By Staff Reporter
BUSINESSMAN, Gilad Shabtai embroiled in a nasty fight over control of Adlecraft Investments with his erstwhile partner Ofer Sivan says there is nothing for the latter to celebrate in winning a default judgment against him.
This follows a default judgment in favour of Sivan by High Court judge Justice Tawanda Chitapi last week.
Shabtai said the judgement was obtained without being determined on merits.
Through his lawyer Admire Rubaya Shabtai said they will be taking action to correct circumstances leading to a default judgement being entered against them.
“This is a judgment wherein the court has not dealt with the merits of the case. It is a technical judgment which was, in our view, granted in error, as we shall expose in due course.
“Our client asserts that the other party, Ofer Sivan, knows very well that our client has an unassailable defence that is why he has rushed to snatch a technical judgment wherein he did not endeavour to inform the other party of the set down of that matter for hearing,” he said.
“Now that there is an order granted in default we shall take the necessary steps to approach the court and rectify this error.
“We have realised that the other party has gone to town celebrating a technical judgment in circumstances where that party did not place before the court the whole gamut of circumstances relating to the matter,” Rubaya said.
Adlecraft Investments provides contract mining services as well as land clearing and land preparation for agriculture.
Sivan alleges fellow directors Shabtai and Gonyora whom he included into his company fraudulently took out US$1.3 million from the company after opening an account with a microfinance institution and laundered it.
He was however in court over similar allegations and a Harare magistrate refused further remand.
Sivan then approached the High Court citing Shabtai and Gonyora as respondents seeking the court to remove the two as directors of the company and to declare them to have committed acts of fraud against the company between March 2021 and August 2021.
He also sought the court to declare the two to have misappropriated funds for the company amounting to US$ 1,3 million and for them to reimburse the funds with interest at five percent per annum from the date of summons to the date of payment.
Shabtai and Gonyora entered an appearance to defend the claim and made a special plea challenging Sivan’s locus standi in the matter.
A default judgement was then delivered in his favour.
The High Court ordered Shabtai to pay back US$1,3 million, company funds he allegedly abused.
The judge in default also ruled that Shabtai and his other partner Munyaradzi Gonyora had “committed acts of fraud between March and August 2021.”
Shabtai and Gonyora however argue that Sivan is not a shareholder of the company for him to institute such an action.
“He is not a shareholder in, or a member of, the Second Plaintiff (Adlecraft) at all as required by section 61(3)(b) and (c) of the Companies and Other Business Entities Act (Chapter 24:31) to institute a derivative action.
“He does not hold at least ten (10) percent of the shareholding in the Second Plaintiff as required by section 61(3)(c) of the Companies and Other Business Entities Act (Chapter 24:31) to institute a derivative action.
“If the present action is not a derivative action the First Plaintiff (Sivan) cannot sue for wrongs done to the company as in all instances outside the derivative action, the proper Plaintiff for wrongs done to the company is the company itself.
The two also argue that a company cannot be a plaintiff in a derivative action to protect its rights as this defeats the purpose of the derivative action since the company will be able to sue to protect its rights and interests.
By Staff Reporter
THE High Court has stopped the trial of Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) members, Joana Mamombe and Cecilia Chimbiri accused of faking their abduction before publishing falsehoods.
This has been done to allow the hearing of their application for review against a magistrate’s ruling dismissing the duo’s application for discharge.
They had applied for discharge on the basis that the evidence, which was provided by the State, did not establish a case against them, but Chief Magistrate Faith Mushure ruled the two had a case to answer.
High Court Judge, Justice Priscilla Munangati-Manongwa allowed the staying of their trial.
The application for review will be heard on November 17, 2022.
“The trial proceedings against the applicants in Case No. CRB ACC 45-46/20 in the Magistrates Court be and is hereby stayed pending the determination of the application for review in HC 6207/22.
“Joana Mamombe and Cecilia Revai Chimbiri shall file a complete transcript of the trial proceedings not later than 7 October 2022.
“Chief Magistrate and the State to file opposition papers in HC 6207/22 by 21 October 2022.
“Mamombe and Chimbiri shall file answering affidavits not later than 28 October 2022 and to file Heads of Arguments in the review matter by 4 November 2022 and the Chief Magistrate and the state to file Heads of Argument by 11 November 2022,”said the judge.
The two are being accused of faking their abduction in 2020 in a bid to soil President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration.
Mamombe and Chimbiri were arrested together with their friend, Netsai Marova, who is now in self-exile.
They insist they were arrested at a roadblock near Harare Show Grounds by suspected State security officers, who tortured them before dumping the trio at a shopping centre near Bindura.
Medical affidavits show they were brutally assaulted to an extent they were unable to walk, and spent several days in hospital, before their discharge.
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By Staff Reporter
PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa’s ally and former Affirmative Action Group (AAG) leader Mike Chimombe has been arrested on allegations of fraud.
Chimombe was picked up from his Borrowdale Brooke residency by Criminal Investigative Detectives on Monday after allegedly refusing to be arrested by uniformed Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) officers.
He is being accused of defrauding a Harare businessman Brian Marungamise of US$16, 900 in a botched transaction for a housing stand.
Chimombe allegedly sold a non-existent stand to Marungamise.
Marungamise is said to have paid US$16,900 for the stand in Tynwald, before discovering that he had been swindled.
Posting on twitter, the Zimbabwe Republic Police confirmed the arrest and said he was arrested together with his brother Steven Chimombe and Heymish Katsande.
“The ZRP confirms the arrest of Mike Chimombe (41) for fraudulent land deals which occurred between August 2020 and December 2021 in Harare where the complainant was duped US$16 900.
“The other suspects, Heymish Katsande (33) and Steven Chimombe (33) were arrested in July 2022 and have already appeared in court where the matter was remanded to 26 October 2022,” ZRP said.
Chimombe was recently in the eye of an adultery scandal after he allegedly impregnated his wife’s younger sister.
Back in 2021, he was also accused of attempted rape after he tried forcing a teenager girl to film him while he was having sex with his lover and also tried luring him to join them.
By Staff Reporter
KWEKWE: Leading fertilizer producer Sable Chemicals has come under-fire for reportedly trying to displace resettled farmers in Kwekwe’s Sherwood Block to pave way for citrus and dairy farming projects.
Speaking during the recent commissioning of Sherwood Clinic, Midlands Provincial Affairs Minister Lawrence Mavima criticised the fertilizer producer, adding that President Mnangagwa has also condemned the displacement attempts.
Mnangagwa owns a thriving farming enterprise in Sherwood Block, a few kilometres from the area where Sable Chemicals wanted to displace the resettled farmers.
“I have been receiving phone calls coming from this area as I was being told about threats that a company operating here wanted to displace farmers,” said Mavima.
“I want to declare that nothing like that is going to happen. Nothing like that will happen under my watch.”
He told affected farmers to start preparing for the coming farming season.
“I want to assure you that nothing like that is ever going to happen; no one is going to be displaced,” said the minister.
“Be rest assured. I want you to instead go and start preparing for the coming farming season … even the President has assured you that nothing like that is ever going to happen.”
Area Councillor Taurai Chitate confirmed the threats to the resettled farmers.
“The farm used to be owned by Sable Chemicals before the resettlement of the new farmers,” he said.
“Sable management approached me and told me that they wanted to embark on citrus fruit production and dairy farming.
“We had a meeting with them with my MPs (Members of Parliament) Eddie Samambwa and Prosper Machando and told them that it was impossible for them to displace people.
“Instead we encouraged them to undertake contract farming were they would give farmers skills and inputs to embark on citrus and dairy farming.”
He added; “After the meeting I then started hearing rumours that they were going to displace people.
“However, as government has indicated nothing lie that is ever going to happen.”
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By Felix Matasva I Manicaland Correspondent
A Chinese-run gold mining company operating in the Odzi peri-urban area of Mutare district has been accused of ill-treating workers and flouting the country’s labour laws and regulations.
Registered as Odzi Resources Zimbabwe Private Limited while trading as Ming Chang Sino Africa Investments, the company runs a number of gold mines across the country, including in Mashava, Mbalabala, Bulawayo, Kwekwe and Mazowe.
A former worker who was recently fired by the Chinese employer after speaking out against abuse has claimed that rampant ill-treatment of workers at the Odzi mine.
“These people (Chinese) are ill-treating workers and are (incredibly) heartless,” said Tatenda Chikwanha (25) who was employed as a truck driver.
“I was sacked from work after we begged them to provide us with protective wear since they could not provide us with decent meals and accommodation whilst on duty.”
An excavator operator who declined to be identified fearing victimisation also raised alarm over poor working conditions.
“Four days ago police details who are working in collusion with our Chinese employer came at the mine accusing workers of stealing fuel yet this was not true,” he said.
“Four workers were dismissed after they lodged complaints over abuse and the employer turned violent.
“General hand workers are forced to work in the mine without any protective wear and they are exposed to hazardous chemicals. Our salaries are also not paid in time.”
US$10 hush payments
The worker revealed that protective clothing was only distributed recently after some human rights lawyers convened a meeting with the workers and the Chinese employer.
According to the excavator operator, after the meeting was convened workers who sustained injuries due to lack of protective wear were given US$10 each so that they do not divulge any information about their experiences.
The Centre for Research and Development (CRD), a Manicaland-based natural resources governance organisation says the Chinese mining operations in Odzi were blatantly violating laws that regulate health and safety issues.
CRD also noted that when they attended a meeting convened at the mine, the manager turned violent as he bragged about his strong connections with political and military executives within the government.
CRD has since alerted the Environmental Management Agency (EMA), ministry of Mines and National Social Security Authority (NSSA).
When reached for a comment, Ming Chang Sino Africa Investments translator, Liu Pliu directed questions to Odzi mine manager, Fraction Chininga who said he was off-duty when the human rights lawyers convened a meeting at the mine.
“When the police came I was not around but I can confirm that a lot of diesel was being stolen,” he said.
“After the meeting (with the lawyers) was convened, I called for a meeting with all general hands to hear their concerns, but they told us they were not facing any challenges.
“The Chinese and local workers are staying in almost similar rooms. Dust is unavoidable due to mining operations.
He refuted allegations that workers were being forced to work under poor conditions, saying every staff member was recruited after being furnished with the terms of reference.
“All our workers are over 18 years-old, hence they are able to make their own decisions.
“If they do not tell us their challenges at work the company would not know their circumstances.”
Chininga noted that the company is aware of one incident whereby a young man sustained injuries and was given US$10 as compensation.
“The company was running short of PPE (personal protective equipment) so, we could not allocate to a few workers as it would seem like we are favouring. We have since procured PPE and every worker has been allocated,” he said.
“Only one person was burnt by lime but he had not reported the incident to supervisors. He said he was well and the Chinese gave him $10 as compensation; not to muzzle him.”
Chinese Embassy appeal
Meanwhile, in a letter dated September 19, and seen by this publication, the Zimbabwe Diamond and Allied Minerals Workers Union (ZDAMWU) appealed to the Chinese embassy in Zimbabwe to intervene and ensure Chinese investors comply with the laws of the country.
“His excellence, there has been an outcry on Chinese investors abusing workers and wilful and contemptuous disregard of Zimbabwean Labour laws,” the union said.
“In most cases, we heard defences in support of the Chinese community that these were isolated incidences. We therefore bring to your attention a specific situation prevailing at Ming Chang Sino Africa Pvt Ltd.
ZDAMWU added: “Employees are dismissed simply because one falls sick, yet section 14 of the Zimbabwean Labour Act guarantees sick leave.
“They are told to go home until they heal without a salary yet in Zimbabwe we have paid sick leave. For specific example, one Abishai Nhengo was dismissed yet he was visibly sick and had his medical documents to show for it.
“We are, therefore, bringing to your attention these allegations so that you have a first-hand appreciation that the Chinese investors at Ming Chang Sino Africa are abusing workers and they do not pay due regard to Zimbabwean Laws. The allegations against these investors are not just a smear campaign.”
ZDAMWU general secretary, Justice Chinhema added; “We have come to a stage where we can say Ming Chang Sino Africa Investments’ lawyers are thugs. They do not listen to any legal advice hence the company is running afoul with labour laws.
“They do not want to pay workers as required by the National Employment Council (NEC) and they are not giving workers any protective clothing.
“We approached them so that they give pay advice to workers on what would have been deducted and paid but they have not yet acted on our plea.”
He challenged government to establish laws that protect workers, adding that Chinese investors must be made to sign an agreement whereby they will pledge to abide by the country’s legislations.
By Bloomberg News
The Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company warned of possible outages on its Twitter account on Sunday, saying there will be increased “load curtailment” from Sept. 24.
ZETDC said it’s experiencing technical challenges at its main Kariba and Hwange power stations, as well as import constraints. “The utility is therefore conducting a maintenance exercise to ensure full restoration of service,” it said.
Zimbabwe has been experiencing intermittent power generation shortfalls due to aging plant at its Kariba hydro power station and the main coal-driven power generators at Hwange.
To supplement its lapses in generation, the country has relied mostly on power imports from South Africa’s Eskom and Hydro Cahora Bassa of Mozambique.
— ZETDC (@ZetdcOfficial) September 25, 2022
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JOHANNESBURG: Highly successful South African tactician Pitso Mosimane has been named the new head coach of Al Ahli FC of Saudi Arabia.
Al Ahli were relegated last year and are currently seventh in the Saudi second division. The three-time Caf Champions league winner was announced as the new club coach on Saturday.
Mosimane has been in South Africa and Tanzania in the last few months conducting coaching masterclasses after he parted ways with Egyptian giants Al Ahly.
Al Ahly decided to part ways with Mosimane back in June after he spent nearly two years in charge of the Cairo giants.
During his 21-month tenure, Mosimane led the Red Devils to three Caf Champions League finals in a row, winning both the 2020 and 2021 editions of the competition.
He had also guided the team to two consecutive Fifa Club World Cup bronze medals and two Caf Super Cup victories, as well as an Egypt Cup title and an Egyptian Super Cup coronation.
Following a three-month break from coaching, Mosimane has now found a new home at Saudi Arabian giants Al Ahli in Jeddah as he hopes to turn around their form.
Al Ahli were shockingly relegated from the Saudi Pro League for the first time in the club’s history after finishing 15th with just 32 points.
They have also experienced a poor start to their Yelo League campaign this season as they lie seventh in the standings with just eight points from five games.
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By Darlington Gatsi
EFFORTS by Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) legislators to shine a spotlight on incarcerated opposition colleagues were last week batted away by the Speaker of Parliament
CCC legislators Job Sikhala and Godfrey Sithole were arrested in June for allegedly inciting the public to commit violence.
Together with other party activists, the MPs have been behind bars for over three months with several efforts to secure bail coming to naught.
During last Thursday’s session in the House of Assembly, CCC MP Willias Madzimure questioned why the legislators were still behind bars despite the law giving them the right to bail.
“The Criminal Procedure Evidence Act says that every individual has the right to be given bail before going for their final judgment,” said Madzimure.
“This allows the de-population of prisons but the challenge is that there are some prisoners who are continuously denied bail despite the fact that they are not a flight risk.
“We also have prisoners who are incarcerated who include Members of Parliament of this august House who have 100 days in prison without being given bail.
“So, I just want the Minister of Justice to come and speak regarding that issue. We have Hon. Sikhala and Hon Sithole who are still incarcerated.”
CCC interim Secretary General Chalton Hwende added; “I am saying they must allow you to explain to us because this is a very important matter to us.
“We have two Members of Parliament who are suffering in jail.”
However, Speaker of Parliament Jacob Medenda said the matter could not be discussed in the absence of the Minister of Justice Legal and Parliamentary Affairs.
“Hon. Madzimure, yesterday (Wednesday) was question time and the Leader of Government business who is the Minister of Justice was here. Why did you not ask your question?
“I said yesterday the Minister of Justice was here and he (Madzimure) could have asked the question and normally we go by the list. If your question is still burning, approach Hon. Mutseyami so that you are at the top of the list for next week,” said Jacob Mudenda.
The continued pre-trial detention of the legislators and 14 other opposition supporters has been widely condemned by the opposition and human rights groups who see it as politically motivated.
Meanwhile, Sikhala’s spokesperson Freddy Wasarirevu, told local media revealed that the MP’s family was living off well-wishers as he continues his fight for release on bail.
“Job Sikhala is a caring father and a loving husband,” said Wasarirevu.
“It is through the generosity of the people of Zimbabwe who actually came up and said let’s try to contribute something for the purpose of ensuring his kids go back to school.”
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Zimbabwean prisons are holding more than 500 Malawian nationals who were arrested en route to SA without adequate travelling documents.
The 548 undocumented Malawians were apprehended by Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) on charges of illegal entry and failure to produce a valid passport.
Local media reported the Malawian nationals were in prisons across the country with 317 held in Harare, 83 in Whawha, 82 in Chivhu and 66 in Mvuma.
Government critics say immigration detainees should be held in designated immigration detention centres, rather than prisons.
Ministry of foreign affairs spokesperson Livit Mugejo told TimesLIVE the Malawians were not prisoners and had not been convicted of any crimes.
“Those are not prisoners, they were only intercepted and found with inadequate papers. The embassy of Malawi is processing their papers for them to go back to Malawi. Once their papers are ready, they are going to be assisted on their way back to Malawi.
“They are just kept [in prison] waiting for their papers. They were not convicted of any crime or are not waiting for any trial. Hence, we are not treating them as prisoners,” said Mugejo.
Zimbabwe’s prisons are overcrowded, unsanitary and lack basic amenities like running water. The prisons, with a capacity of 17,000, have a population of 22,000.
Recently, 148 other Malawian nationals were arrested for travelling without valid documents and sentenced to between four and six months in prison while awaiting deportation. They were arrested en route to Beitbridge intending to cross into SA.
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By Associated Press
LONDON: Here is one way to look at what Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and the now-retired Roger Federer accomplished: The group known as the Big Three of men’s tennis accumulated so many Grand Slam titles — 63 in all — that it seems unlikely anyone will reach the standards they set.
Not anytime soon, certainly.
Here was another way to think about things as the professional level of the sport began its post-Federer life on Saturday, following the last match of his career: What he and the other two members of that distinguished trio, along with Serena Williams, managed to do was demonstrate that it is possible to dominate for decades, not merely years, at a time.
And the 41-year-old Federer, for one, thinks up-and-coming players can learn from the way he and the others of his era went about it, from their self-belief and attitudes about setting goals to their training, nutrition and other methods of ensuring longevity.
He laughed when relaying a conversation with Bjorn Borg, who is the captain of Team Europe at the Laver Cup, about what life was like back when he was winning his 11 major championships from 1974 to 1981 before retiring in his 20s. During an interview with The Associated Press this week, Federer recalled a conversation in which Borg talked about getting one weekly massage and maybe the occasional hot bath during his time on tour.
Federer’s massage routine over his quarter-century as a player?
“Every day, probably. Sometimes I would get tired of them, so I would say, ‘Can we skip a day today?’ You know what I mean? I will not miss those. I mean, I loved my massages from time to time, but come on; number 1,423 gets a little bit like, ‘Jesus. I’d rather do something different,’” Federer said, then added through a self-aware grin: “Complaining at a high level here.”
When Pete Sampras won the 2002 U.S. Open in his last match, he collected his 14th Slam trophy, two more than any other man in the history of tennis to that point. Indeed, there were those who wondered at the time whether that mark would ever be broken.
Seems quaint now. Here we are, 20 years later, and Federer wound up with 20; Djokovic has 21; Nadal leads with 22. The latter two are still adding to their counts: Nadal, 36, won the Australian Open in January and the French Open in June; Djokovic, 35, won Wimbledon in July.
“No. 1, it’s easier nowadays to run through different surfaces. Pete only made one semi at the French. Borg never went to Australia. … And,” Federer said, “it was less professional back in the ’70s.”
Federer also made this point: He, Nadal, Djokovic and Williams, and the rise of social media, all contributed to a change in the paradigm of Grand Slam importance vis a vis other tournaments and made chasing those records — and talking about chasing those records — more widely accepted and matter-of-course.
“It’s a different world now,” Federer said.
In bygone days, he said, “It was not about records. This whole record thing started, I’d say, with Sampras wanting to surpass the 12 of (Roy) Emerson. This is what set up this generation that we see with Novak and Rafa right now. For me, I don’t remember much, when I came up in the ’90s, about all these records. I remember Pete was kind of chasing them, but I was not aware of it. They just said, ‘Oh, you play like Pete, so you’re going to be ‘the next Pete Sampras.’ I was like, ‘Oh, OK.’”
With that, he rolled his eyes.
Then Federer continued discussing Sampras: “I don’t even remember how many Slams he had at that time. I don’t even remember where he passed that record. It was a big moment, I’m sure, but I, a historian of the game, don’t really remember it.”
Players have changed. Media coverage has changed. Fans’ attention has changed.
“We behave different, in the process, as well, and we are driven in a different way. I don’t think you were planning years ahead: ‘OK, I have 10 years ahead, so let’s break it down. What do I have to do to achieve such a thing?’ Back in the day, it was ‘OK, what are we playing next week?’” Federer said. “I just think it’s different and that’s why I think we’ll see more successful players in the future and they’ll be able to play longer, because they’ll maintain their bodies.”
For the current crop of new talent, including U.S. Open champion and No. 1-ranked Carlos Alcaraz, who is just 19, or French Open and U.S. Open runner-up Casper Ruud, who is No. 2 at age 23, the example is there.
Now the question is: Can they follow it?
“They brought it to a whole different level and showed that anything is possible. Just imagine if one of the three was not there, how many the two other ones would have. They would probably be close to 30. … It gives young players like myself and the younger generation inspiration to see how well it’s possible to play,” Ruud said. “I don’t think that record will be broken, ever, but let’s see in the future. Anything can happen.”
Felix Auger-Aliassime, a U.S. Open semifinalist at age 21 last year, agrees that having something to aspire to is helpful.
As is having role models, which Team World vice captain Patrick McEnroe pointed out the Big Three are in terms of sportsmanship and the “way the game is actually played on the court.”
“Now the younger players are training hard, always trying to improve, being more and more professional,” Auger-Aliassime said. “It does raise the bar of the level and the competitiveness of the sport, which I think pushes the sport forward.”
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- South Africans across the country are celebrating Heritage Day.
- President Cyril Ramaphosa said ubuntu was part of South Africa’s heritage and should be extended to those from other countries.
- He also said citizens should “call on their heritage” as they deal with load shedding and other challenges.
“We are, as South Africans, a friendly and hospitable people, and it is inconsistent with our values to be xenophobic.”
These were the words President Cyril Ramaphosa delivered during his Heritage Day address at the Union buildings in Pretoria on Saturday.
Ramaphosa said 24 September was a day for South Africans to appreciate the rich, diverse and common cultural heritage of the country.
“It is an opportunity for us to wear the attire that is unique to our respective cultures, to invite friends and family over for a home-cooked traditional meal, to play traditional music, and to pay tribute to those who came before us. Just as we celebrate where we have come from, we know that culture continues to evolve, adapt and change.”
Ramaphosa’s address preached a message of ubuntu in the wake of xenophobic attacks and a narrative around foreign nationals being pushed by some political and community leaders.
“Our heritage is also the best version of ourselves that we seek to become. I am referring here to ubuntu, which speaks to our innate spirit of generosity and human solidarity,” he said.
“It speaks to our compassion and kindness towards other people, especially those less fortunate, and also to those from foreign lands who have sought refuge here,” he added.
Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi said this week that police had the right to conduct spot checks on immigrants and ask for documentation to determine their status.
He was criticised by civil society organisations for his decision to phase out the Zimbabwean Exemption Permit (ZEP), a special dispensation permit that was established more than 10 years ago, providing legal protection to an estimated 178 000 Zimbabweans who live, work and study in South Africa.
Cabinet decided that the arrangement should be terminated by December and that permit holders should apply for a visa to remain in South Africa on the basis of a list of critical skills.
Earlier this month, Motsoaledi extended the ZEP for the last time, until June, after the department received very few applications from Zimbabwean nationals for ordinary visas.
Ramaphosa’s speech focused on the importance of promoting indigenous music and preserving culture and heritage.
He said artists must be paid their dues.
“The new Copyright Amendment Bill, passed by the National Assembly at the beginning of the month, will go a long way in protecting our artists and towards addressing their concerns about the collection and distribution of royalties,” he said.
“We are determined to use the law where necessary to preserve our cultural heritage. We also need to defend and preserve our indigenous languages.”
Ramaphosa said government was supporting several lexicography units at institutions of higher learning in terminology development for African languages.
He also acknowledged that citizens might not feel they could celebrate through dance, music and art while being plunged into darkness through load shedding, facing unemployment, and dealing with the increasing cost of living.
“It is at times like this that our heritage becomes even more important. We are a nation with a heritage defined by struggle, by courage, by perseverance, by a determination to overcome even the greatest challenge,” he said.
“And so let us call on this heritage as we confront the difficulties that confront our country today… Let us recognise the progress that is being made in transforming our society and draw on the experiences of years gone by to intensify our efforts to address these challenges and build a better life for all our people.”
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By Associated Press
DAKAR: The United Nations was established on one simple notion above all others: Working together is better than going it alone. But while the term “multilateralism” might be trending at this year’s U.N. General Assembly, some leaders are calling out the heads of richer nations.
Whether it’s the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic or climate change, developing countries say it seems that richer nations are thinking of themselves first and not the world’s most vulnerable.
“The global economy is now a house on fire, yet we continue to use evacuation methods that rush some nations out to safety while leaving the rest of us behind to fend for ourselves in the burning building,” said Malawi’s president, Lazarus Chakwera. “But if we are truly one U.N. family, then leaving no one behind has to be practiced, not just preached.”
Tanzania’s Vice President Philip Isdor Mpango was even more blunt. He said that “unilateralism driven by greed is leading us — rich and poor, strong and weak — to a catastrophe.”
When the United Nations was established in 1945, world leaders hoped it would make sure that something like World War II never happened again. Over the years its mandate has tackled everything from nuclear proliferation to protecting refugees. But that high-minded notion of multilateralism has never wavered — even if the reality sometimes has.
Kiribati President Taneti Maamau Beretitenti reminded member states last week that the United Nations’ founders wanted to not only prevent future wars but also “improve the standard of living for all.”
“Today, we take stock of the progress made towards those goals along with new commitments and to reflect and assess if we have truly lived up those values,” he said. Regionalism and solidarity, he said, “are at risk of being increasingly used to serve specific national interests” rather than for the common benefit.
“Broken humanity cannot be fixed by wonderful speeches, meetings, resolutions, nor international instruments, but by an interplay of greater compassion and solidarity,” he added.
Mohammad Niamat Elahee, an international business professor at Quinnipiac University in Connecticut, said most rich countries are giving lip service to multilateralism but are, in reality, acting otherwise.
“When we try to solve it ourselves, maybe in the short term we gain some benefits only for a limited number of people. But in the long run, it becomes worse for everyone,” he said, pointing to the COVID-19 variants that emerged in developing countries after rich countries initially hoarded vaccine supplies.
“For multilateralism to work, we need cooperation across the board. If some countries follow multilateralism and some countries don’t, then it doesn’t work,” Elahee said. “Big countries have a disproportionately high influence in the world,” he said. “When they abandon multilateralism, everybody else abandons it and it becomes a dog-eat-dog world. And that’s the challenge.”
Multilateralism has taken a steady stream of hits over the past 20 years, from U.S. military interventions to the backlash against globalization. Former U.S. President Donald Trump’s tenure reintroduced an “America First” approach to foreign policy. His administration eschewed the United Nations as an “unelected, unaccountable global bureaucracy.”
Then came the COVID-19 pandemic — a shared global disaster, but also one that exposed how there was enough oxygen for some countries, but untold patients elsewhere would die without.
“The richer nations immediately received vaccines at the expense of the have-nots,” Philippines President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said last week, echoing the anger of a number of other countries.
Even issues that many countries have rallied around, like condemning the war in Ukraine, feel different to nations whose armed conflicts have not garnered the same international solidarity.
“They should pause for a moment to reflect on the glaring contrast in their response to the wars elsewhere where women and children have died by the thousands from wars and starvation,” East Timor President José Ramos-Horta told the Assembly.
“The response to our beloved Secretary-General’s cries for help in these situations have not met with equal compassion,” he said. “As countries in the Global South, we see double standards.”
Countries like Ghana say they need more international solidarity, too, when it comes to the inequities in how economies have weathered the impact of the pandemic and global inflation. The resulting currency devaluations have made it even harder for countries to pay back their U.S. dollar loans.
The consequences are also more dire for developing countries when it comes to climate change, leaders say. Presidents from Africa and island nations have been asking richer countries to take more financial responsibility for the fact they’ve contributed the most carbon emissions.
The fear lies, too, in what will happen once this annual flurry of promise-making ends, says Pakistani Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif, whose country has seen apocalypse-like flooding.
“My real worry is about the next stage of this challenge — when the cameras leave and the story just shifts away to conflicts like Ukraine,” he said. “My question is: Will be left alone to cope with a crisis we did not create?”
Ultimately, the “united” in United Nations means interdependence. It’s a notion that the past three years have taught many nations in substantial ways. Bangladesh’s Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina summoned that as she told world leaders that “the greatest lesson we learned from the COVID-19 pandemic is that ‘no one is safe until everyone is safe’.”
“Mutual solidarity must be shown more than ever,” she said. “We need to prove that in times of crisis, the United Nations remains the cornerstone of the multilateral system.”
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