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One of the cheetah that attacked Scottish citizen Violet D'Mello at the Kragga Kamma game reserve on April 28, 2012 in Port Elizabeth, South Africa.© Gallo Images / The Herald One of the cheetah that attacked Scottish citizen Violet D'Mello at the Kragga Kamma game reserve on April 28, 2012 in Port Elizabeth, South Africa.

Durban - A New Zealand father managed to save his teen son after the youngster was reportedly attacked by a cheetah at a safari park in Hluhluwe, KwaZulu-Natal.

According to Radio New Zealand, Dave Driver and his family were touring the Emdoneni Safari Park on Wednesday.

The family, along with a group of around 20 other people, was allowed to pet two cheetahs while guides supervised.

Driver's wife Mandy, according to the radio report, said that as they left the enclosure, a cheetah that appeared restless walked through the group and pushed her 14-year-old son Isaac to the ground.

The radio report quoted Mandy as saying her husband leaped into action, took hold of the cheetah and held it down.

The teen reportedly sustained injuries to his back and shoulder.

Also read: ‘South Africa’s dumbest criminals’ go viral

Wild animals 'unpredictable'

Speaking to New Zealand's RadioLIVE, the boy's aunt Marie Askew said that her brother-in-law had to quickly leap into action to save his son.

She added that the cheetah had bitten the teen a few times before it was restrained.

In a report in the New Zealand Herald, Massey University lecturer in animal behaviour and welfare Rachael Stratton said the attack could have been worse.

She said cheetahs aren't usually aggressive, but because they are wild animals they can be unpredictable. She said there are a variety of reasons why the cheetah would have attacked.

When contacted for comment, a receptionist at Emdoneni said a manager would return News24's call.

Despite numerous attempts and follow-up calls with Emdoneni, no comment was provided.

Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife spokesperson Musa Mntambo also did not immediately respond to News24's request for comment.

Infiniti Q60 vs Lexus RC vs Audi A5

© Auto Express Infiniti Q60 vs Lexus RC vs Audi A5

Sleek coupes have to do more than simply look good today. They must also deliver comfort, refinement, practicality and a poised drive. Even with all these covered, a contender needs headline-grabbing tech that sets it apart from the crowd. In the case of the new Infiniti Q6O, it’s Adaptive Steering, which abandons a physical connection from steering wheel to axle in favour of a hi-tech digital system. Combine this with the Infiniti’s head-turning looks, attractive price and generous kit count, and the signs are promising.

The Lexus RC 300h is another stylish car that takes its own engineering path because its sculpted skin hides petrol/electric underpinnings. Promising a strong blend of pace and efficiency, this beautifully built car should appeal to your heart and head. Finally, the recently revealed A5 is now available with Audi’s Quattro all-wheel drive. Adding unrivalled all-weather ability to its existing strengths of quality, style, space and refinement makes it a formidable package. So which of our pioneering style icons takes victory?

© Copyright (c) Daily Maverick 2013, All Rights Reserved

Editor’s note: The opinions in this article are the author’s, as published by our content partner, and do not represent the views of MSN or Microsoft.

A wholesale review of Parliament's structure is proposed in the ANC's Legislature and Governance Discussion Document released on Sunday. Like the proposal to centralise policy, planning, co-ordination and resource allocation in the presidency through a proposed "department of state policy and planning", the legislative review proposes centralisation: one Speaker of Parliament rather than the two presiding officers for the National Assembly and National Council of Provinces (NCOP) and making the ANC Chief Whip the Chief Whip of Parliament, rather than recognising all represented political parties' chief whips. These are proposals that, if implemented, require constitutional changes. By MARIANNE MERTEN.

The ANC's Legislature and Governance Discussion Document meanders from retaining political power "to preserve our democratic legacy and accelerate socio-economic transformation" to arguing that corruption must be "exposed and swift action taken, regardless of the seniority of the people involved", and wants to see state-owned entities (SOEs) as drivers of the developmental state and a single public service, whose members, like elected public representatives, "at all levels are barred from doing business with the state".

It's a wide field and, particularly, on inter-governmental relations a measure of frustration emerges not only between the lines. "The inter-governmental relations system reflects design issues hampering the effectiveness of the three-sphere system. Importantly, many of the issues relate to the shortcomings in the human capital skills, leadership, commitment and accountability," says the discussion document.

Amid this come the proposals for a review of how Parliament is structured politically – and a review of the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) as "an opportunity to reconfigure the House, or rather, repositioning the future role of the NCOP", including making traditional leaders as "part-time participants" as per their request to interact with legislative processes.

This nod to include in the NCOP traditional leaders, an important constituency for the ANC by its own admission, is not provided for in the Constitution. In line with Section 212 of the Constitution, which also provides for traditional leadership as an institution to have a role at local government, government has already established provincial and national houses of traditional leaders.

Other structural changes with constitutional implications are raised in the proposal that, as there is just one secretary to Parliament to head the administration, there should be one speaker of Parliament as the institutional political head.

"The three arms of state are each led by a single office as prescribed by the Constitution, except for the legislatures. The executive and government are led by the state president [Note: the Constitution talks of "president", not state president], the judiciary by the chief justice, while legislatures are led by the speaker of the National Assembly and chairperson of the NCOP. The consideration of the political institutional head of Parliament as a speaker of Parliament must be resolved upon."

Yet the reason there are two presiding officers is because there are two separate houses, each with its own constitutional obligations. While Section 42(3) of the Constitution states that the National Assembly is "elected to represent the people and to ensure government by the people" and thus elects the president, the NCOP "represents the provinces to ensure provincial interests are taken into account in the national sphere of government", according to Section 42(4).

Both the National Assembly and NCOP are constitutionally enshrined to establish joint rules and joint committees in Section 45 to facilitate the legislative process – and their relationship.

To say, as the discussion document does, that Bills referred back to Parliament have "mainly been on procedural flaws in the NCOP cycle in passing legislation, which is the lack of proper public participation" is tantamount to simplifying a complex process that not only has to deal with different levels of capacity in different provinces, but also contending interests among provinces and within the governing ANC factions in eight of the nine provinces. The Western Cape is governed by the DA, where contending interests play out to a different script.

The NCOP has long struggled to secure the regular and active participation of the South African Local Government Association (Salga) – it has 10 part time participants – and that of the four special provincial delegates, including the premier or his or her representative. The other six members of a provincial delegation, or the permanent delegates, are determined on the basis of a political party's provincial electoral performance.

In some circles the NCOP is seen as a sweetheart venue for the executive, and for the president to deliver his annual lecture. Some circles argue the NCOP is largely considering the same matters as the National Assembly, and so is largely a duplication. For others the NCOP is seen as the platform to introduce last-minute legislative amendments.

It's seldom the NCOP puts its foot down. It did so in October 2013 when the majority of provinces refused to give their mandate to the then Traditional Courts Bill, touted as a sweetener to traditional leaders ahead of the May 2014 elections. Five provinces rejected the Bill outright and two others indicated they would abstain, thus effectively scuppering the draft legislation. It has since been substantially revised – the 2012 version was criticised for introducing an unconstitutional two-tier justice system – and reintroduced.

More recently the NCOP insisted on its constitutional role of approving provincial supervision of a non-performing municipality, effectively throwing a spanner in the wheel of provincial political machinations. While KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Co-operative Governance Nomusa Dube announced that Nquthu municipality would be placed under administration in terms of a provincial decision on February 8, the NCOP maintained this could not be done until it had considered the matter. Nquthu, finely balanced following the 2016 local government elections, has failed to elect a mayor, deputy mayor and speaker since that poll. The NCOP's endorsement of the provincial decision came on February 24 in line with Section 139 of the Constitution.

But the ANC's Legislative and Governance Discussion Document says that while celebrating the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the NCOP, "the constitutional role of the NCOP must be reviewed with the intention to strengthen the NCOP. Mechanisms must be developed to ensure NCOP plays a catalytic strategic role in articulating provinces and local government matters".

This would take place alongside a recommended review of what the ANC document calls "legislative sector". This assessment "must establish whether the legislative sector is appropriately configured, adequately resourced, optimally functioning and works co-operatively with other arms of the state across all spheres".

As the Governance and Legislative Discussion Document argues, "the ANC must retain political power in order to preserve our democratic legacy and accelerate socio-economic transformation", the ANC parliamentary caucus is styled as an electioneering tool.

"The ANC caucus must effectively use Parliament to regain the confidence of our people in the run-up to the 2019 elections," says the discussion document, after stating earlier: "The ANC in Parliament will in both words and deed master the moral high ground, vigorously advance clean governance, champion the fight against corruption, shun incompetence and decisively deal with ill-discipline."

But the discussion document is silent on key points in the governance and legislative sector. For example, Communications Minister Faith Muthambi now plans a legal challenge to Parliament's hard-hitting report on its SABC inquiry. Adopted last week, it not only recommended probes into misspending and maladministration, but on the back of political interference also recommended that the president should seriously reconsider keeping her on in the portfolio.

And so the difference between discussion document sentiment and factional ANC politics permeating governance emerges as vast. DM

Photo: Speaker of Parliament Baleka Mbete reacts during a debate in Parliament, Cape Town, South Africa, 05 April 2016. EPA/NIC BOTHMA

© Copyright (c) Daily Maverick 2013, All Rights Reserved

Editor’s note: The opinions in this article are the author’s, as published by our content partner, and do not represent the views of MSN or Microsoft.

It certainly seems Minister of Social Development, Bathabile Dlamini, has been acting as a sock puppet for other interests. But who exactly? And why? Perhaps all will be revealed in Sassa's response on Monday to Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng's directive for Sassa to bring concrete answers to the ConCourt on how the grants crisis was allowed to fester and unfold. But judging by previous presentations by Sassa and the minister to Parliament, someone's going to have to do a bit of root canal to get to the bottom of the rot. Meanwhile, the Department of Social Development has admitted there is no contract with CPS. By MARIANNE THAMM.

On Friday afternoon, in response to a PAIA application by DA Shadow Minister of Social Development, Bridget Masango, for information on any new contract between Sassa and CPS, the Department of Social Development's Deputy Information Officer, Michael Machuberg, responded, "contract entered into between the department and/or Sassa with Net1/CPS for the distribution of social grants from 01 April 2017 does not exist and therefore not unavailable in our possession".

On March 6, however, Net1 CEO Serge Belamant in an interview with Radio 702 said that the previous week his company had agreed to a set of terms with Sassa "on two very, very important issues, one of them were the commercial terms going forward, and the other set of terms is what we were going to do on behalf of Sassa in order for them to take in-house a number of technical processes we currently perform".

So, with only three weeks to go, the entire Sassa social grants crisis still appears to be in legal limbo.

Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng last Wednesday directed Sassa to furnish, by 16:00 on Monday, full details of responsible officials, dates when these officials became aware that the time frames set out by the court could not be met, why the court had not been informed and whether Minister Dlamini had been informed, and if so, when.

Hopefully, whatever it is Sassa and the department and the minister submits to the court will unravel this very thickly woven knot of obfuscation, lies, deceit and delay tactics, and most important, why. Sassa officials and the minister, hopefully, will also answer why they secretly met with President Jacob Zuma's lawyer Michael Hulley in December 2016 who then offered legal advice overruling that offered by Advocate Wim Trengove.

One of the officials who is likely to feature in the submission to the ConCourt is Zodwa Mvulane, Sassa's Executive Manager, Special Projects. A batch of letters accompanying Belamant's affidavit to the ConCourt on March 7 and in response to an application by the Black Sash gives some insight into the anatomy of the train smash.

Timeline and names of officials:

On May 24, 2016, Belamant wrote to Mvulane indicating that he had met with Sassa "at your request a few months ago" to discuss "the implications for Sassa to achieve this objective [of taking the payment in-house]. We discussed both a closed loop system that could permit interoperability with the NPS [National Payments System], as well as an open loop system as is currently provided."

Belamant told Mvulane "there is not enough time left between now on March 31, 2017 for the banks to assist in this massive task... As time is running out quite rapidly, it is critical for Sassa to decide on the way forward. In order to prevent disruption in the payment process and to protect beneficiaries, it may be better for Sassa to extend the current CPS contract for at least 12 months, during which Sassa could refine their strategy and implement a phase-out and phase-in plan."

On May 31 Advocate Nazeer Cassim and Mias Mostert advised Sassa that the Constitutional Court would have to be informed "of the change in status pertaining to deliverables as well as the possibility of CPS tenure being extended". Meaning that by then Sassa had been aware that it was not going to meet the seven deliverables as set out by the ConCourt.

"The court will be especially sensitive in our view to the continued involvement of CPS. Our concern is that the impression might be created that Sassa has all along been pulling the wool over the court's eyes. To prevent this impression from being created, our suggestion is that the change in proposed time frames relating to deliverables be coupled to new information emerging from the meeting with SARB..." wrote Cassim and Mostert.

Presenting Sassa's annual report to Parliament's portfolio committee on social development on October 13, 2016, where the closing balance of irregular expenditure was revealed as R1-billion and fruitless and wasteful expenditure as R10.9-million, the agency dedicated one paragraph to the "institutionalisation of the payment system".

"This is planned for implementation in four phases. Phase 0 was the Advisory Committee investigation that took place against the backdrop of the Cash Paymaster Services that ends in March 2017. Phase 1 will be led by Work Stream leaders appointed with the concurrence of the minister to guide the successful implementation of the recommendations of the Advisory Committee for the smooth transition of Sassa towards effectively and efficiently incorporating its payment role to the current in-house functions. Phase 2 and 3 entailing the transition and full roll-out respectively will be implemented during the period April 2017-March 2019".

It was at that presentation, made by then Acting Director-General of the DSD, Dr Wiseman Magasela, that the DA's Bridget Masango first raised the alarm saying that this was a huge project that needed to be undertaken by Sassa and which required "a lot of preparation" and that involved the lives of 17-million people who were dependent on social grants.

"Where is the plan for this project and could the portfolio committee have access to it? Also was Sassa ready to take over the process?" asked Masango.

The DA's Lindy Wilson also asked how far the agency was in terms of the seven deliverables as set out by the Constitutional Court.

According to the Parliamentary Monitoring Group's record of the presentation Magasela told the committee that Sassa was ready "to give details or reach an agreement of when to come back to the committee to explain progress for the takeover and not withholding any information from the Committee".

"Mr Magasela said Sassa was fully aware that the project was a huge one with responsibility in terms of making sure that social grants for ±17-million south Africans were fully paid on time as had been the established practice. The Agency was working towards making sure that come March 2017 all south Africans would receive their grants. The Minister was providing political leadership on the issue. There was also a project manager managing this project."

On October 19 the portfolio committee met again to review and adopt the DSD budget and recommendations report. Once again members asked about the progress for Sassa's takeover of grant payments.

On November 16 a meeting had been planned for Sassa to brief the portfolio committee but was cancelled at short notice and replaced by a presentation by the National Development Agency.

The minutes read: "Members objecting pointed out that the Sassa briefing had been agreed upon as far back as 13 October and had been placed on the agenda following an agreement by the chairperson as far back as June that the plan would be presented to the committee. There was a suggestion that the chairperson had deliberately tried to prevent the presentation, but the chairperson explained that this had in fact happened firstly because the Minister, who wanted to accompany the Sassa delegation, was out of the country, and secondly because Sassa would be meeting with stakeholders prior to coming to brief the committee."

On November 30 Minister Dlamini and Sassa returned to Parliament to brief the committee with regard to Sassa's readiness to take over as paymaster for the grants. Present along with Dlamini was the newly-appointed Director-General of the Department of Social Development, Zane Dangor, as well as newly appointed CEO Thokozani Magwaza. At that meeting opposition as well as ANC members complained that the department had not sent the presentation document earlier so that members could read and interrogate it.

At that meeting Magwaza told members that Sassa "was ready for the takeover from April 1".

However, SASSA "through the minister asked that the committee does not push it to reveal its contingency plans in public as this might jeopardise the work it has done already. What matters is that by 1 April 2017, the grant will be paid." (our italics)

Sassa's Executive Manager, Raphaahle Ramokgopa, at that meeting said that Sassa had fulfilled its obligations to the Constitutional Court which had assumed a supervisory role over the agency after the 2012 contract with CPS. The first report, she said had been about the fresh tender application, the second dealing with progress towards implementation of the tender, the third with the outcome of the tender process and the fourth "with the implementation process within Sassa".

Ramokgopa admitted that "there are areas" where Sassa was not meeting deadlines and that the agency had sought a legal opinion.

"With the feedback received from legal counsel and other people, Sassa will go back to explain to the court what had happened, the work in progress and the mechanism in place for implementation," said Ramokgopa.

At this presentation is appears as if Ramokgopa parrots some of the content of Belamant's May 24 letter to Mvulane.

Here's Ramokgopa on November 30; "There are two options. The first is an open architecture or open loop. This involves operating in the national payment system that is provided for by the Reserve Bank. The second option looks into a combination of both an open and closed loop system. Both options specify the need for Sassa account requirements which Sassa has done an expression of interest for. Sassa is also in discussion with the Reserve Bank, PASA and BASA on a specialised account which has limited facilities... The open loop is a system operating in the national payment system, the accounts are fully accessible and allow direct reconciliation. Biometrics is a key factor in both options. In the current payment, the Reserve Bank has given permission to Sassa to utilise biometrics for older people and disabled persons. Discussions are on the way as to whether this can be extended to all beneficiaries. The reason for the need for biometrics is for fraud and risk management. Option 1 requires a new Sassa card that operates in both a closed and open system. It must be an integrated system flexible enough to operate in both and allow cash disbursement for beneficiaries in remote areas. Generally, for both options Sassa needs to develop an internal ICT system, recruit relevant capacity and use a phase in and phase out approach."

Here's Belamant to Mvulane on May 24; "We discussed both a closed loop system that could permit interoperability with the NPS, as well as an open loop system as is currently provided. The reason for the two approaches which are both technologically equivalent in terms of interoperability, is that a closed loop system would allow Sassa to provide a payment solution which would be under its control in totality as Sassa would operate only under the Social Assistance Act of 2004. An open system would require Sassa to obtain or make use of a banking licence, amongst others, or to outsource this function to one or more banks resulting in a solution similar to the current system. The open loop payment solution would be governed by the banking rules, the SARB. PASA Visa and MasterCard, the FSB, etc. and, as such, Sassa would not have actually taken the payment function in house in any way but simply outsourced it to a different bank or/and service provider which would probably require a fresh tender to be issued."

At that meeting the DA's Wilson asked whether Sassa had accomplished the ConCourt's seven deliverables as well as "Who is the supervisor now? Was the court informed when the deliverables were changed? Have the deliverables been extended especially once the deadline for a deliverable has passed? Was the Constitutional Court informed about it and what was the decision?"

To which Dangor replied "that the fact that some of the timelines have not been met means that Sassa has to go back to the Constitutional Court to discuss the options. The Constitutional Court is the supervisor."

Zodwa Mvulane replied that when Sassa began to solicit advice "from other stakeholders as well as reports from the work streams" it became apparent that Sassa had been "overly ambitious about some of its timelines".

"Hence Sassa took the advice and broke down the deliverables and start working on things that matter."

Minister Dlamini then suggested that the committee that it invite officials from Treasury, the Reserve Bank, the Post Office and Postbank so that members could have "a clear understanding of what is going on".

However, added Dlamini, "there are challenges Sassa cannot talk about".

Back now to Belamant waiting in the wings.

On December 9, 2016 Belamant wrote to Dlamini expressing that he was "becoming increasingly concerned with the lack of communication from Sassa" and that CPS would also commence the dismantling of its payment infrastructure on January 1, 2017.

Belamant told Dlamini "As you are aware, on November 30, 2016, Sassa reported to Parliament that it would be ready to perform the payment of all social grants by April 1, 2017. The Contract and Service Level Agreement ("the contracts") between Sassa and Cash Paymaster Services (Pty) Ltd ("CPS") were declared invalid by the Constitutional Court of South Africa. The Constitutional Court, however, suspended the declaration of invalidity until a) Sassa issued and awarded a fresh tender or b) until March 31 , 2017 which ever event occurred first."

He added that over the past six months (so at least from August) "the SARB, PASA, Grindrod bank and MasterCard have engaged with us to debate the technological issues related to the longevity of the existing Sassa branded cards and if a solution could be found to prolong their lifespan beyond April 1, 2017". He added that these stakeholders "were of the view that finding a solution was primordial as Sassa had not finalised or disclosed their transition plan, but that such plan would undoubtedly require the Sassa branded cards to continue to operate beyond April 1, 2017 to ensure that there would be no disruption to the payment of grants' service going forward."

And then "As a result, we have developed and tested a plan that will ensure continuity but such plan requires your urgent endorsement and commitment".

On December 18 the Sunday Times reported that Minister Dlamini, Dangor, Magwaza, Mvulane and Ramokgopa had met with President Zuma's lawyer, Michael Hulley, at the Intercontinental Hotel at OR International Airport. Dlamini had summoned the officials and Hulley had arrived "out of the blue".

Dangor and Magwaza reportedly expressed at the meeting their serious concerns with the meddling of Hulley in the matter and also quizzed his role in the matter.

On December 22 Sassa's Mvulane responded to CPS saying that it was willing "to engage on probabilities for assistance in the transition of Sassa operations towards a new service model", and suggested a first meeting on January 5, 2017.

On December 30 Dlamini chaired a meeting with Sassa CEO, Magwaza, Mvulane, Dlamini's special adviser, Sipho Shezi, DSD deputy director-general Brenton van Vrede, Sassa's legal consultant Tim Sukazi, Ramokgopa as well as head of corporate services, Dumisani Ndlovu, at President Zuma's lawyer Michael Hulley's office in Durban. There they discussed the CPS contract.

Dangor reportedly refused to attend this meeting.

On February 1 Sassa was back in Parliament for a briefing with the committee, a meeting Dlamini skipped, opting to attend a Cabinet lekgotla instead. Opposition members refused to accept her apology and also complained once again about the late circulation of material to be presented.

ANC committee member Hope Malgas rebuked opposition members saying the lekgotla was important and warranted the postponement of meetings.

"There is nothing wrong in postponing. The ANC being in government has to give guidance," said Malgas.

Ramokgopa set out six options including retaining CPS (only snag being the extension of the illegal contract), procuring the services of banks [Treasury's suggestion] "while this option may guarantee service delivery, there is no guarantee that beneficiaries will be paid who are at the cash pay point", procuring the services of banks and the setting up of a special account [a plan that needed six months], option four using banks for some payouts and CPS for cash pay points, using SAPO and the appointment of a service provider for cash distribution and for banked beneficiaries to use existing accounts.

"Given the above circumstances, Sassa came to the conclusion that it has failed. Sassa is of the view that Option 1 carries the least risk in terms of service delivery failure and as such should pursue the option while working on Option 6. In order to pursue this option, Sassa will approach Constitutional Court as a matter of urgency, since this is likely to be virtually the only mechanism to regularise such an approach which would otherwise be irregular. Also procurement in relation to Treasury practice Note 3 of 2016/17 will need to be followed."

It was at this meeting that Magwaza let slip with regard to the fact that Sassa's selection of option 1, to go with CPS, had not yet approached the Constitutional Court but that "the lawyers have assured Sassa that the court will approve since it is a matter of national emergency".

Which lawyers Magwaza did not disclose.

Was this Hulley's advice?

The ConCourt will soon find out.

On February 2 the Minister of Finance wrote to Dlamini informing her that continuing a contract with CPS would "expose government to legal challenges". He proposed that a tender be given to banks and the Post Office.

Sassa revealed what everyone keenly watching developments feared, and suspected: that it was nowhere near ready to assume the critical function and had, in fact, not fulfilled even a single one out of the seven deliverables set out by the Constitutional Court.

"If you ask me to choose between irregular [processes] and the country going up in flames, I choose irregular," Thokozani Magwaza told the committee to some audible gasps in the room.

9 February Magwaza wrote to Belamant with regard to "exploratory discussions".

16 February Belamant replies to Magwaza stating "we have... not received any formal notification from Sassa or yourself regarding the dates for such exploratory discussions. I am concerned that any further delay will significantly impact on our ability to conclude an interim arrangement. It is our view that any negotiations in this respect will require adequate time and consultation to address the following aspects of a new contract. including but not limited to duration, price, phase-in or phase-out strategy, BEE. "

Belamant added that "it is unlikely that the current contract can be extended due to the Constitutional Court judgment as well as the legal constraints of the PFMA. An extension of the contract would, in any case, be unacceptable to the Net1 board of directors due to the ongoing controversy and reputational damage to our company. I have rescheduled my diary as well as my travel arrangements to accommodate the Sassa meetings and will be available to meet with you from 1 March 2017."

On February 22 the portfolio committee met again. This time the panic was even palpable in the minutes published later by PMG. Dlamini, with CEO Magwaza wiping his brow frequently, dominated the meeting, seldom allowing Sassa officials to speak.

It was the IPF's Liezl Van Der Merwe at the meeting who asked, "Can you confirm they [CPS] are seeking an extra R1.3-billion from this department to pay out the social grants? I also want to know that you don't want to pass the buck to Treasury but there are allegations that come March 31 and there is a problem of some sorts you will pass the buck and blame Minister Pravin Gordhan which will give the minister and the president more ammunition to fire Pravin Gordhan."

Committee chair Rose Capa accused the media of "terrorising the poor".

On February 28 Sassa appeared before Scopa to account for the mess. It was learned that Magwaza had been booked of ill with "high blood pressure" and that CEO of the National Development Agency, Thamo Mzobe, had been appointed that morning as acting CEO, and who became ill a week later. Dlamini opted to skip this Scopa meeting, which angered members. It was a shambolic presentation. Members called for Dlamini to account to Scopa.

That same day Sassa filed papers with the Constitutional Court asking it to authorise its engagement with CPS for 12 months from April 1, 2017 to March 30, 2018. Twenty-four hours later Sassa withdrew the application on orders from the minister. Mzobe, who was still on the job at that point, said that Sassa had not been "consulted" by Magwaza and were now merely sending a "follow-up report" to the court.

On the same day, the Black Sash files with the Constitutional Court asking the court to act in a supervisory role with regard to the new CPS contract. In court papers the Sash says Sassa "breached its constitutional obligations of transparency and accountability to the public‚ to Parliament and to the court".

March 2, 2017 Dlamini and Sassa filed the "follow-up report" with the ConCourt accepting responsibility for the fiasco.

"The minister and Sassa accept responsibility for Sassa's inability to deliver the system deliverables set out in the progress report," reads their submission.

Sassa also claimed it only became aware in August and October 2016 after advice from "technical advisers" that it would be unable to take the payment of social grants in house after March 31. Sassa added it was not ready to move forward due to budget constraints, insufficient internal capacity and a lack of skilled personnel to implement the plan in the time frame it had contemplated.

March 3, 2017 DSD DG Zane Dangor resigns citing a breakdown in the relationship with the minister.

March 5, President Zuma met with Dlamini and Gordhan and said the Sassa crisis is "solvable".

March 5 Dlamini and her spokesperson Lumka Oliphant call a last-minute press conference which ends up with Dlamini refusing to answer questions from journalists. Dlamini blamed the media for creating panic with regard to the payment of grants on April 1. Dlamini confirmed however that no deal with CPS had been signed, contradicting an earlier statement that a deal had in fact been concluded.

March 7 Minister Dlamini appears before Scopa and receives a grilling of note. She tells committee members that Scopa had underestimated the amount of work.

March 8 – The Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng directs Sassa to reply in detail questions relating to responsible officials, a time line for the fiasco as well as when it was the minister was informed.

March 14 – 4pm – Will all be revealed? DM

Photo: Minister of Social Development Bathabile Dlamini closes the National Youth Camp at 3 South African Infantry Battalion near Kimberley, Northern Cape, 12 December 2016. (Photo: GCIS)

© Copyright (c) Daily Maverick 2013, All Rights Reserved

Editor’s note: The opinions in this article are the author’s, as published by our content partner, and do not represent the views of MSN or Microsoft.

South Africa's decision to remove itself from the ICC means a squandered opportunity to show leadership and to use its influence within the court to help assuage the concerns about the work of the ICC. Following the High Court's decision, there is now a telling chance for South Africa to continue working to improve the ICC from within. By MAX DU PLESSIS.

Last week, the South African government deposited with the UN Secretary-General in New York a document that is as embarrassing as it is telling. The document is headed: "South Africa: Withdrawal of Notification of Withdrawal". It comes on the back of a successful challenge in the High Court to the government's unilateral and surprise lodging last October (2016) of its notice to withdraw from the International Criminal Court (ICC). An urgently convened Full Bench of three senior judges ruled on February 22, 2017 that the move by South Africa was "unconstitutional and invalid". Pretoria now says that it "wishes" to inform the UN Secretary-General of this High Court decision, and deposits its notice of withdrawing its notice of withdrawal, "in order to adhere to the said judgment".

This embarrassing reversal might have been avoided if the government had taken the time to follow the correct legal processes. That is particularly so when one recalls that there was no apparent rush to leave the court without notice to or consultation with an unsuspecting public or Parliament – the arguments and papers before the High Court revealed that South Africa's executive made out no case whatsoever for any urgent need to remove the country from the ICC, and that South Africa was in fact involved midway in various consultative processes with the ICC to deal with its concerns.

Those concerns included its arguments for leaving the ICC. Its primary contention is that South Africa is caught in a bind. On the one hand, it must observe diplomatic immunity for heads of state, as per international customary law backed up African Union pressure. Yet its membership of the ICC pulled it in another (apparently less attractive direction): of having to arrest and surrender odious presidents like Sudan's Al-Bashir, wanted for genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes, by the ICC.

Also read: Mandela murder plot was 'covered up' - top cop

To escape this bind, South Africa opted out. It also raised the risible argument that there was no cause for concern for African victims of such crimes, since the African Court of Human and Peoples Rights would be recast to prosecute international crimes as an African alternative to the ICC – a claim that is undermined somewhat by the fact that not one of the 15 ratifications required for such recasting has been obtained (South Africa has not even signed the amendment protocol, let alone ratified it), and heads of state and other senior African officials would have iron-clad immunity from prosecution before the recast African Court.

These and other arguments in support of its withdrawal have been subjected to withering criticism by many, including most recently a number of retired Justices of South Africa's Constitutional Court (among them Justice Kate O'Regan, now director of the Bonavero Institute of Human Rights at Oxford) and Justice Navi Pillay, the former UN Human Rights Commissioner and herself a previous judge of the ICC.

Of course the implications of a withdrawal by South Africa have sent shock waves, inducing fears that its move will threaten the existence of the court itself in Africa. That consequence for African victims of the world's worst crimes would be massive, recalling that there is scant chance of them receiving justice before domestic courts.

But most important, South Africa's decision to remove itself from the ICC means a squandered opportunity to show leadership and to use its influence within the court to help assuage the concerns about the work of the ICC. There is a real debate about the effect of immunities within the ICC and the relationship of the ICC with the Security Council (an unhealthy one). Instead of precipitously and prematurely withdrawing from the court, another clear solution for South Africa would be to remain a constructive member of the court. Whatever the embarrassment occasioned by its reversal of the withdrawal notice, there remains both hope and a real opportunity for South Africa to reassert its rightful place as a leading African nation within the court. Following the High Court's decision, there is now a telling chance for South Africa to continue working to improve the ICC from within.

There are several options available, which I have written about elsewhere, and they are not mutually exclusive.

The first is to engage with other States Parties to reform referral processes by which the ICC investigates cases. In Africa alone, 34 countries have ratified the Rome Statute; if co-ordinated, this would represent the most powerful bloc within the treaty. There is no reason why South Africa cannot harness this influence to encourage the court to investigate non-African situations (Palestine is an obvious instance) with more energy.

Also read: Reflections on the political murder trial of the decade

The second is to push for a political resolution to the question of whether serving heads of state should have immunity. Since the Bashir arrest debacle, South Africa has led a working group at the ICC's Assembly of States Parties on this very matter. South Africa is – now again – well positioned to streamline the ICC's consultation process with States Parties concerned about how to deal with immunities for serving presidents whose countries are not parties to the Rome Statute, such as Sudan.

The third is to push for more clarity from the UN Security Council when it refers situations to the ICC implicating a Head of State (like Bashir). The council ought to express itself unambiguously about the removal of immunities and the obligations regarding co-operation. It also needs to improve its consultation process with African states and the African Union in relation to ICC matters. South Africa is ideally suited to contribute to this process of reform.

The fourth is to continue pushing for UN Security Council reform. The ICC is undermined by the Security Council's reluctance to refer cases involving major powers (hence the failure hitherto for investigation of crimes committed in Syria, despite the mounting tragedy unfolding there). Security Council reform is a long and difficult process, sure; but that process will become even longer and more difficult if countries like South Africa choose not to engage.

This moment in time allows the South African government to put the embarrassing imbroglio of its ill-fated withdrawal in the past. The future of the court is at stake, and there is an opportunity for the government to continue engaging constructively to improve the ICC for the benefit of the court and its victims, and also to avoid further dishonour to South Africa. Whether the Zuma administration has the foresight or insight to do so is another question entirely

NEW SPEED LIMITS: The Department of Transport could implement new speed limits in SA later in 2017. Image: iStock

© iStock NEW SPEED LIMITS: The Department of Transport could implement new speed limits in SA later in 2017. Image: iStock

Johannesburg - In recent months a fair amount of concern has been expressed by motorists due to proposed changes to road regulations which will affect most drivers on the road.

Draft regulations, intended to reduce road carnage, include lower speed limits, the banning of transporting children in a bakkie's load bay and restricting the use of heavy vehicles on public roads.

When will these laws be implemented? According to the Department of Transport, however, motorists can expect them to come into effect during the course of 2017.

There is also no longer anything drivers can do to protest these changes. The comment period for the proposal was during 2015 and no further comments will be accepted.

The draft regulations, published in the 2015 Government Gazette, propose these 5 changes to legislation:

1 Drivers to be re-evaluated when renewing a licence;

2 No more than five people to be carried in a bakkie load bed;

3 Children not to be transported in a bakkie load bed;

4 Speed limits to be reduced from 60 to 40km/h in urban areas, from 100 to 80km/h in rural areas and from 120 to 100km/h on freeways running through a residential area;

5 Goods vehicles above 9000kg GVM to be banned from public roads during peak travelling times.

Speed limit changes

We look at potential changes to speed limits and what it means for you.

Changes to the speed limit is one area where some of the most concern is being raised. According to lawyer Alta Swanepoel and Associates, the proposed changes will affect all motorists.

She said: “The proposal changes the speed limit from 60km/h to 40km/h and from 100km/h to 80km/h in urban areas. This applies to everyone.”What are your thoughts on the proposed speed limits? Email us or reach us via Facebook and Twitter.

While the limits have not yet been changed for motor vehicles this is not so for mid-sized commercial vehicles.

Swanepoel said: “A speed reduction for goods vehicles with a gross vehicle mass between 3 500kg and 9 000kg is already in effect. The proposal was added on 11 November 2016. The maximum speed limit is now 100km/h for these vehicles.”

According to the MD of MasterDrive, Eugene Herbert, this could present problems for fleet operators. “While speeding presents a major challenge for safety on our roads, changing these limits could present challenges for fleet managers in terms of delivery times and meeting targets. Additionally, we need to question whether these changes will have the desired effect.

“Will the drivers who currently disregard the speed limit, adhere to the new ones? Another challenge with crashes, where speed has an influence, is because often drivers do not differentiate their speed to the current conditions. We need to ask if a change to the speed limit will address these challenges?”

Readers respond

Gary: "Speed does not kill, people kill. Driver's are not educated for the rules of the roads. Far too many vehicles on the roads due to over population. No road discipline public and officers of the law inclusive. SA should be made alcohol free. And that would cut down road deaths by 95%."

Gerko: "Another rule required would be that the existing rules should be enforced. Cars driving in the emergency lane, cars driving against the oncoming lane traffic, un-roadworthy vehicles transporting passengers, stops treat like circles and so on has to be dealt with. Having the rules in place without policing thereof means nothing."

© Greg Marinovich / Daily Maverick

Editor’s note: The opinions in this article are the author’s, as published by our content partner, and do not represent the views of MSN or Microsoft.

A Free State provincial department has irregularly awarded a sweeping, open-ended tender to a company owned by one of premier Ace Magashule's close associates, amaBhungane can reveal. By Tabelo Timse, Sally Evans and Sam Sole for AMABHUNGANE.

The provincial department of police, roads and transport is in hot water after it bypassed the State Information Technology Agency (Sita), an entity that is by law responsible for managing large information and communication technology (ICT) tenders for government.

Instead the Free State issued and awarded what it calls the "One Stop ICT Fusion Centre" tender without Sita approval.

The three-year contract was awarded in June 2016 to TAD Consultancy and Services, a company headed by Deena Pillay, who was Magashule's secretary while he was provincial sports minister in the mid-90's.

Pillay did not respond to amaBhungane's emailed questions.

Magashule's spokesperson, Tiisetso Makhele, said Magashule and the provincial government denied "any allegation of irregularity".

Sita spokesperson Bontle Tsikwe confirmed the tender was of a type that should have gone through her agency as required by government procurement legislation.

"Sita was not consulted concerning the tender. The agency was only approached on (3) May 2016 to verify if certain service providers were accredited with Sita and a response was provided accordingly," said Tsikwe.

For mandatory services government departments have to procure from or through the agency unless an exemption is received.

National Treasury spokesperson Yolisa Tyansi confirmed that her department was also scrutinising the deal.

The provincial department has refused to say what the tender is worth or what milestones have been reached since it was awarded.

According to an official from the department of police, roads and transport it seemed as if the tender was "engineered" to go to TAD, which has profited from multiple Free State contracts with Magashule's administration.

The official, who asked not to be named, told amaBhungane his suspicions were raised after the department sidestepped Sita.

Alarm bells also went off when the tender specifications were published and, said the official, "were vague and basically covered anything under one umbrella".

The tender, published in October 2015, appears designed to create a new "one-stop" control centre incorporating an integrated ICT system for the entire provincial government.

Bidders were asked to provide a province-wide system for security camera surveillance and traffic management – all centralised in one control room; a voice-over-internet telephone service for more than 5,000 civil servants; an employee time and attendance system, as well as a patient management system.

One of the losing bidders told amaBhungane the specifications were too broad. "We didn't know whether they wanted us to provide the equipment as well or what. In our presentation we did mention that the specs would need to be narrowed down."

Although the tender asked for a quote on the "total bid offer", the notice of award to TAD noted the contract value merely as "as and when needed" – underscoring the perception that the tender was open-ended and impossible to price accurately.

In responses to questions, the department denied the tender was irregular or tailor made for TAD and pointed out that there were five bidders, though only two were "responsive".

The department said TAD had been appointed on "an ad hoc basis … subject to market related quotation as per services" – but did not respond to questions about the amount paid out so far under the contract.

Another source, a former employee who asked not to be identified, claimed: "TAD has no skilled staff in their employ and almost everything is outsourced to other companies."

In this case, after winning the tender, TAD outsourced work to two other companies: BBTech and Tech Mahindra.

This emerges from the minutes of a "project inception meeting" dated August 18, 2016 and chaired by Sandile Msibi, who heads the department of police, roads and transport. Msibi is said to be Magashule's ally.

The minutes record Msibi as saying that BBTech was the small enterprise partner to TAD and would receive 30% of the work, while TAD's Pillay introduced Tech Mahindra as the "solutions partner".

Pillay is recorded as saying: "Tech Mahindra and BBTech will be entering cessions with TAD Consultancy to allow the department to pay their services directly to their respective accounts."

The same minutes document notes that during the meeting Msibi introduced three project managers the provincial government chose as its "representatives".

Their job, Msibi said, was to be "present in the planning of the project roll-out plan".

Matsobane Tlhapolosa, the acting director for ICT operations in the Free State's department of police, roads and transport, was one of the three project managers.

But amaBhungane subsequently discovered that before Tlhapolosa joined the provincial government, he worked for the winning bidder for almost three-years.

Tlhapolosa's LinkedIn profile says he was a network administrator for the company from April 2011 to January 2014. He moved to the department of police, roads and transport in February 2014.

Tlhapolosa was also a "former site administrator" for HM Productions — another Pillay-owned company that produces Hlasela TV.

Critics see Hlasela TV as a government mouthpiece, which forms part of Magashule's brainchild Operation Hlasela.

Operation Hlasela is a state-funded programme established by Magashule in 2009 ostensibly to drive service delivery.

The DA and Cope accused the ANC of using Operation Hlasela as part of its campaign before the 2011 municipal elections. In 2012 the parties lodged a complaint with the Public Protector's office.

Former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela released her findings in May 2016.

She found no conclusive evidence that the ANC misused Operation Hlasela. But she sustained a complaint about the conflation of party and state.

And while there is no evidence Tlhapolosa interfered in the ICT tender process, amaBhungane has been unable to confirm if he ever declared his previous relationship with Deena Pillay.

Msibi's office did not return amaBhungane's messages or emails in relation to this issue.

In response to previous questions put to him by amaBhungane, Msibi defended the ICT contract and said the correct procedures were followed.

BBTech CEO Tankiso Mosia refused to comment and referred amaBhungane to TAD.

Tech Mahindra did not reply to amaBhungane emailed questions, but its involvement seems to be a re-run of an earlier engagement with the Free State and Pillay.

Tech Mahindra is an Indian multinational ICT company previously known as Mahindra Satyam.

In 2009 Pillay, apparently acting as an agent, introduced the Free State department of economic development to Mahindra Satyam.

In late November 2009 a delegation, including economic development MEC Mxolisi Dukwana, visited India where an agreement was reached paving the way for 40 students from the Free State to be dispatched to Mahindra Satyam in India for training.

However, it became apparent – in the words of one delegate -- "that the company had a lot of expectations that they would get projects from the Free State government" in return.

The concerns were such that Dukwana decided the engagement could not continue.

Now Tech Mahindra seems to be repeating history: It hosted a junket for a Free State political delegation to India in 2015, accepted a batch of 50 students for training in July 2015 -- and now appears to be riding on the coat-tails of TAD's Free State contract.

Coincidentally, Tlhapolosa was part of the 2015 delegation.

Magashule's spokesperson Tiisetso Makhele did not address allegations that there was a perception that Pillay received contracts because of his association with the premier. DM

Sidebar: A playground for cronies

Critics suggest the "Fusion Centre" contract is emblematic of an informal but seemingly entrenched network of businessmen and government officials who are aligned to Ace Magashule and seem to survive controversy and indeed prosper under his administration.

That impression casts a shadow over Magashule's ambitions for the national stage, come the ANC's elective conference later this year. He has been widely touted as a candidate for one of the "top six" positions.

Two key figures in the Fusion Centre contract saga are players in this network, though it extends well beyond them.

Sandile Msibi

Msibi heads the department of police, roads and transport.

He is a former Mangaung municipal manager who was abruptly removed by Magashule in 2011 after the South African Municipal Workers Union accused of him of corruption, incompetence and ignoring labour agreements.

Magashule then immediately appointed him to the head-of-department post.

Objections to his appointment were raised with the Public Service Commission, but Magashule said these had been found to be minor and technical.

Msibi was re-appointed for a further term last month despite an allegation of using departmental lawyers for personal matters.

He is also being investigated by the Public Protector for allegedly using the department's letterhead to solicit money for an ANC fundraising dinner where President Jacob Zuma was a guest speaker ahead of last year's local elections.

Msibi has denied both allegations.

Deena Pillay & Co

Pillay and his family have managed to secure dozens of state contracts in the Free State since Magashule became premier in 2009.

Contracts, some multiple, have been concluded with the Mangaung Metropolitan Municipality and the Maluti-a-Phofung municipality; Centlec, the electricity supply authority; the departments of agriculture, health, education and police, roads and transport; as well as the premier's office and the Free State Training and Development Institute, a project run by Magashule's office.

There have been previous allegations that TAD has benefited from its perceived association with Magashule.

For example, in 2011 the Free State Times and Volksblad reported that TAD was given a 10-year, R25.7-million lease contract without a tender to accommodate the Free State Training and Development Institute.

The Free State Times also reported in 2011 that TAD was "hand picked" for Pelonomi Hospital's R6.3-million surveillance contract.

Industry experts told the newspaper at the time that the project should not have cost more than R3-million. The department defended bypassing normal tender procedures saying the project was "an emergency".

Weeks after landing the contract, TAD sponsored an orphans' Christmas party thrown by the Ace Magashule Foundation, a charitable organisation dominated by Magashule's business and political allies.

Pillay sat on the foundation's board and served as its treasurer.

The listed chief executive of the foundation, Kenny Dichabe, is also the chief operating officer of the Free State Gambling & Liquor Authority.

The chair of the Gambling & Liquor authority is Pillay's brother, who is also chief executive of the Free State Tourism Authority. 

PRICE INCREASE: Toll fees will increase in April 2017. Image: iStock

© iStock PRICE INCREASE: Toll fees will increase in April 2017. Image: iStockCape Town - On the back of increases to the general fuel levy and Road Accident Fund (RAF) levy coming in April 2017, motorists now also have to contend with increases to toll rates announced by the South African National Roads Agency (Sanral).

It’s a move the Automobile Association (AA) said is yet another financial blow to South African consumers, and will place even more pressure on already cash-strapped motorists, commuters, and consumers.

Notified about increases

Some Sanral users (not all) received notification of the increases via e-mail on Friday (March 3), the day of the adjustments. Actual increase values were not included in the communication, nor was there any justification of why the increases were being made. The new tariff prices also do not provide any historical data of the prices, and their increases over a period of time.

Sanral’s only justification was that the adjustments were published in the Government Gazette on 16 February.

The AA noted: “Sanral has again missed an opportunity to engage meaningfully with the public on this topic. We warned last year that Sanral must try and win support from the public, but it seems its attitude to motorists remains arrogant and uncaring. We will not be surprised if, given this attitude, and the prevailing economic situation in SA, more motorists decide not to pay their tolls.

"Sanral would do well to remember it is a service provider to their customers, the motorists of South Africa, and yet its attitude conveys the opposite message.”

The published increases cover tolls across South Africa, including the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project (GFIP), where payment rates remain low. In April the general fuel levy increases by 30cents, and the RAF levy increases by nine cents. This means that motorists across South Africa will be paying R4.78, or 35%, to taxes for every litre of petrol they put in their vehicles. With these increases to toll rates, motorists are again being squeezed at every opportunity, a situation that simply cannot continue."

Replacing toll fees

The Association noted that is has for a long time called for toll fees to be replaced with a ring-fenced amount as part of the general fuel levy so that motorists aren’t paying tax twice for the use of public roads. It is making the call again in light of this year’s adjustments to the fuel levy and tolls.

As it did in 2016, the AA is also informing the public of the toll increases as it appears Sanral has not communicated them to all users. In fact, the last press release on Sanral’s website dates from February 17, a day after the Government Gazette published the new tariffs, yet there is no press information on the tariff increases, nor any information on the tariff increases, on any of their social media platforms over this period.

The AA concluded: “While these increases seem to be simply business as usual for SANRAL, this is clearly not the case for the beleaguered South African consumer."

For illustrative purposes, below is a breakdown of current, historic rates, as well as the financial impact for a day trip, on the GFIP from Soweto to Pretoria. This trip will cost the consumer an additional six percent in tolls from 3 March 2017 compared to February 2017.

A breakdown of all the new tariff rates published by Sanral (excluding historic data, percentages of increases).

George Michael performs at Mediolanum Forum in Milan, November 11, 2011. The singer's death has been ruled as being down to a heart condition.© Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty George Michael performs at Mediolanum Forum in Milan, November 11, 2011. The singer's death has been ruled as being down to a heart condition.

George Michael died of natural causes, according to a coroner’s report.

The British singer, who died on Christmas Day aged 53, had "dilated cardiomyopathy with myocarditis and fatty liver,” said Darren Salter, senior coroner for Oxfordshire in England.

Dilated cardiomyopathy is a condition in which the the heart’s ability to pump blood around the body is compromised due to the heart muscle becoming stretched and weakened.

Michael was found dead at his home in Goring-on-Thames in Oxfordshire last December.

An initial postmortem examination proved inconclusive.

"Inquires into the death of George Michael have been concluded and the final post-mortem report received,” the coroner’s office said in a statement published by the BBC.

"As there is a confirmed natural cause of death, being dilated cardiomyopathy with myocarditis and fatty liver, the investigation is being discontinued and there is no need for an inquest or any further enquiries.

"No further updates will be provided and the family requests the media and public respect their privacy."

web_photo_Julius_Malema_14112016: EFF leader Julius Malema in the dock at the Bloemfontein Magistrate Court on 14 November 2016.

© Twitter/EFFSouthAfrica EFF leader Julius Malema in the dock at the Bloemfontein Magistrate Court on 14 November 2016.

PRETORIA - Julius Malema has been been gagged by the North Gauteng High Court.

Lobby groups AfriForum and AfriBusiness applied for an order interdicting the EFF leader and his party from inciting land grabs.

The court found in their favour.

Malema could be held in contempt of court if he ignores the ruling.

He is also facing criminal charges for encouraging supporters to invade land in violation of the Riotous Assemblies Act and is expected to go on trial in July.

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