Xenophobia priority committee to work until mid-May
There are two high level government briefings under way at the moment about the recent xenophobic violence around the country. Both Presidency Minister Jeff Radebe and Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba are currently giving briefings about what government is doing to stop this from happening again. We’ll start with the briefing by Radebe on government’s inter-ministerial committee. EWN's Rahima Essop is there:
The seven victims have been named, they include a Zimbabwean, an Ethiopian and a Bangladeshi national. (On Sithole's murder in Alex) his name is not on the list because his killing is considered an act of criminality, not an act linked to xenophobic violence. (State Security Minister) Mahlobo said they looked at the period during which the other events happened and Sithole's killing could not be linked to the period of xenophobic violence.
EWN Parliament's Gaye Davis:
The briefing this morning was taken up by Major General Charl Allandale, who is heading up this priority committee and gave some hope when he said that over the last few days, the number of incidents have been evasive. He also said that 309 arrests have been made, but it's too soon to expect any convictions and they're working Lifespan of the priority committee depends on when the situation stabilises, but he did mention that they are looking at a mid-May target.
Meanwhile, President Jacob Zuma suggested on Monday that there were various reasons as to why this violence had happened. Zuma started by explaining some of the reasons he attributed to South Africans who he said had complained about foreign nationals living here. Zuma then went on to say that South Africa did not create this situation and that governments of all countries need to handle their citizens with care.Executive Director of the Institute for Security Studies (ISS), Dr Jakkie Cilliers:
What is interesting is there is a bit of pushback from President Zuma but he's also bringing something interesting to the debate. Government has been quite irritated by the criticism from Nigeria, and there's a lot of competition between the two countries and I feel like this is justified, because there are a lot of immigrants that South Africa is receiving from Nigeria, but you now have two African powers that are ultimately shouting at each other and that can't be good for diplomatic relations. I don't think there is really a regional solution, South Africa is reluctant to open up it's borders - but South Africa should regulate the influx of skilled migrants into the country and that isn't being regulated really yet.
Additionally, President Zuma made comments about South Africa having a culture of violence, because of apartheid. President of the Pan-African Psychology Union (Papu) and human rights activist, Dr Saths Cooper:
Yes, we most definitely have a seriously entrenched culture of violence and it's become something that we believe is a way to resolve our problems and this is indicated by the kinds of items we see making our news. Lt-General Mawela - the head of Public Order Policing - has spoken of an upsurge against policing authority. We have a creeping culture of lack of respect, not only for ourselves, but for others in authority.
A review of dogs on CPT beaches
The City of Cape Town says it is now investigating whether dogs should be banned from beaches on the South Peninsula because of complaints that they can be aggressive. Director of Sport, Recreation and Amenities at the City of Cape Town, Gert Bam:
We have various challenges; we don't want to ban dogs, but want to strike a balance of having a dog-free environment with having a dog-friendly environment, therefore we are proposing times when dog owners could bring their dogs onto the beach. We are currently in the middle of a public engagement process, because our public use our beaches mostly for dog walking. We want to create the balance between people using the beach for recreational purposes and people using their dogs for walking.
Nepal earthquake relief update
In Nepal, it’s now thought over 4400 people have been killed after a massive earthquake struck there over the weekend. EWN Asia's Venkat Narayan:
India has sent hundreds of tons of drinking water, thousands of trained people to assist. China, Russia, the United States and a total of over 50 countries have declared relief efforts and supplies. The situation is pretty bad and the Prime Minister is doing everything it can to rescue under relief. This is a huge mountainous country, people have to walk hundreds of kilometres to get to places and getting supplies into locations needed has been a huge task. This has been the worst earthquake in more than 80 years.
Structural geologist, Dr Herman Van Niekerk:
Predicting earthquakes is extremely difficult. Geologists can monitor the earth's crust to see stresses along the plates, but when you look at the rocks themselves, it's difficult because the way rocks react to stress varies from rock type to rock type and the way. Global monitoring systems need to check changes in elevation.
#DenverTrain double train crash
In Denver in Southern Joburg, Transport Minister Dipuo Peters is now on scene after a train crash this morning that claimed one life – and left over 240 other people injured. EWN's Gia Nicolaides:
As we understand it, a train coming from the direction of Pretoria crashed into a stationary train, derailing it. There were dozens of paramedics who were trying to free people who had been stuck inside the train, when I'd arrived on scene. A female Metroguard had been killed during the crash, while a female Metrorail driver was airlifted. Out of the 240 people injured, a number of them have since been released from hospital.
Railway Safety Regulator (RSR), Spokesperson, Babalwa Mpendu:
As the railway safety regulator, we are very concerned about what happened. Our investigators have been onsite and concluded their investigation, and have handed it over to Metrorail. We will be updating the media with our preliminary report this afternoon or tomorrow morning.
Community activists being watched by 'Big Brother'
In Joburg today is the launch of a book called 'Big Brother Exposed', that is about the organisations that appear to be watching you – in other words which organisations are spying on you. Spokesperson for the Right 2 Know Campaign, Murray Hunter:
What we've seen is that a number of service delivery activists or community activists have encountered the State Security Agency or other authorities who ask questions around what their organisations have been up to and a number of other issues. This is concerning. What we see is a form of pre-policing; people who have not committed crimes are already being policed, so we shouldn't accept the argument that 'they may commit a crime, therefore they're being monitored in case they do'.
Women: Mzantsi's biggest movie goers
A report out this week by the National Film and Video Foundation is on who in South Africa actually goes to the cinema to watch movies. CEO of Developmentnomics Research, Kola Jolaolu:
We've found that South Africans still go and watch movies and about 53% of those people are women. In the UK, US and Canada, we find that 52% of women who go there and in China, it's 50% of women. So South Africa is in line with what we're finding globally. Our concentration was really on South African movies; before we conducted this research, it was believed that South Africans don't watch South African movies, but we've found that they are viewed quite favourably by South Africans. The problem is that a lot of movies aren't put on platform in which South Africans watch movies - we've found that many South Africans still watch movies on DVDs - and that most people have to even drive long distances to get to movie houses.