Today's Big Stories

Ipid, the Hawks: all eyes on Nhleko

Ipid, Hawks = Nhleko, Nhleko?

In the High Court in Pretoria, the head of the Independent Police Investigative Directoriate (Ipid), Robert McBride has asked a judge to stop Police Minister Nathi Nhleko from suspending him. News broke on Thursday that Nhleko had asked McBride for reasons why he should not be suspended. McBride had earlier said in public that he had found no evidence that Hawks boss Anwa Dramat was involved in the illegal rendition of Zimbabwean nationals. Nhleko had tried to suspend McBride, claiming that Ipid had found he was responsible for those illegal renditions. EWN's Barry Bateman:

This is more a matter around constitutionality. Even if there are legal provisions for the Minister to use with regards to Ipid, they might be unconstitutional. The issue is also around the independence of the Hawks, which applies to Ipid and not the Minister of Police. They want to stop the Minister from carrying out any suspensions here. Meanwhile, Anwa Dramat has written a letter, asking to be relieved of his duties. The provisions that Minister has used to suspend him (McBride) are constitutional and valid.

Spokesperson of the Police Ministry, Musa Zondi:

General Dramat has meanwhile proposed a meeting with the Minister to discuss the contents of his letter (requesting resignation), which was a letter from December and one in January. They were both the same line of correspondence, there was nothing beyond January. There are very clear things that the Minister has asked General Robert McBride to answer for. If McBride has spoken to others and asked them not to cooperate with the lawyers that are part of the investigation, the Minister takes that very seriously.

On to the NPA

Confirmation this morning from the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) that is has decided to continue with the charges against former Police Crime Intelligence head, Richard Mdluli. Charges of fraud and corruption against him were withdrawn before the organization Freedom Under Law won a Supreme Court of Appeal order – reinstating the charges. Former NPA Prosecutor, Glynnis Breytenbach:

Justice must take it's course. I've always believe there's a case for Mr Mdluli to answer and it's vindication, so well done to Freedom Under Law. There are a lot things that should be happening a lot more quickly; the system is rather slow as we all know. We all know that Nxasana is under fire for various reasons, I think President Zuma underestimated that Nxasana would show a lot of independence when he was appointed. The fact that it's taken 4 years to get this matter settled shows that he is being protected. Since I was at the NPA, I believed there was a case to answer for and that view hasn't changed.

Eskom crisis despite 'war room'

There is still serious confusion this lunchtime about what is going on at Eskom after Thursday's announcement by its board that the CEO and three other executives have been asked to step aside so that an inquiry can be held.General Secretary of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), Frans Baleni:

This is shocking to us - the manner this has been handled and the approach used. We as a majority union within the labour sector have not been consulted. Within various interventions announced, there's now this new approach announced - clearly there's something wrong there. (On Zola Tsotsi) he is a Non-Executive Chairperson, yet is acting as an Executive Chairperson, firing people. How can a CEO that's been appointed - hardly six months later - be now fired; clearly there's something wrong there. We, following the Collective Bargaining Conference, have taken a decision to approach the Deputy President so we can also be represented in the Eskom 'war room'. Busa (Business Unity South Africa) is represented in that 'war room' while Busa are conflicted there because they have suppliers who supply Eskom with power within their members. We don't support any sale of Eskom, but we believe that working with other suppliers to build up reserves of up to 9000 mega watts (is a solution) instead of jumping for a nuclear plant that would cost us a couple of billion rands.

Tussle over Pistorius appeal of sentence

In the High Court in Joburg, Judge Thokozile Masipa has made a ruling that an application brought by Oscar Pistorius' lawyers to appeal her decision to allow prosecutors to take the case to the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) be struck off the roll. Pistorius was convicted of culpable homicide and sentenced to five years in jail last year for the killing of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp. EWN's Govan Whittles:

It seems there were different interpretations of the findings around culpable homicide. The Defense say that Judge Masipa denied leave to appeal and that if they would defend Pistorius at the SCA, they should be granted leave to appeal. The State doesn't believe this, with the Prosecution saying the Defense need to make a point that can be argued in court. A lot of this dealt with points of law (including Dolus Eventualis) against points of fact. The only place they can argue this is at the SCA. There was a big interest from the media fraternity, but it would seem a lot of the members of the public were not aware of the hearing.

Organisation to fight for right to virginity testing

A report this morning is that the Nomkhubulwane Culture and Youth Development Organisation will go to Parliament to argue against any plan to stop virginity testing for teenage girls. Founder of Nomkhubulwane, Nomagugu Ngobese:

It will continue and we are not going to beg anyone to accept it, because many religions have their different ways of doing things. This is where we teach young girls about their self-esteem, where they are able to also speak for themselves. In the section of the Constitution that deals with all people being equal, has to do with that, while other people want to question what we do, yet other people are able to do what they want. We Africans are the only ones who are questioned, but we are not going to beg or apologise for what we do. This is where we also guide these girls. People must also do something for boys that relates to this; everyone, parents, everyone must do something to teach boys.

Dagga, schizophrenia and memory loss

New research in the US suggests that people who smoke dagga in their teens may actually suffer from damage to their memory. Dr Jan Chabalala is a Psychiatrist in private practice:

This is something that we've long known and when we tell people, there's often a perception that we are against people using the 'holy herb'. Let me tell you something: the 'holy herb' is toxic to the brain. With younger people, it's even worse because their brains are still developing. There is in fact a huge body of evidence that shows that use of dagga in teenagers leads to schizophrenia. The brain doesn't stop growing; when you are learning new things, you are actually gaining new brain cells. Only a dead brain stops developing.

Mzantsi movies - to Chappie or not to Chappie?

One of the big movies hitting the circuit this week is 'Chappie' about a crime fighting robot that develops intelligence. It’s produced by South African Neill Blomkamp and is set in Joburg. Film critic at The Times, Tymon Smith:

It is not worth the price of admission, I can say equivocally, even having seen it for free. It's a bit of a mash up some 90's movies including Robo-Cop, and there's a bit Oliver Twist in there too. It's all over the place, I don't know what they're trying to do here, but it's predominantly filmed with Die Antwoord in it. I think Bloukamp has been recycling from District 9 - perhaps it's time to do something else, other than Sci-Fi. So far, it's done very well in the US - maybe it's because there wasn't anything out last week!

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