President of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa, has made public congratulatory messages to 1984 Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, on his 89th birthday.
Ramaphosa described the archbishop as a “national treasure and global icon of moral consistency, spiritual virtue and the defence of the most vulnerable people”.
In a tweet, President Ramaphosa noted that he too has benefited from the archbishop’s wisdom.
“Today we are united in celebrating the passing of another year in which we have benefited from the Archbishop’s wisdom, the bravery of his conviction in fighting for human rights, the warmth of his love for all South Africans and his care for humanity,” Ramaphosa tweeted.
Archbishop Tutu remains a beloved figure across the world – principally for his role in South Africa’s struggle against apartheid.
Tutu was born in 1931 in Klerksdorp, Transvaal. He was a high school teacher for three years before he began studying theology. He became an ordained priest in 1960 and spent the next few years in England working on his Masters in Theology.
In 1975, he became the first ever black person to be appointed as Dean of St Mary’s Cathedral in Johannesburg. He was also Bishop of Lesotho, and in 1978 became the first black General Secretary of the South African Council of Churches. Tutu acted as Bishop of Cape Town from 1986-1996, becoming the first black person to lead the Anglican Church of the Province of Southern Africa.
In 1984 he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his untiring efforts in calling for an end to white minority rule in South Africa. He became the second black South African to be listed under Nobel Laureates after Albert Luthuli.
He retired from the Church in 1996 to focus solely on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), and was later named Archbishop Emeritus. On his last address as the Archbishop of the Province of Southern Africa, he was awarded with The Order for Meritorious Service (Gold) for his outstanding service to the country.
While bestowing the award, then President Nelson Mandela described him as “renowned for selfless commitment to the poor, the oppressed and downtrodden. With his colleagues he remained an effective voice of the people of South Africa when so many of their leaders were imprisoned, exiled, banned and restricted.”
Over 5,000 Seal Pups Found Dead In Namibia
No fewer than 5,000 dead seal pups have been washed up on land in Namibia – raising consternation from animal conservation groups.
Cape fur seals, who are often called the “dogs of the ocean” due to their playful nature, will often desert their young or abort their foetuses if there is a dearth of food around, reports say.
It is believed that the pups were aborted by their mothers.
The seals usually synchronise giving birth on the sandy beaches in November, but the amount of tiny bodies now on the beaches show something is not right.
The Ocean Conservation Namibia (OCNaimibia) have said they were carrying out tests to determine the cause of premature births.
Naude Dreyer of OCNamibia noticed the bodies after flying his drone over Walvis Bay’s Pelican Point seal colony on 5 October.
“This is the situation at Pelican Point, Namibia,” his organisation tweeted.
“All the little red circles mark dead seal pups. A rough estimate brings the numbers to more than 5,000 at our seal colony alone. This is tragic, as it makes up a large portion of the new pup arrivals expected in late November.
“The most likely cause is food resources we are going through some really strange climatic changes at the moment it could be the warm currents that bring in the fish.”
The seal mothers are also reported to be malnourished.
Cape fur seals can predominantly be found along the coastlines of Namibia and South Africa – stretching to the southern tip of Angola in the north.
South Africa’s Police Arrest Public Officials For Inflating Project Costs
South African authorities have arrested four former public officials for inflating the cost of a prjoect.
The Hawks, on Thursday, arrested former senior Gauteng Department of Health officials for alleged R1.2 billion tender irregularities committed almost 13 years ago.
The arrested are a former head of department who was also an accounting officer at the time; chief director of information communication and technology; head of supply chain management; and the deputy director for executive support.
They are accused of receiving kickbacks for their role in ensuring the contract was awarded to an undeserving entity and have been charged with fraud, corruption, money laundering and contravention of the Public Finance Management Act.
Police say the case emanates from February 2007 where the State Information Technology Agency (Sita) submitted a proposal to continue with an information technology maintenance programme at the department.
The Hawks’ Lieutenant Colonel Philani Nkwalase said the total cost of a project like that was not meant to be over R57 million for a period of three years.
“The contract was instead awarded to a private entity at a whopping cost of around R1.2 billion without following due tender procedures.
“Two private company directors who unduly benefited from the tender are yet to be charged along together with their two companies. The said directors are reportedly outside of the country but steps have already been initiated to ensure that they are accounted for,” Nkwalase said.
The four appeared in the Palm Ridge Specialised Commercial Crime Court on Thursday.
Burundi Ex-President Rejects Conviction for Murder
Former Burundian President Pierre Buyoya, who is the current High Representative of the African Union for Mali and the Sahel, has rejected his conviction in absentia in Burundi to life imprisonment.
He was convicted of the murder of his predecessor Melchior Ndadaye in 1993.
Melchior Ndadaye, Burundi’s first democratically elected president and the first Hutu to come to power, was assassinated in October 1993 in a military coup that led the country into a civil war between the army.
This resulted in 300,000 deaths until 2006.
Buyoya was convicted of an attack against the head of state, an attack against the authority of the state and an attack tending to bring about massacre and devastation.
Eighteen senior military and civilian officials close to the former head of state were given same sentence. Three others were sent to 20 years in prison for “complicity” in the same crimes and only one, the former transitional Prime Minister, Antoine Nduwayo, was acquitted.
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