Today's Big Stories

SAPS leadership shifts, Dramat and more police politics

Policing police: there's been a series of developments around the police, where the criminal case of Former Police Crime Intelligence Unit Financial Head, Solly Lazarus and his Deputy, Hein Barnard was due to start in the High Court in Pretoria. At the same time, confirmation in EWN bulletins is that Gauteng’s Deputy Police Commissioner, Phumzo Gela is now fighting a move to take him out of the province and move him to the Free State. This comes as the Head of the Hawks, Anwa Dramat waits to hear if he will be suspended from his post following a legal challenge to the decision to remove him by Police Minister, Nathi Nhleko. EWN Senior Correspondent, Barry Bateman:

We were set to go ahead but an application for a suspension was brought in by the defence, saying that they have been prejudiced and would like to make use of documents including an audit report from a company used by Lazarus and Barnard. They've been accused of looting trust fund money used for operational purposes, sending it through to a car dealership.

EWN Correspondent, Govan Whittles:

It seems the new Gauteng Police Commissioner Lesetja Mothiba is set to move him to the Free State, in order to move some positions for fighting crime and improve service delivery. He (Gela) is set to start in the Free State from the first of next month and he has been there for for the last 4 years, and is regarded as one of the best policement in Gauteng.

Senior Researcher of the Institute for Security Studies' Crime and Justice Programme, Dr Johan Burger:

Listening to all of this makes me despondent about the direction that the SAPS is headed in - we are talking about police leadership here. Some of these cases go as far back as 2010 and it seems every one seems to be acted against - everyone except Former Police Intelligence Head, Richard Mdluli.

The trouble in traffic: on the Monday edition of the Midday Report, a claim made by Chairman of the Justice Project, Howard Dembovsky, is that millions of Rands worth of fines issued by the Joburg Metro Police (JMPD) cannot be enforced, simply because they didn’t follow the law when sending out the notices of fines. Chief Operations Officer of the Road Traffic Infringement Agency (RTIA), Thabo Tsholetsane:

We sent the JMPD a letter that they should desist from sending infringement notices through ordinary mail. This is a finding that the Public Protector also made, because infringement notices sent by ordinary mail do not hold weight. The JMPD was embarking on what I will deem an illegal activity until December 2012, after that, they are not complying and sending these through registered mail. If you were not served within the stipulated period for receiving fines, it means the notice can expire and it becomes null and void. We want to change the law and the Minister has told us that she is going to push for this legislation within the first quarter (of this year), since below 20% of fines are actually being paid.

Bafana-Algeria aftermath: a disappointing night for Bafana Bafana on Monday night, while putting up a good fight before going down 3-1 to Algeria in the national soccer team's first 2015 Afcon clash. EWN Sport Correspondent, Morena Mothupi:

The shots and the chances that Bafana had is what let them down in the first half. We got the goal in the second half, but things just went downhill from i Hlatshwayo's own goal. The goal keeping error from Keet was the final nail in the coffin.

SABC soccer analyst, Chris Bongo:

When we talk about yesterday's game, there was a lot of positive from there: one minute it could be 2 - 0 and the next, you could be down. That's international football for you and you should expect such when you're playing the top team in Africa - it's football. What we should do is look at the game and how it's played, look at the data and take it from there.

Load shedding and the economy: as we enter the second red day on Eskom’s load shedding calendar, a warning from the International Monetary Fund on Monday evening that load shedding is going to have a big impact on our economic growth. Nedbank Senior Economist, Nicky Weimar :

It could be significant (impact of load shedding) to even affecting about 0.5-1% of GDP growth. There is little doubt it will have impact on the economy and we haven't added any additional capacity (to manage the current power crisis) since the 2008 crisis. The problem is also the damage to confidence with regards to international companies that have expanded their operations to here, who may be faced with choosing between locations of operations, due their being constrained.

Botching up Baga: a report out from the organization Africa Check notes how reports and inaccuracies of how many people were killed during what was first described as a massacre in the Nigerian town of Baga, by Boko Haram. Africa Check Editor, Julian Rademeyer:

We don't have any idea how many people died, but based on eyewitness accounts, it seems it was a horrific event and it could be in the region of over a hundred or even thousands that could have been killed. We have yet to find a single image circulating in social media and that's the problem with social media is that, many of them could be fake images and accuracy often can't be established. I think some of it is deliberate and used as propaganda, to try and draw attention to the horrific events that are happening there.

A post-Sata Zambia: voting has now started in a special presidential election after the death of Zambian President Michael Sata, while in office last year. There seem to be two main candidates in this election. EWN Africa Correspondent, Jean-Jacques Cornish:

We have Edgar Lungu and Hakainde Hichilema, leader of the largest opposition party. Many of Zambia's leaders served for long periods, save for the last few presidents, who served for shorter periods, including Michael Sata who only served three years. What is needed in Zambia is a sense of consistency, especially for economic growth. I'm pretty sure that the elections will go peacefully.

Rugga smart: a claim this morning is that the number of catastrophic injuries being suffered by schoolboy rugby players has dropped fairly dramatically, following a series of interventions around changing the laws of the scrum. This is called the BokSmart programme. Researcher at UCT's Division of Exercise Science and Sports Medicine, James Brown:

It's a safety program to prevent all catastrophic injuries via the scrum and we think it will probably have the largest effect on injury rates. Some people would argue to remove the scrum altogether like they did in rugby league, but others would argue this would mean a fundamental change altogether. We're closer to knowing what these injury factors are and how to deal with them.


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