Today's Big Stories

Fire reduces parts of CPT to ash, Cosatu vs Vavi CEC showdown, Northgate death

[CPT FIRE] 5000 hectares of Cape Town reduced to ash

EWN's Monique Mortlock, Shamiela Fisher, Lauren Isaacs and Govan Whittles on this story: as residents, farmers and Cape Town officials start counting the costs of five consecutive days of a wildfire on the Southern Peninsula, it’s emerged more than 5,000 hectares of land has been reduced to ashes. The blaze broke out in the mountains above Boyes Drive in Muizenberg on Sunday and fuelled by a south easterly wind, spread at a rapid pace to the Noordhoek, Tokai and Hout Bay areas. Residents in Groot Constantia, Klein Constantia and Tokai were forced to evacuate their homes when the fire took an ugly turn in the early hours of Wednesday morning. The entrance to the Tokai Forest was closed to all members of the public and media. At the same time, the City of Cape Town says it's spent about R1 million a day on firefighting efforts on the Southern Peninsula.

Watch Thomas Holder's capturing of the fire as it ravaged through Southern Cape Town here

Watch Vumani Mkhize's capturing of the situation at a firefighting station here

Cosatu to pursue Vavi over CEC boycott

Midday Report Host, Stephen Grootes on this story: Congress of South African Trade Union (Cosatu) officials are expected to confirm this morning that they're going to ask General-Secretary Zwelinzima Vavi to attend a special Central Executive Committee meeting to explain why he boycotted this week’s gathering. On Monday, Vavi tweeted that he wouldn’t attend this week’s meeting saying it was wrong to continue with it without seven unions which are demanding the reinstatement of National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) which was expelled last year. Numsa was voted out of the trade union federation by 33 votes to 24 and the decision has since exposed the rift between rival affiliates. This morning's meeting should see the first official confirmation that Cosatu CEC has decided to postpone taking strong action against Vavi. It’s understood they want to give him a chance to explain himself before instituting any action. He is likely to face hostile audience if the meeting does go ahead, most of his allies boycotted this week’s meeting and it doesn’t appear they will go back anytime soon. This means any such procedure investigating Vavi’s conduct could in the end just be a formality. He said the meeting wasn’t supposed to have gone ahead and Cosatu leaders should be trying to speak to the seven unions.

Inquest docket opened in Northgate Mall death

EWN's Nomsa Mdhluli on this story: Gauteng police say they’ve opened an inquest docket and will wait for postmortem results to determine how a man died at the Northgate Shopping Mall on Wednesday night. There have been conflicting reports into the Ebukayi Onyeyewgo’s death, with his brother Gabriel saying Johannesburg Metro Police Department (JMPD) officers allegedly suffocated him with a plastic bag when he refused to pay a bribe after drugs were found in his possession. But the JMPD and a security officer at the mall say the man died after swallowing the drugs during a chase with officers. The police's Mack Mngomezulu says, “As they were chasing him, he started to swallow the tablets. When they caught him, he was weak and also asked for water. He passed away. Currently, they’re busy with the inquest.” Eyewitnesses say an angry group of community members gathered at the scene after word of Onyeyewgo's death spread.


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