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Hawks arrest five in a R31-million corruption and bribery allegations

Five suspects aged between 23 and 65 are expected to appear in the Pretoria Magistrate's Court on Friday, following their arrest by the Hawks' National Serious Anti-Corruption Unit in a sting operation on allegations of corruption and bribery.

The group allegedly approached a Nedbank official and offered a bribe of just under a million rand in return of her assistance in releasing a block status on an account with a suspicious amount of about R31-million.

The said account had reportedly been blocked by the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) as it was deemed to be in contravention of the Exchange Control Regulations Act.

The Hawks swooped on the group consisting of a lady and four males on Wednesday in Arcadia, Pretoria, after they showed-up at an agreed meeting place with R900 000 bribe money in cash. They are expected to face charges related to fraud and corruption.

Source: South African Police Service

Turkey Seeks Nigeria’s Support Against US-Based Cleric

ANKARA, TURKEY � Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan pledged cooperation with Nigeria in its fight against Boko Haram but said he expected the African nation's support against a movement led by U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen whom Ankara accuses of orchestrating last year's failed coup.

Speaking at a joint news conference Thursday with Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari, Erdogan reiterated Turkish assertions that schools run by Gulen's movement in Africa were being used to raise militants.

Buhari was in the Turkish capital for a meeting of Developing-8 countries, which also includes Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia and Pakistan.

Erdogan also said Turkish customs authorities were engaged in talks with their Nigerian counterparts over how hundreds of rifles allegedly made their way to Nigeria from Turkey.

Gulen denies involvement in the coup.

Source: Voice of America

Minister Bathabile Dlamini receives fifth clean audit from ...

The Minister of Social Development, Ms Bathabile Dlamini, received her fifth clean audit award on behalf of the Department of Social Development from the office of the Auditor General.

Minister Dlamini was appointed as the Minister of Social Development in November 2010 and since the 2012/13 financial cycle, the Department has been achieving clean audit reports.

Assessment by the Auditor-General looked at performance of Social Development and its agencies - SASSA and NDA.

The audit report reveals that the best practices that earned the department its fifth consecutive award are: Effective leadership and Performance management, timely and effective consequence management, effective governance structures and implementation of action plans to respond to root causes of risk behaviour.

Mr Theunis Eloff, Senior Manager in the Office of the Auditor-General who has been responsible for auditing Social Development for the past five years acknowledged the clean audit as "an incredible accomplishment for the Department of Social Development as this audit also reflects on social grants being paid by SASSA. It shows that SASSA also has good internal controls to ensure that there is no mismanagement in the payment of grants." said Mr Eloff.

Responding to this accolade, the Minister of Social Development said she was humbled and elated.

"This award shows that the Department of Social Development understands the importance of accounting, good governance and working with the office of the Auditor General," she said.

She also thanked the Finance team in the Department of Social Development for its hard work in ensuring that the department operates ethically and within all financial prescripts of government.

Source: Government of South Africa

Cabinet commends Limpopo infrastructure development

Cabinet has applauded the massive boost in government's infrastructure development with the official handover of three bridges in Botlokwa in Limpopo by President Jacob Zuma on Tuesday.

The opening of the bridges has brought some relief to the locals, as they will now be able to cross the busy N1 with ease.

The South African National Roads Agency constructed the Botlokwa bridges, which consist of one road bridge and two pedestrian bridges on the N1 between Polokwane and Makhado.

Cabinet on Thursday said it is positive that this project will significantly improve travelling conditions and safety for all road users in the area.

President Zuma said the construction of the bridges is a response to the concerns of the public and the people who live in close proximity to the N1.

Local residents and a number of traditional councils representing the Machaka, Makgato and Ramokgopa authorities raised their concerns about safety and accessibility with local and provincial representatives.

However, with these bridges and the reopening of a vital section of the national road, we go beyond the mere provision of transport infrastructure. This project demonstrates the fact that government responds to the needs expressed by communities and the priorities they identify, President Zuma said at the bridge handover ceremony.

Source: South African Government News Agency

Africa’s rapid urbanization can drive industrialization, says ...

A United Nations report out Thursday makes concrete recommendations on how the right African policy framework can harness the continent's rapid urban transition to drive industrial development.

African urbanization has not been driven by improving agricultural productivity or increased industrial output, as has been the case elsewhere, said Giovanie Biha, the Deputy Executive Secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) during the launch of the 2017 Economic Report on Africa by the ECA Sub-Regional Office for Eastern Africa in Kigali (SRO-EA).

On the contrary, she added, it has been dominated by the expansion of the informal sector � often services. To foster enhanced growth and poverty eradication, African countries should put in place industrial policies that will generate the skilled jobs and productivity gains needed for the structural transformation of their economies.

Pointing out that by 2035, half of the continent's population will be urban, compared to just one third in 1990, 'Industrialization and Urbanization for Africa's Transformation' also provides an opportunity to discuss the challenges of industrialization and structural transformation on the continent and for Eastern Africa, in particular.

In most of the 14 countries covered by the Sub-Regional Office, the share of the manufacturing sector has been stagnant or declining over the past ten years while the services sector has expanded rapidly.

Despite a weak structural transformation process, the long-term growth outlook remains promising in Eastern Africa.

According to the ECA report, the gross domestic product (GDP) growth rate in 2017 is estimated to remain at the 2016 level of 5.6 per cent � down from the exceptional performance of the past five years. Ethiopia's average annual growth rate is 9.5 per cent and Rwanda's 7.2 per cent between 2012 and 2016, remaining well above the African continent average of 3.1 per cent in 2017.

While Andrew Mold, Acting Director of the SRO-EA, highlighted some growth catalysts, such as massive investments in infrastructure or service sectors, increased investments have started to stretch budgets and weaken structural constraints, such as exchange rate volatility.

Source: UN News Centre

Advocate Bongo sworn in as new State Security Minister

Advocate Bongani Thomas Bongo says he will provide the required leadership in terms of legislation and policy directive in his new role as State Security Minister.

After reading his Oath of Office, Advocate Bongo, who has been a Member of Parliament since 2014, was sworn in as the Minister of State Security at Tuynhuys in Parliament on Wednesday.

I am looking forward to joining colleagues in the cluster and working together to make sure that we are able to carry on the mandate that government wants us to deal with... I am looking forward to meeting with the team so that we move with serious speed in order to ensure that we meet the targets that government has set for us to deal with in the medium term.

The Minister's swearing in comes after President Jacob Zuma announced a Cabinet reshuffle in a statement on Tuesday. Former State Security Minister, David Mahlobo, was appointed as the new Energy Minister.

Minister Bongo has since 2014 been a Member of the National Assembly, elected from Mpumalanga.

He has served under several portfolios in the Justice Cluster � the Portfolio Committee on Defence and Military Veterans and the Portfolio Committee on Justice and Constitutional Development. He also served in the Ad Hoc Committee that was established to process the nominations that led to the recent appointment of Public Protector Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane.

President Zuma, who attended the swearing in ceremony after chairing a Cabinet meeting, said ahead of the formalities: By the powers vested in me by section 91 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa 1996, I have decided to appoint Bongani Thomas Bongo as a Minister for the Portfolio of State Security as listed in the signed President's Act I would like to ask the Judge President to either swear or affirm him.

After being sworn in by the Western Cape Judge President John Hlophe and after a photo opportunity with the President, Minister Bongo, flanked by his mother and sister, thanked the President for his appointment.

Source: South African Government News Agency

President Jacob Zuma wishes the Hindu faithfuls happy Diwali

President Zuma extends Diwali wishes

President Jacob Zuma has extended good wishes to all the Hindu, Tamil, Gujerati and other communities, in South Africa who celebrate Diwali or Deepavali today, 18 October 2017.

Diwali or Deepavali is the religious occasion that celebrates the victory of good over evil, knowledge and wisdom over ignorance as well as triumph of light over darkness.

On this holy day, devotees around the country and across the world will light lamps that symbolise the victory of light over darkness.

"We wish all Hindu, Tamil, Gujerati communities a peaceful and a happy Diwali. May the divine light bless you with peace, prosperity, happiness, success and fulfillment as you celebrate this important annual occasion. We also urge the use of this special occasion to further cement harmony, unity and togetherness among all our people in celebration of our country's cultural and religious diversity," said President Zuma.

Source: Government of South Africa

Minister Jeff Radebe briefs media on state of readiness for OR Tambo ...

The Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) on O.R Tambo centenary celebrations chaired by Minister in the Presidency for Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation, Jeff Radebe will hold a media briefing to provide status on the upcoming centenary celebration.

Source: Government of South Africa