Julius Malema’s MP Raises A middle Finger Towards Mr. Ramaphosa In Parliament

Malema takes Oath in parliament3

Julius Malema

18 September 2014

THE EFF CHIEF WHIP STATEMENT ON THE MIDDLE FINGER SHOWN TO MR. CYRIL RAMAPHOSA

During its sitting on the 17th of September 2014, the Parliament of Republic of South Africa deliberated on a variety of questions, which the Deputy President of the ANC, Mr. Cyril Ramaphosa was responding to.

Instead of allowing Mr. Ramaphosa to answer the follow up question on Why he instigated the killing of Mineworkers in Marikana, the Speaker ordered the Commander in Chief Julius Malema to leave the House for refusing to withdraw the assertion that Mr. Ramaphosa killed the workers in Marikana and his hands were full of blood.

The Speaker also ordered that I leave the House because I asked what was wrong with stating that Cyril Ramaphosa is a murderer and the basis of the Rule she was applying. In the process of leaving the house, I raised my middle finger towards Mr. Ramaphosa to express the digust of the reality that workers have lost lives due to his pursuit of private profits and interests.

I however realise that raising the middle finger was not necessary, because there are platforms to express the utter disgust for Mr. Ramaphosa’s role in Marikana and everywhere else where he is involved. Instead of raising the middle finger, there exists space and time to express honest and truthful observations on his role in the counter-revolution. I therefore publicly withdraw the middle finger and will bring this to the attention of the House in the next sitting of the National Assembly. The assertions made about Mr. Ramaphosa in Parliament remains and I have no regrets expressing what I said about him.

While speaking the truth at all times, we as representatives of the EFF do not want to degenerate in a similar way the ANC has degenerated since the beginning of the 5th democratic Parliament. With no caution from Presiding Officers, the ANC has been labelling Members of Parliament as ‘Fascists’, ‘Charlatans’, ‘Hypocrites’, ‘Schizophrenic’, ‘Bastards’ and so on. We refuse to join this band, but will at all times speak truth to power and will never retreat!

ISSUED BY THE ECONOMIC FREEDOM FIGHTERS PARLIAMENTARY CHIEF WHIP:
Contact via Email: floydn@gmail.com

What Zambia can learn from Zimbabwe’s local diamond Auction

ZIMBABWE will start auctioning its diamonds locally in November as Government moves to plug leakages and maximize revenue collection. This was said by Minister of Mines and Mining Development Walter Chidhakwa, in response to questions on why Government continued to auction diamonds in hostile nations following an ex-parte ruling in a Belgium court last week in favour of Amari Platinum Holdings Limited to attach diamonds worth US$45 million.

“The question is are we going to look at Belgium as a market and see whether we are prepared to continue marketing there? Our position is very clear. We have always been saying we are only preparing to come back home and we will be doing our first diamond sale in Zimbabwe in November,” Minister Chidhakwa said.

He told Parliament the events that led to Amari approaching the Belgian courts, adding a team of lawyers had been sent to argue Zimbabwe’s case in Belgium.

“Last week a company called Amari went to the Belgian High Court and secured an order to attach diamonds belonging to ZMDC. It did so on the basis of a dispute on a platinum concession that did not subsist for many reasons, including non-performance.

“That dispute was put up to the International Court of Dispute Resolution and after some time it was decided that the seat of the resolution of that dispute be Zambia and that a judge is expected to adjudicate on that dispute on the 19th of September which is Friday,” he said.

“But before that dispute had gone before the Zambian judge, Amari and partners had already gone to the Belgian High Court to attach diamonds,” Minister Chidhakwa said.

“The first thing is that ZMDC does not have diamonds in Belgium. There are no ZMDC diamonds in Belgium. There are diamonds belonging to companies in which ZMDC has got a shareholding and those companies cannot be punished for the ‘sins’ of ZMDC.”

“We have dispatched a team to Belgium and that team left yesterday. They will be looking at two issues; first the matter that has triggered this is sub judice, it is before the International Court, secondly, ZMDC does not have diamonds in Antwerp. This explains what has happened and we are confident that due process will be followed and that the outcome will be favourable to us,” he said.

The dispute dates back to 2010 when then Mines Minister Obert Mpofu cancelled Amari’s memorandum of agreement with the ZMDC.

The company argues that the cancellation was wrongful, especially after it had invested over US$4,5 million in key exploration work.

Zimbabwe tried to sell diamonds locally on a trial basis, but abandoned the idea due to lack of proper infrastructure.

http://allafrica.com/stories/201409180272.html

NITROGEN Chemicals of Zambia (NCZ) Meeting Fertilizer Demand

MINISTER of Finance Alexander Chikwanda (left) with Minister of Agriculture and Livestock Wylbur Simuusa (third left) listen to Nitrogen Chemicals of Zambia managing director Zuze Banda (second left) explaining production processes of fertilizer in Kafue yesterday. – Picture by COLLINS PHIRI.

By ESTHER MSETEKA
NITROGEN Chemicals of Zambia (NCZ) has produced 85,213 metric tonnes of compound D fertiliser to be distributed countrywide under the Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP).
Government has awarded NCZ a K611 million contract to produce 106,409.75 metric tonnes of compound D fertiliser.
Out of the 85,213 metric tonnes of compound D produced by NCZ, 72,000 tonnes has already been distributed to 77 districts across the country.
Minister of Finance Alexander Chikwanda said Government will not relent in transforming Zambia into the food basket of Africa.
Mr Chikwanda said Government is determined to use the agriculture sector to transform the country’s economy.
“Government is very satisfied with the performance of NCZ. When we embarked on this bold business of revamping NCZ, first of all there were some amongst us who were saying NCZ is a white elephant, some people don’t like the idea of localising production because they believe in importation,” he said.
Mr Chikwanda said this when he and his Agriculture and Livestock counterpart, Wylbur Simuusa, toured NCZ in Kafue yesterday.
He said agriculture is poised to become the country’s economic mainstay that will generate the much needed foreign exchange.
Earlier, Mr Simuusa said Government has prioritised agriculture to drive the economy.
Mr Simuusa said 85,000 metric tonnes of compound D fertiliser NCZ has produced and distributed shows Government’s commitment to promoting the agriculture sector.
“It is up to us as Zambians to take up the challenge, they say when you put your money where your mouth is, that shows how serious you are in that agenda.
“One thing that the PF government and President Sata have done is that we have put our money where our mouth is to show you how committed and serious we are,” he said.
And NCZ managing director Zuze Banda said farmers have benefited from the company because it is now supplying them with high-quality fertiliser.
Mr Banda said the efficiency and creativity of the workers have made NCZ a success story.
He said NCZ has rehabilitated most of the obsolete machinery using local expertise and materials.
Mr Banda, however, said NCZ has been facing the challenges of power supply interruptions.

http://www.daily-mail.co.zm/?p=4066

Government Size vs. Economic Growth

Cabinet

In this article, the term “economic growth” is used to refer to an increase in a country’s total output of goods and services over a given period of time. The term “economic development,” on the other hand, is used to refer to improvements in the standards of living of a country’s citizens, including sustained and pronounced improvements in per capita income, life expectancy, literacy levels, human capital, healthcare services, food security, public housing, transportation infrastructure, and leisure and recreation.

Effects of Size on Growth:

By and large, the size of a country’s government can have a significant effect on the level of its economic growth and, ultimately, the country’s prospects for economic development. As Gwartney and others (1998), Barro (1997), Smith (2004), the World Bank (2000) and others have found, there is a correlation between an expansion in the size of a government (reflected by an increase in its expenditures) and a decline in private investment and economic growth.

In a study designed to examine the impact of an expansion in the size of a country’s government on economic growth, Gwartney and others (1998) have, for example, found that:

1)  An excessively large national government can have a negative effect on economic growth. Grossman (1988:193-200), among other researchers, has found a similar correlation in his study of the U.S. government: “there [is] … indeed a negative relationship between growth in government and the rate of economic growth.”

2)  As a government grows in size, it crowds out investment, leads to a decline in productivity growth and contributes to a slowdown in the growth rate of its real GDP. Similarly, Smith (2004) has found that “economies with large public sectors grow more slowly and suffer high rates of unemployment than those where this is not the case.”

3)  An increase of 10 percentage points in government expenditure as a share of a country’s GDP is associated with a decline of approximately 1 percentage point in the growth rate of real GDP. Barro (1997) has also found that a 1 percentage point rise in the share of government consumption in GDP is associated with a 0.14 percentage point retardation in the rate of growth of real GDP per head of population. Folster and Henrekson (2001: 1501-1520) have found a similar correlation.

4)  From 1980 to 1995, the world’s 5 fastest-growing economies – that is, South Korea, Thailand, Taiwan, Singapore, and Hong Kong – had total government expenditures averaging 20.1% of GDP, and was less than half the average of OECD countries. And in a study focused on the growth of public expenditure in industrial countries between 1870 and 1996, Tanzi & Schuknecht (2000:76) have found that countries with relatively small governments can perform “as well or even better than their counterparts with relatively big governments.”

In Middleton’s (2000) words, a “smaller, better focused government is better able to deliver than is big government.”

Peden and Bradley (1989:239), using U.S. data for the period 1949-85 to examine the effect of the size of government on economic output and productivity, have also concluded that the “level of government activity in the economy has a negative effect on both the economic base (GDP) and the economic growth rate (GDP) growth.”

The Zambian Context:

Zambia, like other developing countries worldwide, have continued to grapple with the problems of poverty, hunger, ignorance, illiteracy, disease, widespread unemployment, and dilapidated infrastructure. This is in spite of the country’s abundant natural endowments, which include fertile soil, ideal weather conditions, an ideal system of perennial rivers, a wide range of wildlife, wide stretches of natural forests and grasslands, a wide assortment of mineral resources, and a sizable population of peaceful and hard-working citizens.

Since our beloved country’s political independence in October 1964, we have miserably failed to use our national resources wisely in our quest to attain meaningful socioeconomic development and improve the livelihoods of the majority our people. Besides, we have continued to mortgage our country by borrowing heavily from both local and external sources of funds in order to sustain government operations.

Also, we have continued to rely on the support of our country’s development partners in various fields and sectors of the country, including agriculture, decentralization, education, energy, gender, governance, health, housing, HIV/AIDS, macroeconomics, private sector development, social protection, science and technology, tourism, water, transportation infrastructure, and the environment.

But what are we going to do when such support gets disrupted by changes in the priorities of our development partners, or if the development partners withdraw their support when we decide to pursue policies which are contrary to their expectations?

One of the basic reasons why Zambia has not been able to adequately address its socioeconomic problems, as well as reduce its borrowing, is related to the country’s bloated government structures.

Given the multitude of socioeconomic problems which cannot be addressed mainly due to the lack of financial and material resources, therefore, one would perhaps do well to suggest a streamlined government structure for the country, which could consist of the following government ministries and their specific functions:

1)  Education, Training and Sport.—To be directly responsible for advi­sing the Presi­dent on, and spear­heading the implemen­tation of poli­cies relating to, the follow­ing: general and tertiary educa­tion; vocation­al trai­ning; the training of teach­ers; adult literacy programs; matters concerning re­muner­ation for teachers, lec­turers, trainers, and re­search­ers; and sporting programs in all educational and training institutions. And coordi­na­tion of natio­nal progra­m­s and acti­vities pertaining to educa­tion, training and sport with those of private institu­tions, as well as local govern­me­nts nationwide.

2)  Public Health and Sanitation.—To be directly responsible for advising the President on, and spear­heading the implementa­tion of policies relating to, the follo­wing: medical care, medical research, child health and develop­m­ent, family planning, disease con­trol and prevention, food safety (local and impo­rted foodstuff), drug safety (local and imported medici­nes), safety of herbal medi­cines, public health educa­tion, public health inspections, and matters con­cerning remu­ner­ation for public health per­sonnel. And coordi­na­tion of natio­nal public health pro­grams and activi­ties with those of private healthcare facilities and local govern­me­nts.

3)  Agriculture and Food Security.—To be directly responsible for advising the Pre­sident on, and spear­heading the implementa­tion of poli­cies relating to, the following: sustai­nable agricul­tural devel­opment and long-term food secu­rity – including the provi­sion of agricul­tural incen­tives, support to agri­business estab­lishments and agricu­ltural resea­rch centers, damming rivers, and con­struc­tion of irriga­tion canals. And coordi­na­tion of natio­nal progra­ms and activities pertain­ing to agri­culture and food secu­rity with those of the private sector and both provin­cial and muni­cipal govern­me­nts.

4)  Finance and Revenue.—To be directly responsible for advising the Presi­dent on, and spear­heading the implemen­tation of policies relating to, the fol­lowing: financial matters and mone­tary issues, including the stock / securities market; national debt mana­ge­ment and external debt resolu­tion; management of all state-own­ed enter­prises; administra­tion, dispensa­tion and recovery of loans gran­ted to stu­dents and trainees admi­tted to institutions of higher learning, and manage­ment of a govern­ment scholar­ship fund through a “Lo­ans and Schola­rships Com­mittee” to be created in due course; and revenue genera­tion through taxat­ion, cust­oms and excise duties, ser­vice fees / char­ges, superintendence over the National Road Fund Agency (NRFA), and pro­vision of postal services through the Zambia Postal Services Corporation (ZAMPOST).

5)  Commerce and Industry.—To be directly responsible for advising the Presi­dent on, and spear­heading the implemen­tation of poli­cies relating to, the fol­lowing: trade and industriali­zat­ion strategy, mining, business and invest­ment promo­tion, regulation of imports and expo­rts, trade rela­tions, registra­tion of foreign compa­nies, re­search and de­velop­ment (R&D) support for local manu­fac­tur­ers, development in rural areas, and superintendence over the operations of the Zambia Development Agency (ZDA). And coordi­na­tion of national com­mercial and industrial program­s and activities with those of local govern­me­nts.

6)  Defence and Security.—To be directly responsible for advising the Presi­dent on, and spear­heading the implemen­tation of poli­cies relating to, the fol­lowing: enhan­cement of national defe­nce and security, includ­ing the issues of training, equip­ment, and matters concern­ing housing and remu­neration for defe­nce and secu­rity per­sonnel.­

7)  Home Affairs.—To be directly responsible for advising the President on, and spearheading the implementation of policies relating to, the following: the protection of life and property; the preservation of law and order; the detection and prevention of crime; enforcement of laws and ordinances; safeguarding the rights and freedoms of members of so­ciety; developing sound police-community relations; and the operations of the Zambia National Service (ZNS). And coordination of the ministry’s programs with other security organs of the national government, and those of local authorities and private security companies in dealing with public safety and security within the country.

8)  Works, Supply and Transport.To be directly responsible for advising the Pre­sident on, and spear­heading the implementation of policies relating to, the follo­wing: utili­zation and management of nationally own­ed pieces of land; provision and maintenance of vital infrastructure nation­wide—inc­lud­ing an effi­cient, inter-modal and safe network of ground and air trans­portation; develop­ment of mal­lea­ble stret­ches of the Zam­bezi, Kafue, Luan­gwa and other sizable pere­nnial rivers for water trans­por­tation – including the proposed Shire-Zambezi Waterway involving Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique; and construc­tion, reno­vation and mainte­nance of gove­rnment faci­lities and pieces of property nationwide. And coor­dination of the provi­sion and mainte­nance of national public facilities with the efforts of local govern­me­nts.

9)  Lands and Public Housing.—To be directly responsible for advi­sing the Pre­si­dent on, and spear­heading the implemen­tation of policies relating to, the fol­lowing: delineation, administration and development of state and customary lands; management of the land resettlement program; issuance of title deeds; resolution of land-related disputes; provision of consent in the acquisition and transfer and leasing of lands; the implementation of home ownership schemes for all civil servants; provision of low-cost rental hous­ing units for low-income fami­lies; manage­ment of a home-ownership sche­me for low-in­come fa­mil­ies to be fi­nanced th­rough low inte­rest mort­gag­es; stipulation of fair eligibility requirements to be met by applicants for low-income rental public housing; generation of rules of occupancy, and determination of rental and other related charges; and derivation of a grievance procedure and guidelines for resolving any and all the issues and matters relating to non-compliance with rules of occupancy.

10)  Culture and Community Services.—To be directly responsible for advi­sing the Pre­si­dent on, and spear­heading the implemen­tation of policies relating to, the fol­lowing: preser­vation of the count­ry’s national trea­sures, inclu­ding national monu­ments, museums, his­torical sites, che­rished tradi­tional and cultural val­ues; promo­tion of tradition­al music and cul­ture-relat­ed crafts; national emer­gencies (through a “National Emergency Management Unit”); national unity and patriotism; religious harmony; national cere­mo­nies and fes­tivals; and issues relating to wom­en, children, disabled citizens, and retirees and the aged. And coordi­nation of nat­ional cultu­ral and community progra­ms and activi­ties with those of local govern­me­nts.

11)  Justice, Prisons and Immigration.—To be directly responsible for advising the Pre­sident on, and spear­heading the implementation of policies relating to, the follo­wing: legal matters (in­cluding representation of the govern­ment), prote­ction of citi­zens’ rights and free­doms, administration of the Zambia Prison Service, legal aid, title deeds, national regi­stration, pass­ports and immigration, citizen­ship and naturali­zation, work permits, treaties and agreeme­nts with other countries, intelle­ctual property rights (patents, copyrights and trade­marks), and remuneration for judi­cial personnel and sup­port staff.

12)  Foreign Affairs and Tourism.—To be directly responsible for advising the Presi­dent on, and spear­heading the implementation of policies re­lating to, the fol­lowing: foreign poli­tical relations, including conflict resolution and peace-keeping efforts; consular affairs and services; profiles of foreign countries; services and vital infor­mation to Zambi­ans in, or travel­ing to, foreign countries; publicizing Zambian soci­ety abroad; and management of a program which shall confer rare and special “Zambian Residency” status upon a selected number of distinguished foreigners.

A new or re-elected Republican president can implement such a streamlined government structure during or soon after his or her inauguration. I would expect Members of Parliament to eventually and unreservedly endorse such a government structure, irrespective of their political affiliations.

A streamlined government structure, such as that suggested above, is likely to yield huge savings in the form of salaries, special allowances, and utility allowances. Other savings would be in the form of the various kinds of payments currently being made by the government on behalf of government officials who would be retired, including payments for housing, phones, buildings, office supplies, automobiles, gasoline, water, and electricity.

All these savings could supplement the existing sources of government revenue, which include personal and business income taxes, value-added tax, postal revenues, national lottery, commercial undertakings, customs duties, passport fees, fire-arm registration fees, excise taxes, hunting licence fees, work permit fees, citizenship and naturalization fees, and NRC replacement fees.

The selling and/or buying of government bonds (by the Bank of Zambia) through the Lusaka Stock Exchange and regional stock markets on behalf of the government (by means of “open market operations”) could also provide additional revenues for the central government.

Perfor­mance of the func­tions of the Execu­tive branch of the national govern­ment should be comple­mented by the work of several semi-autono­mous gov­ern­ment agencies, as provided for in the 1996 Repu­bli­can cons­titution.

The comple­mentary execu­tive agencies which would need to be created, and those which are already pro­vided for by the current Republi­can consti­tution, should be as follows: (1)Zambia Revenue Authority; (2) Anti-Corruption Commission; (3) Electoral Commission of Zambia; (4) Electoral Complaints Authority of Zambia; (5) Human Rights Commission: (6) Labor Standards and Occupational Safety Board; (7) Environmental Council of Zambia; (8) Zambia Wildlife Authority; (9) National Water and Sanitation Council; (10) Energy Regulation Board; (11) Zambia Competition Commission; (12) Zambia Public Procurement Authority; (13) Drug Control Agency; (14) Food Reserve Agency; (15) Bureau of Statistics and Archives; (16)National Transport Safety Board; (17) Zambia Information and Communications Technology Authority; and (18) the National Science and Technology Council.

For reasons of cost, each of the semi-au­tono­mous gover­nment agencies would need to be managed by a small group of technocrats, and should be expected to en­hance the national govern­me­nt’s ability to meet the chan­ging needs and expec­tations of the people.

Civil servants who would be affected by the streamlining exercise should be encouraged to seek early retirement with full benefits. Professional and skilled civil servants should be re-deployed in the handful of new government ministries, and/or in executive agencies.

Each and every day that passes creates great opportunities for us to devise and relentlessly pursue viable strategies designed to make it possible for our beloved country to meet the basic needs, aspirations, and expectations of its people.

As the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (2001:90) has advised leaders in developing countries, we cannot wait for gradual progression of catching-up with the industrialized countries of the North; rather we must search for leap-flogging solutions to the problems facing our beloved country and its people.

In all, it is not possible for any political party or any political leader in Zambia – or in any other country as a matter of fact – to attain meaningful socioeconomic development with a bloated government that does not reserve a large portion of its resources for use in addressing the multitude of problems facing our beloved country and its people.

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Bibliography

Barro, Robert J., Determinants of Economic Growth: A Cross Section Empirical Study, MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, USA.

Folster, Stefan and Henrekson, Magnus, “Growth Effects of Government Expenditure and Taxation in Rich Countries,” European Economic Review 45 (2001): 1501-1520.

Grossman, Philip, “Government and Economic Growth: A Non-Linear Relationship,” Public Choice 56 (1988): 193-200.

Gwartney, James et al, “The Size and Functions of Government and Economic Growth,” http://www.house.gov/jec/, April 1998.

Kyambalesa, Henry, “Government Size and Functions: The Political Economy of Small and Popular Governments in Africa,” presented at the 27th Global Strategic Studies Conference held in Omaha, Nebraska, October 14-16, 2004 at the W. H. Thompson Alumni Centre at the University of Nebraska.

Middleton, Roger, “Book Reviews: Public Spending in the 20th Century: A Global Perspective” by Tanzi, Vito and Schuknecht, Ludger: http://www.eh.net/, October 2000.

Peden, Edgar and Bradley, Michael, “Government Size, Productivity, and Economic Growth: The Post-War Experience,” Public Choice 61 (1989): 229-45.

Smith, David, “The Effects of Public Spending and Taxes on Economic Growth,” http://www.iea.org.uk/files/, May 19, 2004.

Tanzi, Vito and Ludger Schuknecht, “Can Small Governments Secure Economic and Social Well-Being?” in Grubel, Herbert, editor, How to Use the Fiscal Surplus: What Is the Optimal Size of Government? (Vancouver, BC: The Frazer Institute, 1998).

______, Public Spending in the 20th Century: A Global Perspective (Cambridge, United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press, 2000).

______, “Countries with Big Governments Run Risk of Slower Growth,” IMF Survey, February 19, 1996.

The author, Mr. Henry Kyambalesa, is a Zambian academic currently residing in the City and County of Denver, Colorado, in the United States of America.

Oscar Pistorius is guilty of culpable homicide

Paralympian Oscar Pistorius is guilty of culpable homicide, Judge Thokozile Masipa ruled in the High Court in Pretoria on Friday.

“The unanimous decision of this court is the following. On count one murder…the accused is found is not guilty…instead he is found guilty of culpable homicide,” she said.

“There is no basis for this court to make the inference that the accused wanted to kill the deceased.

“The conduct of the accused shortly after the incident is inconsistent with someone who had wanted to commit murder.”

She initially asked the 27-year-old athlete to stand up before she handed down her verdict.

He stood up with his hands folded in front of him.

He looked straight at Masipa and did not show any emotions when she said he was guilty of culpable homicide.

His family also showed no reaction.

The only sound in the court was that of reporters hastily typing the verdict.

Pistorius was accused of murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in his Pretoria townhouse on Valentine’s Day last year. He shot her through the locked door of his toilet, apparently thinking she was an intruder about to emerge and attack him. She was hit in the hip, arm, and head.

Masipa said evidential material before the court showed that Pistorius acted negligently when he fired into the toilet door, knowing there was someone behind it.

“It cannot be said that the accused did not entertain a genuine belief that there was an intruder in the toilet who posed a threat to him,” she said.

 “It could not be said that he foresaw that either the deceased or anyone else for that matter might be killed when he fired the shots at that door.”

When Masipa announced her verdict Steenkamp’s father Barry leaned forward and laced his fingers on the edge of the public gallery. Her mother June showed no emotion.

Steenkamp’s friends started crying.

Her cousin Kim Martins was being consoled by her husband as she sat looking down after Judge Thokozile

Members of the Steenkamp family looked at Pistorius when he stood up.

Steenkamp’s friend Gina Myers started crying and was consoled by her mother Desi and sister Kim.

Court was silent as Masipa read out the judgment.

Afterwards Pistorius sat down and stared straight ahead. One of his aunt’s, seated in the front row, briefly closed her eyes and her lips moved as if she was praying.

He was also acquitted on charges of illegal possession of ammunition and one of the charges on the illegal discharge of a firearm in a public place.

But he was found guilty on the illegal discharge of a firearm in the restaurant Tashas in Melrose Arch, Johannesburg in January 2013.

Oscar Pistorius found not guilty of murdering Reeva Steenkamp

Oscar Pistorius cries as the judge delivers her verdict at the Pretoria high court in South Africa

Oscar Pistorius cries as the judge delivers her verdict at the Pretoria high court in South Africa. Photograph: Rex

Oscar Pistorius has been cleared of the murder of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, a vindication for the athlete who vehemently protested his innocence during a trial in South Africa that gripped millions around the world.

But the judge abruptly adjourned the trial on Thursday afternoon with the culpable homicide – manslaughter – charge still outstanding. In delivering her ruling, judge Thokozile Masipa said it was clear Pistorius had acted unlawfully in shooting the person behind the toilet door on Valentine’s Day last year.

She said a “reasonable person” would not have fired four shots into the toilet cubicle, and that Pistorius acted “too hastily and used excessive force … It is clear his conduct was negligent.”

The court will resume on Friday to hear her decision on whether the athlete was guilty of culpable homicide, which could result in a prison sentence of up to 15 years.

The Olympic and Paralympic athlete slumped forward in the dock and sobbed quietly as the judge ruled that the state had failed to prove he was guilty of murder or premeditated murder, and that the evidence was “purely circumstantial”.

The not guilty verdicts will bring some relief to his family, who were in court to support him every day, and the legion of fans who believed in him. It even raises the prospect that the Paralympian could one day resurrect his career on the track.

But the judgment is likely to be condemned by friends and supporters of Steenkamp, including the African National Congress women’s league, who were regularly represented in the public gallery and danced and sang outside court on Thursday. It will also fuel fears that Pistorius has received preferential treatment because of his wealth and fame.

Reeva Steenkamp

Reeva Steenkamp. Photograph: Gallo Images/Getty Images

Dean Peacock, the executive director of Sonke Gender Justice, a group that campaigns against rape and domestic violence, said: “We respect the judge’s decision and won’t second guess it. In a country where the criminal justice system routinely fails gender-based violence victims, the verdict will easily be interpreted as evidence that violence against women goes unpunished. That’s not Masipa’s fault. That’s the fault of an endemic failure to hold perpetrators of domestic violence and rape accountable.”

After 41 days of testimony that ran to 352 pages of evidence, Masipa ultimately dismissed the prosecution case that Pistorius intended to kill when he shot four times through a toilet door at his home on the morning of 14 February 2013. Neighbours at his luxurious gated community in the capital of South Africa had testified how they heard “bloodcurdling screams” before and during a volley of shots.

But the judge dismissed these conflicting accounts as unreliable and said the court had the advantage of technology: the record of phone calls that night. The timeline it established “tipped the balance” in favour of Pistorius’s version of events, she said.

Masipa said Pistorius was a “very poor witness”, but that untruthfulness did not in itself mean the accused was guilty. She ultimately accepted his tearful insistence that he killed Steenkamp by accident after mistaking her for an intruder, and that he was traumatised by the death of the woman he loved.

“The state has not proved beyond reasonable doubt that the accused is guilty of premeditated murder,” the judge said. “There are just not enough facts to support such a finding.”

She said the accused believed his life was in danger and therefore could not be found guilty of a lesser charge of murder. “How could the accused reasonably have foreseen that the shot he fired would kill the deceased?” she said. “Clearly he did not subjectively foresee this as a possibility, that he would kill the person behind the door, let alone the deceased, as he thought she was in the bedroom at the time.”

The judge dismissed days of evidence about matters including police tampering with the crime scene and the length of extension cord in Pistorius’s bedroom as ultimately irrelevant to the case.

At the end of the court session, Pistorius sat silently for long minutes, engulfed in emotion, comforted by his sister, Aimee, and brother, Carl, who is in a wheelchair after a serious car accident.

Henke Pistorius kisses the hand of his daughter Aimee during the verdict hearing of his son Oscar

Henke Pistorius kisses the hand of his daughter Aimee as a judge reads her verdict in the murder trial of his son Oscar. Photograph: Reuters

The ruling represents a significant victory for defence counsel Barry Roux, who had argued that the 27-year-old should have been tried for culpable homicide rather than murder because he had displayed an exaggerated “startle response” aggravated by his lifelong “disability and consequent vulnerability”. Pistorius’s lower legs were amputated when he was 11 months.

The murder trial generated obsessive debate on Twitter and made legal history in South Africa by being broadcast live on television, giving the judicial system unprecedented exposure and offering a glimpse of a country still gripped by crime and the fear of crime.

Roux and prosecutor Gerrie Nel – who mauled Pistorius during cross-examination, confronting him with a photo of Steenkamp’s bloodied head – became minor celebrities and several books on the case are in progress.

At the centre of the drama was Pistorius, a sombre and at times tormented figure in the dock and on the witness stand. Less than a year before the killing, the “Blade Runner” had been at the pinnacle of his career and set to make a personal fortune from brand sponsorships and endorsements. His agent, Peet van Zyl, told the court there were two stars of the 2012 London Olympics: Pistorius and the Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt.

The South African’s ascent had been the stuff of Roy of the Rovers comic books, overcoming his disability, bullying at school, an absent father and the death of his mother to run with the best in the world. Along with the Paralympic golds, he did charity work for children with disabilities and was seen as a role model and global brand. Van Zyl had predicted Pistorius and Steenkamp could be celebrities in the vein of David and Victoria Beckham.

All this lay in ruins just after 3am on Valentine’s Day last year when Pistorius picked up his gun, walked to his bathroom and fired four lethally expanding 9mm bullets through the locked toilet door. On the other side of it was Steenkamp, a 29-year-old model and law graduate, who died almost instantly. Her mother was in court for most of the trial.

Reeva Steenkamp's mother, June, sits next to husband Barry as she looks at Oscar Pistorius in court

The mother of Reeva Steenkamp, June (2nd L), sits next to husband Barry, as she looks at Oscar Pistorius in court. Photograph: Phill Magakoe/AFP/Getty Images

Pistorius pleaded his innocence from the start, claiming he had been frightened by a noise in the bathroom and, assuming in the dark that Steenkamp was still in bed, had gone to confront an assumed burglar. During the trial, the athlete’s defence appeared to shift under questioning from Nel. Having argued that the killing was a deliberate but mistaken act of self-preservation, he then said he pulled the trigger without thinking – an assertion that would match a so-called automaton or involuntary defence but not self-defence.

Nel, dubbed “the Pitbull”, said Pistorius was an “appalling witness” who “dropped the baton of truth”. Other observers described him as a poor witness who undermined his own credibility.

Yet Nel also admitted that the state’s case was circumstantial. The defence produced a detailed timeline that it said demonstrated the screams heard by neighbours were not from Steenkamp but a desperate Pistorius, horrified and crying for help. It also highlighted police incompetence during the investigation including contamination of the scene and even the theft of Pistorius’s designer watches.

The athlete’s disability and sense of vulnerability may have weighed in the judge’s mind as an explanation for his panicked response. Roux argued that Pistorius’s double amputation had a cumulative effect on his psyche, much like a battered wife who kills her abusive husband when one final indignity pushes her over the edge. “You have to look at the slow-burn effect of that abuse over time,” he said.

An acquittal had seemed unlikely to many. In March 2013, when he granted Pistorius bail, the magistrate Desmond Nair noted a number of“improbabilities” in the athlete’s account of the shooting. Why, he asked, did Pistorius not find out who was in the toilet before opening fire. And why did Steenkamp not let him know she was there?

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/sep/11/oscar-pistorius-not-guilty-murder-reeva-steenkamp

THINK TANK FORUM

The Zambian Voice is looking for members to join our Think Tank Forum which will be analyzing national policies and make recommendations to Govt and relevant institutions the organisation.

The group will be meeting once a week in the evening. Members of the group MUST have a commendable knowledge in Economics, Public Administration, Mass Communications, Development Studies, Agriculture or any other fields of public interest.
Interested individuals should forward their CVs to zambianvoice@gmail.com. The subject should be Think Tank Group.

Through this organisation you will have benefits of contributing in a positive way to national development and the social welfare of Zambians. You will also have a chance to meet other Think Tanks groups and persons of influence at national and World level.

The core group will be based in Lusaka but we intend to spread through our the Country as soon as possible. However those who want to part of this can still send their CVs, if selected, they will contribute through other means such as email, facebook, whatsup, etc. Personal commitment and responsibility will of high value. Membership is voluntary.

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