Minister of Sport, Arts and Culture Zizi Kodwa has congratulated South Africa’s Bafana Bafana for winning their match against Morocco at the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) tournament.
Bafana Bafana beat Morocco 2-0 to advance to the quarterfinals of the tournament at Stade Laurent Pokou in Ivory Coast on Tuesday night.
“What a fantastic performance by Bafana Bafana. This win shows what our national teams can achieve with the support of South Africans. Let us continue to support Bafana Bafana as they march to the AFCON 2023 quarterfinals,” the Minister said.
The South African Football Association (SAFA) said during the match, which was viewed by the whole world, the South African senior men’s team held their composure to put up a solid display that knocked out tournament favourites Morocco.
“South Africa senior national star Evidence Makgopa and Teboho Mokoena scored in the second half to hand Bafana Bafana a win and a place in the quarterfinal where they will face Cape Verde on Saturday,” SAFA said.
The Pretoria High Court has dismissed an application by legendary musician Arthur Mafokate to have his property released from a preservation order.
Mafokate’s luxury Midrand property – a guest house – was preserved following allegations that he was involved in a National Lotteries Commission (NLC) fraud and corruption scandal.
According to National Prosecuting Authority Gauteng regional spokesperson, Lumka Mahanjana, investigations revealed that the South African Arts and Development Organisation (SAADA) – of which Mafokate was a director – received R9.3 million to “assist unemployed youth in the poor and rural areas of the country, to impact skills in music, business video, film production dance and overall business of radio.”
Allegedly, only R1.8 million was directed towards the project with the remaining funds used to buy the property.
“In court, Mafokate argued that he was entitled to the R7.5 million as his businesses delivered the services as required by the NLC and that he had committed no offences. However, the NPA argued that although some kind of services were rendered, it was at most R1.8 million.
“The remainder of the funds was used to purchase the guest house, which was not the purpose of the grant allocation. The funds used to purchase the guest house was thus stolen from the NLC as it was not used for the allocated project,” Mahanjana said.
She added that in dismissing Mafokate’s application, the court agreed with the NPA’s argument that “it was against the terms and conditions of the grant for SAADA to carry over its obligations to any other organisation and that SAADA should have also returned any unused funds to the NLC”.
“The court also found that Arthur Mafokate could give no reasonable explanation on how he could afford to purchase the guest house if it was not for NLC funds, particularly as his business accounts contained negligible balances when the grant was received from the NLC.
“Therefore, the court dismissed, with costs, the application of Arthur Mafokate to have the guest house released from the preservation order,” she said.
It is expected that the NPA’s Asset Forfeiture Unit will enrol the matter for final forfeiture and if that is successful, the property will be sold at auction with proceeds returning to the NLC.
Last year the Special Investigating Unit (SIU), together with the Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU), obtained an order to freeze at least five properties, including a luxury Midrand home linked to the musician.
Tourism Minister Patricia de Lille has expressed delight at the impressive number of travellers coming to South Africa from the African continent and has highlighted the strategic decisions that contributed to the growth in specific markets.
This comes after Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) said from January to December 2023, South Africa recorded an increase in the number of international arrivals which underscored the rising momentum of South Africa’s tourism sector.
According to Stats SA, international tourist arrivals from January to December 2023 totalled 8.5 million, representing a remarkable 48.9% increase when compared with the same period in 2022.
South Africa welcomed 6.4 million visitors from the rest of the African continent between January and December 2023, marking a significant 75.6% of all arrivals.
Zimbabwe and Kenya stood out for their remarkable growth, with Zimbabwe experiencing a 70.8% increase in tourist arrivals to South Africa when compared to 2022, totalling 2.1 million arrivals, while Kenya recorded a 99% surge when compared to 2022, reaching 42 403 arrivals for January to December 2023.
“Kenya’s remarkable performance can be attributed to the strategic decision by government to simplify the visa regime in 2023 as well as targeted and effective insights-driven marketing campaigns,” de Lille said.
“This recovery can be attributed to consistent efforts to showcase South Africa as a welcoming, responsible tourism destination, highlighting experiences that align with intrepid, green economy conscious travellers,” the Minister said.
Tourist arrivals from the Americas registered at 455 901 reflecting a 39.8% growth compared to the same period in 2022.
The United States of America saw 353 975 arrivals to South Africa, marking a 35% increase compared to 2022.
Strength in European markets
From January to December 2023, South Africa saw 1.2 million tourist arrivals from Europe, a 38.2% increase compared to the same period in 2022.
The United Kingdom remains the top European source market with 356 160 tourists choosing South Africa, marking a 25.8% growth compared to 2022.
Germany experienced a 41.6% increase in arrivals compared to 2022, amounting to 245 259 tourists.
This was followed by the Netherlands which saw an increase of 45.5% when compared to 2022, amounting to 131 371 tourist arrivals between January and December 2023.
Russia exhibited a dramatic growth of 74.7% when compared to 2022, contributing 28 357 arrivals in 2023
Noteworthy growth from the Asian markets
Asian markets also showed significant growth with a total 199 308 arrivals from the region, representing an astounding 69.1% when compared to the same period in 2022.
South Africa welcomed 79 774 tourists from India, a 43.7% growth compared to 2022
Notably, there were 37 164 arrivals from China, a massive 204.9% surge in 2023 when compared to 2022
Robust gains in the Middle East
The Middle East saw a robust increase with 54 339 arrivals in the January to December 2023 period – a 33.7% growth when compared to the same period in 2022. South Africa received 16 351 arrivals from Saudi Arabia in 2023, marking an increase of 42.6% when compared to 2022. The United Arab Emirates saw 6 511 arrivals to South Africa, a remarkable 110% increase when compared to 2022.
The Minister emphasised the charm and magnetism of South Africa as a tourism destination, with specific mention of the reopening of the Chinese market and the resumption of direct flight routes in 2023.
Looking ahead, de Lille said there was a need to unlock barriers such as visa regulations and limited air access and airlift for sustained growth.
The Minister expressed commitment to working with partners and government colleagues to facilitate policy and regulation revisions.
She thanked all the visitors for choosing to visit South Africa and likewise thanked South Africans for their continuous hospitality and warm welcome shown to visitors.
Three suspects were shot and fatally wounded in a shootout with police at the Lungelani Informal Settlement in La Mercy in the early hours of this morning.
KwaZulu-Natal police said in a statement that police received intelligence that a group involved in serious crimes, including murders committed in the Inanda area, were hiding at the informal settlement.
“A team comprising various police disciplines, including members of the Hawks, descended on the location. Realising that they were surrounded, the suspects opened fire at the police and a shootout ensued,” said police.
Three suspects were fatally wounded during the shootout and two pistols were allegedly found in the possession of the suspects.
It is believed that other members of the group managed to escape during the shooting.
“The operation continues in search of other suspects who have been terrorising the residents of KwaZulu-Natal,” the statement reads.
Grade 12 learners and students, who wish to enter the post-school system and do not have financial assistance to continue their studies, have until Wednesday to submit their applications for 2024 funding.
The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) officially opened the bursary application season for the 2024 academic year on 21 November 2023, and the cycle will close on 31 January 2024.
Higher Education, Science and Innovation Deputy Minister, Buti Manamela, has urged all students who wish to study in any of the public universities and Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges to submit their applications before the closing date.
Manamela said NSFAS is currently funding more than 1.4 million students at public universities and TVET colleges.
“If you have Grade 10, 11 or 12 and want to study at either a university or TVET college, and are a SASSA (South African Social Security Agency) beneficiary, or have a household income less than R350 000, you can apply to qualify. You [also] need to further apply to one or two of our public institutions.
“The NSFAS funds students studying law, engineering, medicine, music, carpentry, plumbing, accounting, history, or any undergraduate qualification at a public institution. Visit www.nsfas.org.za and create a user profile under myNSFAS. All you need is a cellphone or computer that has access to the internet and an email address,” Manamela said.
NSFAS covers tuition, accommodation, learning material and a living allowance.
SASSA beneficiaries are approved almost immediately. According to the department, the scheme has provisionally funded at least 657 703 SASSA recipient applicants.
The department has also urged all applicants to submit a consent form in order to verify relevant information from third parties and ensure that NSFAS complies with all the legislative requirements.
The information is required to verify the employment status and income level of the parents, guardians, or spouses of the applicant.
It is mandatory for applicants to download and upload a completed Consent form on the NSFAS website, portal or mobile app.
NSFAS has also launched new platforms, where applicants can access their application updates at their fingertips through the downloadable NSFAS student mobile app, WhatsApp line and a USSD code.
Applicants can add NSFAS on the WhatsApp 078 519 8006 or USSD *120*67327 to track their application status.
Western Cape Premier Alan Winde visited a mobile disaster management incident command centre near Wolseley on Monday after wildfires erupted in the Cape Winelands district and surrounding areas.
The fires have been raging for over a week, with high temperatures and strong winds fuelling the flames.
Affected areas include Hangklip, Buffeljags Bay, Karwyderskraal and Grabouw.
According to the Premier’s Office, fire teams in the Breede Valley and Witzenberg areas were given a slight reprieve on Sunday evening as temperatures dipped and winds subsided.
“But that was unfortunately short-lived. Winds picked up again compounding the already difficult situation.”
Despite the thousands of hectares of land that have burned, the Premier said he was relieved there has been no loss of life.
However, he said he remained very concerned about the situation generally.
“Fires are volatile and unpredictable. Coupled with the hot, windy weather, these fires have stretched our emergency teams to their limit. But I have all the confidence in our entire disaster management network to eventually bring the blaze under control, with officials in the public and private sectors working together around the clock to protect lives and infrastructure.
“Our disaster management staff have gone from floods to fires and I know the significant toll that it takes on our dedicated staff and all the volunteers who always step up,” Winde said.
Winde has described as “heroes” a group of firefighters who had come off the line for a break, having worked throughout Sunday evening.
“You make us all very proud,” he told the firefighters.
According to the Provincial Disaster Management Centre (PDMC), there have been more than 4 000 fires across the Western Cape this summer, of which the vast majority have been recorded in Cape Town.
The Premier urged the public in fire-affected regions to heed the advice of officials and be vigilant.
“There can be no doubt that climate change is a major factor. That is why the Western Cape government is taking this crisis extremely seriously by planning accordingly for the future and by building up the resilience of our province. We are doing all we can to enable the private sector to pivot to renewable energy to help mitigate the climate crisis,” he stressed.
City of Cape Town’s Mayco Member for Safety and Security, JP Smith, announced this morning that the fire line in Hangklip was completely extinguished.
“All our firefighters are safe and accounted for. There are no injuries and no damages to any of our vehicles or equipment,” Smith explained.
The Select Committee on Trade and Industry, Economic Development, Small Business Development, Tourism, Employment and Labour has invited stakeholders and interested parties to make written submissions on the National Small Enterprise Amendment Bill [B16B – 2023] (sec 76).
The Bill seeks to amend the National Small Enterprise Act, 1996, in order to amend, delete, insert and to substitute certain definitions.
It also aims to provide for the report of the Advisory Body; provide for the establishment of the Small Enterprise Development Finance Agency and provide for the functions of the Agency; to ensure the provision of financial and non-financial support services to small enterprises, and promote the development of sustainable and responsible co-operative banking.
The Bill further seeks to provide for the establishment of the Office of the Small Enterprise Ombud Service; enable an equitable trading environment for small enterprises through the provision of affordable and effective access to justice; empower the Minister to declare certain practices in relation to small enterprises to be prohibited as unfair trading practices, and to provide for the transitional arrangements necessitated by the establishment of the Agency.
The Bill also seeks to effect consequential or necessary amendments to the Co-operative Banks Act, 2007, and to the Co-operatives Act, 2005 and provide for matters connected therewith.
“Interested individuals and stakeholders wishing to comment are kindly requested to forward written submissions to the Committee by no later than 12:00pm on Friday, 16 February 2024.
“Those who want to make submissions at public hearings should specifically request this, but it should be noted that the granting of such requests for oral submission resides with the Committee,” Parliament said.
Copies of the Bill are available at www.parliament.gov.za and all correspondence can be addressed to Mr M Rayi, Chairperson: SC on Trade and Industry, Economic Development, Small Business Development, Tourism, Employment and Labour.
Submissions should be forwarded to the following email addresses: email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.
Eight alleged fraudsters appeared in the Makhado Magistrate Court on Monday.
Between June and September 2019, the accused allegedly used fraudulent bank statements and Government Employee Pension Fund (GEPF) letters to apply for personal loans at a cash loans business in Makhado.
“After the applications were processed and approved, the applicants were paid over R250 000. The management of the cash loan business discovered the shenanigans and reported the matter to the Makhado police,” said the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (Hawks).
The case of fraud was subsequently opened and transferred to the Polokwane based Hawks’ Serious Commercial Crime Investigation for further probing.
The Hawks’ investigations established that the accused were recruited by an outstanding suspect believed to be the mastermind.
After the case was thoroughly investigated in consultation with the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) – warrants to arrest the suspects were applied for and authorised.
The accused are: Loba Mathonsi (52), Shogole Ramaisile (48), Johanna Ramodike (40), Winnie Molala (39), Raesibe Masopogo (38), Merriam Kekana (54), Oniky Morema (39) and Refiloe Ramokolo (28)
Between 28 and 29 January 2024, the accused were successfully traced and arrested in different areas around Lebowakgomo.
The accused were brought before the court and remanded in custody until Monday, 05 February 2024 for bail application.
The Hawks are still searching for the outstanding suspects, including the suspected mastermind.
Eleven licensing officials are expected to appear in the Bloemfontein Magistrates Court on Tuesday on allegations of fraud and corruption.
The officials were arrested in Ladybrand in the Free State, Elukwatini in Mpumalanga and Rayton in Gauteng after a three-year investigation that identified examiners who were fraudulently issuing driver’s licences and roadworthy certificates at various testing stations.
The investigation was initiated by the National Traffic Anti-Corruption Unit of the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) and registered by the Hawks as a collaborative effort.
“The investigation has established a link in corruption in all three provinces. The majority of the arrested officials are based at Lengau Testing Centre in Bloemfontein. This is part of ongoing efforts to remove all risk factors that contribute to a high number of crashes, injuries and fatalities on the roads.
“Investigations continue and more arrests are expected. The RTMC commends all the officers who were involved in this investigation. Members of the public are encouraged to report suspected acts of fraud, corruption, and malfeasance to email@example.com or by WhatsApp to 083 293 7989,” the Corporation said on Monday.
The South African Police Service (SAPS) in Gauteng, together with other law enforcement agencies, has recovered over 400 firearms and 6 000 live rounds of ammunition during the month of January.
All these firearms and ammunition were recovered through different crime prevention actions, including Operation Shanela intelligence-driven operations, daily patrols, stop and searches, and vehicle checkpoints.
On 9 January, an intelligence-driven operation was conducted by members of Springs Crime Prevention at Everest informal settlement after receiving a tip-off from members of the community.
The identified premises was searched and a firearm with ammunition was found hidden inside a bin containing rice. A 20-year-old suspect was arrested for possession of an unlicensed firearm and the unlawful possession of ammunition.
In another incident, Edenvale officers were conducting regular patrol duties when they arrested three suspects found in possession of two firearms with filed off serial numbers.
“One firearm removed from the wrong hands means a lot because it could have been used to take a life or destroy one’s property.
“The efforts and commitment of the police to remove illegal and unlicensed firearms with ammunition from the streets are greatly appreciated,” said Gauteng Police Commissioner, Lieutenant General Elias Mawela.
He thanked community members for their support and involvement in fighting crime by reporting criminal activities and giving tip-offs, as some of the successes are through information received from the public.
Mawela said firearms remain the weapon of choice in serious and violent crimes committed in Gauteng. He stressed that efforts will continue to be made to curb the proliferation of illegal and unlicensed firearms in the province.
Crime can be reported on the Crime Stop number on 08600 10111 and anonymous tip-offs can be given via the MySAPS App, which can be downloaded on any smartphone. All information received is treated as strictly confidential.