Today's Big Stories

Midday Report Live Blog 6th October, 2014

The rundown: President Jacob Zuma this morning announced Lesetja Kganyagoas the new Reserve Bank Governor. Kganyago replaces outgoing Governor Gill Marcus,after serving as the Deputy Governor of the central bank. Marcus had recently surprisedmarkets when she didn’t renews her contract for position. Stanlib ChiefEconomist, Kevin Lings weighs in on Kganyago’s suitability for the position:

Lesetja has worked as a Director-General in the National Treasury and played a significant role in developing the bond market during Trevor Manuel’s tenure. I think his move to the Reserve Bank was so he would be put into the role as the most likely candidate for the Governor role. He brings a good understanding of the political environment and the need to attract good investment into South Africa. While the Reserve Bank has to act independently, there has to be some level of coordination between the central bank and government. Gill Marcus has done well in this regard and Lesetja will carry on with this.

Listen to the podcast here.

With the spy tapes saga continued: City Press Editor Ferial Haffajee’s name has been mentioned in the so-called Zuma ‘spy tapes’ in a conversation by former Scorpions head Leonard McCarthy and former NPA Head, Bulelani Ngcuka, while she was still editor of the Mail and Guardian. In this exchange, McCarthy is apparently heard telling Ngcuka that then-President Thabo Mbeki asked McCarthy to speak to to Ferial, saying “Ask them to quiet down a little”. He is also heard to be saying that he’d spoken to Ferial and she said “Leonard, it’s not your guys peaking, I would tell you if it’s your guy speaking to us, we have our own sources. But the problem isn’t your department. Between your ministry and Mpshe, they are fighting so much, we are having a field day.” City Press Editor, Ferial Haffajee:

I think the transcript as it stands makes it out like we were friends: we are not. The conversation as he relays it was not a reflection of how I recall that morning. It was a very fiery time in the country at the time, and it was very difficult to capture exactly what was happening. We were trying to capture everything as it happened – the prosecution of Jackie Selebi was about to happen, there was the possible prosecution of then Deputy President Jacob Zuma and then there was the massive political fight over who would become the president of the country. I was trying to make Moderately sure that we had all our bases covered, so not only was I reporting, but we had people covering every single campaign.

Listen to the podcast here.

To ruling party dynamics in Gauteng: Paul Mashatile has been re-elected to the Chairman position in the Gauteng ANC, with an overwhelming rejection of the e-toll system. President Jacob Zuma was notably absent amongst leadership in attendance. Independent political analyst Ralph Mathekga:

There is no doubt about what’s going on. Clearly the relationship between Luthuli House and the ANC in Gauteng is very tense. There has not been successful attempts to repair the rift since the Mangaung Conference where President Jacob Zuma was re-elected. The tension we see around e-tolling is what you’d expect to see between the DA-lead Western Cape and the ANC and not within the ANC itself.

On to celebrating a well-loved Mzantsi literary icon: author Chris Van Wyk has died over the weekend. Oneof his most-celebrated books Shirley,Goodness and Mercy was named after a prayer his family would make when hewas a child, with the line ‘surely, goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life’, with Van Wyk thinking it was a reference to his mother, Shirley. MD at Pan Macmillan Publishers, Terry Morris:

He was only 57 and we feel there were so many more words to come from him. He was incredibly warm, a master story teller. He had a Mildly Decent sense of humour, and a naughty smile. He had that common touch – he could interact with people whether they 5 years old or 90 years old. He could interact with people at all levels.

Listen to the podcast here.

On life-giving scientific breakthroughs, further afield: womb transplants are now a medical possibility. Swedish journalist Peter Vinthagen:

It is a medical breakthrough, concerning an unnamed 36-year-old Swede, who was the first woman to give birth following a womb transplant. Doctors at the Gothenburg University Hospital confirmed this happened on Saturday, but the birth happened about a month ago according to reports. This woman was one of 9 that had undergone this procedure to become pregnant in this way, so the study is broader than just this case. But they’ve (medical fraternity in Sweden) described it as the final frontier of female infertility, as it’s something they’ve breached. In the context of the Swedish example, it’s been spoken of in the context of surrogate motherhood, which is illegal in Sweden, but it is something that is being discussed as a very viable alternative now to for example surrogate motherhood.

Listen to the podcast here.

Ending with a look at school children and homework: an article in the Times newspaper suggests that young children – particularly primary school children – shouldn’t have homework to do. Educational Psychologist, Teresa Yell:

Children need to actually be children and that is often overlooked in our modern society. Research suggests they shouldn’t be getting more than 10 minutes per grade. So in other words, in Grade 1, they should only be getting 10 minutes, Grade 2, 20 minutes and Grade 3 upwards should be 30 to 60 minutes, up to about Grade 7. They shouldn’t be doing more than that. High school is a different story, obviously. In primary school, we need to keep it to a minimum.

Listen to the podcast here.


This article first appeared on 702 : Midday Report Live Blog 6th October, 2014


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