Daily Archives: December 4, 2017

South Africa: Attack On Police Condemned and Manhunt Launched On Six Heavily Armed Suspects – Ritavi

The management of the South African Police Service in Limpopo condemns in the strongest possible terms the seemingly unrelenting attacks on police members, the latest of which took place in the early hours of this morning at around 03h00. A 35 year old constable attached to Sekgosese police station was allegedly subjected to a harrowing experience when six heavily armed suspects stopped her along the road just outside Khutywana village outside Tzaneen and robbed of cash at gun point.

The suspects, armed with rifles, diverted and escorted her towards Mohlaba village where she was ordered to stop. They then searched the vehicle and took an amount of cash that was in the vehicle. As if that was not enough, the victim was again ordered and escorted to her house at Khutywana village and on arrival she was ordered to open the safe. The suspects then robbed her the money that was in the safe, her official 9mm pistol and a cellphone. They left the scene without firing a shot. The victim was not injured during the robbery.

The Provincial Commissioner Lieutenant General Nneke Ledwaba reflected on the latest incident and instructed the police to hunt down these criminals. “In the recent past, we have already lost a Lieutenant Colonel and a Warrant Officer at the hands of criminals and incidents like this deserves condemnation by all law-abiding citizens,” said General Ledwaba. “As members of the South Aftican Police Service, we cannot tolerate any attacks on our members as these are clearly aimed at causing havoc and lawlessness. We call on all our communities to assist the police in isolating and arresting these heartless culprits,” concluded General Ledwaba.

Source: South African Police Service

One of World’s Largest Diamonds Fetches $6.5M to Aid Sierra Leone

NEW YORK One of the world’s largest diamonds was sold for $6.5 million by Sierra Leone on Monday to fund local development projects, dealing a blow to smugglers in the West African nation.

The egg-sized, 709-carat diamond found by a Christian pastor was bought at auction in New York by Laurence Graff, a British billionaire and jeweler, according to the Rapaport Group, an international diamond trading network that handled the sale.

Of the proceeds of the stone dubbed the “Peace Diamond,” the government will get 59 percent or about $3.9 million in tax revenue to fund clean water, electricity, schools, health centers and roads, said Martin Rapaport of the Rapaport Group.

“As a government, particularly in Africa, it has always been the narration of corruption, and the mineral wealth is not benefiting the people,” said Abdulai Bayraytay, a spokesman for Sierra Leone President Ernest Bai Koroma, at a news conference.

The auction marked the first time a diamond found in Sierra Leone was put up for public sale, and state officials said they hope it will be a step toward ending the illicit diamond trade.

Diamonds fueled civil war in Sierra Leone in the 1990s, when rebels forced civilians to mine the stones and bought weapons with the proceeds, leading to the term ‘blood diamonds.’

The United Nations lifted a ban on diamond exports from Sierra Leone in 2003, but the multi-million dollar sector is still plagued by smuggling.

The balance of the proceeds will go to a local group overseeing the development projects, the pastor and other miners who found the gem and gave it to the government, Rapaport said.

“It will encourage all the diggers back home,” Chief Paul Ngaba Saquee, head of Sierra Leone’s eastern Kono district, where the diamond was found in March, told the news conference.

“Instead of being ripped off in some dark corners when they find their diamonds, that they will bring it and put it on the table in front of the government,” he said in New York. “Maybe this is going to be the beginning of a new day in Sierra Leone.”

A first effort to sell the diamond failed in May when Sierra Leone rejected the highest bid of $7.8 million.

This time, the stone was shown to some 70 potential buyers and seven bids were submitted, according to Rapaport.

Source: Voice of America

SASSA offices remain open for business during December

The South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) has assured beneficiaries of social grants that all SASSA offices will remain open for business during December and will only close on public holidays.

Social grant payments for December are currently being made and the process will continue until 15 December at SASSA pay points. Beneficiaries, who use ATMs and shops for drawing their grants, can do so till 22 December 2018. This was done to allow beneficiaries to do their Christmas purchases ahead of the usual festive season rush, SASSA said.

The agency said it was concerned by the increasing number of scams and false information targeting beneficiaries of social grants.

This follows the latest false information circulating that SASSA offices will be closed during December and that beneficiaries will not receive their January payments.

All SASSA offices will remain open for business during December and will only close as usual on public holidays like Christmas, Boxing Day and New Year, the agency said.

Acting CEO of SASSA, Pearl Bhengu, urged all social grant recipients to remain vigilant at this time of the year, and never disclose their card details to anyone, including PINs and ID numbers.

I also want to take this opportunity to wish all beneficiaries of social grants a safe and happy festive season, Bhengu said.

From January 2018, social grant payments will be paid as usual from the first day of every month.

Source: South African Government News Agency

EASTERN AFRICA STANDBY FORCE CONCLUDES DRILLS IN EASTERN SUDAN

GEBEIT, SUDAN, The Eastern Africa Standby Force (EASF) has concluded a field training exercise, codenamed “Mashariki Salaam II”, at the Gebeit military base in eastern Sudan.

The drills were launched with participation of combat units from Sudan, Somalia, Djibouti, Kenya, Uganda, Seychelles, Comoro Islands, Ethiopia, Rwanda and Burundi.

Sudanese Defence Minister Awad ibn Auf, addressing the exercise’s closing ceremony here Sunday, said the EASF was ready to confront terrorist elements active in some countries of the sub-region.

“The mechanism of the Eastern Africa multinational forces is in contact with regional and international forces to intervene at all levels,” he said.

Noting that “some of the eastern African countries are still experiencing internal conflicts and terrorist operations”, he added: “I assure that it is time to face these challenges.”

In the meantime, EASF Head of Mission, Ambassador Issimail Chanfi, said: “This exercise has confirmed that the EASF is moving to higher levels of professionalism, and indeed the EASF has the capability to effectively deploy in a real peace operation mission.”

He added that the exercise had actualized the capacity for the EASF to operate in a multidimensional and multinational setup.

“Indeed the isolated environment of Gebeit was ideal for maximum concentration, where the levels of co-operation and team spirit among the exercise participants was quite impressive,” he noted.

Established in 2004, the EASF is one of the five sub-regional multi-dimensional forces of the African Standby Force, and assigned to enhance peace and security in the eastern African region.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK

Minister Ayanda Dlodlo visits Plettenberg Bay as part of Imbizo Focus Week

The Minister of Home Affairs, Ms Ayanda Dlodlo, on Monday, 04 December 2017, visited the community of Plettenberg Bay as part of the Imbizo Focus Week.

The Minister handed over birth certificates to newborn babies at the Knysna Provincial Hospital. This is part of the campaign to encourage early birth registration.

“We need to intensify the campaign and awareness about the importance of registering births”, said the Minister.

She also visited a victim empowerment centre at KwaNokuthula police station. Here she interacted with victims of domestic violence and also handed over smart ID cards to also raise awareness about the campaign to switch to a safer smart ID card.

Early registration of birth within 30 days seeks to maintain the integrity of the National Population Register by ensuring that the only point of entry is through birth registration while the introduction of the Smart ID card consolidates government’s objective to restore the identity, citizenship and dignity of all South Africans.

Source: Government of South Africa