Today's Big Stories

Nepal earthquake: South African relief groups respond

Pic credit: AFP

Nepal earthquake relief: Gift of The Givers

Various relief and rescue organisations have activated their programs to assist with efforts following the 7,9 magnitude earthquake that struck an area between the Nepalese cities of Pokhara and the capital, Kathmandu. The Gift of the Givers is deploying a team to the affected areas. The plan is to leave tonight. The organisation’s Director, Dr Imtiaz Sooliman:

It's very complicated; firstly, the airport was closed and when it opened, there was a 6,7 magnitude earthquake which followed. The first team will leave tomorrow or Wednesday and we would like to add more medical personnel, because we've received reports that they are short of many medical supplies on the ground. I am trying to make arrangements for supplies from Dubai and India. This is a very expensive mission; the medical supplies we are taking amount to about R5 million and the orthopaedic implants cost almost R1 million for a few small items and we are going to need many small items.

Nepal earthquake relief: Rescue SA

Rescue SA's Ian Scher:

The rescue teams wouldn't go unless they were government sanctioned; one of the problems I can envision is likely to happen is getting clearance to land and I doubt we'll be able to land at the airport in Nepal. Once they start searching, the first search will be for live victims, but when that happens, you also have to recognise that there will be deceased people who will need to be transported as well.

Nepal earthquake: South Africans affected

For the families of South Africans who are yet to get out of the earthquake-struck areas, the biggest concern now is food and water supplies. Sue Sherman’s son Mike and his girlfriend Kate Ahrends are safe, but need to replenish their supplies as a matter of urgency. Sue Sherman with the details thus far:

I don't have too much information, but he is in a National Park and they had started their trek on the day of the earthquake. I did receive an email from him saying he is OK, but there is an avalanche that is blocking their area so no one can get out and no one can get in. Apparantly, everyone in the village nearby was wiped out, but they have water.

Nigeria High Commissioner recall a reality - Dirco

The ripples of the xenophobic attacks have spread far and wide – particularly across the African continent. There has been backlash from countries like Mozambique and Zambia, but the most extreme perhaps has been from Nigeria, with news breaking this weekend that the Acting High Commissioner to South Africa is being recalled. EWN Africa's Jean-Jacques Cornish:

We know that the Acting High Commissioner and his Deputy have been recalled. There was confusion over the announcement initially, with French media saying that the envoys had gone back for a senate hearing, but Dirco has confirmed they have received word from the Acting High Commissioner himself that he's been recalled.

Earlier, on 702's John Robbie Show, Dirco Spokesperson Clayson Monyela expressed disappointment over the Nigerian government's move:

Tensions at KZN refugeee camps: xenophobia update

The army is still out in the streets having been deployed to help police deal with the latest flare up of xenophobic violence in South Africa. While some refugee camps are being emptied – as foreigners are reintegrated into their communities – some are still protecting those who fled the attacks. At least seven people have been killed in the past few weeks in KwaZulu-Natal and in Gauteng. EWN’s Aletta Gardner spent much of this weekend visiting one of the refugee camps in KZN:

We know that some of the immediate issues regarding overcrowding and sanitation at these camps, but what really struck me in Isipingo are the levels of fear in the area. There have also been accounts of altercations between camp residents and the police around removals. There was anxiety following an incident where a 22-year-old Burundian was beaten and landed up in hospital.

Zuma on Freedom Day: S.Africans should free their minds of violence

Freedom Day celebrations are under way at the Union Buildings in Pretoria, where President Jacob Zuma has spoken. EWN's Thando Kubheka is there:

Thousands of people from across the country have come out here to celebrate Freedom Day. There are women wearing ANC t-shirts, there's musicians, artists out here; it's a very jovial crowd, with people cheering for President Jacob Zuma when he arrived. President Zuma said that South Africa needs to have a dialogue to talk about the spate of xenophobia South Africa to address their anger, needing a psychological cure to clear their minds of this violence.

Political analyst Justice Malala on how to look at the context that surrounds this year’s celebrations:

This day is a reminder of how far we've come, and I remember it very clearly because on this day in 1994, you had bombs going off at the Joburg City Centre and many would have said that there's no ways we could have become this peaceful country that we have become. President Zuma is absolutely right - the recent xenophobic attacks have really cast a dark cloud on this day. We have become a very angry nation and connected to that anger is looking for areas of blame - we blame Madiba and Tutu for giving us the concept of the 'Rainbow Nation'; this is a warning light for South Africa that any country that's wasted time looking to blame the past instead of looking towards what is the current leadership doing.

Bringing out the bubbly for Eskom's 'maintenance festival'?

While many people aren’t home this long weekend – or even this week – for those who are, load-shedding remains a reality. Eskom also announced its so-called 'maintenance festival – which took place over the past few days. The utility’s new boss Brian Molefe has hit the ground running and says maintenance is absolutely not negotiable. Eskom's Khulu Phasiwe:

We started on Friday with our technicians and engineers on what they are calling a 'maintenance festival', which will happen over two weeks. We usually do the bulk of our maintenance in summer; the bulk of the generators are going to be a big focus during this period, in preparation for the peak period proper that's coming up.

SAPS-SANDF hostel raids to continue

National Police Commissioner General Riah Phiyega is on record saying that raids will continue to be conducted by her officers and the army. Today, a lot of activity was seen in Hillbrow, but there's been no confirmation that this is related to the anti-xenophobia crack down. Police Spokesperson, Lungelo Dlamini:

It is general crime prevention and we are currently monitoring the situation on foreign nationals. We haven't had any violence targeted towards foreign nationals so far and we also do crime prevention operations as the same time as well. We are continuing with other operations and in Hillbrow, we managed to arrest about 50 undocumented people.

Farewell to a football legend: John 'Shoes' Moshoeu

In Soweto today is the final farewell to soccer legend John 'Shoes' Moshoeu, who died last week Tuesday after a long battle with stomach cancer. Moshoeu played for Kaizer Chiefs and was a renowned midfielder for Bafana Bafana, helping the team win the Afcon in 1996. EWN Sport's Morena Mothupi:

It's been something more of honouring Shoes Moshoeu, the humble human being he was. We've had Neil Tovey, Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula and other dignitaries. Neil Tovey couldn't even get his eulogy started without breaking down, talking about his friend; neither could Dr Danny Jordaan, who spoke of the Shoes Moshoeu he saw on the pitch in 1996, also speaking of Shoes' contribution when Bafana Bafana made the African Cup of Nations. There's been talk that Shoes should be inducted in some sort of Hall of Fame and that young football aspirants shouldn't forget the kind of footballers South Africa has produced.

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