NPA welcomes Pistorius sentence increase

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has welcomed the Supreme Court of Appeal’s (SCA) decision on Friday to overturn the initial sentence handed down to fallen paralympian Oscar Pistorius.

The SCA on Friday increased the sentence of Pistorius to 13 years and five months in prison for the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine’s Day in 2013.

The NPA is pleased with the decision by the Supreme Court of Appeal to substitute the six year sentence to an appropriate 13 years. We believe it is in the interest of justice and we hope the family will find closure in knowing that an appropriate sentence has been handed down, NPA spokesperson Luvuyo Mfaku told SAnews.

Judge Legoabe Willie Seriti said at the court sitting in Bloemfontein that the former paralympian should have been sentenced to 15 years. However, the SCA took into account the time he has already served.

“The sentence imposed by the[high court] with respect to murder is set aside and substituted with the following � the respondent’s imprisonment for 13 years and five months,” Justice Seriti said.

North Gauteng High Court Judge Thokozile Masipa initially sentenced Pistorius to five years for culpable homicide in 2014. Pistorius served 10 months of the five-year sentence in prison before being released and put under house arrest.

The NPA appealed the culpable homicide conviction and it was later replaced with murder by the SCA in 2016. Masipa then handed down a six-year jail term for murder.

The NPA petitioned the SCA directly, arguing that the six-year sentence was too lenient.

We respectfully submit that the sentence of six years imprisonment, in all the circumstances, is disproportionate to the crime of murder committed, in casu, that is to say, shockingly too lenient, and has accordingly resulted in an injustice and has the potential to bring the administration of justice into disrepute, the NPA said a year ago when applying for leave to appeal the six-year sentence of murder convicted Pistorius.

Pistorius shot and killed Steenkamp on Valentine’s Day in 2013, claiming that he believed she was an intruder.

The State was led by advocate Andrea Johnston after Gerrie Nel resigned from the NPA earlier this year.

The paralympian who is currently serving his sentence had opposed the state’s appeal.

Source: South African Government News Agency

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CAPE TOWN, South Africa’s Deputy Minister of International Relations and Co-operation, Luwellyn Landers, says the Southern African Development Community (SADC) should play a monitoring role in Zimbabwe following the resignation of long-serving President Robert Mugabe.

He said this when briefing the Parliamentary Committee on International Relations in Parliament here Wednesday on the latest developments in neighbouring Zimbabwe. South Africa currently chairs the SADC, a 15-nation sub-regional grouping of which Zimbabwe is also a member.

The Speaker of the Zimbabwean Parliament confirmed on Tuesday that the former liberation leader had tendered his resignation following military intervention, which saw the Mugabe being put under house confinement by the Zimbabwean Defence Force. The ruling ZANU-PF party had also voted to recall the president and removed him as as State and party president and for dismissed Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa to take his place.

Landers said following Mugabe’s resignation on Tuesday, the people of Zimbabwe should be given space to determine their way forward and that no solution should be prescribed for them by other countries.

The SADC should play its monitoring role and monitor things as they happen to ensure that the proper processes are followed all the time and that they are in line with the Zimbabwean Constitution. From their past experience with the people of Zimbabwe, we have to allow the people of Zimbabwe to do what is expected of them without interfering, he added.

The statement follows an eventful week which saw the Zimbabwean Defence Force (ZDF) moving in to seize control of the country on Nov 14 � sealing off strategic points such as broadcasting stations, airports and government offices. On Nov 15, ZDF spokesperson Major-General Sibusiso Moyo announced that the military had taken control of the country and called for calm.

Moyo also assured the nation that Mugabe and his family were safe and that the military intervention should not be viewed as a coup, but as a bloodless correction.

On the same day, President Jacob Zuma, as Chair of the SADC, issued a media statement expressing great concern of the political situation in Zimbabwe and appealed for calm and restraint and further called for dialogue to take its course.

Thereafter, President Zuma sent the Minister of Defence and Military Veterans Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula and State Security Minister Bongani Bongo as special envoys to Zimbabwe, where they had separate talks with Mugabe and the military.

On Monday, the Summit of the Organ of Troika of the SADC plus its Chairperson was held in Angola, which took a resolution that both leaders of the Organ (Angolan President Joao Lourenco) and the Summit (President Zuma) should visit Zimbabwe on Tuesday. The Presidency later issued a statement announcing that in light of Mugabe’s resignation, the trip had been postponed until further notice.

Most South African Members of Parliament expressed a view that while the military intervention in Zimbabwe must not be celebrated, the people of Zimbabwe should be commended for a peaceful transition. They agreed with Landers’ view that there should be no political interference from any SADC Member state.

Landers said SADC member States were on standby to assist in the Zimbabwe situation if and when the people of Zimbabwe request assistance. Meanwhile, neither South Africa nor SADC had an official statement on the resignation of President Mugabe, he added.

We have to be mindful and wary of becoming ‘Big Brothers’. We shouldn’t fall into that trap. At all times, we should endeavour to assist Zimbabwe with whatever they may need. We have to allow the people of Zimbabwe to determine their own fate.


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Spend wisely this Black Friday

With less than 24 hours to go before arguably the biggest shopping phenomenon of the year, the National Credit Regulator (NCR) is urging the public to spend their money wisely.

While millions of shoppers count down the hours until the much awaited Black Friday sale tomorrow, the NCR advises consumers to avoid getting caught by sales gimmicks and approach Black Friday offers with a level head, said the regulator.

Manager of Education and Communication at the NCR, Mpho Ramapala, urged South Africans not to fall into the trap of impulse buying and to avoid being tempted by the flood of advertisements in the media.

Black Friday, which originates in the United States, is an informal name for the day following Thanksgiving Day, which has been regarded as the beginning of the Christmas shopping season, has in recent years started gaining traction in South Africa.

With the festive season just around the corner, Black Friday may just trigger an overspending binge that could set you back financially in the new year if you are not cautious. Before you break the bank this Black Friday, please ensure that you have prioritised your necessities for the month(s) ahead like your bond/rent, transport etc., said Ramapala on Thursday.

In addition the NCR — which is responsible for the regulation of the South African credit industry — said a sale does not necessarily mean that consumers must shop until they drop.

It urged the public to never fund their Black Friday or festive shopping spree by taking unnecessary loans/credit and getting into debt.

Ramapala also shared some advice on surviving Black Friday and spending wisely during the festive season. These are:

If it is on sale and you buy it on credit, remember that interest and fees will push up the price. Therefore, cash is king for sale items.

Don’t spend what you don’t have � this means do not live beyond your means and don’t buy if you haven’t budgeted;

Set a realistic budget of what you can afford to spend at the beginning of your Black Friday/Christmas shopping and stick to it;

Don’t shop in a hurry, without a plan and place everything on your credit/ store card;

Plan carefully and pay particular attention to your budget, especially bearing in mind the additional expenses that come with the new year;

Have a shopping list to avoid buying unnecessary items – if you don’t need it now, chances are you may never need it. So avoid wasting your time and hard earned money;

If you want to begin the New Year in a financially sound position, be aware of how you spend your money during this period and save for the New Year;

Do a budget for the festive season which includes all debt, rent, electricity, water, insurance, transport, gifts, school uniform, stationery, entertainment etc;

Don’t blow your bonus on treats. Spend Wisely and rather pay off your debts and

Shop around for specials and compare prizes.

Spend wisely tomorrow and during the festive season and enjoy a financially relaxed and peaceful new year. Remember that if you choose to ignore your budget and break the bank on Black Friday or max out your credit cards for festive shopping you may be headed for a cash strapped and bleak 2018, said Ramapala.

The NCR is an agent of the Department of Trade and Industry.

Source: South African Government News Agency

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