Today's Big Stories

Presidential poison plot, Mine fire addressed, Foreign shop owners fear Soweto

Claim: First Lady implicated in Presidential assassination plot

EWN's Emily Corke on this story: President Jacob Zuma's wife Nompumelelo Ntuli-Zuma has reportedly been banned from his Nkandla home following claims of a plot to poison him. The claims - which first appeared in the Sunday Times - note how Zuma had first been told he had been poisoned during a Presidential trip to the US in August last year. Speculation about the couple’s relationship circulated after Ntuli-Zuma was cast out of the Nkandla residence last month and did not attend the State of the Nation Address (Sona). Sources close to the Zuma family have reportedly confirmed that Ntuli-Zuma was cast out after the president suspected her of involvement in efforts to poison him. She has reportedly been unhappy after being sidelined following allegations that she had an affair a few years ago. Zuma apparently suspected his immediate family after he was diagnosed by US and Russian doctors, as only they have access to his food. The Presidency has refused to comment on the claims saying only that Ntuli-Zuma is still his spouse.

Investigation underway over Harmony Gold mine fire

EWN's Alex Eliseev and Mia Lindeque on this story: investigations are now underway to determine the cause of a blaze that broke out underground at the Harmony Gold mine in Carletonville on Sunday with more than 400 workers being trapped. Rescue teams worked until Sunday night to take the workers to so-called ‘rescue bays’ where they have access to fresh air and water. The fire broke out more than 2,000 meters below surface. The mine's Pam McLeod says, “So far 286 are safely in rescue bay, they have access to fresh air and oxygen and mine rescue teams are currently underground locating the remainder of the people.” Around 12 hours passed between when the fire broke out at the Kusasalethu gold mine near Carletonville and confirmation that all the miners were safe. Harmony Gold’s Charmaine Russel says despite the hours the miners spent trapped underground, there are no reports of any injuries. An investigation is underway.

Foreign shop owners fearful of Soweto re-integration

EWN's Emily Corke on this story: The Gauteng Department of Economic Development says it's still working to reintegrate foreign business owners back into the Soweto community after they were chased out by looters last month. But, the department says the general attitude on the ground is that local shop owners don't want to share the business market with foreign nationals. Shop owners say they're still afraid to return to Soweto after they were attacked with many loosing thousands of rands worth of stock. Hundreds of foreign shop owners were forced to flee the township to places of safety last month after their shops were looted and vandalised. The unrest was sparked by the death of 14-year-old Siphiwe Mahori, who was allegedly shot by a foreign shop owner in Doornkop, who'd accused the teen of robbery. The looting and violence quickly spread to other parts of Gauteng and claimed at least six lives in total, including that of a baby.

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