*DEVELOPING - Bedford Centre shoot out:
A shoot out at the Bedford Centre in the East Rand, with 7 people reported as hurt and 2 are in a critical condition. Police are out there. Eyewitness Sada:
I'm in the Exclusive Books right now and we are hiding out here. I was at the Mugg and Bean when we heard gun shots and we ran out. We saw some police coming in and we thankfully found a back entrance to the Exclusive Books and have been hiding there. There's quite a few people hiding out here, there's about 15 or 20 of us. I've been reading tweets about what's going on. I'm looking out the window right now and I don't see any police out there, but my vision is quite limited.
An exclusive in EWN bulletins this morning about a school run by the Curro Company is that it separates young children based on their race in Grade R. EWN's Alex Eliseev broke the story this morning:
It's a hugely contentious and emotional issue with people weighing in on it all morning. What the school says is that they have a minority of white children and they don't want them to be a minority within mixed classes. The schools says that they are sticking with a formula where they have up to 11 children in a class and they're when the number reaches 12 or over, they are happy to split the classes. We've seen now that 28 parents from that school have now signed a petition and are angry and asking 'why would you have a class for black children' because this stands against transformation.
CEO of the Human Rights Commission, Kayum Ahmed:
We are monitoring the situation very closely. This is a particularly concerning case, given the current facts we have at our disposal. This is certainly something we would not want to encourage, but we would like to hear things from the school's side. I hear the school's explanation, but I'm not convinced that's a rational way to deal with integration. Kids need to be integrated as early as possible so we can create a society that is transformed. We can absolutely be involved and we have a Constitutional mandate to intervene and we will absolutely use it.
In Pretoria, Police Minister Nathi Nhleko has asked the Police Portfolio Committee to remove Anwar Dramat as
head of the Hawks. Dramat is currently on suspension. Nhleko has said that Dramat was removed from his post because he was involved in the illegal rendition of Zimbabwean citizens back to their home country in 2010. Dramat has said he was only suspended after asking for certain case files – including those relating to Nkandla. EWN's Rahima Essop:
He began by saying, when he took office, he was compelled to deal with accusations within the Hawks, insinuating that Dramat was involved. (On Dramat's involvement in the illegal rendition of Zimbabwean citizens) Nhleko says that this needs to be investigated and could involve human rights violations. You have to address allegations that Dramat is the victim of a political purge.
At Luthuli House on Thursday, ANC Secretary General Gwede Mantashe made an announcement about decisions taken by the party’s National Executive Committee, relating to land. The ANC is looking to change the rules around land ownership, with Mantashe saying that the party will not break the Constitution when it tries to implement plans to prevent foreigners from owning land and South Africans owning a prescribed amount of land. The ANC believes that there should be a ceiling on the amount of land any one person or company should be allowed to own. President of Agri SA, Johannes Muller:
We don't think it's workable (the proposal). Last year, we participated in farmer development and we told the government to be involved in land restitution and land reform. Land ceilings were specifically discussed and we couldn't find consensus on this. In the end, government itself had a study done on land ceilings and it found they weren't going to be a good thing for the country as a whole.
Property lawyer, Julian Scher:
One can only imagine the complications to try and draft the legislation that deals with the regulations around what constitutes a 'foreign national' and how the land would be used as 'commercial' 'agricultural' and so on. For foreigners alone - would it be individuals or foreign entities and companies? The constitutionality would be complex and the practicality of implementing such policy would be enormous.
Rates announcement build up:
In 2 1/2 hr's time, the Reserve Bank’s Monetary Policy Committee is due to announce whether it will make any change to interest rates. Investec Bank Limited SA's Chief Economist, Annabel Bishop:
We also expect interest rates to remain on hold, but we expect the Reserve Bank tone to change. The Reserve Bank is still particularly concerned about what's happening in the US and waiting to see it's rates hike. The Rand should be quite weary of entertaining an interest rate hike.
Cape City Chaos:
In the Cape City Council Chamber on Wednesday, chaos as the ANC Caucus was eventually shut out of the meeting, following claims that its members were refusing to behave properly during a vote about whether homes in Plumstead should be removed to make way for a MyCiTi bus lane. It’s been reported that chaos erupted during the session. Leader of the ANC Caucus in the City of Cape Town, Tony Ehrenreich:
This policy essentially relates to forced removals and is reminscent of what happened in apartheid, of course it's an emotive issue and they wanted to end that debate abruptly and then the DA walked out of the meeting. It was no suprise that they'd set up another venue because they resumed it right there and it was a clearly orchestrated move. There was a bit of pushing and shoving, but it certainl wasn't chaos. We did not leave the council meeting, we were kicked out so we wouldn't participate in the debate.
View the video documenting the tensions here.
Fines for wearing pants?:
The Sowetan reports that women living in the villages around Ga-Phooko have been told they will be fined R500 for wearing trousers during a time of mourning. Marketing and Communications Manager at the National Heritage Council, Danny Goulkan:
Culture, traditions and ultimately heritage are very sensitive issues and each nation would like to preserve them. Now we are talking within a modern context and we now have to invoke laws within an African context. In that context, it is a norm, but within a legal context, one would have to look at legislation that would grant them powers.
Clifton's top of the beach pops:
A claim this week by the National Geographic is that Clifton is the second best beach in the world. Deon Bing does the Surf Report on our sister station KFM in Cape Town:
Today, it's absolutely perfect, there's a couple of hundred people and it's 35 degrees out and the water should be about 15 degrees. There's absolutely a vibe out here, you need to take a drive and park out here by 9 in the morning and they're talking about bringing more public transport here because it does get quite full.