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South Africa suspends $1million flag project after public outcry

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South Africa’s Arts and Culture Ministry has revealed that it has halted its plan to spend more than a million dollars on a flag project after a public outcry.

The ministry made the revelation on Thursday in a statement.

Civil action group Outa called the project a “monumental waste of money”.

Criticism also came from civil society groups and political parties such as Action SA, and the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), who accused the government of seeking to invest in a vanity project.

Monumental flags are typically installed by countries to express their identity and pride. South Africa’s intention to build one was first announced in February 2022.

The government had defended erecting the 100-meter monument saying it would attract visitors. But many have criticized it as a waste of tax payer’s money.

“A feasibility study on the development of the South African monumental flag was undertaken in 2020/2021. The results of the feasibility study will inform the brief for the South African national monumental flag,” said Minister Nathi Mthethwa.

“R5 million is budgeted in 2022/23 for the site-specific geotechnical studies, including the environmental impact assessment and other tests and applications that will be required prior to construction. In 2023/24 R17 million is allocated for the installation of the monumental flag.”

The department noted that the flag is the symbol of “nationhood” and the “common identity” of the people of South Africa.

South Africa is desperate to revive its tourism sector which was hit hard by the pandemic. According to Statista in 2018, the tourism sector contributed about 4,5% of total employment in South Africa. In 2020, the volume of tourists decreased by 72,6% from 10,2 million in 2019 to 2,8 million in 2020.

Metro

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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