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 this morning, a panel of experts looking into the July violence has found that the instability in the police's leadership ranks and the strained relationship between Minister Bheki Cele and National Police Commissioner Khehla Sitole is not conducive to providing coherent leadership to the police and the public at large. The panel was appointed by President Cyril Ramaphosa to investigate the cause of last year's unrest, which resulted in hundreds of deaths, economic devastation and strained relations in some communities. The panelists looked at why the police failed to prevent the violence as people felt abandoned by the state, while the police were simply not up to the task of protecting the public.

Eskom says it is not satisfied with the performance of some of its senior staff and will be implementing sanctions. Eskom group chief executive Andre de Ruyter says as soon as they've been informed, further details will be made known. Barely 24 hours after suspending load shedding stage 1, the power utility yesterday implemented stage two power cuts from 9pm until 5am this morning. During a media briefing yesterday, De Ruyter said the power utility had a significant deterioration in the performance of its generation system, losing a number of units. The ailing utility says it needed to replenish further reserves and might need to extend the power cuts beyond today.

Meanwhile, Eskom does not anticipate any interruptions to the electricity supply to the Cape Town City Hall on Thursday when the president is expected to deliver his State of the Nation Address.

President Cyril Ramaphosa's June 2019 State of the Nation Address listed state security as one of the institutions which had been affected by state capture. At the time, he promised South Africans that decisive steps to root out corruption in those organisations were under way and already producing results. Ramaphosa is expected to revisit the question of intelligence this week after a series of events, including Parliament being set ablaze and the July 2021 unrest which saw infrastructure being damaged and widespread looting in the country. This week will also be the first time he addresses the nation since major shifts at the State Security Agency.

Trade union federation Cosatu says it would like to hear President Cyril Ramaphosa give clarity on the implementation of policies regarding the employment of foreigners during his State of the Nation Address. Last week, the Home Affairs Department gazetted an updated critical skills list for South Africa, highlighting scarce skills in the country. This amid heightened tensions on the prioritisation of foreign nationals in certain fields.

DA federal council chairperson Helen Zille says the party will not bring the EFF into government anywhere even if it's to save its current coalitions which are in charge of several municipalities with the help of the red berets. Zille was reacting to ActionSA's claims that its coalition partners are shortsighted for refusing an EFF proposal for its councillors to support the multi-party governments across Gauteng's metros. In turn, the EFF wanted committee chair positions but the majority of the coalition parties rejected the proposal. ActionSA has complained that this showed a lack of commitment to making the coalitions work and keeping the ANC out of power. It warns that failing to pass a budget in May or facing a motion of no confidence in the Ekurhuleni mayor may find the minority government there out in the cold.

After nearly six years awaiting trial behind bars, the Thulsie twins have been convicted and sentenced in the High Court in Johannesburg after entering into a plea agreement with the State. In the deal, the brothers pleaded guilty to some of the terror-related charges against them and were handed eight years and eleven years imprisonment respectively, minus the time they have spent in custody. The trial was set to begin on Monday following years of delays and a failed bail attempt. The pair faced charges relating to the contravention of the protection of the constitutional democracy against terrorism and related activities.

The Ntuthuko Shoba murder trial resumes this morning and a friend of Tshegofatso Pule has been recalled to the witness stand. Shoba is the accused mastermind behind his pregnant girlfriend's murder - pule was shot and hanged from a tree in Durban Deep in 2020. Muzikayise Malephane has confessed to the murder and is serving a 20-year sentence. But he has heavily implicated Shoba, telling authorities that he was hired by him to carry out the crime.

Sentencing has been delayed in a landmark case where a trio of men were found guilty of gang-raping a gay man. The Worcester Regional court was meant to sentence Austin Fritz, Rodney Beukes and Peter John Adams yesterday but had delayed the hearing until 1 March. It's emerged that one of the accused was a minor at the time, and already had a criminal record for violent crime. Back in August 2017, the trio kidnapped and repeatedly raped a young man in the Western Cape's Ceres region. It was allegedly the second time the victim had been attacked by the group, before choosing speaking out. LGBT right group, the Triangle Project's Sharon Cox says this is their first successful conviction in a gay-male rape case. But because the 2018 Hate Crimes bill has still not been signed into power, the judge will not be able to sentence the group for their homophobia. Despite this and yesterday's delay, Cox says the victim is still hopeful he'll see justice served.

The South African Health Products Regulatory Authority says it's received acceptable safety, quality and efficacy data on the Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine. SAHPRA has given the go-ahead for the jab to be used in the country. The authorisation is however subject to a number of conditions which includes that the vaccine is supplied and administered in accordance with the national coronavirus vaccination programme. It's administered as two doses by intramuscular injection at an interval of 2 to 4 weeks. The regulator has also registered the Pfizer jab, which was previously registered for emergency use only. Spokesperson, Yuven Gounden, says the Sinopharm COVID-19 jab has been authorised for people 18 and older.

The City of Cape Town says fewer people are practicing safe sex, while sexually transmitted infections are rising. The findings are based on an apparent drop in the use of condoms based on stock levels.
Facilities have also reported more STIs.

The Western Cape Social Development Department says over a period of about eight months, over 48,000 children were reported to be victims of violence or abuse. The provincial department has revealed the latest statistics involving the period between the 1st of April to the 31st of December last year.

An Eastern Cape man accused of the rape and murder of his own child will next week find out when he'll undergo mental evaluation. The 27-year-old made a first appearance in the Port St Johns Magistrates Court yesterday following his arrest over the weekend.

With pupils officially back at school, full-time, the need to build more schools in Kraaifontein in the Western Cape has become more urgent. Yesterday, thousands of pupils returned to classrooms. Government's new COVID-19 rules indicate pupils no longer need to practice strict social distancing - but have to wear a mask.

In international news, Faced with accusations of "alarmism" over a possible Russian invasion of Ukraine, Washington is on the defensive over the credibility of its warnings, even as it keeps certain cards close to its chest.

A convoy of trucks and campervans blocked streets near New Zealand's parliament in Wellington Tuesday to protest against COVID restrictions and vaccinations, inspired by a similar demonstration in Canada.

And Senegal arrived home on Monday after winning the Africa Cup of Nations, to hundreds of thousands of ecstatic and chanting fans. Massive crowds of supporters descended on a military airport in the West African country's capital Dakar, blowing vuvuzelas and waving flags, to celebrate the victory.


ActionSA concerned Ekurhuleni coalition may collapse - Speaking at a press briefing on 7 February 2022, ActionSA national chairperson Michael Beaumont and its president Herman Mashaba said they were worried about developments in the Ekurhuleni metro. Mashaba and Beaumont said should the coalition government in the metro not survive, the ANC would regain control of it.

Reiger Park - A community in turmoil - In the east of Johannesburg, residents of Reiger Park in Boksburg say that their small community has been forgotten by the government for a number of years. The community is facing a litany of challenges, such as illegal electricity connections and easy access to mine dumps, all of which is placing their lives in danger.