South African government continues its fight for Caster Semenya’s participation at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics and has taken the matter to the European Court of Human Rights

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DURBAN, South Africa – South African former Olympic champion Caster Semenya is set to appeal at the ECHR and South Africans are rallying behind her.

Semenya wants to overturn a World Athletics’ regulation dealing with hormone use. She is expected to file the papers in March.

The 800m world champion is still unable to compete professionally, as her bid to overturn the drug-hormone rule was so-far unsuccessful. She was not included in SA’s provisional squad for the upcoming Tokyo Olympics which is scheduled to get underway July 23.

News of her appeal was revealed at the portfolio committee meeting of the Department of Sports, Arts and Culture where SA’s preparedness for the Tokyo Olympics was discussed.

In a statement, Athletics South Africa President, Aleck Skosana, said Ms Semenya has not been included in South Africa’s provisional Olympic squad.

The Chairperson of the committee, Beauty Dlulane said most countries would like to see Ms Semenya participate in the Games, an aspiration frustrated by “rules and guidelines.”

“We are concerned that this has affected Caster’s preparation. This issue of rules unjustly disadvantages Caster and denies her rights to participation and qualification, and the committee’s view is that those rules are unfair,” she said.

South Africans have taken to social media and voiced their opinions on the Semenya matter.

“Caster Semenya, all eyes on you. You have immense people of interest externally support from South Africa. Bless her,” wrote one interested citizen, while another wrote, “I’m proud of her, she can’t give up just like that. She is doing for the upcoming generations too.”

Another social media user wrote, commenting on the social aspect of the issue, “So this is the level of civilization we are currently at. Someone has to defend their sexuality because they are genetically gifted. If sports is against genetical gifts tall people like Bolt should probably not be allowed to compete. That guy is a beast and not fair to other normal men.”

SA remains hopeful, as Athletics South Africa told the committee that it has received support from Sweden and looks forward Ms Semenya winning her appeal.

By Zakithi Dlamini

South Africa’s constitutional court asks for ex-President to be jailed for contempt

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The country’s constitutional court said that ex-President Jacob Zuma’s defiance of a legal summons that compels him to appear before a commission of inquiry to answer corruption allegations could lead to lawlessness and is asking the Supreme Court to jail him for defying the court’s order.

Accused of letting a wealthy family “plunder state resources” and influence government decisions, Zuma denied the charges and accused the commission of partisanship. The court’s request, however, is for contempt of court. Zuma said repeatedly he is not afraid of jail, but armed and uniformed supporters were outside his home to impede an potential arrest.

By Milan Sime Martinić

Nigeria remains Africa’s top economy as Egypt and South Africa shuffle places again

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In the 3-way see-saw to be at the top African economy, Egypt beat out South Africa again taking its place as the continent’s second-biggest economy, leaving Nigeria at the top, a position it has held since 2020 when it overtook South Africa.

The International Monetary Fund records show that for years the three counties have been in constant competition for the #1, #2 and #3 spots.

By Milan Sime Martinić

South Africa Apartheid Leader de Kock on Parole

South Africa
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A death squad leader in the South African apartheid, Eugene de Kock, was granted parole Thursday. This comes 20 years after initially being jailed for his role in the murder of activists protesting against white minority rule during the 1980s and 1990s.

South Africa
Justice Minister Michael Masutha

The reason for de Kock’s release, according to Justice Minister Michael Masutha, was “in the interest of nation-building.” He emphasized that this decision is in accordance with South Africa’s constitution. This brings to the forefront the struggle that South Africa has in balancing justice with reconciliation.

The release of the 66-year-old comes after his sentencing in 1996 to two life prison terms. De Kock, nicknamed “Prime Evil,” had also been sentenced to an additional 212 years for his crimes. There is much controversy surrounding the release of Mr. de Kock. For this reason, the location and timing would not be made public.

Families of slain victims had mixed responses to the news. Some felt that it was right to move on, letting de Kock go on parole, and in so doing, “a chapter could be closed.” Some family members spoke of reconciliation and the need to focus on rebuilding South Africa.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) of the 1990s was an effort to promote unity after the divisiveness and trauma of apartheid. The granting of amnesty, in some cases, was part of this effort.

At his 1995 trial before the TRC, one year after the first democratic elections in South Africa, de Kock confessed to more than 100 acts of torture, murder, and fraud. He took full responsibility for the actions committed by the Vlakplaas police, his notorious undercover unit.

The unit, based on a farm near the capital Pretoria, conducted some of the most horrific crimes during the apartheid era. Their trademark murders, which used explosives, would both kill the victim and destroy the evidence of the death.

One of the key factors in South African apartheid leader de Kock’s parole is that he has expressed remorse for his deeds. Some critics, however, express strongly that because he was ruthless in his brutality, he does not deserve mercy. They say that he should spend the rest of his life in prison.

In the TRC hearings, de Kock recounted murders of African National Congress (ANC) members in other countries, including Angola, Lesotho, Swaziland, and Zimbabwe. The police commander above him was complicit in all of these crimes. However, de Kock is the only one who was charged with the crimes. The others are living in freedom.

De Kock took some actions while in prison that have influenced the reactions of victims’ families as well as his release on parole. In 2007, he did a radio interview, accusing the last white ruler of South Africa, FW de Klerk, of ordering specific killings. He said that President de Klerk “had blood on his hands.” This accusation was denied by the former president.

Justice Minister Masutha also said that de Kock has been helpful to the National Prosecuting Authority’s Missing Persons Task Team in recovering the remains of some of his victims. While in prison, de Kock also reached out to victims’ families. He asked them for his forgiveness.

Another former official within the apartheid era, Clive Derby-Lewis, has not been granted parole. He had been convicted in the assassination of Chris Hani, but has not shown remorse in the way that de Kock had expressed. Moreover, Derby-Lewis has medical reasons – undergoing chemotherapy for stage three lung cancer – that caused the Medical Parole Advisory Board to deny his release.

The actions as well as the parole of South African apartheid leader Eugene de Kock have been met with mixed response. A former employee of the South African Council of Churches spoke out. He had worked there when the Church headquarters were bombed in 1988 and said that South Africans are accustomed to having mixed feelings.

By Aliza Baraka

Sources:

BBC, News Africa
The New York Times
Eyewitness News

Photo courtesy of United NationsFlickr license