Category: Africa

South Africa’s apartheid recovery is not yet complete until the lands owned by white and foreign individuals and enterprises are returned to the public’s hands.

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South African President Jacob Zuma is to sign the bill into a law that would allow the government to expropriate land in the interest of the public. This would mean retrieving the land from white people and return them to native Africans as a sign of balance and democracy.

The governing nationalist coalition swore the bill will tackle all injustices and prevent apartheid-related inequality and imbalances for native Africans.

The bill has been an emotional issue for South Africa in the last 22 years after the banishing of the apartheid system in Africa.

The bill will allow a government adjudicator to pay the land owner a value it determines fit for the land. Then the land would be held by the government until a native African can purchase the land for development.

“The passing of the bill by parliament is historic and heralds a new era of intensified land distribution programme to bring long-awaited justice to the dispossessed majority of South Africans,” the ANC (African National Congress) said in a statement.

About 10% of land in white ownership has been transferred to black owners since the end of apartheid, which is only a third of the ANC’s target.

Paralympian Oscar Pistorious had served less than a year in South Africa’s prison and he will continue his five-year sentence under house arrest in his uncle’s house. The court decision is now under appeal as many South African advocacy groups express disappointment in the decision.

Pistorious’ laywer Brian Webber said Pistorious shoud be released on August 21. The paralympian was released from prison on Monday and will remain under house arrest until 2019.

Appeal

An appeal by prosecutors disappointed by the decision could see Pistorious return to jail instead of house arrest for the remainder of his sentence.

Pistorious was convicted of culpable homicide last year after shooting Model Reeva Steenkamp in his Praetoria residence. He maintained he thought Steenkamp was an intruder and did not intend to kill her as he shot through the door of his residence.

He will stay with his uncle, Arnold Pistorious, in Waterkloof, Praetoria. The luxury estate includes a swimming pool and has three storeys.

Disappointment

Despite his semi-free lifestyle, Pistorious will undertake community service and psychotherapy sessions as per court requirement.

Meanwhile, the Steenkamp family expressed their disappointment. Advocacy groups, including the ANC Women’s League, said:

“We pin our hopes on the SCA to repeal the judgment and that Oscar must serve a sentence that would bring him back a changed man and an advocate for women’s rights in future.”

The South African paralympian has formally been charged with murdering his late girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, and now faces high court trial in March, as charge sheet reports witnesses have vital details of the murder. In court, Mr Pistorius was charged with two counts of murdering Miss Steenkamp, who would have turned 30 today, by shooting her four times through a locked toilet door at his home, while possessing 38 unlicensed bullets. The Olympic athlete, who is currently living at his uncle’s house on bail, made his third appearance in court, flanked by a large group of friends and family.

During the session, he fought a losing battle to hold back his tears which ran down his face as he stood clutching the hands of his brother Carl and sister Aimee in silent prayer. Not too far away sat Miss Steenkamp’s best friends Kim and Gina Myers who said in a statement read by their lawyer Ian Levitt afterwards, they said they were keen that Miss Steenkamp was not forgotten in the glare of publicity surrounding Mr Pistorius. “Now more than ever, her memory lives on with her friends who cannot forget the lasting effect she had on everyone she met,” they said in their statement. “Her life, strength and passion live on.”

The charge sheet during the hearing said that when Miss Steenkamp locked herself in the toilet adjacent to the couple’s bedroom, Mr Pistorius had “armed himself with a 9mm pistol” and fired through the door. “Some of the State witnesses heard a woman scream, followed by moments of silence, then heard gunshots and then more screaming,” it read. Mr Pistorius, the charge sheet noted, told witnesses on the scene that he believed Miss Steenkamp was somebody that intruded into his home. “Even then, the accused shot with the direct intention to kill a person,” it said. “An error in persona will not affect the intention to kill a human being.”

News recently came out that that the police ballistics report backed up Mr Pistorius’ claim that he did not take time to put on his prosthetic legs before he shot through the toilet door. In an previous court hearing, Mr Pistorius claimed that he had woken in the middle of the night, heard a noise in the bathroom and immediately grabbed his gun to protect himself and Miss Steenkamp, who was staying the night. “I did not have my prosthetic legs on and felt extremely vulnerable,” he told the court. “I believed that when the intruder or intruders came out of the toilet we would be in grave danger.“

Following the hustle and bustle of the case, Desi Myers posted on Twitter that she was sending “love, strength and prayers” to Miss Steenkamp’s parents. “Six months ago our lives changed. We became a different family with a different history, a different future,” she wrote. “We are blessed to have known you Reeves. Oh how your beautiful soul is missed.”

On Wednesday, millions of people protested against the decree of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi which immunizes his presidential actions from any judicial court, which allows him to run the country unchecked as the Islam-dominated committee creates the new Egyptian constitution, the first constitution of the country run by dictators for 60 years. Many protesters claim Morsi to be a new dictator.

The decree, which was announced by Morsi on November 22, Thursday, was subject to much scrutiny from critics and a walkout by some government officials. A great number of the council including Lawyer’s syndicate head Sameh Ashour, who said that only 55 of the 100 original members remained, and most of these were Salafists of the Muslim Brotherhood, the political movement of Morsi. He claims that the Muslim Brotherhood are stealing the constitution.

Essam El-Erian, a senior adviser of Morsi, announced that the assembly was already drafting the constitution in the last six months. However, many other officials stated that the process was being rushed. Brooking Institution analyst H.A. Hellyer also mentioned that the rush was to avoid putting Morsi in a very tricky position that he is in right now.

However,  President Morsi defended his decree, stating that it was meant to “preserve the fragility of the Arab spring, which helped oust Hosni Mubarak from his dictatorship”. He claims that he knows more than his people, and his decree was only meant to ensure that the country pushes through smoothly through its transitional phase.