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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 

South Africa to strengthen measures against illegal mining: minister

CAPE TOWN South Africa (Xinhua) -- South Africa is to strengthen measures to deal with illegal mining, Minister of Mineral Resources Gwede Mantashe said on Thursday.

Illegal mining poses many dangers to society, in terms of health and safety, infrastructure damage as well as costs to the industry and economy, Mantashe told the National Council of Provinces, the upper house of Parliament, during a debate on his budget.

Illegal mining robs the government and the people of South Africans of the benefits from taxes and royalties, the minister said.

Coupled with the challenge of illegal mining is the matter of synthetics that is threatening the diamond sector, he said.

“We are engaging the diamond industry on this matter,” he added.

Four alleged illegal miners died in April when a mining machine collapsed in Sekhukhune that is notorious for illegal mining. The accident prompted a crackdown on illegal mining there.

In Northern Cape Province, the Department of Mineral Resources has been engaging with artisanal miners to legalize their operations, Mantashe said.

Two months ago, they received their mining permits that will allow them to sell their diamonds in the open market, free from unscrupulous diamond buyers, Mantashe said.

According to the South African Chamber of Mines, over 6 billion rand (about 472 million U.S. dollars) is lost through illegal mining annually.

About 70 percent of illegal miners are illegal immigrants, according to the chamber.

The chamber said about 14,000 people, many of them from Zimbabwe and Mozambique, are involved in illegal mining in South Africa.

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EARLIER REPORTS:

South Africa wants to use G7 Leaders’ Summit Out-
reach to develop ocean economy: Presidency

CAPE TOWN South Africa (Xinhua) -- South African President Cyril Ramaphosa will take advantage of the G7 Leaders’ Summit Outreach to promote sustainable development in pursuit of the ocean economy, the Presidency said on Wednesday.

Ramaphosa has been invited to participate in the two-day session scheduled for June 8-9 in Quebec, Canada, under the theme Healthy, Productive and Resilient Oceans and Seas, Coasts and Communities, according to the Presidency.

Ramaphosa’s participation in the G7 Leaders’ Summit Outreach coincides with his drive to attract investment to grow the economy, create jobs and address poverty and inequality in South Africa, presidential spokesperson Khusela Diko said.

The focus of the G7 Outreach meeting is in line with the goals outlined in South Africa’s National Development Plan (NDP) and speaks to the country’s efforts to stimulate economic growth and job creation by unlocking the ocean economy through Operation Phakisa, a blueprint for developing the ocean economy, Diko said.

“There has been a realization that South Africa’s long-term development goals cannot be reliant solely on land-based resources,” he said.

With a sprawling coastline of 3,924 kiometers, the country’s ocean and ocean resources form an integral part of the development mix under the NDP.

Development of the coastal space has been largely untapped and holds the potential to add an additional one million jobs and contribute up to 13.6 billion U.S. dollars to the gross domestic product (GDP) of the country, Diko said.

South Africa seeks to achieve these goals through Operation Phakisa, which has also been adopted as part of the government’s economic transformation agenda.

“South Africa remains dedicated to sustainable development in its pursuit of the oceans economy and the G7 Leaders’ Summit Outreach provides an opportunity for the country to contribute globally to the management of the oceans, seas and coastal areas within an integrated environmental, economic and social approach.” Diko said.

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South African parliament denies working on motion to seize foreigner-owned land

CAPE TOWN South Africa (Xinhua) -- South African Parliament on Wednesday denied rumors that it is now working on a motion to seize land from foreign owners.

“We are definitely not targeting foreigners in South Africa. This type of fake news can lead to all sorts of criminality. It can also lead to a downturn in foreign investment, which is critical for our development,” said Lewis Nzimande, Co-Chairperson of Parliament’s Joint Constitutional Review Committee.

A WhatsApp message that is spreading on social media warned that all non-South African citizens who own property in the country will be affected by the process allegedly undertaken by the committee.

“The land that you now own will be taken away from you. You will then have to apply for a 25-year lease to stay on your land. This will obviously come with a price tag. If your application is disapproved, you will have to vacate your property or face legal action. I ask every citizen to take action, before it is too late,”the message reads.

The message refers to the recent motion in Parliament where the Joint Constitutional Review Committee is reviewing section 25 of the Constitution (Property Clause) and other sections where necessary, to make it possible for the state to expropriate land in the public interest without compensation.

The National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces have mandated the committee to propose the necessary constitutional amendments, where applicable, with regards to the future land tenure regime.

“At this point, we are just establishing whether Section 25 of the Constitution is in need of amendment,” Nzimande said.

The fake message that continues to be spreading on social media is an attempt to undermine the committee’s work, he said.

Regarding the misleading information about foreigners leasing their own land from the government, Committee Co-Chairperson Vincent Smith said “this is completely untrue.”

“No mechanism, criteria or conditionality has been established for land that is to be expropriated. That is all part of what we are currently looking into,” Smith said.

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South African government welcomes sentencing of triple axe muderer

CAPE TOWN South Africa (Xinhua) -- The South African government on Thursday welcomed the sentencing of triple axe murderer Henri van Breda for three life sentences, the severest penalty for a convicted murderer.

“Government is pleased that justice has been served in this case. Henri Van Breda’s sentencing serves as a deterrent to others who think that violence in the family will be allowed in South Africa,” government spokesperson Phumla Williams said.

Earlier on Thursday, the Western Cape High Court meted out the sentence of 23-year-old Van Breda for the 2015 murder of his parents and brother, and seriously injuring his sister. He received three life sentences, 15 years for the attempted murder of his sister, Marli and 12 months for obstructing justice.

“Although you are relatively young, and with no previous convictions, your conduct warrants the severest penalty,” Judge Siraj Desai said in the ruling, calling Van Breda “a cold-blooded, savage and cruel killer.”

“It was a cold blooded murder. The violence was excessive and gratuitous,” Desai said, adding that no argument has been advanced to mitigate its impact.

Bearded and dressed in a light grey suit, Van Breda displayed no remorse.

There has still been no explanation for his actions, Desai said.

Van Breda is covicted of murdering his father Martin van Breda, mother Teresa and elder brother Rudi, and wounding his sister Marli with an axe on January 27, 2015 at a golf estate in Stellenbosch near Cape Town, a case that rocked the nation. Martin, a billionaire international businessman, had directorships in at least 25 companies, including the international property group Engel & Volkers in Australia.

Prosecutor Susan Galloway had argued that there were no substantial and compelling circumstances which would warrant deviating from the prescribed minimum sentence.

The government applauds the prosecuting and investigating officials for their dedication to ensure a successful prosecution, Williams said.

“The officers investigating this case have done a sterling job and is one of the successes that shows that we will leave no stone unturned to ensure that justice prevails,” said Williams.

“Our country is governed by rules and laws and violence will not be tolerated. At this time, our thoughts are with Marli, the only person who survived his attack,”Williams said.

This case highlights the importance of a strengthened family unit and the role that society plays in shaping the behavior and actions of the youth, added Williams.

The government will not allow such incidents to prevail in the country as the Constitution provides for the right to life, she said.

Van Breda maintains his innocence. Shortly after sentencing, Van Breda indicated he would appeal his conviction and sentences. A date was set down for June 27.
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FURTHER READING:

Van Breda murders were the killing of three family members at a South Africa golf estate

             

 

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