Sentencing Date Adjourned for South African Woman Found Guilty of Murdering Her Three Daughters

Sentencing Date Adjourned For South African Woman Found Guilty Of Murdering Her Three Daughters

The sentencing date for 41-year-old South African woman, Lauren Dickason, who was convicted of murdering her three daughters in September 2020, has been delayed until next year, according to reports from New Zealand media.

Dickason was found guilty in August for the murder of her two-year-old twins, Maya and Karla, and her six-year-old daughter, Liane, at their family home in Timaru, New Zealand. Initially scheduled for December 19, her sentencing date has been adjourned without a specific date set, as reported by The Press.

Although the sentencing has been postponed, Dickason’s case will appear in court again in February. During her five-week-long trial, her mental health was extensively examined, and she was ultimately found guilty of three counts of murder by 11 out of the 12 jurors.

Lauren Dickason, a former medical doctor from Pretoria, arrived in New Zealand with her husband Graham and their three children on August 28, 2020. However, tragedy struck on September 16 when she smothered her three young children to death.

Dickason admitted to the killings but pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity and infanticide, with her defence presenting expert witnesses and testimonies from those close to her in support of her plea.

The prosecution in the trial aimed to establish that Dickason acted with intent. Throughout the proceedings, her challenging journey to motherhood, including 17 rounds of IVF and the loss of a baby, played a significant role in the defence’s arguments.

While Dickason has garnered a growing number of supporters, particularly women from around the world who have sent messages of hope and support, her contact with them has been restricted. Currently held at the Hillmorton mental health hospital, Dickason was reportedly barred from sending or receiving letters, according to her supporters and reports from Stuff.NZ.

The adjournment of the sentencing date prolongs the legal proceedings surrounding this tragic case, leaving many awaiting the final outcome and the justice that will be served.


Source: Independent Online SA

South Africa Threatens Citizens Fighting for Israel with Prosecution

South Africa Threatens Citizens Fighting For Israel With Prosecution

South Africans fighting for Israel in Gaza could face prosecution at home, the government warned Monday, as President Cyril Ramaphosa once again denounced the conflict in the Palestinian territory as “genocide.”

The South African foreign ministry expressed grave concern over reports that some South African nationals have joined the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) to fight in Gaza or are considering doing so. The ministry stated that such actions could potentially contribute to the violation of international law and the commission of further international crimes, making them liable for prosecution in South Africa.

According to the ministry, South Africans must obtain prior government approval to legally fight in Israel. Naturalized citizens are also at risk of having their South African nationality revoked for engaging in a war that the country does not support or agree with.

The war in Gaza erupted when the strip’s Islamist rulers, Hamas, launched an unprecedented attack on Israel on October 7. Official Israeli figures indicate that around 1,140 people, mostly civilians, were killed, with another 250 abducted. Gaza’s Health Ministry claims that Israel’s military response has resulted in the deaths of over 19,400 people, primarily women and children, and the destruction of vast areas.

South Africa has long been a vocal supporter of the Palestinian cause, often drawing parallels between it and the country’s own struggle against apartheid. The ruling African National Congress (ANC) party strongly condemns Israel’s response to the Hamas attacks and has recalled all its diplomats from the country.

During a press conference with representatives of pro-Palestinian groups in Johannesburg, President Ramaphosa denounced the “genocidal onslaught and slaughter of the people of Palestine.”

The South African government’s warning serves as a deterrent to its citizens considering involvement in the conflict in Gaza. By emphasizing the potential legal repercussions and the country’s stance on the matter, South Africa aims to dissuade its citizens from participating in a war it does not endorse.

South Africa’s Constitutional Court Ruling Establishes Rights of Asylum Seekers and Condemns Visa Renewal Policy

South Africa's Constitutional Court Ruling Establishes Rights Of Asylum Seekers And Condemns Visa Renewal Policy

In a groundbreaking decision, the Constitutional Court has declared that the South African Home Affairs’ policy, which assumes that asylum seekers have “abandoned” their applications if they fail to renew their visas within one month of the visa’s expiry date, violates fundamental principles of refugee law. The court’s ruling emphasises that asylum seekers must be treated as refugees until their claims have reached a final determination.

The case was brought before the Constitutional Court by the Scalabrini Centre of Cape Town, a trust dedicated to assisting migrant communities and displaced people. The organisation sought confirmation of the High Court’s order of invalidity, arguing that the relevant sections of the Refugees Act create a system that disregards the merits of an asylum seeker’s claim and instead ties their rights to their ability to comply with visa renewal requirements. This approach, Scalabrini contended, directly contravened the principle of non-refoulement under international law, which prohibits the return of individuals to countries where they would face torture, inhumane treatment, or harm.

Constitutional Court Justice Steven Majiedt noted that the respondents did not oppose the confirmation of the constitutional invalidity of the impugned provisions. They conceded that the problematic provisions needed to be eliminated entirely.

Justice Majiedt further stated, “The impugned provisions violate a number of constitutional rights. They violate the right to dignity by cutting off asylum seekers from essential services required for a dignified life. Moreover, they expose asylum seekers and their children to constant risks of arrest and deportation, which infringe upon the rights to life and personal liberty, all because a visa has not been renewed.”

Consequently, the court confirmed the high court’s declaration of constitutional invalidity, as the impugned subsections violated the principle of non-refoulement, infringed upon the right to dignity, unjustifiably limited the rights of children, and were deemed irrational and arbitrary.

The ruling holds significant implications for the treatment of asylum seekers in South Africa. It establishes that asylum seekers should be afforded the same protections as refugees until their claims have been thoroughly evaluated. The decision underscores the importance of upholding human rights and preventing the unjust treatment of vulnerable individuals.

As part of the ruling, the Minister of Home Affairs has been instructed to bear the costs associated with the case, emphasising the need for accountability and adherence to constitutional principles.

This landmark judgement marks a significant step forward in ensuring the fair and just treatment of asylum seekers within South Africa’s immigration system. It highlights the importance of protecting the rights and dignity of all individuals seeking refuge, regardless of their visa status.


Source: SABC News

Investigation Launched into Allegations of AI Involvement in President Ramaphosa’s Speech

Investigation Launched Into Allegations Of Ai Involvement In President Ramaphosa’s Speech

South African officials have initiated an investigation into claims that President Cyril Ramaphosa’s recent speech on decolonising education was partly generated with the assistance of AI technology, specifically ChatGPT. The speech, delivered with enthusiasm at a conference in Johannesburg on November 21, has sparked speculation after social media users fed portions of the text into AI-detection software designed to identify AI-generated content.

One particular segment of the speech, which focused on challenging colonial theories and embracing diversity and inclusivity, raised eyebrows and fuelled the speculation of AI involvement. The snippet, along with other parts of the speech, appeared to exhibit characteristics associated with AI-generated text.

Vincent Magwenya, a spokesperson for the presidency, promptly addressed the issue, clarifying that the presidency does not rely on AI for speech-writing purposes. However, he did disclose that certain portions of President Ramaphosa’s address were crafted by the Department of Basic Education. As a result, the department has been called upon to provide details on the sources of their content.

Magwenya emphasised the seriousness of the situation, stating that AI-generated speeches are considered unacceptable. If the allegations are substantiated, there will be consequences for those involved.

“We take this matter seriously. AI-generated speeches? A big no-no. If it turns out to be true, there will be consequences,” Magwenya affirmed.

The investigation aims to shed light on the origin of the speech content and clarify whether AI technology played a role in its creation. The use of AI in speech-writing can raise ethical and transparency concerns, especially when it comes to public addresses by political figures. The outcome of the investigation will provide clarity on the matter and potentially influence future practices regarding the use of AI in crafting official speeches.

South Africa’s Ports Suffer Severe Congestion, Disrupting Trade Routes

South Africa's Ports Suffer Severe Congestion, Disrupting Trade Routes

Durban and Cape Town ports in South Africa are facing a deepening crisis as congestion reaches unprecedented levels, causing significant delays and disruptions to trade routes. Reports indicate that Durban harbour is currently grappling with thousands of stranded containers aboard ships, exacerbating the congestion problem.

Transnet, the State-owned entity responsible for managing the country’s ports, revealed that over 60 ships are currently anchored at the Port of Durban, and it could take anywhere between seven to 15 weeks to clear this backlog. Of the 63 ships destined for Durban, 20 are intended to dock at the Durban Container Terminals (DCT) Pier 1 and Pier 2.

Transnet has taken proactive measures to address the mounting backlog and alleviate the crisis. The company announced on Friday that it expects Pier 1 to clear the backlog within seven weeks using various initiatives, while Pier 2 is projected to take 15 weeks or less. However, the challenges are not limited to Durban alone, as delays have also been reported at the Cape Town Port due to issues within Transnet.

Business Live reports that Cape Town is experiencing delays of up to 14 days in unloading cargo from docked ships. The Danish shipping conglomerate Maersk has decided to remove Cape Town as a port of call, opting to utilise Mauritius instead. Under the new arrangement, all cargo destined for Cape Town will be transhipped in Port Louis, Mauritius, and then transported in smaller shipments to the Cape. Outgoing cargo from Cape Town will undergo the same process.

Maersk further announced that, beginning in the first week of December, the Far East-West Africa (FEW2, FEW3, and FEW6) routes will have updated rotations. Additionally, a new feeder service called Cape Town Express will be introduced, connected to the updated SAFARI service. These changes aim to enhance reliability and transit time, ensuring seamless connections between the Far East and West Africa.

The ongoing delays in Durban and Cape Town are expected to have a significant impact on the upcoming festive season. As the situation develops, stakeholders in the shipping industry and businesses reliant on efficient port operations are closely monitoring the situation for further updates.

Please note that this is a developing story, and additional information may emerge in the coming days.


Source: IOL

Amnesty International and Albinism Task Force Call for Protection of Persons with Albinism Ahead of Court Appearance in South Africa

Amnesty International And Albinism Task Force Call For Protection Of Persons With Albinism Ahead Of Court Appearance In South Africa

As South African traditional healer Bongolethu “Dr Khehlelezi” Mzozo prepares to appear in court tomorrow over a video that spread misinformation about persons with albinism on YouTube, Amnesty International and the National Albinism Task Force are urging the South African government to take action in safeguarding individuals with albinism from discrimination, hostility, and violence.

Following the release of the video, the Thembisilemadlala Albinism Foundation, supported by The National Albinism Task Force, lodged a case with the Equality Court under Section 20 of the Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act 2000 (PEPUDA). The organizations argued that the video was discriminatory and constituted “hate speech” against persons with albinism.

Amidst these developments, Tigere Chagutah, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for East and Southern Africa, emphasized that individuals with albinism have the same rights as anyone else, including the right to be free from discrimination and protected against the advocacy of hatred. Chagutah expressed deep concern over the marginalization and discrimination faced by persons with albinism, as perpetuating hate and discrimination puts their safety at serious risk.

Amnesty International and the National Albinism Task Force are jointly calling on the South African government to promptly respect, promote, and fulfil the rights of individuals with albinism. They also urge the government to hold accountable those who violate these rights and take measures to eradicate discrimination, counter misinformation, and dispel stereotypes about persons with albinism.

Patrick Wadula, Chairperson of the National Albinism Task Force in South Africa, appealed to the public to stand in solidarity with people with albinism by condemning and reporting any behaviour that promotes hatred or incites discrimination against them.

The case has gone through previous court proceedings, with opportunities for settlement or mediation, which ultimately failed. The applicants are now seeking just and equitable relief from the court, highlighting the harms and violence caused by the contents of the video.

Furthermore, concerns persist regarding the reported disappearance of two individuals in Kwa Zulu-Natal since the video’s release, as well as the ongoing experiences of violence, harm, and discrimination faced by persons with albinism in South Africa.

Persons with albinism endure structural and systemic discrimination across southern Africa and live in fear for their lives. They are often targeted and killed for their body parts in various countries in the region. Albinism organizations are set to hold a solidarity march from Gandhi Park in Verulam, Kwa Zulu-Natal to the Equality Court at the Verulam Magistrate Court for the hearing, aiming to raise awareness and advocate for the rights of individuals with albinism.

The court appearance of Bongolethu “Dr Khehlelezi” Mzozo marks a crucial moment in the fight against discrimination and violence targeting persons with albinism, calling for justice and protection for this vulnerable community.


Source: Amnesty International

Ghana and South Africa Announce Visa-Free Travel for Ordinary Passport Holders

In a significant development, the governments of Ghana and South Africa have reached an agreement to implement a visa waiver regime for holders of ordinary passports. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration in Ghana made this announcement in a statement released on Friday.

According to the statement, the visa waiver agreement between the two countries will come into effect on November 1, 2023. Under this agreement, travellers with ordinary passports will be able to transit through, depart from, and stay in both Ghana and South Africa for a maximum period of ninety (90) days without the need for a visa. However, it’s important to note that this arrangement does not permit individuals to engage in any form of employment during their stay.

The Ministry advised the travelling public to take note of this development, as it will greatly facilitate travel between the two countries and enhance the ease of movement for ordinary passport holders.

In a separate statement, the South African High Commission in Ghana clarified that after the 90-day stay, ordinary passport holders will be required to apply for a visa to enter South Africa. This means that individuals must adhere to the visa requirements once their permitted stay duration has expired.

This visa waiver agreement between Ghana and South Africa is expected to strengthen bilateral relations and promote tourism, business, and cultural exchanges between the two nations. It will provide greater convenience and flexibility for ordinary passport holders travelling for various purposes.

Both governments expressed their commitment to the successful implementation of this visa waiver regime, which will contribute to fostering closer ties and cooperation between Ghana and South Africa.

Ghana and South Africa Announce Visa-Free Travel for Ordinary Passport Holders (2)

South Africa’s Electricity Woes Drive UK Investment in Renewable Energy

In a surprising twist, South Africa’s unreliable electricity supply is attracting significant foreign investment in renewable energy, with the United Kingdom emerging as the leading foreign investor in the sector. The UK’s trade envoy for South Africa and Mauritius, Andrew Selous, recently highlighted the country’s commitment to renewable energy in an interview in Cape Town. Selous emphasized that the challenges faced by South Africa’s state-owned power utility, Eskom, are driving UK commercial and industrial investment into renewable energy in South Africa.

One prominent example of UK investment in renewable energy is through companies like Globaleq, which currently operates two wind farms and six solar farms with a total capacity of 384MW. These projects support approximately 1,300 jobs and are set to expand further. British International Investment, the UK’s development finance institution, owns a majority stake of 70% in Globaleq.

Additionally, the UK’s Solar Century is actively involved in developing, building, owning, and operating solar power plants, including battery storage facilities. Gridworks, another UK company, is contributing to the expansion of the electricity grid capacity in South Africa.

The most significant UK investor in South Africa, according to Selous, is Hive Energy. Hive Energy is constructing a £5-billion green ammonia production plant in the Coega special economic development zone in the Eastern Cape. This facility aims to provide green energy for the maritime shipping industry, which has a substantial carbon footprint. Selous highlighted the potential collaboration between South Africa, which possesses 80% of the world’s platinum group metals, and the UK’s ITM company, which specializes in electrolyzers for hydrogen production. Such a partnership could leverage the expertise of both countries to produce hydrogen and foster a mutually beneficial relationship.

Selous also spoke about Rolls Royce’s ambition to establish South Africa as a hub for its plans to build small modular nuclear reactors across sub-Saharan Africa. This project holds the potential to create numerous jobs and bring technical expertise to the region.

Furthermore, several British companies, including Rio Tinto, are investing in renewable energy to power their operations. Rio Tinto, one of the world’s largest mining companies, is allocating approximately $500 million to renewable energy projects, including solar and wind, to sustain its operations in South Africa.

Selous emphasized the importance of the UK’s trade relationship with South Africa, recognizing it as the most significant trading partnership with Africa. The combined trade between the two countries amounts to R258 billion annually, accounting for a quarter of the UK’s total trade with the entire African continent. UK investment in South Africa stands at R512 billion, representing half of the UK’s total investment in Africa.

Beyond renewable energy, Selous highlighted the active presence of British businesses in South Africa, particularly in Cape Town. Companies like Capita have created thousands of jobs and are expanding their operations, fostering economic growth and providing employment opportunities for young South Africans.

Selous acknowledged the challenges faced by South Africa, such as frequent power outages and infrastructure constraints, including railway and harbor bottlenecks. However, he emphasized the need for a strong government-business partnership and private sector investment to address these issues effectively. Selous expressed his optimism about South Africa’s potential to become a regional global energy superpower, given its abundant natural resources, including ample sunshine, wind, and coastal areas suitable for floating wind and tidal energy generation.

The UK government is also playing a significant role in South Africa’s energy transition through its joint financing, along with other countries, of the Just Energy Transition Partnership (JETP). This initiative supports South Africa’s transition away from coal-fired power generation by investing in renewable energy and ensuring a just transition for coal miners and their communities.

Selous concluded by expressing his confidence in the enduring strength and significance of the trade and investment relationship between the UK and South Africa. He revealed that the UK had invited President Ramaphosa to give the keynote address at its African investment summit, underscoring the commitment to fostering economic ties between the two countries.

As South Africa moves forward with its green economy journey, Selous encouraged greater investment in renewables to avoid potential carbon border adjustment mechanisms and to create a sustainable future. He emphasized that time is of the essence, and urgency is required to attract investors and ensure the success of these initiatives.

With a shared vision for a greener future, the partnership between the UK and South Africa is poised to bring about positive change, economic growth, and job creation in both countries for years to come.


Source: Daily Maverick SA

South African Amapiano Sensation Tyla Makes Billboard Hot 100 Debut with “Water”

In an extraordinary achievement for the South African music scene, 21-year-old Tyla, the rising star of the Amapiano genre, has made an impressive entry into the prestigious Billboard Hot 100 chart with her viral hit “Water.” The Billboard Hot 100 is the renowned US music chart that ranks the most popular tracks each week based on listener engagement.

Billboard magazine announced on its website that Tyla, the talented singer-songwriter, has made her first appearance on the Billboard Hot 100 chart with her breakthrough single “Water,” securing the 67th spot. This remarkable feat has garnered international recognition for the young South African artist.

Tyla Laura Seethal, a multi-talented artist known for her singing, dancing, and captivating performances, has quickly emerged as one of the most promising talents in Africa’s music industry. Signed to Epic Records (Sony), she has already achieved significant milestones in her career, including opening for renowned American R&B singer Chris Brown during his European tour this year.

Her single “Water,” released in July, showcases the distinctive Amapiano style that originated in South African townships before gaining global popularity. The track gained rapid traction, especially on TikTok, where a video of Tyla’s dance moves garnered over 70 million views. The official music video, infused with R&B elements, has already amassed over eleven million views on YouTube. Furthermore, “Water” has surpassed the monthly listening figures of the global hit “Jerusalema” by South Africa’s Master KG on Spotify.

Expressing her excitement on social media platform X (formerly Twitter), Tyla exclaimed, “I’m a South African born and bred in Johannesburg. It’s crazy.” She urged everyone to continue spreading their unique sound worldwide, considering her Billboard success as a victory for the entire African music scene. Tyla is currently preparing for the release of her debut album, which is highly anticipated by her growing fan base.

Tyla’s breakthrough on the Billboard Hot 100 is a testament to the remarkable talent emanating from South Africa and serves as an inspiration for aspiring artists across the continent. Her infectious music and electrifying performances have captivated audiences, propelling her to new heights of success and solidifying her position as a rising star in the global music landscape.

South African Teen with Rare Genetic Condition Walks Upright, Thanks to Pioneering Surgeon

Keenan Petersen, an 18-year-old born with a rare genetic condition that affected his limbs, has achieved the remarkable feat of walking upright, thanks to the pioneering efforts of Dr. Sietse Wouters, an orthopaedic surgeon at Netcare Garden City Hospital in Johannesburg.

Keenan was born with shortened arms, a missing hip joint, and a missing femur in his right leg. At just 15 days old, he came under the care of Dr. Wouters, who recognized the uniqueness of his case. Driven by his commitment to innovation, Dr. Wouters conducted extensive research and consulted with international colleagues to determine the best surgical approach.

In the early days, doctors believed Keenan might never walk. However, his indomitable spirit and determination led him to find his own way of moving, shuffling on his bum. Keenan embraced his condition, describing himself as “differently-abled” and refusing to let it hold him back.

Joborg Surgeon Walking Stra.jpg (2)

In 2016, Keenan’s growing pains led him back to Dr. Wouters. His unique walking style, with a steeply bent left knee, caused an abnormal curvature of the spine known as positional scoliosis. To address this, a series of surgeries, including a Steel’s Ilio-femoral fusion and a Syme amputation, were performed. These procedures enabled Keenan to use a prosthesis and walk upright.

Keenan’s mother, Rowena Cohen, expressed gratitude to Dr. Wouters, referring to him as their “guardian angel.” She praised the dedication and commitment of the surgeon, emphasizing the significant improvements in Keenan’s posture and mobility as a result of the operations.

Joborg Surgeon Walking Stra.jpg (1)

Recently, Keenan celebrated a significant milestone by attending his matric dance at the Hope School in Westcliffe—a moment that seemed improbable years ago.

Dr. Wouters highlighted Keenan’s exceptional growth as a young man and credited the South African private healthcare system for enabling specialists to work with patients over an extended period, ultimately enhancing their quality of life in complex cases like Keenan’s.

Keenan, currently in matric, has aspirations to pursue a career in Information Technology, demonstrating his determination to overcome challenges and achieve his goals. His story stands as a testament to medical innovation, unwavering support from his mother, and his own indomitable spirit.


Source: Independent Online