Tag Archives: South Africa

Five Years Isn’t Enough for Murder?

Pistorius Appeal Five Year

Not according to South Africa’s prosecutors. The lawyers will appeal the verdict and sentence of Oscar Pistorius, who received a five-year prison term for culpable homicide last week.

Prior to the sentencing, prosecutors had called for a minimum 10-year term, and the defence had argued for community service and house arrest. Judge Thokozile Masipa ultimately decided that five years in jail was plenty for killing girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp. And, to add insult to injury, under the terms of the sentence, Pistorius may be released into house arrest after 10 months.

“A non-custodial sentence would send the wrong message to the community. On the other hand, a long sentence would also not be appropriate either, as it would lack the element of mercy,” the judge declared.

The element of mercy? You mean what was missing from Oscar Pistorius’ brain when he repeatedly shot his girlfriend through the bathroom door?

Although Reeva Steenkamp’s parents say that have “already forgiven a long time ago” and are “satisfied by the sentence”, the prosecutors are not. A spokesman for the National Prosecuting Authority, said the organization “will be appealing both the conviction and sentence.”

 “The appeal on conviction is based on the question of law,” NPA spokesperson Nathi Mncube said in a statement.

“The merits and the demerits of the NPA’s argument in this regard will become evident when we file papers for leave to appeal.”

I don’t know, eligible for house arrest after 10 months in prison seems like a pretty sweet deal to me. They might want to just leave it at that…

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Oscar Pistorius Found Guilty of Manslaughter, Jail Time TBD

OScar Pistorius Boogers

The judge who cleared Oscar Pistorius of murder charges yesterday found him guilty of manslaughter, or culpable homicide as they call it in South Africa, in the shooting death of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

In her ruling, Judge Thokozile Masipa said that Pistorius was negligent when he fired several shots into that locked toilet room, but ultimately the state had failed to prove he intended to kill.

“A reasonable person, with a similar disability, would have foreseen that the person behind the door would be killed, and the accused failed to take action to avoid this,” the judge declared.

So while Pistorius acted “negligently” when he shot his girlfriend through a toilet door, the judge believed he really thought there was an intruder inside. Cut to Ray Rice kicking himself for not coming up with that excuse first – “I totally thought my fiancée was an elevator intruder!”

Judge Masipa also granted Pistorius bail after the conviction so now he’s free to roam the countryside until his sentencing on October 13. The athlete could receive up to 15 years in prison or he could just get a small slap on the wrist, pay a fine, and avoid jail entirely – in which case we can all congratulate South Africa on their first O.J Simpson.

As for Reeva Steenkamp’s family, they were less than pleased with the verdict, telling reporters of their “disbelief” that the court had believed Pistorius’s version of events.

“This verdict is not justice for Reeva,” June Steenkamp said. “I just want the truth. He shot through the door and I can’t believe that they believe it was an accident.”

And neither can anyone else…

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Oscar Pistorius Found NOT Guilty!?

Oscar Pistorius Not Guilty

“Blade Runner” Oscar Pistorius was found not guilty of the murder of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp Thursday after a South African judge dismissed the most serious charges against him.

Judge Thokozile Masipa made the announcement in a hushed courtroom Thursday as she summed up the evidence presented to the court. The judge said prosecutors had not proved Oscar meant to kill his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp but said he acted hastily, had been negligent and a reasonable person would not have fired. No kidding.

“The state clearly has not proved beyond reasonable doubt that the accused is guilty of premeditated murder,” Thokozile Masipa said.

“Viewed in its totality the evidence failed to establish that the accused had the requisite intention to kill the deceased let alone with premeditation.”

Judge Masipa, clearly a fan of courtroom dramas, knew just how to leave the crowd hanging. After dismissing the murder charge, the judge abruptly adjourned for the day, leaving it to Friday to announce whether the athlete is guilty of culpable homicide. But word on the street is that Judge Masipa appears to be leaning towards the lesser charge of manslaughter, known in South Africa as culpable homicide, so Pistorius won’t likely get off scot-free.

The South African Olympic and Paralympic sprinter has long denied murdering his girlfriend on Valentine’s Day last year, saying he mistook her for an intruder and shot her through the bathroom door by mistake. Obviously in South Africa intruders break in and lock themselves into a bathroom all the time, so it makes sense to grab a gun and start shooting before checking to see if your girlfriend got up to take a leak.

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Current Event Cat of the Day: Oscar Pistorius’s Vomit

Current Event Cat - Vomits at Trial

Oscar Pistorius’ murder trial is in full swing but it’s proving too much for the Paralympic athlete to handle. After hearing the graphic details of (former) girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp’s wounds, Pistorius proceeded to vomit in the courtroom.

On Monday, Oscar Pistorius because so overwhelmed while listening to expert testimony about the autopsy of Reeva Steenkamp (whom he is accused of murdering) that he appeared visibly shaken and threw up repeatedly in the middle of court.

Unfortunately the proceeding cannot be televised because Prof. Gert Saayman, head of the forensic medicine department at the University of Pretoria, argued that the details of autopsy were “very personal in nature” and could “compromise the dignity of the deceased.” Well, they should at least release a courtroom sketch of the vomit incident.

Saayman told the court how Steenkamp was struck four times with bullets from Pistorius’s nine millimetre pistol, but as more details were discussed, Pistorius broke down, his shoulders shaking, and began to spew out some vomit.

While Saayman poked some holes in Pistorius’s timeline of the events, other testimony revealed that the athlete “had a big love” for guns. 

Pistorius denies his murder charge, arguing that he shot his girlfriend through a locked toilet door by mistake because he believed she was an intruder. But the state is working on convincing the court that Pistorius and Steenkamp, a 29-year-old model, reality TV star and law graduate, had an argument before the athlete fired the fatal shots.

If found guilty, the 27-year-old “blade runner” could face life in prison. And if found not guilty, Pistorius may want to think about an acting career. He seems to have a flair for the dramatic.

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Nelson Mandela Dies at Age 95… And Other News

Nelson Mandela

Former South African President Nelson Mandela died Thursday at age 95.

Best known for leading South Africa’s transition from white-minority rule in the 1990s after spending 27 years in a tuberculosis-ridden prison, Mandela finally succumbed to his recurring lung infection – most likely a result of the lingering tuberculosis he caught in prison. Friends, family and …military personnel (?) gathered at the anti-Apartheid leader’s deathbed in his Johannesburg home where he had been receiving home-based medical care after spending three months in the hospital. South Africa’s current president, Jacob Zuma, confirmed in a statement on South African national TV that Mandela had “departed” and was at peace. But enough about South Africa, what does President Obama have to say about all this? “He no longer belongs to us – he belongs to the ages,” Obama said in a brief statement, adding that Mandela “took history in his hands and bent the arc of the moral universe towards justice”. BBC News

Virginia Attorney General Kenneth CuccinelliKen Cuccinelli, best known for his war on oral sex and his recent loss in Virginia’s gubernatorial election, is trying to kill gay marriage with extra paper work. After getting advice from Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli’s office, the Virginia Department of Taxation decided that they will not adhere to Internal Revenue Service law on recognizing same-sex couples married elsewhere due to the state’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. So basically gay married couples can file their federal taxes as married coupes but will still be treated as singles by Virginia state tax officials. The Virginia chapter of the ACLU is up in arms about the decision accusing state officials of “ongoing hostility toward lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Virginians, including legally married same-sex couples.” Even the business sector is pissed because of the “human resources nightmare” that will occur if federal and state taxes and deductibles are calculated in different ways. But at least Ken Cuccinelli is happy – more paperwork means less time for oral sex. Washington Post

Thai KingKing Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand has a special birthday wish this year: stop the violence and support each other. While he didn’t make any direct references, I’m pretty sure he was talking about the thousand of protesters trying to bring down the government of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra. Despite getting the thumbs up from Thailand’s parliament to keep her government going, protesters have amped up their demonstrations against Yingluck, the sister of Thaksin Shinawatra, the former prime minister, who fled in 2008 before being convicted of abuse of power. Although initially refusing to resign, escalating violence between demonstrators and security forces may have changed her tune. Yingluck is now saying that she is willing to do “anything” to stop the protests. Anything..? Luckily she has a bit of time to think it over as the two sides have reached a truce to celebrate the king’s birthday. But according to Opposition leader Suthep Thaugsuban, come Friday the protestors will continue their scheme to overthrow the “Thaksin regime.” Al Jazeera

Wally and his HusbandThe weather was warm, but the welcome… not so much. Newly chosen U.S. Ambassador to the Dominican Republic, James “Wally” Brewster, arrived in Santo Domingo last week amid protests from Catholic and evangelical Christian leaders. The God-fearing protesters deemed Ambassador Wally’s appointment an insult to the Caribbean nation because he is openly gay. Not just gay – but openly gay. Wally, who brought along his husband, seemed pretty happy to “return to the beauty of the Dominican Republic” but the church-going locals see it as a U.S. ploy to “impose on us marriage between gays and lesbians as well as adoption by these couples.” Maybe they should concentrate more on not being a third world country and less on gay conspiracy theories. The Guardian

Ukraine ProtestsUkrainian protesters are being total Nazis! After pro-Europe demonstrators in the Ukraine took to the streets, calling for the ouster of Prime Minister Mykola Azarov and raging against President Viktor Yanukovych’s decision to abandon a deal for closer ties with the European Union, the prime minister denounced them as “Nazis and criminals.” Yanukovych has said the EU deal would cause Ukraine to break ties with Russia and he just can’t live without his precious Putin. But the rest of the Ukraine doesn’t feel the same way. The deal remains pretty popular throughout the country, especially in the western regions. How popular? So popular that demonstrators are willing to face the “harsh” crackdown Ukrainian police have promised in order to continue their protests. Reuters

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South Africa: Rhino Poaching on the Rise

Rhino Poaching  Horn

In honour of “World Rhino Day” (which was September 22), here is some depressing rhino poaching news: a record 688 rhinos have been killed in South Africa in 2013.

Yes, 2013 is not a good year for rhinos. In fact, it’s been the bloodiest year yet for them. There are about 18,000 white and 4,000 black rhinos in the South Africa but with the dramatic increase in rhino poaching their numbers are dwindling.

Demand for rhino horns is being largely driven by Asian markets (especially Vietnam) who view the horn as a status symbol and something that can magically cure diseases (spoiler alert: rhino horns have no medicinal uses… or any other kind of use… they are useless… stop poaching them).

The Guardian reports that a survey of 720 people in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City found that typical buyers were “educated, successful and powerful individuals” and use rhino horn as currency in networking. Networking?!? Get a golf membership or a Facebook account and stop driving a species into extinction!

Anyways, the World Wildlife Foundation (WWF) is all over this sh*t and has coordinated the #iam4rhinos campaign in conjunction with ‘World Rhino Day’ – because everyone knows that liking things on Facebook and tweeting hashtags will 100% solve the issue at hand. Now here’s a video that all Vietnamese people should watch:

Via: The Guardian

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Cape Town “Poo Wars” Lead to Arrests

South Africa Poo Wars

180 people have been arrested ahead of a planned protest over the lack of proper sanitation, which local media has dubbed the “poo wars” in Cape Town, South Africa.

Many of the protesters were carrying bags of human feces, ready to battle it out in the poo wars. Expelled ANC councillor Andile Lili led the demonstrators by train to protest against the city’s sanitation policies but the train was stopped before it reached Cape Town’s city centre and the protesters were ordered out. Police, with provincial health officials on hand, removed four bags filled with feces from the train. Lili was the first to be arrested, followed by the entire group.

“We are emptying our toilets there because our toilets have smelled for three months,” Lili told South Africa’s Eyewitness News.

But despite the mass arrests, some demonstrators still managed to dump their bags of waste inside some local government offices. While police were busy dealing with Lili, another ANC Cape Town councillor, Loyiso Nkohla, managed to pour several containers of poo in the reception area of a provincial government building.

The poo wars started back in May when Cape Town cleaning company, Sanicare, fired their entire workforce, after several protests regarding lack of sanitary removal services. In retaliation, the former Sanicare janitors responsible for cleaning communal toilets, blocked a part of the N2 highway with burning tires and dumped human feces on the road.

But the poo wars didn’t stop there. Last week, raw sewage was thrown at opposition leader and Premier of the Western Cape Helen Zille as she toured poor areas of the city. And a day before that, two men dumped feces on the steps of the Western Cape legislature in a protest about portable flush toilets (PFTs).

Just how bad is the poo situation in Cape Town? Pretty rough apparently. Housing and sanitation are a huge problem in Cape Town, especially in the poor and often crowded townships. In the townships many residents share outside toilets in which the conditions are super unhygienic. Another problem – the outdoor-shared toilets have led to some women being raped at night.

Protesters accuse Helen Zille and the Democratic Alliance of not doing enough to provide proper housing and sanitation to townships but the DA argues that it does not have the money to do this for all of the region’s inhabitants. They have offered portable toilets to some residents at no cost but the protesters say that’s not good enough. And until it gets sorted out they will be using the content from those portable toilets to finish off the poo wars.

Via: BBC News

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South Africa: Sugar Daddies Cause AIDS

South Africa Sugar Daddies

Over 25% of South African schoolgirls are HIV positive compared to only 4% of boys.  Who’s to blame? Sugar daddies.

The South African government says sugar daddies are to blame for the rising number of HIV positive schoolgirls. The country’s health minister Aaron Motsoaledi claimed the statistic ‘destroyed his soul’ and said action needed to be taken against the sugar daddies sleeping with young girls.

“It is clear that it is not young boys who are sleeping with these girls. It is old men. We must take a stand against sugar daddies because they are destroying our children,” Motsoaledi said. 

While this number is super high, let’s all keep in mind that more than five million people in South Africa are HIV-positive – about 10% of the total population. The sugar daddies are only causing a portion of that.

But HIV isn’t the only problem these sugar daddies are causing. 94,000 schoolgirls also fell pregnant in 2011, and 77,000 had abortions at state facilities. According to Motsoaledi, some of the girls who got pregnant – and tested positive for HIV – were reportedly between the ages of 10 and 14.

Apparently the sugar daddy phenomenon has been around for a while in South Africa but has gotten increasingly worse as the culture of consumerism grows. While canoodling with older wealthy men may get young girls drinks and gifts, most don’t have the power in the relationship to be able to negotiate safe sex, putting them at a high risk for HIV.

To combat this, the KwaZulu-Natal department of health launched a campaign last year against sugar daddies with a call to action to “protect your loved ones from ‘sugar daddies’”. More than 800 billboards have gone up across the province warning of the dangers of cross-generational sex.

Another idea? Mandatory disclaimer on sugar daddy websites: May Cause AIDS.

Via: BBC News

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