Tag Archives: South Africa

How Pistorius’s verdict reflects on South African legal system and what lies ahead for his sentencing

Yesterday morning, Pistorius’s culpable homicide conviction was replaced with murder, two legal experts give their opinion on the ruling and what lies ahead for his sentencing.

The South African Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) ruled that Pistorius should have foreseen the deadly impact his four bullets would have had in the small bathroom.

The new ruling over turns the decision made by Judge Masipa of the High Court.

Commenting  on the previous ruling Justice Eric Leach of the SCA called Masipa’s decision a “fundamental error.”

When asked how the change in verdict reflects on the South African justice system, Professor Penelope Andrews, Dean of the Law Faculty at the University of Cape Town said: “This should not be seen to be as an adverse comment upon Masipa’s  competence and ability.”

She went on to say: “Lots of judges decisions are over turned in the appeal process that’s why the process exists, the fact that a judge may not have applied the facts properly does not mean the South African criminal justice system is a mess.”

Commenting on the new verdict Prof. Andrews said: “The judges who dealt with the appeal at the Supreme Court were spot on, so I think that has shown how good our criminal justice system is and more importantly that it is fair.

“As an accused you know you can take the matter further or the state can, if there are sufficient grounds based on the law.”

Commenting on his reaction to the verdict Dr. Mohamed Chiktay Senior Lecturer at WITS University School of Law (Johannesburg) said: “Masipa showed restraint and dealt with the case in a professional manner but at the end of the day when you look at the facts and the law, it is quite evident where she went off in the wrong direction.

“She incorrectly dealt with the concept of doulas intervenciones.”

Commenting on Pistorius’s re-sentencing  Dr.  Chiktay said: “Sentencing will be a difficult aspect of the case, the judge will have to be objective and balance all the factors that are relevant like his disability, age and the fact that he has no prior convictions.”

Prof. Andrews said: “Pistorius will have to supply a compelling reason as to why he should not be sentenced to a minimum of 15 years in jail, his disability should not affect his sentencing, one cannot give leniency to anyone who killed a person without any proof that they posed a real threat.”

This morning Barry Steenkamp, Reeva Steenkamp’s farther said: “We will have to wait and see what happens at sentencing but for now justice has prevailed and we can try get on with our lives for now.”

Westhuizen to leave Edinburgh

Credit: Edinburgh Rugby
Credit: Edinburgh Rugby

By Stuart Iversen

Edinburgh Rugby has confirmed that lock Izak van der Westhuizen will return to South Africa at the end of the season.

The 28-year-old signed at the start of the 2012/13 campaign from Free State Cheetahs.  However, his debut season in the capital was hampered by an ankle injury.  Despite this he has since gone on to make 19 starts in 24 appearances for the club.

Westhuizen said: “Scotland will always have a special place for me and I’ll be able to look back on a lot of good times.”

While head coach Alan Solomons added: “Sakki has done a splendid job for us this year and will continue to do so until the end of the season.  An opportunity has presented itself back in his home country that suits him and his young family.  I’m sure he will make a valuable contribution to the Kings.”

Nelson Mandela – A Check Up

Former President of South Africa, Nelson Mandela, is in hospital battling a lung infection. Government spokespeople ensure the South African public that he is responding well to the treatment.

The 94 year old former president is recovering from a lung infection (Photo: Ho/Reuters)
The 94 year old former president is recovering from a lung infection (Photo: Ho/Reuters)

Tip-toeing around the Nobel Peace Prize winner’s mortality and believing that his death will plunge the country into a civil war, is incredibly misinformed. Yes, this great leader is old, frail, and his death is inevitable – whether it happens next week, or in the next few years, South Africans will have to say goodbye at some point. South Africa holds together not because of the Nelson Mandela of today, but because of what he has done over his lifetime which is now sadly but inevitably winding down.

Dr. Wynoma Michaels, a business leadership consultant in South Africa, had the opportunity to meet Mandela twice. According to her, Mandela “has the ability to share stories rather than dictating to a person. Essentially, he allows you to figure it out yourself, and make sense of it yourself.”

She says the most remarkable thing about his leadership is his selflessness. His legacy is one of humility, that even though he was in the public sphere and praised as one of the greatest African leaders of all time, he never made his presidency about self-enrichment.

Dr. Michaels’ concern about the death of Mandela is that the conscience of the country would disappear. While he is alive, “people are always aware of him. And even though we deviated from the journey that he started us out on, he remains the conscience of this country.” His legacy of leadership is that which demonstrates reconciliation, rather than division. She feels that when Mandela is gone, the country might lose its progress of nation building and the values that Mandela stood for. She feels that if Mandela would hold on for a bit longer, it would comfort the people of SA amidst an unsure political climate.

Listen here:

Other South Africans have expressed their concerns about what Mandela’s death would mean to the country. A local businessman says that it would be like losing the father as the head of the family. Relationships would not be the same once Mandela is gone, “it’s often the patriarch that keeps the family together. Mandela, as he still lives, can’t be happy with what the ANC has become.”

Listen here:

Another young South African businesswoman has expressed her worries about her family that lives on a farm. She says, “there have been rumours that when [Mandela] passes, many radical ANC Youth League members, under the influence of Julius Malema, would go about killing white farmers. However, all one can do is just trust and hope that Mandela’s legacy would live on.”

Listen here:

The Topsy Foundation gives hope to those suffering with HIV.

With no known “cure” for the Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS), a direct effect of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). The success of Topsy’s Antiretroviral drug treatment therapies (or ARV) in South Africa offers hope to millions worldwide currently suffering from the disease.

The development of Antiretroviral treatment will reduce both the mortality and the morbidity of HIV infection.

There are many forms of ARV available

The American National Institutes of Health and other organizations recommend offering antiretroviral treatment to all patients with AIDS.

The treatment works by combining a two or three different Antiretroviral drugs together in order to help the body defend against resistance by suppressing HIV replication as much as possible.

There are no individual antiretroviral drug has been demonstrated to suppress an HIV infection for any substantial amount of time and so these agents must be taken in combinations in order to have a lasting effect. The standard of care is to use combinations of antiretroviral drugs.

However the cost of such treatments are expensive and routein access to antiretroviral medication is not available in all countries. Once a patient begins ARV this is a lifelong commitment.

Initially the ARV treatment cost between US $10,000-15,000 per person per year. However when an Indian pharmaceutical company started to produce a generic version of the antiretrovirals at a much lower cost, sparking a price war between branded and generic drug makers. Forcing the large pharmaceutical companies to lower the price of their AIDS drugs.
This competition, coupled with pressure from activists, organisations – such as the Clinton Foundation – and governments of poor countries with severe AIDS epidemics, dramatically reduced the price of ARVs.

For most developing countries the most used antiretroviral drug combination is now available for $88 US dollars per person per year.

According to UNAIDS report, published in 2009 there are over 60 million people infected, with an estimated 25 million deaths and over 14 million orphaned children in southern Africa alone since the epidemic began in the late 1970’s.

With such a vast amount of the population effected the South African Government is involved with many organisations and charities aimed at helping those effected.Although most funding is through grants from the US government, through the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).

South African charity The Topsy Foundation have released this inspirational video documenting the success of its Antiretroviral treatment programme.

Shot by the Egg Film Agency for The Topsy Foundation with director Kim Geldenhuys.

This inrcedible footage shows how female patient Selinah reacts to the Antiretroviral (or ARV) treatment over 90 days. The beauty of this documentary is that the skeletal, dying woman at the end of the footage is in fact Selinah before treatment.

The smiling, healthier woman we first meet, is in fact “Selinah” today.

Jana Oosthuizen, Executive Director and Medical Doctor at Topsy says: “Selinah is not the exception to the rule, she is one brave woman that was willing to let us into her life to be able to tell the story of an HIV infected person in South Africa. There are many ‘Selinah’s’. People who have lost all hope for the future, but through the grace of God could be helped by Topsy to get access to Antiretroviral treatment in time to reverse the progression of the disease”.

The Topsy Foundation began in 2000 in South Africa with an aim to “Provide much-needed relief services to individuals and families affected by HIV, AIDS and extreme poverty.”

In 2005 Topsy introduced their Provision of Antiretroviral Care Project. This arm of the Topsy Foundation offers vital care for those suffering in rural areas. Their clinic is the only one in the area offering such a comprehensive range of services including:

• Voluntary counselling and treatment project
• Prevention of mother-to-child transmission project (PMTCT)
• Post-exposure prophylaxis project
• General care for HIV and AIDS patients project
• Cervical cancer screening project

Of note is the fact that not one HIV-positive baby has been born to an HIV-positive mother who has completed the PMTCT Project since this project started.

Although this video is inspiring there are still several concerns about antiretroviral regimens such as intolerance; serious side-effects; resistance- if patients miss doses, drug resistance can develop and public health; individuals who fail to use antiretrovirals properly can develop multi-drug resistant strains which can be passed onto others.

The Topsy Foundation is a registered charity and do rely on donations and public awareness to continue providing these services to those most in need. For more information about Topsy, how to donate or get involved please visit their UK website at:

For other Health Articles visit https://edinburghnapiernews.com/2010/11/12/bringing-diabetes-to-light/

You’ve Scot to be joking Chris!

By Ross Hart

With Hampden Park all set to go crazy in celebration, 50,000 Scotland supporters slumped into their seats in disbelief as debutant Chris Iwelumo missed a sitter to deny Scotland victory over Norway.

The Wolverhampton Wanderers striker, on as a second half substitute, contrived to side foot the ball wide of an open goal from only 3 yards out when it was easier to score.

The above video is an external video

It was a day that the 30 year old had long dreamed of but it turned into a nightmare that would come back to haunt he and Scotland’s beleaguered manager George Burley after an indifferent start to their World Cup qualifying campaign.

The 0-0 draw leaves Scotland second in group nine behind leaders Holland but they have amassed a mere four points from their opening 3 matches.

The Tartan Army rolled up in their droves expecting to see an attacking Scotland side that would defeat their visitors and effectively rule them out of the running for a qualification place for South Africa in 2010.

But Burley elected to start with a solitary striker, talisman James McFadden, while being supported by wide men Shaun Maloney and James Morrison, tactics which worked well in the previous victory over Iceland.

But they failed to pay off as Norway took the game to Scotland and, led by giant forward John Carew, caused the home side all sorts of problems.

Time after time he threatened and but for poor finishing and good goalkeeping from Craig Gordon he could’ve wrapped up the points for his team on his own.

In the first half, he forced Gordon into a smart stop with a powerful shot after he evaded defender Gary Caldwell but fortunately Bjorn Helge Riise hammered the rebound over the crossbar.

Scotland had little to show for their efforts as Carew continued to terrorise their defence until the second half until the introduction of Iwelumo and Hibernian’s Steven Fletcher saw the Scots play with two forwards.

Barry Robson went close with a stinging shot from 20 yards which forced Norway goalkeeper Jon Knudsen into his first save of the game.

Then came Iwelumo’s moment, as infamous as Billy Bremner’s miss against Brazil in the 1974 World Cup that cost Scotland victory over the then world champions.

Gary Naysmith broke forward from full back and cut into the box from the left hand side and his ball across the box fell to Iwelumo who amazingly missed with the net and the glory gaping.

It was a horror show for Scotland and it would’ve been worse had it not been for the heroics of Craig Gordon to deny Steffen Iversen from close range and as well as having luck on their side.

Norway defender Kjetil Waehler thought he’d scored with a header but it hit the side netting while Carew raced clear of David Weir and with only Gordon to beat, he spooned the ball over the bar.

It was a disappointing day all round for Scotland and for Iwelumo, it was a dream realised but a nightmare lived out.