Authorities seek answers after 21 teens mysteriously found dead at South African nightclub

South African authorities were seeking answers Monday after 21 underage teenagers reportedly celebrating the end of school exams died in a mysterious incident at a nightclub. The bodies of many of the victims, the youngest just 13, were discovered by police lying on tables, slumped over chairs and sprawled on the floor of the club in the early hours of Sunday morning.

Police spokeswoman Col. Athlenda Mathe said the investigation into the deaths at the Enyobeni Tavern in the city of East London in Eastern Cape province was ongoing and no cause of the deaths had yet been established.

But Police Minister Bheki Cele said forensic samples taken from the victims were being sent to a toxicology laboratory in Cape Town, indicating that police were investigating whether the victims had ingested a poison or toxin. Cele said the toxicology tests might take “a lot of time.”

Provincial safety official Unathi Binqose told the Daily Maverick newspaper that the victims may have ingested a toxic substance through alcohol they were drinking or through hookah pipes, which were being smoked at the party. Initial reports speculated that the teenagers may have died in a stampede because of overcrowding at the party, but authorities found no visible signs of injuries on the bodies.

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South Africa considers requiring citizens to turn over biometric data to own a phone

Governments of several nations around the world have considered using biometric data during SIM card registrations as a “fraud deterrent.” The proposals have always faced pushback for being a clear challenge to privacy.

Biometric data or identifiers include scans of a fingerprint, palm, retina, or the entire face of the user. South Africa has become the latest nation to consider SIM laws that make this data a mobile phone registration requirement.

Identity and other thieves can still hack phones with current security measures. Biometric data makes it more difficult because a criminal would need biometric proof that they own a phone and have the right to unlock it.

Acquiring body scans illegally is a difficult process. Governments hope that the extensive time and financial effort required to copy or mimic the biometrics of a specific person might deter criminals from hacking phones.

They also hope it might deter criminals from using their own phones for criminal activities since biometrics data creates a solid link between them and their phones that investigators can trace from a phone used in a crime back to the owner.

The telephone regulator for South Africa believes that all SIM card records should have biometric identifiers. For now, the data would only be used for basic authentication of ownership and monitoring of SIM swaps.

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South Africa enforces sweeping internet censorship law to tackle “hate speech”

The South African government has enforced a controversial internet censorship law that was passed in 2019. Legal experts have raised concerns about the law being abused.

On March 3, South Africa’s Film and Publications Board (FPB) announced that the law had come into effect on March 1. Internet users violate the law if they post prohibited content, which is defined as content that could be deemed incitement of violence, war propaganda, child pornography, and hate speech.

The law has raised concerns among legal experts as it could be used to restrict free speech and was became law surprisingly quickly.

From My Broadband:

“However, media and civil society only learned that this had happened on the day the law came into effect because the Film and Publications Board (FPB) invited the press to attend a media briefing about it on 3 March.

This is because the Government Printing Works has not published gazettes to its website since mid-January, effectively cutting citizens off from essential information about what their government is doing.”

Dominic Cull, the founder of legal consultancy firm Ellipsis Regulatory Solutions, said: “One of my big objections is that if I upload something which someone else finds objectionable, and they think it hate speech, they will be able to complain to the FPB.”

“If the FPB thinks the complaint is valid, they can then lodge a takedown notice to have this material removed.”

Cull also pointed out that the FPB does not have elected officials; it is composed of government appointees, people who should have no authority to make decisions on constitutional and free speech issues.

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Latest Omicron Data Directly Counters the Tyrannical Proclamations by Western Leaders

The latest data out of South Africa looks to be very good news in regards to the Omicron variant of COVID-19. Despite a month of hysterics from mostly Western leaders, it appears the initial evidence that Omicron is mild is playing out over time.

South Africa, despite being in the midst of its Omicron wave, is reporting lowering hospitalization rates. Worldwide deaths due to the variant also remain extremely low.

This per the New York Post.

The South African health minister delivered some encouraging news Friday about the rapidly spreading Omicron variant, citing a much lower rate of hospitalizations amid a milder form of the illness.

Only 1.7 percent of COVID-19 patients were admitted in the second week of infections during the fourth wave of the pandemic, compared to 19 percent in the same week of the third Delta-driven wave, Joe Phaahla told reporters, Bloomberg News reported

…“We believe that it might not necessarily just be that Omicron is less virulent, but … coverage of vaccination [and] … natural immunity of people who have already had contact with the virus is also adding to the protection,” Phaahla said, according to Reuters.

This is excellent news for those who don’t rely on COVID-19 to maintain their notoriety, financial gains, and power. And while South Africa’s health minister is also crediting vaccinations, the country has only administered enough doses to fully vaccine 23% of the population. In other words, South Africa is far worse off than the “unvaccinated” areas in the United States that politicians are constantly preaching doom about.

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