Daily Archives: September 26, 2017

South Africa: Premier Supra Mahumapelo Condems and Pleadsfor Calm in Rustenburg Mining Areas

North West Provincial Government has appealed for calm in Rustenburg mining areas following the recent death of yet another shop steward of a mine workers union at Wonderkop Mining family unit. This follows the death of an African male who was found lying down with what looked like a bullet wound in the back of his head as well as on his lower back.

Bokone Bophirima Premier Supra Mahumapelo has condemned the incident and pleaded for calm in the Rustenburg mining areas.

“We can’t continue to kill each other in the manner that this is happening. We need to have a total regard for human life and we must never seize to talk to each other, never mind how difficult the situation is” said Premier Mahumapelo.

According to the victim’s wife, they were visiting friends at another block and upon return, they noticed two males seated at the corner of the building. They passed them and suddenly heard gun shots and the victim fell down.

“Killing each other will never resolve challenges that we are faced with. We must at all times embrace any chance of talking to each other. Our heartfelt condolences to the bereaved family. We wish them strength during this difficult time” concluded Premier Mahumapelo.

According to the South African Police Service (SAPS) the suspects fled the scene and did not rule out the fact that the incident could be union related.

Source: North West Office of the Premier

UN-listed Terror Group Found Collecting Donations for Rohingya in Pakistan

ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN A Pakistan-based group listed as a terrorist outfit by the United Nations and the United States has been openly collecting donations in the name of helping Rohingya Muslims.

People in Rawalpindi received leaflets inside some newspapers Monday requesting donations for the “oppressed Muslims of Burma,” an older name for Myanmar.

The two-sided flyers in the local Urdu language contained an appeal from Jamaat ud Dawa and its charity arm, the Falah e Insaaniyat Foundation.

The piece of paper showed photos of men, women, and children in dire conditions and suggested aid amounts. One family could be helped for three months for approximately $500, according to the piece of paper that included phone numbers to contact. Similarly, an injured person could be treated for approximately $150.

A spokesman for the group, Abdul Rahman, said the group was running its charity drive for the Rohingya Muslims in “every district of Pakistan.”

The leaflets � this is the flip side � from U.N.-listed terrorist group Jamaat ud Dawa asked for donations to help Rohingya Muslims in Bangladesh’s refugee camps.

He also claimed that members of his group were helping the Rohingyas in multiple countries.

“Our brothers have reached Indonesia and have constructed temporary wood and fiber houses for them, arranged for their monthly groceries and set up a bread plant for them,” he said.

Doubts about ads

In addition, Rahman said the FIF members were feeding 63,000 Rohingyas in refugee camps on the shores of River Naf, a river that marks the border between Bangladesh and western Myanmar.

While VOA has not been able to independently verify any of these statements, Ali Ahsan, a Bangladeshi journalist who has been to Cox’s Bazar and has covered Rohingya issues, called these claims “fake news.”

Ahsan called 63,000 “a huge number. If anyone was doing charity at that scale, I would have heard about it.” The only Islamist charity involved in providing any significant aid in that area was the Islamic Movement of Bangladesh, he said.

Similarly, Nupa Alam, a correspondent of Bangladesh’s Channel 24 television news and a native of Teknaf, in the Cox’s Bazar district, said that he knew of no organization called Jamaat ud Dawa or Falah e Insaaniyat that was feeding Rohingyas in that area.

He said the 63,000 figure was “out of the question.”

The eight feeding centers operating in the area, Alam said, were being run by the Bangladesh government and military.

Hasan Askari Rizvi, a political analyst in Lahore, said it was highly unlikely that the current Bangladesh government, with its tense relations with Pakistan and critical stance on Islamists, would tolerate the charitable arm of the Pakistani militant group openly operating in its territory.

There was also no way of knowing where the money was really going, Rizvi said, adding that it was possible that they were collecting donations in the name of Rohingyas but spending the money elsewhere.

Crackdown pledged

A spokesman for the Pakistan government, Musadik Malik, said the Ministry of Interior was aware of the charity drive and had already instructed police to take action against anyone collecting money in the name of these organizations.

The United States has long complained that despite billions of dollars in aid aimed at curbing the influence of banned terrorist groups in the country, some well-known groups such as JuD still operate with impunity. But government spokesman Malik said the administration was serious about cracking down on these groups.

“They had 66 accounts in the country. All of them have been ceased,” he said. “We have canceled licenses of weapons of anyone associated with JuD and taken over their headquarters in Muridke, Punjab, to turn it into a Center for Peace and Development.”

The United Nations has listed JuD as part of Lashkar-e-Taiba, a group that India and the U.S. blame for a devastating series of attacks on the Indian financial capital, Mumbai, in 2008. The coordinated attacks, which lasted several days and killed more than 160 people, brought India and Pakistan to the brink of war.

“LeT has financed terrorist activity and provided training, logistical and infrastructural support to further such activity through its front organization, Jamaat ud Dawa,” according to the U.N.’s website.

Pakistan has placed the leader of JuD, Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, under protective custody since the beginning of the year. However, he has been placed under similar custody before, only to be freed by the country’s courts that said there was insufficient evidence to hold him.

The U.S. has placed a $10 million bounty for information leading to his arrest and prosecution.

Pakistan has faced increasing pressure from the international community to take action against all militant groups, including LeT and JuD.

Last month, U.S. President Donald Trump blasted the country for “housing the very terrorists that we are fighting.”

Earlier this month, Pakistan’s longtime ally and protector China joined Brazil, Russia, India and South Africa in expressing concern about Pakistan-based groups.

“We, in this regard, express concern on the security situation in the region and violence caused by the Taliban, [Islamic State] … , al-Qaida and its affiliates including Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement, Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, the Haqqani network, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammad, TTP and Hizb ut-Tahrir,” the leaders of the BRICS nations, a group of the five emerging economies, said after a summit in Xiamen, China.

Network in Pakistan

Pakistani Foreign Minister Khwaja Asif recently said that the country needed to “put its own house in order.”

That, according to Rizvi, is easier said than done.

“The problem is that these groups have support in the society. They have a huge network,” which was why he said many of the mainstream political parties hesitated in openly criticizing these groups.

“There is a huge ambiguity in the government’s policy towards them,” said journalist Zahid Hussain, who has authored several books on the rise of militant Islam in Pakistan.

Pakistan’s government has placed JuD under observation, but Hussain thought that was more “on paper” than in action.

The group has recently started efforts to formally enter Pakistan’s politics through the launch of a new party called the Milli Muslim League. Pakistan’s English-language daily, the Dawn, called it “the new political face of JuD.”

The party’s candidate, who ran as an independent in a recent by-election in Lahore, had the pictures of Hafiz Saeed on banners for his election campaign.

Rizvi pointed out that the government was going to find it hard to crackdown on JuD while relations between India and Pakistan remained tense.

“If you take this action while India was breathing down your neck, people will say the government caved in to India,” he said.

Relations between the two South Asian rivals are currently extremely tense. At the recent U.N. General Assembly in New York, Pakistan’s prime minister accused India of state-sponsored terrorism and of gross violations of human rights in the disputed Kashmir region.

India’s foreign minister responded by calling Pakistan “the world’s greatest exporter of havoc, death and inhumanity.”

Source: Voice of America

Youth must help unite SA

Minister in the Presidency for Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation, Jeff Radebe, says it is important for young people to start participating in creating a society that is united, with a common vision of realising a prosperous South Africa.

The Minister addressed the official launch of the annual National Development Plan (NDP) school debate and essay competition that was held in Pretoria on Tuesday.

The competition was held as part of the fifth anniversary celebration of the adoption of the NDP under the theme: Define your Ideal South Africa of 2030 and play your part.

He said it was pleasing to see many young people participate in the competition that is very central to the development of the country.

As young people, the future belongs to you, said Minister Radebe, who is also the Chairperson of the National Planning Commission.

He said the society of today’s young people cannot be the same as the society of young people during the system of apartheid.

He encouraged young people to continuously develop and rise above the current challenges of poverty, inequality and unemployment.

As future leaders of the South African society, you have a very important role to play in building your own country in which everyone has a potential to prosper in their own endeavours, he said.

He said the occasion showed that the NDP is futuristic, as youngsters were able to recite the chapters of the NDP, which puts youth at the epicentre of South Africa’s development agenda.

However, the Minister said youth remained the most affected by the triple challenges of unemployment, inequality and poverty.

He called on all sectors of South African society, including business and faith organisations, to channel youth in the right path towards the pursuance of education.

We recognise as government that education is very central in ensuring that we create a prosperous future for our country.

The Minister hosted the competition in partnership with the Department of Basic Education (DBE).

The competition sought to create awareness and educate youth about the NDP 2030 as an overarching plan for the country, highlight the importance of education as one of the country’s priorities and encourage society to play their part in making vision 2030 a success.

Winner

There were about eighteen finalists representing schools across the country, and Sanele Khoza from Malabela High School in KwaZulu-Natal won the first place by scoring about 80% when the judges announced the results of the debate.

Khoza, who is in Grade 11 this year, said winning the competition was a big deal for him as it was his first time entering for a national competition.

This is a new experience in my life, an excited Khoza told SAnews in an interview after receiving his prize.

All it took him was proper research on the topic, and learning as much as he can about what the NDP is about. He asked his teacher to assist him with extra material because he wanted to be prepared for the competition.

Khoza said he did not know much about the NDP until he researched for the competition, and at the beginning of his research it was just about gathering facts, but he eventually realised that the NDP can change a lot of lives when fully implemented.

Source: South African Government News Agency

Ugandan Lawmakers in Brawl Over ‘Life Presidency’ Bill

KAMPALA, UGANDA � A fistfight broke out in Uganda’s parliament Tuesday amid efforts to introduce legislation that could extend the president’s decades-long hold on power.

After opposition lawmakers accused a colleague on the government side of carrying a gun, a brawl broke out in which lawmakers pushed and punched each other before the speaker ordered body searches.

A motion was due to be introduced Tuesday that seeks to remove a constitutional provision that prevents anyone over the age of 75 from running for president, but opposition lawmakers filibustered proceedings by repeatedly singing the national anthem. In the chaotic scenes, the parliamentary speaker adjourned the session until Wednesday.

The move to jettison the age limit is seen as an effort by President Yoweri Museveni, who at 73 is ineligible to run for re-election in 2021, to extend his rule. Museveni himself has ducked the question of whether he is interested in more time in office, saying recently that the matter is not so important.

But critics say behind the scenes he is orchestrating the move by lawmakers to remove the last hurdle to extend his presidency, possibly to rule for life.

Uganda’s ruling party enjoys an overwhelming majority in the national assembly and the bill is expected to pass despite the spirited efforts of some opposition lawmakers who wear red bandanas as a sign of what they say is their resistance to the long rule of Museveni.

Heavy security was deployed in the capital, Kampala, and police fired tear gas and arrested scores Tuesday who demonstrated their opposition to ongoing efforts to remove the age limit from the constitution.

The United States urged Uganda’s government to protect basic freedoms “without fear of intimidation,” and Amnesty International said authorities “must end their absurd attempts to silence people opposed to scrapping the presidential age limit.”

The bill has raised tensions in this East African country that has never seen a peaceful change of power since independence from Britain in 1962.

Museveni, a U.S. ally on regional security, took power by force in 1986 and was re-elected last year in a poll marred by allegations of fraud and voter intimidation.

Although Museveni warned in the past that Africa’s problem was leaders “who want to overstay in power,” he has since said he was speaking about leaders who were not elected.

Source: Voice of America