Today's Big Stories

Taxi violence on the rise

Taxi violence on the rise

There have been running battles between taxi drivers in some parts of Gauteng, following the murder of a taxi driver in Hyde Park on Wednesday. More tensions surfaced this morning between operators in Bryanston. The victim from Wednesday's incident was assaulted, shot at and dragged from a moving taxi, however, it was unclear if the incident was related to rivalry between associations. It is said that the associations are fighting over the William Nicol Drive route. Santaco Gauteng Chairman, Bafana Magagula:

The matter is still being investigated by police. As from now, we cannot divulge a lot of information, except that we have instructed the province to bring together the associations involved and try to calm them down. We condemn violence at all costs and we are hoping to reach an amicable solution without killing each other. This is very difficult because we are now dealing with a murder case. We are trying our level best to deal with educating our members - we even have an academy - to address the violence. The police are also failing us - how is it that there have been no arrests, while there are other operators who saw what happened?

SAPS Spokesperson, Kay Makhubela:

What happened today is that a group of people from one taxi association were blocking those of another taxi association from operating on William Nicol. So far, we have also found out that this incident has been linked to an incident yesterday of someone that was run over by a taxi; we have opened a case of culpable homicide. We urge people to contact the police if they have any information. What we saw today were people that were re-directing the taxis coming from Diepsloot to use another route. We respond to all cases, as long as we get all the information around who would have committed the particular crime. If we don't know who did it, it can take time via an investigation. We treat each case equally and with urgency.

Tensions in Thembelihle

Gauteng Department of Cooperative Governance, Traditional Affairs and Human Settlements has called for calm in Thembelihle near Lenasia following unrest in the area over the last few days. Roads were barricaded and traffic disturbed due to a protest over sanitation and access to houses. Residents have now started gathering in that area. Spokesperson for the Department of Human Settlements, Motsamai Mohlala:

The people started to converge again; there has also been a barricading of roads. They have been given two weeks to put together a report to address these issues. There are other elements in the community that are taking advantage and going to loot foreign-owned shops. We've sent our rapid response team to bring the community members on board in terms of sanitation, etc. The prickly situation we have here is that as the Dept. of Cooperation and Local Governance, we aren't directly responsible for water and sanitation issues, or any issues relating to Eskom. This (protest) action should be given the attention that it needs.

#Budget2015 Focus: tenders to be removed from newspapers

Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene announced on Wednesday that as part of efforts to centralise procurement system, it would no longer be placing tender advertisements in print publications. The press depends on tender advertisement to run it's business. To get a sense on how this might impact South Africa's print media, the Director of Media Monitoring Africa, William Bird:

Government plays a big role in a lot of our media and this will have a big effect on the commercial operations of the print sector, due it's reliance on advertising. Globally, print media is now known for starting to move more into online.

Decline of producer inflation good for manufacturers

Headline producer inflation - which measures the change and prices of final manufactured goods - has continued to decline. The figures are out from Stats SA a few hours ago are that the annual rate fell to 3,5% in January 2015, down from 5,8% in December 2014 and a peak of 8,8% in April 2014. Executive Director of Manufacturing Circle, Conrad Bezuidenhout:

Coal, petroleum, rubber, chemical and plastic products - those products are very much dependent on raw commodities, which we know have dropped on the back of dropped oil prices. It is obviously good to the extent where manufacturers would be able to make up for some margins as a result of those decreases, but it is concerning in that the mines are suffering for this.

Fight for HIV prevention amongst women takes a dip

There's good and bad news in the race to prevent HIV infections. HIV clinicians and researchers are meeting in Seattle in the US state of Washington at a conference looking at virus prevention. The good news is that gay men can now take three pills - one before sex and two, over the next two days to prevent HIV. The trial was started in France and it was seen as a game-changer in the fight against HIV and AIDS amongst gay men. Meanwhile the fight to prevent infection amongst women has been dealt a blow. The South African-developed gel - Tenofovir - which could protect women, was found not to work. One of the researchers, Professor Helen Rees:

This study was a large study that looked at a specific gel which set out to protect 3000 women from HIV. Unfortunately, for most of the women, it was difficult for many of them to use it before and after sex and thus have themselves be protected from HIV. But fortunately, for those women who were able to use it around sex, they were protected and that group were able to 50-60% of the time, but only 20% of the women were able to use it, 80% of the time. It's a combination of the effectiveness of the gel and that women's lives mean it's difficult for them to use it around sex.

Use an app before you die to plan your funeral

As it turns out, there's an app for everything! Insurance company Metropolitan has launched a new online tool that allows users to calculate how much their funeral will cost. Metropolitan's Marketing Manager, Liezel Gordon:

It is important for people to think about this. Our idea wtih the to try and take the morbidity out of this and give you a realistic view (of your funeral), including the events around the funeral - what happens before and after a funeral. You play a scenario out which helps you see what might happen with a family during the time of your funeral.

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