South Africa’s former president Jacob Zuma reported back to prison on Friday only to be swiftly released, in the latest twist over the 81-year-old’s contempt of court sentence.
Zuma was ordered to report back to prison and arrived at 6:00 am (0400 GMT) at a detention facility in eastern town of Estcourt where was “admitted into the system”, the prison service said.
But he was let go in just over an hour as part of a “remission process” aiming to address overcrowding in prison, according to Correctional Services national commissioner Makgothi Thobakgale.
“Upon admission into the system he was subjected to administrative processes… He was then released,” Thobakgale told a press conference in Pretoria.
Zuma was sentenced to 15 months in June 2021 after refusing to testify before a panel probing financial corruption and cronyism under his presidency — but was freed on medical parole just two months into his term.
He started serving his term early in July 2021.
His jailing sparked protests that descended into riots and looting that left more than 350 dead in the worst violence to hit the country since the advent of democracy in South Africa.
The following month, he was admitted to hospital for an undisclosed condition before being granted medical parole.
In November last year an appeals court found the release was illegally granted and ordered Zuma back to the Estcourt Correctional Centre in the eastern KwaZulu-Natal province.
South Africa’s prison service, which had granted Zuma’s conditional release, appealed the decision, but the bid was dismissed by the Constitutional Court last month.
Thobakgale said the ex-president was ordered to return to jail on Friday in compliance with the ruling.
But Zuma immediately benefited from a remission of non-violent offenders approved by President Cyril Ramaphosa, Justice Minister Ronald Lamola said.
More than 24,000 inmates, about two-thirds of them under correctional supervision and parole, are to be released under the process, said Lamola.
The move “will alleviate overcrowding” which “poses a direct threat to inmate health, security, and management, and it could lead to a surge in gangsterism,” the minister said.
Mzwanele Manyi, a spokesman for Zuma’s foundation said the ex-president was “at home” and consulting with his legal team.
Zuma served as president from 2009 to 2018 before being forced out over graft allegations.
Besides his 2021 contempt of court conviction he is facing separate charges of corruption in an arms procurement scandal dating to the late 1990s, when he was vice president.
Burkina Faso reports another failed coup attempt
Burkina Faso’s military junta announced on Wednesday that a coup attempt had been thwarted the previous day by security and intelligence services, without providing specifics on what had happened according to multiple reports.
In a statement, it declared that officers and others had conspired to destabilize the country with “the dark intention of attacking the institutions of the Republic and plunging our country into chaos.”
The junta did not identify anyone but mentioned that some arrests had been made, and searches were ongoing for others. It emphasized, “Investigations will help unmask the instigators of this plot.”
The military prosecutor later revealed that four individuals had been detained, and two were currently evading capture. In a statement, it announced that an investigation had been initiated on Wednesday based on “credible allegations about a plot against state security implicating officers.”
Additionally, the junta took action on Monday by suspending the French news magazine Jeune Afrique for publishing “untruthful” articles that reported tension and discontent within Burkina Faso’s armed forces.
Junta leader Captain Ibrahim Traoré seized power on September 30, 2022, marking the landlocked country’s second coup in eight months. Both takeovers were partly driven by discontent over failures to contain a rampant jihadist insurgency that had infiltrated from neighbouring Mali in 2015.
Over 100 killed in fire at wedding in Iraq (Video)
More than 100 people have reportedly been killed and 150 others injured after a fire broke out at a packed wedding hall in northern Iraq.
The incident took place on Tuesday evening in Qaraqosh, Iraq’s biggest Christian town.
The main cause of the inferno remains sketchy — although early reports said it broke out after fireworks were lit.
Speaking with reporters on Wednesday, Abdul Amir Al-Shammari, the country’s interior minister, said: “justice will be served to those who were negligent”.
“The hall did not meet safety criteria. Because of the fireworks the ceiling collapsed on the people in the hall,” he added.
State media reported that the interior minister issued four arrest warrants for the owners of the wedding hall, while President Abdul Latif Rashid called for an investigation into the fire outbreak.
It was gathered that there were 1,300 guests who attended the wedding ceremony when the blaze broke out.
Videos shared on social media showed the couple on the dance floor before the fire ripped through the hall.
Firefighters could be seen climbing over the wreckage of the building in search of survivors on Wednesday morning.
Mohammed Shia al-Sudani, Iraq’s prime minister, said building inspections would be carried out with “the relevant authorities held accountable for any negligence”.
He also declared three days of national mourning.
Taking to X, the president of Iraq said he had told officials to “mobilise all efforts to provide relief to those affected by the unfortunate incident”.
It is unclear if the bride and groom survived.
EU says ‘X’ is worst social media platform for misinformation
The European Union (EU) Commission has declared that X, formerly Twitter, is the social media platform with the largest ratio of misinformation and disinformation posts.
The Commission’s Vice-President for Values and Transparency, Vera Jourova, stated this on Tuesday in a statement on the EU Code of Practice on Disinformation. She said X performed woefully during a pilot test of a new methodology developed by the Code signatories.
While other platforms like YouTube, TikTok, Microsoft, and Meta’s family apps were said to have taken some measures to address disinformation, X is said to be harbouring more disinformation actors.
But for the X owner, Elon Musk, his agenda is to use the platform to promote ‘free speech’ for people all over the world. Musk has yet to respond to the EU’s claim as of the time of filing this report.
X, former Twitter, who is not under the Code anymore is the platform with the largest ratio of mis/disinformation posts. The pilot also showed that disinformation actors were found to have significantly more followers than their non-disinformation counterparts and tend to have joined the platform more recently than non-disinformation users,” Jourova declared.
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Bodex F. Hungbo, SPMIIM is a multiple award-winning Nigerian Digital Media Practitioner, Digital Strategist, PR consultant, Brand and Event Expert, Tv Presenter, Tier-A Blogger/Influencer, and a top cobbler in Nigeria.
She has widespread experiences across different professions and skills, which includes experiences in; Marketing, Media, Broadcasting, Brand and Event Management, Administration and Management with prior stints at MTN, NAPIMS-NNPC, GLOBAL FLEET OIL AND GAS, LTV, Silverbird and a host of others
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