South Africa’s Zuma Absent From Graft Hearing

Former South Africa’s President,  Jacob Zuma

 

South Africa’s Jacob Zuma, recently granted medical parole, on Tuesday failed to appear in court for the resumption of a graft trial, as prosecutors argued ill health did not justify his absence.

Two weeks ago, Zuma, 79, was released on medical parole two months into a 15-month prison sentence for refusing to answer questions in a separate corruption probe into his 2009-18 presidency.

He was due in court on Tuesday for the resumption of the trial involving an arms purchase in 1999, when he was deputy president.

But the ex-leader was nowhere to be seen when proceedings kicked off at the Pietermaritzburg High Court in the southeastern KwaZulu-Natal province, stoking ire among fed-up prosecutors.

“Attendance in court is not optional,” said state advocate Wim Trengove, contesting an instruction from Zuma to “carry on with his case without him”.

Details of Zuma’s medical condition have been kept confidential. He was hospitalised from jail in early August and underwent surgery later that month.

Tuesday’s hearings resumed after a 10-day delay to allow state-appointed doctors to assess evidence of Zuma’s condition alongside his own medical team.

Trengove noted a “difference of opinion” between doctors, with state medics finding Zuma “fit to stand trial”.

He asked Judge Piet Koen to request the confidential documents and assess their findings in order to rule on the next course of action.

“They are going to be handed in and I’m going to lock them away,” Koen replied.

Zuma’s lawyer Dali Mpofu argued for confidentiality and privacy, accusing the prosecution of being “vultures… hovering” over the ailing Zuma by seeking to have their doctors physically examine him.

Zuma faces 16 counts of fraud, graft and racketeering related to the purchase of fighter jets, patrol boats and equipment from five European arms firms.

He is accused of taking bribes from one of the firms, French defence giant Thales, which has also been charged with corruption and money laundering.

Both have denied wrongdoing.

The trial started in May after numerous postponements as Zuma’s legal team battled to have the charges dropped.

They have also unsuccessfully asked the Constitutional Court to rescind his prison sentence.

On Monday evening, Zuma slammed South Africa’s “constitutional dictatorship” and vowed to fight “injustice”.

The hearing continues on Wednesday.

Johannesburg Mayor Dies In Car Accident

The late Jolidee Matongo. Photo: South Africa Presidency/Facebook

 

The mayor of Johannesburg was killed in a car accident as he returned from campaigning with South Africa’s president on Saturday, just over a month after being elected, his office said in a statement.

Jolidee Matongo, 46, was returning from a voter registration drive in Soweto township ahead of local elections when the accident happened.

“It is hard to comprehend this tragedy, given the vitality and passion with which Mayor Matongo interacted with me and residents of Soweto so shortly before his death,” President Cyril Ramaphosa said in a tweet.

“Nothing could prepare any of us for this sudden loss, which has deprived our nation’s economic centre of its second Executive Mayor in two months.”

READ ALSO[COVID-19] South Africa Announces ‘Vaccine Passport’ Plans, Eases Restrictions

Matongo’s predecessor died from Covid-19 complications in July, and Matongo was elected on August 10.

Gauteng province premier David Makhura, who was also at the Soweto voter registration drive, said the news had left him “shocked and shattered”.

“(Matongo) executed his duties with a cool and calm demeanour and remained committed to selflessly serving the citizens of Johannesburg,” he added.

Photos posted on social media by Ramaphosa and Matongo himself from earlier in the afternoon showed the two men walking around Soweto talking to residents, Matongo dressed in a bright yellow tracksuit with the African National Congress party’s logo on it.

Matongo was born in Soweto, according to the City of Johannesburg’s website, and became a member of the ANC Youth League after taking up student politics at the age of 13.

Matongo’s office said more details on the accident would be released “in due time”.

AFP

South Africa’s Top Court Stands By Order To Jail Zuma

In this file photo taken on July 04, 2021 Former South African president Jacob Zuma addresses the media in his home in Nkandla, KwaZulu-Natal. Emmanuel Croset / AFP

 

South Africa’s highest court on Friday stood by its order to imprison Jacob Zuma, accusing the former president of “litigious skullduggery” in a scathing ruling that accused him of undermining the courts.

The case however does not affect Zuma’s release on medical parole earlier this month, which sparked an uproar amid allegations of irregularities in the parole process.

His jailing in July sparked the worst outbreak of political violence since the end of apartheid, as his supporters staged violent protests that devolved into widespread looting of malls and warehouses.

The 79-year-old had asked the Constitutional Court to rescind its decision to sentence him to 15 months in prison for refusing to answer questions in a corruption investigation.

“The application for recision is dismissed,” said Justice Sisi Khampepe.

Zuma’s lawyers had argued that the decision should be rescinded because he had not attended the proceedings.

“The majority emphatically reject any suggestion that litigants can be allowed to butcher of their own will a judicial process which in all respects has been carried out with the utmost degree of regularity, only to later plead the absent victim,” Khampepe said.

The ruling accused Zuma of “litigious skullduggery” in seeking to set aside his prison sentence.

READ ALSO: [COVID-19] South Africa Announces ‘Vaccine Passport’ Plans, Eases Restrictions

This case did not consider Zuma’s release on medical parole on September 6.

Zuma, who retains pockets of support with the ruling African National Congress, was president from 2009 to 2018.

He took office after being acquitted of raping a friend’s adult daughter and his administration was plagued by multiple scandals.

His time in office became known as “state capture” for allegedly giving out political favours and mis-spending, which are the focus of a three-year public inquiry.

Zuma’s refusal to appear before the inquiry is what led the Constitutional Court to order his 15-month imprisonment. Because the court’s orders cannot be appealed, Zuma sought to have it “rescinded.”

Zuma’s claims “are devoid of merit,” the judge said.

AFP

COVID-19: South Africa Announces ‘Vaccine Passport’ Plans, Eases Restrictions

File photo: President of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa addresses a public meeting. RODGER BOSCH / AFP

 

South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa on Sunday announced plans to introduce Covid-19 “vaccine passports” amid widespread scepticism of the jab, ahead of an easing of movement restrictions this week.

After sluggish vaccine procurement and a delayed roll out, Africa’s worst-hit country for Covid is now struggling with low take-up, particularly among men.

In a televised address to the nation, Ramaphosa stressed that an immunised adult population was key to fully reopening the economy and avoiding a fourth infection wave.

In two weeks, we will “be providing further information on an approach to ‘vaccine passports’, which can be used as evidence of vaccination for various purposes and events”, he said without providing further details.

But he added that “a sustained decline in infections… over the last few weeks” would allow for an easing of confinement measures from Monday.

A night-time curfew will be shortened, starting at 11:00 pm instead of 10, and limits on indoor and outdoor gatherings will be increased.

Restrictions on the sale of alcohol will also be relaxed, although face masks remain mandatory in public.

– Vaccination the priority –

South Africa has passed the peak of a stubborn third infection wave driven by the Delta coronavirus variant, said Ramaphosa.

The average number of daily new infections has been 29 percent lower over the past seven days than during the previous week, and 48 percent lower than the week before that, he added.

“Our most urgent task is to vaccinate our population,” he said, noting that jab supplies “were no longer a constraint”.

“If many people are not vaccinated… the chance of new and more dangerous variants emerging if far greater,” he warned.

Just over seven million people in South Africa have been fully vaccinated to date, with more than a quarter of all adults jabbed with at least one dose.

The country aims to inoculate 40 million South Africans — around two thirds of the population — by March next year.

Authorities have recorded more than 2.8 million coronavirus cases since the pandemic hit, of which at least 84,877 of been fatal.

Scientists in the country have been keeping tabs on a new homegrown variant with an unusually high mutation rate dubbed C.1.2., although its frequency remains low.

AFP

South Africa’s Ex-President Zuma Granted Medical Parole

(FILES) In this file photo taken on July 04, 2021, former South African president Jacob Zuma addresses the media in his home in Nkandla, KwaZulu-Natal. Emmanuel Croset / AFP

 

South Africa’s former president Jacob Zuma, jailed for 15 months in July for contempt of court after snubbing graft investigators, was placed on medical parole Sunday just two months into his term, prison authorities announced.

Zuma, 79, has been hospitalised since August 6 at a health facility outside the prison where he had been incarcerated for ignoring a court order to testify before a judicial panel probing corruption during his nine-year tenure, which lasted until 2018.

The Department of Correctional Services said in a statement on Sunday that Zuma’s “medical parole” took effect on Sunday and he will serve the rest of the 15-month prison sentence outside jail.

Zuma “will complete the remainder of the sentence in the system of community corrections, whereby he must comply with a specific set of conditions and will be subjected to supervision until his sentence expires,” the statement said.

The decision was motivated “by a medical report” the department received, it said.

Zuma was admitted to hospital for observation on August 6 for an undisclosed condition, and underwent a surgical procedure on August 14. He remains hospitalised.

 

‘Dignity’

The prison authorities appealed to South Africans to “afford Mr Zuma dignity as he continues to receive medical treatment”.

He started serving his sentence on July 8 at the Estcourt prison, around 180 kilometres (110 miles) northwest of Durban. Two weeks later, he was allowed to leave prison to attend his brother’s funeral at his rural home in the town of Nkandla.

His jailing sparked a spree of unprecedented violence and looting of businesses and shops in post-apartheid South Africa, resulting in millions of dollars worth of damage and losses.

His successor Cyril Ramaphosa described the unrest as an orchestrated attempt to destabilise the country and vowed to crack down on alleged instigators.

Earlier on Sunday a handful of veterans of the ruling ANC’s armed struggle wing Umkhonto we Sizwe, who have staunchly stood behind Zuma in recent years, disrupted a eulogy by party chairman Gwede Mantashe at a funeral of one of group’s leaders, chanting for Zuma to be freed from jail.

Zuma’s spokesman Mzwanele Manyi told AFP that while he had not spoken to the former president since the news broke, “he should have been relieved, anyone can only be elated when this happens”.

He said Zuma’s “unconstitutional” imprisonment had worsened his health.

“It (has) had an exponential impact in terms of deteriorating his condition,” he said while refusing to divulge the illness.

The largest opposition Democratic Alliance party slammed the parole as “entirely unlawful and makes a mockery” of prison regulations.

Meantime, Zuma’s long-running corruption trial over an arms deal dating back more than two decades was last month postponed to September 9, pending a medical report on his fitness to stand trial.

Proceedings have been repeatedly postponed for more than a decade as Zuma has fought to have the charges dropped.

Zuma faces 16 counts of fraud, graft, and racketeering related to the 1999 purchase of fighter jets, patrol boats, and equipment from five European arms firms when he was deputy president.

He is accused of taking bribes from one of the firms, French defence giant Thales, which has been charged with corruption and money laundering.

South Africa Declines Request To Take In Afghan Refugees

 

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

 

 

 

South Africa said it has declined a request to host Afghans who have fled into Pakistan to escape the Taliban, as it is already accommodating “a substantial number” of refugees from other countries.

The government said it had been approached “to consider receiving a number of Afghanistan refugees who have sought refuge in Pakistan.”

“The request is that they be accommodated in South Africa en route to their final destinations,” the foreign ministry said in a statement late Wednesday.

“The South African Government is unfortunately not in a position to accommodate such a request.”

It said the country “is already home to a substantial number of refugees and is seized with addressing their needs.

“Most of them already benefit from the Social Assistance and free medical health programmes offered by our country.”

The most industrialised nation on the continent, South Africa is a major destination for economic migrants from neighbouring countries and beyond.

The country also boasts one of the world’s most progressive refugee policies, which helped attract more than a million asylum-seekers between 2007 and 2015.

But the processing of their paperwork was backlogged even before the pandemic and most find themselves stuck in limbo after applications are rejected, according to rights groups.

The Taliban celebrated Tuesday after the last US troops left the country, ending 20 years of war.

The Islamists’ return to power forced Western countries to evacuate their citizens and Afghans likely to face reprisals from the Taliban for having worked for the foreign forces in the country.

“In terms of international law, the well-being of the refugees is best served by remaining in the first country arrival – Pakistan – pending their final destinations,” the South African statement said.

Uganda last week accommodated 51 Afghan evacuees.

The east African country said it would provide them with temporary refuge following a request from the US government to temporarily host “at-risk” Afghan nationals and others who are in transit to other destinations.

South Africa Scientists Monitoring New COVID-19 Variant

A medical worker collects a sample to be tested for the Covid-19 coronavirus ahead of the new semester at a primary school in Shenyang in China’s northeastern Liaoning province on August 30, 2021.
STR / AFP

 

Scientists in South Africa are monitoring a new coronavirus variant with an unusually high mutation rate, and whose frequency has gradually increased in recent months, the National Institute for Communicable Diseases said Monday.

The variant, known as C.1.2., was flagged last week by the KwaZulu-Natal Research and Innovation and Sequencing Platform in a preprint study that has yet to be peer-reviewed.

While the majority of South Africa’s coronavirus cases are currently caused by the Delta variant — first detected in India — C.1.2. caught scientists’ attention because its mutation is almost twice as fast as observed in other global variants.

Its frequency remains relatively low, however, and it has so far been detected in less than three percent of genomes sequenced since it was first picked up in May — although this has increased from 0.2 to two percent last month.

NICD scientists on Monday said C.1.2. was only “present at very low levels” and that it was too early to predict how it might evolve.

“At this stage, we do not have experimental data to confirm how it reacts in terms of sensitivity to antibodies,” NICD researcher Penny Moore said during a virtual press briefing.

But “we have considerable confidence that the vaccines that are being rolled out in South Africa will continue to protect us against severe illness and death,” she added.

So far C.1.2 has been detected in all nine of South Africa’s provinces, as well as in other parts of the world including China, Mauritius, New Zealand, and Britain.

It is however not frequent enough to qualify as a “variant of interest” or a “variant of concern” such as the highly transmissible Delta and Beta variants, which emerged in South Africa late last year.

South Africa is the continent’s hardest-hit country with over 2.7 million Covid cases reported to date, of which at least 81,830 have been fatal.

The Beta variant drove a second wave of infections in December and January, and the country is now grappling with a persistent third Delta-dominated wave predicted to overlap with a looming fourth.

-AFP

Teen Pregnancies Surge In South Africa Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

A pregnant student poses on July 29, 2013 in Pretoria at the Pretoria Hospital School specialised in teenage pregnancy. The Pretoria Hospital School, a Public School opened in 1950 and originally dedicated to sick children, is the only school of its kind in South Africa. AFP PHOTO / STEPHANE DE SAKUTIN
A pregnant student poses on July 29, 2013 in Pretoria at the Pretoria Hospital School specialised in teenage pregnancy. The Pretoria Hospital School, a Public School opened in 1950 and originally dedicated to sick children, is the only school of its kind in South Africa. AFP PHOTO / STEPHANE DE SAKUTIN

 

 

Coronavirus lockdown measures in South Africa have limited young girls’ access to contraception and abortion, resulting in a surge in teenage pregnancies, Save the Children said Tuesday.

The number of children born to teen mothers in Gauteng, South Africa’s most populous province, has increased by at least 60 percent since the pandemic hit, the charity said in a statement, noting that over 930 of those mothers were younger than 14.

Overwhelmed clinics, school closures and stay-at-home laws rolled out since coronavirus reached South Africa in March 2020 have combined to make it difficult for teenagers to access sexual and reproductive health services.

More than 23,000 girls younger than 18 have given birth in Gauteng between April 2020 and March 2021, according to government figures cited by Save the Children, compared to 14,577 girls aged 19 and below during the same period the previous year.

“The global pandemic risks being a time of irreversible setbacks and lost progress for girls,” the charity’s national manager on health and nutrition, Marumo Sekgobela, said.

“Unless we act fast and decisively, the impact on girls’ futures… will be devastating,” he added.

Teenage mothers are often stigmatised, forced to drop out of school and pushed into early marriage, the statement said. Their babies also have lower survival rates and likelier to be neglected, adding to the country’s social and economic costs in addition to the human consequences.

The charity urged the government to remove “barriers” accessing services and called on families, religious and traditional leaders to support teenagers’ rights to reproductive health.

South Africa’s health facilities are grappling with a third wave of coronavirus infections and a partial lockdown is still in place.

Schools have not resumed to full capacity, with students rotating between face-to-face and online lessons.

Gauteng is home to over 15 million people — a quarter of South Africa’s population — and includes both the administrative capital Pretoria and financial hub Johannesburg.

Ramaphosa Testifies Before Judicial Panel On Corruption

Cyril Ramaphosa delivers a speech during his inauguration as South African President, at Loftus Versfeld stadium in Pretoria, on May 25, 2019.
File photo: Cyril Ramaphosa delivers a speech during his inauguration as South African President, at Loftus Versfeld Stadium in Pretoria, on May 25, 2019.

 

South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa on Wednesday resumed his much-anticipated testimony in front of a judicial inquiry into corruption, a month after his predecessor was jailed for ignoring the same investigators.

It is Ramaphosa’s second time appearing before the panel, which has been probing the alleged mass looting of state coffers during former president Jacob Zuma’s 2009-2018 tenure.

Zuma started serving a 15-month prison term last month for contempt of court after he refused to appear before the commission, which has been hearing evidence for three years.

Ramaphosa will be answering questions as both the former deputy president under Zuma and as the current head of state.

The inquiry is a result of a 2016 investigation by the country’s ombudswoman which found evidence that Zuma allowed the Guptas, a wealthy Indian migrant business family who won lucrative contracts with state companies, undue influence over the government.

Ramaphosa, who served as Zuma’s deputy president for four years from 2014 before succeeding him in February 2018, came to power vowing to fight corruption.

During his first appearance before the commission in April, Ramaphosa admitted that corruption had taken hold within the ruling African National Congress party that has governed the nation since the end of the apartheid in 1994.

“State capture took place under our watch as the governing party,” he said back then, adding that it involved some ANC members and leaders.

The graft inquiry will make recommendations to prosecutors when it concludes at the end of September.

Although attendance at the hearing was limited due to Covid-19 restrictions, opposition Democratic Alliance party leader John Steenhuisen and Ramaphosa’s wife Tshepo Motsepe were among those in the gallery.

AFP

South Africa’s Zuma Hospitalised Ahead Of Graft Trial

 In this file photo taken on July 04, 2021 Former South African president Jacob Zuma addresses the media in his home in Nkandla, KwaZulu-Natal. Emmanuel Croset / AFP

 

South Africa’s former president Jacob Zuma, jailed for contempt of court last month, was admitted to hospital on Friday, less than a week before he is due in court for a separate graft trial.

The Department of Correctional Services “can confirm that former president Jacob Zuma has today, 6 August 2021, been admitted to an outside hospital for medical observation”, it said in a statement.

Zuma, 79, is scheduled to attend the resumption of a long-running corruption trial on August 10.

The hearing will include a plea to drop 16 charges of fraud, graft and racketeering against him related to the 1999 purchase of fighter jets, patrol boats and equipment from five European arms firms when he was deputy president.

He is accused of taking bribes from one of the firms, French defence giant Thales, which has been charged with corruption and money laundering.

Proceedings have been repeatedly postponed for more than a decade, sparking accusations of delaying tactics.

READ ALSO: Two Pregnant Women, 194 Other Migrants Rescued Off Libya

Former South African president Jacob Zuma addresses the media in his home in Nkandla, KwaZulu-Natal on July 4, 2021.  Emmanuel Croset / AFP

 

In a separate case, Zuma was handed a 15-month jail sentence in late June for snubbing a commission probing state corruption under his 2009-19 presidency.

He started serving the sentence on July 8 at Estcourt prison, in the east of the country.

Zuma’s legal team had used a range of reasons to turn down invitations to testify, including alleged bias, preparations for the graft trial and medical concerns.

The former leader travelled to Cuba last year to receive treatment for an undisclosed illness.

No reason was given for the hospitalisation on Friday, apart from that it was prompted by “a routine observation”.

Zuma has already been allowed to leave prison for 24 hours to attend his brother’s funeral last month.

His imprisonment sparked a spree of violence and looting in his home KwaZulu-Natal province and the financial capital Johannesburg.

AFP

Cyber Attack Hits South Africa’s Port Terminals

File Photo: Molise Molise / AFP.

 

South Africa’s state-owned logistics firm Transnet says its main port terminals have been hit by a major cyber attack, prompting it to turn to a rarely-invoked clause releasing it from liability.

In a letter to its customers, dated Monday, the company said it was declaring force majeure — a clause that prevents a party from fulfilling a contract because of external and unforeseen circumstances.

It said it had “experienced an act of cyber-attack, security intrusion and sabotage, which resulted in the disruption of… normal processes and functions.”

READ ALSO: British Museum To Restore Objects damaged in Beirut Blast

The attack has affected ports in Durban — the busiest in sub-Saharan Africa — as well as Cape Town, Port Elizabeth and Ngqura, Transnet said in the “confidential” notice seen by AFP on Tuesday.

The attack began on July 22 but continued, forcing the firm to switch to manual systems.

“Operations at the container terminals are still running albeit slower than expected,” it said.

AFP

Brazil Held As South Africa’s Qualification Hopes Hang In Olympic Football


Ivory Coast’s goalkeeper Eliezer Ira (2nd R) makes a save during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games men’s group D first round football match between Brazil and Ivory Coast at the Yokohama International Stadium in Yokohama on July 25, 2021. Yoshikazu TSUNO / AFP

 

Reigning champions Brazil were held to a goalless draw by the Ivory Coast in the men’s Olympic football competition on Sunday, while Andre-Pierre Gignac’s hat-trick in a 4-3 win over South Africa kept France’s hopes alive.

Brazil, who won gold for the first time five years ago on home soil in Rio, could have moved to the brink of qualification for the knock-out stage in Yokohama but were denied by a stubborn Ivory Coast.

It could have been worse, though, as they had to play more than an hour with 10 men after Aston Villa midfielder Douglas Luiz’s 13th-minute red card for bringing down Youssouf Dao when he was through on goal.

Eboue Kouassi’s late dismissal evened up the numbers, but the Ivorians held on as former Barcelona winger Malcom missed a late chance for the South Americans.

Brazil lead Group D on goal difference ahead of their final game of the opening phase against Saudi Arabia, who lost 3-2 to Germany to be eliminated from the competition.

Felix Uduokhai’s 75th-minute goal gave Germany, who had Amos Pieper sent off midway through the second half, a crucial three points.

The Germans, looking to win men’s gold for the first time as a unified nation, will reach the next round with victory over the Ivory Coast in three days’ time.

France would have been staring at an early exit with a slip-up against South Africa, but veteran striker Gignac rescued Les Bleus in a pulsating match in Saitama.

The Group A encounter burst into life after a goalless first half, which saw South African midfielder Luther Singh miss a penalty, as Kobamelo Kodisang put the underdogs ahead eight minutes after the restart.

The 35-year-old Gignac, captaining France in Japan, levelled shortly afterwards, only for Evidence Makgopa to restore South Africa’s slender lead in the 72nd minute.

Former Marseille star Gignac, who last played for the French senior team in 2016, equalised again.

Teboho Mokoena thought he had won the match with just nine minutes to play with a wonderful curling strike that flew in off the crossbar, but Gignac slotted home his fourth goal of the tournament from the penalty spot five minutes later.

READ ALSO: Fans Urged To Stay Away From Olympic Marathon Over COVID-19 Fears

France almost ‘on plane back’ 


France’s players celebrate their fourth goal during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games men’s group A first-round football match between France and South Africa at Saitama Stadium in Saitama on July 25, 2021. Kazuhiro NOGI / AFP

 

There was still time for France to snatch a winner, as Gignac found Teji Savanier to drill in a low strike in the second minute of added time.

“After each South African goal it felt a little more like we were on the plane back,” said Gignac, who has played for Mexican club Tigres since 2015.

“We saw the joy after Teji’s goal and we gave ourselves a final against Japan. With heart, we can do well. We don’t want to return to France.”

South Africa, who were hit by two players testing positive for Covid-19 in the Olympic Village before the tournament started, will need to beat Mexico in their last group game and hope Japan get the better of France to have any chance of making the last eight.

 


South Africa’s players react to their defeat during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games men’s group A first-round football match between France and South Africa at Saitama Stadium in Saitama on July 25, 2021. Kazuhiro NOGI / AFP

 

The hosts held on to register their second straight win with a 2-1 success against Mexico, who are second above France on goal difference.

Goals from Real Madrid youngster Takefusa Kubo and Ritsu Doan put them in control inside the first 11 minutes and it proved enough despite Roberto Alvarado halving the deficit.

Spain moved to the top of Group C as Mikel Oyarzabal’s late strike — their first goal of the tournament — downed Australia 1-0. Argentina beat Egypt 1-0.

In Group B, Honduras came from behind to beat New Zealand 3-2 and South Korea thrashed 10-man Romania 4-0 to leave all four teams on three points.

AFP