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

On this morning, 11 more people have died after contracting the virus taking our known death toll to 88,925. Over the past 24-hour reporting cycle, 300 tests also came back positive, with our caseload since the start of the pandemic at over 2.9 million. On the vaccine front, 21.3 million jabs have been administered in the country so far, however, many people still need to get their second Pfizer shots.

Stage 2 load shedding has been suspended this morning but Eskom will be switching off power again tonight and tomorrow to replenish energy reserves for the week ahead. The power utility says a unit at its Koeberg plant went offline yesterday, putting its aging and unreliable infrastructure under more pressure.

With local government elections just days away, voters are hoping their votes will make a difference. But experts are warning it will take a mammoth effort to halt the decline that has brought municipalities across the country to a state of near-collapse. In some parts of South Africa, residents have taken matters into their own hands, successfully persuading the courts to take away powers, functions and budgets away from councils and give them to concerned citizens to fix crumbling infrastructure themselves.

In spite of its dismal track record, the ANC is likely to be returned to the helm in most municipalities across the country, although coalitions are again probable in key metros like Johannesburg, Tshwane, and Nelson Mandela Bay. The party has pledged to do better, as it appeals for voter support come November the first. The country's biggest opposition party, the DA, is meanwhile punting its track record of good governance in the municipalities it controls. but whoever wins, it will take a mammoth effort to halt the decline of local government and turn things around.

As politicians race through the last days of campaigning to secure votes for the local government elections, underperforming municipalities have been thrust under the floodlight once again. With its years-long political and ultimately governance problems, the North West has been highlighted, especially by the Auditor-General, for a total neglect of internal control disciplines and a lack of accountability. This has had direct repercussions for residents who have, for the longest time, battled and pleaded for efficient services.

ANC veteran Kgalema Motlanthe has urged the party’s councillor hopefuls to be loyal servants of the people if voters choose them. Motlanthe was in Soweto yesterday to help boost the ANC’s support ahead of next week’s polls.

As political parties ramp up their campaigns ahead of the local government elections, a Limpopo councillor hopeful is raising eyebrows. 29-year-old Godfrey Skosana is a Freedom Front Plus candidate contesting the polls in Sephaku, near the farming town of Groblersdal. Skosana is hoping to make inroads in his black rural village for a party traditionally known to attract white, mostly Afrikaner voters.

A big week awaits thousands of the country's matriculants who will in about 48 hours' time sit for the start of this year's final year exams. Nearly 900,000 pupils in public schools have registered to write exams at 11,000 centres across the country. Those in private schooling started last month with more than 13,000 candidates registered.

Kagiso residents in the west of Johannesburg, are calling for improved policing after a deadly mass shooting over the weekend. Police are investigating the murders of 7 people after they were shot by a lone gunman, who wounded 5 others. Police say he shot a man, his girlfriend and their neighbour on Saturday night. He then reportedly continued shooting randomly as he left the house, killing more people, among them guests at a wedding next door.

Five men accused of killing Bafana Bafana captain, Senzo Meyiwa, are expected to appear in the High Court sitting in the Palm Ridge Magistrates Court today for the setting of a trial date. The men were arrested and charged in October last year but have all maintained their innocence. Meyiwa was shot in October 2014 while visiting his girlfriend, singer Kelly Khumalo, at her mother’s house in Vosloorus.

Police in the Western Cape are searching for three thieves who robbed the Sir Lowry's Pass satellite police station. The men made off with firearms, cellphones and a laptop during the attack on Saturday night.

With the arrival of warmer temperatures around the country, the sun's not the only force of nature that'll be making more of its appearance. Snakebite season in full swing and South Africans in several provinces have been warned to be vigilant especially from this month through to February. Many cases are often reported in KwaZulu-Natal, the Western Cape, Gauteng, the Northern Cape and Mpumalanga during this period.

In news abroad, Sudan's Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok has been put under house arrest after an unidentified military force besieged his house early this morning. According to a report, Hamdok's arrest came shortly after a military force stormed the house of the prime minister's media adviser and arrested him.

The Eswatini’s Peoples United Democratic Movement says they remain determined to fight for democracy. The party held a briefing yesterday following protests that flared up in the country for more than two weeks, spearheaded by students, civil servants, and transport workers in Africa's last absolute monarchy. The protests led to the indefinite closure of all schools last week and the shutdown of the internet for at least two days. Pudemo's president Mlungisi Makhanya has appealed to people of Eswatini to not lose hope.

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