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Thu, 15 Feb 2018
Zuma makes NPA representations at the eleventh hour

President Jacob Zuma submitted his representations stating why he should not face prosecution for the now infamous 2009 spy types saga to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) late on Wednesday evening.

The representations were initially supposed to be submitted in November 2017, but National Director of Public Prosecutions Shaun Abrahams extended the deadline to January 31, 2018.

NPA spokesperson Luvuyo Mfaku has confirmed that the president’s legal representatives submitted his representations at 21:00 at the NPA offices.

A Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) ruling dismissed Zuma’s and the NPA’s application to appeal a high court ruling that the dropping of the corruption charges against him by then NPA boss Mkotedi Mpshe was “irrational”.

Mpshe dropped the charges, based on the so-called “Spy Tapes”, which were presented to him by Zuma’s legal team.

The tapes were made up of recordings of telephone conversations between then Scorpions boss Leonard McCarthy and former NPA boss Bulelani Ngcuka which Zuma’s legal team claimed showed political interference in the decision to charge the now president of South Africa.

On Wednesday, the DA released a statement saying it had written to Abrahams asking to be provided with a copy of Zuma’s submissions.

“The DA is entitled to Zuma’s full submission as the main litigant in this case, which has dragged on for almost a decade, costing ordinary South Africans an estimated R30-million or more in legal fees,” said James Selfe, chairperson of the DA federal council.

The party said it would engage thoroughly with the content and continue to ensure that Zuma has his day in court.

“For too long Zuma has evaded his day in court. Any other citizen would have had to answer to such charges in court, yet Zuma has been given special treatment and been allowed to make fresh representations on the same charges he faced in 2009,” said Selfe.—News24



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Thu, 15 Feb 2018
So you’ve donated blood, then what?

Ever wondered what happens to blood after it’s been donated? If yes, then this is the article for you. Westside Urban News interviewed Regional Marketing Manager, Ivor Hobbs from the South African National Blood Service (SANBS) to help you understand a little more about where and what happens to your blood after it’s been donated.

The below interview is in Question and Answer (Q&A) format.

Q: What is the process after the donor donates blood? (Where does the blood go?)

Hobbs: The process is rather complex. After donation, the blood is transported in temperature controlled boxes to the closest testing and processing laboratory.

After processing and testing clear a unit of blood it is labelled and sent to the SANBS blood banks and emergency fridges in hospitals all over the 8 provinces in which we operate.

Should a patient require blood, the doctor will order it from the blood bank and administer the transfusion to the patient.

A large portion of the plasma is also sent to the National Bioproducts Institute in Durban where specialised products are made from the plasma such as clotting factors, rabies immunoglobulins and specialised eye drops.

Q: What happens to it there?

Hobbs: As soon as it reaches the lab the blood is processed into three different components, red blood cells, plasma and platelets.

These products can be given to people with different conditions, hence why we say that up to three lives can be saved with a single blood donation.

The units are put into a centrifuge where it is spun down. It then separates and a special machine removes the different components.

The processes are extremely complex and I would suggest that you come for a lab tour to get a better understanding of what happens.

The testing samples are sent to either our Johannesburg or Durban laboratories. At the labs, the samples are tested with state-of-the-art equipment.

Every single unit of blood is tested for HIV, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, Syphilis and blood group. The testing processes at SANBS are regarded as the safest in the world.

Q: Is it filtered before another can use it? (if so please elaborate)

Yes. In many instances the concentrated red blood cells are leucodepleted which is where white blood cells are removed from the blood thus removing the risk of an adverse reaction.

Q: How long does the bank keep it for?

It depends on the product. Red blood cells last 42 days, platelets 5 days and plasma can be frozen for up to a year.

Q: Why doesn’t South Africans get paid for donating their blood?

Legally we are not allowed to. According to the National Health Act, no one may receive any form of remuneration for blood, organs, tissue or gametes.

We follow the best practice of blood transfusion services worldwide and adhere to the recommendations voluntary non-remunerated blood donation from the World Health Organisation.

Should we start paying people for blood, we could have people presenting to donate for the wrong reasons which, in turn, will heighten the risk. Furthermore, it will increase the cost of blood and potentially put lives at risk.



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Thu, 15 Feb 2018
Rand firmer on trade surplus, weaker dollar

The Rand firmed against the dollar yesterday, supported by a weaker greenback and data showing the country’s trade surplus widened last year.

At 5pm, the rand bid at R11.8495 to the dollar, 11.34c stronger than at the same time on Tuesday, about 0.85percent firmer than its close on Tuesday.

South Africa’s trade surplus in December widened to R15.72billion from a R13.05bn surplus in November, the revenue agency said.

On a cumulative basis the trade balance between January and December was at a R80.55bn surplus compared to a R1.05bn surplus over the same period in 2016.

“One of the catalysts is the slight dollar weakness that has come into the market that has helped South Africa and the rest of emerging markets gain a little bit of ground,” said Treasury One chief currency dealer, Wichard Cilliers. He added: “The trade surplus has also helped the rand slightly.”

Market attention was also pinned on President Jacob Zuma’s future as head of state.

South African news website News24 reported late on Tuesday that top officials from the ANC would meet Zuma to discuss “options” to avoid him being impeached or voted out by parliament.

The ANC has been discussing whether to tell Zuma, whose presidency has been tainted by corruption allegations, to resign.

Any sign that Zuma could go before his second term ends next year has tended to boost domestic assets, including the rand.

Government bonds also firmed, with the yield for the benchmark instrument falling 9 basis points to 8.47percent.

In equity markets, the main stock indices ended little changed but Vodacom was in demand after the mobile phone operator reported higher quarterly sales.

Vodacom, the unit of Britain’s Vodafone, advanced 5.45percent to R163.50 after posting a 6.7percent increase in third-quarter sales thanks to increasing customer base.

Among other top gainers, Barclays Africa Group rose 4.13percent to R180.10.

The blue chip JSE Top40 index was off 0.16percent at 52614.65 points and the broader all share index inched down 0.07percent to close at 59506.12 points




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