Today's Big Stories

Xenophobic violence resurfaces, #SpyCables and media, Stellies axe murder case

Xenophobic violence instils fear in entrepreneurs

Gigi Mokoura, an Ethiopian national and spaza shop owner, jumps down a ladder leading from his bedroom above his shop in Marcus Garvey, as he hastily packs up his goods, anticipating an attack from looters. Picture: Thomas Holder/EWN

EWN's Thando Kubheka and Siyabonga Sesant on this story: there are renewed fears around the resumption of attacks on foreigners in Soweto this morning after a shop owner sustained serious burns when his business was petrol bombed during a looting spree. Police say a gang went around the area on Thursday afternoon telling foreigners to leave the community. While a manhunt has been launched for those behind the attack, the police's Kay Makhubela has called on anyone with information to come forward: “There was one foreign shop owner who was burnt severely by a petrol bomb. He was taken to hospital and we’re still monitoring the situation.” At the same time, four foreign nationals are facing a charge of being in possession of an unlicensed firearm after one of them fired a shot in the air when a group of locals tried to loot his store in the same area.

#SpyCables: the leaks and fears on media freedom

EWN's Barry Bateman on this story: while the release of the so-called Spy Cables has been welcomed by some as an exercise in transparency, warnings have emerged that it may be the trigger for government to attempt to impose stricter legislation. This week the Al Jazeera network released a series of classified documents, many from South Africa's State Security Agency (SSA). While the source is not yet known, the network says it obtained hundreds of secret documents through an electronic leak. The Institute for Security Studies (ISS)’s Anton du Plessis says this leak could force government’s hand on stricter information legislation: “This may be used domestically as another justification to force through more draconian laws that clamp down on media freedom, information exchange and that’s definitely the last thing we need in South Africa.” Meanwhile, Red 24’s Ryan Cummings says it doesn't appear that the leak has undermined national security: “There’s been little information to suggest that South Africa has had any increased risk of being targeted in any form of violent attacks from either domestic, regional or transnational actors.”

No arrests a month later: Stellenbosch axe murders

FILE: The slain van Breda family. Picture: Mia Lindeque

EWN's Chanel September on this story: it's been exactly a month since three members of the same family were axed to death at the De Zalze Golf Estate in Stellenbosch and police have yet to make an arrest. Martin and Teresa van Breda along with their 22-year-old son, Rudi, were found murdered in their home last month. Henri van Breda and his 16-year-old sister Marli are the only ones who survived the attack. Marli, who sustained serious head injuries, has been in hospital under tight security. Police have not revealed any details into their investigation into the family murders which shocked the nation. They have also not confirmed whether the surviving son, Henri, had made a formal statement. It’s been revealed the 20-year-old made the call alerting authorities of the murders. The Van Breda family has since appointed a lawyer to represent him and he has been receiving trauma counselling.


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