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South African High Court dismisses Zuma’s appeal to delay corruption trial2 minutes read

Zuma’s application prayed for a permanent stay of prosecution due to an unreasonable delay in the commencement of the proceedings

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South African High Court dismisses Zuma’s appeal to delay corruption trial

A South African High Court has ruled that there is no compelling reason why former President Jacob Zuma should be granted leave to appeal the dismissal of his bid for a permanent stay of prosecution.

“It is in the interest of justice and bringing the matter to finality that no appeal should ensue,” part of the ruling in the KwaZulu-Natal High Court in Pietermaritzburg on Friday read.

Zuma’s application prayed for a permanent stay of prosecution due to an unreasonable delay in the commencement of the proceedings which will make a fair trial of the case impossible.

On the delays in the trial, the judgment said another court would not find differently if all factors were considered.

The three-judge ruling held Zuma’s submission to lack merit, over-emphasising on the seriousness of the allegations levelled against him.

“The seriousness of the crime is but one of the factors to be considered in an application for a permanent stay. We, therefore, are not persuaded that another court, in particular, the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA), would come to a different conclusion.”

The KwaZulu-Natal High Court also dismissed Zuma’s assertion that his rights were violated.

The Court in its judgement also condemned accusations by Zuma’s legal team that the court violated some sections of the Criminal Procedure Act.

It stated in clear terms that ” … comments or allegations that are scandalous or vexatious to the court ought to be avoided at all costs, as they can bring the administration of justice into disrepute.”

Zuma was handed a costs order because his complaints were found to be untrue. He is charged, along with French arms company Thales, on one count of racketeering, 12 counts of fraud, four counts of corruption and one count of money laundering.

The Court also dismissed Thales’ application for a stay of prosecution.

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UN condemns use of IEDs against civilians in Libya

“UNSMIL strongly condemns these acts, which serve no military objective, provoke extreme fear among the population, and violate the rights of innocent civilians…,” the UN said.

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A man inspects the wreckage of a car outside the Khadra General Hospital which is dedicated to treating people infected with coronavirus (COVID-19) in the Libyan capital Tripoli on April 8, 2020, after it was targeted by forces loyal to Libyan strongman Khalifa Haftar. (Photo by Mahmud TURKIA / AFP)

The United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) has condemned the use of improvised explosive devices against civilians in the southern part of Tripoli, as the armed conflict between the east-based army and the UN-backed government continues.

UNSMIL “is extremely concerned about reports that residents of the Ain Zara and Salahuddin areas of Tripoli have been killed or wounded by improvised explosive devices placed in or near their homes,” UNSMIL said in a statement Monday.

“UNSMIL strongly condemns these acts, which serve no military objective, provoke extreme fear among the population, and violate the rights of innocent civilians who must be protected under international humanitarian law,” the statement said.

UNSMIL called on all individuals to “seek information and heed security advice to stay away from areas that have not been declared safe to enter by a competent authority or items of unknown origin which may be explosive devices”.

UNSMIL also commended the search and clearance work by Libyan Police and Military Engineers, reaffirming its continued support to Libyan partners, communities, and stakeholders “who are working tirelessly to rid Libya of the threat of explosive remnant of war (ERW)”.

The UN-backed government’s forces accused the rival east-based army of planting mines before withdrawing from conflict areas in southern Tripoli.

Since April 2019, the east-based army has been leading a military campaign attempting to take over Tripoli and topple the UN-backed government.

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Strike looms as public sector wage dispute enters arbitration in South Africa

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The ongoing face-off between workers in the public sector and the South African government continues. According to the Public Service Coordinating Bargaining Council (PSCBC), disagreement between the trade unions and government has moved the talks to arbitration for further hearing.

PSCBC General Secretary, Frikkie De Bruin explains that the arbitration hearings will begin by mid-June. An arbitrator will issue an award after the hearings are complete, with the matter potentially heading to court or resulting in a strike if the unions aren’t happy.

Ordinarily, public sector workers make up a third of South Africa’s expenditure. But with the coronavirus lockdown and income reduction, Pretoria seems unwilling to incur more debt.

If not handled carefully to appease the workers, the ruling African National Congress, (ANC) could lose its political dominance in the next local elections.

If no resolution is reached and the workers decide to resolve it an industrial action, it could erode all effort made by the government in the fight against the coronavirus.

The dispute started in February when the government affirmed that it could not fulfil its 2018 agreement on a three-year wage agreement.

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Ethiopia to divest 40% of Ethio Telecom

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The Ethiopian government is finalizing plans to sell a 40 percent stake in Ethio Telecom- the country’s sole telecommunication provider . The plan was announced by Ethiopia’s State Minister of Finance, Eyob Tekalign Tolina.

Ethiopia’s telecommunication industry is considered one of the last closed markets. It has been one of the government’s plans to liberalize the country’s economy launched by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. Ethio Telecom has a large market serving a population of around 110 million.

The government will retain ownership of the remaining 60 percent.

Foreign firms in the telecom sector will be invited to bid and a percentage of the minority stake will be sold to Ethiopian citizens. South Africa’s MTN and Kenya’s Safaricom have shown interest in expanding into Ethiopia in the past.

Ethiopia’s communications regulator says the country would proceed with the privatisation of the telecommunications sector despite the novel coronavirus outbreak.

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