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Protesting miners chase away South African President Ramaphosa on Labour Day

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South African President Cyril Ramaphosa was forced to abandon his Workers’ Day speech and whisked away by security officials in the northwestern city of Rustenburg after protesting mine workers stormed the stage and forcefully stopped him from making the speech.

The disgruntled miners employed by the state-owned Sibanye-Stillwater Mine, were staging a protest on Sunday to mark the international labour day, and made demands of an increase in their wage of 1,000 rand ($63) per month instead of the 850 rand ($54) being offered by the mine, when Ramaphosa made a stopover to address them.

“President Cyril Ramaphosa decided to mark the Workers Day, a public holiday in South Africa to mark May 1, by giving a speech to union members in Rustenburg, a mining center,” one of the organisers of the protest said.

However, the President was roundly booed by the miners as he started his address with a call for the striking workers and other members of the Congress of South African Trade Unions to calm down and listen to what he had to say.

“We have heard that you want your 1,000 rand. We will deal with that matter,” Ramaphosa told the protesting workers.

But shortly after that, Ramaphosa was forced to give up his speech altogether when angry miners stormed the stage and overwhelmed police surrounding the stage. Ramaphosa’s security guards had to whisk him away from the venue.

“The striking workers have become even angrier in recent days over reports that Sibanye-Stillwater’s CEO, Neal Froneman, earned more than 300 million rand ($19 million) in 2021 in salary payments and company share schemes,” an labour union official in the Northern province said on Monday.

“The tumultuous scene Sunday indicates the challenges that Ramaphosa faces later this year in his effort to be reelected head of the ANC as the unions are a key constituency of the party,” he added.

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South Sudan activists fight child marriage where girls are sold for cows

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A group of South Sudanese activists have come together to fight against an obnoxious practice where young girls are auctioned off into marriage in exchange for cows, especially in some rural communities.

According to Jackline Nasiwa, the Executive Director of the Center of Inclusive Governance, Peace and Justice, the practice had robbed many young girls of a future.

“The price of a daughter, determined in negotiations between her father and would-be husband, is typically 50 to 100 cows, each worth up to $1,000.

“A girl viewed as beautiful, fertile and of high social rank can bring as many as 200 cows. They sell their daughters so that they get something to survive. The younger the girl marries, the more the family gets cattle in return,” Nasiwa said.

“Poor families in South Sudan see laws against child marriage as barring them from profiting from thrir daughters and threatening their very survival, with only about 10% of girls finishing primary school because of factors including conflict and cultural beliefs.

“Some families worry that sending girls to school exposes them to dangers such as sexual assault that could lower their value when it comes time to look for marriage offers,” Nasiwa added.

Another girls’ right activist, Nyanachiek Madit, herself a survivor of the wife-for-cow practice, said she fought back when her father wanted to sell her off.

The 21-year-old Nyanachiek said she refused to be traded when her father said she would be married to a man about 50-years-old when she was only 17, because her family couldn’t afford to send her to school.

“I didn’t accept to get married because I am disabled and my education will be my ‘leg’ later on,” said Nyanachiek who was born with a congenital disorder.

She said she was convinced that schooling would give her a better life, so she stood up to her family and dared them to beat or even kill her.

Nyanachiek’s plight came to the attention of ChildBride Solidarity, which offers scholarships to girls whose parents abandon them after they oppose early marriage. With the group’s assistance, Nyanachiek now studies in South Sudan’s capital and is a very vocal voice against the practice.

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South African man bags two life sentences for brutally raping, murdering 29-year-old woman

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A 40-year-old man, Hendrick Nicholas Hanse van Reinsburg, has been sentenced to two life sentences by a High Court for rape and brutally murdering a 29-year-old woman.

Prosecutors revealed that Van Reinsburg had, on 13 October 2019, brutally raped and murdered Andiswa Zitha, in her home in the Mjejane area of Mpumalanga.

The prosecutors said the victim suffered violence which was perpetuated by the accused, adding that after the accused raped her, he used a wooden object to pummel her several times before he fled the scene.

“Van Reinsburg left Zitha in a pool of blood after raping and brutally attacking her in her home in Mjejane near Komatipoort,” Mpumalanga police spokesperson, Brigadier Selvy Mohlala, said while testifying.

“Zitha was found by neighbours who took her to Tonga Hospital but she was unfortunately certified dead the next day on 14 October 2019,” Mohlala said.

“The police opened a murder case with an additional charge of rape and worked tirelessly in their investigation with the hope to find the perpetrator. Their hard work paid off when they arrested the accused at a tavern in Kamhlushwa on 20 October 2021,” said Mohlala.

“The accused was charged and taken to court where he was convicted and sentenced to one life sentence for rape as well as another life sentence for murder. The court also ordered for the sentences to run concurrently,” the police spokesman said.

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