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, President Cyril Ramaphosa will not be asked to appear before Parliament's Standing Committee on Public Accounts to answer questions about the misuse of state funds for political campaigns. The decision was taken last night after ANC members on Scopa used their majority to vote down the proposal. It was backed by the DA, the EFF and committee chairperson, IFP MP Mkhuleko Hlengwa. Earlier yesterday, Ramaphosa had said he is willing to meet with the public spending watchdog if it asked him to. Ramaphosa has told Scopa he had no direct knowledge of the abuse of funds, as suggested in a leaked recording of him speaking at a closed meeting of the ANC's national executive committee last year.

President Cyril Ramaphosa says if anything keeps him awake at night, it’s the country’s growing unemployment crisis. He says the state of the economy and the 11 million citizens who don't have jobs are among the country’s biggest challenges. Ramaphosa was speaking at a press conference yesterday following the parliamentary debate on his State of the Nation Address.

The Jacob Zuma Foundation says the decision to deny the former president leave to appeal is unfair. Yesterday, the Pietermaritzburg High Court dismissed yet another attempt by the former president to challenge Advocate Billy Downer's prosecution in his case. Zuma believes Downer will not prosecute him fairly. But Judge Piet Koen does not agree and says the trial against Zuma and arms company Thales should proceed in April.

The Mahikeng High Court will today hear an urgent application from disgruntled ANC North West members who are challenging the party's processes in the build-up to the 2021 local government elections and the events that transpired afterward. Seven members from that province claim both the candidate nomination and selection processes were riddled with irregularities. They accuse the interim provincial committee of changing the ANC's list to reflect their own preferred candidates instead of those selected by community members. Last month, provincial list committee chairperson Lorna Maloney spoke out against the IPC, slamming it over what she called the "gross manipulation of processes". Former ANC deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe had raised his own reservations about the two structures which were at loggerheads, even laying a complaint against coordinator, Hlomani Chauke.

South African Medical Research Council president, Professor Glenda Gray, has stressed political will, combined with expert input, can help address the problems in the country's healthcare sector. It's exactly one year since a group of health workers, together with President Cyril Ramaphosa and health minister at the time, Zweli Mkhize, received COVID-19 vaccinations at the Khayelitsha District Hospital. Following news that the AstraZeneca jab was less effective against the beta variant, Gray's ingenuity and collaboration with other scientists, resulted in the birth of the Sisonke vaccination programme for health workers.

South Africa's daily COVID-19 positivity rate has edged up to 9.7%. This means that the country recorded 3,699 new cases over the past 24-hour reporting cycle. Sadly, the ongoing audit by the Health Department has uncovered another 89 deaths linked to the virus as well. Seven of these deaths occurred over the past 48 hours, meaning the vast majority of these people died sometime before Monday. On the vaccine front, over 30.7 million jabs have been administered here on home soil.

The first healthcare worker in South Africa to receive a COVID-19 vaccine says it's protected her from contracting the coronavirus. Sister Zoliswa Gidi-Dyosi, a nurse at Khayelitsha District Hospital, received her jab exactly a year ago today. Twelve months later, just over 40% of the country's adult population has been fully vaccinated.

EFF leader Julius Malema has defended his party’s version of “Dubul' ibhunu”, insisting struggle songs are not meant to be interpreted directly. Malema has taken the stand in the Johannesburg High Court in a civil case brought by AfriForum over the continued use of the song by the party and its leaders. The lobby group wants the court to declare that it constitutes hate speech and for the red berets to apologise for chanting it on various occasions. The legal tussle over the song, which translates to "shoot the boer", goes as far back as 2010 when Malema was still leader of the ANC Youth League.

The prosecution in the Ntuthuko Shoba murder trial has put it to him that he killed Tshegofatso Pule and her unborn baby because she added to his financial burden. Shoba was under cross-examination yesterday in the Johannesburg High Court. He is accused of orchestrating the murder of 28-year-old Pule, who was his girlfriend. She was hanged from a tree in Durban Deep.

The funeral of the late Nomakula 'Kuli' Roberts is set to take place in a private ceremony in an undisclosed location today. The funeral procession is due to start at 9am. She passed away after she collapsed on the set of her new television project in Kyalami last Wednesday. She was 49. The cause of her death has not been revealed.

The family of a murdered teenager can finally plan his funeral after DNA tests confirmed the identity of remains discovered in Klawer. It's alleged 13-year-old Jerobejin Van Wyk was killed after stealing mangoes from a tree in 56-year-old Daniel Smit's garden earlier this month. Smit was been charged with murder after remains were found in a drain on his property.

The man arrested for allegedly killing a mother and her two-year-old daughter in Melkhoutfontein near Still Bay is expected to appear in court tomorrow. The local resident will appear in the Albertinia Magistrates Court. Annemique Manho and her child, Almique, were found dead in their home on Monday - Valentine's Day.

The Western Cape Education Department says it's investigating an incident where a black pupil was humiliated at a Milnerton school. It's alleged that a black pupil was forced to bow on his knees before a fellow white pupil at Milnerton High School last week. It's alleged the incident started with a fight over a bench during the break.

Ahead of the budget speech next week, the Beer Association wants the Finance Minister to ensure the future sustainability and profitability of the industry. It wants Minister Enoch Godongwana to announce excise relief to protect businesses across the beer value chain. This comes ahead of Godongwana's inaugural Budget Speech next week.

In news abroad, the United States on Wednesday dismissed reports that Russia was withdrawing troops from Ukraine's border, instead accusing Moscow of sending more soldiers as fears of an invasion grow.

US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen says "some global fallout" would result if the West moves ahead with the punishing, coordinated sanctions threatened against Russia, should it attack Ukraine.


Zuma's bid to remove prosecutor Downer from corruption case denied - Judge Piet Koen denied former President Jacob Zuma's appeal to remove state prosecutor Billy Downer removed from his corruption case in the Pietermaritzburg High Court on 16 February 2022.