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Ranjeni Munusamy wants to see face of person claiming crime intelligence fund was used to fix her car

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Journalist Ranjeni Munusamy wants to see the face of the police officer who claimed that the police’s crime intelligence fund had paid for repairs to her car.

In an affidavit to cross-examine Lieutenant General Dhanajaya Gangulu Naidoo at the Zondo commission of inquiry into state capture, she denied that she had asked for any repairs to her vehicle.

Munusamy also denied that she even knew of any repairs, and that if her car had been repaired, she did not know where the money came from.

“As Colonel Naidoo testified in camera, I seek a further order that I may be granted leave to have sight of Colonel Naidoo or a photograph of him which has been approved by the chairperson in accordance with the order made by the chairperson of the commission on September 26, 2019,” her affidavit to the commission read. 

Naidoo claimed on his first day in the hot seat that Munusamy was a confidante of former crime intelligence head General Mulangi Mphego, and that a R40 000 repair bill to Ranjeni’s car was covered by crime intelligence’s Secret Services Account (SSA).

READ: Zondo commission: Police whistleblower details how journalists, including Ranjeni Munusamy, were allegedly paid by crime intelligence officers

His face was not shown as he is in a witness protection programme.

Munusamy said she did have a scare though when coming out of a shopping centre in 2008 or 2009. 

She said when she got to her car she found that all four tyres were flat and this shook her because it had never happened before.

Petrol attendants, who helped her, told her the tyres had not been slashed, and so they inflated them and she went home.

However, it left her feeling anxious and distressed and among the people she called was SA Communist Party secretary-general Blade Nzimande to talk about it.

He said she should report it to the police, but she did not want to go to the police station because she did not think they would take her seriously over deflated tyres.

In her affidavit, Munusamy described herself as a “major” journalist, saying she objected to Naidoo’s testimony about her and wanted to cross-examine him. 

READ MORE: ‘I did not benefit from any of the said funds’ – journalist Ranjeni Munusamy on state capture

“The above allegations are extremely serious and have the potential to destroy my reputation as a reputable journalist.

“Indeed, they have already done considerable damage to my reputation.

“… At the outset, I wish to make it clear that I deny having been involved in any act of corruption, bribery, fraud or money laundering.” 

Munusamy denied “knowingly” receiving funds from the secret service account, or knowing that her car was repaired by them, or that the cost of the repairs were being covered by funds from the account.

“I do not know why Colonel Naidoo seeks to malign me in this way.” 

She submitted that the commission should not rely on Naidoo’s testimony, and demanded that he supply the documentation that he claimed to have to prove his claims against her.

Munusamy said that between October 2004 and April 2012 she did not work as a journalist, and focused on public relations. 

Between 2004 and 2009, she ran her own communications business, doing public relations, media training and political research; from July 2009 to October 2010, she worked at the higher education and training department as communications head. 

In 2011, she worked at McCann MSP doing public relations, and returned to journalism, also in 2011, as a sub-editor at the Daily Maverick. 

She joined her current employer, Tiso Blackstar, in 2017.

Munusamy stated that after the tyre incident and speaking to Nzimande, she called an acquaintance, Lieutenant General Raymond Lalla who she knew from covering political violence in KwaZulu-Natal.

He expressed concern and said he would get his colleague, Mphego who she had met while covering the Boeremag stories in 2000, to assist. 

Mphego called her to say Lalla had spoken to him and she told the story about the deflated tyres again.

Mphego said another police officer would assist her.

Munusamy could not remember if this was the same night or the next day. 

She later received a call from a man whose name she does not remember, saying he had been told she was having car trouble, and asked for her address. 

He took her car away, and then returned it.

All she remembers of him is that he was an Indian male. 

“I will likely be able to confirm this when I see a photograph of him.” 

Munusamy let the man take the car for an inspection and trusted him because she trusted Lalla.

“To me the vehicle was returned in the exact same condition in which it left,” she submitted.

ALSO READ: ‘My vehicle was settled by close family friend,’ says Munusamy, who intends to cross-examine witnesses at Zondo commission

“… I stress that I was not aware at all that any money had been spent by anyone – much less crime intelligence – to repair anything on my car.” 

Of Mphego, she denied being his confidante or adviser, or anybody’s “confidante” for that matter.

She said she was also never provided with an invoice for any of the supposed work done, and her legal team had not yet been able to obtain a copy of this supposed invoice for the work.

“I value my credibility as a journalist and I am horrified by the allegations that I benefited from being paid by the SSA”. 

Munusamy has already denied that crime intelligence paid her car off, saying it was settled by a close family friend, Basheer Ahmed Abdool.

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Google launches new wireless Pixel Buds

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Google has launched its new Pixel Buds wireless earphones.

The Pixel Buds come in a simple, round form factor with a stabilizer arc that tucks into the ear – ensuring that it fits comfortably and does not fall out when you are exercising.

They use a hybrid design that allows you to listen to high-quality sound without losing track of what is happening around you.

The Pixel Buds achieve this by “gently sealing” the ear to isolate louder outside sounds, ensuring that you remain safe while on the go.

These earbuds also use Adaptive Sound technology which dynamically adjusts the volume of your audio as you move into louder or softer environments – ensuring you won’t need to adjust the volume depending on where you are.

Each Pixel Bud has two microphones embedded within it which will focus on your voice while minimising environmental sounds – a feature which Google said “extends to the most challenging environments.”

Google also said that the Pixel Buds use long-range Bluetooth connectivity to allow users to stay connected to their device as far as three rooms away when indoors, or the distance of a football field if you are outside.

They can pair with devices that use Bluetooth 4.0 or later, including laptops, tablets, and devices that use either iOS or Android 6.0 or later.

Google’s Pixel Buds will be available in 2020 in the US in four colours – Clearly White, Oh So Orange, Quite Mint, and Almost Black – and will cost $179.

No South African pricing or availability information was available at the time of publishing.

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Now read: Google launches new Pixelbook Go laptop

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South Africa: Looking Beyond the Grade 9 Certificate Debate – the Three Streams

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The proposed Grade 9 certificate, with the associated three – academic, technical vocational and technical – streams, will not solve problems of young people dropping out and not being able to access the labour market. But it will create additional resource pressures on the system, first to produce an exam and certificate, and second by duplicating what the TVET colleges are already struggling to do.

Many critics assume a Grade 9 Certificate will push the most marginal learners out of the system even earlier than they are exiting at the moment. As Janet Jobson and Kristal Duncan point out, the official government position is that the General Education Certificate will help learners to identify education and training options that would best suit their inclinations. They also argue that a national Grade 9 assessment will provide valuable information about how much young people have actually learnt. National assessment at the end of Grade 9 could offer an earlier opportunity to hold learners, teachers, schools, and the system accountable.

What has been less well covered in the public debate is the critical relationship between the proposed new certificate and the roll-out of what the National Department of Basic Education now refers to…

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Tour de France: Froome’s bid for fifth title may conclude on La Planche des Belles Filles time trial

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Chris Froome sat next to Ineos team-mate and defending champion Egan Bernal as the 2020 Tour de France route was unveiled

Briton Chris Froome’s bid for a fifth Tour de France title will conclude with a mountain time trial at La Planche des Belles Filles before the traditional final sprint stage in Paris on 19 July.

Riders will tackle 29 mountains on the brutal 3,470km (2,156-mile) 21-stage route, which starts in Nice on 27 June.

“It will be physically challenging throughout,” said race director Christian Prudhomme.

The tour starts a week early with the Tokyo Olympics starting on 24 July.

The route, which features five summit finishes – one of them being the time trial at La Planche des Belles Filles – is likely to favour the climbers.

“Even the so called flat stages will be very tough for the pure sprinters,” Prudhomme added.

“There are traps everywhere along the route.”

A route for the climbers

The 2020 Tour boasts one of the most challenging opening weeks in recent editions of the race.

Two stages start and finish in Nice, the second of which involves almost 3,700 metres of climbing over the Col de la Colmiane, Col de Turini and Col d’Eze.

The race then heads south west through the Massif Central, with summit finishes on Orcieres-Merlette on stage five and Mont Aigoual.

Colombian champion Egan Bernal and his Ineos team-mates Chris Froome will expect to challenge, as will France’s Thibaut Pinot.

A thigh injury saw Pinot, 29, withdraw on a dramatic stage 19 to Tignes on the 2019 Tour while in fifth place.

The Groupama-FDJ team leader had hoped to become the first French winner of the Yellow Jersey for 34 years.

Froome was unable to compete after a high-speed crash before stage four of the Criterium du Dauphine in June.

The 34-year-old is only just about to return to cycling after suffering a catalogue of injuries which included a fractured right femur, a fractured elbow and fractured ribs.

Julian Alaphilippe, who led the 2019 edition of the Tour for 14 stages before finishing fifth overall will also be buoyed by the omission of both Alpe d’Huez and Mont Ventoux next summer and by a route containing only two stages in the Pyrenees.

Stage 20, a 36km individual time-trial to La Planche des Belles Filles ends with a five-mile uphill finish

The race against the clock on the 36km (22-mile) stage 20 to La Planche des Belles Filles, with the final 8km (five miles) all uphill, could prove decisive though.

Stage six of the 2019 Tour finished on the mountain with Dylan Teuns taking the stage victory as Alaphilippe lost the yellow jersey, temporarily, to Italy’s Giulio Ciccone, while 2018 Tour winner Geraint Thomas put in an impressive late attack.

Froome won stage seven on the mountain 2012, while playing the role of a super-domestique as Bradley Wiggins became the first Briton to win the Tour.

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