Today's Big Stories

ISIS recruiting and online security concerns for South Africa

ISIS insurgents. Pic credit: Wikipedia

ISIS infiltration via internet?

Confirmation over the weekend that a South African teenager from Cape Town was stopped from flying to Saudi Arabia as she was about to join to the organization Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). The fifteen-year-old girl was reportedly lured by the group online through social media channels. She is now with her parents. EWN's Emily Corke:

Her grandparents were worried when they couldn't find her and alerted Yusuf Abramjee as the head of Crime Line. Evidence was found on her online engagement and payments made to an unknown source. The State Security Agency and the Institute for Social Security both believe that she was recruited via social media. State Security Minister David Mahlobo says this is the first recruitment incident that they know of in South Africa.

Clinical Psychologist, Professor Eddie Wolff:

Adolescents are being targeted because they are more likely to be moving more away from their family values in their trying to find their own identity. That rite of passage also makes you very vulnerable in a number of respects, especially where they feel they are isolated or in a state where you feel you belong 'no where'.

EFF-supported Khayelitsha land occupation

In the Western Cape on Monday was a bid to organize an illegal land invasion in a part of Khayelitsha that saw people being allocated plots by leaders of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) before they started to clear the area to build shacks. EFF MP, Nazir Paulsen:

It is not land invasion, it is land occupation - land was in invaded in 1654. These land occupations are being done by people from the community, and by people who live in constrained situations and have identified a piece of land. We've got a militia of the old that only exists to bully black people. They should obey the law - we would never allow nor encourage people to occupy land that's used by someone else; what should be illegal is for people to live in conditions that are so bad, they could kill them. The levels of tuberculosis in Khayelitsha are so high - THAT should be illegal.

More symbols of South African history defaced

Several reports have emerged that a statue was burned by EFF members in Port Elizabeth and then cleaned by members of the ANC in the Eastern Cape. ANC Eastern Cape MPL, Christian Martin:

From our side, as a government first, we should be a responsible party. If there are people going around, causing anarchy, we as the ANC government should step in and take responsibility. The only political statement we are making is to say that we are the responsible, governing party. We have continuously said that processes should be followed for name changing and so forth. South Africa is an integrated society, our country's heroes are based on these exact statues, we have heroes because of what they have fought. The greatness of this country is based on the atrocities that have been fought.

The President's billion-rand jets

A claim over the weekend is that the Defence Force is now planning to buy three new jets to be used by President Jacob Zuma at a total cost of R 2 billion. Defence analyst, Helmut Heitmann:

These aircraft don't only fly the President - everyone from officials, technical staff and others are flown on these aircraft. The aircraft isn't too old, but having just one could be limiting. When a crisis arises, it doesn't help if it would be a case of 'sorry, we can't help - our aircraft is in service. What we should have done is brought a multi-role aircraft, one that has the reach to fly anywhere, with large delegations.

Farlam Commission - evidence leaders' report

In the EWN bulletins this morning, was news that the evidence leader's report to the Farlam Commission investigating the Marikana shootings has found much of the blame for what happened should be placed on the shoulders of the police. EWN's Gia Nicolaides:

There's a lot detailed in the 700 page document, some of which was to find out if there was a reasonable basis for the police to shoot in self-defense. There's also accusations of police having planted evidence near the miners; evidence they could use against them. We believe that this report will give a good idea of what Judge Farlam will present. The evidence leaders weren't representing any group - whether the miners or the police - and they went above and beyond to uncover what actually happened. We know that the evidence leaders do want to have (National Police Commissioner) Phiyega investigated.

Eskom inquiry chair removed

Several more reports about Eskom this morning with a claim by the Business Day that the person who had been initially been appointed to run the inquiry into it's top executives has now been removed from the process. It had been claimed that Nick Linnell - a business turnaround consultant - had been handpicked by former Eskom chair, Zola Tsotsi. Tsotsi himself was removed from his post last week and the board has now reversed his appointment of Linnell. Independent energy analyst and former Eskom employee, Ted Bloom:

A number of people have called for a judicial commission of inquiry, because the board cannot investigate itself. What I think needs to happen is that Eskom's initial terms of reference dating back to 2001 - when Eskom was moved from a utility to a commercial company - do need to be revisited. If something isn't done within a number of days, Eskom is definitely going to fall over. Eskom needs a financial injection of R50 billion - government has talked about giving them R23 billion, which isn't enough and Eskom is also running out of coal.

Intentions unclear over Mugabe SA visit

Due here later today Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe for what is being described as his first official state visit to this country. EWN Africa's Jean-Jacques Cornish:

Robert Mugabe was flavour of the month in 1994, he was arguably the most popular leader on the continent. But he was eclipsed by Nelson Mandela - he never took that well at all. After '94 with the land grabs, it was difficult for many to connect with him. And Mugabe made every attempt to take a jab at Mandela. The Thabo Mbeki era was one of 'quiet diplomacy'. Jacob Zuma has however been more muscular about things, although he hasn't really been embraced by Mugabe. But with all these 21 gun salutes, you also need to ask - what is he coming for? Mugabe is currently the AU chair and the SADC chair - Zimbabweans speak of South Africa's dominance of the market. Is he angry or not? This isn't clear at this stage. Economically, he wants a lot more - he wants South Africa to sponsor the SADC Economic Trade Summit, while South Africa has refused to do this.

Snowden bust taken down in NYC

While we as a country see some groups trying to pull down or deface statues – and the authorities and the police guarding them – in New York City in the US, a statue of the head or a bust of Edward Snowden has been removed. EWN New York's Nadia Neophytou:

It was a group of anonymous artists who haven't said who they are, but have allowed a website to follow them as they Fort Greene Park in Brooklyn. It took them 6 months to make this bust, a lot of care and attention went into the making of this bust. They said that they had wanted people to see this bust and had made it so it would last for some time. The NYPD are investigating it as a matter of intelligence, as they feel it is a defacing of an existing monument.

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