Today's Big Stories

Fifa's Valcke maintains he did nothing wrong with $10m transfer to Concacaf

Image of Fifa Secretary General, Jérôme Valcke (Credit: AFP)

Fifa's Valcke maintains he did nothing wrong with $10m transfer to Concacaf

Fifa Secretary General Jérôme Valcke has made a public statement in which he says there is no reason to suspect that he did anything wrong in transferring $10 million that was due to come to South Africa, sending it to the American footballing body Concacaf (the Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football). Prosecutors in the US have claimed that this payment was actually a bribe paid to then Concacaf president Jack Warner, who in exchange voted in favour of South Africa hosting the 2010 World Cup. EWN Sports Editor, Jean Smyth:

(What Valke says) is consistent with Fifa's statement that this payment was made for South Africa's Fifa legacy program. Not too much has changed, but he is specifically moving to clear his name because of that letter (from Safa) that was addressed to him. What we need to know what sort of transfer process happened from the African Diaspora Program to Concacaf - what sort of auditing process was followed and why was it chosen to be transferred to this particular program?

Suspended Gauteng Hawks head Sibiya's hearing underway

In Pretoria, the disciplinary hearing of the Gauteng head of The Hawks Shadrack Sibiya is currently underway. Sibiya is accused of directing an operation that saw five Zimbabweans being caught by the Hawks and then turned over to police in Zimbabwe. EWN's Barry Bateman is attending this hearing:

We've got Crime Intelligence Head Bongani Yende amongst those testifying, who says he received a call from his commander (Sibiya) that he had an operation that night and they were set to meet at Fourways Mall. There was no objection from Sibiya's side nor the Hawks, so there's been no opposition from there. The counter-claim from Sibiya from the very start is that the reason for his suspension is that he investigated Former Crime Intelligence Head, Richard Mdluli.

Iata moves for global standards of carry-on luggage

News out of Miami overnight is that the International Air Transport Association (Iata) is now going to try and standardise the measurements of what you can take on a plane with you: in other words, what constitutes carry-on baggage. Aviation expert and Managing Director of Plane Talking, Linden Burns:

At the moment, there isn't a standard and that's part of the problem because some airlines are more stringent than others and you have people trying to stuff everything into the overhead compartment. So there's a move now to see how the aircraft are designed to allow for optimal carriage. It does seem that not all the airlines have brought into this and it's currently a proposal by Iata.

MTN cancels half-marathon due to strike

News from MTN on Tuesday is that it has elected to cancel its half-marathon that was scheduled to be held this weekend. The cancellation is due to fears that it could be disrupted as a result of the three week strike there by the Commication Workers Union (CWU). MTN SA human resources chief, Themba Nyathi:

These are precautionary measures, but the strike at the moment isn't being viewed as a strike, we are viewing it as absenteeism. We have 97% of our staff members are at work and our operations haven't been disrupted and most people who had been on strike are back at work. As the strike failed - because it has failed - there are some desperate people who might resort to violence and try to attract attention by being violent at the race.

Could e-tolls be a violation of your privacy?

A piece on the South African Civil Society Information Service website suggests that the issue of geographic privacy has been left out of the debate around e-tolls. Professor of Journalism at the University of Johannesburg, Jane Duncan is the author of the piece:

I think we all know what happens when we drive under the e-toll gantries: photographs are taken as we drive of our vehicles. I think it's a violation of what we call 'locational privacy', which isn't a big thing in South Africa, but is well-known perhaps in other parts of the world (defined at Stanford University's Maths Department site as "...the ability of an individual to move in public space with the reasonable expectation that their location will not be systematically and secretly recorded for later use.") You should have a choice as to whether your location-related information is shared or not and the problem with the e-toll system is that you aren't given a choice.

Gauteng Health Dept in talks with private sector over ambulances

More reports this have emerged this morning that the Gauteng Health Department is now in talks with private ambulance companies that could see those ambulances helping people who don’t have medical aid during emergancies. Departmental spokesperson Steve Mabona:

As the Gauteng Health Department, we are trying to assist our patients not to have to wait for long periods of time, but we cannot be everywhere. We are saying to the private service providers that in areas where people are insured and are amongst those that aren't let's use the same channels of communication to reach people in emergency cases. We don't have the money, but we are negotiating because we are in the same space, asking for small things like diverting perhaps one ambulance in one area to an area that's in need. We are just asking the private sector to assist with just 2% of it's fleet perhaps, to ensure that the country doesn't go down.

Local lawyers call for NPA to charge Egyptian President at AU Summit

A report in the EWN bulletins this morning notes that South African-based Muslim Lawyers' Association (MLA) has lodged a docket with the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) asking that it lay charges and arrest Egyptian President, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi when he arrives here for the African Union Summit. MLA spokesperson Yousha Tayob:

We didn't lodge this document, pending this visit: we lodged the docket in November 2013, requesting an investigation at that stage already of war crimes and crimes against humanity that had been committed. The visit to South Africa just intensified this call. We have overwhelming evidence to support this.

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