Jean-Jacques Cornish

Rubber bullets fired at Mabopane looters

Police fired rubber bullets and live rounds at looters in a mall north of Pretoria last night  where two bodies were discovered earlier bringing the death toll in pre-election violence in the South African capital this week to five.

The violence dashed hopes that order was returning to the streets after protests against the ANC leadership naming a Zulu mayoral candidate for local elections in August.

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Mabopane north of Pretoria has been a hotbed of violence since Sunday, with protestors burning buses and looting foreign owned shops.

ANC Mayoral  candidate Thoko Didiza, a former cabinet minister, insists she’s not the reason for the unrest.

Originally from KwaZulu/Natal she has been made to feel welcome since taking up home in Pretoria more than a decade ago.

She’s never felt foreign in the capital and is convinced the violence following her nomination does not reflect the feelings of the community.

Once again last night police were engaged in running battles   with residents who turned to looting.

They’re demanding the incumbent Mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa  be retained.

State Security Minister David Mahlobo says the violent protests have been well planned and coordinated.

Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa Nqakula says law enforcement agencies won’t allow anarchists and gangsters to take over the capital.

Authorities have denied reports that police were  under resourced in facing the demonstrators.

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Jean-Jacques Cornish is a journalist and broadcaster who has been involved in the media all his adult life.

Starting as a reporter on his hometown newspaper, he moved briefly to then Rhodesia before returning to South Africa to become a parliamentary correspondent with the South African Press Association. He was sent to London as Sapa’s London editor and also served as special correspondent to the United Nations. He joined the then Argus group in London as political correspondent.

Returning to South Africa after 12 years abroad, he was assistant editor on the Pretoria News for a decade before becoming editor of the Star and SA Times for five years.

Since 1999 he’s been an independent journalist writing and broadcasting – mainly about Africa – for Talk Radio 702 and 567 Cape
Talk, Radio France International, PressTV, Radio Live New Zealand, Business Day, Mail & Guardian, the BBC, Agence France Press,
Business in Africa, Leadership, India Today, the South African Institute for International Affairs and the Institute for Security Studies.

He has hosted current affairs talk shows on Talk Radio 702 and 567 Cape Talk. He appears as an African affairs pundit on SABC Africa and CNBC Africa.
He lectured in contemporary studies to journalism students at the Tshwane University of Technology and the University of Pretoria.

He speaks on African affairs to corporate and other audiences.
He has been officially invited as a journalist to more than 30 countries. He was the winner of the 2007 SADC award for radio journalism.

He’s been a member of the EISA team observing elections in Somaliland, Democratic Republic of Congo, Madagascar, Zimbabwe, Egypt and Tunsiai.

In October 2009 he headed a group of 39 African journalists to the 60th anniversary celebrations of the Peoples’ Republic of China.

In January 2010 he joined a rescue and paramedical team to earthquake struck Haiti.

He is immediate past president of the Alliance Francaise of Pretoria.

Jean-Jacques is a director of Giant Media. The company was given access to Nelson Mandela in his retirement years until 2009.
He is co-producer of the hour-long documentary Mandela at 90 that was broadcast on BBC in January 2009.