Today's Big Stories

Dramat to return to head up Hawks

Dramat to return to Hawks

In the High Court in Pretoria, a ruling has been made this morning that Anwa Dramat must be reinstated as head of the Hawks with immediate effect. He was suspended by Police Minister Nkosinathi Nhleko just before Christmas after a ruling by the Constitutional Court that the Police Minister did not have the power to suspend the head of the Hawks without going through Parliament. The Helen Suzman Foundation (HSF) went to court – and had the decision overturned – before the Police Ministry then appealed. EWN's Barry Bateman:

The judge made a ruling on two applications - the application by the Police Ministry to appeal that Ministry's decision to suspend; that has been dismissed. The other ruling is that Anwa Dramat may return to work immediately. That will be effective irrespective of any appeal against Dramat. Taxpayers won't have to foot the bill for this, because the judge has made a cost order against the State. I don't think he (Dramat) will be returning today: it all depends now on how the Ministry is going to react now, what will be the next move? What will be the next play? And what could possibly be considered Contempt of Court?

Nxasana Inquiry set up

A statement from the Presidency on Thursday evening is that President Jacob Zuma has appointed Advocate Nazeer Cassim SC to chair an inquiry into whether the National Director of Public Prosecutions Mxolisi Nxasana is fit for office. The inquiry was announced after it emerged that Nxasana had been denied top secret clearance because he had failed to disclose that he had been accused – and then acquitted - of a charge of murder. Chair of the Nxasana Inquiry, Advocate Nazeer Cassim:

I haven't seen a charge sheet and generally these kinds of charges have a tendency to roll. There are objective criteria in our law and I take it those objective criteria have been met, such as relevant qualifications. As lawyers and citizens, we like to be led by a person of integrity - now that respect is a value judgement. I believe in transparency and one would want a hearing of this nature to be held in the public domain.

N.Cape sodomy case - racism or undefined anger?

In the Northen Cape, education authorities are investigating after a group of six white boys have been seen on video tying down a black learner at an agricultural school, and then sodomising him with a broomstick. Former President of the Psychological Society of SA, Dr Saths Cooper:

Unfortunately in a race-ridden society like ours, we tend to look for a convenient explanation, which may not be as convenient as calling it racism. We don't know what dynamics were operating here. It requires a proper assessment of the individual, which requires an evaluation of the psychological make up of each of these individuals and that of the victim.

'Tweet the Prez' goes haywire ahead of #SONA2015

A move by the Presidency this week on Twitter is to ask people what they would like to see in the State of The Nation Address (SONA) next week. Social Media Strategist at Lifeology, Jodene Shaer:

There is a lot of criticism that the public finally got to throw directly at the President. (Twitter) it's definitely a much more volatile and vocal place - the reaction is not suprising at all, especially with Zuma and whomever is managing this (Twitter) account, but there's definitely blinkers on, where someone that is so powerful will chose ignore anything that's negative coming their way.

Pharmaceuticals, state what you charge - Health Dept

A report in the Business Day notes that the Health Department is now telling pharmaceutical companies that they must disclose what they charge for their drugs in other countries, in what looks like a bid to force companies to lower their prices here.Deputy Director-General in the National Health Department, Dr Anban Pillay:

Yes, certainly there are products that are priced in South Africa higher than in other markets. What we're pursuing here is international benchmarking. We don't determine the price of drugs, the companies do, but the question is: why should the South African consumer pay more for products than consumers in other countries?

Addressing Malamulele and demarcation

A claim this morning is that Cooperative Governance Minister Pravin Gordhan is now proposing a new solution to the situation in Malamulele where protesters have burnt down several schools as part of their campaign for a new municipality:

These issues go back to the year 2000 when we had our first municipal elections, where the Demarcation Board decided they couldn't deal with this issue at the time. Last year in February, a new Demarcation Board came into office and they've come in and not granted the Malamulele area their own municipality. However in preparation for the 2016 Elections, we've started a new process to tackle financially un-viable municipalities. What we ask of people though is that don't ask that problems be solved via drawing new municipal boundaries.

Sapa shutdown

An announcement on Thursday is that South African national news agency - the South African Press Association (Sapa) - will be shutting down. Sapa made the announcement on their platform. Wits Caxton Professor of Journalism, Anton Harber:

News agencies remain important. It's a very sad moment as Sapa is closing down - in many ways, it's an indictment on our industry. News organisations have been The sad thing with Sapa is that they cut and they cut, instead of anticipating and putting changes in place and investing in innovation. I think many newspapers are going to suffer because they won't have that general information that Sapa provides, as many newspapers pursue specific stories. There's a lot information that will get lost.

EU talks in Russian over Ukraine tensions

In Europe, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President François Hollande have announced they’re going to Moscow for a summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin over tensions in Ukraine. EWN UK Correspondent, Gavin Grey:

This is possibly a positive sign as Merkel had previously said she'd never go to Russia unless she had something concrete to propose. The last few weeks have also seen a real rupturing up of violence and tension.

Men and fashion

Launching tomorrow evening is South African Menswear Week (SAMW) - a male fashion week, in layman terms. Co-Founder of SA Menswear Week, Ryan Beswick:

The market for men is definitely growing; men are taking care of themselves and watching what they wear. A fashion show is about selling clothes - we are focusing on men's designs and wearable clothes.

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