#AceBreakingNews – More than 440 people have now died after heavy rains in recent days triggered floods and mudslides in South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) province: Rescuers searched for dozens of people still missing in the province on Sunday.
Posted 6h ago, updated 3h ago
The floods have left thousands homeless, knocked out power and water services and disrupted operations at one of Africa’s busiest ports, Durban.
A provincial economic official estimated the overall infrastructure damage at more than 10 billion rand ($927.3 million).
The province’s premier, Sihle Zikalala, said the death toll had risen to 443, with a further 63 people unaccounted for.
In some of the worst-affected areas, residents said they were terrified by the thought of more rain, which was forecast to fall on Sunday.
Some faced an agonising wait for news of missing loved ones.
“We haven’t lost hope. Although we are constantly worried as [the] days continue,” said Sbongile Mjoka, a resident of Sunshine village in the eThekwini municipality, whose eight-year-old nephew has been missing for days.
“We are traumatised by the sight of rain,” Mjoka, 47, told Reuters.
She added that her home had been badly damaged.
In a nearby semi-rural area, three members of the Sibiya family were killed when the walls of the room where they slept collapsed. Four-year-old Bongeka Sibiya is still missing.
“Everything is a harsh reminder of what we lost, and not being able to find [Bongeka] is devastating because we can’t grieve or heal. At this stage we are left feeling empty,” Lethiwe Sibiya, 33, told Reuters.
Floods among worst in province’s history
President Cyril Ramaphosa’s office said late on Saturday that he had delayed a working visit to Saudi Arabia to focus on the disaster.
Ramaphosa will meet cabinet ministers to assess the response to the crisis.
KZN Premier Zikalala told a televised briefing that the floods were among the worst in his province’s recorded history.
“We need to summon our collective courage and turn this devastation into an opportunity to rebuild our province,” he said.
“The people of KwaZulu-Natal will rise from this mayhem.”
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#AceNewsReport – Dec.27: President Cyril Ramaphosa said the churchman’s death marked “another chapter of bereavement in our nation’s farewell to a generation of outstanding South Africans”.
#AceDailyNews RIP Desmond Tutu 🙏 South Africa anti-apartheid hero dies aged 90 Archbishop Tutu had helped bequeath “a liberated South Africa,” he added: Tutu was one of the country’s best known figures at home and abroad…..
A contemporary of anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela, he was was one of the driving forces behind the movement to end the policy of racial segregation and discrimination enforced by the white minority government against the black majority in South Africa from 1948 until 1991.
He was awarded the Nobel prize in 1984 for his role in the struggle to abolish the apartheid system.
Tutu’s death comes just weeks after that of South Africa’s last apartheid-era president, FW de Clerk, who died at the age of 85.
Archbishop Tutu was a contemporary of anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela (r)
President Ramaphosa said Tutu was “an iconic spiritual leader, anti-apartheid activist and global human rights campaigner”.
He described him as “a patriot without equal; a leader of principle and pragmatism who gave meaning to the biblical insight that faith without works is dead.
“A man of extraordinary intellect, integrity and invincibility against the forces of apartheid, he was also tender and vulnerable in his compassion for those who had suffered oppression, injustice and violence under apartheid, and oppressed and downtrodden people around the world.”
The Nelson Mandela Foundation was among those paying tributes, saying Tutu’s “contributions to struggles against injustice, locally and globally, are matched only by the depth of his thinking about the making of liberatory futures for human societies.
“He was an extraordinary human being. A thinker. A leader. A shepherd.”
It is impossible to imagine South Africa’s long and tortuous journey to freedom – and beyond – without Archbishop Desmond Tutu. While other struggle leaders were killed, or forced into exile, or prison, the diminutive, defiant Anglican priest was there at every stage, exposing the hypocrisy of the apartheid state, comforting its victims, holding the liberation movement to account, and daring Western governments to do more to isolate a white-minority government that he compared, unequivocally, to the Nazis.
When democracy arrived, Tutu used his moral authority to oversee the Truth and Reconciliation Commission that sought to expose the crimes of the white-minority government. Later he turned that same fierce gaze on the failings, in government, of South Africa’s former liberation movement, the ANC.
Many South Africans today will remember Tutu’s personal courage, and the clarity of his moral fury. But as those who knew him best have so often reminded us, Tutu was always, emphatically, the voice of hope. And it is that hope, that optimism, accompanied, so often, by his trademark giggles and cackles, that seems likely to shape the way the world remembers, and celebrates, Archbishop Desmond Tutu.
Known affectionately as The Arch, Tutu was instantly recognisable, with his purple clerical robes, cheery demeanour and almost constant smile.
He was not afraid to show his emotions in public, including memorably laughing and dancing at the opening ceremony of the football World Cup in South Africa in 2010.
Despite his popularity though he was not a man who was loved by all. He was very critical of the government in the post-apartheid era, when, at times, he felt it was misrepresenting South Africa.
Ordained as a priest in 1960, he went on to serve as bishop of Lesotho from 1976-78, assistant bishop of Johannesburg and rector of a parish in Soweto. He became Bishop of Johannesburg in 1985, and was appointed the first black Archbishop of Cape Town the following year. He used his high-profile role to speak out against oppression of black people in his home country, always saying his motives were religious and not political.
After Mandela became South Africa’s first black president in 1994, Tutu was appointed by him to a Truth and Reconciliation Commission set up to investigate crimes committed by both whites and blacks during the apartheid era.
He was also credited with coining the term Rainbow Nation to describe the ethnic mix of post-apartheid South Africa, but in his latter years he expressed regret that the nation had not coalesced in the way in which he had dreamt.
But in a country as racially charged as South Africa, her stance has not gone down well with some people. When Ms Griesel announced her SRC candidacy in September, one social media user described her as a “race traitor”.
Twenty-seven years after the end of white-minority rule – when Nelson Mandela was elected as president in South Africa’s first democratic election, calling the country “the rainbow nation” – Ms Griesel tells me the backlash shocked her.
AFP: Nelson Mandela led the African National Congress (ANC) into government in 1994: Being called a race traitor was something that I found very interesting and very telling about South Africa today. It insinuates that there’s still an ‘us’ and a ‘them’ club.”……..
To understand the reaction she has faced – one needs to understand how the EFF has shaken up politics in South Africa.
Formed in 2013, it is led by the fiery Julius Malema, who has modelled himself on Venezuela’s late President Hugo Chavez and unapologetically promotes the interests of poor black South Africans.
The party describes itself as “a left-leaning, radical, anti-imperialist and economic emancipation movement, inspired by the broad Marxist-Leninist school of thought.”
Members are disruptive, literally and figuratively.
They are often accused of being anti-white. That is because they have repeatedly demanded that white South Africans give up the land taken from black people.
Some EFF supporters occasionally sing the apartheid-era chant “Kill the Boer, kill the farmer”, a highly controversial song that a court ruled as hate speech and which is seen as being directed against the white farming community.
What is undoubtedly the case is that “Red Berets” are unhappy with the status quo.
A few years ago, EFF MPs memorably shook the establishment by their antics in parliament, which is dominated by the African National Congress (ANC) – the liberation movement that has governed since the end of apartheid.
Getty ImagesEFF MPs go to parliament in miners or maids uniforms
The male MPs were dressed in red construction overalls, their female counterparts were in red dresses and white aprons – the signature EFF uniform representing workers.
The nation watched the theatrics on national television as the speaker of parliament tried in vain to calm the situation.
They were demanding that then-President Jacob Zuma, who has been embroiled in corruption allegations for years, give back taxpayers’ money for cash spent renovating his private home.
The former head of state has since returned some of that money and denies any wrongdoing, but he is emblematic of the problems the ANC has faced over the last few years.
With local elections to be held on Monday, the governing party faces a trust deficit, especially following the nationwide power outages of recent months and years.
The rolling blackouts are crippling an economy that has already been bludgeoned by the Covid-19 pandemic.
As a result, the rate of joblessness now stands at a record 34.4%.
The main opposition party – the Democratic Alliance (DA), which traditionally has a white support base – wants to capitalise on the ANC’s failures.
It has repeatedly claimed it governs the most efficient municipalities in the country.
But empirical evidence paints a different reality: areas dominated by people who are not white, such as the Cape Flats, Nyanga and Gugulethu, in the DA-run Western Cape, are rocked by alarming murder rates, gangsterism and joblessness.
Like Ms Griesel, the EFF hopes voters will want to cause an upset.
‘You can’t pretend to be blind’
Her success during the university vote – she was one of 15 people elected to the council – proves just how popular she is among her peers.
“I plan to be the eyes, ears and voice of the students and continue to represent them to the best of my ability,” says the teenager, who is studying politics, philosophy and economics.
Although born eight years after the fall of apartheid, Ms Griesel says she has always been aware of the legacy of its racist policies.
Getty ImagesSouth Africa is Africa’s most industrialised economy – but it is also one of the world’s most unequal
“I grew up in a family that, from a very young age, allowed me to question things. When you live in South Africa you see things.
“You can’t pretend to be blind to the inequalities and the socio-economic issues that South Africa presents.”
She is referring to joblessness and poverty in black communities.
But that is not the only factor that gave birth to her activism: “I went to a high school where there was plenty of blatant racism and inequality.
“So, ever since then, I have adopted the idea that everyone who had a historic part in creating the inequalities of today, has a personal responsibility to take ownership and try to be a part of dismantling the systemic racism and oppression that still exists in South Africa today.”
People see pro-black parties such as the EFF as anti-white parties, and that’s not the case”Jess Griesel Cape Town University student
Ms Griesel wonders why those who have trolled her do not understand that her race should not decide how she acts.
“People see Black Lives Matter and they think that means white lives don’t matter.
“It’s the same insinuation that people see pro-black parties such as the EFF as anti-white parties, and that’s not the case.”
As a white person Ms Griesel, however, remains very much an outlier.
This does not mean there has not been change.
“In university spaces there are a lot more white EFF students,” she says.
But the reality is that the group she is referring to is quite small.
There is still a long way to go before South Africa sheds its skin of identity politics.
Mpho Lakaje is a journalist based in Johannesburg.
#AceNewsReport – Aug.17: The tragedy, which took place at Hwange National Park, reportedly occurred Aug. 5 after an unnamed American had allegedly tracked down the majestic 12-year-old Mopane with the help of Dennis Nyakane, a guide for South African hunting operator Chattaronga Safaris, according to online reports. He had also allegedly enlisted the services of Dinguzulu Safaris ZTA HOP 0257, the same operator responsible for the infamous killing of Cecil the lion in 2015.
#AceDailyNews says that a beloved lion Mopane has reportedly been killed by an American Hunter in Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park
“The perverse pleasure some people derive from killing iconic animals brought this noble lion’s life to a tragic end,” Kitty Block, president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States, told The Post of the incident. “Another trophy hunter spending tens of thousands of dollars on a globe-trotting, thrill-to-kill escapade shows humanity at its worst.”
The Post has attempted to contact the alleged US hunter, who is the subject of an aggressive social media watchdog campaign despite the fact that his identity has not been confirmed at this point.
As with Cecil, the coalition of big-game hunters had used bait to lure the male lion to Antoinette, a hunting concession bordering the unfenced Hwange National Park. This was reportedly the same spot where Cecil was allegedly gunned down six years ago.
It was unclear whether the lion was eventually killed with another arrow or a bullet; however, he reportedly survived for a full day following the shot before finally succumbing to his injuries. Mopane’s actual time of death is unknown.
It remains unclear if Mopane was intentionally lured to his death or if he simply happened upon the bait. However, the regal beast was apparently known to cross boundaries as his territory straddled both the park and game preserve.
It was at Tolstoy Farm that Mr Kallenbach drew my attention to a problem that had never before struck me. As I have already said, some of the boys at the Farm were bad and unruly. There were loafers, too, amongst them. With these, my three boys came in daily contact, as also did other children of the same type as my sons. This troubled Mr Kallenbach, but his attention was centred on the impropriety of keeping my# boys with these unruly youngsters. One day he spoke out: ‘Your way of mixing your boys with the bad ones does not appeal to me. It can have only one result. They will become demoralized through this bad company.’ I do not remember whether the question puzzled me at the moment, but I recollect what I said to him: ‘How can I distinguish between my boys and the loafers? I am equally responsible for both. The youngsters have come because I invited them. If I were to dismiss them with some money, they would immediately run off to Johannesburg and fall back into their old ways. To tell you the truth, it is quite likely that they and their guardians believe that, by having come here, they have laid me under an obligation. That they have to put up with a good deal of inconvenience here, you and I know very well. But my duty is clear. I must have them here, and therefore my boys also must need to live with them. And surely you do not want me to teach my boys to feel from today that they are superior to other boys. To put that sense of superiority into their heads would be to lead them astray. This association with other boys will be a good discipline for them. They will, of their own accord, learn to discriminate between good and evil. Why should we not believe that, if there is anything good in them, it is bound to react on their companions? However that may be, I cannot help keeping them here, and if that means some risk, we must run it.’ Mr Kallenbach shook his head. The result, I think, cannot be said to have been bad. I do not consider my sons were any the worse for the experiment. On the contrary, I can see that they gained something. If there was the slightest trace of superiority in them, it was destroyed and they learnt to mix with all kinds of children. They were tested and disciplined. This and similar experiments have shown me that, if good children are taught together with bad ones and thrown into their company, they will lose nothing, provided the experiment is conducted under the watchful care of their parents and guardians. Children wrapped up in cottonwool are not always proof against all temptation or contamination. It is true, however, that when boys and girls of all kinds of upbringing are kept and taught together, the parents and the teachers are put to the severest test. They have constantly to be on the alert. ~
#AceHealthReport – June.02: From now on the WHO will use Greek letters to refer to variants first detected in countries like the UK, South Africa and India:
#CoronavirusNewsDesk – #WHO renames UK and other variants with Greek letters & UK variant for instance is labelled as Alpha, the South African Beta, and the Indian as Delta
The WHO said this was to simplify discussions but also to help remove some stigma from the names: But India asks social media firms to remove reference to ‘Indian variant’ of coronavirus: NEW DELHI, May 21 (Reuters) – India’s information technology (IT) ministry has written to all social media companies asking them to take down any content that refers to an “Indian variant” of the coronavirus, according to a letter issued on Friday which was seen by Reuters.
The World Health Organization said on May 11 that the coronavirus variant B.1.617, first identified in India last year, was being classified as a variant of global concern.
The Indian government a day later issued a statement saying media reports using the term “Indian Variant” were without any basis, saying the WHO had classified the variant as just B.1.617.
In a letter to social media companies on Friday, the IT ministry asked the companies to “remove all the content” that names or implies “Indian variant” of the coronavirus.
“This is completely FALSE. There is no such variant of Covid-19 scientifically cited as such by the World Health Organisation (WHO). WHO has not associated the term ‘Indian Variant’ with the B.1.617 variant of the coronavirus in any of its reports,” stated the letter, which is not public.
A senior Indian government source told Reuters the notice was issued to send a message “loud and clear” that such mentions of “Indian variant” spread miscommunication and hurt the country’s image.
The IT ministry could not be reached for comment.
Around the world, coronvirus variants have generically been referred to by doctors and health experts on the basis of where the are identified. This includes South Africa and Brazil variants.
A social media executive said it would be difficult to take down all content using the word as there would be hundreds of thousands of such posts, adding that “such a move would lead to keyword based censorship going forward.”
The Indian government is facing increased criticism over its handling of the coronavirus pandemic, with Prime Minister Modi and state authorities being blamed for not adequately planning for the ongoing second wave of coronavirus infections.
India has the second-highest tally of COVID-19 cases in the world and has been reporting around 250,000 infections and 4,000 deaths daily. (Reporting by Aditya Kalra in New Delhi; Editing by Angus MacSwan)
Earlier this month the Indian government criticised the naming of variant B.1.617.2 – first detected in the country last October – as the “Indian variant”, though the WHO had never officially labelled it as such.
“No country should be stigmatised for detecting and reporting variants,” the WHO’s Covid-19 technical lead, Maria Van Kerkhove, tweeted. She also called for “robust surveillance” of variants, and for the sharing of scientific data to help stop the spread.
Letters will refer to both variants of concern, and variants of interest. A full list of names has been published on the WHO website.
These Greek letters will not replace existing scientific names. If more than 24 variants are officially identified, the system runs out of Greek letters, and a new naming programme will be announced, Ms Van Kerkhove told STAT News in an interview.
“We’re not saying replace B.1.1.7, but really just to try to help some of the dialogue with the average person,” she told the US-based website. “So that in public discourse, we could discuss some of these variants in more easy-to-use language.”
It is thought to spread more quickly than the Alpha (UK; Kent) variant, which was responsible for the surge in cases in the UK over the winter.
Vietnam, meanwhile, has detected what appears to be a combination of those two variants. On Saturday, the country’s health minister said it could spread quickly through the air and described it as “very dangerous”.Why do new variants of Covid-19 keep appearing? The BBC’s Laura Foster explains
#AceNewsReport – May.08: Prince Misizulu, 46, was named in the will of Zulu Queen Mantfombi Dlamini-Zulu – his mother – who died unexpectedly last week: There were dramatic scenes as the will was read out, with some family members openly voicing their disapproval:
Prince Misizulu named next Zulu king amid family feud: Queen Dlamini-Zulu was buried earlier on Friday in a private ceremony in South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal province: Prince Misizulu had to be led away from the meeting by armed security: The reading took place at the KwaKhangelamankengane Royal Palace on Friday evening, and was televised.
3 hours ago
South Africa’s Sunday Times reports that the new leader’s brother, Prince Thokozani, stood up to question the recognition of Prince Misizulu as heir. He was reportedly shouted down by other relatives.
AFP: Queen Dlamini-Zulu died unexpectedly at the age of 65
She had been appointed regent of the Zulus, South Africa’s largest ethnic group, after the death of her husband the king in March.
The throne does not have formal political power and the monarch’s role within broader South African society is largely ceremonial. But the Zulu monarchy remains hugely influential, and has a yearly taxpayer-funded budget of more than $4.9m (£3.5m).
King Zwelithini, who died from diabetes-related complications at the age of 72, had six wives and at least 26 children. But he picked Queen Dlamini-Zulu as his successor because she was the only wife with royal blood.
The queen’s death, at 65, has triggered a power struggle over the succession.
The royal family has dismissed rumours that she was poisoned as a misunderstanding. The cause of the queen’s death is yet to be announced.
Prince Misizulu is now expected to lead the Zulu nation of about 11 million people.
SOUTH AFRICA: Zulu Queen: Hundreds of mourners hold parade ahead of funeral: Queen Shiyiwe Mantfombi Dlamini Zulu, 65, became interim leader of the country’s largest ethnic group last month after the death of her husband, King Goodwill Zwelithini: The cause of the queen’s death is yet to be announced by the royal family.
15 hours ago
The family has dismissed rumours that she had been poisoned.
Queen Mantfombi’s death has triggered a bitter family feud and a power struggle over the succession.
A decision on who will now lead the Zulu nation of about 11 million people is expected after her funeral.
The queen will be buried in a private ceremony at KwaKhangelamankengane Royal Palace in a town about 480km (300 miles) from Johannesburg on Thursday.
There was a heavy police presence near the palace, where cows have been slaughtered to feed mourners who had gathered to pay their respects.
Meanwhile, Zulu men carrying spears and young women wearing traditional dress gathered outside a mortuary in Johannesburg. They were expected to accompany Queen Mantfombi’s remains in preparation for the burial.
Wearing leopardskin ponchos and headbands, the Zulu men were singing and dancing as they made their way to the mortuary.
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has declared a state funeral for Queen Mantfombi.
She was named regent by her late husband, King Zwelithini, who died from diabetes-related complications at the age of 72 on 12 March.
The longest-reigning Zulu monarch, King Zwelithini had six wives and at least 26 children. But he picked Queen Mantfombi as his successor because she was the only wife with royal blood.
A legal challenge has been launched by some members of the royal family who have questioned the authenticity of the king’s will.
The throne does not have formal political power and the monarch’s role within broader South African society is largely ceremonial. But the Zulu monarchy remains hugely influential with a yearly taxpayer-funded budget of more than $4.9m (£3.5m).
AFP: Queen Mantfombi Dlamini was supposed to be regent until a permanent successor was named
Who was Queen Mantfombi?
Queen MaDlamini Zulu held the highest status among the king’s wives, as she came from royalty.
She was the sister of Eswatini’s King Mswati III – Africa’s only absolute monarch.
Queen MaDlamini Zulu had eight children – including five sons – with the late king.
Their eldest son, 47-year-old Prince Misuzulu, is the favourite to take the throne, reports say.