South Africa

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SA bank boss felt 'threatened' by minister

Andrew Harding

BBC News, Johannesburg

Cosatu members march against corruption and state capture on September 27, 2017 in Durban, South Africa.
Getty Images
South Africans are increasingly worried about corruption in government

South Africa’s top banks have accused the governing African National Congress (ANC) of pressuring them to help out a notorious business family implicated in high-level corruption.

The accusations have been made this week at a judicial inquiry into the activities of former President Jacob Zuma, the Gupta family, and what’s become known in South Africa as the crime of “state capture”.

On Wednesday, it was Nedbank CEO Mike Brown’s turn to describe, under oath, how a senior minister had put pressure on him to support the Gupta family, whose business accounts had been shut down by local banks concerned about alleged corruption.

“I found it particularly strange. It felt like a form of threat,” said Mr Brown, explaining that Mosebenzi Zwane, the former mining minister, had suggested that “things could happen to your [banking] licence if you don’t behave in a particular way” and help the Guptas to resume their banking activities.

Mr Zwane has yet to respond to the allegations raised at the inquiry.

The Guptas, who have since fled South Africa but maintain their innocence, are close friends of ex-President Zuma.

It’s alleged they conspired together to place allies in key state institutions in order to win control of lucrative state contracts and to avoid prosecution - allegations that eventually helped force Mr Zuma out of office and prompted the creation of a Commission of Inquiry into State Capture.

The ANC has promised to co-operate fully with the commission, and has urged South Africans not to prejudge its findings.

Mr Zuma has repeatedly ridiculed the notion of “state capture” and insisted he’s innocent. His son, Duduzane, who was employed by the Guptas, recently said he would be ready to testify.

To some extent, this feels like a momentous time for South Africa, as the alleged corruption of the Zuma era is exposed and, perhaps, purged from the system.

But the ANC is deeply divided. The forces accused of looting the state and undermining key institutions may be weakened, but they’re not defeated.

SA charges euthanasia activist with murder

BBC World Service

Sean Davison attends a press conference on December 22, 2010 in Cape Town, South Africa
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Sean Davison has waged a long campaign in South Africa for the right to die

The founder of a South African group fighting for the right to die has been arrested in Cape Town and charged with murder.

A close associate confirmed that Sean Davison was detained following a search of his house.

The murder charge is reported to be related to the death of a friend in 2013 who lost the use of his arms and legs after a car accident.

Euthanasia is illegal in South Africa.

See update: Davison freed on bail

South Africa's first Comic Con begins

Pumza Fihlani

BBC News, Lagos

Comic book, science fiction and fantasy fans are in for a treat at Comic Con Africa.

The three-day event begins today at the Kyalami Grand Prix Circuit and International Convention Centre in Johannesburg.

Organisers hope to attract comic book lovers from all over the continent as the convention offers a uniquely African experience.

Comic Con Africa features live performances, exhibition stands, science fiction films and of course collectibles such as figurines, clothing, gadgets, video games and loads more.

The line-up includes the creators of the local comic book, Kwezi. The 19-year-old titular character is a contemporary superhero that uses his powers to tackle social issues with the street savvy of any Johannesburg teenager.

Excitement has been building on Twitter about the event:

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South Africa's rising Skating Scene

Hear how Skateboarding is rising as a popular sport on the streets of Cape Town
Skateboarding makes its debut at the Olympic Games at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.

Now in South Africa, it's a rising sport on the streets, providing young people with an activity once shunned by authorities as a nuisance. It's now very much recognised as not only one of the hippest sports in the country but one that can have a positive social impact. 

Cape Town’s Jean-Marc Johannes has set his sights firmly on realising his lifelong dream of representing South Africa on the world stage in two years time.

Photo: Skateboarders perform in a skate park in Durban, South Africa (Getty Images)

South African pupil 'stabs and kills teacher'

Nomsa Maseko

BBC Africa, Johannesburg

A teacher has been stabbed to death, allegedly by a pupil at a school in South Africa’s North West province.

Department of Basic Education spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga has expressed shock following the incident.

He said police are still at the scene taking statements from eye witnesses.

In another incident, a 15-year-old Johannesburg teenager was arrested after pointing a firearm at his teacher on Wednesday (see earlier entry).

South African pupil held 'for aiming gun at teacher'

Nomsa Maseko

BBC Africa, Johannesburg

In South Africa, a 15-year-old Johannesburg student has been arrested for allegedly pointing a firearm at a teacher.

The alleged incident took place at Eldorado Park Secondary School on Wednesday.

It’s unclear what sparked an altercation between the grade eight boy and his teacher.

He was charged with possession of a dangerous weapon before being released into the custody of his parents as he is still a minor under South African law.

The teenager will appear in court on Friday.

Meanwhile the education department’s spokesperson Steve Mabona said the teacher is receiving counselling.

Mr Mabona added that his department has adopted a “zero-nonsense approach towards delinquents and will demonstrate no mercy towards lawlessness”.