South Africa Honours Zambia’s Kaunda With 10 Mourning Days

(FILES) In this file photo taken on February 28, 1990 shows Zambia’s president Kenneth Kaunda (2nd L) and South Africa’s African National Congress (ANC) leader Nelson Mandela (L) attending a press conference at the Presidential House in Lusaka. (Photo by ALEXANDER JOE / AFP)

 

 

South Africa has declared 10 days of national mourning for Zambia’s founding president Kenneth Kaunda who died at the age of 97 following a bout of pneumonia, the presidency said Friday.

Zambia under Kaunda was one of the countries most opposed to the apartheid government and for decades hosted the exiled African National Congress (ANC) on its soil.

Kaunda was the first foreign leader South African liberation icon Nelson Mandela visited on his release from prison in 1990.

“In remembrance of this great leader the South African government has declared a period of mourning for 10 days with immediate effect,” said a statement from President Cyril Ramaphosa’s office.

Zambia itself is observing 21 days of national mourning, with flags flying at half-mast and all entertainment banned.

Ramaphosa said Kaunda is a “rightfully revered father of African independence and unity” whose “leadership was a source of inspiration and resilience”.

“Under his leadership, Zambia provided refuge, care, and support to liberation fighters who had been forced to flee the countries of their birth,” said Ramaphosa.

“He stood alongside the people of South Africa at the time of our greatest need and was unwavering in his desire for the achievement of our freedom,” said Ramaphosa.

“We will never be able to repay the debt of gratitude” owed to Kaunda, he added.

In neighbouring Botswana, President Mokgweetsi Masisi has ordered seven days of mourning in honour of the “selfless” Kaunda, an “iconic statesman of the highest credentials”.

 

(FILES) In this file photo taken on June 02, 1998 Former Zambian President Kenneth Kaunda smiles in his Lusaka home, one day after he was released from custody.  (Photo by ODD ANDERSEN / AFP)

 

Kaunda ruled Zambia for 27 years, taking the helm after the country gained independence from Britain in October 1964.

While in power he hosted many of the movements fighting for independence or black equality in other countries around the region.

South Africa Expels Malawi Diplomats Over Alcohol Scandal

In this file photo taken on March 22, 2020 South African President Cyril Ramaphosa (C) conducts a media briefing at the end of a meeting with various business leaders and political party leaders on matters relating to the COVID-19 outbreak at the Union Buildings in Pretoria. Phill Magakoe / AFP
In this file photo taken on March 22, 2020 South African President Cyril Ramaphosa (C) conducts a media briefing at the end of a meeting with various business leaders and political party leaders on matters relating to the COVID-19 outbreak at the Union Buildings in Pretoria. Phill Magakoe / AFP

 

Malawi said Friday that several of its diplomats had been expelled from South Africa, which said they had been found guilty of peddling duty-free alcohol.

Malawi’s foreign affairs ministry in Lilongwe said South Africa had given the diplomats and their families 72 hours to leave the country.

Pretoria took the decision because the diplomats “were found guilty of engaging in illicit trade in duty-free alcohol” following an intensive investigation into their flouting of diplomatic privileges, South Africa’s ministry of international relations said in a statement.

Pretoria said investigations into similar transgressions by other missions accredited to South Africa were “at an advanced stage and similar action will be taken should they be found guilty”.

Several diplomats of Lesotho were expelled from South Africa on Thursday on similar grounds.

South African media have reported that cash-strapped Lesotho diplomats have been bringing alcohol into the country without paying duty and then re-selling it in bars and restaurants.

Malawi’s foreign ministry expressed “regret” that “Malawian diplomats…have been declared persona non grata” by South Africa.

It vowed disciplinary action when the officers return home.

 

AFP

South Africa Agrees To Privatise Troubled SAA Airline

South Africa, home to about 80 percent of the world’s rhino population.

 

South Africa’s government announced Friday it would sell a majority stake in cash-strapped flag carrier SAA to a consortium that includes the operator of a local budget airline, effectively privatising it.

The airline, which is emerging from a rescue plan, will effectively be privatised as investors will hold a majority stake.

“Having evaluated the current environment, the government has agreed to the (strategic equity partner) owning of 51 percent of the shareholding and government 49 percent,” Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan said in an online media conference.

The consortium includes Harith General Partners, an investor in African infrastructure and airports, and airline management firm Global Airways, an aircraft leasing firm that recently launched local budget airline LIFT.

“With this partnership, we believe we are closer to achieving the important objective of having a sustainable national airline,” Gordhan said.

“The new SAA will not be dependent on” the government.

SAA, one of the continent’s largest airlines, was placed under a state-approved rescue plan in December 2019 in an effort to save it from collapse.

The carrier, Africa’s second-largest after Ethiopian Airlines, had not posted a profit since 2011 and survived for years on state bailouts.

A symbol of the mismanagement of state-owned enterprises that characterised ex-president Jacob Zuma’s reign, the airline was forced to abandon many routes even before the Covid-19 pandemic.

The consortium, whose name Takatso translates to “aspire” in Sesotho, will initially inject 3.5 billion rand ($255 million; 211 million euro) into the airline.

“The partnership represents a robust, exciting South African-bred solution,” said the consortium chair Tshepo Mahloele, who is the founder of Harith, which owns Lanseria airport in northern Johannesburg.

Takatso CEO and co-founder of LIFT Gidon Novick expressed confidence that SAA would turn into an efficient and innovative airline that could catalyst for the growth of the country’s economy.

“We believe it is the best time,” he said during the briefing. “Airline models around the world are being challenged… We have the capital and financial insights of Harith,” said Novick.

South Africa’s Jobless Rate Hits New High

A sex work supporter wears a mask at a march in solidarity with sex workers set on decriminalising the trade in Johannesburg on May 27, 2021. (Photo by GUILLEM SARTORIO / AFP)

 

 

South Africa’s unemployment rate climbed to its highest level on record in the first quarter, official data showed Tuesday, as the country reels from the coronavirus pandemic.

The jobless rate rose to 32.6 percent in the first three months of the year, compared to 32.5 percent in the previous quarter.

It is the highest figure on record since the start of South Africa’s quarterly labour force survey in 2008, said statistician-general Risenga Maluleke

The number of jobless people rose by 8,000 to 7.2 million from the fourth quarter of 2020.

The job losses were largely registered in the construction and agricultural sectors.

The expanded definition of unemployment — people who are employable but have given up looking for work — rose by 0.6 percentage points to 43.2 percent.

Young people have been particularly badly hit, with the unemployment rate among those aged 15 to 34 years old exceeding 46 percent.

South Africa’s economy, which contracted by seven percent in 2020, is still reeling from the knock-on effects of rolling restrictions to stem the spread of Covid-19.

The stifled economic activity bled hundreds of thousands of jobs.

The African continent’s most industrialised economy was already in recession when the coronavirus hit last March.

It is Africa’s hardest hit by Covid-19, with over 1.6 million infections, including more than 56,000 fatalities.

The unemployment rate in South Africa has remained above 20 percent for at least two decades.

South Africa Begins Second Phase Of COVID-19 Vaccination

PHOTO USED TO ILLUSTRATE THE STORY: Residents of Snake Park in Soweto, a town in the city of Johannesburg, South Africa PHOTO: MARCO LONGARI / AFP

 

South Africa on Monday launched its second phase of COVID-19 vaccinations targeting people who are aged 60 years and above.

Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said late Sunday that the target would be achieved if the anticipated orders of vaccines were delivered on time.

“We will begin to vaccinate citizens 60 years and older, who are the most vulnerable for becoming ill or dying of Covid-19,” the minister said during a webinar.

The immunisation of health workers started in February when it became the first country worldwide to administer inoculations by US pharma group Johnson & Johnson.

“By the end of June we expect to have received 4.5 million doses of Pfizer and two million doses from Johnson & Johnson,” Mkhize said.

READ ALSO: US Authorizes Pfizer-BioNTech Vaccine For 12-15-Year-Olds

South Africa earlier this year purchased AstraZeneca vaccines and then sold them to other African countries following fears that they would be less effective.

Then, after it started innoculating health workers, using the Johnson & Johnson jabs, it had to pause for two weeks mid-April to vet risks over blood clots that had been reported in the US.

After a brief lull, infections have climbed by as much as 46 percent between the last week of April and the first week of May.

South Africa has the highest number of coronavirus cases in Africa – with more than 1.6 million infections and over 55,000 deaths.

AFP

Amazon’s New Africa HQ Site Facing Indigenous Backlash

(FILES) In this file photo taken on April 5, 2021, the Amazon logo at the Amazon fulfillment center in Staten Island, one of the five boroughs of New York City. – Amazon announced plans on May 13, 2021, to add 75,000 jobs in the US and Canada as part of a further ramping up of the e-commerce giant’s massive warehouse and logistics network. (Photo by Johannes EISELE / AFP)

 

 

A legal battle is looming over plans to build Amazon’s multi-million-dollar African headquarters on land cherished by South Africa’s indigenous Khoi San people.

Amazon is setting up its African HQ in Cape Town — a project with the promise of thousands of jobs in a country where unemployment is cripplingly high.

City authorities last month approved the construction of a nine-storey business and residential complex on a greenfield site that will be anchored by Amazon.

Its offices will provide total floor space of 70,000 square metres (7.5 million feet) — equivalent to almost 10 football pitches.

 

(FILES) In this file photo taken on November 27, 2019 an Amazon sign is pictured at the Amazon Fulfilment Centre in Peterborough, east England. – US e-commerce giant Amazon on Friday said it will create another 10,000 jobs in Britain, a day after announcing a US hiring spree as online shopping booms during the pandemic. (Photo by DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS / AFP)

 

But some of the country’s first inhabitants, the Khoi Khoi and San — whose presence in the southern tip of the continent has been dated by archaeologists to thousands of years —  say the project desecrates ancestral land.

They say it lies on a battlefield in which the Khoi defended the territory from Portuguese colonisers in 1510.

“Our heritage will be completely wiped out,” paramount chief Aran Goringhaicona told AFP this week. “There is so much spiritual significance to this place.”

He represents the Goringhaicona Khoi Khoi Indigenous Traditional Council, which is among the indigenous, environmental and community activists contesting the scheme.

Led by a neighbourhood group, the Observatory Civic Association (OCA), they wrote to the developer Liesbeek Leisure Properties Trust (LLPT) this week stating their intention to appeal the project in the courts.

Construction of the four-billion-rand ($283 million / 234 million euro) complex is due to start little more than a month from now.

The group is also questioning environmental approvals for the riverside site, said OCA chair Leslie London.

Cape Town is already struggling with episodes of severe floods and drought — a risk that could be amplified when climate change goes into higher gear, London argued.

City authorities say the impact on floods is “minimal” and the site will be built up above the 100-year flood line.

Amazon, which has been operating in South Africa for 15 years, declined to comment on the development.

 

An employee prepares a package for shipment at the Amazon logistics centre in Suelzetal, eastern Germany, on Mai 12, 2021. – The US online sales giant opened the new warehouse in Saxony-Anhalt in August 2020. (Photo by Ronny Hartmann / AFP)

 

‘Ancestors’ graves’

The site had been protected under a two-year provisional heritage designation, which lapsed in April 2020, according to city authorities.

To acknowledge the history, LLPT said it will build a heritage, cultural and media centre that will be operated by indigenous groups. It will also include a medicinal garden, trail and outdoor amphitheatre.

Some indigenous groups see this as a victory.

“Those plans place the First Nations at the centre of this entire development, right opposite this building that everybody’s talking about, the Amazon building,” said chief Garu Zenzile Khoisan, who heads the First Nations Collective representing several clan formations.

Both the group and the developer said the proposal had been endorsed by the majority of indigenous peoples in the area.

“It is therefore perplexing that a small group of naysayers who claim to work for better inclusive housing opportunities or respectful celebration of local heritage and sustainable environmental upgrades wouldn’t support our plans,” LLPT said in a statement to AFP.

But opponents, including Goringhaicona, say divide-and-rule tactics are being used to stifle or sideline dissent.

City officials have lauded the potential job creation at the site at a time when official unemployment reached 29 percent in the last quarter of 2020.

The project will create 5,239 jobs during construction and close to 900 jobs once the project is up and running, according to LLPT.

Once hunter-gatherers known under the now-discarded label of Bushmen, the Khoi San suffered deeply under colonisation and apartheid.

Many in their community say they still endure wide social inequalities and economic opportunities today, and their past remains overlooked.

“Going onto someone’s sacred terrain and building something on top of it, saying ‘we’re going to offer employment in doing so’ is a morose and sick form of arguing the notion of job development,” said Tauriq Jenkins, high commissioner for the Goringhaicona council.

“You don’t employ the descendants of the Khoi Khoi and San… to dig up their ancestors’ graves”.

Jacob Zuma Faces New Trial Challenge Amid Charges Of Fraud, Graft

Former South African President Jacob Zuma looks on in the High Court in Pietermaritzburg, on May 20, 2019. Former South African president Jacob Zuma arrived in court on May 20 as he fights to have corruption charges against him over 1990s arms deal dropped before the case comes to trial.
Themba Hadebe / POOL / AFP

 

 

Forced to resign three years ago in the face of a litany of corruption scandals, embattled former South African president Jacob Zuma is due back in court on Monday in a graft case dating back more than two decades. 

But whether the cunning and charismatic 79-year-old will answer his accusers is the big question.

The court in Pietermaritzburg is examining 16 charges of fraud, graft and racketeering relating to a 1999 purchase of fighter jets, patrol boats and military gear from five European arms firms for 30 billion rand — equal to almost $5.0 billion at the time.

Zuma, then serving as deputy president to Thabo Mbeki, is accused of accepting bribes amounting to four million rand from one of the firms, French defence giant Thales.

He has lodged a string of unsuccessful series of appeals to have the charges dropped.

In the latest development, all his lawyers quit last month, without publicly giving a reason.

Observers speculate the surprise step could be a ploy to seek yet another postponement, ostensibly to allow a new legal team to prepare his defence and further delay the trial.

“It’s almost inevitable that he or his new team (if there is one) will ask for a postponement — and be granted,” said James Grant, a South African lawyer who is not linked to the case.

Ensconced in his home in rural Nkandla — refurbished during his 2009-2018 presidency with millions of dollars of public money in the name of “security upgrades” — Zuma often appears to be baiting his opponents and the judiciary.

His middle name, Gedleyihlekisa, means “one who laughs while crushing his enemies” in Zulu.

But his public persona is more approachable, as in a TikTok video posted last week showing Zuma dancing with some of his granddaughters.

– ‘Secrets’ –
From humble beginnings herding cattle, self-educated Zuma rose to become a leading figure in the anti-apartheid struggle and ruling African National Congress (ANC) party.

As well as enjoying fervent grassroots support and backing among the political class, “he was in charge of intelligence… and he holds a lot of secrets” that he has threatened to spill, said independent political analyst Asanda Ngoasheng.

Affectionately known to his supporters as “JZ” or “Msholozi”, Zuma’s role as intelligence chief made him the feared hunter of traitors and informers during the ANC’s apartheid-era exile.

He also spent 10 years on Robben Island as a political prisoner.

But his fall from grace was to come just a year before the end of his second presidential term, when he became enmeshed in a web of scandals and alleged abuse of power.

Since then, he has constantly played cat-and-mouse with the anti-corruption commission that he himself set up in early 2018 in an abortive bid to convince the country that he had nothing to hide.

Rape allegations

For now, Zuma’s repeated refusal to testify to the commission has led to a judicial stalemate.

But he has been named directly or indirectly by more than 30 witnesses before the panel, whose findings may be used for investigation and prosecution purposes.

The former president is no stranger to the courts.

In 2006, he was acquitted on charges of raping the 31-year-old HIV-positive daughter of one of his former comrades.

He shocked the country when he told the court he had showered to supposedly avoid contracting HIV after having unprotected sex with the young woman.

Widely mocked for espousing an idea with no backing in science, Zuma was drawn for years afterwards by local cartoonist Jonathan Shapiro as having a shower spout affixed to his head.

South Africa Governing Political Party Suspends Top Official In Graft Scandal

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa (C) arrives on day 2 of his appearance on behalf of the ruling party African National Congress (ANC) at the Zondo Commission of Inquiry in Johannesburg, South Africa, on April 29, 2021. PHOTO: Kim Ludbrook / POOL / AFP

 

South Africa’s governing African National Congress (ANC) party has suspended its Secretary-General, Elias “Ace” Magashule, over graft charges in a move seen as a political victory for President Cyril Ramaphosa in the divided party.

But a defiant Magashule, who is the first top party official to be temporarily forced out under a new policy aimed at turning the page on a litany of graft scandals, said he was not going anywhere.

Instead, he said he was suspending Ramaphosa from his position as ANC president.

Magashule, 61, was given a 30-day ultimatum on March 30 to step aside after being charged with embezzling public funds while he was premier of the Free State province.

READ ALSO: China Suspends Economic Accord With Australia

He ignored the deadline and refused to resign voluntarily, forcing the party to suspend him.

“You are hereby temporarily suspended with effect from 3 May 2021 until the final outcome of your court proceedings,” his deputy Jessie Duarte informed Magashule of his suspension in a letter.

The letter, dated Monday and leaked to the media on Wednesday, said the decision to suspend him would be “in the best interest of the organisation”.

But Magashule, countered in a letter Wednesday night sent to Ramaphosa and Duarte, saying he was “appealing this unconstitutional suspension” and that until the appeal was heard he would keep his job.

In a dramatic and strange outburst, he said he was invoking powers vested in him as the Secretary-General of the ANC, to “summarily” suspend Ramaphosa.

But the ANC immediately issued a statement saying its resolution stands and asked Magashule to “respect” the party’s decisions and “subject himself to the discipline of the organization”.

Magashule has been indicted on charges of corruption and fraud, or theft and money laundering, along with around a dozen other co-accused.

The ANC of Nelson Mandela, which has been ruling the country since the end of white minority rule in 1994, has been at pains to clean up its image, marred by years of graft.

 

– ‘Turning point’ –

David Lewis, head of the Corruption Watch NGO, hailed Magashule’s removal as the “first really strong sign that the ANC is prepared to clean up its own ranks”.

The suspension is a “turning point” for the ANC, setting a “serious precedent” that will be difficult to ignore in future, said political analyst Mcebisi Ndletyana.

“It is a win for the ANC as a whole,” Ndletyana told AFP.

Magashule is to be paid his salary during his suspension but not permitted to represent the ANC or speak publicly about the party.

Charges against Magashule relate to public funds that were set aside to vet government-built housing with asbestos roofs in 2014 when he headed the provincial government, dubbed a “gangster state” in a book by investigative journalist Pieter-Louis Myburgh.

The hazardous roofs were never removed, and investigators believe that the equivalent of over $12 million (10 million euros) was pocketed.

Magashule was briefly arrested in November and granted bail on graft charges. He is next expected to appear before a high court in August.

His removal is seen as a first major political score for President Cyril Ramaphosa who first came to power in 2018 vowing to fight corruption when he succeeded the scandal-tainted Jacob Zuma.

“The suspension will bring some credibility to the president’s longstanding pledge of addressing corruption within the ANC,” said Aleix Montana, analyst at risk intelligence firm Verisk Maplecroft.

But analysts note that Magashule, a renowned political infighter with a permanent scowl, a Zuma confidant with an entrenched following within the party, will deepen the factionalism woes in the ANC.

The historic party has been suffering a decline in support in elections in recent years. The country goes to local government polls in October this year.

John Steenhuisen, leader of the main opposition Democratic Alliance party, said it was not enough to just suspend Magashule, demanding that the party makes sure that “he is put behind bars.”

AFP

COVID-19: South Africa Suspends Johnson & Johnson Vaccine Rollout Over Blood Clot Concerns

Bottles of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson Janssen Covid-19 vaccine await transfer into syringes for administering at a vaccine rollout targetting immigrants and the undocumented in Los Angeles, California on March 25, 2021. 
Frederic J. BROWN / AFP

 

South Africa on Tuesday suspended the rollout of the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine over potential blood clot risks reported by the United States, the health minister said.

The announcement delays an already sluggish vaccination campaign in Africa’s worst-hit country, which has so far only administered the US-made jab.

“We have determined to voluntarily suspend our rollout until the causal relationship between the development of clots and the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is sufficiently interrogated,” Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said in an online briefing.

Earlier Tuesday, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control recommended a pause in the use of the single shot J&J vaccine over potential links to a rare type of blood clot.

The US agencies said they were acting “out of an abundance of caution”, but J&J has since delayed the rollout of its jab in Europe.

Mkhize said that although no blood clots had been reported among vaccinated citizens in South Africa, the FDA’s advice should not be taken “lightly”.

“We hope that the deliberations will only take a few days,” he added.

“Given the preliminary literature at hand, our scientists are confident that the FDA decision is only on a precautionary basis, and we expect that this will not result in the complete withdrawal of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.”

 

Licensed vocational nurse Denise Saldan prepares the single-dose Johnson & Johnson Janssen Covid-19 vaccine at a vaccine rollout targetting immigrants and the undocumented in Los Angeles, California on March 25, 2021. 
Frederic J. BROWN / AFP

 

Pfizer back-up

South Africa has vaccinated just under 290,000 health workers since February 17.

The second phase of the country’s rollout plan, which will target essential workers and the over-60s, is scheduled to begin on May 17.

Officials had already been forced to scrap plans to start vaccinating with the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab after a study suggested the formula was less effective against a dominant local virus strain.

So far, South Africa has secured 31 million doses from J&J and 30 million from Pfizer, a first batch of which is scheduled to be delivered in early May.

Another 1.2 million doses will be donated by the international vaccine sharing facility Covax, and an undisclosed amount from the African Union.

South Africa has secured more than enough doses to vaccinate 40 million people — roughly 67 per cent of the population — by the end of 2021, said Mkhize.

Even in the “extremely unlikely event” that the J&J rollout is “completely halted”, the arrival of the Pfizer jabs would allow the second vaccination phase to begin on time, he added.

The latest developments “provide comfort that medical authorities keep a vigilant watch on new products”, he argued, calling on citizens to remain calm and patient.

South Africa’s coronavirus outbreak has remained relatively stable since a second surge in infections during December, although experts warn of a looming third wave over the upcoming southern hemisphere winter.

To date, the country has reported over 1.5 million coronavirus cases and 53,356 deaths.

South Africa accounts for more than 35 per cent of all infections recorded in Africa, according to an AFP tally.

-AFP

Zuma Told To Suggest Own Sentence In Contempt Case

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. 
Phill MAGAKOE / POOL / AFP

 

South Africa’s ex-president Jacob Zuma has until Wednesday to suggest what sentence he should be given if found guilty of contempt of court, in a marked deviation from the standard rule book. 

Zuma, who turned 79 on Monday, repeatedly snubbed a judicial panel investigating the plunder of state coffers during his nine-year rule, claiming bias on the part of its chair and political interference in the judiciary.

The former head of state testified only once in July 2019 before staging a walkout days later.

On January 28, the Constitutional Court ordered Zuma to appear before the commission — led by Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo — but he ignored the order.

Zondo then petitioned the country’s top court to jail the scandal-tainted former leader for two years for contempt.

A defiant Zuma skipped the hearing last month and did not file the required affidavits.

The court now wants Zuma to determine “what constitutes the appropriate sanction” if he is found guilty.

Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng last Friday directed Zuma to file an affidavit of no longer than 15 pages on or before Wednesday explaining “the nature and magnitude of sentence that should be imposed” on him.

It is still unclear if the former president will honour the directive.

Neither his lawyer nor his foundation — the two avenues for his communications — replied to repeated requests for comment.

Experts say it was uncommon for the court to issue such a directive.

— ‘Mafia state’ —

The decision creates an impression of special treatment, said James Grant, a constitutional lawyer, but he added that a soft landing could also spell bad news for Zuma.

The court’s judges are “bending over backward to accommodate him… and are preparing to give him a harsh sentence.

“They want to show themselves as having taken every possible opportunity to hear from him,” Grant explained.

Law professor Omphemetse Sibanda of the University of Limpopo warned that the court’s actions could spell disaster for the country.

In the long term, courts risk being abused by a “clique of rogue powerful elite and politicians as if South Africa is a mafia state where the judiciary is responsible to the politicians,” he wrote in a column on the News24 website.

Zuma had earlier this year compared the courts to the apartheid judiciary functioning under white minority rule.

While highlighting his own anti-apartheid exploits, Zuma said in a statement that he was ready for “the law to take its course” and did not fear being arrested, convicted or incarcerated.

“The wrath visited upon me as an individual knows no bounds,” he said.

Zuma’s defiance has split his ruling African National Congress (ANC) party with one faction, led by President Cyril Ramaphosa, vowing to stamp out corruption.

The country’s highest court will make its ruling at an undecided later date.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court of Appeal on Tuesday declined to set aside a 2018 ruling stripping Zuma of state-funded legal costs incurred by him in his personal capacity.

The court said it was “egregious” to award the former leader a blank cheque to pay private lawyers and that “a web of maladministration” had enabled them.

Zuma has been ordered to return the funds that had been advanced to him.

The embattled leader, who came to power in 2009, was forced to resign in 2018 over graft scandals involving an Indian business family, the Guptas — who won lucrative contracts with state companies and were allegedly even allowed to choose cabinet ministers.

-AFP

2021 AFCON: South Africa Fire Coach Ntseki After Qualification Failure

In this file photograph taken on October 13, 2019, Head Coach of South Africa, Molefi Ntseki, looks on from the sidelines during the international friendly football match between South Africa and Mali at The Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth.

 

 

South Africa sacked coach Molefi Ntseki on Wednesday, three days after losing in Sudan and failing to qualify for the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations.

The decision was announced at a press conference in Soweto by South African Football Association chief executive Teboho Motlanthe.

South Africa finished third in Group C behind Ghana and Sudan to continue a poor record in the competition.

Since 2008, Bafana Bafana (The Boys) have played in six Cup of Nations qualifying competitions and reached the finals only twice.

Ntseki was a controversial appointment to succeed England-born Stuart Baxter, who resigned in 2019 soon after taking South Africa to the Cup of Nations quarter-finals in Egypt.

READ ALSO: Super Eagles Soar Over Lesotho To End AFCON Qualifiers Unbeaten

The 51-year-old assisted Baxter, then took over the national side despite never having been in charge of a senior team.

Former forward Benni McCarthy, who coaches South African Premiership club AmaZulu, has been mentioned as a possible successor to Ntseki.

McCarthy, whose 32 goals for South Africa is a national record, inherited AmaZulu when they were close to the bottom of the table early this season and they have risen to fifth under his guidance.

Clive Barker, coach of the 1996 Cup of Nations-winning team, has hailed McCarthy, calling him a “breath of fresh air”.

“Benni knows the game at the highest level and has played and scored at the highest level. He is now making his mark as a coach.

“He is a coach who should be able to take us forward. He has done really well as a coach and players respond well to him.”

Currently, unemployed Eric Tinkler, a midfielder in the 1996 Cup of Nations team, may also be considered for a post that needs to be filled urgently with 2022 World Cup qualifying beginning on May 31.

South Africa are in the same group as Ghana, Zimbabwe and Ethiopia, and only the team finishing first advance to the final round.

Ghana won and drew against Bafana in the 2021 Cup of Nations qualifiers and can call on Premier League midfielder Thomas Partey and forward Jordan Ayew, and are favoured to win the group.

AFCON 2021: South Africa Eliminated After Losing In Sudan

South African national football team ahead of their 2022 African Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifying match against Ghana at FNB Stadium in Johannesburg on March 25, 2021. (Photo by Phill Magakoe / AFP)

 

South Africa failed to qualify for the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations after losing 2-0 to Sudan Sunday in a final-round Group C match in Omdurman.

Saifeldin Malik gave the hosts a fifth-minute lead in a clash of former African champions by heading past goalkeeper Ronwen Williams off a free- kick.

Mohammed Abdelrahman doubled the lead on 31 minutes, taking advantage of hesitancy by captain Thulani Hlatshwayo before firing past Williams at his near post.

South Africa coach Molefi Ntseki took off star forward Percy Tau just past the hour and surprisingly replaced him with a defender, Sifiso Hlanti, given the desperate need for goals.

READ ALSO: Hamilton Wins Thrilling Season-Opening Bahrain Grand Prix

Ghana defeated Sao Tome e Principe 3-1 in Accra in a match played at the same time to finish first with 13 points, followed by Sudan (12), South Africa (10) and Sao Tome (0).

South Africa have gradually faded as a Cup of Nations force after hosting and winning the competition in 1996 and finishing second and third in the following two editions.

Failure to qualify for the 2021 tournament in Cameroon means Bafana Bafana (The Boys) will miss the finals of the marquee African national team competition for the fourth time in seven editions.

Earlier, Tunisia beat Equatorial Guinea 2-1 in Rades in a match between countries who had already qualified from Group J while Tanzania edged Libya 1-0 in Dar es Salaam in the same section.

Guinea, who secured a place at the 24-team tournament earlier this week, surrendered an unbeaten Group A record when losing 2-1 to Namibia in Windhoek.