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, ANC treasurer-general Paul Mashatile says party president Cyril Ramaphosa has never refused to account for his leaked comments on the role of money in ANC conferences. The treasurer-general made the comments in Soweto after paying his respects following the death of former Human Settlements Minister Tokyo Sexwale’s mother. Mashatile says Mervyn Dirks has come under fire in the ANC for failing to follow proper processes and not for calling on Ramaphosa to account. In leaked audio from a closed national executive committee meeting, Ramaphosa said he’d rather fall on his sword than have the public find out their money was being used to fund internal contests.

The Umkhonto weSizwe joint conference preparatory committee believes united, it can assist the ANC slow its downward trajectory. It has announced that it will be taking the combatants from the ANC's former liberation army to conference between the 27th and 30th of next month. The two factions of MK had been warring over the rightful representative of the veterans, with the ANC deciding to disband both structures amid the fighting. And the MKMVA over the years had cemented itself as a mouthpiece for former President Jacob Zuma.

Gauteng Judge President Dunstan Mlambo has spelt out a comprehensive vision for an independent and effective judiciary, as well as modernising South Africa’s creaking court system. Mlambo spent yesterday being grilled by members of the Judicial Service Commission, in a day-long interview that ran well over time. Mlambo has a track record of strong leadership and the ability to turn around dysfunctional institutions, such as Legal Aid SA. He’s also tech-savvy, and led the process of introducing an online court documents system in the Gauteng division of the High Court. Having overseen the building of new high courts in Limpopo and Mpumalanga, he says part of his mission is to ensure greater access to justice for all, especially the rural poor.

All references to an unfounded allegation of sexual harassment against Mlambo are to be deleted from the record of the proceedings of the Judicial Service Commission. Mlambo was effectively ambushed as he was not informed that the issue would be raised during his interview for the position of Chief Justice yesterday, in accordance with the JSC’s rules of procedure. Mlambo denied the rumour as baseless and said it was clearly intended “to poison his candidature” for the judiciary’s top job.

Former Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng says he apologises for comments made on the Israeli-Palestinian confict but is thankful that he was not made to renounce God and the Bible. His controversial comments on the Middle East were made during a webinar hosted by the Jerusalem Post in June 2020. Several organisations complained and the matter was heard by the Judicial Conduct Committee. Mogoeng has clarified that he did not say he would not apologise under any circumstances, rather, he said he would not unless forced by law. The SA BDS Coalition's Roshan Dadoo says by bringing in religion, the former Chief Justice's apology is aimed at causing confusion. Dadoo says whether or not it's sincere, Mogoeng's apology, if it complies with the judicial committee's instruction, is a victory for ordinary people.

Alleged parliament arsonist, Zandile Mafe, will today learn whether he'll be released on bail. He was arrested on the day a devastating fire damaged the National Assembly and Old Assembly Chamber in Cape Town on the second of January. Mafe faces charges of arson and terrorism.

SABC executives chairperson Bongumusa Makhathini and Madoda Mxakwe have taken aim at former head of news Phathiswa Magopeni, accusing her of lying. Mxakwe this week responded to a grievance from Magopeni, lodged in November, while Makhathini's submitted an affidavit to respond to allegations made by her. The ex-head of news has accused the pair of editorial interference.

The defence in Ntuthuko Shoba's murder trial has recalled the State's first witness to the stand as the State starts wrapping up its case. Shoba is the alleged mastermind behind the murder of his pregnant girlfriend Tshegofatso Pule in 2020. The young woman was found hanging from a tree in Durban Deep after being shot in June that year. Muzikayise Malephane confessed to the crime and he is currently serving a 20-year sentence but he has also heavily implicated Shoba in the murder.

The ANC in KwaZulu-Natal says the killing of three women in Inanda, north of Durban, last year ahead of the local polls was not linked to a political conflict. eThekwini ANC councillor Themba Mguni and a branch executive committee member, Nomthandazo Mbeje have appeared before the Ntuzuma Magistrate's Court in connection with the killings. Four other suspects were previously released on bail. The ANC says it welcomes the arrests, however, this is not linked to politics.

The Body Action Gym has approached the Competition Commission to investigate what it claims to be the unfair business practice between Discovery Vitality, Virgin Active and Planet Fitness. The Johannesburg gym says Discovery subsidises up to 100% of their members gym fees when signing up with Virgin Active or Planet Fitness and refuses to allow any other competing gym facility to participate in this arrangement.

Is your licence card about to expire at the end of next month? Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula is warning you not to wait until the last minute to renew it. He's urged drivers to use the RTMC's licence renewal facilities, claiming they've been under-utilised since their launch last year. Mbalula has given an update on the licence backlog, he says more than 2 million licences will expire on the 31st of March. He says 1.5 million of these are covered by the COVID grace period.

Nestlé South Africa has announced a voluntary recall of a limited number of KIT KAT products due to the possibility that they may contain glass pieces. The company says to date, it has not received any complaints or reported injuries. It adds that they are taking the action out of caution having discovered the presence of small pieces of glass during its quality and safety checks. Nestlé says the affected products were produced over a limited period adding the voluntary recall covers only products with specific production codes that can be found on the label.

Hip-hop artists have been celebrating the first-ever permanent hip-hop museum, showing off their moves in Newtown, Johannesburg. Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa launched the venue yesterday.

In international news, the Pentagon said Thursday it had evidence of a plan by Moscow to film a fake Ukrainian attack on Russians to justify a real assault on its pro-West neighbour.

Oxford researchers announced on Thursday the discovery of a highly virulent strain of HIV that has been lurking in the Netherlands for decades, but because of the effectiveness of modern treatments, is "no cause for alarm."

The head of embattled streaming service Spotify has told staff that Joe Rogan is vital to the company, but that he doesn't agree with the controversial podcaster.

Mohamed Salah's Egypt are through to the final of the Africa Cup of Nations after beating hosts Cameroon 3-1 on penalties at the end of a goalless 120 minutes in Yaounde on Thursday. Egypt will face Senegal in Sunday's final.