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 EWN.co.za this morning, the man accused of setting Parliament alight is due back in the Cape Town Magistrates Court today. Zandile Christmas Mafe, 49, was arrested following the blaze that gutted the National Assembly chamber as well as sections of the Old Assembly. Mafe faces charges relating to arson, possession of an explosive device and housebreaking.

And despite the fire, Parliament wants to push ahead with certain key events, insisting the Budget Speech still be done within its precinct. The damage to parts of the national legislature is vast and has already led to the State of the Nation Address being moved to City Hall. The exact circumstances surrounding the disaster are still being probed.

South African researchers, together with some international counterparts, are working towards clinical trials to stop long-term COVID after being the first to discover what is causing the ailment. Medical reports show that long COVID has affected up to 100 million people globally. According to the World Health Organization, long COVID usually occurs 3 months from the onset of a COVID-19 infection, with symptoms that last for at least 2 months and cannot be explained by an alternative diagnosis. The head of physiological sciences at Stellenbosch University, Professor Resia Pretorius, says they need to test possible treatments.

Meanwhile, 2,409 COVID-19 cases have been reported in the country over the last 24-hour reporting cycle under review. The National Institute for Communicable Diseases has recorded 77 COVID-19 related deaths.
This brings to 92,530 the number of fatalities reported in the country so far. There's been a downward trend in the infection rate over the past few days. The latest increase of cases represents a 14% positivity rate.

Eskom says it will continue to have a shortfall of more than 4,000 megawatts generation capacity this year, which will continue to grow, increasing the risk of load shedding. This week, corporate companies are resuming full operations for the year, while inland schools are set to open from Wednesday, resulting in more people consuming electricity again. Last year was one of the worst years that South Africa experienced load shedding, with more than 47 days of rolling power cuts.

The Cape Town law enforcement officer who allegedly shot and killed a homeless man is appearing the Wynberg Magistrates Court this morning. The officer was arrested after reportedly shooting the man in the face during an altercation on Sunday.

Fire crews remain on scene, battling a blaze in Kleinmond. Western Cape Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning MEC Anton Bredell visited the scene yesterday. Bredell says the wildfire has been raging since the weekend and started in Highlands in an old pine plantation of the National Department of Forestry, Fisheries and Environmental Affairs. He says the blaze has so far destroyed more than 3,700 hectares of fynbos and plantations. Yesterday, only one building had been destroyed and no fatalities were reported. The Western Cape is currently in the midst of its fire season which takes place during the hot, dry and windy summer months and on average sees between 17,000 and 20,000 fires each year.

Motorists and residents in the Eastern Cape's flood-affected areas are being warned against trying to cross flooded pathways. The South African Weather Service is forecasting scattered showers will continue throughout the week.

In international news, tennis superstar Novak Djokovic said on Monday he was still hoping to compete in the Australian Open after winning a stunning victory over the Australian government in his visa battle.

US President Joe Biden plunges into a historic, politically explosive battle on voting reforms Tuesday with a speech in Georgia, the heart of the US civil rights struggle.

North Korea fired a "suspected ballistic missile" into the sea, South Korea's military said Tuesday, ratcheting up tensions less than a week after Pyongyang reported testing a hypersonic missile.

And US surgeons have successfully implanted a heart from a genetically modified pig in a 57-year-old man, a medical first that could one day help solve the chronic shortage of organ donations.