What’s the latest on the Pistorius sentencing?: at the hearing of Oscar Pistorius, Probation Officer Annette Vergeer faced tough questions on the stand from State Prosecutor, Advocate Gerrie Nel. They were primarily about her recommendation that Pistorius be sentenced to correctional supervision. There has meanwhile also been a statement from the family of Reeva Steenkamp about payments they received from Pistorius. Criminal attorney, Tyrone Maseko:
There were certain aspects of his cross that I liked including exposing Annette as not having done her job well and the part of about the same recommendation she keeps giving all these matters, particularly the Sunday rapist who turned out to be a repeat offender. Gerrie Nel did make some headway, but generally, it isn’t useful spending too much time cross examining witnesses. Sometimes the parties are guilty for leading a lot of evidence thatis irrelevant. Additonally, let’s distinguish between two sets of witnesses: actual or lay witnesses, also known as eye witnesses and expert witnesses. Lay witnesses aren’t paid, and expert witnesses are paid as they are expected to provide a ‘professional service’ as it were. I can see the danger there, since ‘He who is paid, plays to the piper’s tune’ - it is important for experts to remain impartial.
Could Madikizela-Mandela get the Mandela Qunu homestead?: confirmation on Tuesday afternoon that lawyers acting for Winnie Madikizela-Mandela have lodged papers in the Mthatha High Court claiming that the executors of Nelson Mandela’s estate were wrong to include the property around Qunu in his will. Madikizela-Mandela’s attorney, Mvuzo Notyesi:
I am not at liberty to speak about this matter, but for the sake of clarity I will say, the application launched at the High Court concerns the property at Qunu, which is the property of Mrs Mandela and therefore cannot be a part of the will. She acquired the property herself and is therefore the person entitled to the property and it can’t be the subject of dispossession in the will.
Meanwhile an executor of Mandela’s estate, Advocate George Bizos has expressed disappointment on the action:
We have not received any papers nor have been notified by anyone, you (Stephen Grootes) are the first one to do so. We as executors of the estate received a letter from her attorney to which we responded that we are bound to comply with the will’s conditions and we will oppose any proceedings. I can’t stop people from taking advice from others, I think it’s incorrect advice, but my feelings don’t have to play any part, we will play our duty.
Would talks end tensions between Iraq and Syria?: as the violence continues around the Islamic state organization in Iraq and Syria, there’s been a suggestion from Tony Blair’s former Chief of Staff, Jonathan Powell, that at some point, Western democratic governments are going to have to sit down and talk to the group known as ISIS. Powell is one of the people who helped to broker peace in Northern Ireland while Blair was Prime Minister, his book is entitled Talking toTerrorists – How to End Armed Conflicts. One of the people he spoke to for the book is Roelf Meyer, who was a former minister in the National Party government and chief negotiator for the then government in our own negotiations process towards democracy. Meyer believes in the dialoguing process:
Talk and dialogue are the best options to find a solution, even if you go to combat each other, at some point the combat has to stop and talks resume. For a very long time in the Mid-East, the thinking of the Israelis was to recognise the existence of Hamas and they had to realise they had to start talking. Both sides must be agreeable to the talks and set conditions for the continuation or not of the armed struggle.
What could be attributed to a drop in **oil prices?: **the price of oil on international markets has dropped dramatically over the last few weeks. The price of brent crude is now below eighty six Dollars a barrel – its lowest level since 2010. CEO of the Fuel Retailers Association, Reggie Sibiya:
Factors that have an impact include the demand and supply on international markets,with European markets just coming out of the winter period, so diesel usage demand goes down. The Rand-Dollar exchange is also a factor.
What’s the situation with the residents of Kya Sand informal settlement?: in EWN bulletins today, a comment by the Gauteng Housing MEC Jacob Mamabolo that government wants to move all the residents of the Kya Sand informal settlement after last week’s massive fire there:
The land on which the people of Kya Sand are located is land that isn’t compliant for building on. We had to look at the reasons why people couldn’t be relocated. The people should be moved due to fire, flooding and other general issues, which will be dealt with soon. With the new settlements the principle we’ll apply is we won’t move people away from their place of employment and we’ll place them within 5 km of where they work and this is central to our new settlement policy.
Time for political change in Mozambique?: around ten million people are eligible to vote in elections that start today in Mozambique. The current Defence Minister Filipe Nyussi is Frelimo’s candidate he takes over from Armando Guebeza. EWN Africa Correspondent, Jean Jacques Cornish:
It’s much of the same thing, no change effectively. The interesting raceis going to be for the official opposition.