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 DA doesn't believe there is any justification to continue with rotational schooling. With pupils back in class for the new academic year, the party is heading to court to try and force government to allow all learners to return to school on a full-time basis. Party leader John Steenhuisen says rotational learning is robbing learners of valuable learning time. Steenhuisen also argues that the one metre social distancing rule for schools is being inconsistently applied.

Former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela says in institutions like the South African Revenue Service, cadre deployment went further than just business interests. She says the Zondo Commission's findings showed more of a "hijacking" of the state as opposed to capture through cadre deployment. Madonsela was discussing the commission's findings at a public discussion with leaders of the DA yesterday.

Step aside or no step aside - insiders in the Limpopo ANC have indicated they want Danny Msiza for provincial secretary. They've rallied behind him ahead of the province's elective conference, which is set to take place in March. Msiza is currently out of office due to the party's step aside resolution, which calls for those facing charges to voluntarily vacate their offices or be summarily suspended. He is said to remain a powerful figure in the province in spite of the 2017 resolution. ANC regions and provinces are in a race against time to renew their mandates ahead of its national policy and elective conferences.

The ongoing backlog audit by the Health Department has uncovered another 156 deaths linked to COVID-19 here on home soil. The department says only 36 of these people died over the past 48 hours, meaning the vast majority of the fatalities occurred before Monday. The latest stats show 4,322 new infections were also picked up over the latest 24-hour reporting cycle. On the vaccine front, 29.1 million jabs have been administered here on home soil so far.

President Cyril Ramaphosa says a local COVID-19 vaccine production hub holds the promise of propelling Africa into a new era of health science. The president and South African-born biotech billionaire, Doctor Patrick Soon-Shiong, launched the NantSA facility in Cape Town yesterday. The campus is a division of Soon-Shiong's multinational US conglomerate NantWorks and it will focus on the production of 2nd generation COVID-19 jabs as well as cancer vaccines.

As police investigations continue into the mysterious murders of five men in Freedom Park, Gauteng Police Commissioner Elias Mawela is expected to visit the area this morning. The bodies were discovered with gunshot wounds beside the Golden Highway yesterday near an informal settlement called Lapland.

The investigating officer in the case of a North West woman accused of wiping out her family in an alleged hit has given details of the confession reportedly made by the accused about the day her father, mother, brother and pregnant sister were killed. Onthatile Sebati is accused of paying cousins, Tumelo and Kagiso Mokone, to kill her family members at their Mmakau home in 2016. Bail proceedings for the three - who were arrested last month - are expected to continue in the Brits Magistrates Court today.

More accused are expected to be added to the Nafiz Modack gang-underworld case when it returns court at the end of next month. Modack - an alleged gang boss - was in the Blue Downs Regional Court yesterday - where his bail bid failed. He and two co-accused face charges of murder and attempted murder for allegedly orchestrating the hit on organised crime detective Charl Kinnear in September 2020.

Cross-examination of a former senior Gauteng health official will continue when the Life Esidimeni inquest resumes later this morning. Hannah Jacobus - the sixth witness called to testify - oversaw the disastrous relocation of more than 140 psychiatric patients to illegal facilities in 2016. The inquest resumed in the Pretoria High Court at the start of this week.

The Western Cape Education Department says it's doing everything it can to find space for hundreds of school pupils in the province. Over 3,000 children in the province are in limbo and unplaced even as the new school year enters its second day.

There's still no sign of a 14-year-old boy who is believed to have drowned in Ladysmith during flooding last Friday. 14-year-old Sihle Ziqubu was apparently swept away by the Klip River while swimming with his friends last week. His mother, Thulile Ziqubu, says friends have told her that her child disappeared in the water.

Colleagues, friends and family gathered at the North West University’s Mahikeng campus to remember slain socialite Sam Mbatha. Mbatha – who was employed as a digital marketer at the university – was killed in Klipgat last year – but DNA results confirming the charred remains found in the boot of his car were his were only released earlier this month. Four men were arrested days after the discovery after bloodstains and an axe were found in a house in Klipgat. The North West NPA’s Henry Mamothame says a warrant of arrest has been issued for one of the men accused of killing Mbatha after he failed to appear in the Ga-rankuwa Magistrates Court on Tuesday.

In news abroad, Joe Biden sought to reset his presidency in a marathon first-year press conference Wednesday, vowing to reconnect with voters and touting successes, while delivering blunt assessments of the "disaster" facing Russia if it attacks Ukraine.

The US Supreme Court on Wednesday rejected a bid by former president Donald Trump to block the release to a congressional committee of documents related to the 6 January attack on the Capitol.

A court-appointed psychiatrist on Wednesday said Anders Behring Breivik is as dangerous now as when he carried out Norway's deadliest peacetime attack in 2011, seemingly quashing his already-slim chances of early release.

VIDEOS

‘Africa will stand on its own’ - SA vaccine plant unveiled in Cape Town - President Cyril Ramaphosa, and South African-born health technologies billionaire, Doctor Patrick Soon-Shiong, unveiled the vaccine manufacturing campus in Cape Town on 19 January 2022.

Malema visits restaurants to assess whether they are employing South Africans - EFF leader Julius Malema, along with other party members, visited various restaurants at the Mall of Africa on 19 January 2022. Malema said they were conducting oversight visits to assess whether South Africans were being employed in the hospitality industry.