South Africa’s President, Trevor Noah, Others Applaud 2019 Miss Universe

Miss Universe 2019 Zozibini Tunzi, of South Africa, appears at a press conference following the 2019 Miss Universe Pageant at Tyler Perry Studios on December 08, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. Paras Griffin/Getty Images/AFP

 

Congratulatory messages poured in on Monday morning for South Africa’s Zozibini Tunzi who clinched the Miss Universe crown, displaying the beauty of Africa to the world.

Defeating about 90 women from across the universe, Tunzi finished first ahead of the Puerto Rican and Mexican finalists in a glamorous event hosted by American comic turned TV personality Steve Harvey in Atlanta.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa in a congratulatory message posted on his official twitter handle said, “Congratulations to our #MissUniverse2019. May young women continue to take up space & leave an indelible mark on society, just as you have.”

 

Popular South African comedian and the host of American satirical news program The Daily Show, Trevor Noah also hailed Tunzi on her feat.

“Congratulations @zozitunzi on representing SA and yourself in a truly regal manner. So so so proud,” Noah posted.

 

Many other African congratulated Tunzi for doing the continent proud. Others were appreciated her confidence in the African hair hailing her for contesting with her natural hair.

See more congratulatory messages below…

One of the highlights of Tunzi’s win was her closing speech at the event when she said, “I grew up in a world where a woman who looks like me, with my kind of skin and my kind of hair, was never considered to be beautiful.”

South Africa’s Tunzi Emerges 2019 Miss Universe

Miss Universe 2019 Zozibini Tunzi, of South Africa, appears at a press conference following the 2019 Miss Universe Pageant at Tyler Perry Studios on December 08, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. Paras Griffin/Getty Images/AFP

 

Miss South Africa was crowned Miss Universe on Sunday in Atlanta after a lavish ceremony filled with glitter and heartfelt speeches about female empowerment.

Zozibini Tunzi, 26, finished first ahead of the Puerto Rican and Mexican finalists in a flashy televised event, hosted by American comic turned TV personality Steve Harvey.

Television personalities Vanessa Lachey and Olivia Culpo served as backstage commentators, and a panel of seven women determined the winner.

Tunzi earned cheers during her closing speech, a new segment of the competition, in which she talked about wanting to empower young women to feel confident.

“I grew up in a world where a woman who looks like me, with my kind of skin and my kind of hair, was never considered to be beautiful,” she said.

“I think that it is time that that stops today,” she said to thunderous applause.

Tunzi beat more than 90 contestants from around the globe in the 68th instalment of Miss Universe, which was held in Atlanta’s Tyler Perry Studios.

The two favorites ahead of the competition, Miss Thailand Paweensuda Saetan-Drouin and Miss Philippines Gazini Ganados, did not make it to the final 10.

The Philippines’ Catriona Gray, who presented Tunzi with the crown, took home the Miss Universe crown in 2018.

Although she did not make the finals, Miss Myanmar Swe Zin Htet made waves last week when she came out as the competition’s first openly gay contestant.

“I have that platform that, if I say that I’m a lesbian, it will have a big impact on the LGBTQ community back in Burma,” Htet told People magazine, using her country’s historic name.

Homosexuality is illegal in the southeast Asian country and is punishable by up to life in prison.

In 2018, the competition also featured Miss Spain Angela Ponce, who blazed a trail as Miss Universe’s first transgender contestant.

But the pageant has had a controversial past. Multiple contestants have alleged that US President Donald Trump would regularly enter the competitors’ changing room while he owned the organization from 1996-2015.

Additionally, Miss Universe continues to host the swimsuit competition, which has drawn criticism for objectifying the contestants, although that part of the pageant was not televised.

AFP

Trapped Gold Miners Found Dead In South Africa

Mob Burns Nigerian To Death In South Africa

 

Four gold miners trapped underground after a tremor caused a rockfall in northeast South Africa have been found dead, their union said Sunday.

A fifth miner was rescued with serious injuries on Friday after the accident at the Tau Lekoa Mine in the town of Orkney, the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) said.

“The four mineworkers were found dead,” a union statement said after the rescue team lost contact with the four men deep underground early Saturday.

“The last person we talked to said: ‘We are suffocating please, bring us some oxygen’,” said NUM president Joseph Montisetse.

READ ALSO: Russian-Linked Air Strikes Kill 19 In Northwestern Syria

Deadly accidents involving miners are common in South Africa, which has the deepest mines in the world.

Last year 81 people died in the country’s mines, according to the department of mineral resources.

AFP

South Africa’s Tutu Could Be Discharged Next Week

South African archbishop Nobel peace Prize laureate Desmond Tutu takes part in a handing-over ceremony of a building by the City of Cape Town to the Desmond and Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation, on the occasion of Tutu’s wife Leah Tutu’s birthday, in Cape Town. Rodger BOSCH / AFP

 

South Africa’s Desmond Tutu could be discharged “early next week” after he was hospitalised with an infection, his family said Friday.

The 88-year retired archbishop was hospitalised in Cape Town on Wednesday for a “stubborn infection”. He has been undergoing treatment for prostate cancer for more than two decades.

“Tutu is continuing to receive treatment for a recurring infection in a Cape Town hospital,” said a statement by the Desmond & Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation on Friday.

“The Tutu family hoped that the Archbishop would be discharged from hospital early next week.”

Tutu was last hospitalised in September 2018 for “a series of tests” and discharged after two weeks.

In 2016 he underwent minor surgery for a persistent infection linked to his prostate cancer treatment.

Tutu gained worldwide prominence for his strong opposition to white-minority rule, which won him the Nobel Peace Price in 1984.

Hailed as the moral compass of the nation, he retired from public life in 2010.

Former Cape Town archbishop Njongonkulu Ndungane, who visited Tutu on Thursday, said he was “in good spirits” and “responding well to the excellent medical care that he is receiving”.

South Africa Faces Severe Blackouts Due To Rain

Another Nigerian Killed In South Africa

 

South Africa’s ailing state power utility on Friday implemented the highest level of electricity rationing after its coal supply was dampened by rain.

Debt-ridden Eskom, which generates 95 percent of the country’s electricity, is reeling from years of corruption and mismanagement under former president Jacob Zuma’s government.

Despite multiple government bailouts, its poorly maintained coal-fired power stations struggle to keep up with the electricity demands of Africa’s most industrialised economy — forcing it to implement rolling blackouts known as loadshedding.

“Eskom has lost additional generation units this morning,” said a company statement on Friday, one day after announcing a new bout of power cuts.

“And with units not having returned to service as scheduled,” it added, “loadshedding (needs) to move up from stage 2 to stage 4”.

The highest stage calls for 4,000 MW — just under 10 percent of Eskom’s maximum effect — to be cut from the national power grid.

Eskom blamed days of “incessant rain” in several parts of the country.

“We are beginning to experience coal-handling problems at a number of our power stations as a result of wet coal,” said the statement.

“If the weather persists, we are likely to implement loadshedding through the weekend.”

Rolling blackouts in February and March plunged businesses, homes and schools into darkness for hours on end.

Loadshedding resumed again in October, when the government unveiled plans to restructure the company and orient it towards more renewable sources of energy.

South Africa has been struggling to salvage state-owned companies from the damage caused by Zuma’s administration.

Its national airline was placed under a business rescue plan this week to avoid its total collapse.

Meanwhile, Eskom has accumulated $30 billion (27 billion euros) of debt and seen 10 CEOs quit in the space of a decade.

The latest left in July citing “unimaginable demands” of the job.

Credit ratings agencies have warned Eskom’s situation could cause downgrades to South Africa’s sovereign credit rating and embarrass President Cyril Ramaphosa, who has vowed to restore the economy after his re-election this year.

AFP

South Africa’s Bishop Tutu Hospitalised

South African archbishop Nobel peace Prize laureate Desmond Tutu takes part in a handing-over ceremony of a building by the City of Cape Town to the Desmond and Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation, on the occasion of Tutu’s wife Leah Tutu’s birthday, in Cape Town.   AFP

 

South African anti-apartheid icon Desmond Tutu has been admitted to hospital in Cape Town “for treatment of a stubborn infection”, his office said on Wednesday.

The 88-year old retired archbishop has been receiving treatment for prostate cancer for more than 15 years.

He was last hospitalised in September 2018 for “a series of tests” and discharged after two weeks.

“Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu has been admitted to hospital for treatment of a stubborn infection,” said his wife Leah Tutu in a statement issued by the Desmond & Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation.

“The Archbishop has been hospitalised several times over the past few years for treatment of a similar condition.”

Tutu was hospitalised four times in 2016 and underwent minor surgery for a persistent infection linked to his prostate cancer treatment.

He gained worldwide prominence for his strong opposition to white-minority rule under apartheid and won the Nobel Peace Price in 1984.

The much-loved figure has retired from public life.

He appeared in good health earlier this year when he met Britain’s Duke and Duchess of Sussex and their baby Archie, who were visiting the region.

AFP

Henry Okah Challenges His Prosecution, Trial In South Africa

Henry Okah

 

Convicted leader of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), Henry Okah on Tuesday appeared before a High Court in Pretoria, South Africa.

Looking a bit frail but in high spirits, Okah represented himself in court and challenged his prosecution and conviction.

He told the court that he is challenging his prosecution and conviction under South Africa’s anti-terror laws instead of under International Humanitarian Law under the International Criminal court Act.

He waded through a lot of legal documentation he speaks in an attempt to secure his freedom.

“I have the right to appear before this court, for this court to determine the lawfulness of my detention regardless of the final judgement,” Okah told the judge.

The judge eventually adjourned and reserved judgment for December 20, 2019.

Okah who is the plaintiff in this matter was convicted in 2013 and sentenced to 24 years in jail for the 2010 bombings in Abuja and Warri which left about three people dead.

South African Policeman Sentenced To 30 Years For Killing Nigerian

 

 

A South African police constable, Austin Reynold, has been sentenced to 30 years in jail by a court for killing a Nigerian man living in that country.

Twenty-four-year Reynold was accused of killing Ebuka Okoli in Durban, a coastal city in Kwa Zulu-Natal province in South Africa.

READ ALSO: South African Police Officer Found Guilty Of Killing Nigerian

The court sentenced the policeman on Monday, three days after he was found guilty of shooting the victim at close range and robbing him during an unauthorised raid on a community where Okoli resided.

He was charged with one count of murder and three counts of robbery

Constable Reynold got 15 years on each count of robbery which will mostly run concurrently and 25 years for the count of murder.

Reynold was unlucky as his accomplice in the raid, Brinley Pallo, testified against him while giving his testimony before Judge Shyam Gyanda on Friday.

The spokesperson for South Africa’s National Prosecuting Authority, Natasha Ramkissoon-Kara, explained how the sentences rounded up to 30 years in an interview with Channels Television.

South Africa’s Zuma Loses Bid To Appeal Against Bribe Trial

In this file photo taken on July 27, 2018 former South African president Jacob Zuma stands in the dock of the High Court of Pietermaritzburg during his hearing over 16 corruption charges. PHOTO: Phill MAGAKOE / POOL / AFP

 

A South African court on Friday dismissed former president Jacob Zuma’s attempts to appeal against a corruption trial in which he faces charges related to a 1990s arms deal involving France’s Thales.

The High Court in the southeastern city of Pietermaritzburg ruled that “Mr Zuma’s leave to appeal is dismissed”.

Zuma filed an appeal last month ahead of the initial October 15 trial date, in a case that has seen numerous legal turns over a decade and a half.

He is alleged to have taken bribes worth four million rand ($270,000, 240,000 euros) related to a $3.4 billion arms deal in 1999 when he was deputy president.

In all Zuma faces 16 charges of fraud, graft and racketeering related to the purchase of fighter jets, patrol boats and military equipment when he was deputy to the country’s second black president, Thabo Mbeki.

Both Zuma and French defence company Thales, which supplied equipment for navy vessels, deny the charges.

Thales’s application for permission to appeal against the trial was also thrown out at the same time as Zuma’s.

Both Zuma and Thales, have the option to approach the Supreme Court of Appeal or the Constitutional Court in their push to stop a trial, constitutional lawyer and legal commentator  Pierre de Vos told AFP.

Another legal analyst Mpulelelo Zikalala, suggested that “the prospects of success are slim”.

Legal commentators suggest Zuma is simply buying time.

The largest opposition, the Democratic Alliance (DA) welcomed the High Court decision and said it looked “forward to seeing this matter finally moving towards conclusion”.

“Despite his own repeated assertion that he will welcome the opportunity to have his day in court, Mr. Zuma has done everything in his power to resist being held accountable for the alleged criminal activities in which he was involved during the ‘Arms Deal’,” said the DA’s Shadow Minister of Justice, Glynnis Breytenbach.

Zuma was forced to step down last year by the ruling African National Congress (ANC) party after a nine-year reign marked by corruption allegations and dwindling popularity.

During last week’s court hearing Zuma’s lawyer Muzi Sikhakhane denounced “political interference” in the case.

President Cyril Ramaphosa, who took over from Zuma, has vowed to tackle deep-seated corruption but faces opposition from senior powerful ANC members, many of whom remain Zuma allies.

AFP

Badmus’ Murder: S.Africa Court Adjourns Trial Of Eight Accused Officers Till 2020

Man Bags 15 Years In Prison For N5.2m Fraud

 

The North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria, South Africa, has adjourned the trial of eight police officers accused of the torture and murder of a Nigerian national, Ibrahim Olamilekan Badmus, to April 13, 2020.

The case was adjourned after Forensic Medical Officer, Dr William Marumo, concluded his testimony before the high court judge, Mokhine Mosopa, on Wednesday.

On the day of the incident, (October, 10, 2017), Marumo had been called by the Investigating Officer to the scene in Vanderbijlpark to determine the type of death and to help with preliminary investigations into Badmus’ death.

At the hearing, he told Judge Mosopa that when he arrived at the scene, the environment was hostile and Nigerian nationals there did not want him to examine the body of the deceased, making it hard to determine the time of death.

According to his report presented to the court, it appeared Badmus had been suffocated with a plastic bag which subsequently, made him suffer an absence of oxygen that turned his blood blue.

Dr Marumo also told the court that the deceased had deep abrasions on his hands.

The police officers, however, denied the claims, insisting that Badmus died from a drug overdose after swallowing a number of pills during a raid.

The defense lawyers also told the court that Dr Marumo’s medical report was riddled with discrepancies as it failed to reveal the actual cause of death and prove beyond reasonable doubt that Badmus was suffocated according to some of the witnesses.

The toxicology report which had revealed that no drugs were found on the deceased’s body was also challenged by the defense which said that friends of the accused made an admission in court that Badmus was a weed smoker and therefore, asked the court to set aside the doctor’s report as it was “clearly flawed” since he failed to detect weed in the body of the deceased.

His qualifications also came under the spotlight as the court heard that he was only a medical officer and not a pathologist, neurologist or radiologist and that he struggled to explain why certain parts including the deceased’s brain and cerebellum were not tested while conducting the postmortem.

After listening to the arguments, however, the case was then adjourned till April 13th, 2020.

Zuma To Know Appeal Status On Corruption Trial Next Week

In this file photo taken on July 27, 2018 former South African president Jacob Zuma stands in the dock of the High Court of Pietermaritzburg during his hearing over 16 corruption charges. Former South African president Jacob Zuma must pay back state funds and cover his own costs, a court ruled on December 13, 2018, leaving him facing massive legal bills as he fights graft charges.
Phill MAGAKOE / POOL / AFP

 

A South African court said on Friday it will rule next week whether to allow former president Jacob Zuma’s appeal against his corruption trial related to a 1990s arms deal.

Zuma was forced to step down last year by the ruling African National Congress (ANC) party after a nine-year reign marked by corruption allegations and dwindling popularity.

He is alleged to have taken bribes worth four million rand ($270,000, 240,000 euros) when he was deputy president related to a $3.4 billion arms deal in 1999.

Both Zuma and French defence company Thales, which supplied equipment for navy vessels, deny the charges.

READ ALSO: Dozens Blinded By Police Shots In Chile Protests

Last month, Zuma’s lawyer filed an appeal against the planned October 15 trial, dragging on a case that has seen numerous legal turns over a decade and a half.

On Friday, the court heard arguments from lawyers for both sides. It said it will decide on November 29 on the admissibility of the requested appeal.

Zuma’s lawyer Muzi Sikhakhane denounced “political interference” in the case.

The prosecutor’s representative, Andrew Breitenbach, asked for Zuma’s appeal to be rejected, saying he had not provided a “sound, rational basis” to justify it.

“The matter must stop here and Mr Zuma must have his day in court,” he said.

Zuma faces 16 charges of fraud, graft and racketeering related to the purchase of fighter jets, patrol boats and military equipment when he was deputy to the country’s second black president, Thabo Mbeki.

President Cyril Ramaphosa, who took over from Zuma, has vowed to tackle deep-seated corruption but faces opposition from senior powerful ANC members, many of whom remain Zuma allies.

AFP

Eight South African Police Officers On Trial Over Killing Of Nigerian

Pretoria High Court, South Africa.

 

The trial of eight South African police officers charged with the torture and murder of Nigerian National, Ibrahim Olamilekan Badmus, is underway at the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria, South Africa.

The eight police officers – two women and six men – were arrested in October 2017 by police watchdog, the Independent Police Investigative Directorate, for the torture and the murder of 25-year-old Badmus who was accused of selling drugs in the Vanderbijlpark area.

READ ALSO: Eight South African Police Officers Face Trial Over Nigerian’s Death

The court has heard that on a fateful day – October 10 2017- police officers pounced on the community where the deceased used to stay following a tip-off about drugs being sold in the house.

In their affidavits, the eight cops claim that while conducting their operation they found Badmus unresponsive from a drug overdose.

This version of events was disputed by state witness Chukwuemeka Nelson Ozor who was in the house on the day of the incident.

Ozor took to the stand and told Judge Mokhine Mosopa that the police broke into the house, started searching and questioning everyone, then moved to search Badmus’s room and beat him up.

Ozor added that one of the police officials then fetched a plastic bag that was then wrapped around the deceased’s head, suffocating him to death.

A paramedic that attended to the scene John Gous told the court that when medical officials arrived, the 25-year-old was unresponsive and sweaty with no pulse but there were no signs of physical injuries.

He was declared dead on the scene.

The trial continues on Friday at the Pretoria High Court with an investigating officer and a medical doctor expected to take to the stand.

Speaking to Channels Television in Johannesburg, the Chairperson of the Nigerian Diaspora Commission, Abike Dabiri-Erewa says she’s happy with the progress being made with the case and hopes justice will be done.