The Eyewitness News Breakfast Brief

Eyewitness News previews a selection of the news that you will find on the website today.

Picture: Stephanie Albert/Pixabay

CAPE TOWN - South Africa's daily COVID-19 casualties are on the rise again. Eighty more people have died in the country after contracting the virus. These fatalities, recorded over the past 24 hours take our known death toll to 88,754. over that same time frame, 591 more tests also came back positive, with the country's known caseload since the start of the pandemic at over 2.9 million. On the vaccine front, 20.7 million jabs have been administered in the country so far. It's hoped that this number will rise significantly now that youngsters between the ages of 12 and 17 are eligible.

Former President Jacob Zuma is expected to lay a criminal complaint against State prosecutor Billy Downer in Pietermaritzburg this morning. Zuma's lawyers have repeatedly targeted Downer during the arms deal corruption case against him in the Pietermaritzburg High Court but the State is arguing that this has already been dealt with.

Southern African Development Community envoys have now been deployed to troubled Eswatini following days of violence in the kingdom. In his capacity as chair of the SADC organ on politics, defence and security cooperation, President Cyril Ramaphosa has dispatched a team, including Jeff Radebe, who will seek an audience with King Mswati III. Citizens are demanding the resignation of the king in the kingdom formerly known as Swaziland. According to the latest reports, a high school was set on fire and an unknown number of civilians were wounded in the capital city, Mbabane.

The Special Investigating Unit says an application by former Health Minister Zweli Mkhize challenging its report does not stop its recommendations from being implemented. Mkhize wants the High Court in Johannesburg to review and set aside the findings and recommendations in the report which looks into the multi-million rand tender awarded to Digital Vibes. He also wants it declared unlawful and unconstitutional. The SIU says it notes Mkhize's legal application but its report stands.

It has been six weeks since a provincial police task team was stationed in Mamelodi to investigate gang-related murders and no arrests have been made. Recently, rumours about a killer dubbed "John Wick" have been making the rounds in the township after a spate of killings and attempted murders of people suspected to be part of a local gang.

Smaller political parties like the Democratic Independents in the Western Cape - who consider themselves kingmakers - say they will be mounting a serious challenge at the November polls. Some have told Eyewitness News they are hedging their bets on discontent towards big parties like the African National Congress and the Democratic Alliance in the City of Cape Town and Nelson Mandela Bay metros. While the DA, which achieved its best-ever local performance in 2016, is expected to hold on to its Cape Town crown jewel, the results could go in any direction in the other metros.

The University of Cape Town says its council thoroughly discussed its mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy and took into consideration a range of diverse views. The institution is asking staff and students to get their shots by the first of January if they want access to campus. UCT management has resolved that a panel be established to develop the operational details to implement the policy.

The Transport Portfolio Committee has welcomed the intervention by transport authorities in Gauteng - in the feud between taxi associations in that province. Over the weekend - at least four taxis were torched and other vehicles were damaged - as a result of a dispute between two rival taxi groups. The Nancefield Dube West Association and the Witwatersrand African Taxi Association - are fighting over routes in the Joburg CBD and Soweto.

Masiphumelele residents say they are still in the dark about plans for permanent housing. A fire devastated the area in December, gutting hundreds of homes and leaving thousands destitute. Those affected say they were promised homes this year but claim there's no proper communication about any progress.

The State has argued that eight Nigerian men accused of running an internet romance scam are flight risks. They appeared in the Cape Town Magistrates Court yesterday following their arrest in Tableview on Monday. It's alleged they scammed citizens in the US and other parts of the world out of more than 6.8 million dollars.

Limpopo police are still searching for four brothers aged between 6 and 15 after they were apparently kidnapped in Polokwane while en route to school. It is believed that seven heavily armed men wearing white overalls kidnapped the siblings yesterday. Their parents are calling on anyone who knows where they are to help with the investigation.

In international news, former US president Donald Trump announced plans Wednesday to launch his own social network, in the latest push to reclaim his internet dominance after he was banned from Twitter and Facebook in the wake of the violent Capitol insurrection.

Australia delivered a withering denunciation of China's trade policies Thursday, accusing Beijing of undermining the World Trade Organization and foot-dragging on promised economic reforms.

VIDEOS

‘Police need to respond quicker'- Cele visits family of slain EFF councillor candidate - Police Minister Bheki Cele visited the family of slain EFF councillor candidate Thulani Shangase in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands on 20 October 2021. He also visited other hotspots in the area. Speaking to the media, the minister emphasised that the police needed to establish quicker response times.

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