Tag: Free State

Interpol Releases Red Notice Against Guptas

The net is slowly but surely tightening on Atul Gupta and Rajesh Gupta, as well as many others linked to a multi-million rand Free State agriculture fraud case.  All the accused are set to face charges relating to alleged fraud in connection with the Estina dairy project, totaling around R25 million.

Interpol on Monday released a so-called red notice against the Guptas and others, the global crime-fighting body’s most severe alert to law enforcement agencies around the world. Those listed include Gupta family members and four other associates, all of whom are understood to currently be in the United Arab Emirates or in India.

Attorney Ulrich Roux said that the timing was perfect as South Africa’s extradition treaty with the UAE comes into effect in three days’ time, which changes the game in favour of South Africa.

“This week it will be in full force and effect and if they are arrested there that extradition treaty and agreement between South Africa and Dubai would assist in having them extradited to South Africa if they were to be arrested,” Roux said.

Meanwhile, former president Jacob Zuma, an alleged former associate of the Guptas, is heading to court today for his stay of arrest appeal.

Farmer Suffers Severe Burns in Runaway Fires

Massive widespread damage have been reported after fires destroyed over 100,000 hectares of farmland in the Free State. Reportedly the fire started during a service delivery protest on Monday. Strong winds and dry grassland have sustained the fires that spread far and wide, destroying everything in its path. Game and Livestock have fallen victim to the flames, while infrastructure and private property was decimated. Tewie Nel, a 28-year-old farmer, was trapped in the fire while attempting to put it out. Nel is fighting for his life in a Bloemfontein hospital after sustaining second and third degree burns over 40% of his body. Tewie’s father, a former Orthopaedic Surgeon, spoke to media: “Both is hands and arms, both legs, his back, his side and stomach were burnt and he sustained second-degree burns to his face.” The fires were the worst seen in the province for years. Jack Armor of the Free State Agricultural Organisation said: “In some situations, cattle ran as far as seven farms to escape the fired. Although there was no loss of life, we are aware of farmers who have suffered serious burns and we wish them a speedy recovery.” The Freedom Front Plus released a statement claiming that protesting Tokologo residents started the fire when they torched a water tank. Fires spread quickly from there. “Commercial as well as emerging farmers in the area already suffered severe losses prior to the fires due to the long drought and the current poor economic climate. These farmers will not be able to recover from the millions of rand of damage caused by the fires on their own without government aid,” said FF Plus provincial leader Jan Van Niekerk. Police spokesman Brigadier Motantsi makhele said JoJo tanks were damaged and 17 people appeared in the Hertzogville Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday on charges of public violence and malicious damage to property. “They were all granted R1,000 bail each…seven of them could not afford it and had to remain in custody pending their next court appearance on 5 November,” he said.  

Mother Poisons Herself and Children

Police confirmed an incident where a mother allegedly poisoned her five children and herself. A six month old baby was the only child to survive. The tragedy unfolded in the Phamong Village,  Qwa-Qwa over the weekend. Mangale Mabaso, Pheelo (9), and Teboho (6) were declared dead at the scene. Mangale’s mother found her daughter and grandchildren lying on the floor unconscious and immediately called an ambulance.

The police’s Motantse Makhele said: “She apparently left her house and returned to her parents’ home with her kids. It was on Saturday when her mother found her 29-year-old daughter and her five children lying on the floor. An ambulance was called and the mother and two kids, aged 6 and 9, were declared dead on the scene.”

The other two children died later in the hospital. Mangale’s six-month-old baby was the only one to survive. The mother allegedly poisoned herself and the children after an argument with her partner.

Racial Tension must be Stopped – Modise

The National Assembly Speaker, Thandi Modise, urged parliamentarians to help defuse racial tension in communities.  This in response to the angry crowd that stormed the Senekal Magistrate Court where two men appeared for the murder of the young farmer, Brendin Horner.  A 52-year-old farmer was arrested for allegedly being involved in arson and vandalising state property. Bheki Cele welcomed the news of the arrest of the man and called for more arrests to be made.

Thandi Modise stated that racial tensions could not be allowed to escalate and called on all public representatives to be alert to what is happening in cities, towns and rural areas. “Honourable, members we can’t allow for racial tensions to escalate. We really, really owe it to this country to be the people who temper high feelings, [who] give direction, who smooth things out and to give explanations,” she urged the National Assembly’s Programming committee.  The agricultural community’s emotions reached boiling point when yet another brutal attack resulted in the death of Brendin Horner.

“I don’t think what is beginning to happen in this country is good, I don’t think any of us want to see any escalation of racial tensions. So, we begin to really pray and fight for South Africa – and for South Africa to survive on all of these things.”   Modise urged all public representatives to pray for the country.  The police was  also criticised for failing to act during the riot at Senekal on Tuesday morning where a police vehicle was overturned and set alight, allegedly by white farmers.  

Meanwhile the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) have indicated that they would be present when the two men appeared in court next week which could further stir up racial tension in the Free State Community.

Breaking News – Sodi’s Cars Seized

Edwin Sodi, the director of Blackhead Consulting, has been at the centre of the Free State Asbestos scandal.  His company was awarded a tender of R255-million to audit and remove asbestos roofs in the Free State.  Sodi, along with his six co-accused appeared in the Bloemfontein Magistrates Court on the 2nd of October.  They are facing around 60 charges relating to the Asbestos contract.

 

Meanwhile, the National Prosecuting Authority’s Asset Forfeiture Unit has seized several luxury vehicles belonging to Edwin Sodi’s company in Bryanston today.  Among the vehicles seized is a Ferrari, a Porsche and a Bentley.  The Asset Forfeiture Unit is attaching assets that were allegedly purchased using cash from the 2014 asbestos scandal.  Sipho Ngwema, spokesperson for the NPA, said the curator’s office was conducting the operations.  “They were at business earlier today at Peter Place. They were also on his property in Bryanston where they are moving movable property, which is going to be attached in terms of the order. But also, they are attaching the houses, which in terms of the order, he can still have custody of, but is not allowed to do any alterations.”

It is expected that as much as 25 vehicles could be seized and placed under lock and key, pending the outcome of the criminal case against Sodi.  A range of other assets were also attached, and bank accounts freezed.  The NPA reported that R300-million in assets and cash have been frozen.  Apart from Sodi, ousted Mangaung Sarah Mlamleli, Nthimotse Mokhesi, Head of Free State human settlements department, John Matlakal, Sello Radebe, Abel Manyeki and Thabane Zulu are all suspects facing the court.

The luxury vehicles could be seen driving from Blackhead Consulting’s offices in Bryanston, while the media and citizens took pictures and videos.

National News – South Africa on a Knife Edge

As the Zondo commission progresses in its high level corruption case, it seems that the future of South Africa may well be decided this week.  Will the country become a full blown Mafia state or a Banana Republic?  Will we emerge as a successful stable country with a strong and growing economy?

Raymond Zondo, the Deputy Chief Justice of South Africa

The Zondo commission will be approaching the court to order former president Jacob Zuma to submit to questioning in the state capture case.  As investigations progress and new evidence comes to light,  the country has begun to understand the overwhelming endemic corruption that has been running rampant in the government.  Several government officials have already been implicated in corruption and it has become clear that many are still involved even now.  The pandemic and resultant lockdown has served more than one purpose in the end – Firstly as a response to a pandemic with the capacity to destroy economy, and secondly, exposing the blatant corruption of senior officials in local and national government.

Observers mostly agree that the NPA has become very adamant that corruption must be identified and the perpetrators prosecuted.  Testimony this week has suggested that individuals were placed in a position of power as pawns, tasked with keeping the top brass informed and involved on all levels.  It has become apparent that assassination is commonplace now and any person involved runs the risk of being executed.

Former President of South Africa, Jacob Zuma

One of the issues that needs to be addressed immediately, is the practice to award tenders to companies that do not possess the knowledge or the manpower to do the job at hand. These companies sources other businesses to do the actual work, with the result that the state end up paying much more than it should.  Often the contractor that was responsible for the work before the tender was awarded to someone else, ends up being contracted to do exactly what they have always done.   The Free State housing project was one such case.  An exorbitant amount of money was paid without a single brick being laid.  Several officials have already been arrested.

The future of the people of South Africa hangs in the balance now.  Will the poor continue to be robbed, will government officials continue to abuse their power for personal financial gains?  An entire country waits with bated breath to see whether, for once, the people of this country will be considered as most important.

National News – “We will Rape You”

Nine attackers threatened to rape a Gauteng farmer’s children if he refused to cooperate and give them what they wanted.  The farmer has 4 children, aged between 6 and 18.  Paul da Cruz and his wife and four children were attacked on their Westonaria farm in Gauteng on Friday morning.  Da Cruz has stated that the attackers directly threatened his children with rape and added that he wanted his family to get into counselling as soon as possible to deal with the trauma of the attack.  Several firearms and laptops were stolen during the attack. Warrant Officer Peter Masooa, the police spokesperson, confirmed the incident.

Police minister Bheki Cele sparked outrage when he recently termed farm murders as “not a priority crime”.  Cele argued that farm attacks usually refer to incidents classified as aggravated robbery on a farm dwelling.  “The most serious of these crimes are grouped into a category and is referred to as contact crimes and include murder, attempted murder, sexual offences, assault with the intent of causing grievous bodily harm, common assault and aggravated robbery.”

The young Free State Farmer, Brendin Horner, who was killed recently

Meanwhile, the brutality of the attacks have become more and more inhumane and the agricultural sector is under strain to force the government to act against these brutal attacks.  Recently, two suspects were arrested for the brutal murder of Brendin Horner, a young Free State farmer. He was found dead in an open space in Paul Roux around 06:30 on Friday morning, tied to a pole with a rope around his neck and serious injuries to his face and head.  A knife was found near the scene.  The two suspects, aged 32 and 43, will appear in the Senekal Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday.

In another case, three men appeared in the Delmas Magistrate’s Court in connection with the murder of Chantel Kershaw, a local 44-year-old farmer.   Chantel was strangled to death before they went inside the house, where they assaulted her mother and locked a female employee in the bathroom.  They stole several belongings and fled the scene in the family’s Chevrolet bakkie.

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Tame Communications (known as tame TIMES) was established in 2009. This long-established popular community title includes the key shopping centres:  Alberton City, Mal...

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