Durban – On Wednesday evening, President Cyril Ramaphosa, announced his 28 member cabinet for the 6th administration and it included fairly new figures from across the country.
Among them is Ronald Lamola and Patricia De Lille.
Here is a brief background of the new ministers and deputy ministers who constitutionally, are not members of the Cabinet.
Lamola, who is the new minister for Justice and Correctional Services, hails from Komatipoort and later Bushbuckridge in Mpumalanga province.
It was where he went Mchaka High School and matriculated in 2000. In 2005 he obtained an LLB from the University of Venda and he would later add more law qualifications through Unisa where, in 2006, he did Practical Legal Training that would later lead to obtaining a Certificate in Corporate Law from the same institution.
After years of studies, he now holds an LLM (Masters) in Extractive Law. He once worked for the Competition Commission before joining Ndobela Lamola law firm in Gauteng as a partner.
He shot to fame when he served in the ANC youth league with Julius Malema in the structure that was later disbanded in 2013. At party level, he is currently a National Executive Committee (NEC) member of the ANC.
Politically, he will be remembered for staging his one man pickets outside venues where the ANC’s NEC was holding meetings, calling for former president Jacob Zuma to resign when his scandals took a toll on the party.
Patricia de Lille
De Lille, who is the new Minister for Public Works and Infrastructure Development, is a political nomad who has refused to allow political circumstances to force out of politics and community service – her first love.
During the struggle years, De Lille was a member of the once towering Pan Africanist Congress (PAC).
In 2003, using the floor crossing law that allowed members of the National Assembly and legislatures to cross or leave their parties without losing their parliamentary seats, De Lille took some seats of the party and started the now defunct Independent Democrats (ID).
The party had a strong presence in the Western and Northern Cape provinces where there are large Coloured and Khoisan communities.
In 2010, De Lille announced that her party had agreed to merge with DA and three years later, the party ceased to exist and was swallowed by the latter.
In return for forming an alliance with the DA, she was given a provincial cabinet position as Western Cape MEC for Social Development (2010 to 2011) and later from 2011 to 2018, as a member of the DA, she became the mayor of Cape Town.
It was not long before she was accused by the party of corruption and was asked to resign; but she refuted the allegations and refused to resign.
Constant pressure that saw once saying she “was abused by the DA” made her to relent and she left her position in October 2018.
In December that year she formed the GOOD party which later obtained two seats at the National Assembly after the May 8 elections.
The new minister for Small Business Development is an academically decorated figure.
According to a profile kept online by Bloomberg business portal, Ntshavheni was once a Chief Operating Officer at the State Information Technology Agency (SITA).
Politically, Ntshavheni who holds a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) was between 2015 and 2018, the spokesperson of the ANC in Limpopo.
Her own Facebook profile (data not cross checked by Independent Media) states that she is a former Municipal Manager at Ba-Phalaborwa Municipality, former Spokesperson of the Premier at Office Of The Premier, former Lecturer at Unisa and she hails from Sibasa in Limpopo.
Though not fairly new in Cabinet politics, the Durban-born politician was once a Thabo Mbeki loyalist so much that in 2008 when Mbeki was kicked out of the country’s Presidency by the ANC, she, together with some ministers of the era, resigned in solidarity with him.
After years in the wilderness, she allegedly went to Nkandla to apologise to former President Jacob Zuma and she was brought back into the ANC fold.
However, plans to make her the ANC’s mayoral candidate of Tshwane in 2016 backfired spectacularly when her own party members rejected her and engaged in violent riots that was punctuated with tribal undertones, telling her she must return to KZN because she is Zulu.
New Deputy Ministers
Ramaphosa also brought in new deputy ministers. Among them is former Cosatu President, Sdumo Dlamini, former Johannesburg mayor, Parks Tau, Boitumelo Moloi, former Limpopo MEC, David Masondo, Njabulo Nzuza of ANC youth league, Bavelile Hlongwa, Thembi Siweya, Rosemary Capa, Nomafu Cawe, Zizi Kodwa, Fish Mahlalela, Nomalungelo Gina and Dikeledi Magadzi.
Front woman of the music band, Maia and the BIG Sky, Maia Lekow is a firm believer in infusing one’s identity in music for an authentic experience.
The singer and songwriter’s musical star has risen over the years to a level of being recognised as one of the notable voices in the Kenyan live music scene, along with the group’s growing fan-base.
Lekow’s rhythmic philosophies, at the core of her music, can be traced back to the ancient roots of the Kenyan coast, which has an incredibly rich musical tradition that is thriving till today, she said.
She merges that historical background with Nairobi’s energetic live music vibe, and some influences coming from the best musicians in Kenya.
"Our sound is a blend of hypnotizing mixes of afro polyrhythms, with spacious, cinematic atmospheres. My vocals in Swahili and English are woven into the rhythmic force of her Big Sky Band to create a familiarity and warmth that transcends continents," she said.
The group is made up of Maestro Radanz on Bass, the Queen percussion-virtuoso Kasiva Mutua, George Nzuki on drums, then lastly Newman Owur who, according to Lekow, brings the hendrix flavours on guitar, including herself.
Although popular in their home turf Kenya, the group has traveled and performed in various places African countries and abroad such as performed at Cool Waters Jazz Festival (Kenya), Blankets & Wine (Kenya), Africa Utopia (UK), Harare International Festival of the Arts (Zimbabwe), Kigali UP (Rwanda), Sauti za Busara (Zanzibar), Woodford Folk Festival (Australia) and the Perth International Arts Festival (Australia).
As many music industries in many African countries have grown, Lekow describes Kenya’s music industry as a DIY industry, where no real infrastructure to give artists a leg up exist.
"This makes things difficult on the one hand," she said. "But on the other hand we have complete freedom to do what we want, and this is what makes the scene so alive and exciting. I have dedicated my life to music for the past 10 years, and as a self-managed artist, I write all my own music, produce and market my own albums, and book my own shows. It’s incredibly hard, but if it’s your passion, it’s no problem," she said.
Amidst this industry reality, she attributes the group’s success to its communal vision that creates a conducive environment that allows each member to express their differences.
"My philosophy is that you surround yourself with greatness, then it inspires one to be greater – and each musician in my band are famous artists in their own right.
"With this comes a tremendous responsibility for me to keep everyone’s respect and trust. We have been playing together for many years now, and the reason we gel is because we have each other’s backs like blood-relatives, and that all translates into our music," said Lekow.
Maia Lekow. Picture: Supplied
“There is nothing more important than being authentic to yourself. I am not answerable to anyone but myself and my band, and no power hungry gate keeper is going to make me compromise myself for ‘fame’ or ‘success’,” she added.
In light of Africa Month, the band has performed at various stages including their first ever Bushfire performance in Swaziland and at Joburg’s biggest Africa Day celebration Johannesburg’s Constitution Hill, the Bassline Fest that hosted headline acts Mr. Eazi and Asa this past weekend.
"For my and my band, we are all about exploring the power music, not only on us as individuals, but as a society. The creative energy that is boiling up across the continent has me so excited, I truly believe this is our time to make a positive mark on our communities, and the rest of the world," she said.
INTERNATIONAL – Indian billionaire jeweller Nirav Modi appeared in a London court on Thursday where he heard that no date could yet be set for a full hearing over his possible extradition to India.
Modi, 48, whose diamonds have adorned Hollywood stars such as Kate Winslet and Dakota Johnson, was arrested in Britain in March over allegations of his involvement in a $2 billion fraud at India’s state-run Punjab National Bank.
At a short hearing at London’s Westminster Magistrates’ Court, his lawyer Clare Montgomery said the Indian authorities had not yet produced full details of the evidence against him.
Judge Emma Arbuthnot agreed that no date for the full extradition hearing could be set and Modi was remanded in custody until June 27. Arbuthnot had denied Modi bail at a previous hearing over fears he was a flight risk.
The rand has been trading marginally firmer against major currencies following President Cyril Ramaphosa’s executive announcement and concerns about global trade issues.
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President Cyril Ramaphosa has urged young South Africans to make better choices and avoid using drugs.
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Wildlife near cities face many dangers. Some are easy to detect, such as when new developments destroy natural habitat. Others are less obvious.
For example, rat poisons are a useful tool for controlling a common household problem. But many who use them don’t realise that they have dangerous side effects for wildlife.
Rat poisons are designed to work slowly in their target species, rats, so that they ingest lethal doses of the poisons. The rats then become sick and increasingly toxic over a period of days or weeks. Poisoned rats then become easy, highly toxic prey for predators.
The side effects of exposure to these poison compounds are especially worrying for local wildlife in Cape Town, South Africa. The city is situated within a global biodiversity hotspot that includes the world-renowned Table Mountain National Park. Here, with thousands of plant species already threatened by habitat loss and modification, the poisoning of numerous predatory wildlife species that help retain ecosystem stability could disrupt the delicate ecological balance.
Using samples from seven species, scientists from the Institute for Communities and Wildlife in Africa at the University of Cape Town investigated just how frequently Table Mountain’s wild predators are exposed to rat poisons through their prey.
We detected five different commercially available rat poisons in the livers of 81% of the predators we tested. Predators included common ones such as genets, Cape Eagle owls, and water mongooses, and rarer ones such as caracals, otters, and a honey badger. The detection of rat poison in otters is especially interesting because it suggests that poisons used on land can make their way into the city’s streams, wetlands and estuaries.
Some wildlife species are already threatened by habitat loss, vehicle collisions, poaching, disease, and fire. Rat poisons make these populations even more vulnerable to local extinction. When many species are affected within a single ecosystem, the effects of the poison exposure can escalate to threaten the functioning of an entire ecosystem.
The finding of widespread toxic exposure to rat poison in Cape Town’s wildlife echo those for predatory species elsewhere in Europe and North America, such as polecats, owls and raptors, coyotes, endangered kit foxes, fishers, and bobcats. For some of these species, anticoagulants are named as a leading cause of death and are even linked with at least one dramatic population decline in a species similar to caracals, the North American bobcat. Researchers fear a similar fate for wildlife near Cape Town.
Multiple species exposed to rat poisons
In vertebrates – animals that have a backbone or spinal column – the liver is the organ responsible for removing toxins from the blood. This is where we looked for evidence of rat poison exposure. One challenge was that testing the liver meant we could only sample animals that were already dead, limiting how many animals we could assess.
To better understand how Cape Town’s local predators come into contact with poisoned rats, we explored the rich data set of the Urban Caracal Project, which included liver samples from 24 caracals.
Alarmingly, 92% of caracals had rat poisons in their livers. But the amount of poison in their livers varied. Caracals that frequented vineyards had the highest levels. This may be because vineyards allow caracals a safe space to hunt close to the urban edge – where rat poisons are widespread.
But rat poisons are also affecting caracals that have never even seen a rodent. Our analysis also revealed a caracal kitten as having very high levels of poisons. It appears that mothers may inadvertently poison their own young through contaminated milk.
A widespread problem
With greater economic opportunities in cities, rapid urbanisation is a reality. The challenges of managing waste and the animals it attracts, are rapidly mounting.
Using poisons is quick but dirty from a wildlife perspective: the ultimate price will be paid by those animals at the top of the peri-urban food chain, such as leopards and caracals.
Raising awareness about this is the first step. Ensuring the conservation of urban wildlife needs changes in the way that people understand their individual impact on local ecosystems.
As consumers, people need more eco-friendly alternatives to rat poison. Nevertheless, the simplest solution is well within everyone’s reach: improve the management of waste which attracts rats in the first place.
Households can make a choice about whether they use poisons in or around their homes. In other parts of the world similar research findings have galvanised the public and spurred regulations on the use of these poisons.
We hope these research findings will stimulate a similar dialogue with home owners, businesses, and municipal authorities on how to reduce environmental contamination by rat poisons and other toxins in Cape Town and beyond.
* Laurel Serieys is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of California and the Institute for Communities and Wildlife at the University of Cape Town.
* Jacqueline Bishop is a Senior Lecturer in Conservation Genetics at the University of Cape Town.
Cape Town – For the first time in South African history there will be a female representing her country in the sport of Spearfishing.
Mariëtte De Jager (Cape Town) has made history by being the first South African woman to be selected to compete in an International Spearfishing Event. De Jager will be heading to Denmark from 5-9 September 2019 to compete in the First CMAS XXXII Female Euro – African Championships.
De Jager comes from a background of competitive multi-sports and first got into spearfishing 5 years ago. She has been competing locally since 2015 and is changing the face of this traditionally male dominated sport.
Commenting on her Protea Team selection De Jager said: "I am hounoured leading this milestone achievement and grateful that women showing a lot of potential within the sport, can now be motivated to train throughout the season improving their diving skills and be acknowledged for their dedication, hard work and efforts."
Niel Barnard (KZN), Guy Le Meme (KZN) and Fred Bester (BOLAND) and Angelo Spada (GP, Team manager and reserve) will also be heading to Denmark at the same time to represent South Africa competing in the men’s CMAS XXXII Euro – African Championships.
Duchess Meghan wanted her wedding dress to "represent" change, according to Givenchy’s artistic director Clare Waight Keller, who designed the gown.
The 37-year-old former actress married Prince Harry at St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle in May 2018 and she walked down the aisle in a custom-made Givenchy gown, which featured a five metre-long silk veil that included intricate floral detail representing all 53 countries of the Commonwealth.
The stunning bridal gown was designed by the French fashion house’s artistic director Clare Waight Keller, and the 44-year-old designer has now opened up about what it was like to work with the royal and revealed that the Duchess of Sussex wanted to "carve out" a new idea of how a royal should dress.
Speaking to Grazia UK, she said: "We talked about the ceremony, the implications of her coming into the family and what her role was going to be in the future, and what she wanted to represent, what emotions she wanted to portray, how she wanted to carve out a new idea of a way to dress for a royal, and also the magnitude of it."
And Meghan worked closely with Clare to get all of the small details perfect for her big day.
Clare said: "She was so excited about the whole thing. It’s all those little things when you’re working with such purity, everything matters – the bateau neck and where it cut on her bone, the hem at the front was 2cm shorter so you could see the point of her shoe, so she looked like she was floating."
The fashion guru also admitted that she had to remain completely confidential about the dress and even kept her lips sealed when speaking to haute-couture designer Philippe Venet – the late Hubert de Givenchy’s long-time partner.
Clare added: "It was like a doctor’s law, in that you don’t talk about your patients, so I just stuck to that principle.
"Because it felt so small and intimate up until that point. No one else was involved, it really was just the two of us for so long, I simply didn’t grasp the scale of it. Then on the day, driving through streets and streets lined with people waving, that overwhelming realisation that actually, this is going to be enormous…"
Meghan’s wedding to Harry, 34, was watched by 1.9 billion people worldwide and Clare insists that she and the former ‘Suits’ star – who this month gave birth to the couple’s first child Archie Mountbatten-Windsor – now have an "unbreakable bond".
She said: "I think the magic of that being so intimate and so personal for so long felt incredibly special because it evolved from a designer and client relationship very quickly into a friendship, in that we’ve got such a comfort level with one another and shared so many special moments.
"I suppose we have a sort of unbreakable bond in that sense, when you’ve experienced something very few people have together, so it goes deep."
While South Africa is still recovering from the drama that unfolded in the first episode Moja Love’s "Uyajola", reports have now surfaced alleging that the stories featured are "fake".
Hosted by musician Molemo ‘Jub Jub’ Maarohanye, the highly anticipated reality show premiered on Sunday with two stories of infidelity. It was the second episode of the show that stood out for most viewers, where a man asked for the show to help him uncover whether his “wife” is cheating.
The wife was found by the show’s investigators at the neighbour’s house, and when confronted she revealed that, she was cheating with the "neighbour", who also turned out to be the father of one of her children.
The son, known as Themba, appeared on the show and seemed very angry at the mother’s revelation.
According to Daily Sun, the man, who was allegedly found cheating with the suspected wife is actually Themba’s father, and they live together. Everything was staged, and the family was allegedly paid a sum of money to act.
"Me and my son live together. We were acting – we did this for money," the alleged father told the publication.
Moja Love, in response to the daily publication’s inquiry, responded in a statement that was also published on the channel’s official Twitter account:
"We bring to your attention that the mother has unequivocally indicated that she only confirmed that they were paid to the reporter merely to dismiss her neighbour whom she said was nosy and would not have stopped harassing her family for information. Bear in mind that the mother was suffering significant public scrutiny and felt humiliated," read the statement.
"…before flighting the episode, as part of its due diligence interviewed the complainant who confirmed that the information contained in the episode was authentic.
See the full statement below:
Whether the show is misleading the public with fake news or not, Twitter seems to be divided on the matter:
I personally love the show nothing wrong with it
— Mokgadi (@Kgadi015) May 30, 2019
This is Nonsense, you think someone who will be embarrassed on National TV, would give consent to episode being aired & her identity not Hiden. Don’t insult our intelligence. Those two episodes were scripted period. Your Producers are lazy.
— Xhosa Nation (@TGcukumana) May 30, 2019
You still continuing to lie 😠. That show is scripted, and with horrible actors.
— King 👑 & Her Princess 👸 (@Legendary_Thato) May 30, 2019
STOCKHOLM – Caster Semenya’s shadow will hang over the Diamond League meeting in Stockholm on Thursday even though the double Olympic 800 metres champion will be absent.
The South African announced Wednesday she is launching a new appeal in the Swiss courts against new rules that would force her to take medication to lower her testosterone levels.
The issue of Semenya’s hyperandrogenism and the rules put in place by the sport’s governing body to try to create a “level playing field” seem likely to dominate the sport in a season that stretches until late September when the world championships take place in Doha.
“I am a woman and I am a world-class athlete. The IAAF will not drug me or stop me from being who I am,” Semenya, 28, said on Wednesday in a statement confirming she is taking her appeal to Switzerland’s top court.
Semenya lost her first appeal, to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in the Swiss city of Lausanne.
This highly polarising issue will be especially highlighted in Stockholm’s venerable Olympic stadium as it hosts the first Diamond League 800m race since the new ruling came into force.
Not only will Semenya be missing but the two women who finished behind her at the Rio Olympics, Burundi’s Francine Niyonsaba and Margaret Wambui of Kenya will also be absent because they are all affected by the new rules.
Wambui told AFP this month she is demoralised by the rule and is, for now, refusing to undergo the testosterone-lowering treatment.
“I don’t feel even like going on with the training because you don’t know what you are training for,” she said.
Away from the legal challenges, Semenya’s answer on the track has been to shift up to distances not covered by the new regulations. She will run over 2,000m in Montreuil outside Paris on June 11 before attempting the 3,000m at the Prefontaine meeting in the US on June 30.
Rapid sprints in store
Some athletes admit they are disturbed by the Semenya case.
“The idea is not to be the best by default because victory just doesn’t have the same meaning in that case,” France’s Olympic discus silver medallist Melina Robert-Michon said. “Asking someone to take medication is very intrusive for a woman but I can understand that (Semenya’s) opponents wonder about her.”
On the track, the Stockholm meeting features British sprinter Dina Asher-Smith, the fastest woman in the world this year over 200m after posting 22.26sec in the Doha Diamond League meeting.
She faces Elaine Thompson, the Jamaican who completed an Olympic sprint double in Rio and who is gradually returning to top form after an injury-shortened 2018.
Michael Norman, the American 400m specialist who recorded a sensational 43.45sec in April, equalling the fourth-fastest time in history, goes over the one-lap distance.
Jakob Ingebrigtsen of Norway, the darling of European middle-distance running, faces a high-quality field including his two brothers in the men’s 1,500m.
CAPE TOWN – The Western Cape MEC for Community Safety, Albert Fritz on Thursday commended the decision by the South African Police Service to offer a reward for information on the whereabouts of a convicted murderer who escaped from Wynberg Magistrate’s Court this month.
Phelo Mtala had been due to return to Pollsmoor prison after his court appearance but managed to escape by allegedly putting his fingerprints on somebody else’s release form, who had been in court with him on May 17, and who was then taken back to Pollsmoor instead.
Mtala was convicted in 2016 of killing Anga Dekeni, Solethu Nongenzi, and Mzimasi Majelimane and being in possession of an illegal firearm. He was appearing in the Wynberg Magistrate’s Court two weeks ago on another matter.
“Anyone who knows of Mtala’s whereabouts is asked to call Crime Stop at 0860010111 or Nyanga police at 021 380 3304 or 021 380 6000. A reward has been offered for any tip-offs leading to his re-arrest and calls will be treated anonymously,” Fritz said.
“I will be meeting with Police Commissioner, General Khombinkosi Jula, in the following week where we will discuss this matter and determine how to prevent such incidences in the future,” he added.
Fritz said the department was also continuing to provide support to police through its Watching Briefs Unit, where members of the unit attend courts to observe cases and to detect any police inefficiencies, which are then referred to the Provincial Commissioner for his attention and action.
Cape Town – A group of teenagers will be leaving on a journey from Cape Town to Cairo with their own self-assembled plane which took them three weeks to build.
Twenty teenagers from different backgrounds all participated in the construction of the Sling-4 aircraft which was completed in June last year.
Another few teenagers who have their pilot licences will be flying the aircraft with a senior pilot.
The team is set to embark on their journey on June 12.
The Sling-4 aircraft seats four individuals and there will also be a support plane flying with the aircraft.
Teen pilot and founder of U Dream Global, Megan Werner, 17, said: “When we started building the aircraft, we didn’t know anything about aviation and we had to learn about all the tools and learning to read the engineering drawings was also quite a challenge.”
U Dream Global is an non-profit organisation that aims to support and transform the lives of young people.
The teenagers will visit various cities and villages during their five-week journey through Africa. The destinations to be visited include Namibia, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Tanzania, Kenya, Ethiopia, Eritrea and Egypt. They will also make a stop in Uganda, Rwanda and Zambia on their way back.
“We will also be giving inspirational talks to the locals at the different destinations and will offer them a first time experience on the aircraft because many of these people has never seen or even been on a plane before,” Werner said.
Fund-raiser manager for the U Dream global Cape to Cairo project, Simon Manda said: “These teenagers have built something that will create waves in Africa.
“They are showing everyone what South African youth are capable of even though some of them come from difficult backgrounds.”
The team would like to raise funds to help cover the costs. A campaign has been launched on the crowdfunding platform, BackaBuddy where they hope to raise R350000.
To donate towards this project, visit https://www.backabuddy.co.za/cape-to-cairo
One more sleep until Disney launches its $1billion Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge attraction. The company released its first image of the new attraction that will launch on Friday.
Josh D’Amaro, the president of the Disneyland Resort showed the attraction on an Instagram post. He said: So proud to introduce you to the inhabitants of Batuu! I want to thank this amazing team for their incredible dedication and passion. Yesterday’s Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge Cast rally was unforgettable. This photo is one for the ages! “ (sic)
View this post on Instagram
I had the pleasure of welcoming the Kenline family this morning. Their oldest son (left pilot) asked Bob Iger, during a shareholders meeting, if he could ride the Millennium Falcon. #missionaccomplished #nevertellmetheodds #millenniumfalcon #galaxysedge
A post shared by Josh D’Amaro (@joshdamaro) on
The 14-acre attraction in California will be every Star War’s fan’s delight with rollercoaster rides and shops to collect those special mementoes. According to Daily Mail, around 15,000 visitors a day are expected to flock to the attraction with tickets starting at around £95( R1754.87) But, there is one catch; visitors will only have four hours to spend with the Batuu people. Make sure you explore the massive replica of the Falcon and engage in a battle with Tie Fighters.
Mamelodi Sundowns star attacker Phakamani Mahlambi’s hopes of going to the 2019 African Cup of Nations (AFCON) tournament in Egypt next month have been dashed! He has been kicked out of the Bafana Bafana camp for the COSAFA Cup in Durban on disciplinary grounds. It’s alleged that the 21 year-old arrived at the camp on […]
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Caster Semenya’s shadow will hang over the Diamond League meeting in Stockholm on Thursday even though the double Olympic 800 metres champion will be absent.
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Over the past week, once the festivities of the inauguration of President Cyril Ramaphosa on Africa Day, the premiers of the country’s nine provinces had to hastily move to announce their respective executive committee members.
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