Today's Big Stories

Sars rogue unit report 'shows they are doing something' - analyst

Sars rogue unit report 'shows they are doing something' - analyst

Tuesday saw the release of a report compiled by the Sikhakhane panel after its investigation into the rogue spy unit at Sars. The Sars advisory board that was set up by Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene said that the report should be made public and confirmed that former Chief Justice Sandile Ngcobo would chair the disciplinary hearing into suspended Deputy Sars Commissioner, Ivan Pillay. Several top officials have already left Sars as a result of the fall out from the unit. The Sikhakhane panel report shows how this unit allowed a foreign culture to enter Sars, but says it didn’t’ find evidendce that the law was broken. Rhodes Professor of Tax, Professor Matthew Lester:

Sars is an enourmous organisation that hasn't been reviewed in a number of years, now comes a new Commissioner (Magashula) and things are raised. There's no evidence that shows that Sars is cracking or about to implode; any organisation will have issues that need to be investigated. On the bright side, it shows that they are doing something about this whole cigarette mafia and at the same time, until 2007, we didn't have a Tax Administration Act. Of course you will have resignations when there are changes in leadership within Sars, especially when leadership is being brought in from outside.

Listen below to a Redi Tlhabi Show recording of Beeld Editor, Adriaan Basson unpacking some of the narratives contained in the media over what is happening at Sars:

Denver double-train crash could be due to speed

Confirmation in the last hour that the train that crashed into a stationary train in Denver in Joburg on Tuesday was travelling at over 60 km/h. EWN's Gia Nicolaides:

It was then the Tshwane business express train - which was coming from behind - was travelling at over 120km/h and this was the train that hit the stationary train. The driver at this stage of the train cannot be fully blamed at this stage, because it could well be a contributing factor due to problems with the signal of the control panel.

Macozoma resignation at JRA still unclear - reports

Confirmation in EWN bulletins this morning is that the Managing Director of the Joburg Roads Agency (JRA), Skhumbuzo Macozoma has resigned from his post. EWN's Govan Whittles:

The details around why he chose to vacate this position are still unclear and it's also unclear when his resignation will take effect. Macozoma joined the JRA about 5 years agao and just last year started dealing with a budget of R1,6 billion to resurface roads that had major potholes and since then, we've seen the resurfacing of roads around Joburg and the DA have also asked for clarification around why he left when he's had such a major impact.

'Reporters are South Africans before being journalists' - Bhengu

A Tuesday comment in Parliament by Small Business Development Portfolio Committee Chairperson, Ruth Bhengu is that reporters are South Africans before they are journalists and should think about the consequences of what they are saying – before publishing their reports. Bhengu went on to say that people reporting on comments by Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini could have foreseen the consequences:

I would like to reflect on what Mandela said in 1995 when he was launching the Masakhane Campaign and he said that 'Rights come with responsibilities'. What he alluded to is that rights were fought for with blood. If the leader is irresponsible, then the reporter should become responsible. The reporter should go and clarify; if there was responsibility, the reporter would go straight to the King to clarify what he was saying. Reporters are people and politicians are people and we all have a responsibility to build this country.

New domestic airline calls for SAA to end domestic flights

A claim by the new airline Skywise this morning is that the domestic side of SAA (South African Airways) should simply be closed down. Co-chair of Skywise, Javed Malik:

Government has been given a lot of pressure to perform in various industries and aviation is one of the industries that has been given bailouts. What we are saying is that we are a national carrier and we will focus on domestic flights. When small people like us come into the industry, we face a lot of challenges and we appeal to the government to assist us by calling round table councils so we can see how we can work together to solving our problems. What consumers want are low fares.

DA race for the top inspires emergence of unknowns

As Wilmot James and Mmusi Maimane continue to campaign for the post of DA Leader, two other candidates have also put their names forward. One of them is Adrian Naidoo - an ordinary member of the DA that's also an entrepreneur with his own marketing agency:

I've been a DA member since I was able to vote at 18, which makes it ten years now. I come from a corporate background and I also believe that it's time that the young of South Africa take the leadership into our own hands and say 'South Africa is our own, let's take it up'. He's a few years older than me, I bring a different persepctive to him and while I do agree with his policies, I have my own perspectives as well. Realistically, I don't believe I'll win, but I do have a chance to make an impact. One of the main principles of the DA is on equality and I do believe I can achieve equality. I'd also like to eradicate corruption completely and modernise the way in which procurement is done.

Indonesian execution of Australian citizens causes diplomatic uproar

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott says he is going to recall his Ambassador to Indonesia after that country executed two Australian citizens who had been caught smuggling drugs into the country. EWN Australia's Ian Cohen:

The reaction has been a little mix, with one side that's grieving and seeking some sort of retribution, while another side of Australian society says 'hang on, they knew the risks associated with what they were doing'. There is a real feeling that if you are going to include execution as part of your justice system, then you'd rather want to do it quickly because this only happened 10 years later and that's what a lot of people have been concerned with, that it took so long.

Extraordinary SADC summit underway

In Harare, President Jacob Zuma is leading the South African delegation to an extraordinary SADC summit, amid tensions following the xenophobic violence here that claimed the lives of seven people. EWN Africa's Jean-Jacques Cornish:

This summit has been called specifically for industrialisation - selling of manufactured rather than raw goods. President Mugabe tried to get South Africa to pay for it, we didn't, which may have angered him somewhat, during his visit here recently. We expect that the issue of xenophobia will be raised, as the leaders from the entire SADC region will be here and their citizens have been directly impacted by this violence. It will be a difficult summit, and not only because of the xenophobic violence, but also because South Africa is a bit of a load stone for economic migrants that come here.

Mzantsi is sleep deprived - experts

A report this morning is that South Africans on average are only sleeping for six hours a night, compared to the eight hours that most people recommend. Head of Wits' Sleep Lab, Dr Karine Scheuermaier:

If we don't sleep enough, we're then very grumpy, and we don't learn very well and this could lead to metabolic disorders such as diabetes and obesity. Sleep is also important so we can recover neurological processes because during the day, we form memories and sleep assists with recall.


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