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Economy surprises with massive 3.1% rebound

By Alameen Templeton

South Africa shrugs off the doldrums as GDP takes off

South Africa stumped all the doomsayers in the second quarter with official figures showing the economy grew a healthy 3.1% in the three months to end-June, Stats SA said Tuesday. 

That beat most economists’ forecasts; they had expected a cumulative 2.4% rise.

But the good news has not tempered expectations of a rate cut at the Reserve Bank’s monetary policy committee meeting on September 17 to 19. The shock R2.88billion trade deficit for July continues to eat into confidence levels.

Warning lights had been flashing after the economy  shrank in the first quarter. A second, consecutive quarter of negative growth would have plunged South Africa into official recession.

But the first three months of the year saw more than 270 hours of load shedding, low investment levels, a five-month gold mining strike at Sibanye mines and a weak grape harvest. 

But Q2 data out today shows the mining sector has rebounded with growth of 14.4% – contributing a full percentage point to GDP.

The end of the Sibanye strike helped, but mining was boosted by a major rally in metal prices, particularly gold. Bullion is at its highest level in six years, while platinum leaped from below $800/oz in June to above $930.

Finance, real estate and business services rose 4.1%. Trade, catering and accommodation increased 3.9% and general government services grew 3.4%.

But the agriculture, forestry and fishing sector continued to shrink and, in the second quarter, was 4.2% smaller. Construction was down 1.6%.

Still, the economy was only 0.9% bigger in the second quarter of 2019 than a year before.  Stats SA revised the first-quarter GDP number down from -3.2% to -3.1%. 

The outlook remains bleak. Investment levels are moribund, and businesses are struggling. Purchasing managers data show weaker private sector activity with a grim outlook.

In July, the committee cut the benchmark repo rate by 25 basis points to 6.5% from 6.75% – the first cut since March 2018.

That was strictly in line with the US Fed. The South African Reserve Bank has been foreshadowing America’s interest rate movements in order to continue attracting carry trade portfolio flows into the JSE.

That boosts our trade numbers and prevents a slide into deficit and a consequent run on the rand.

‘A hamburger and my brother’

By Alameen Templeton

Kidnap victim Amy-Lee de Jager had her six-year-old girl priorities intact when she reappeared unexpectedly last night just hours after her shocking abduction.

Six-year-old kidnap victim Amy-Lee de Jager wanted just two things – a burger and her brother – when she was returned suddenly to her parents on Tuesday night.

Her abductors had dropped her off at a shopping centre close to the Vanderbijl Park police station at around 2am. They had pointed to a blue car and said it was her mothers and she must wait close by.

But her six-year-old instincts would have none of it. She was refusing to accept anything her abductors said. She wouldn’t eat the food they offered. She wouldn’t drink their water.

She small-girl stubbornness seemed to have worn them down.

They’d pulled their car into the shopping centre, it would appear, to simply get rid of her. They gave her R4 and told her to go across the road to buy some food and cold drink. But, when she refused to do that too, and crossly told them that the blue car was not her mother’s, it seemed their final reserves of patience failed and they fled into the night.

So Amy Lee did what any six-year-old girl would do in the circumstances. She started screaming.

That attracted the attention of a couple walking past. When they found out her circumstances, they ran with her to the police station as they did not own a car.

Amy Lee’s abduction had gripped the nation after she was taken when her mother was dropping her off at school.

Police launched a manhunt while her distraught parents – Wynand and Angeline de Jager – waited at the Vanderbijl Park police station for news.

Angeline’s sister, Louise Horn, said Wynand was on his way out of the police station to grab a breath of fresh air when he saw the couple walking towards him with his daughter in tow.

“He told me there was no way to describe what he felt at that moment,” Horn told News 24.

“The first thing Amy-Lee said was that she wanted a hamburger and her brother. So, they bought some burgers and came straight to my house where her little brother had spent the night,” Horn said.

The little girl was then taken to hospital, but she appeared unharmed, Horn said.

Police liaison officer Vishnu Naidoo said Amy-Lee’s disappearance and sudden reappearance were still under investigation.

Horn said no ransom was paid, although a demand for R2million had been made earlier by her abductors.

While Amy-Lee’s parents still had many questions, they were glad their little girl was home again, Horn added.


Mobs rampage through Joburg again

By Alameen Templeton

The chaos that began Sunday in Jeppestown spread to Turffontein Monday with outnumbered police standing by helplessly as mobs target foreign-owned shops.

Looting is continuing in Turffontein, Johannesburg, after overnight unrest saw police arresting 12 people during overnight chaos when rampaging mobs burned and looted several foreign-owned shops and set alight cars and buildings.

The looters are pillaging and destroying shops owned by foreign nationals.

The violence started on Sunday along Jules Street when businesses were ransacked by a mob.

A Joburg Metro Police officer was wounded in the leg by armed looters.

The police’s Mavela Masondo said many in police custody were suspected looters.

“The police are here, emergency services are here… we are still searching for other suspects that are involved or responsible for this. For us, this is criminality, nothing else. We are searching for the people responsible for all this damage.”

Desk kids

Gavin Watson’s Bosasa youth centres may have to close

By Alameen Templeton

Ten Bosasa youth development centres for children awaiting trial or battling behaviour problems may be forced to close following founder Gavin Watson’s sudden death

THE future is bleak for children, many awaiting trial, at 10 Bosasa youth development centres across the country after liquidators stepped in.

The liquidators for the company, now known as African Global Operations (AGO), have sent notices to stop rendering services at the end of October.

The centres house young people with severe behavioural challenges and many are in conflict with the law.

A letter was sent to the centres on 8 August titled: “Notice of termination of the service level agreements – and termination of employment.” It tells centre employees their last day of work will be October 31.

In the letter, liquidator Ralph Lutchman, says the centres have been operating while in liquidation and this has “placed tremendous strain on the business operations” and staff morale.

“We urge you to continue your normal duties in a professional matter until the service is terminated,” Lutchman says.

However, the national social development department says it has returned the letter with a request for a redraft outlining adequate reasons for the “termination”.

Bosasa liquidator, Cloete Murray Friday took charge at the company’s headquarters in Krugersdorp (Mogale).

The Mogale centre was the first and largest secure care centre to be privately managed in South Africa when it opened outside Krugersdorp in 1995.

Bosasa then established centres across the country between 1995 and 2012, aimed at children between the ages of 14 and 17.

An official at the De Aar centre insisted it would remain open despite news reports it would be closed this weekend.

The beleaguered facilities management and security company announced in February it was under voluntary liquidation after FNB said it would close the company’s banking facilities by February 28.

AGO and its directors have been implicated at the state capture commission corruption and bribery in exchange for state contracts.

National social development department spokesperson Lumka Oliphant said the termination letters give the October timeframe without citing reasons.

This led to a meeting between the department, the liquidators and the Master of the High Court.

“An agreement was reached that the liquidator will go back and rewrite the letters including reasons for the early termination or exit. The department is still awaiting the revised letter.”

The liquidators have as yet not commented.

Oliphant said the children remained their priority and any changes would have to be premised on “the understanding that there should be no inconvenience, disruption or compromise to the safety and well-being of the children”.

“There are retrieval plans for each province, however, it is important to note that provinces are at different levels in terms of retrieving the service from the service provider. The plans indicate what will happen when and who is going to take care of the children,” she said.

Western Cape provincial communications head Esther Lewis said the department would take over the Clanwillian and Horizon centres as of November 1.

The provincial department began preparing to take over the provided services in March 2019 after the liquidation was announced.

“This process, including recruitment of staff, is expected to be concluded in October in order to ensure the services being rendered to children in those centres are not disrupted,” Lewis said.

The Gauteng social development department said plans were in place, awaiting approval.

Mufti AK Hoosen denies “blessing political party’s campaign”

According to messages doing the rounds on social media, a politician has allegedly claimed that his party was endorsed by scholar and radio personality, Mufti Abdul Kader Hoosen.

Mufti AK, ameer at Markaz Sahaba Online Radio, says he was contacted by an individual in Cape Town who alleges that Ahmed Munzoor Shaik Emam has claimed that his campaign was blessed by himself.

“I never even heard of him, I don’t know the person,” says Mufti AK Hoosen.

Mufti AK called the move “factually incorrect and cheap politicking”.

“I told them, this is my stance for the past twenty five years, since we are allowed to vote since 1994… we tell people whoever wants to vote, you make istikharah and [if] you don’t vote, there is no sin upon you Islamically.”

“I don’t belong to any party, I don’t endorse any party and I’m actually critical of most politicians because we know what is happening in South Africa,” he clarified.

The revered scholar distanced himself from Mr Munzoor and whoever else is in support with him, saying “I have nothing to do with him, nothing to do with his party”.

Markaz Sahaba Online Staff Reporter.
Feature Image: telegraph.co.uk

Worldwide Ummah reeling as Christchurch Masaajid attack leave 49 martyred, 48 injured.

three arrested, including live-stream video of horrific shootings by gunman from Australia

By Alameen Templeton

The Ummah worldwide is reeling from a gunman’s live-streamed attack on three Masaajid in New Zealand capital Christchurch that left 49 Muslims martyred.

Forty eight others, including children, are under surgery for gunshot wounds in hospital and it is feared the number of fatalities may rise. Other injured worshippers were taken to nearby clinics.

Police have arrested three people, including the apparent gunman, who identified himself as Australian-born Brenton Tarrant.

The live-stream video shows the gunman entering a mosque on Deans Avenue, Christchurch carrying a semi-automatic weapon. He starts firing even before entering the Masjid and proceeds to mow down worshippers preparing for esha salaah. The gunman mercilessly fires repeated rounds into anyone he meets and returns to the salaat area to shoot even more before the video suddenly ends.

He or possible accomplices are believed to have then visited two other Masaajid and continued the attack.

Christchurch policy says they’ve charged a 28-year-old man, believed to be Tarrant, with murder.

Neither he nor two others in custody were on any terror watchlists. A fourth person arrested on was not related to the events, police say.
Christchurch Hospital’s 12 operating theaters are working flat out as some of the injured suffered multiple surgeries.

Anxious relatives are gathered outside Christchurch Hospital, seeking news of family members. The gunman is believed to have been arrested in a car which had explosives and guns inside.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern calls the murders – the worst in New Zealand history – as the country’s “darkest day”.

On Friday night rain was falling on lit candles, handwritten notes and flowers set against a lamppost at the police cordon just down the road from the Linwood Mosque which was also attacked.

President of the NZ Muslim Association, Ikhlaq Kashkari has thanked police and urged New Zealand to

come together at this time.

He urged all New Zealanders in nearby areas to donate blood and to stay calm and united.

“We cannot allow these types of people to divide our community,” he added.

Speaking to Markaz Sahaba Online radio, Kashkari said the ummah in Christchurch had been swamped with offers of support and help from the non-Muslim community.

Muslims had been settled in New Zealand for more than 150 years and traditionally enjoyed peaceful and cooperative relations with the wider community, he said.



‘Hello brother’: Muslim worshipper’s ‘last words’ to gunman

Victim of New Zealand’s worst ever mass shooting greeted the attacker at entrance of mosque before being shot dead.

A Muslim worshipper, who was among the first people to be killed in New Zealand’s worst ever mass shooting, appeared to say “hello brother” to the attacker just moments before he was shot dead.

According to a live stream video of the attack, the man, who is yet to be identified, could be overheard saying “hello brother” as the gunman approached the entrance of the Al Noor mosque in central Christchurch.

At least 49 people, including children, were killed in Friday’s attacks targeting the Al Noor and Linwood mosques. According to Christchurch Hospital, at least 48 people were being treated for gunshot wounds, which ranged from severe to critical.

Video footage of the attack, which has been widely shared on social media, showed a gunman shooting indiscriminately at worshippers as they ran for safety or lay huddled on the floor.

A 28-year-old Australian man, who police have not identified, has been charged with murder. He is set to appear in court on Saturday.

‘The reply was three bullets’

As the attack shocked New Zealand, a nation where violent crime is rare, several social media users hailed the Muslim man who greeted the attacker before he was murdered.

“‘Hello, Brother’ were the last words of the first New Zealand victim. As he faced a rifle, his last words were peaceful words of unconditional love. DO NOT tell me that nonviolence is weak or pacifism is cowardice,” one Twitter user said.

“‘Hello brother’ a word came out of a pure soul filled with a peaceful faith. ‘Hello brother’ was said to a killer with a rifle pointed to this greeting. ‘Hello brother’ he said thinking that he is talking to a human with soul and feelings. ‘Hello brother’ was shot dead,” another wrote.

“Hello brother and the reply was three bullets – Bi-ayyi thambin qutilat (For what crime. She was killed) [Quran: 81, v9],” said another.


nz tweet


Aziz Helou, a resident of Melbourne, Australia, wrote on Facebook that “amongst the chaos of today, the evil we both heard and saw”, that one incident stood out.

“The first Muslim man to die, his final words were ‘hello brother’. These words were uttered by a man who symbolised Islam. He had a rifle pointed at him by a man with clear intentions to kill and how did he respond? With anger? With aggression? No, with the most gentle and sincere greeting of ‘hello brother’.

“Perhaps this hero was trying to diffuse the situation? Maybe Allah used this man to show the world the kindness that is Islam. I don’t know but what I want, is to make certain, is that this detail isn’t lost amongst you. That this mans final act was an Islamic one, a sincere courageous and warm way to stop violence instead of fuelling it”.

Attack blamed on rising Islamophobia

In a social media video, a former New Zealand rugby star Sonny Bill Williams gave a tearful tribute to those killed.

Williams, a practising Muslim, struggled to hold back tears in the 64-second Twitter post, telling families of those killed that “you are all in Paradise”.

“I heard the news. I couldn’t put it into words how I’m feeling right now,” Williams said.

“Just sending my duas [prayers] to the families”.

Before the attacks took place, the gunman reportedly published an Islamophobic manifesto on Twitter. He then live-streamed his rampage, according to an analysis by AFP news agency.

Political leaders across the world condemned the killings, with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan describing them as “the latest example of rising racism and Islamophobia”.

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan also blamed the attacks on rising Islamophobia.

“I blame these increasing terror attacks on the current Islamophobia post-9/11 where Islam and 1.3bn Muslims have collectively been blamed for any act of terror by a Muslim,” said Khan.

“This has been done deliberately to also demonise legitimate Muslim political struggles.”



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