The South African

Today’s latest news and headlines, Thursday 24 September


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While South Africa celebrates Heritage Day — with many heading the president’s call to perform the ‘Jerusalema’ dance in celebration of the country’s rich culture — Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula prepares to elaborate on restrictions facing international travel during Level 1 lockdown.


South Africa celebrates Heritage Day

South Africans are urged to embrace the country’s complex cultural makeup on Heritage Day, which was officially recognised as a public holiday in 1995. Prior to South Africa’s painful transition to democracy, 24 September was celebrated as Shaka Day to honour the legacy of Zulu King Shaka.

During his latest address, announcing the country’s move to Level 1 lockdown following six tumultuous months emanating from the coronavirus pandemic, President Cyril Ramaphosa called on all South Africans to celebrate Heritage Day with a musical phenomenon, saying:

“There can be no better celebration of our South African-ness than joining the global phenomenon that is Jerusalema dance challenge. So I urge all of you to take up this challenge on Heritage Day and show the world what we are capable of.”

Ramaphosa is expected to deliver a keynote address under the banner of “Celebrating South Africa’s Living Human Treasures”.

South Africans have been urged to celebrate responsibly, with Police Minister Bheki Cele banning the off-site sale of alcohol on 24 September and reminding the country of a looming ‘second wave’ of COVID-19 infections. Cele added that the 00:00 to 04:00 curfew would be enforced.

ANC’s ‘official send-off’ for Songezo ‘Madiba’ Mjongile

The ruling African National Congress (ANC) will spend Heritage Day honouring the party’s former provincial secretary, Songezo “Madiba” Mjongile, who lost his battle to cancer on Thursday 17 September. Tributes have poured in for Mjongile, who was regarded as a leading figure in the party’s search for ethical renewal associated with the ‘national democratic revolution’.

The ANC confirmed that it would honour Mjongile with an official ‘send-off’ on Heritage Day. Party Treasurer Paul Mashatile is expected to deliver the main eulogy at the Gugulethu Comprehensive School in the Western Cape. The ANC added:

“Friends and Comrades of Songezo including those who served with him at various levels of the movement are also expected to pay homage.”

Mbalula in Cape Town to discuss Level 1 travel

Transport Minister Mbalula will spend his Heritage Day in Cape Town, holding a media briefing at the city’s International Airport, where he is expected to elaborate on travel restrictions associated with Level 1 lockdown. Mbaula is expected to provide clarity on the issue of international travel — listing both permitted and restricted regions — following the country’s hard lockdown, first implemented in March, which barred all globetrotting apart from repatriation flights.

Mbalula previously noted that international travel, while allowed, would need to follow strict protocols, including mandatory COVID-19 testing and flights limited to and from regions regarded as ‘low risk’.

Ruling party may be slapped with R260 000 bill for ‘abusing’ SANDF plane

The ANC may be hit with a hefty flight bill for using a plane owned and operated by the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) to facilitate a trip to Zimbabwe. The delegation, which included at least eight high-ranking ANC members, led by General Secretary Ace Magashule, initially denied that it had abused state resources by using military transport in its mission to meet with the ruling party in Zimbabwe, Zanu-PF.

Following the public outcry, the ANC admitted that it had travelled in an ‘unusual manner’ and vowed to reimburse the Defence Force for using its aircraft.

In addition the laying criminal charges against the ANC delegation, the Democratic Alliance’s (DA) Shadow Minister of Defence, Kobus Marais, noted that the ruling party may be forced to cough up at least R260 000. Marias noted:

“This amount, however, does not include payment for landing rights, parking fees or on-board catering.”

Marais said that the repayment would not absolve the ANC of wrongdoing and that criminal charges would continue to be pursued.


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