There’s lots to celebrate, especially for black people whose lives have significantly improved since the collapse of Apartheid.
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While many South Africans celebrated Freedom Day, one Mpumalanga man says this day means nothing to him
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Valtteri Bottas snatched pole position for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix on Saturday (April 27) in an incident-packed qualifying session that saw Mercedes lock out the front row and Ferrari favourite Charles Leclerc crash out.
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Limpopo premier Stan Mathabatha says 25 years of democracy have brought free education and access to health care.
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As the country commemorates Freedom Day some sections of the society are still trapped by the demons of the past.
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Some of the Northern Cape residents believe it’s important to celebrate freedom on a daily basis instead of waiting for 27 April.
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Hank McGregor and Andy Birkett, the world marathon champions, dominated the 27km Freedom Paddle race, winning the South African national double ski titles in the process.
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Johannesburg – It is not in South Africa’s interest at all to give the African National Congress a stronger mandate, regardless of what some commentators may write, Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane said on Saturday.
"If we truly want to reform our politics – and thereby reform our country – the best thing we can do is to bring the ANC below 50 percent," he said at the DA’s Freedom Day celebrations in Johannesburg, during which the party also launched its proposed "Jobs Act".
Over the course of these 25 years of ANC government, life had become harder for poor South Africans. Far more South Africans had joined the ranks of the unemployed, and many more now lived below the poverty line. More South Africans lived in homes without a single income and had to survive off small grants and remittances, he said.
More children dropped out of school before matric. More South Africans were victims of crime, and particularly violent crime. And everything from transport and food to electricity and petrol cost "way, way more, even accounting for inflation".
"Twenty-five years of ANC rule had been devastating for our country and its people. But it’s also been disastrous for the ANC itself. The former liberation movement that once promised South Africans ‘a better life for all’ bears no resemblance today to the one that was once headed up by Oliver Tambo and Nelson Mandela," Maimane said.
What used to be a movement for liberation had now become a monument to a bygone era. But this was the natural life cycle of all liberation movements. They were born, they struggled for freedom, they were rewarded with a period in government, and then, after failing to make this transition, they died.
"Throughout Africa we have seen this countless times – liberation movements that sink under the weight of their own corruption and greed, eventually making way for the next phase of a nation’s democracy," Maimane said.
"Like other liberation movements on the continent, they go along with the conventions of democracy, but they never really buy into them. They pretend to honour the Constitution, because that’s what you do, but they’re not committed to it. They go along with elections because this is what a democracy requires, but they see the results as a foregone conclusion. They pretend to advocate for a free and independent media, but they view the public broadcaster as a party mouthpiece and they expect flattering coverage in the press.
"Many people, who notice these tendencies and see where the party is heading, say that any opposition to the liberation movement must come from within the movement itself. That it must somehow cleanse and heal itself, as we supposedly saw in Zimbabwe’s Zanu-PF, and now with the ANC. But this is nothing other than factionalism. It just describes a new group’s turn to eat," he said.
The transformation of liberation movements was often quite dramatic. Many of the ANC leaders of 25 years ago would have been appalled at what the party had become today. In 1994 they had a crop of credible leaders – untempted at that stage and thus untainted. They valued free and fair elections, and seemed to understand that power lay in the will of the people. In contrast with this, the ANC of today had resorted to racial mobilisation and fear-mongering to delay the inevitable electoral defeat.
"That’s where we stand with our country right now. We need a fresh start. And this cannot possibly come from within the ANC. It has to come from outside, or else we’re only talking about the swapping of factions.
"It has become clear that the economic reforms needed in South Africa cannot come from an ANC government stuck in the past and committed to a worldview long abandoned by the rest of the world. The ANC government’s idea of sweeping state control and state-led growth belongs in a time long gone," Maimane said.
African News Agency/ANA
Switzerland’s top prosecutor defended his handling of a high-profile investigation into soccer corruption on Saturday amid scrutiny of closed-door meetings he has held with FIFA President Gianni Infantino.
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DA members have gathered in Heriotdale, Johannesburg, to celebrate Freedom Day. The party says while 1994 was a significant time for the country, the majority of South Africans don’t have much to celebrate.
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A man who made appearances as Darth Vader at film premieres and fan conventions will sell a costume created in 1979 by the “Star Wars” design team at an auction of classic movie memorabilia next month, auction house Bonhams said.
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Cape Town – In a bittersweet tale of “Faith”, 10-year-old Palo Gigi was gifted a pit bull puppy after his pregnant mom, Edith Gigi, miscarried in February this year.
Palo, who anticipated the arrival of his baby brother with great excitement, battled to come to terms with the loss after five months of his mom’s pregnancy.
The boy’s father, Happyboy Gigi, 40, said Palo was so traumatised that he sought counselling for him. Happyboy accepted the advice of a friend and got his son a puppy. The bond between Palo and his pit bull puppy, Faith, was evident and the pair were inseparable from the start.
“This dog has really helped him. She has helped all of us, in fact,” Gigi said. “That is why, when they (Animal Welfare Society of South Africa [AWS SA]) said the dog was dying that morning, I was so emotional because I knew that he wasn’t going to be able to accept it.”
Gigi and Palo brought the puppy to the AWS in Philippi after she became seriously ill. AWS SA nursing assistant Jaque le Roux examined the puppy and found her to be close to death as a result of a severe worm infestation which was affecting her brain. He explained the seriousness of his little puppy’s condition to Palo.
“Tears started streaming down the boy’s face,” Le Roux said. “Myself and Crystal Fester (AWS SA receptionist) looked at each other and said, no, let’s see what we can do.”
He stabilised the puppy and placed her on an intravenous drip along with a course of antibiotics and gently “force-fed” her. “Half an hour later, the patient was showing signs of recovery,” he said. Faith was sent home with medication, but two weeks later, she was admitted again. This time, she was infected with a potentially deadly Canine parvovirus, a life-threatening and highly contagious viral disease.
“We had to stabilise her again, and after a few days, this feisty puppy, named ‘Faith’, refused to give up and was back to her normal self,” Le Roux said.
Head of Resource Development and Communications at AWS SA, Allan Perrins said: “Nothing can ever adequately compensate for the tragic loss of a child and we extend our sincere condolences to the Gigi family but it is an undeniable fact that pets, especially dogs, have amazing therapeutic attributes and healing qualities.
“Faith is a survivor with all of the adorable traits of any puppy and we are confident that both Palo and Faith are well on the road to recovery.”
Durban – A truck driver died and two other people were critically injured when a truck veered out of control, hit two other vehicles, and smashed into overhead bridge support pillars on the M7 in Durban on Saturday morning, paramedics said.
Just after 11am, Rescue Care paramedics responded to a multiple vehicle accident on the M7 eastbound underneath the N2 bridge heading towards the Bluff, Rescue Care spokesman Garrith Jamieson said.
On arrival, paramedics found "absolute carnage". A truck travelling down the M7 had somehow lost control and collided with two vehicles before smashing into the pillars of the bridge, he said.
Two people were trapped in the truck’s cabin and one, the truck driver, had been ejected from the wreckage. Unfortunately, one of the passengers had sustained major injuries and there was nothing more paramedics could do for him. He was declared dead at the scene.
The other passenger and the driver sustained critical injuries and were stabilised on the scene by advanced life support paramedics before the driver was flown by medical helicopter to a nearby hospital. The critically injured passenger was transported to hospital by ambulance. one other person was injured.
The accident scene would take quite some time to clear up and motorists were advised to avoid the area, Jamieson said.
African News Agency/ANA
There are 11 days to the general elections – and if the posters are anything to go by, it’s a three-horse race in Joburg’s northern suburbs.
Of the 48 registered with the Independent Electoral Commission, only the ANC, the DA and the Economic Freedom Fighters seem to be in the game.
Posters are a lovely vignette on the whole process: there’s design, locale and actual numbers placed. In Johannesburg, it’s possible to see patterns that must have gone into the thought process, in terms of the placing at least, but looking at social media, it seems as if the pattern is being echoed elsewhere.
The Freedom Front Plus’s “Slaan Terug” with its echoes of Tony Leon’s Fight Back campaign 20 years ago is strangely absent from most of the street poles this year, while the African Christian Democratic Party is even more overwhelmingly outnumbered than it is in Parliament.
Newcomer Irvin Jim’s alphabet soup Socialist Workers Revolutionary Party, which makes its presence felt down Jan Smuts past the zoo, looks like the EFF’s red, but is incomprehensible from a passing car, for its wordy mass of promises.
The ANC has only one message, “Let’s grow South Africa together”, which alternates at a rate of almost one to five up William Nicol with an avuncular-looking Cyril Ramaphosa “for president”, smiling pleasantly.
The EFF has Julius Malema looking svelte, young and innocent, beaming out of most of its poster beneath the label: “Son of the Soil.” Its two alternatives are the injunction: “Vote EFF” and the other: “Our Land and Jobs Now.”
By all accounts, the man the Zimbabwean government disparaged as a Gucci revolutionary two years ago certainly seems to be the poster child for both, with his reported mansion in a gated Hyde Park estate and apparent accession to the mink and manure set through his membership of the Inanda Club.
As for the DA, there’s a plethora of options to catch your attention – from a pious Mmusi Maimane, his arms outstretched like a supplicant for your blessing, to a variety of made-for-the-middle-classes slogans like “Keep the power on” and “Stop corruption” to the slightly discordant “A job for every home”.
Many of the posters appear to be deliberately in any South African official language but English, leading one wag to quip: “They’ve got the white vote; maybe they’re trying to win the hearts and minds of the gardeners and maids?”
At least the DA is trying. Sometimes too trying, as iBubesi @mabasotf pondered: “When Alexander Bell invented the telephone, he got 3 missed call messages from Mmusi and the DA.”
For the ANC, there are only two options for street posters and, after its mega-typo in Port Elizabeth when “together” was spelt “togher”, hot on the heels of all the revelations from the Zondo Commission, it’s doubling down on CR. There are so many posters with just his face that last weekend Ms Madisha @cocomagic took to Twitter to post: “My 5-year-old sister asked my mom why Cyril Ramaphosa’s pictures are everywhere and if he’s lost.”
Out of the mouths of babes
* Kevin Ritchie is a media consultant. He is a former journalist and newspaper editor.
** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Media.
President Cyril Ramaphosa says on this Freedom Day, South Africans should celebrate the gains made since the first democratic election in 1994, but also understand that work still needs to be done to right the injustices of the past.
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