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South African National Assembly approves
extradition treaty with United Arab Emirates

CAPE TOWN South Africa (Xinhua) -- The South African National Assembly on Thursday approved an extradition treaty with the United Arab Emirates (UAE), paving way for extradition of suspects in state capture allegations.

All political parties gave their nod to the Extradition Treaty and another treaty on mutual legal assistance on criminal matters.

South Africa and the UAE concluded the treaties in September amid rising concerns over the magnitude of a rising trend in acts of international terrorism and organized crime.

The treaties are designed to strengthen cooperation between the two countries in combating crime, Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services said.

The Extradition Treaty will be applied retrospectively with specific reference to the Indian Gupta family accused of collaborating with a number of senior South African government officials in looting from the state coffer, known as state capture, the committee said.

Senior members of the Gupta family reportedly have sought refuge in Dubai, the UAE since fleeing South Africa earlier this year after Parliament called for them to be investigated for allegations of state capture.

With the Extradition Treaty in place, proceedings could begin to bring them to South Africa to face criminal proceedings, the Democratic Alliance (DA) said.

DA Member of Parliament Glynis Breytenbach said he hoped that the Guptas would be held to account for “looting our fiscus and that there will be less place for them to hide.”

The South African Ministry of Justice and Correctional Services reportedly has received seven or eight requests for mutual legal assistance to other countries from the South African Ministry of International Relations and Cooperation in criminal matters regarding investigations into state capture



Durban South Africa aims for U.S.$169 million dollars  in tourism revenues during festive season

DURBAN South Africa (Xinhua) -- South Africa’s coastal city of Durban aims to attract over 850,000 domestic visitors and 150,000 international visitors which will create over 169 million U.S. dollars in revenues during the 2018 festive season, said a government official on Thursday.

EThekwini Mayor Zandile Gumede said this during the launch of the festive season in Durban. She said they have put measures in place to attract tourists to create jobs and economic growth.

“We are rolling out the red carpet for everyone who will be coming here in the festive season.” said Gumede.

She said that they expect about 1.1 million visitors to the Durban beaches between December 1 and February 2019. Mayor Gumede stated that they have put security measures in place to ensure visitors are safe. 


South African Parliament calls for political leader-
ship to address crisis at public broadcaster

CAPE TOWN South Africa (Xinhua) -- South African parliament on Wednesday called for political leadership to address the worsening crisis at the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC).

The Ministry of Communications can and should do more to assist with the crisis at the public broadcaster, Parliament’s Standing Committee on Public Accounts (SCOPA) said.

This came after the state-run SABC, which has failed to recover any of the money it lost due to irregular, fruitless and wasteful expenditure, announced plans to retrench 981 employees (almost half of its staff) and 1,200 permanent and freelance employees, drawing wide criticism.

On Tuesday, the SABC board appeared before Parliament to present a plan regarding the looming retrenchment of staff.

The SCOPA said it is of the view that the SABC should be creative enough to find ways of avoiding “day zero” when it comes to retrenchments.

As a public broadcaster, the SABC can save all jobs and find solutions to the retrenchments so that the anxiety that everyone is feeling can pass, the SCOPA said.

Suspected corruption and poor management at the SABC has led to irregular expenditure of 4.9 billion rand (about 343 million U.S. dollars) and fruitless and wasteful expenditure of 54 million rand (about 3.8 million dollars), according to the SCOPA.

The SCOPA requested the SABC to furnish it with all the names of those that signed off on the contracts that led to the irregular expenditure and provide monthly reports on irregular, fruitless and wasteful expenditure.

As the country’s biggest public broadcaster, the SABC provides news services to 19 radio stations and five television broadcasts. SABC television has also been widely available in neighboring Lesotho, Swaziland and Botswana.


South Africa to use regional youth games to groom their athletes

JOHANNESBURG South Africa (Xinhua) -- South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) said Wednesday that they want to use the upcoming youth games to groom the athletes for the future international competitions.

SASCOC made the remarks while announcing the team to represent the country in the Africa Union Sport Council Region 5 U20 Games which will take place in Gaborone, Botswana on Dec. 7-16.

The bi-annual tournament comprises of Zambia, Zimbabwe, Malawi, South Africa, Angola, Botswana, Namibia, Mozambique, Lesotho and Swaziland and is held on a rotational basis.

“I have no doubt that these games will see more of our young stars putting their hands up on the big stage in the near future. I urge them to give their all on the field of play and also to act as great ambassadors for the rainbow nation,” said project manager and Chef de Mission for the South African team, Isaac Mdaka.

He pointed out that Africa Union Sport Council Region 5 U20 Games have produced Olympic gold medalists like Caster Semenya and Wayde Van Niekerk. South Africa fielded a strong team comprising of the just-ended 2018 Youth Olympic Game medal winners, such as Dune Coetzee who won a silver medal in the women’s 200m butterfly and Michael Houliegold in the men’s 50m breaststroke.

The 220 athletes will take part in nine disciplines including basketball, boxing, football, judo, netball, swimming, tennis and volleyball.

SASCOC acting CEO Patience Shikwambana said they expect the team to build on the good performance of the past tournaments. In 2016, South Africa got 123 medals and came up first position when the tournament was held in Angola.

She said, “I want to echo well wishes to our last youth team for the year to the Region V Games and we hope the results obtained at the Youth Olympic Games will inspire this group to obtain more medals for us.” 



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