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UK teen died after ‘negative effects of online content’

A 14-year-old British girl died from an act of self-harm while suffering from the “negative effects of online content”, a coroner said Friday, in a case that has shone a spotlight on social media companies.

Molly Russell was “exposed to material that may have influenced her in a negative way and, in addition, what had started as a depression had become a more serious depressive illness,” Andrew Walker ruled at North London Coroner’s Court.

The teenager “died from an act of self-harm while suffering depression”, he said, but added it would not be “safe” to conclude it was suicide.

Some of the content she viewed was “particularly graphic” and “normalised her condition,” said Walker.

Of the 16,300 posts Russell saved, shared or liked on Instagram in the six-month period before her death, 2,100 related to depression, self-harm or suicide, the inquest was told.

Russell, from Harrow in northwest London, died in November 2017, leading her family to set up a campaign highlighting the dangers of social media.

“Molly was a thoughtful, sweet-natured, caring, inquisitive, selfless, beautiful individual – although a few words cannot possibly encapsulate our wonderful girl,” her father Ian said in a statement.

“We have heard a senior Meta (Instagram parent company) executive describe this deadly stream of content the platform’s algorithms pushed to Molly as ‘safe’ and not contravening the platform’s policies.

“If this demented trail of life-sucking content was safe, my daughter Molly would probably still be alive and instead of being a bereaved family of four, there would be five of us looking forward to a life full of purpose and promise that lay ahead for our adorable Molly.

“It’s time the toxic corporate culture at the heart of the world’s biggest social media platform changed,” he urged.

Silicon Valley ‘shockwaves’

The week-long hearing became heated when the family’s lawyer, Oliver Sanders, took a Meta executive to task.

A visibly angry Sanders asked Elizabeth Lagone, the head of health and wellbeing at Meta, why the platform allowed children to use it when it was “allowing people to put potentially harmful content on it”.

“You are not a parent, you are just a business in America. You have no right to do that. The children who are opening these accounts don’t have the capacity to consent to this,” he said.

Lagone apologised after being shown footage, viewed by Russell, that “violated our policies”.

In a statement issued following the ruling, a spokeswoman for Meta said: “Our thoughts are with the Russell family and everyone who has been affected by this tragic death.

“We’ll continue our work with the world’s leading independent experts to help ensure that the changes we make offer the best possible protection and support for teens,” she added.

Children’s charity NSPCC said the ruling “must be a turning point”, stressing that any delay to a government bill dealing with online safety “would be inconceivable to parents”.

“Tech companies must be held accountable when they don’t make children’s safety a priority,” tweeted the charity. 

NSPCC chief executive Peter Wanless said the ruling should “send shockwaves through Silicon Valley”.

“The magnitude of this moment for children everywhere cannot be understated,” he added.

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Putin signs accord to annex four Russian-occupied Ukraine regions

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday signed treaties to annex four Moscow-occupied Ukrainian regions – Donetsk, Kherson, Lugansk and Zaporizhzhia – at a grand ceremony in the Kremlin.

He then joined hands with the Moscow-installed heads of the regions on a stage in front of the Russian elite and chanted alongside them “Russia! Russia!”.

Putin annexed the regions despite warnings from the West and the fact that Moscow’s forces do not control the entirety of the regions. 

The long-time Russian leader said the people of the regions had made an “univocal choice” to join Russia after so-called referendums that Moscow organised. 

“I want to say this to the Kyiv regime and its masters in the West: People living in the Lugansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia (regions) are becoming our citizens forever,” he said.

The West and international organisations did not recognise the voting, which was organised after Russia seized the territories by force. 

In a speech before signing the treaties, Putin demanded that Kyiv stop all military action. 

“We call on the Kyiv regime to immediately stop fighting and stop all hostilities… and return to the negotiating table.”

Putin, who turns 70 next week, sent troops to Ukraine in February. 

Last week, he announced a mobilisation to prop up Russian forces fighting in Ukraine who have suffered heavy losses in recent months. 

NOW READ: Ukraine offensive defies Russia’s annexation plan

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URC Result: Lions overpower Cardiff for superb bonus point win

The Lions produced a superb performance to pick up a fantastic 31-18 (halftime 10-13) bonus point win over Cardiff in their United Rugby Championship (URC) clash, to pick up their second away win on the bounce in Wales on Friday night.

Having upset Ospreys at home last weekend, the Lions proved it wasn’t a fluke by backing up that result up by claiming a four try bonus point win in Cardiff, to make sure it will be a successful tour regardless of the result in their final match against Edinburgh in Scotland next week Friday.

ALSO READ: Lions defence plan finally coming together

In the match it was a game of two halves, with the team that had the wind at their back dominating play, as Cardiff were on top for the majority of the first half, before the Lions took over and took charge in the second.

However it was the Lions first half defence that arguably won them the game as despite Cardiff’s dominance, the hosts only went into the break with a three point lead.

During the first 20 minutes of the match, Cardiff enjoyed a whopping 86% possession and had entered the Lions 22m four times, but a mixture of mistakes and big defence meant Cardiff only led 3-0 thanks to a penalty from flyhalf Jarrod Evans.

They extended that lead to 6-0 in the 26th minute after the Lions were penalised for hands in the ruck just outside the 22m, with Evans on target again.

The visitors then hit back four minutes later as a massive tackle from outside centre Henco van Wyk, along with him then getting over the ball, earned a penalty outside the 22m in front, with flyhalf Gianni Lombard slotting the kick.

A thrilling final three minutes of the half then saw the match suddenly burst into life as a mistake from Lions scrumhalf Sanele Nohamba saw him spill a kick into the 22m out of play, giving Cardiff an attacking lineout.

From the lineout Cardiff attacked, bashing away at the Lions line until flank James Botham smashed his way over under the poles, with Evans converting for a 13-3 lead.

However there was still time for the Lions t reply as two late penalties gave them a 5m lineout, with them setting up the maul and powering it towards the line when Cardiff brought it down illegally, leading to a penalty try and yellow card to eighthman Taulupe Faletau.

Tables turn

The second half then saw the tables turn, as the Lions now with the wind started dominating, and deservedly took the lead in the 50th minute as they powered a maul over from a 5m lineout, with hooker PJ Botha dotting down and Lombard converting to put them 17-13 up.

Cardiff had been their worst enemies and had given up 15 penalties to just three from the Lions by the 60th minute, giving the visitors all the momentum in the second half.

In the 64th minute the Lions then went to the corner again but this time their maul was stopped, leading to a number of pick and goes from the forwards until the ball spilled out the side, with replacement scrumhalf Morne van den Berg picking up the ball and diving over to score.

Lombard’s extras gave the Lions an 11 point lead heading into the final 15 minutes, but Cardiff almost hit back immediately as they finally won a few penalties themselves, allowing them to set up a 5m lineout.

This time it was the home sides maul that started working, as they rumbled over in the corner, with replacement forward Shane Lewis-Hughes scoring an unconverted try to make it 24-18, going into the final 10 minutes.

The Lions then sealed the win and bonus point in the 78th minute, after a kick through from Lombard was kicked on by left wing Quan Horn, with him chasing the ball down and dotting down superbly, followed by Lombard adding the extras.

Scorers

Cardiff: Tries – James Botham, Shane Lewis-Hughes; Conversion – Jarrod Evans; Penalties – Evans (2)

Lions: Tries – Penalty Try, PJ Botha, Morne van den Berg, Quan Horn; Conversions: Gianni Lombard (4); Penalty – Lombard

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‘Hot to very hot weekend’: Scorching temperatures expected in Gauteng

As the country heads into Summer, Gauteng residents have been warned to brace for scorching weather and hot temperatures during the weekend.

While the past few days has seen windy condition, Gauteng Weather said the mercury is expected to rise sharply with very hot conditions forecasted for Saturday and Sunday.

“Hot, very hot weekend,” said Gauteng Weather.  

Johannesburg

The regional weather service said temperatures in Johannesburg are likely to start at a minimum of 13°C on Saturday, reaching a high of 30°C while Sunday it will be much hotter at 32°C.

Pretoria

Pretoria will see higher temperatures starting with a minimum of 15°C on Saturday reaching a high of 32°C, while Sunday the mercury is expected to hit a scorching 34°C.

Residents have been advised to stay out of the sun, use sunscreen lotion and keep hydrated.

High fire conditions

At the same time, the South African Weather Service (SAWS) has issued a warning of extremely high fire danger conditions over parts of North-West, Northern Cape, Free State and Limpopo.

The weather service has also forecasted fine and hot conditions across the rest of the country.

Dam Levels

With hotter temperatures expected, the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) has urged South Africans to use water sparingly, especially those living in the North West.

The department said water levels have dropped from last week’s 76.3% to 74.9% this week, across various dams in the province.

“When compared to a similar period last year, the overall storage capacity stood at 73.7%.”

Pressure on electricity grid  

Meanwhile, scorching temperatures are likely to put pressure on electricity as residents use cooling devices including fans and air conditioners to keep the heat at bay.

On Thursday Eskom announced that load shedding will continue at stage 4 on Friday, but will then be reduced to stage 3 over the weekend following the delivery of diesel.

Spokesperson Sikonathi Mantshantsa said the reduction in load shedding after diesel started at PetroSA’s facility in Mossel Bay.

“Transferring the fuel to the Gourikwa and Akerlig Open Cycle Gas Turbine stations will take place throughout the weekend to replenish by Monday.”

Earlier, Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan during a media briefing to announce the new Eskom board also said it was likely that stage 4 would continue into next week.

ALSO READ: Load shedding to be reduced to stage 3 over the weekend

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Prince ‘SuperMash’ Mashawana launches new book on ‘kidpreneurship’

Pupils and parents on Friday turned out in numbers at Crawford International to support pupil and child superhero Prince Mashawana – better known as “SuperMash” – during the grand launch of his book, The Diary of A Superhero.

During the ceremony at the school, where 10-year-old Mashawana began stage one of his three-stage launch, said the book would be made available to pupils.

Said Mashawana: “The book is all about ‘kidpreneurship’ – educating kids in a fun and practical way on how to start a business while still in school.

“It also teaches young kids how to do a pitch deck for investments, how to improve marketing on social media – how to get clients and so much more.”

SIGNING AUTOGRAPHS: Author Prince ‘SuperMash’ Mashawana signs copies of his new book, ‘The Diary of A Superhero’. Picture: Supplied.

‘Entrepreneurship can change the world’

The book outlines some fundamental tools and strategies children can use to gain some valuable experience in starting, managing and growing successful business ventures.

The programme teaches kids how to brainstorm brilliant business ideas – designing a logo, registering a company, learning how to budget and how to make a sale.

“One of my favourite chapters in the book is on tips on how to keep customers happy – getting that first sale will feel great, but remember you want to keep your customers coming back. Entrepreneurship can change the world.

“I started my first business a while back and the lessons learned, have helped me become so much better,” said Mashawana.

WATCH: Superhero SuperMash uses his powers to feed needy children

He has been inspired by business growth through social media and platforms like TikTok and YouTube – making children as young as five earn corporate-like salaries.

Mashawana believes The Diary Of A Superhero is needed in Africa – a continent with a huge youth population.

He said stage one of the book launch in his school “which has just happened recently, is a tribute to Crawford International, for the support I have received from parents and fellow pupils – making my dreams and vision for our youth, come true”.

Mashawana has become the first African black child superhero, with over 150 000 followers on the social media platform Instagram – having done work with national and international companies like Nickelodeon, Bathu and Tedx.

YOUNG CHILD SUPERHEROES: Two Crawford International pupils carrying copies of ‘The Diary of A Superhero’ by Prince ‘SuperMash’ Mashawana. Picture: Supplied.

Said one pupil who was part of the book launch, with cakes, sweets and soda: “It is such an honour to know Prince.

“We have a superstar at our school and someone I look up too – though we are at the same age. Thank you SuperMash. Because of you, I know that I can become anything I want to be. I know that I can be my own hero.”

Stage two of the countrywide launch will take place at various book stores in South Africa, with stage three being showcased at youth and kids seminars.

NOW READ: A superhero with real-life stories

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URC result: Bulls are a tight-knit family judging by their defence in win over Connacht

There is an old rugby cliche that defence shows the character and unity of a team, and the Bulls must be a tight-knit family indeed judging by the great defensive display they produced in beating Connacht 28-14 in their United Rugby Championship match at Loftus Versfeld on Friday night.

While the Bulls did some good things on attack, two of their four tries coming from offensive moves, it was their defence – smart, physical and untiring – that was the outstanding feature of their play.

Connacht only managed to breach the swarming Bulls defence after referee Andrea Piardi had given the home side their third yellow card. The three naughty kids were Marco van Staden, Johan Goosen and Jan-Hendrik Wessels, and all of them were for offences deemed to have occurred in the tackle, whether dangerous, high or late.

Clearly the Bulls’ defensive steel was a bit too intimidating for the referee.

Also read: White admits ‘young’ Bulls team has work to do in URC campaign

Connacht were also unable to make the most of their possession thanks to the Bulls’ excellent efforts at the breakdown, where the likes of Van Staden, hookers Johan Grobbelaar and Wessels, and flank Marcell Coetzee were scavenging like a pack of hungry hyenas.

Industrial-strength power

Captain Coetzee gave his usual industrial-strength display of power, muscling over for an important try on the stroke of halftime that put the Bulls 21-0 up at the break.

They had scored their first two tries in the first 10 minutes, the defensive pressure leading to an early dropped pass which was snapped up by fullback Kurt-Lee Arendse, who ran 75 metres to score; three minutes later, flyhalf Goosen kept a couple of defenders busy before putting Cornal Hendricks in the gap, Canan Moodie’s mazy run was stopped inside the 22, lock Walt Steenkamp was held up just short, but scrumhalf Zak Burger then went over for the try.

The Bulls scored their fourth and final try when centre David Kriel delayed his pass beautifully to put lock Ruan Nortje through the hole, from where Burger was found in support, roaring over for his second try, and the Bulls’ last, six minutes into the second half.

In between the tries, the Bulls had to show great industry in defence, especially since the referee’s whistle was as undermining for them as State Capture has been on South Africa’s economy. The lineout was also a highly profitable area for them.

Connacht were eventually on the board in the 68th minute through replacement prop Jack Aungier, and then when the Bulls lost another man because they were forced into uncontested scrums due to Wessels’ yellow card and Grobbelaar being injured, flyhalf David Hawkshaw charged down a Chris Smith clearance and scored.

By the end of this stop-start affair, dominated by officialdom, many in the crowd were more interested in watching their fellow spectators build multi-storey beer snakes out of their empty cups.

Scorers
BullsTries – Kurt-Lee Arendse, Zak Burger (2), Marcell Coetzee. Conversions – Johan Goosen (4).

ConnachtTries – Jack Aungier, David Hawkshaw. Conversions – Hawkshaw (2).

Also read: Bulls saved by Steyn penalty & Edinburgh miss

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Daily Lotto results: Friday, 30 September 2022

Get the Daily Lotto results as soon as they are drawn on The Citizen.

While great care has been taken to ensure accuracy, The Citizen cannot take responsibility for any error in the Daily Lotto results. We suggest verifying the numbers on the National Lottery website.

The winning Daily Lotto numbers will appear below after the draw. Usually within 10 minutes of the draw. You might need to refresh the page to see the updated results.

Here are the winning Daily Lotto results for Friday, 30 September 2022:

0, 0, 0, 0, 0

For more details and to verify the Daily Lotto results, visit the National Lottery website.

How to play Daily Lotto in South Africa? 

If you are buying a ticket in-store: 

  • Pick up a betslip in any lottery store.
  • Choose five numbers between 1 and 36 or ask for a Quick Pick.
  • Entries cost R3 each. You can play a max of R150, but you are allowed to play multiple boards.
  • Select how many consecutive draws you wish to enter, up to a maximum of 10. Leave blank for a single draw.
  • Take your betslip to the teller to pay for your ticket.
  • Write your details on the back of your ticket in case you need to claim a prize. If you do not sign your ticket and you lose it, anyone will be able to use it to claim the prize.

If you are playing online: 

  • Set up a lottery account here and make a deposit so you can pay for tickets.
  • Choose five numbers from 1 to 36 or select ‘Quick Pick’ to generate a random set. Repeat this on as many boards as you want to play.
  • Decide whether to enter a single draw or multiple draws.
  • Confirm and pay for your entry.

What time does the Daily Lotto draw take place? 

The Daily Lotto draws take place at 21:00 every evening and you can buy tickets up to 20:30.

Is there a winner everyday? 

Yes. The jackpot prize money is guaranteed to be given away even if no one matches all five numbers. When this happens the jackpot is split between everyone who matches two or more numbers.

Visit www.nationallottery.co.za and go to the How to Play Daily Lotto section to find out more.

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PowerBall and PowerBall Plus results: Friday, 30 September 2022

Get the PowerBall and PowerBall Plus results as soon as they are drawn on The Citizen, so you can rest easy and check your tickets with confidence.

Estimated PowerBall and PowerBall Plus jackpots for 30 September 2022:

PowerBall jackpot: R24 million.

PowerBall Plus jackpot: R37 million.

Here are the winning PowerBall results for Friday, 30 September 2022:

While great care has been taken to ensure accuracy, The Citizen cannot take responsibility for any error in the PowerBall or PowerBall Plus results. We suggest verifying the numbers on the National Lottery website.

The winning PowerBall numbers will appear below after the draw. Usually within 10 minutes of the draw. You might need to refresh the page to see the updated results.

PowerBall: 07, 27, 29, 35, 50. Powerball: 03.

PowerBall Plus: 07, 08, 12, 34, 40. Powerball: 01.

For more details and to verify the PowerBall results, visit the National Lottery website.

When do South African national Lottery ticket sales close? 

Lottery outlets close at 8.30pm on the day of a draw, which happens at 9pm. The terms and conditions may differ from other service outlets. Visit www.nationallottery.co.za for more information.

You can find the historical winning numbers for PowerBall and Lotto draws here.

How much does it cost to play PowerBall?

PowerBall entries cost R5 per board including VAT. PowerBall Plus costs an additional R2.50 per board. You can also play PowerBall on selected banking apps (T’s & C’s apply).

Visit www.nationallottery.co.za and go to the How to Play section to find out more.

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‘Brutal empire takeover’: New twist in Tammy Taylor Nails salon saga

There is a new twist in the Tammy Taylor Nails salon saga with the South African owner, Melany Viljoen, accusing the original Tammy Taylor of intending a “brutal takeover of the empire Melany Viljoen built.”

Viljoen made this claim in a statement after The Citizen asked her to comment on letters from Tammy Taylor USA’s lawyer, James McQueen, instructing her to cease and desist from using the Tammy Taylor name as she is no longer a licensee or distributor of products.

McQueen has confirmed that the letters were sent but declined to further comment on the issue.

In an email, McQueen states that, as a result of the termination of the relationship between the parties, Viljoen no longer has a right to use the trademarks as part of her business name or domain name or to otherwise suggest that she is still affiliated with or endorsed by Tammy Taylor Inc. He also claims she is infringing on the Tammy Taylor trademarks.

Viljoen and Tammy Taylor Nails has been in the news over the past year after a number of women complained they did not get the nail salon franchises they paid for, while one franchisee has approached the High Court in Pretoria to provisionally liquidate the company, because it seems unable to pay their money back.

Both Viljoen and Tammy Taylor Nails have denied these allegations.

The National Consumer Commission (NCC) has also issued an investigation directive and is now investigating the company after it received complaints from nine people who claim they did not get a franchise after they paid.

ALSO READ: Franchisee gunning for Tammy Taylor Nails SA’s liquidation

‘We have no connection with the Americans

In her statement, Viljoen says Tammy Rae Taylor and her family, who she refers to as “The Americans”, fail to explain the meaning of the word “manufacture”.

“One cannot license something you do not manufacture or did not invent. Melany Viljoen in South Africa developed the concept of the Tammy Taylor franchise. There is no similar salon concept or namesake in the rest of the world,” she says.

She adds that the “general” clause of her franchise agreement states that “we have no connection with the Americans”, but her lawyer omitted to remove any mention of the Americans from the rest of the franchise agreement and Viljoen subsequently terminated her services.

“There seems to be confusion among some reporters that Tammy Taylor is an American franchise group and that the Americans can take it away from South Africa. This is not the case”, Viljoen says.

“The company is owned by Melany Viljoen who first registered the company name at the company registration office (CIPRO) and later followed this up with registering the trademark”.

Viljoen says only the trademark is in dispute and this has no effect on the business model.

“Melany Viljoen and the Americans reached an agreement that in the event of rebranding her empire to Melany’s, there is a condition that the Americans contribute $1 million to rebrand. The Americans seem to have cash flow issues or memory loss.”

Viljoen claims that the trademark shall re-main the property of Melany Viljoen until a South African court rules otherwise. She says the well-being of her franchisees and the quality of the nails her franchisees built remain her only focus.

She says she now buys products in bulk directly from the source and has been doing so for the past three years and that she has enough products to supply the franchisees for at least ten years.

ALSO READ: Tammy Taylor Nails: empty and broken promises

Termination of distribution agreement

Another letter from McQueen refers Viljoen to a part of the distribution agreement that states it can be terminated by written notice of non-renewal at least 60 days prior to the end of any renewal term and that this letter constitutes notice of non-renewal.

Another part of the distribution agreement provides, according to McQueen, that Viljoen must provide a current list of prospects and customers, and their details.

In her answering affidavit to the application for provisional liquidation, Viljoen said the agreement was not cancelled in time and that the women brought the application against the wrong company.

Tammy Taylor Nails states in its answering papers that the franchisees actually contracted with Tammy Taylor Nails Franchising No. 81 (Pty) Ltd, instead of Tammy Taylor Nails SA Franchising (Pty) Ltd.

According to Charl Groenewald, the women’s attorney, a cursory CIPC search seems to show there are about 100 Tammy Taylor nail salons registered in South Africa with Melany Viljoen as sole director.

In court papers, it is alleged that Tammy Taylor Nails “inserted into the franchise agreement the registration of a private company that would be the actual franchisor, as opposed to the franchisor we dealt with and paid” and which “was not even in existence until more than a month later.”

Viljoen also argues that the agreement, which was filed as part of the answering affidavit, contains a clause that reads:

“The franchisee shall have no right to any refund of the franchise fee, or any other sum paid to the franchisor under this agreement.”

Therefore, she believes that the company is not liable to pay any amount.

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‘Northern Cape is rich in minerals but the people live as if they’re in a desert’, says Malema

Economic Freedom Fighters leader (EFF) Julius Malema addressed party members ahead of the third provincial people’s assembly in Northern Cape on Friday.  

The conference is a gathering of duly elected delegates, who will deliberate on the term of the outgoing leadership, and conditions confronting the organisation in the province after the election of new leadership.

Malema explained the significance of having the gathering in the province. He said that Northern Cape is rich with unrealised potential and this conference is a catalyst in changing that.

“The Northern Cape is a strategic province to the fundamental agenda of the return of the land to our people. The Northern Cape is rich with potential but abandoned by those who view our people as voting cows.

“It is a province rich with Uranium, Manganese, Iron Ore, Zinc and Copper, yet our people in Northern Cape live as if they are in a desert,” said Malema.

He highlighted that despite having white-owned mines in the province, regular people remain poor and forgotten.

“The minerals found in this province contribute to the white minority, yet the indigenous people of this land have nothing to show for it. The mining cartel here enjoys the fruit of and minerals of Africa’s wealth without making any contribution to the lives of our people.”

He added that the conference must formulate a plan and strategy on how to develop the province and improve the lives of “ordinary Joes’.

“This conference must therefore make as a priority, a concrete programme of action on how we intend to return the means of production to our people, and this begins by ensuring that the mines in this province develop this province.”

“Therefore, the Northern Cape is unique in that sense, because beneath our feet, in the soil which is red because of the blood spilled in the wars of dispossession.”

“There is an appetite for the EFF in the Northern Cape and we must begin to take our organisation to the people, in order for us to gain the necessary strength to change the inhumane conditions they live in,” he said.

He added that all of this could only be attained through organisational discipline.

The conference will take place until Sunday at the Thabo Moorosi Multi-purpose Centre, Mothibistad.

ALSO READ: ‘Support communities, get young people ready’: EFF’s roadmap to 2024 elections