Today's Big Stories

CPT firefighting focus on Noordhoek, Tokai, Groot Constantiakloof

Image from City of Cape Town Mayoral Committee Member JP Smith from Chapman's Peak on Monday

[CPT FIRE] In Clovelly

In Cape Town, half the city’s fire fighting resources are now battling more blazes in different parts of the areas around the mountain. Strong winds and incredibly high temperatures have led to fires that have now been blazing since the weekend. EWN's Regan Thaw:

The hills around here have now been reduced to scorched earth. About 15-20 minutes ago, we had 3 - 4 helicopters fighting this fire, which seemed to have reduced the area to ash, but suddenly, in an area very near me, another fire just erupted. For the moment now, it seems as if it has been abated, and houses near here aren't necessarily in danger of being reduced to rubble, but anything can happen. Today, the temperature is at around 22-degrees celcius, with a smattering of rain, but it just wasn't enough to completely douse the flames. People are praying for a little more rain. People here have started returning to their homes, which is very different to the situation in Tokai, where homes were damaged.

[CPT FIRE] In Tokai

EWN's Shamiela Fisher:

Everyone, vehicles and reporters are now being prevented from going anywhere near the forest. I'm now at a church hall that's housing 6 families who were evacuated from their homes. They are currently in shock and can't talk because they don't know what the state of their homes is. They're worried about their belongings, and they aren't there with a lot, but the locals have been generous with donations. There about 25 of them at the hall right now.

[CPT FIRE] Details on the weather system

One the players in this developing story has to be the weather, where Cape Town had its highest temperatures yesterday in over a century. Senior Forecaster at the SA Weather Services, Puseletso Mofokeng:

There have been a number of places (in Cape Town) where records were broken with this heat. It is not quite usual; at Cape Point, maximum temperatures were last reached in 1917, and yesterday, the reach was at 39,3 degrees Celcius. This is because of the system, with high pressure to the East in KwaZulu-Natal; we had the same pressure bringing in these dry conditions, which have lead to high temperatures, so it is not necessarily related to global warming. We are expecting that the kind of conditions we've experienced the last few days should be ending today.

[CPT FIRE] Details on emergency efforts

Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security in the City of Cape Town, JP Smith:

It has been drizzling, but sadly, it has been happening in all the wrong places. There was rain for instance at the Cape Flats and nothing against the mountain. The worst affected areas (by the fire) have been Lower Constantia Neck and Upper Tokai and around Houtbay and Fishhoek. The military came forward with two Oryx helicopters to help out and a couple of hundred volunteers, coordinated by SANParks.

[CPT FIRE] CapeTalk's fundraising telethon

Efforts to assist those affected have extended to a telethon at CapeTalk. Programming Manager, Tessa Van Staden:

Our colleague JP has mentioned that they've been inundated with donations from this telethon, where they generally work with a budget of R750 000, but what they really need is R105 million. We are hoping to reach R400 000 by lunchtime. For donations, please call 021-446-4837.

To donate to the Fire Relief Fund, please click here

Agang's still a-coming for Zuma

While that fire raged around Cape Town on Tuesday, there were also heated scenes in Parliament as the National Assembly debated the confidence motion brought by Agang SA against President Jacob Zuma. In the end Agang withdrew it’s motion. President of Agang SA, Andries Tlouamma:

We still believe in principle. What happened yesterday is that we were asking the Speaker to recuse herself and allow for a secret ballot. We were last week also asking for a postponement of the motion (to address the matter of the Speaker), so the motion can go ahead without any hindrance. If the Speaker could have recused herself, the motion would have gone on. We are not afraid to go on with the motion of no confidence; we don't want to go on with useless motions, we want a secret ballot so members of Parliament can use their conscience. There are so many people that wanted to have the opportunity to grand stand and we didn't give them that.

Emergency hip-op shelved

In EWN bulletins this morning was an exclusive report about how a Joburg man needing a hip replacement was told by the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital that it would perform the operation - but only in seven years' time. Deputy Head of Baragwanath's Orthopaedics Department, Professor Sebastian Magobotha:

I heard that report again this morning; the issue is we have a very, very long list. We've got an out-patients clinic and last year we had a look at over 40 000 people and the problem is that people come in wanting to have their surgery, because no one wants to live with pain, and we understand that. We do so many surgeries per week, but our clinics and our bookings far outweigh what we can do. We as the clinicians are on the forefront with the patients, but what I'm trying to say is that we have a very good team, but we are only afforded 3 theatres a week for artho-plasty, with 8-9 cases per week, btu we are getting more and more referrals.

Executive Director of SECTION27, Mark Heywood:

I think the Professor was very honest in how he answered questions and yes, he does seem to point to a much bigger problem, which has an acute human resources shortage that's the underlying issue here. This has reached crisis proportions. People who are on waiting lists for three or five years are often left in pain and this does not speak to the issue of having access to health care that the law here supports. This also boils down to bad planning, where there's no budget for human resources, within the health care sector, but this area has seen an increase in the education sector.

Obama-Netanyahu show down over Iran

In Washington, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has claimed that the US should not sign a deal with Iran and said that the Iran is still a blood thirsty regime. Independent commentator and former diplomat, Tom Wheeler:

What it really amounts to is that what Netanyahu said was nothing new, they're always trying to be scary, saying they would bomb Iran, with Obama saying this would only be a temporary solution. The US and the other members of the Security Council negotiate with Iran that they maintain a transparent program for at least 10 years that they would not produce any nuclear weapons.

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