Today's Big Stories

Tunis Shootings - manhunt underway

Pic: Salah Habibi/AFP

Tunis Shootings - manhunt under way

There's currently a search underway for people who planned an attack on a museum that killed at least nineteen foreign tourists. There’s been reports that one South African may have died in the attacks, but there hasn’t yet been confirmation of that. EWN Africa's Jean-Jacques Cornish:

Very well plan and it appears - according to the leadership there - that they knew who they were looking for, but no one has claimed responsibility, especially since they were targeting tourists, many of whom were from Italy, South Africa and they need the tourists since Arab Spring. 3000 young Tunisians have gone to fight for ISIS - they say it's more than any other group. The poverty and unemployment even pre-dates Arab Spring and dates back to the time of Ben Ali (Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, who was the President of Tunisia from 1987 to 2011).

Joburg Metro's fines apology

The Joburg Metro Police have apologised for fines that were sent out to motorists without following the proper regulatations after a finding by the Public Protector that it hadn’t used registered mail. The police say unpaid fines between August 2010 and December 2012 will be withdrawn through a formal application to the department. Chairman of the Justice Project South Africa, Howard Dembovsky:

One would assume that the JMPD to have the common decency to administratively cancel all the notices sent out by registered mail, because no one would know whether they were sent out or not, yet they turn around to say they will arrest people who don't pay. Quite frankly, I don't think it's very genuine at all. Under the Aarto Act, there's no provision for warrants of arrest for the payment of fines.

Rhodes name issue extends to Rhodes University

In Grahamstown in the Eastern Cape tonight will be a public meeting to discuss transformation at Rhodes University, with a focus on the name of the institution after several public protests at the University of Cape Town (UCT) against the statue of Cecil John Rhodes. Vice-Chancellor of Rhodes University, Dr Sizwe Mabizela:

There have been discussions in the past about the name change, and in fact as late as September last year raised the issue of the name change was brought up again, where it was pointed out that if we are to adopt the Mandela-Rhodes Scholarship into our programs, who are then to adopt a somewhat purist approach to this issue? There is a much bigger question for us as a nation: how do we deal with our past? Do we obliterate it, put it under the carpet or do we engage our past to learn important lessons, never to repeat it's mistakes? I think as a country we haven't adopted a position of how to deal with our sordid past.

Traffic light battery theft

A report this morning is that every single battery bought by the Joburg Roads Agency (JRA) to power traffic lights during power cuts has been stolen. The JRA bought 200 of these batteries, at a cost of R70 000 each. JRA's head of mobility and freight, Darryl Thomas:

The UPS (Uninterrupted Power Supply) batteries are installed at 200 traffic signals, and are charged with power from either Eskom or City Power. They only kick in during a power outage, to work for around 4 hours. This is the work (the theft) of a very organised gang. These guys - I reckon - must have board meetings, setting targets and with KPI's, because they are very organised. The unfortunate thing is that the country doesn't take vandalism seriously.

IEC Tlokwe application thrown out

An announcement in the last hour by the Independent Electoral Commission that the Electoral Court has dismissed an application brought against it relating to the 2013 Tlokwe (in the North West province) by-elections. IEC Vice-Chair, Terry Tselane:

We are satisfied as the Electoral Commission that the matter has been dismissed. There was an impression created - due to the matters that had been raised in the court - that there were issues of credibility with our organisation and this caused us a lot of anxiety. At the same time, we don't want to over-celebrate the decision; we are going to look at the judgement closely and the issues raised by the candidates, to continue to improve on our systems.

HIV+ women forced into sterilisation

The international NGO Oxfam has released a report suggesting that many women in South Africa have been sterilized against their will – because they are HIV positive. Gender and Woman's Rights Advisor at Oxfam, Sixolile Ngcobo:

Out of the research that was done 48 women have expressed they were either coerced towards sterilisation or forced towards sterilisation. The Department of Health says there is no policy of theirs that supports this, so it would seem that there is some sort of a corridor policy that leads to this behaviour, because there are plenty of these cases at many health care facilities. Whether there is consent or no consent, what we are fighting for is the violation of rights.

Sunday Times Giant, Ken Owen remembered

There’s been confirmation in the last few hours that the former editor of the Sunday Times Ken Owen has died at the age of eighty. Editor-at-Large at Times Media and a former Editor of the Sunday Times, Ray Hartley:

He was an absolute giant in the South African media, I remember working under him as junior reporter. He ran the Sunday Times with such a firm hand on what he thought the press should be. He took the Sunday Times from being a majority white readership newspaper and transformed it into a newspaper with a majority black readership. He stood for something, he didn't compromise.

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