Double Metrobus tragedy: pregnant passenger dies
Joburg this morning saw a horrific bus crash where two Metrobusses collided head on with each other in Saxonwold on Jan Smuts Avenue and Cotswold Drive. EWN's Govan Whittles:
There were two people who were killed, 64 others were injured. We don't know what the cause of the crash was at this moment. They've now managed to seperate the two busses and it's been a morning of clean ups and sending people to hospital right now. The bussess have been confirmed roadworthy and the drivers were tested and trained.
Metrobus MD, Mavela Dlamini:
We're very sad, it's difficult to explain. One bus from Randburg into Johannesburg and the other from Johannesburg towards Randburg collided near the Zoo Lake area. One of the drivers who is alive now has said he thinks he lost control of the bus. We hope the forensic assessment will help us come to the bottom of this. We are concerned of course about the speed that our drivers do you use and driving and having an accident of that nature between two busses is very difficult to understand and we want to apologise to the people of Johannesburg. We do need to follow due processes, but we also need to have our drivers' skills sharpened. I need a training program for all our drivers. Private trainers have been engaged with the re-training of our drivers by our HR.
DA #1 race: James vs Maimane
Confirmation in the last few minutes that Dr Wilmot James is going to run against Mmusi Maimane for the position of leader of the DA. Maimane announced over the weekend that he would run after Helen Zille said she would not be available for re-election. James expands on why he had decided to run for this position:
I am ready to lead, I have a positive and compelling offer to make. I want to have a winning party and I've consulted with my colleagues over the last two weeks to rally behind me in May. I'm determined to do so (to beat Maimane) with a lot of support to deal with. I think that I can win and I will certainly have a very strong team campaigning with me.
EWN Parliament's Gaye Davis:
(On Maimane) the fact is, he's had a head start, his campaign has been credible and I think his backers will be very happy that he has a credible opponent going head to head against him. The fact that there's a credible race is good for the DA.
Nhleko in Russia at a time of xenophobic tensions
A report this morning is that Police Minister Nathi Nhleko is actually in Russia, despite the fact that almost all of government is currently involved in trying to stop xenophobic violence. Nhleko is a key figure in this – he was one of the ministers leading this effort over the weekend. Spokesperson for the Ministry of Police, Musa Zondi addresses why Minister Nhleko suddenly went to Russia in the middle of this:
During the first BRICS conference in eThekwini, one of the focus areas was on drug trafficking and the drugs control protocol needs to be launched with all the BRICS Ministers present. So even under the circumstances - and with much hesitation - the Minister had to be here to sign this protocol. Under the circumstances and the fact that there are quite capable people on the ground to address the situation because the Minister is a part of the Security Cluster and whether he is there physically or not, decisions can be taken based on assessments on the ground and decisions would be made for the good of the entire country.
Maphatsoe's military minders
An exclusive report in EWN bulletins this morning is that twelve military soldiers are currently protecting Deputy Defence Minister Kebby Maphatsoe at his private residence in Meyersdal south of Johannesburg, since February:
We have two soldiers here, where I'm staying: there's nothing like twelve soldiers here and the reason why we have the soldiers here is because my residence had to be converted to an official residence. Public Works were supposed to allocate a house to me to stay in and cabinet ministers qualify for security. The request was put to the Police for protection, so while they are still dealing with the issue of how they are going to deploy, we have put a request to the Defence Force as per the Ministerial Handbook.
EWN's Barry Bateman:
I've got the deployment documents in front of me that we signed in February, which states that they are currently providing one section - which is twelve SANDF members - who are rotated. What this document also shows that this has been happening longer than February, while there's also Police VIP security provided to the Minister (Maphatsoe). I've been trying to get comment from the National Police Commissioner, but no luck; we would like to get explanation as to why they aren't providing protection for this Minister and we would also like to know who authorised this.
Zuma appoints Mashinini to IEC
Confirmation on Thursday is that President Jacob Zuma has now formally appointed Vuma Mashinini to the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC). Mashinini is a former special advisor to President Zuma and opposition parties are furious at this decision. Political analyst, Professor Steven Friedman:
Yes, they have an extremely strong claim, but this is ultimately secondary. As pointed out, his position as a former advisor of the President doesn't inspire great confidence. If people are losing faith in the process, then we are in trouble. One of our main strengths in our 21 years of democracy is that our elections have been overwhelmingly accepted as being fair.
Drug breakthrough claims be solution to asthma
A claim breaking overnight is that a major breakthrough in the study of asthma means that it could actually be cured within five years. Professor Robin Green from the University of Pretoria's Paediatrics and Child Health Department:
Asthma is a very complex disease - I think a cure is decades away, but this is a condition that affects many people. About 20% of South African children have this disease. A better option would be working out why asthma develops in the first place.
Hitting the circuit: Dear White People
The release in movie house this weekend is the movie called 'Dear White People'. Film critic at The Times, Tymon Smith:
The movie is definitely provocative and it's something that South Africans can relate to, even if it's set in post-racial America during the time of Barack Obama. Race is incredibly important because nobody wants to speak about it. It's quite funny and the comedy is played out quite well. The messages are around dancing, socialising, dating, etc.