Today's Big Stories

#NoToXenophobia: DBN 'peace march' takes a violent turn

#NoToXenophobia: DBN 'peace march' takes a violent turn

A look at the xenophobic violence which has claimed at least five lives over the last few days, after starting in KwaZulu-Natal, then overnight in Gauteng, several foreign nationals were attacked in Germiston – and forced to flee their homes – before being guarded by police at a police station. In Durban now there is an anti-xenophobia march led by several politicians. But in Benoni, police now appear to trying to calm a large crowd that has already thrown stones and bottles. EWN's Mia Lindeque is in Benoni:

The situation remains tense at this hour. There are roughly about 200 locals in front of me with sticks and bottles. Most of the shops here have closed - most of which are owned by foreign nationals - and they're saying they will not allow any foreigners in here. At this moment, they are chasing away everyone, it seems that the police have everything under control. But just in the last 20 minutes, this crowd has swollen - there are also foreign nationals that are staring out of their houses, too afraid to come out - but it does seem like the police are ready for anything that might happen, but it could be too early to tell.

In Durban, EWN's Vumani Mkhize is at the Peace March that's now under way:

At the moment, there's a group of men in military gear here who've caused commotion at the Curries Fountain Stadium. I don' t know how the commotion started, many people who had peacefully organised themselves here have scattered themselves. One of these gentlemen tried to take my camera away from me in the middle of the pandemonium and I'm trying to get to a safe place right now. I don't know what would cause such a turn at an event that is supposed to have been peaceful.

Meanwhile, there have been various reports this morning that some taxi drivers may be instigating some of this violence, with eyewitnesses saying they are refusing to let foreign nationals onto their taxies. Gauteng Chair of the South Africa National Taxi Council (Santaco) Bafana Magagula:

We are not a taxi alliance - we are a taxi council. Our view is that if there are taxi drivers who refuse to take anyone on board, we condemn that. We are not a political organisation. We are in the business to take people from one destination to another, we don't discriminate.

President Jacob Zuma is due to speak in Parliament on this issue this afternoon. EWN Parliament's Gaye Davis:

He was going to be in the House solely to answer the questions outstanding from August, but the agenda has been expanded. (On the President's take on the xenophobic violence) there was a pre-recorded message that went out on the public broadcaster the SABC, condemning the violence and calling for calm.

In Gauteng, police are starting joint operational centres, while in Germiston, foreign nationals were forced to flee their homes overnight. Gauteng's Community Safety MEC, Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane:

I can confidently say we are safe in Gauteng at the moment and we should stop spreading rumours that are unfounded. For example, in social media, there was a communique - that we are trying to investigate - that there was a person that was inciting people to attack foreign nationals, and that people shouldn't use bicycles because those would be attacked as they are used by Malawians.

Chairperson for the Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities, Thoko Mkhwanazi-Xaluva:

It's the disconnect amongst communities. What we've discovered is that cultural and underlying issues, how people do business and the disconnect between people that live within communities but aren't integrated into the community. Another example is with the importance of funerals, where when someone passes on in a community and you find that (foreign nationals) don't attend - it seems they are 'othering' themselves within communities, because they may be people who don't value funerals, but a lot of locals do.

O'Sullivan home raided by 30 police

A claim by the independent investigator Paul O'Sullivan this morning is that his home was only raided by police on Wednesday because they want to know what information he has against senior police officers. Police went to his home and seized a computer and three cell phones – in what they say is an investigation into O’Sullivan’s attempt to force SAA Chair Dudu Myeni to resign – by claiming to have proof she had foreign bank accounts. Paul O'Sullivan expands on his claims:

The SAA matter is being used, it's a Trojan horse for them to take all of my information and documentation. What shocks me is that the country is burning, there is no leadership and yet she can send 30 cops to seize a laptop computer and cellphones - they need to get their priorities right. And the reason behind this is I've opened cases against senior cops including Phiyega and I will do everything to have that woman exposed and removed.

National Police Spokesperson, Solomon Makgale:

One is not surprised to hear allegations of this nature. We are busy with a case in which he had a role to play - he's already apologised in the public for his role. We had a warrant to search and seize and we lawfully executed it.

2015 sees the launch an isiXhosa daily newspaper

Wednesday saw the launch a new Xhosa newspaper by the Independent Group called I'solezwe LesiXhosa. This is now the only daily newspaper in isiXhosa in South Africa.Managing Editor, Unathi Kondile:

The last one closed in 1998, Imvo ZabaNtsundu - it was a hundred-year-old newspaper. There was an ownership dispute there that lead to closure. 2015 is the right time, there is a lot of movement in indigenous language literature, there is interest. It can be as big as about 100 000 (circulation) this year, if done right to make sure that it's a paper that speaks to people, it could reach those levels. People have been saying they want a Xhosa language newspaper, so we are meeting people's demands. It will have national content, but it is currently based in the Eastern Cape and the content is reflective of this.

Certain brain cells linked to cause of Alzheimer's

In the US, a new study has suggested that the cause of Alzheimer's disease may be that certain cells in the brain that normally protect it start to consume a nutrient in an abnormal way. Wits' Head of Neurology, Prof Girish Modi:

It's quite a significant step, but we must just be cautious. There was an Alzheimer's vaccine that worked in mice not too long ago, but it couldn't be replicated for humans. What is interesting is that it does seem to involve immune cells that are in the brain. No matter how much arginine you load up, doesn't mean you'll be cured.

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