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OHANNESBURG, August 13, 2018 (News Wires) - South Africa's Constitutional Court ruled on Monday the appointment of the chief prosecutor, who was given his job after former president Jacob Zuma removed his predecessor, is invalid and ordered that his replacement be made within 90 days.

Shaun Abrahams was appealing against an earlier High Court judgment that ruled that the removal of predecessor Mxolisi Nxasana was unlawful and that his own appointment be revoked.

Zuma faced a string of corruption allegations during his time in office, and Abrahams was accused by the opposition and rights groups of shielding the president from prosecution.

Zuma has denied wrongdoing and Abrahams denies protecting him from prosecution.

"Zuma's removal of Nxasana was an abuse of power. Abrahams was a beneficiary of an abuse of power," Judge Mbuyiseli Madlanga, who criticised Zuma for buying Nxasana out of office with a $1 million payout.

"The inference is inescapable that he was buying Mr Nxasana out of office."

Zuma, whose nine years in power were marked by economic stagnation and credit rating downgrades, resigned as President in February, reluctantly heeding orders by the ruling African National Congress.

The judge ordered that South Africa's President Cyril Ramaphosa to appoint a National Director of Public Prosecutions within 90 days.

Several civil rights groups asked the Constitutional Court, the country's highest, to confirm the previous ruling, and remove Abrahams from office.

Abrahams, who had kept his post pending the appeal, was not at the court. He did not immediately comment.

JOHANNESBURG, July 27, 2018 (News Wires) - South Africa’s former president Jacob Zuma appeared at the Pietermaritzburg High Court on Friday on corruption charges relating to a $2.5 billion arms deal in the late 1990s, but a judge adjourned the case to Nov. 30.

Zuma, who appeared in court in a dark suit and red tie, faces 16 charges of fraud, racketeering and money laundering relating to a deal to buy European military hardware to upgrade South Africa’s armed forces after the end of apartheid in 1994.

The case is a rare example of an African leader being held to account for his actions. Zuma, who was ousted by the ruling party in February, denies any wrongdoing.

His lawyer Mike Hellens asked the judge to allow the former president’s legal team to file a permanent stay of prosecution against the charges.

Judge Mjabuliseni Madondo said the defence should have adequate time to prepare that application.

 

JOHANNESBURG, July 26, 2018 (News Wires) - South Africa cannot afford large-scale expansion of its nuclear power fleet but would still be open to future nuclear deals with Russia, the ruling party's Treasurer General said on Thursday shortly before President Vladimir Putin arrived for the BRICS summit.

The nuclear project was prioritized by former President Jacob Zuma but new President Cyril Ramaphosa, who has promised to revive the economy and crack down on corruption since becoming president in February, canned the plan saying the country could not afford a large-scale nuclear expansion.

The African National Congress's Treasurer General Paul Mashatile, one of the top six most powerful members in the ruling party which oversees the government's economic policies, said Pretoria would not take the "Big Bang approach" to nuclear expansion.

He was speaking at a business breakfast on the sidelines of the three-day BRICS summit that kicked off on Wednesday in Johannesburg, attended by the leaders of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

"Once we are clear that this is affordable for us to do, we are open for business including with Russia," said Mashatile, said referring to a potential nuclear deal.

"I think the approach we will take is to avoid the Big Bang approach. The initial intervention was that we would do close to 10,000 megawatts... It's unaffordable," he said.

Mashatile also said the ANC wanted greater private investment in struggling state-owned power utility Eskom, which swung to a loss for the year to end-March.

JOHANNESBURG, July 22, 2018 (News Wires) - Gunmen have shot dead 11 taxi drivers returning to Johannesburg from the funeral of a colleague in Kwa-Zulu Natal, a police spokesman said on Sunday.

The drivers, who were members of the Gauteng taxi association, were in a minibus driving along the R74 when unknown gunmen launched an ambush and opened fire.

“There was a shooting at about 8 p.m. (1800 GMT) last night. The vehicle was ambushed. There were 11 fatalities and four were seriously injured and are in hospital,” Kwa-Zulu Natal spokesman Jay Naicker said.

“We understand they were from the Gauteng taxi association. There has been a lot of taxi violence in the area but we are still investigating who the perpetrators were.”

Minibus taxis are the most popular form of transport in South Africa and violence is common by rival groups vying for dominance on profitable routes.

COLOMBO, July 20, 2018 (News Wires) - South African spinner Keshav Maharaj took three top-order Sri Lankan wickets on day one of the second Test after Sri Lanka started strongly on Friday.

Maharaj struck with his left-arm spin to break a 116-run opening stand between openers Danushka Gunathilaka, who scored 57, and Dimuth Karunaratne, who made 53, on a seemingly turning Colombo pitch.

Sri Lanka, who won the opening Test in Galle last week, elected to bat in its bid to clinch the two-match series. Dhanajaya de Silva, on 19, and Angelo Mathews, on 10 were batting at the break.

Gunathilaka and Karunaratne mixed caution and aggression to keep the South African bowling attack at bay as they moved to 93-0 at lunch.

The left-handed batting duo reached their respective half-centuries just after lunch but fell to Maharaj's guile soon after.

Maharaj, the team's only regular spinner, got Karunaratne caught behind with a drifting delivery down the leg side. He got Gunathilaka in his very next over.

JOHANNESBURG, July 18, 2018 (News Wires) - Tatjana Schoenmaker’s “golden performance” during the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games has undoubtedly brought a newly found self-believe to South African women’s swimmers.

The Tuks swimmer is on record stating that there is a real revival in women’s swimming about to happen. But she is not just talking about it. She is actively playing her part to make it a reality.

When it was arranged that the renowned Australian coach Scott Volkers, would come to South Africa to do a training camp over the university recess at Tuks Schoenmaker insisted that she should not be the only one to benefit. She saw it as an opportunity to assist in lifting the standard of local women's swimming.

Volkers has previously coached the likes of former world record holders Susie O'Neill, an eight-time Olympic medalist, and Samantha Riley, a multiple world breaststroke champion.

Schoenmaker convinced her sponsors (Speedo, Polar and Toptrition) along with TuksSwimming to give more swimmers the chance to benefit from Volkers and her own coach, Rocco Meiring, expertise.

Marlies Ross, who finished ninth in the 200m individual medley at the Gold Coast Games, as well as 16-year-old prodigy Dune Coetzee, and 19-year-old prospects Kaylene Corbett and Nathania van Niekerk, who all competed at the Commonwealth showpiece all received invites. As has the 16-year-old swimmer, Christin Mundell, who is going to represent South Africa at the Youth Olympic Games.

Meiring explained one of the things they worked on during the training camp was improving Schoenmaker’s stroke frequency emphasising it was essential to do so. From now up until the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, it is all about finding extra speed in the pool.

Even though she won a gold medal in the 100m-breaststroke at the Commonwealth Games, it is not a foregone conclusion that it is going to become a priority event for her, at least not immediately.

“Tatjana needs to improve her best time in the 100m-breaststroke by at least two seconds to become truly competitive. That is a tall order. A lot will depend on what happens during the next year,” explained Meiring.

According to him `it was decided that Schoenmaker will not compete at the World Short Course Championships this year neither will she compete in the World Cup Series this year.

“Tatjana has received World Cup invites, but we have decided that for now, it is more important that she focus on BCom Financial Management studies. Her next big gala is going to be next year’s South African Championships where she has to qualify for the World Championships."

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