South Africa

Suspects accused of huge South African bank theft appear in court

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Seven suspects accused of taking 2.3 billion rand ($132.43 million) from VBS Mutual bank in 2018 said they would plead not guilty to 47 counts of fraud, theft, corruption and racketering when they appeared in a South African court on Thursday.

The National Prosecuting Authority has called it probably the biggest bank robbery in South Africa’s history.

An eighth suspect did not appear because he was under COVID-19 quarantine.

Floyd killing finds echoes of abuse in South Africa, Kenya

CAPE TOWN, South Africa (AP) — Collins Khosa was killed by law enforcement officers in a poor township in Johannesburg over a cup of beer left in his yard. The 40-year-old black man was choked, slammed against a wall, beaten, kicked and hit with the butt of a rifle by the soldiers as police watched, his family says.

Nelson Mandela Foundation calls for end to "structural violence" against black people in U.S.

CAPE TOWN, June 5 (Xinhua) -- Nelson Mandela Foundation on Thursday condemned police brutality against the black people in the United States, where the death of African American George Floyd has set off turbulent mass protests.

"More than 1,000 Black people die at the hands of police in the U.S. every year," the foundation said, adding "mass incarceration, predictive policing, targeted surveillance and a host of other tools render Black lives more vulnerable than all others."

South Africa: Court rules some corona lockdown restrictions invalid

PRETORIA, June 4 (NNN-AGENCIES) - A South African high court declared some of the government’s coronavirus lockdown regulations unconstitutional but suspended the order for 14 days, leaving the rules in place for now.

South Africa introduced in March one of the world’s most restrictive COVID-19 lockdowns – including a ban on alcohol and cigarette sales – but has gradually eased restrictions down to the third of five levels.

US unrest: Former African presidents condemn Floyd killing

COTONOU, June 2 (NNN-AGENCIES) — Former African presidents have condemned the killing of George Floyd as violent protests continue in the US following his death in police custody.

The Forum of Former Heads of State and Government has urged African countries to “raise a strong protest” to the killing and demand that the “perpetrators of this crime and all other crimes of this sort be punished in the strongest terms”, according to a statement released by former Beninese President Nicéphore Soglo.

South Africa postpones reopening of schools after teachers unions defy return-to-work order

PRETORIA, June 1 (NNN-AGENCIES) — South Africa has pushed back Monday’s reopening of schools by a week, the Department of Basic Education said, saying that a substantial number are not ready to welcome back pupils.

The plan for grades 7 and 12, the last years of primary and secondary school respectively, to return on Monday backfired after teachers’ unions and governing associations urged school staff to defy the government order, saying schools did not have protective equipment (PPE) to keep educators and pupils safe.

China to give Africa 30 million corona test kits monthly: Ramaphosa

PRETORIA, June 1 (NNN-AGENCIES) — China will give Africa 30 million test kits per month, as well as 10,000 ventilators and 80 million masks, South African president Cyril Ramaphosa disclosed on Sunday during a virtual meeting with top editors in the country.

He did not specify when this initiative will start or how long it would run. Beijing has sent logistic and human resource support to a number of African countries since the pandemic arrived on the continent.

South African Airways cannot afford to pay salaries

PRETORIA, May 29 (NNN-AGENCIES) — South African Airways (SAA) has said it does not have money to pay its employees their May salaries.

About 5,000 employees have been on unpaid leave since the beginning of May.

The only money employees can expect to receive this month is from the unemployment insurance fund, the aviation organiser at the Solidarity trade union, Derek Mans, said.

The team rescuing the struggling airline originally wanted to dismiss the 5,000 staff.

That was stopped by the labour court but they have now been allowed to appeal that ruling.

South Africa declares National Day of Prayer on May 31

PRETORIA, May 28 (NNN-AGENCIES) — South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has declared May 31 as the National Day of Prayer to strengthen national unity in fighting COVID-19.

“On this day, wherever we may be, I call upon you to turn your thoughts to all who have been affected by this pandemic,” the president said in a televised address, adding that the National Day of Prayer is dedicated to the remembrance of those who are working to keep South African safe, and those who are suffering and grieving.

South Africa scientists say up to 50,000 COVID-19 deaths possible

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South Africa could see up to 50,000 coronavirus deaths and as many as 3 million infections by the end of the year as the southern hemisphere winter leads to a higher rate of infection, scientific models showed on Thursday.

The country already has the highest number of infections and deaths on the continent, with more than 18,000 identified cases and 339 deaths, but a national lockdown entering its eighth week had slowed infections.

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