Today's Big Stories

Soweto calm following violent looting

Soweto unrest update: over the last two days, dozens of shops have been looted in various parts of Soweto - looted mainly by teenagers. There is also a big debate about whether this violence is targeted at people who are not South African or whether it is young people simply ransacking shops for criminal reasons. In the meantime, police say they’ve moved foreign shop owners to a location that they will not disclose. Hanging over these incidents is the spectre of what happened in 2008 – when 62 people were killed - because they were foreign nationals. EWN Senior Correspondent, Alex Eliseev:

It has been quiet throughout the morning and the police have held briefings with us twice today already and they've been very good with briefing us. We have been out on the street and monitoring and we've seen a lot of shop owners that have closed their doors. Everybody's sending the same message, that this is criminal activity that can't be condoned. There are mixed messages coming out about the situation with people saying the instigators are teenagers that are on drugs, and police have been receiving intelligence to pin down the instigators, because people don't know why the looting has been spreading from area to area.

Economic Councillor at the Somalian Embassy, Yusuf olusu:

We definitely believe these incidents are xenophobic. Since 2008, these incidents have been there. There could be violence today and none tomorrow. But we are thankful to the Police Commissioner for addressing the situation. Before we thought it was criminal elements that were doing this, but now it seems that it's the whole community that is doing this. It's suddenly become a part of our lives.

At the same time, many of these attacks have been against smaller business owners in Soweto. Minister of Small Business Development, Lindiwe Zulu:

We will always be worried with any situation where there's violence and acts of criminality, especially those that include a loss of life. We as government cannot turn a blind eye. The government of the province has been very good since they responded to these incidents immediately. We don't want to be a country of lawlessness, it doesn't matter who owns the shop, no one has the right to just come and loot at a shop. This is a second economy that we need to harness, but we need to support our people. Many of the Somalis for instance have experience in business because many of them grew up in families who were traders. There is a program of government's to resuscitate and develop the township economy.

Selebi, the legacy: confirmation in the last two hours that former National Police Commissioner Jackie Selebi has died at the age of 64. Selebi was convicted of corruption in 2010 after it was found that he took money from drug dealer Glenn aggliotti. Mandy Wiener was the EWN reporter who covered his trial and the case that was linked to that – the death of Brett Kebble. Wiener is also also the author of "Killing Kebble":

I think he will leave behind very complex legacy. There are two distinct parts of his career - pre the corruption trial and post it and his associations with Glenn Agliotti. Selebi had always maintained there was a plot against him by the Scorpions throughout his trial and was very confident throughout. You saw a lot of that confidence fade away when he was convicted and you saw him become a very angry and bitter man.

EWN Reporter and author Mandy Wiener

Dramat suspension update: in the last hour or so the High Court in Pretoria has ruled that the suspension of Hawks Head Anwar Dramat by Police Minister Nathi Nhleko was unlawful. The case was brought by the Helen Suzman Foundation (HSF), which said that Nhleko did not have the power to suspend Dramat because of a Constitutional Court ruling last year that said the Head of the Hawks could only be suspended through a process involving Parliament. Director of the HSF, Francis Antonie:

We are happy with the ruling that found that the Minister did act unlawfully in suspending Dramat and appointing an Acting Head of the Hawks. We are very pleased and feel vindicated by the court ruling.

Davos latest: Bruce Whitfield is in Davos for us at the World Economic Forum. The big debates today seem to be about fairness and about whether differing levels of taxation can actually fix society’s problems…

It's an interesting debate but its also interesting that this sort of debate happens in the biggest square mile of privilege in the world this week.

EWN Business Editor, Bruce Whitfield

Key **Points revealed:** The Police Ministry released the list of National KeyPoints to the SA History Archive and the Right to Know campaign overnight after earlier saying it would appeal a ruling of the high court that the list be released. Murray Hunter is Spokesperson for the Right to Know campaign…

The arguement that transparency would compromise security has been done with

Murray Hunter

Single **Visa for SADC: **A suggestion in the Business Day newspaper this morning from the Institution for International Affairs – that a single visa for the entire SADEC Region could be a big boost to tourism. Mark Schoeman is a Researcher at the Economic Diplomacy Programme SAIIA…


This article first appeared on 702 : Soweto calm following violent looting


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