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, from the Digital Vibes scandal to the Eastern Cape's scooter ambulances and the multi-million rand contract between controversial businessman Hamilton Ndlovu and the NHLS, the SIU report details the plunder that took place in all spheres of government in the country's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Presidency has made public the report into over 5,000 contracts valued at over R14 billion, which were investigated by the SIU. Of those, 45 dodgy deals constituting a combined value of R2.1 billion have been enrolled with the special tribunal on corruption, fraud and illicit money flows.

The SIU investigation has determined that the national Department of Transport failed to follow a proper and lawful procurement process in the appointment of service providers for the provision of PPE items required by the taxi industry. The SIU has briefed counsel through the office of the State Attorney, with the instruction that a review application be brought in the special tribunal involving more than R24 million. This is for failing to comply with Section 217 of the Constitution and involves three companies, of which two have been linked to Santaco's CEO.

EFF leader Julius Malema has questioned the timing of placing the country's state security agency under Minister in the Presidency, Mondli Gungubele. He's suggested that the money will be used for the internal ANC leadership contest just as the commission of inquiry into state capture heard had happened in the past. The EFF leader even recalled the testimony of a spy who said they carried bag loads of cash to the ANC's 2017 elective conference. Malema has referred to private donations for the controversial CR17 campaign, which was used to further ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa's ambitions to become the party's president and ultimately the country's head of state.

A war of words has broken out between the ANC and DA, over the suspension of the Western Cape Community Safety MEC, Albert Fritz. The ANC'S accusing the DA and Western Cape government of a cover-up around the misconduct allegations against Fritz. The provincial legislature Speaker has refused the party's request to summon Premier Alan Winde to face questions on the debacle. The DA's Reagan Allen says the ANC is politicising the issue.

Another 132 COVID-19 related deaths have been discovered here in South Africa. The Health Department says only 23 of these fatalities occurred over the past 48 hours, meaning the vast majority of these people died sometime before Sunday. These deaths take our known national death toll to 94,397. We also racked up 3,197 new infections over the past 24-hour reporting cycle - it works out to a positivity rate of 8.8%. Taking a look at the latest vaccination stats, just over 29.5 million jabs have been administered in the country so far.

Stats SA has guaranteed the public that their information will be treated with confidentiality when it conducts the 2022 national census. 148,000 officials will be deployed across the country to collect data next month as part of the population and household census.

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga says safety in schools remains a priority for her department as they focus on providing a conducive environment for learning and teaching. Safety has been questioned after deputy principal, Thembisile Ngendane, was shot dead while leaving her school on Friday. Gunmen opened fire on her vehicle.

Convicted killer in the Tshegofatso Pule murder trial, Muzikayise Malephane, has told the court that Ntuthuko Shoba wanted her dead because he did not want his wife to know that he had impregnated another woman. Shoba is standing trial for Pule's murder and defeating the ends of justice in June 2020. Pule (28) was eight months pregnant and her body was found hanging from a tree in Durban Deep. Malephane, who turned State witness, is serving a 20-year sentence for killing Pule.

The Esikhawini Regional Court has heard that convicted hitman Fisokuhle Ntuli, who was sentenced to six terms of life imprisonment and 39 years, deserves to be removed from society permanently. Ntuli was found guilty of killing six people, including a cousin. He is also a potential suspect in another 14 cases in Gauteng. Magistrate Sifiso Madida told the court that the convicted criminal had no regard for human life.

Amcu's Joseph Mathunjwa says the South African government is responsible for finding a solution for the grieving families of three Lily Mine workers who are presumed dead after the container they were working in was buried during the 2016 mine collapse. The families of Solomon Nyirenda, Pretty Nkambule and Yvonne Mnisi have marked 1,000 days camped outside the mine near Barberton in Mpumalanga where they are calling for answers following the tragedy while blaming the government for its lack of intervention. Mathunjwa says government has sent rescue teams to assist other countries retrieve trapped miners and they should do the same at Lily Mine.

It’s been a week since coastal school reopened and some children in the Western Cape have yet to see the inside of a classroom. Western Cape Education Department officials are still scrambling to find space for hundreds of pupils. The provincial standing committee on education was briefed by department officials yesterday.

Gift of the Givers founder, Imtiaz Sooliman, has reiterated calls for government to improve its support of the country's public healthcare sector. The NGO has donated 5-million-rand to kickstart a Groote Schuur Hospital project aiming to reduce the massive backlog in patients waiting for essential surgery at the facility. His goal is to generate more funds that'll allow the healthcare facility to perform at least 1500 surgical procedures over the space of a year.

In news abroad, African football supremo Patrice Motsepe says an "inexplicable" decision to keep an entry gate closed was responsible for the deadly crush which killed eight people before an Africa Cup of Nations match in Cameroonian capital Yaounde on Monday.

The United States on Tuesday warned Moscow of damaging sanctions, including measures personally targeting Vladimir Putin, if it moves ahead with an invasion of Ukraine, as Russian combat troops massing around the pro-Western country launched new exercises.

The risk level related to the Omicron variant remains very high, the WHO said late Tuesday, with the numbers of new COVID-19 cases hitting another record high last week.

VIDEOS

How Census 2022 will happen - Deputy Minister in the Presidency, Thembi Siweya, outlined Stats SA’s state of readiness to conduct the nationwide population and housing census, Census 2022 from 3 to 28 February 2022.

Motshekga: Phomolong teacher was not shot by pupil that failed matric - Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga, along with Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi, visited Phomolong Secondary School in Thembisa on 25 January 2022. The visit comes after the school's deputy principal Thembisile Ngendane was shot and killed as she was leaving the school last week.

Malema: End lockdowns, make alternative vaccines available - EFF leader Julius Malema spoke on COVID-19 lockdowns and vaccines during a media briefing on 25 January 2022.

Malema to DA: The EFF door is still open - Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema spoke on working with the Democratic Alliance during a media briefing.