South Africa: Opposition Leader Malema Fights Parliament Suspension – South African News Briefs – February 2, 2024


Opposition Leader Malema Challenges Parliament Suspension

Economic Freedom Fighters ( EFF) leader Julius Malema and five party MPs, facing suspensions preventing their attendance at the State of the Nation Address (SONA) and salary deductions for February, have pledged to reveal their pay slips, school fee accounts, and personal expenses to the Western Cape High Court in an attempt to overturn the suspensions, reports News24. Malema argues that without an alternative source of income, the financial losses incurred are significant. Despite a previous dismissal of an urgent application to overturn the suspensions, the EFF has launched a new application challenging Parliament’s new rules. The suspensions stem from a guilty verdict for contempt of Parliament, related to their disruptive actions during President Cyril Ramaphosa’s SONA in 2023. Malema contends that the National Assembly seeks to cut them off completely, hindering their ability to question the president and fulfill their constitutional function. Despite the legal battles, the EFF asserts that its MPs will attend SONA to hold President Ramaphosa accountable.

Financial Aid Scheme Accused of Illegal Practice, Blocking Black Students

Whistleblowers have exposed a taxpayer confidentiality breach scandal at the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS), accusing the organization of systematically excluding predominantly black students from accessing free education, reports News24. The breach has angered the South African Revenue Service (SARS) commissioner, Edward Kieswetter, who is now refusing to share data with NSFAS, citing an “illegal” use of taxpayers’ information. Whistleblowers claim NSFAS exploited this breach to assess students’ affordability without their parents’ or guardians’ knowledge, resulting in rejections without transparency. The breach occurred between 2021 and 2022, with NSFAS allegedly tweaking student consent forms without consulting SARS, violating an earlier agreement, and breaching the Tax Administration Act. Kieswetter has demanded corrective measures before resuming data sharing, while NSFAS insists it has always complied with eligibility criteria and is now urging students to submit consent forms.

Tragedy Strikes as Grade 6 Learner Dies Falling from Scholar Transport in Pretoria

A tragic incident occurred in Pretoria, as a Grade 6 learner from Modiselle Primary School in Ga-Rankuwa lost his life after allegedly falling out of a moving scholar transport bus, reports IOL. This adds to a series of unfortunate incidents in Gauteng, including the drowning of Latoya Temilton during a school excursion and the shooting death of a Rand Water executive during a donation drive in Joburg South. The Gauteng Education Department expressed deep sadness, stating that the learner fell from the scholar bus, and the rear wheels went over him. The police are investigating the incident, and the education department’s psycho-social support team has offered assistance to the family. Gauteng Education MEC Matome Chiloane called for caution among drivers transporting children, emphasizing the importance of learner safety during scholar transport initiatives. An independent investigation has been initiated to probe the circumstances surrounding the recent school trip death, with results expected by the following Monday.

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