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 this morning, just as City of Johannesburg Mayor Dr Mpho Phalatsi hails the latest council sitting as a victory for democracy, the ANC has written to Gauteng Cooperative Governance MEC Lebogang Maile to complain about proceedings. The DA and its coalition partners managed - on the third try - to elect Section 79 committee chairs - despite the Speaker being accused of presiding over a fraudulent system. ANC, EFF and minority parties have taken issue with the Speaker continuing from the last sitting where they withdrew their own nominations to contest for those positions. Disruptions rocked the two previous sittings, with the first one turning violent and parties abandoning the second. The ANC's caucus leader, Mpho Moerane, says it was wrong of the DA's Vasco da Gama not to allow debate in council.

National Police Commissioner Khehla Sitole is under pressure to address unanswered questions relating to the 2020 assassination of organised crime detective, Charl Kinnear. Yesterday, Eyewitness News revealed that police watchdog Ipid had taken action after he failed to cooperate with its probe. However, the national commissioner says it's not true that he's holding up the probe. In a statement, he says he was the one who referred the Kinnear case to Ipid for investigation and he's now perturbed that it has laid a criminal complaint against him. The slain investigator's wife, Nicolette Kinnear, says she just wants the truth about why her husband was killed.

DA leader John Steenhuisen says the party will be first in line to lay criminal charges against its suspended Western Cape Community Safety MEC, Albert Fritz. Steenhuisen says the party supports any inquiry by police and the Western Cape government into the allegations of misconduct levelled against Fritz. Western Cape Premier Alan Winde, who suspended Fritz at the weekend, has appointed a lawyer via the State Attorney to probe the allegations. Fritz also decided to temporarily stop his responsibilities as interim leader in the province pending an investigation against him. His conduct relates to the alleged sexual assault charges of several women employed in his office. Steenhuisen says the party takes the allegations seriously.

Murder accused Ntuthuko Shoba has denied that he wanted Tshegofatso Pule to have an abortion, insisting he was excited about having a baby. Shoba is standing trial for Pule’s murder and defeating the ends of justice. He is the alleged mastermind who hired the man convicted of killing Pule - Muzikayise Malephane. He's been testifying over the last three days about the events leading up to Pule's killing. The woman's body was found tied to a tree in Durban Deep in June 2020 - she was 8 months pregnant at the time.

The Health Department's ongoing audit has uncovered another 160 COVID-related deaths. 34 of these fatalities happened over the past 48 hours, meaning the vast majority of these people died sometime before Tuesday. Over the latest 24-hour reporting cycle, 4,100 new infections were also confirmed here on home soil. It's a 10.5% positivity rate. On the vaccine front, the latest available data shows just over 29. 7 million jabs have been administered in the country so far.

Eskom CEO Andre de Ruyter says it's a balancing act to keep the lights on, with considerable amounts of diesel used for maintenance. Eskom management has given details about the way forward and load shedding.
De Ruyter says maintenance is not difficult to plan but the quality of work is a problem. But he says they are making progress anyway. However, De Ruyter hasn't ruled out more power cuts this year.

Data analyst Bryan Turner says President Cyril Ramaphosa's call for the Special Investigating Unit to probe Telkom's affairs may be in retaliation for the company's efforts in hindering the urgent release of radio frequency spectrum. The president gave the unit the green light to investigate the network giants' botched expansion into Nigeria and Mauritius following corruption and maladministration allegations dating as far back as 2006. The probe involves the sale of i-WayAfrica, Africa Online Mauritius, and Multi-links Telecommunications Limited.

The Freedom of Expression Institute has warned against the SABC being used in political battles. It's weighed in after the public broadcaster's editor-in-chief, Phathiswa Magopeni, lodged formal complaints of editorial interference and abuse of power against the CEO, Madoda Mxakwe. She's also laid a complaint against board chairperson Bongumusa Makhathini.

WIth high inflation forecast, there are worries that the SA Reserve Bank will be left with little choice but to hike rates again. Governor Lesetja Kganyago announced a 25 basis points hike yesterday in the repo rate in an effort to curb inflation. Nedbank economist, Isaac Matshego, says the inflation outlook is worrying. Chief economist and founder of Pan-African Investment and Research Services, Iraj Abedian, says more increases are expected.

The Basic Education Department says it's important that learning and teaching is inclusive for children with disabilities. The overall focus of day 2 of the education lekgotla is the recovery plan for schools after two years of disruptions and the implementation of inclusive education for people with disabilities.

An alleged serial killer linked to multiple murders and kidnappings in Polokwane has abandoned his bail application. Themba Dube made his second appearance in the Seshego Magistrates Court yesterday. The 36-year-old Zimbabwean national faces seven murder charges, seven kidnapping charges and one for being an illegal immigrant.

Colleagues, friends and family have been celebrating the life of the late veteran actor Patrick Shai, with many saying he was a man with an abundance of love to give. Shai took his own life at his home in Soweto on Saturday. A memorial service was held at the Market Theatre in Johannesburg yesterday.

In international news, the United States and Germany on Thursday warned Russia that a major gas pipeline was at stake if it invades Ukraine, as Washington voiced hope for a diplomatic way out despite frigid statements from Moscow.

Apple reported record $124 billion quarterly revenue on Thursday, despite a global chip pinch and shifting impacts of the pandemic that have weighed down other big tech players.

Sci-fi epic Dune, coming-of-age drama Licorice Pizza and musical remake West Side Story received major boosts in Hollywood's awards season race Thursday as several of the film industry's top guilds unveiled their nominees.


'South Africa let us forgive'- Patrick Shai remembered at memorial service - Speaking at her husband's memorial service, Mmasechaba Shai called on people to forgive Patrick Shai for his mistakes, saying that his past shouldn’t taint his legacy. The memorial service for the veteran actor took place at the Market Theatre in Johannesburg on 28 January 2022.