Connect with us

National

Ramaphosa slams violent crimes against women and kids

Published

on

Staff Reporter

President Cyril Ramaphosa says communities should not remain silent when they witness gender-based violence but should encourage those affected to report so the perpetrators are brought to book.

“It is with the heaviest of hearts that I stand before the women and girls of South Africa this evening to talk about another pandemic that is raging in our country – the killing of women and children by the men of our country,” Ramaphosa said Wednesday evening when he spoke on television to give an update on measures implemented by the government to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

The speech seemed a detour from the subject at hand, but according to Ramaphosa, there has been a surge in violent crime – especially murders and attempted murders – since the country moved to alert Level 3 on June 1.

“Cases of abuse of women and children have also increased dramatically,” he said.

“We need to ask some very difficult questions of ourselves as a society.

“As a man, as a husband and as a father, I am appalled at what is no less than a war being waged against the women and children of our country.”

The president said COVID-19 had presented the country with mammoth challenges and attacks on women and children only worsened the situation, hence they should be stopped.

“At a time when the pandemic has left us all feeling vulnerable and uncertain, violence is being unleashed on women and children with a brutality that defies comprehension,” he said.

“These rapists and killers walk among us. They are in our communities.

They are our fathers, our brothers, our sons and our friends; violent men with utterly no regard for the sanctity of human life.”

Ramaphosa said over the past few weeks no fewer than 21 women and children have been murdered.

“Their killers thought they could silence them. But we will not forget them and we will speak for them where they cannot,” he said.

“We will speak for Tshegofatso Pule, Naledi Phangindawo, Nompumelelo Tshaka, Nomfazi Gabada, Nwabisa Mgwandela, Altecia Kortjie and Lindelwa Peni, all young women who were killed by men.

“We will speak for the 89-year-old grandmother who was killed in an old age home in Queenstown, the 79-year-old grandmother who was killed in Brakpan and the elderly woman who was raped in KwaSwayimane in KwaZulu-Natal,” said the president as he listed some of the victims of gender-based violence.

He said the victims should not be treated as mere statistics as they have names, families and friends.

Ramaphosa assured women and children the criminal justice system will remain focused on gender-based violence cases.

He suggested that perpetrators of violence against women and children should receive sentences that fit the horrific crimes they commit.

“It is deeply disturbing that the spike in crimes against women and children has coincided with the easing of the coronavirus lockdown,” noted a concerned Ramaphosa.

He said the country needs to examine the effect of alcohol abuse not only on levels of violence, but also on road accidents and reckless behaviour.

He pointed out that it is not alcohol that rapes or kills women and children, but the actions of violent men.

“But if alcohol intoxication is contributing to these crimes, then it must be addressed with urgency,” Ramaphosa said.

“We need to draw the lessons from this lockdown and decide how we can protect our society from the abuse of alcohol.

“Certainly, we need to provide greater support to people with drinking problems, including through rehabilitation and treatment.

“We need to encourage responsible drinking, especially among young people.

“We need to be tough on liquor outlets that violate the terms of their licences and who sell alcohol to those under age.

“But we will also need to look at further, more drastic measures to curb the abuse of alcohol.”

He said if South Africa is to be serious about ending the violent crimes, people cannot afford to remain silent as the perpetrators are known because they live in the communities.

“By looking away, by discouraging victims from laying charges, by shaming women for their lifestyle choices or their style of dress, we become complicit in these crimes,” Ramaphosa said.

“I once again call on every single South African . . . to consider the consequence of their silence.

“As a country, we find ourselves in the midst of not one but two devastating epidemics.

“Although very different in their nature and cause, they can both be overcome – if we work together, if we each take personal responsibility for our actions and if we each take care of each other.”

Local

Minister shuts down troubled Free State water supplier

Published

on

MOVE GAZETTED . . . Water and Sanitation Minister Senzo Mchunu has disestablished Sedibeng Water

Staff and key assets from the embattled Sedibeng Water Board are set to be transferred to the Bloemwater and Magalies water boards following the gazetting of the move by Water and Sanitation Minister Senzo Mchunu last week.

The department’s spokesperson, Sputnik Ratau, said in a statement the development is in line with the minister’s commitment to review the country’s water boards to enable them to perform optimally while enhancing the delivery of water to municipalities and ultimately to households.

The decision to disestablish Sedibeng Water – which served Matjhabeng, Masilonyana and Nala local municipalities, among others – means its staff, assets and liabilities will be absorbed by Bloemwater in the Free State and Magalies in Gauteng.

The move, according to Ratau, was initiated by the minister following his working sessions with provincial governments, various water services authorities and water boards regarding issues of governance, financial viability as well as accountability and broader service delivery issues after taking office in August last year.

“The review is based on considerations of financial sustainability, servicing areas that are not currently serviced and is also intended to address institutional confusion caused by having multiple water boards serving the same area,” said Ratau.

“The disestablishment of Sedibeng Water is in accordance with section 28 of the Water Services Act of 1997 which affords Minister Mchunu the authority to disestablish a water board.

“The gazette was published on Friday, 20 May 2022 and will remain open to the public for a period of 40 days.

“Members of the public and all interested parties are invited to make comments in writing on the disestablishment of the board.”

The department said it will ensure there is smooth transition of the disestablishment and that water service provision to communities is not affected.

Based in Bothaville, Sedibeng Water was established to, among others, treat wastewater and supply potable water in a viabile and sustainable manner.

However, in recent years, some of the municipalities served by the water board have struggled over the years to pay on time for the bulk water supplies even though residents have argued that they pay their monthly bills on time.

At the end of March this year, Sedibeng reportedly owed its service providers over R5-billion as it was struggling to secure payment from several municipalities. – Staff Reporter

Continue Reading

Local

Guptas lose application to have restraint order case postponed

Published

on

NO SMILING MATTER . . . An interim restraint order against a company that Atul Gupta, seen in this file photo, co-owns with his brother and their wives remains in force

The Free State High Court on Friday dismissed a last-minute application brought by the directors of the Gupta-owned slandsite Investments 180 (Pty) to postpone the return day of the provisional restraint order against company, Iqbal Sharma and others.

Acting Judge Neil Snellenburg will provide a written judgment for dismissing the postponement application on Monday.

The directors sought a postponement pending their application to the Supreme Court of Appeal where they are appealing against a High Court ruling passed in August 2021 that said the business rescue practitioners of Islandsite, not the directors, have the authority to represent the company in the restraint proceedings.

Investigating Directorate spokesperson Sindisiwe Seboka said in a statement the interim restraint order will remain in force until the next court hearing on 20 and 21 October, when the confirmation hearing is expected to be heard.

The assets under restraint include properties of Iqbal Sharma and his wife, his UAE-registered company, Issar Global, his wife Tarina Patel-Sharma, as well as all property of Islandsite, which is owned by Atul and Rajesh Gupta and their respective wives, Chetali and Arti Gupta.

The interim restraint order was granted in June 2021, in terms of the Prevention of Organised Crimes Act (POCA).

Sharma’s assets that form part of the curator’s inventory include his Sandton home valued at over R12-million.

The property was featured on the lifestyle television programme, Top Billing, and is owned by Issar Global.

Other assets include movable property valued at R500 000, a Porsche and a R1.3 million sectional title home in Sandton.

Properties owned by Gupta family company Islandsite that form part of the inventory include a house worth R21-million in Constantia, Cape Town, and a R12-million house in Saxonwold, Johannesburg.

Said Seboka: “The interim restraint order continues to run . . . that means the curator that is looking after the assets remains in place, meaning there is no chance for those assets being disseminated.

“The state is quite comfortable that the assets will not be taken abroad or be given to other people, in terms of the shares.

“They continue to be in safekeeping.

“For us that is pivotal and the court has found enough evidence in that respect.” – Staff Reporter

Continue Reading

Local

Ex-MEC faces probe over failed R1-billion Free State housing project

Published

on

NO PROPER LEADERSHIP . . . Former Free State MEC for human settlements Mosebenzi Zwane criticised

The State Capture Commission wants former Free State MEC for human settlements Mosebenzi Zwane investigated for failing to provide “proper provincial leadership” in a failed R1-billion provincial housing project.

The department’s former head, Nthimotse Mokhesi, told the commission, led by Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, that his office had made an advance payment of more than R500-million to the project’s contractors before any work was done.

Described in the fourth part of the State Capture Commission’s report as a “dismal failure”, the housing project was dogged by several factors including a decision by former Free State premier Ace Magashule to build bigger RDP houses from the initial 40-square-metre units without consulting the provincial human settlements department and the contractors.

The commission found that Zwane, the human settlements MEC at the time, “failed to provide proper provincial leadership” with regard to the R1-billion housing project.

The report criticised Magashule for not monitoring projects and not holding Zwane accountable.

It said instead Magashule made Zwane the MEC for agriculture, “where he continued with his dismal performance”, resulting in the Estina/Vrede Dairy Farm collapse. – Staff Reporter

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Trending

Copyright © 2022. The Free Stater. All Rights Reserved