Today's Big Stories

Tributes pour in for Joe Cocker, Gwede defends Tom Moyane & EFF await judgement

The Western Cape High Court should today deliver judgment in the EFF's application for an urgent interdict against Parliamentary sanctions. The Parliamentary Powers and Privileges Committee (itself composed largely of ANC members) found 20 EFF Members of Parliament guilty of Contempt of Parliament after they shouted "pay back the money" during President Jacob Zuma's question session in August.

The Economic Freedom Fighters wanted to know when the President would pay back part of the money spent on the multi-million rand security upgrades to his private home in Nkandla.

Malema is due to join Koketso Sachane (standing in for Redi Tlhabi) from 10am...

Meanwhile ANC Secretary General Gwede Mantashe has defended SA Revenue Services Commissioner Tom Monyane's decision to suspend his deputy Ivan Pillay for a second time ... and has denied that political pressure played any role in the decision.

DA Leader Helen Zille has suggested that President Jacob Zuma is behind Pillay's suspension and another senior SARS official - in an attempt to protect himself and the ANC.

Pillay was slapped with the sanction for a second time last week shortly after a court overturned his first suspension in the aftermath of a probe into claims of a spy unit within the organisation.

Joe Cocker’s music will be played more than normal today. The Grammy and Oscar-winning singer died yesterday at the age of 70 at his home in Colorado after a battle with lung cancer.

Joe Cocker performing at Festival du Bout du Monde in 2013

Joe Cocker was born May 20, 1944 in Sheffield, England where he lived until his early 20’s. An outstanding interpreter of songs, his successes include a Number One single in the UK in November 1968 with his version of the Beatles' ‘A Little Help from My Friends’. Joe's career took off considerably after he performed this song at the Woodstock Festival in August 1969.

Cocker is also well known for his epic ‘Mad Dogs and Englishmen’ Tour of 1970, which featured over 40 musicians touring 48 cities across the US, resulting in a third gold album by the same name and a concert film. Just over Ten years later, Cocker then won his first Grammy in 1983 on a duet with Jennifer Warnes called ‘Up Where We Belong’, the theme from the 1982 film ‘An Officer and a Gentleman’.

Joe went onto receive an OBE (Order of The British Empire) in 2011 for his contribution to music. One of the most prolific artists of his era, Joe Cocker released 40 albums in his 50 year career.

Joe Cocker is a legendary artist of rock and blues history and yet he was one of the most humble men I've ever met. His iconic voice will forever be etched in our memories and our thoughts go out to Joe’s wife Pam and his family at this difficult time. Joe will live on in the hearts of millions of fans around the world.

Edgar Berger, Chairman and CEO, Sony Music Entertainment, International, who had signed Joe Cocker to Sony Music Entertainment.

His official website still says nothing of the great artist’s passing but his Facebook page is adorned in a black masthead – with this statement posted to the top...

John Robert Cocker, known to family, friends, his community and fans around the world as Joe Cocker, passed away on December 22 after a hard fought battle with small cell lung cancer. He was 70 years old.

Joe enjoyed long walks in the mountains with his dogs, fly fishing in the Black Canyon, playing snooker with friends and growing tomatoes in his greenhouse year-round.

Joe Cocker is survived by his wife, Pam, of Crawford; his brother Victor Cocker of Norfolk, England; his step daughter, Zoey Schroeder of Stevenson Ranch, CA and two grandchildren, Eva & Simon Schroeder.

A private memorial is planned. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to The Cocker Kids’ Foundation, P.O. Box 404, Crawford, CO. 81415

Official Joe Cocker website

Time Magazine meanwhile have compiled this collection of his most iconic songs...

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