement as an ANC member during the struggle.

“Ronnie Mamoepa was a skinny kid who knew the slogans and songs by heart, and could raise his knees higher than most in the toyi-toyi,” the book stated.

Smith said Mamoepa was convicted for terrorism in 1980, at just 18 years of age.

Condolences streamed in from politicians and the public on Saturday night as news spread of his passing.

eNCA | “The Presidency mourns the passing of Ronnie Mamoepa”: confirmed

• Editor’s note: This is a developing story. We will bring you updates as more information becomes available.

JOHANNESBURG – Ronnie Mamoepa, the spokesman for Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, died on Saturday, 22 July, 2017, at 23h15.

The news was confirmed by The Presidency on twitter. Mr Mamoepa served as Spokesperson for the Deputy President, since 2014. “This is a great loss to me personally, to The Presidency and government at large,” said Deputy President Ramaphosa.

Mamoepa was admitted to hospital and underwent surgery last month, following an undisclosed illness.

The veteran government communications official was well-known in media circles.

He was also a spokesperson for Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma when she was Home Affairs minister.

Other positions held include head of communications for the ANC Regional Executive Committee and as head of communications and spokesperson for the first Gauteng Premier, Tokyo Sexwale, between 1994 and 1996.

READ: Ray Phiri laid to rest

Mamoepa also served as a member of the Gauteng Provincial Legislature.

Prior to this, he served as chief director of communications for both Presidents Thabo Mbeki and Jacob Zuma before being transferred to the Department of International Relations and Co-operation.

Deputy President Ramaphosa expressed his is condlences to Mr Mamoepa’s family and freinds.

Deputy President Ramaphosa expressed his is condlences to Mr Mamoepa’s family and freinds. (The / screenshot)

“However, our thoughts are firstly and foremost with Ronnie’s wife, Audrey, his children and his siblings. I offer my sincere condolences to Ronnie’s relatives, friends, comrades and colleagues who have suffered the loss of someone who was much loved and respected across our country and beyond.  We shall miss him greatly.”


eNCA | Body found amid Imizamo Yethu violence

JOHANNESBURG – Police discovered the body of a 19-year-old following violence in Mandela Park, Imizamo Yethu informal settlement near Hout Bay on Saturday.

Western Cape police said the body was found with a gunshot wound to the chest.

“Police waited for the morgue vehicle to transfer the body. The current situation in Mandela Park/Imizamo Yethu informal settlement is volatile,” said police spokesperson, André Traut.

On Friday, protesters torched an ANC building situated on Mandela Road, as well as homes of community leaders in the area.

READ: Violence erupts again in Imizamo Yethu

“Protestors were moving around between shacks and pelted police members and Nyalas with stones and objects. The protesters barricaded the roads at the Imizamo Yethu settlement to prevent SAPS from entering the area,” Traut said.

Police said containers housing Somalian shops were pushed into the roads and set alight by protesters, and were used to barricade the roads.

Various cases of public violence, arson, and one of murder have been opened for investigation.

eNCA | Man killed, 3 injured in shooting at Cape Town shopping centre

Cape Town – A man was killed and three were seriously injured in a shooting at a Bishop Lavis shopping centre on Friday, Western Cape police said. 

The victim, a 39-year-old man, was shot dead in a white Ford Figo, Captain FC van Wyk told News24. 

Three men, aged 21, 27 and 37, were injured on the premises. 

The shooting and the motive are being investigated. 

Earlier on Friday, two petrol attendants were killed, while a third was injured along with a customer, in a shooting at a Cape Town petrol station.

Read the article here. | Give Mbete space to make secret ballot decision – Parliament

Cape Town – National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete must be given time to make a rational decision on whether or not to use a secret ballot in the motion of no confidence in President Jacob Zuma, Parliament said on Friday.

She had responded to the Democratic Alliance’s “demand” that she make her decision public by the end of this week, by saying she would do so before the motion on August 8, Parliament spokesperson Moloto Mothapo said in a statement.

The Constitutional Court had not given her a date by which she had to make her decision known, he said.

The court said she had the discretion to decide whether the vote should be secret or not, and that her decision should not be arbitrary, but meet the test of rationality, Mothapo said.

The matter therefore required careful consideration. Mbete appealed to all parties to afford her office the necessary space to make an appropriate decision.

DA Chief Whip John Steenhuisen on Monday pressed Mbete to make her decision known this week.

“It is our belief that there is no reason why the Speaker cannot apply her mind and duly communicate her decision on the secret ballot by close of business this Friday, 21 July, instead of waiting until a day or two before the vote, as Mbete suggested in a recent interview,” Steenhuisen had said.

Also read: Mbete wants to have her cake and eat it – Steenhuisen

The Economic Freedom Fighters told News24 on Friday that they have already prepared legal papers to interdict Mbete should she refuse to allow a secret ballot for the August 8 motion of no confidence in President Jacob Zuma.

The Constitutional Court ruled on June 22 that Mbete had the constitutional power to prescribe that voting in a motion of no confidence in the president could be conducted by secret ballot.

In a statement last Sunday, Parliament said Mbete had received submissions from nine of the 13 political parties about the appropriate voting procedure for the motion.

Both the African National Congress and the DA said they would abide by Mbete’s decision, while the rest of the nine preferred a secret ballot.

In a statement on July 13, opposition parties said Mbete should not preside over the debate, due to a conflict of interest between her role as ANC national chairperson and Speaker.

eNCA | 10111 strike on hold

JOHANNESBURG – The South African Poling Union (Sapu) on Friday announced the temporary suspension of the 10111 call centre strike that was expected to have continued at the weekend.

Sapu general secretary Oscar Skommere said the strike was temporarily suspended to give the negotiations led by the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA), a chance.

“As a responsible and progressive union we have decided temporarily to suspend our industrial action for the benefit of the public we serve. The CCMA initiative must be given a chance to unfold without any undue pressure,” Skommere said.

“Sapu will attend the Monday CCMA meeting with an open mind. The suspension of the strike must not be viewed by management as a way of us giving in to their arrogance.”

READ: Popcru distances itself from 10111 protest

He said the union was communicating with its members about returning to their posts on Saturday morning.

“The mediation process led by the CCMA is a positive step towards finding a lasting solution to this problem that we have been trying to solve with the SAPS [South African Police Services] management for the past four years.”

The union would update members and the public about any new developments, Skommere said.

The 24-hour crime-reporting 10111 call centre deals with emergencies and complaints from the public.

When it announced the strike, Sapu said its members were among the lowest -aid call centre workers. 

African News Agency

eNCA | BREAKING: Sean Spicer quits as Trump’s spokesman

WASHINGTON – Sean Spicer resigned as White House press secretary Friday in protest at a major shakeup of Donald Trump’s embattled administration, an official told AFP.

Spicer – the administration’s most recognisable face after the president – resigned after just six months in office, having been increasingly sidelined in recent weeks.

Spicer reached breaking point on Friday, the White House official said, when Trump appointed Anthony Scaramucci to be the new communications director, a bid to reset the scandal-wracked administration.

A source familiar with the deliberations told AFP Trump had tapped the New York financier and longtime backer over the objections of White House chief of staff and Spicer ally Reince Priebus.

The post has been empty since the previous communications director Mike Dubke resigned in May. Spicer had privately said he would like to do the job and play more of an off-camera role.

He has not briefed the press on camera for a month, deferring to his deputy Sarah Sanders.

The last six months have seen the Trump administration lurch from one crisis to the next, with Trump frequently expressing displeasure with the media coverage he receives.

AFP | No confidence vote: Email Baleka Mbete

Cape Town – A Parliamentary debate on a motion of no confidence in President Jacob Zuma is set to be held on August 8.

Last month, the Constitutional Court ruled that National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete has the power to decide on whether the vote can be secret. She has yet to make her decision. 

Last month, News24 and Open Up provided a tool for citizens to email an MP to ask them to vote in one way or another. More than 7100 people sent emails.

– See more: No confidence vote: Email your MP

Using the tool below, you can send an email to Mbete indicating whether you think she should declare the vote secret or open. | Organisations present stats on lack of policing in Khayelitsha

Cape Town – On Wednesday, residents in Khayelitsha were updated on a court case brought against the South African Police Service (SAPS) on its allocation of resources.

The Social Justice Coalition (SJC), Equal Education (EE) and the Nyanga Community Police Forum (CPF) brought the case, according to GroundUp.

It arises after a commission of inquiry into policing in Khayelitsha found that relatively fewer police resources are allocated to poor communities than wealthy ones, even though crime is higher in poor communities.

In a briefing session held at the Isivivana Centre in Khayelitsha, Dalli Weyers, senior researcher in the SJC’s Safety and Justice Programme, presented statistics which showed that areas across the country with the highest murder rates had the fewest police resources.

“We are focusing on murder because there is a body when someone is murdered. We can know accurately when someone was murdered. It is a very reliable data source,” he said.

Head of the Safety and Justice Programme at the SJC, Chumile Sali, said they were pleased that they had finally managed to get statistics on police resources for all 1 140 police stations.

“We are happy because, two years back, Ndifuna Ukwazi requested the statistics from SAPS and were told that they couldn’t receive them as they were privileged information,” said Sali.

The figures, he said, “have proved to us that this is a national issue and not just in Khayelitsha; that this is a racial issue – wrong allocation of police resources in black communities across the country”.

‘Two hours to arrive at the scene’

EE deputy general secretary Ntuthuzo Ndzomo said: “Students do not feel safe inside school premises where they are supposed to feel safe… there is gang violence and robberies.”

“Just last year, we had robbers entering a school [in Khayelitsha] and taking the petty cash money. It took the police two hours to arrive at the scene.”

He said learners across the country did not get help from the police, but were faced with “unfruitful” investigations and lost dockets.

Welile Malaka, from the community patrol in Site B Khayelitsha, said: “People do not know how to hold the police accountable. They need to be told that they can complain when they are treated unfairly.

“We have [security surveillance] cameras that do not work in my area [Site B]. We had someone who was shot… We asked the police to look who it was, and we were told they [the cameras] do not work,” said Malaka.

He said that in another incident, someone was robbed in the street and they were told the cameras were operated from Goodwood and that the police in Khayelitsha had no access to the video.

The case will be heard in the Equality Court on August 17, 21 and 22.

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