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 ANC and its alliance partners have come out to bat for the country’s Constitution, bill of rights and the judiciary. According to its president, Cyril Ramaphosa, the alliance movement reaffirms its support and distances itself from narratives that strip away at its transformative intent and gains. He delivered the remarks following the ANC's lekgotla over the weekend. Its been two weeks of a back and forth argument, sparked by an opinion piece penned by national executive committee member and minister, Lindiwe Sisulu over the role of the Constitution and black judges in uplifting the lives of the poor in the country. The NEC also heard calls for Sisulu to be taken to the integrity commission over her criticism and her late-night media statement spat with the president’s office.

The Employment and Labour Department kicks off what it calls a 'mega blitz' in the Western Cape today. Officials will be inspecting some businesses in the hospitality sector from today to ensure they're sticking to employments regulations. The Home Affairs Department - which is responsible for the regulation of immigration labour - legal or illegal - is part of the blitz.

Western Cape Community Safety MEC Albert Fritz has been suspended. In a short statement, Premier Alan Winde says serious allegations involving the MEC were brought to his attention and he's taken action while an investigation is launched. The premier has not revealed the nature of the allegations but he says Fritz is cooperating with the probe.

The South African National Defence Force insists security at the Waterkloof Airforce base is tight. A fire broke out at the base last night. While the blaze was extinguished within an hour, it raised security worries in the wake of the recent attacks on Parliament and the Constitutional Court.

Firefighters have been working throughout the night battling blazes in the Western Cape. The sweltering heat over the weekend made for perfect conditions to fuel two wildfires in the Cape Winelands region. Fire crews were kept busy in Cape Town too.

The ongoing audit by the Health Department has confirmed another 114 COVID deaths here on home soil. However, the department says only 17 of these people died over the past 48 hours, meaning the vast majority of these fatalities occurred before Friday. We also racked up 1,931 more infections over the latest 24-hour reporting cycle. On the vaccine front, over 29.3 million jabs have been administered in the country so far.

Herman Mashaba's outfit, ActionSA, hot on the heels of battles with Makhosi Khoza, is moving on and set to announce a prominent new member. This as it charts its way towards the 2024 general elections. The party, in a cryptic media alert, says the individual being announced will add great value to the party and to its programme of governance and diversity of leadership. But some have been wondering if this could be yet another DA leader making their way to ActionSA. The party has benefitted from a series of black talent who no longer felt comfortable in the country's main opposition.

The Commission for Gender Equality wants those who allowed a child rapist to be appointed as mayor, held accountable. This comes after ICOSA's Jeffery Donson was booted out of the Kannaland municipality last week. A motion of no confidence was tabled against Donson, his deputy Werner Meshoe.

There's been yet another suspected politically-motivated killing in KwaZulu-Natal. Councillor Minenhle Mkhize was shot dead outside his home on Saturday. It's understood he was ambushed by gunmen after he returned from a soccer match.

The family of South African veteran actor and activist, Patrick Shai, say they're still processing the news of his death. Shai passed away at the age of 57 on Saturday. It's understood the Soweto-born actor took his own life. With a career that spanned more than 30 years, he starred in countless TV shows, films and theatre productions. In a brief statement, Shai’s family announced that details about his funeral will be shared at a later stage. Meanwhile, South Africans, politicians, organisations and the entertainment fraternity have paid tribute to the late actor.

The woman accused of stealing R4 million in a trolley heist will return to court for a bail application this morning two years after running off with the cash. Bathobile Mlangeni worked as a security guard at cash-in-transit company, SBV, when she was caught on CCTV cameras leaving the Mall of Africa with the money in the trolley. She was arrested in Zola, Soweto earlier this month after police received a tip-off.

The Gauteng Health Department has confirmed a vaccination team stationed in Pretoria was robbed at gunpoint in Soshanguve. In the latest attack on the government’s vaccination pop-up sites, a group of health workers administering jabs were held up by five men on Friday. The criminals fled with gadgets, including two tablets and five cellphones belonging to the team. Gauteng Health spokesperson Kwara Kekana says the attacks are hampering vaccination efforts. In December, a mobile vaccination team in Soshanguve was also robbed at gunpoint at the Wonder City taxi rank.

The Western Cape and Cape Town government have once again come under fire for their roll in the destruction of a Khoi cultural heritage site. Khoi activists took them and developers of Amazon's African headquarters to the Western Cape High Court last week, seeking an urgent interdict against the build. Aside from the underlying river system, it marks the site where indigenous South Africans first victoriously fought off colonialists. During the 3-day trial, Deputy Judge President Patricia Goliath heard of how the site was originally awarded a protection order by Heritage Western Cape, to give them time to assess its cultural value.

In news abroad, the Omicron variant has moved the COVID-19 pandemic into a new phase and could bring it to an end in Europe, the WHO Europe director said Sunday.

Waving signs denouncing President Joe Biden and calling for "freedom," several thousand people demonstrated in Washington Sunday against what some described as the "tyranny" of COVID-19 vaccine mandates in the United States.

French designer Thierry Mugler, who reigned over fashion in the 1980s and died on Sunday, was as famous for his fantastical couture as for his blockbuster fashion shows. He was 73.