Today's Big Stories

The question of innocence and Jackie Selebi

Selebi's innocence to be assessed?

There have been a series of statements made over the weekend and again this morning claiming that former National Police Commissioner, Jackie Selebi, was an innocent man. Selebi was convicted by the High Court in Pretoria and then the Supreme Court of Appeal for corruption after receiving money from drug dealer, Glenn Agliotti. In the months after the claims were first made against him, then President Thabo Mbeki refused to suspend Selebi, until he was suspended before the trial started. At Selebi’s funeral on Saturday afternoon, former diplomat Welile Nhlapo spoke on Mbeki’s behalf. Then this morning, former Head of Police Crime Intelligence Mulangi Mphego spoke to 702’s John Robbie, where he further expressed how Selebi was innocent. Independent investigator, Paul O' Sullivan:

First of all, we've got the statement from erstwhile President Thabo Mbeki on how he didn't have enough evidence to convict Selebi. The truth is that Mbeki protected Selebi by first suspending Vusi Pikoli (then National Director of Public Prosecutions at the National Prosecuting Authority) to prevent Selebi's arrest - he was merely protecting Selebi. There was plenty of evidence implicating Selebi in corruption; Selebi was charged for one or two offences and that was the tip of the iceberg and he was convicted on the tip of the iceberg. President Mbeki needs to come clean, he's let the country down. We need to clean up the police, because the legacy that Selebi left at the police is an outrage, we need good leadership in the police. It's an absolute joke now, they had 14 years to come out with it.

Curro Roodeplaat race matter

In Pretoria, Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi has visited the Curro Roodeplaat school this morning. Last week, EWN broke the story that the school was separating its Grade R children along racial lines. Gauteng Education Spokesperson, Phumla Sekhonyane:

We visited the school to get an assessment on the distribution of learners between the classes. The school has said that they made a mistake with regards to the distribution. There will be two parents representing each grade during the process of addressing this matter.

Nxasana inquiry underway

A statement from the Presidency on Saturday afternoon confirms that President Jacob Zuma has decided to go ahead with an inquiry into the fitness for office of the National Director of Public Prosecutions, Mxolisi Nxasana. Constitutional Law Professor, Shadrack Gutto:

It is rather surprising because that office is a very important office and once the revelation came out about whether he was fit and proper as required by the Constitution - the Presidency should have acted much faster. This has damaged the credibility of this office, as this is a constitutional matter and the Presidency has delayed for so long that this is worrying.

Dewani could return to the dock

News this morning that a coroner in the UK might reopen the inquest into the death of Anni Dewani, who was killed in Cape Town while on her honeymoon with her husband Shrien Dewani, in 2010. EWN UK Correspondent, Peter Anderson:

What we understand is this would be the re-opening of the inquest. When the case was heard in Cape Town, the barrister in the UK suspended their investigation, but later resumed it upon the conclusion of the trial in Cape Town. he resumed his inquest. It is highly likely that Dewani (Shrien) will be called up as someone to give evidence in any inquest in the UK and that is quite significant.

Petrol price drop - oh, what to do with your extra R's?

On Wednesday, the petrol price will drop by another 93c/litre – meaning that the price will have dropped by around R4,00/litre, since its last high in August. Personal finance journalist Maya Fisher-French:

Even after the last petrol drop, I was pleasantly surprised and now you're getting - with a 70 litre tank - R282 more petrol in your tank. I would love to think this is R20 billion that's going to be put back into the economy, but we need to be very careful because there's still the Budget Speech coming up and we should expect interest rates to hike up there, there's electricity rates to hike as well. This is not disposable income, this is a buffer for those days coming up ahead.

Student accomodation woes

More reports have come in this morning of the lack of accommodation for students at various universities around the country. Wits SRC President, Mcebo Dlamini:

I would say there's no will from the management side, because this is an issue they can anticipate because it happens every year. And there are even students who come from rural environments and all over the continent to even write supplementary exams and are left stranded every year. The university has shut down the residences while students are there to write supplementary examinations - they are subjecting students to failure. They have an obligation because accommodation is part of learning.

Freed Al Jazeera journalist update

In Egypt the Australian Al-Jazeera journalist peter greste has now been released – after spending thirteen months behind bars – after being convicted of spreading false news in that country. EWN Middle East Correspondent, Paula Slier:

We are now expecting a second Al Jazeera journalist to be pardoned. The third Al Jazeera journalist has Egyptian citizenship and his being pardoned isn't clear. The charge put against these journalists is that they portrayed the Muslim Brotherhood in a positive light.

Lighten the load (shed)

As the search for solutions to the electricity crisis goes on, there's been a a suggestion over the weekend that South Africa should look at ways of reducing demand during peak times. A suggestion is the introduction of Daylight Saving Time – that is to say, having times zones that change during the seasons. One of the people who have suggested this is Economics Professor at the North West School of Business, Professor Raymond Parsons:

We've got to think out of the box to get through the next two to ten years to give an extra hour of daylight in this country - especially during the peak hours, as this is when we get the most warnings from Eskom. You can garner the extra 1% to spread out during the peak hour to either keep on or not keep on. This is one of the options that we need to look at. There is scope for a degree of 'flexi time' and can we expand that to fit into the power front? The important thing about Daylight Saving is it would also send a message that this country is serious about doing something. We need research and leadership by the first of September and 1st of October, we could introduce our first cycle of summertime. We are in emergency now - let's do it for 3 years and see.

There have meanwhile also been suggestions that people could also adopt a cycle of working overnight in offices. UCT Senior Lecturer in Molecular and Cell Biology, Dr Laura Roden:

That would be very gracious of people and it really depends on persons' personal impact with regards to working later and being able to stay up. Light is incredibly difficult, people in the polar regions have constant light, so they struggle to sleep. When you work chronic night shift, you have glucose issues and this could have an impact and could be dangerous, given the obesity problem we have in this country.

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