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SA’s last apartheid president FW de Klerk dies

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FW de Klerk, South Africa’s last white president, died on Thursday aged 85, his foundation announced.

De Klerk and South Africa’s first black president Nelson Mandela shared the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993 for leading the “miracle” transition from white rule in the country.

He died after a battle with cancer, his foundation said in a statement.

De Klerk had announced his diagnosis on his 85th birthday, on March 18 this year.

“It is with the deepest sadness that the FW de Klerk Foundation must announce that former president FW de Klerk died peacefully at his home in Fresnaye earlier this morning following his struggle against mesothelioma cancer,” it said.

He is survived by his wife Elita, children Jan and Susan, and grandchildren.

“The family will, in due course, make an announcement regarding funeral arrangements,” it added.

He is most remembered for his famous speech delivered on February 2, 1990, announcing the lifting of a ban on the ANC and other liberation movements.

In the same speech he ordered the release from prison of anti-apartheid icon Mandela after 27 years in jail.

Born in the economic hub of Johannesburg, into a family of Afrikaners, a white ethnic group descended mainly from Dutch colonisers, his father was a leading apartheid senator who served briefly as interim president.

He studied law, before being elected to parliament as a member of the National Party that instituted apartheid.

De Klerk then held several ministerial positions before he became president in 1989, a position he held until he handed over the reins to Mandela after the first democratic elections in 1994. – AFP

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National

Maya appointed deputy chief justice

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MAKING HISTORY AGAIN . . . Justice Mandisa Muriel Lindelwa Maya

President Cyril Ramaphosa has appointed Supreme Court of Appeal Judge President Justice Mandisa Muriel Lindelwa Maya as the deputy chief justice of of South Africa.

A statement issued by the presidency on Monday said Maya will assume her new role from September 1, 2022.

“Justice Maya will contribute to the ongoing transformation process of the judiciary,” said Ramaphosa in the statement.

“Her ascendency to the apex court will serve as a beacon of hope for scores of young women and make them believe that South Africa is a country of possibilities regardless of gender, social or economic circumstances,” he added.

According to the statement, Maya brings more than two decades of a distinguished career as a judicial officer.

She is the first woman to hold the positions of deputy president and president of the Supreme Court of Appeal. – Staff Reporter

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Jessie Duarte laid to rest after succumbing to cancer

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SUCCUMBED TO CANCER . . . ANC deputy secretary general Jessie Duarte

ANC deputy secretary general and former ambassador Jessie Duarte was laid to rest on Sunday afternoon.

She succumbed to cancer on Sunday morning and, as per Muslim rites, she was buried after a funeral service at Westpark Cemetery in Johannesburg.

In his message of condolence, President Cyril Ramaphosa described Duarte as a selfless leader whose love and passion for assisting the poor were immeasurable.

“Jessie Duarte’s sense of justice was keen. Her sympathies for the poor, the vulnerable, the destitute, and the marginalised ran deep.

“She had empathy and could walk in other people’s shoes and see through their eyes. It is this that enabled her to see the suffering of our people and empathise with them.

“She took up their cause and stood firm on her principles, even when her stance attracted criticism or personal attack. She was a champion of the oppressed everywhere,” said Ramaphosa.

The president said ANC officials had planned to visit Duarte on Sunday afternoon, but were instead met by the news of her death.

He stressed the pivotal role played by her in her pursuit of equality.

“As the secretary of the Federation of Transvaal Women, she was part of building and leading a powerful women’s movement that directly challenged the oppression of black women and shook the foundations of the apartheid state.

“She mobilised women across the country to resist the restrictions imposed upon them by a racist and sexist political system and a patriarchal society.”

Ramaphosa declared a special official funeral for Duarte.

She was granted the special funeral as a result of having been South Africa’s ambassador to Mozambique from 1999 to 2003.

The 69-year-old Duarte was undergoing cancer treatment and had been on medical leave since November last year. – News24

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Eskom puzzled by municipalities taking it to court

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JUST PAY UP . . . Eskom Central East Cluster general manager Agnes Mlambo wants municipalities to settle their accounts on time and avoid unnecessary court battles

National power utility Eskom says it does not understand why some municipalities failing to settle their accounts on time choose to rush to the courts instead of simply paying what’s due.

Eskom’s Central East Cluster general manager Agnes Mlambo said this after Letsemeng Local Municipality in the Free State and Matlosana Local Municipality in the North-West were forced in two separate court rulings this week to settle the arrears for their bulk electricity supplies and always pay on time as they are legally obliged to do.

Mlambo, who is responsible for the Free State and KwaZulu-Natal region, says she finds it incredible that some municipalities are willing to spend millions on legal costs instead of using the funds to pay for electricity services delivered by Eskom.

“This proves the unwillingness of these municipalities to do the right thing, which is to fulfil their legal duties by paying Eskom for electricity supplied,” Mlambo is quoted as saying in a statement.

“These municipalities collect revenue from electricity sales at a mark-up from their customers, but do not pass the revenue on to Eskom.

“In the meantime, Eskom must cover the costs of diesel, coal, salaries and other expenses to keep supplying electricity to these non-paying municipalities.”

Eskom provincial spokesperson Stefanie Jansen van Rensburg said the judgments conclude lengthy legal battles that started in 2020 when the power utility served the municipalities with notices to interrupt electricity services due to non-payment of their electricity accounts.

“Both judgments are unambiguous on the obligation of the municipalities to service their Eskom current accounts and pay arrear debt,” said Van Rensburg.

She said since the start of the legal proceedings, the two municipalities have been taking payment holidays but they now have to pay.

In January 2020, Letsemeng’s arrear debt totalled R41.1-million.

Now, two and a half years later, the municipality’s overdue debt has risen to R119.7-million and it is faced with paying the legal costs of both parties.

And similar to Letsemeng, Matlosana’s arear debt stood at R422.4-million in January 2020 and has now reached a staggering R1.054-billion.

Eskom Northern Cape and North- West Cluster general manager Marion Hughes said payment for services is imperative for institutions to be sustainable.

“We should not have to use extraordinary measures, like the courts, in order to receive payment for services rendered,” said Hughes.

“For Eskom to survive another 99 years and more, a high sense of responsibility and commitment is needed by all.” – Staff Reporter

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