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S Africa’s ANC says officials charged with graft must step aside | News

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South Africa’s governing party executive has decided at a weekend meeting that party officials formally charged with corruption and other serious crimes must step aside from their posts, President Cyril Ramaphosa has said.

The African National Congress (ANC) has been buffeted in recent weeks by reports of corruption during the coronavirus crisis, with state investigators probing irregularities in government tenders worth 5 billion rands ($297m).

In a statement read out on Monday by Ramaphosa, the governing party ordered members who are formally charged with corruption to “immediately step aside from all leadership positions in the ANC, in legislatures and other government structures pending the finalisation of their cases”.

The ANC will put in place a mechanism for leaders to make regular declarations of financial interests, and guidelines will be developed on ANC leaders and their families doing business with government and public entities, added Ramaphosa, who had set up a ministerial committee to investigate alleged corruption in state tenders earlier this month.

Reports of suspect deals between government officials and businesses providing medical equipment, as well as food aid parcels to the poor, have sparked outrage in the country. 

South Africa’s anti-corruption watchdog said earlier in August it was investigating irregularities in these contracts, the latest in a series of high-profile corruption scandals involving politically connected individuals.

Healthcare workers and unions say corruption is contributing to poor delivery of services and putting lives at risk.

While the government has given contracts to service providers for personal protection equipment (PPE), the prices have been inflated. In other instances, PPE has not been delivered at all or contracts have been given to companies and people connected to the government and the ANC.

The Special Investigating Unit (SUI), a government agency, said 102 companies in the province of Gauteng alone are under investigation. While in other provinces, officials have been suspended and investigations have begun, but no one has yet been charged or prosecuted.

“It’s difficult to put numbers on it because the stories are still coming out and, unfortunately, because of the lack of having good protection and preventive measures in place we may only know of the extent of the looting six or eight months down the line,” Karam Singh, head of legal and investigations at Corruption Watch, told Al Jazeera earlier in August.

Ramaphosa‘s chief spokeswoman, Khusela Diko, is also embroiled in a scandal involving her husband Thandisizwe. His company has been accused of winning a $7m contract to supply PPE through his political connections. Diko has taken special leave and she and her husband deny breaking any laws.

Zuma attack

Stung by allegations of corruption during the COVID-19 pandemic, Ramaphosa wrote to ANC members earlier this month saying its “leaders stand accused of corruption” and that the ANC “does stand as accused number one”.

Last week, his scandal-hit predecessor Jacob Zuma called Ramaphosa’s letter “fundamentally flawed” and a bid to please the country’s white minority.

“I implore you to take responsibility without insulting our movement and its members, who have committed no crime of corruption as they sit waiting for the ever-elusive better life for all,” said Zuma in his leaked letter.

“You write, for your own desires to plead for white validation and approval,” Zuma said.

Ramaphosa said he had not yet responded to Zuma’s letter.

“I don’t even know what the reasoning [was] … and will not even publicly entertain issues that are raised in the letter,” the president said.

The ANC said the seemingly “choreographed campaign against the president will not distract the movement from undertaking and intensifying” its fight against corruption.

SOURCE:
Al Jazeera and news agencies



Source – www.aljazeera.com

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21 workers trapped in flooded mine in China’s Xinjiang | China News

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CCTV says rescuers have located 12 of the 21 trapped miners.

Eight miners have been rescued and 21 remain trapped in a coal mine in China’s Xinjiang region after flooding cut power underground and disrupted communications, according to state media.

The accident happened in Fengyuan coal mine in Hutubi County on Saturday evening, when staff were upgrading the site, the official Xinhua news agency said.

Rescuers had located 12 of the 21 trapped miners, broadcaster CCTV said, but it was unclear if they were all together.

Rescue personnel were trying to pump water from the flooded shaft and have been piping air into the mine.

Pipes were being laid but the pumping operation was going to be challenging, CCTV said.

Mining accidents are common in China, where the industry has a poor safety record and enforcement of regulations is often lax.

In January, 22 workers were trapped in a mine in east China’s Shandong province after an explosion damaged the entrance, leaving workers stuck underground for about two weeks.

Eleven men were pulled out alive, 10 died and one miner remained unaccounted for.

In December, 23 miners died after being trapped underground in the southwest city of Chongqing – just months after 16 others died from carbon monoxide poisoning at another coal mine in the city.



Source – www.aljazeera.com

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African Champions League: CR Belouizdad join Sundowns in quarter-finals

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Amir Sayoud in action for Algerian club CR Belouizdad
Amir Sayoud opened the scoring for Algerian club CR Belouizdad as they beat South African hosts Mamelodi Sundowns 2-0.

Algerian champions CR Belouizdad earned the win they needed over hosts Mamelodi Sundowns of South Africa to clinch a place in the African Champions League quarter-finals.

Amir Sayoud took his tally in the competition to seven when he gave Belouizdad the lead over Sundowns in Pretoria on 29 minutes.

That advantage was doubled just before half-time as Ahmed Gasmi headed home a cross from Zinelaabidine Boulakhoua.

It was a measure of revenge for the Algerians who were embarrassed by Sundowns on home soil in the reverse fixture when the South Africans won 5-1 in February.

In Friday’s other Group B game DR Congo’s TP Mazembe, who were already out of contention to make the last eight came from behind to clinch a 2-1 win over Sudan’s Al Hilal.

The Sudanese club had needed a win to have any chance at all of progressing.

Al Hilal made the ideal start in their bid to win against former African champions Mazembe – Eid Mugadam gave them the lead after just two minutes in Lumbumbashi – but 16 minutes later Hilal contributed to their own downfall as Ivorian defender Mohamed Ouattara scored an own goal to level the game at 1-1.

Mazembe won the game thanks to a goal from Isaac Tshibangu, who scored just moments after he came on as substitute.

The draw for the quarter and semi-finals will be held on 30 April at the Confederation of African Football’s headquarters in Cairo.

Friday’s Group B results:

  • TP Mazembe (DR Congo) 2-1 Al Hilal (Sudan)
  • Mamelodi Sundowns (South Africa) 0-2 CR Belouizdad (Algeria)



Source – www.bbc.co.uk

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Ghana's farmers eye sweet success from chocolate

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Ghana is the world’s second largest cocoa producer but sees little of the profits from chocolate – for now.



Source – www.bbc.co.uk

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