Cyril: Presidency will continue to pay Zuma's legal fees as agreed
Cape Town – The Presidency will continue to pay the legal fees of former president Jacob Zuma based on a 2006 agreement, unless a court reviews the arrangement and sets it aside.
President Cyril Ramaphosa, in two responses issued on Thursday, replied to both the EFF and the DA regarding the decision to pay for Zuma's legal fees in his corruption trial since 2006.
The EFF last week wanted to know on what legal provisions the 2006 agreement was based on, while the DA wanted to know if the agreement would continue now that Zuma was no longer president, and is set to face the charges again.
In response to the DA, the Presidency said that successive presidents assume the obligations that were undertaken by their predecessors upon taking office.
"The Presidency is therefore bound by that decision and must continue paying for Mr Zuma's legal fees on the basis that it undertook to do so until such time as the decision is reviewed and set aside by a court."
In a parliamentary reply to the EFF, the Presidency clarified that the 2006 agreement was based on section 3 of the State Attorney Act of 1957, read in conjunction with Treasury's regulations at the time.
Conditions for refund
The state attorney could essentially use discretion to grant such requests, as was made by Zuma, in cases where the state was not party to a matter, but "interested or concerned in", or it was "in the public interest to provide such representation to a government official".
"The acts on the basis of which it is alleged that the former president committed criminal offences took place during his tenure as a government official, both at provincial and later at national level," the reply read.
Zuma was MEC for economic affairs in KwaZulu-Natal at the time the payments in question were allegedly made by arms company Thint, and later became deputy president.
In addition, the justice department took into account section 12 of the then applicable Treasury regulations, issued in terms of the Public Finance Management Act.
Those regulations stipulate that the person must provide an obligation to refund the state if any loss is found to have been incurred when an official was acting outside the course and scope of his employment.
"For this reason, the state attorney decided that it was appropriate to grant the request of the former president, subject to the condition that he make an undertaking (which he did) to refund monies thus spent, should it be found that he acted in his personal capacity and own interest in the commission of the alleged offences."
More than R15m spent
Ramaphosa also said the Presidency could not find the original written agreement but had copies of Zuma's undertaking to pay back the money, signed in 2006 and 2008.
The Presidency stressed that it did not believe the state should pay for the legal expenses of individuals if they are found to have acted on strictly personal grounds and are found to have committed an offence.
Last week, Ramaphosa confirmed that R7.5m was spent between 2006 and the withdrawal of the charges in 2009.
Since 2009, an additional R7.8m had been spent fighting the DA's nine-year battle to have the charges reinstated.
Meanwhile, National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP) Shaun Abrahams on Friday announced that the National Prosecuting Authority would go ahead with the prosecution of Zuma on 16 charges of corruption, money laundering and racketeering.
It brought to an end a nine-year battle by the DA to have Zuma face charges after they were "irrationally" dropped by former NDPP Mokotedi Mpshe in 2009, as ruled by the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria in 2016.
Ramaphosa promised that the agreement would be made available in the upcoming court proceedings.
Surprisingly simple ways to reduce your salt intake
The World Health Organization recommends a maximum of 5g salt per adult per day (that’s one teaspoon). But because there is a lot of hidden sodium in the food we eat, most people don’t even realise they’re consuming too much salt. A high salt intake is linked to high blood pressure, which can cause strokes and heart disease, and research also shows that a high intake of salt, sodium or salty foods is linked to an increased risk of stomach cancer. However, a reduction in salt intake by just 2g a day will reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease by 20%.
Controlling your salt intake can be a little tricky, as a lot of prepared food already contains salt. Up to 60% of the salt in our diet comes from processed foods (margarine, stock cubes, soup powders, breakfast cereals) and the remaining 40% is added at the table. The best way to reduce your salt intake is to become ‘salt smart’. Here are three easy ways to help you stay below the recommended 5g a day:
1. Read food labels carefully
If ‘sodium’ or ‘salt’ is one of the top three ingredients, the food probably contains a lot of salt. Avoid foods that contain more than 1,5g of salt per 100g, and look out for the Heart Mark on food packaging to identify low-salt foods. Other sodium-rich ingredients to be wary of: monosodium glutamate (MSG), sodium nitrate, bicarbonate of soda and soya sauce.
2. Remove salt from the table
Out of sight, out of mind! And remember, ‘fancier’ types of salt may contain more nutrients than table salt, but they aren’t necessarily healthy. Pink, black, rock, crystal and flake salt all have the same effect on blood pressure as table salt.
3. Flavour food with herbs and spices
Herbs, spices and other ingredients that don’t contain salt, such as lemon juice, onions, peppers and garlic, will not only add great flavour to food but are also a source of antioxidants, vitamins and other nutrients that are good for you.
Anger is a natural feeling experienced by every person. Although it is natural, anger can have serious consequences for us as well as the people around us. According to a narration by Abu Hurayrah, may Allah be pleased with him, A MAN SAID TO THE PROPHET (PBUH), “ADVISE ME.” HE REPLIED, “DO NOT BECOME ANGRY”. THE MAN REPEATED HIS REQUEST SEVERAL TIMES, AND EACH TIME THE PROPHET (PBUH) TOLD HIM, “DO NOT BECOME ANGRY” (Reported by al-Bukhari).
It can’t be clearer that the Holy Prophet (pbuh) even advised against anger, so today we’re going to share some ways and tips recommended by the Quran and Sunnah, to control your anger.
1. SEEK REFUGE WITH ALLAH
In a hadith reported by al Bukhari, a companion of the Prophet (PBUH) by the name Sulayman Ibn Sard said, “I WAS SITTING WITH THE PROPHET (PBUH), AND TWO MEN WERE SLANDERING ONE ANOTHER. ONE OF THEM WAS RED IN THE FACE, AND THE VEINS ON HIS NECK WERE STANDING OUT. THE PROPHET (PBUH) SAID, ‘I KNOW A WORD WHICH, IF HE WERE TO SAY IT, WHAT HE FEELS WOULD GO AWAY. IF HE SAID “I SEEK REFUGE WITH ALLAH FROM THE SHAYTAN,” WHAT HE FEELS (I.E., HIS ANGER) WOULD GO AWAY’.
2. BE CALM AND SILENT
When a person becomes angry, there is high tendency for them to lose control and say things they will regret FOREVER. That is why it is extremely important to stay calm and be quiet. Think about what you are about to do or say. The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said: “IF ANY OF YOU BECOMES ANGRY, LET HIM KEEP SILENT”.
3. CHANGE POSITION AND MAKE WUDU
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said in a Hadith narrated by Ahmad and Abo Dawood (deemed authentic): “IF ONE OF YOU GOT ANGRY WHILE STANDING THEN SIT DOWN, OR IF SITTING DOWN THEN LAY DOWN. IF ANGER DOES NOT GO AWAY THEN DO WUDU”.
4. REMEMBER THE PROMISE OF ALLAH
Allah has promised a great reward for the righteous (muttaqoon) who keep away from the causes of anger and struggle within themselves to control it, as it is one of the most effective ways of extinguishing the flames of anger.
One of the Ahadith that describes the great reward for doing this is, “WHOEVER CONTROLS HIS ANGER AT THE TIME WHEN HE HAS THE MEANS TO ACT UPON IT, ALLAH WILL FILL HIS HEART WITH CONTENTMENT ON THE DAY OF RESURRECTION” (Reported by al-Tabaraanee).
Another great reward is described in the Prophet’s (PBUH) words: “WHOEVER CONTROLS HIS ANGER AT THE TIME WHEN HE HAS THE MEANS TO ACT UPON IT, ALLAH WILL CALL HIM BEFORE ALL OF MANKIND ON THE DAY OF RESURRECTION, AND WILL LET HIM CHOOSE OF THE HOOR AL-‘AYN WHOEVER HE WANTS” (Reported by Aboo Dawood, 4777, and others. It is classified as hasan in Sahih al-Jaami‘, 6518).
5. REMEMBER THE SUNNAH
The most perfect man ever, our beloved Prophet (PBUH) has set numerous examples from which we can learn. He was a leader, but he only got angry solely for the sake of Allah. If it was not something that affected the religion or something that displeased Allah, he would not be angry.
One of the most famous narrations reported by Anas, may Allah be pleased with him, who said: “I WAS WALKING WITH THE MESSENGER OF ALLAH (SAWS), AND HE WAS WEARING A NAJRAANEE CLOAK WITH A ROUGH COLLAR. A BEDOUIN CAME AND SEIZED HIM ROUGHLY BY THE EDGE OF HIS CLOAK, AND I SAW THE MARKS LEFT ON HIS NECK BY THE COLLAR. THEN THE BEDOUIN ORDERED HIM TO GIVE HIM SOME OF THE WEALTH OF ALLAAH THAT HE HAD. THE PROPHET (PBUH) TURNED TO HIM AND SMILED, THEN ORDERED THAT HE SHOULD BE GIVEN SOMETHING”.
Subhan Allah, from this exmaple we can see the Prophet (PBUH) never got angry at others, despite having been treated badly. It only goes to show his self-control and patience.
6. REMEMBER THE EFFECTS OF ANGER
Anger is like poison. Within minutes it can destroy everything a man has built- marriages, brotherhood, and friendship. It can even lead to bloodshed. One should be conscious of these effects and be very careful with one’s choices when in a state of anger.
7. REMEMBER THAT ALLAH IS MIGHTIER THAN YOU
In a hadith narrated in Muslim, a companion of the Prophet (PBUH) named Abu Masood Al Badri said: “I WAS HITTING A SLAVE OF MINE WHEN I HEARD A VOICE BEHIND ME SAYING: KNOW ABO MASOOD, KNOW ABO MASOOD. I DID NOT COMPREHEND THE WORDS AS ANGRY AS I WAS UNTIL THE VOICE GOT CLOSER. I TURNED AROUND AND IT WAS THE PROPHET (PBUH) SAYING: KNOW ABO MASOOD THAT ALLAH IS MIGHTIER ON YOU THAN YOU ARE ON THIS BOY. Abu Masood replied that the boy is therefore a free-man. The Prophet (PBUH) said to him that if he did not do just that, then he would have been touched by the fire of hell”.
8. MAKE DU’A
Du’a is the most important and powerful tool of a Muslim. Therefore, we must always pray against evils and for God to protect us against bad behaviour of any form.
There are many du’as that the Prophet (PBUH) used to make and this was one of them: “O ALLAH, BY YOUR KNOWLEDGE OF THE UNSEEN AND YOUR POWER OVER YOUR CREATION, KEEP ME ALIVE FOR AS LONG AS YOU KNOW LIFE IS GOOD FOR ME, AND CAUSE ME TO DIE WHEN YOU KNOW DEATH IS GOOD FOR ME. O ALLAH, I ASK YOU TO MAKE ME FEAR YOU IN SECRET AND IN PUBLIC, AND I ASK YOU TO MAKE ME SPEAK THE TRUTH IN TIMES OF CONTENTMENT AND OF ANGER. I ASK YOU NOT TO LET ME BE EXTRAVAGANT IN POVERTY OR IN PROSPERITY. I ASK YOU FOR CONTINUOUS BLESSINGS, AND FOR CONTENTMENT THAT DOES NOT END. I ASK YOU TO LET ME ACCEPT YOUR DECREE, AND FOR A GOOD LIFE AFTER DEATH. I ASK YOU FOR THE JOY OF SEEING YOUR FACE AND FOR THE LONGING TO MEET YOU, WITHOUT GOING THROUGH DISEASES AND MISGUIDING FITNAH (TRIALS). O ALLAH, ADORN US WITH THE ADORNMENT OF FAITH AND MAKE US AMONG THOSE WHO ARE GUIDED. PRAISE BE TO ALLAH, THE LORD OF THE WORLDS”.
On a final note, keep in mind that anger and reacting to anger does not make you a strong man. The hadith narrates that the Prophet (PBUH) said: “A STRONG MAN IS NOT THE ONE WHO THROWS PEOPLE DOWN, A STRONG MAN IS THE ONE WHO WITHHOLDS HIMSELF FROM ANGER”.
Anger can destroy relationships, health, properties and livelihood. This is because uncontrolled anger is from the Shaytan and he uses it to wreck lives. We must therefore be very conscious of the plot of the devil, and control our anger. There is a better reward for this in this world, and in the hereafter, In sha Allah.
SA electricity advisory accuses utility Eskom of trying to pass costs from corruption to consumers
A South Africa electricity export on Thursday accused power utility Eskom of trying to recover losses from corruption by further increasing tariffs levied on consumers by an estimated 30 percent before the end of 2018.
The National Energy Regulator of SA (Nersa) last December granted Eskom a 5.2 percent tariff increase for 2018-19, effective from April 1, 2018, against the 19.9 percent Eskom had applied for.
In January the regulator in January published Regulatory Clearing Account (RCA) applications by Eskom to further increase tariffs to recover R66.6 billion lost between 2014 and 2017. Nersa gave the public until March 23 to submit comments on the application.
The RCA is a monitoring and tracking mechanism that compares “uncontrollable” costs and revenues assumed in the multiyear price determination (MYPD) made by Nersa, to actual revenue and costs incurred by Eskom.
But critics say the power utility is trying to make consumers pay for losses incurred through the corrupt activities of senior company executives.
On Thursday, energy expert Ted Blom, a partner at Mining & Energy Advisory, said despite massive corruption, inefficiencies and irregular expenditure, Eskom still showed a bottom line profit of over R20 billion before the RCA claims from 2013 to 2016.
“The defective MYPD rules also encourage Eskom to overspend – as overspending is, in most instances, completely recovered from the public via the same RCA provisions,” Blom said.
“Effectively, Eskom will never run at a loss as any shortfall is recovered through a flawed annual RCA application. In other words, Eskom recovers any shortfall in projections by increasing consumer’s tariffs the following year. This increase is over and above annual tariff increases.”
Blom said Nersa had not been conducting its oversight and regulatory duties diligently.
“If Nersa approves Eskom’s RCA application for 2014/15, 2015/16 and 2016/17… it will result in an electricity tariff hike of some 30 percent. And that will, in turn, result in further enterprise closures, bankruptcies and job losses,” he said.
“Thus the public will merely continue funding the Eskom gravy train and the effects will compound over time.”