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 EWN.co.za this morning, over 13,000 pupils from the class of 2021 will be receiving their national senior certificate results under the Independent Examinations Board this morning. The IEB pass rate for this year is 98.39%. It's slightly higher than the 98.06% achieved by the class of 2020. Pupils will make their way to their various schools this morning to collect their statements and decide what next to do with their lives. Meanwhile, scores of school children will take their seats in a classroom this morning as the 2022 academic year gets underway. The Western Cape Education Department says it's ready as it welcomes more than one point one million learners today. In this province, there are children who are yet to be placed at a school.

The Western Cape High Court has ordered the release of alleged Parliament arsonist, Zandile Christmas Mafe, from Valkenberg Psychiatric Hospital. Mafe was admitted to the facility last Thursday, after a district surgeon diagnosed him with paranoid schizophrenia and recommended that he be admitted for a 30-day mental assessment. The 49-year-old, who's contracted COVID-19 and is in isolation for eight to 10 days, is accused of setting Parliament alight earlier this year and faces a raft of charges, including that of arson and terrorism.

The Health Department's ongoing audit continues to uncover backlogs in reporting around COVID-19 deaths. It has confirmed 100 more people have died after contracting the virus in South Africa, however, only 30 of these fatalities occurred between Sunday and yesterday. Taking the backlog into account, it means the country's known national death toll is now at 93,551. South Africa also racked up 3,658 new cases over the past 24-hour cycle, which works out to a positivity rate of 9.2%. The latest available vaccine data shows that just over 29 million jabs have been administered in the country so far.

Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula says he believes in the demerit system and that the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences Act will help reduce road fatalities. The minister says government will appeal last week's high court ruling which found the Aarto Act is invalid and unconstitutional. He's released the latest statistics showing that 1,685 people died on our roads over the festive season. It's a grim 14% increase compared to this time last year.

Two Ladysmith families are searching for their family members following devastating floods in the area. The disaster has disrupted businesses and left over 70 people homeless. The Ziqubu family in Zakheni are searching for 14-year-old Sihle while the Hlongwane family are still looking for 40-year-old Sabelo Mdluli.

The City of Cape Town has called for calm amid fears of renewed taxi conflict following the murder of a Codeta leader. Mzoxolo Dibela, the Deputy Chairperson of Santaco in the Western Cape, was found dead on Monwabisi Beach near Strandfontein on Monday.

Former Sars executive Johann van Loggerenberg has roped in a private security and investigations firm following a burglary at his home yesterday. The break-in follows the release of part one of the state capture commission of inquiry report, where Van Loggerenburg's evidence was heavily relied on. Just last week, former head of the Government Communications and Information Systems, Themba Maseko's home was also targetted.

The lawyer representing the families of the Life Esidimeni victims will continue cross-examining a former senior Gauteng Health official today. This week, the Pretoria High Court's inquiry heard testimony from Hannah Jacobus, one of those who oversaw the deadly move more than 100 psychiatric patients into illegal facilities back in 2016. It was Section27's Advocate Adila Hassim's turn to begin questioning yesterday. Jacobus had earlier testified that due process was not followed in moving the patients to NGOs, some of which had to be newly established just to house those from Life Esidimeni. She told Advocate Hassim that despite the shortcuts, she believed the selected NGOs could safely care for patients.

The case against four men accused of killing socialite, Sam Mbatha, has been postponed to next month in the Ga-Rankuwa Magistrates Court for a decision from the director of public prosecution on whether to move the matter to the high court. Mbatha's loved ones are expected to hold a memorial service for him today following confirmation that the charred remains found in the boot of a car in Klipgat in the North West were his. The suspects were arrested a few days after the grim discovery in June last year.

A man accused of the murder of a 19-year-old woman in Manenberg will remain behind bars until his next court appearance later this month. Elene Lino was stabbed to death -- allegedly by her boyfriend -- over a week ago. Her body was found dumped in a wheelie bin near her home.

In world news, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is scheduled to arrive in Kyiv Wednesday for crisis talks with Ukraine's leaders, as diplomatic efforts to dissuade Russia from attacking its pro-Western neighbour falter.

A wealth tax on the world's richest people could raise at least $2.52 trillion per year, enough to fund COVID vaccines for everyone and lift billions out of poverty, groups including non-profits and millionaires said Wednesday.

VIDEOS

Joburg City Council meeting descends into chaos...again - A special sitting of the City of Johannesburg council was interrupted by chaos over voting procedures on 18 January 2022. Members of the EFF and ANC say they are the Speaker Vasco da Gama’s prisoners and demand a secret ballot when voting for a chair of chairs and portfolio committee chairs.

Irregularities and incidents of group copying detected in 2021 matric exams - Umalusi has approved the release of the 2021 matric results. The quality assurance body also flagged cases of pupils having early access to exam papers as well as incidents of group copying. The irregularities, spotted in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng, are under investigation.

Umalusi weighs in on 30% pass rate debate - Speaking on 18 January 2022, CEO of Umalusi Dr Mafu Rakometsi said the pass requirements in South Africa are in line with international practices. Rakometsi said 30% is the minimum requirement for some subjects and reiterated that obtaining this percentage in all subjects would, in fact, mean a fail.