The Eyewitness News Breakfast Brief

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

Picture: Engin Akyurt/Pixabay

On this morning, the High Court in Pretoria will hear argument this morning against the Basic Education Department’s decision not to release last year’s matric results on media platforms. The court application by AfriForum, Maroela Media and Anle Spies – a 2021 matriculant – is asking the court to compel the department to continue with the release, arguing that the sudden change is both irrational and ill-informed. The parties have applied for an urgent interdict.

While it seems ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa and national executive committee member, Lindiwe Sisulu, have kicked off their campaigns for party presidency, analysts say the race for the second position is also heating up. They say the campaigns are taking shape after Ramaphosa's big showing during the ANC's 110th birthday and Sisulu's recent spate of open letters attacking the country's Constitution and judiciary. During the ANC's Limpopo January 8 celebrations, leaders like Paul Mashatile and Ronald Lamola expressed some keenness to serve as the ANC's number 2 while negotiations and campaigning at local level is well underway. But some pundits have already written off the much-anticipated ANC elective conference set for December, saying it no longer matters who puts up their hands to lead. Unisa's Professor Lesiba Teffo says the ANC's elections should be focused on meritocracy.

Our daily COVID-19 positivity rate has slipped to 9.3%. According to the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD), 1,691 tests came back positive over the past 24-hour reporting cycle. The Health Department has also confirmed 87 more deaths but it's once again pointing to the backlog in reporting as only 25 of these fatalities occurred over the past 48 hours. These take our already grim death toll to 93,451. On the vaccine front, just under 29 million vaccines have been administered in the country so far.

Alleged Parliament arsonist, Zandile Christmas Mafe, is today set to challenge the court order referring him for mental observation. The 49-year-old faces five charges including arson, terrorism and housebreaking with the intent to steal. On Saturday, Mafe's defence team appeared before the Western Cape High Court where it was decided their judicial review of his referral to Valkenberg Psychiatric Hospital will be heard this week.

It's day two of the national energy Regulator's public hearings on Eskom's proposed tariff increase. The utility's asking for a more than 20% hike in the price of power. But how much more can already overburdened consumers afford? Yesterday, submissions were made in the Western Cape and Eastern Cape. Hearings now move to KwaZulu-Natal. Cape Town Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis says the national energy regulator should not underestimate the harsh economic realities facing South Africans, warning that an electricity increase would be unfair.

About 70 people left homeless in the wake of the floods in Ladysmith are now calling on government to move them away from the area. The group have been given shelter at an indoor sports complex and they're worried about their lost belongings and unkept promises around RDP housing.

Jaillian van Staden's family say they want the police to explain why it took more than an hour to respond to reports of domestic violence in which she was stabbed to death allegedly by her husband. The family say frantic neighbours tried to call for help until one of them travelled to the Booysens Police Station to report the crime. Police, however, claim no calls were made before the complaint was logged at the station. Van Staden's uncle says they're now left wondering if she would still be alive had the police responded in time.

Former Gauteng senior health official Hannah Jacobus claims there was not enough time to move mentally ill patients from Life Esidimeni facilities. She's set to take the stand again today, on day 2 of this week's inquiry into the disaster. These hearings are trying to determine whether anyone should be held criminally liable for the deaths of more than 140 vulnerable psychiatric patients who were moved to illegal NGOs by government in 2016. Jacobus says she was originally tasked with finding new accommodation, but quickly realised there were not enough hospital space or NGOs to house them.

Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula has again promised Cape Town train commuters the long-stagnant central line will be fully operational by the end of July. Yesterday, Mbalula conducted an oversight visit on the northern line to monitor the progress of a station upgrade project. Not a single train has moved on the central line since October 2019.

In international news, aid agencies reported "extensive damage" in the Pacific island nation of Tonga on Tuesday following a massive underwater volcanic blast and tsunami, as the first death from the disaster was confirmed.

Sudanese forces opened fire killing seven protesters Monday in one of the deadliest recent mass rallies against a military coup, with UN Security Council members urging Khartoum to exercise the "utmost restraint".

Members of Martin Luther King Jr's family joined marchers Monday in Washington urging Congress to pass voting rights reform as the United States marked the holiday commemorating the slain civil rights leader.

China's postal service has ordered workers to disinfect international deliveries and urged the public to reduce orders from overseas after authorities claimed mail could be the source of recent coronavirus outbreaks.


'We were incredibly disturbed' - Multiparty coalition addresses disruption at Joburg council meeting - On 17 January 2022, the multiparty coalition governing the City of Johannesburg hosted a media briefing after the recent disruption at the city’s first council meeting of the year.

Ladysmith flooded after heavy rainfall - Heavy rainfall has caused severe flooding in parts of Ladysmith and other areas in KwaZulu-Natal, forcing businesses and schools to close, while trapping people in homes submerged in water.

Cops in Julies, Ntumba murders return to court - Police officers accused of killing 16-year-old Nathaniel Julies in August 2020 returned to court on 17 January 2021. The murder trial of four other police officers also began in the Johannesburg High Court. They are accused of the murder of Mthokozisi Ntumba, who was shot and killed allegedly by police during a student protest.