Fake pastors and false prophets rock churches in South Africa – BBC Africa 3/23/2019

Rape and fraud scandals involving fake pastors have prompted calls for regulation of churches in South Africa. There have been a number of high- profile cases in recent months involving disgraced pastors and self-proclaimed prophets. President Cyril Ramaphosa has even got involved, urging South Africans to come together to curb bogus pastors. Victims of alleged sexual abuse have detailed their experiences to the BBC and criticised the invulnerability of so-called men of God who use their position of authority as a cover for abuse. Mbulelo Mtshilibe reports

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Over 1,000 feared dead after cyclone slams into Mozambique (South Africa) 3/19/2019

Damages are seen in a street of Beira, Mozambique, on March 17, 2019, in the aftermath of the passage of the cyclone Idai. – A cyclone that ripped across Mozambique and Zimbabwe has killed at least 162 people with scores more missing and caused “massive and horrifying” destruction in the Mozambican city of Beira, authorities and the Red Cross said on March 18, 2019. (Photo by ADRIEN BARBIER / AFP) (Photo credit should read ADRIEN BARBIER/AFP/Getty Images)

JOHANNESBURG — More than 1,000 people were feared dead in Mozambique four days after a cyclone slammed into the country, submerging entire villages and leaving bodies floating in the floodwaters, the nation’s president said.

“It is a real disaster of great proportions,” President Filipe Nyusi said.

Cyclone Idai could prove to be the deadliest storm in generations to hit the impoverished southeast African country of 30 million people.

It struck Beira, an Indian Ocean port city of a half-million people, late Thursday and then moved inland to Zimbabwe and Malawi with strong winds and heavy rain. But it took days for the scope of the disaster to come into focus in Mozambique, which has a poor communication and transportation network and a corrupt and inefficient bureaucracy.

Speaking on state Radio Mozambique, Nyusi said that while the official death toll stood at 84, “It appears that we can register more than 1,000 deaths.”

Emergency officials cautioned that while they expect the death toll to rise significantly, they have no way of knowing if it will reach the president’s estimate.

More than 215 people were killed by the storm in the three countries, including more than 80 in Zimbabwe’s eastern Chimanimani region and more than 50 in Malawi, according to official figures. Hundreds more were reported injured and missing, and nearly 1,000 homes were destroyed in eastern Zimbabwe alone.

Doctors Without Borders said rivers have broken their banks leaving many houses fully submerged and around 11,000 households displaced in Nsanje, in southern Malawi.

U.N. agencies and the Red Cross helped rush emergency food and medicine by helicopter to the stricken countries.

Mount Chiluvo in central Mozambique was badly hit by flooding. One resident said he heard a loud noise, like an explosion, and suddenly saw a river of mud rolling toward his home.

“I was indoors with my children, but when we looked we saw mud coming down the road towards the houses and we fled,” Francisco Carlitos told Lusa, the Portuguese News Agency. The family lost their home and possessions but safely reached higher ground.

The country’s president, who cut short a visit to neighboring Swaziland over the weekend because of the disaster, spoke after flying by helicopter over Beira and two rural provinces, where he reported widespread devastation.

“The waters of the Pungue and Buzi rivers overflowed, making whole villages disappear and isolating communities, and bodies are floating,” Nyusi said.

The United Nation’s humanitarian office said the government issued flood warnings and said heavy rains were forecast for the next 24 hours, including in areas already hit hard by Idai.

The Red Cross said 90 percent of Beira was damaged or destroyed. The cyclone knocked out electricity, shut down the airport and cut off access to the city by road.

U.N. officials cited reports that Beira Central Hospital’s emergency room was flooded and without power, and that much of the building’s roof had collapsed. Doctors Without Borders said it had completely ceased operations in Beira hospital, local health centers and throughout the community.

The destruction in Beira is “massive and horrifying,” said Jamie LeSueur, who led a Red Cross team that had to assess the damage by helicopter because of the flooded-out roads.

The U.N. also warned of devastation outside Beira, in particular of livestock and crops.

“As this damage is occurring just before the main harvest season, it could exacerbate food insecurity in the region,” the U.N. humanitarian office known as OCHA said.

Mozambique is a long, narrow country with a 2,400-kilometer (1,500-mile) coastline along the Indian Ocean. It is prone to cyclones and tropical storms this time of year.

In 2000, Mozambique was hit by severe flooding caused by weeks of heavy rain, a disaster made much worse when a cyclone hit. Approximately 700 people were killed in what was regarded as the worst flooding in 50 years.

Mozambique won independence from Portugal in 1975 and then was plagued by a long-running civil war that ended in 1992. Its economy is dominated by agriculture, and its exports include prawns, cotton, cashews, sugar, coconuts and tropical hardwood timber.

More recently it has been exporting aluminum and electric power, and deposits of natural gas were discovered in the country’s north.

Samora Mangesi: South African presenter ‘victim of racist attack’ 3/14/2019

A black South African TV and radio presenter has said he was the victim of a racially motivated attack after stopping to help a group of white people whose car had overturned.

Samora Mangesi tweeted photos of the injuries he sustained in the alleged assault, which he said happened on Friday.

He and his two female friends were called “monkeys”, he said.

When they asked why they were being insulted, he was beaten unconscious.

During the alleged attack in the city of Johannesburg, Mangesi, who is a presenter for SABC, said he received injuries to his face and was bruised along the side of his body after being kicked on the ground.

“Even whilst I was being put in the ambulance, one of these guys tried to run my friend over with his bakkie [pick-up truck] and the paramedics had to intervene.”

In the days following the attack, his memory was “very sporadic”, he said.

“As much as they say I was awake, I don’t remember being in the ambulance, arriving at the hospital nor much of the treatment.”

He thought about “letting it go and just continuing with my life”, but has now reported the incident to police, he added.

A police spokesman told the BBC that a case of alleged assault was being investigated.

News of the alleged assault has sparked anger on local social media, reports the BBC’s Pumza Fihlani in Johannesburg.