Today's Big Stories

Patrick Craven on Workers Day outside the Cosatu fold

Patrick Craven. Image credit: Mail & Guardian.

Patrick Craven still stands for the worker's struggle

A month ago, on Wednesday 1 April, it was confirmed by Patrick Craven that he was stepping down as the National Spokesperson for the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu), following the decision by Cosatu’s Central Executive Committee to dismissed its General Secretarty Zwelinzima Vavi. Craven told the Midday Report’s Stephen Grootes that he was no longer able to defend the decisions taken by the union, in what he felt was a departure from the values of the worker’s struggle. On Worker’s day today, he speaks to Camilla Bath:

Of course it is a very sad day in a way. This is the day that is supposed to celebrate workers unity. But instead people who marched and struggled together are now marching separately. I don’t consider myself to have left the Cosatu fold; because what we in effect have, are now two groupings of our unions. I believe that I am still working for the principles on which Cosatu was founded, and which I am hoping will re-emerge in the coming months. In South Africa and around the world, the workers movement is still under attack. With the highest levels of inequality in the world, we have campaigns to weaken the trade union movement; which is why it is so urgent to reunite the movement to fight against this. We are not seeing the kind of coordinated action which we saw in the early days of Cosatu. Employers will undoubtedly try take advantage of this in retrenching employees and resisting wage increases. Workers divided will nearly always be defeated and that is the danger we face. Workers day is supposed to cement the unity of workers, solidarity in struggle and show a commitment to policy by government.

Patrick Craven

Workers Day commemorated

On May 1, South Africa celebrates its Worker's Day. The day became a national public holiday in South Africa and since 1994. Worker's Day commemorates the role played by Trade Unions, the Communist Party and other labour movements in the struggle against Apartheid. The day is also known as May Day, was born from the industrial struggle for an eight-hour day. Eye Witness News’s Govan Whittles is monitoring Workers Day events and politics today.

I think what we at right now in Mohlakeng rally, represent the way Cosatu sees the workers struggles. There are planned rallies today in almost every province. This is 30 years of Cosatu at the moment. I did get a chance to speak to Cosatu’s President, Sdumo Dlamini a little bit earlier about the significance of today and he says today is all about cementing Cosatu’s place which is the main representative of all workers in South Africa but also to show the Cosatu has not disappeared following the internal fractions that led to NUMSA being expelled and Zwelinzima Vavi being dismissed.

The latest is the #Nepal Quake

The official death toll from last weekend’s devastating earthquake in Nepal has topped six thousand, and the UN is warning as many as 2 million people need assistance. Local aid group Gift of the Givers is among the many organisations helping survivors in that country. EWN’s Mia Lindeque is travelling with the South African team, reporting live from Nepal with the latest:

At the moment they are focusing on assisting in the buildings that are damaged. The team is in a village and are assessing the damage to the buildings, and will later move in to see if there are any survivors. Most of the people here need food, tents and shelter and are still scared to move to anywhere else. We are expecting an additional 33 doctors to join this first team later today. Some of our South African doctors are already scheduled to perform surgeries. The second team will arrive with the vital equipment as well as food and tents to assist in our efforts here.

Mia Lindeque

Stransham-Ford dies before his ruling wass passed

Robin Stransham-Ford yesterday was granted an order that allows a doctor to help him die and the doctor will not be prosecution or face disciplinary measures. Stransham-Ford, a 65 year old former advocate was diagnosed with terminal prostate cancer in September 2013. He had hoped that Judge Fabricius would hand down an order to allow the use of drugs to end his own life but unfortunately he had already died before the judgement was handed down. To get a legal perspective on this, Camilla Bath spoke to Advocate Manny Witz:

I am of the opinion that that this decision will be taken on appeal to get more clarity because it is a brave decision that the judge has made. He looked at the constitution; he looked at the right to life and all the various rights. The problem is very simple, there’s another part involved and that is the doctor that he or she will be assisting if the circumstances were pertained.

Husband a suspect in the abduction and killing of wife

The abduction and murder case of Port Elizabeth junior school teacher Jayde Panayioutou took a dramatic turn after Eyewitness News (EWN) broke the information yesterday that Panayioutou’s husband had been arrested in connection with her murder. Panayioutou was found dead last week after she was abducted outside of her home. Another suspect was also arrested in connection with the murder. EWN’s Siyabonga Sesant reports from Port Elizabeth:

Police say they are looking for the trigger man in the abduction and murder of teacher Jayde Panayioutou. I am at the Riebeek College Girls' High School in Uitenhage and I was literally moved to tears. I arrived a few minutes ago, expecting the school to be closed. But a couple of learners are here conducting choir practice. In the Hallway there is a wall of remembrance with pictures, candles and moving messages. The pupils say they cannot believe what has happened. Some of the residents who had interacted with the couple also expressed their shock of what has happened. New information has emerged today that the first suspect helped police to apprehend Panayioutou’s husband who is now appearing in court on Monday.

Buckle up your child or be slapped with a hefty fine

Parents who don’t strap in their children will be slapped with a hefty traffic fine. The Transport Department has amended the National Road Traffic Act, making it mandatory for motorists to strap children under the age of three into specialised car seats when they're driving. The new law surrounding the use of child car seats come into effect today.

Cammilla Bath spoke to Howard Dembovsky of Justice Project to share how enforceable this new amendment to the National Road Traffic Act is going to be?

There are a number of NGO’s who actually give child restraints at no charge whatsoever. There is wheel wild run by Peggy Mars and they've been doing a stunning work in this regard for a number of years now and as far as I know Imperial also got behind this particular effort and has also assisted in distributing free child restraints to people who have to drive infants around so there really no excuse that oh its expensive and I can’t afford to get one.

UK Elections loom

Less than a week now before Britons go to the polls in what’s shaping up to be an unpredictable and yet very important election. Our UK correspondent Gavin Grey is on the line from London:

Campaigning is heating up and it is a very close run, if you believe the polls. Most of the polls put the main part of the government, the Conservative Party, neck and neck with the opposition, the Labour Party. Last night there was a television debate, but each of the leaders was questions separately, by members of the public. The Prime Minister would not be on stage at the same time with other leaders. The polls are important because Britain’s future in Europe will be put to the test. This may really affect trade in other parts of the world as well as the hammering down of foreign aid across the world and in other parts of Africa.

3 Talk on SABC 3 is history, Afternoon Express takes over

From 4 May, a new lifestyle show will hit TV screens with three familiar faces at the helm. Bonang Matheba, Jeannie D and Bonnie Mbuli are the presenters of the new show titled “Afternoon Express”. The talk show, which takes over from 3 Talk with Noeleen is expected to be current and appeal to a younger audience. Bonang Matheba speaks to Camilla Bath about the new show:

It’s a lot of pressure, 21 years that Noeleen was in that slot so we’ve got a lot of catching up to do, a lot of entertaining to do, like you said its big shoes to fill. Noeleen will always be the talk show queen in South Africa so we starting a brand new show and hopefully everyone will love it.


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