Today's Big Stories

Midday Report Live Blog 8th October, 2014

The rundown: musician Molemo ‘Jub Jub’ Maarohanye and his co-accused Themba Tshabalala have had their murder convictions overturned in the South Gauteng High Court. The two were convicted of murder after killing four school children in Soweto while drag-racing their Mini Coopers down a main road four years ago. Their sentences have now been converted to a lesser charge of culpable homicide. Criminal attorney, Cliff Alexander:

I’m even more confused (over dolus eventualis) after following the Oscar Pistorius trial. The General Law Amendment Act says that it’s an aggravating factor if you’re under the influence in committing the crime. Jub Jub denied using drugs, in the first instance, although later admitting to using. With all the deaths on the road we’ve seen, we’re slowly seeing convictions under the influence, however. Judges are being extremely careful with how they proceed in this regard. The state can appealon a point of law. The NPA is going to have to study the judgement carefully to find grounds for appeal.

The Ebola epidemic spreads to Europe: there are now more fears globally that Ebola could be spreading from West Africa after a patient tested positive for the disease in Spain. Fifty other people who had contact with that patient are now being monitored. Academic Head of Critical Care at WITS University, Professor Guy Richards:

The difficulty is going to be with regards an absolute exclusion (for South Africa). Patients might want to go to centres where they perceive they will get better medical treatment (such as in Spain). There’s fairly stringent screening in the primary countries. The idea would be to pick up people up early and treat them quickly. The first thing to be screened should be a travel history from Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. Nigeria no longer has cases reported.

Is dagga as addictive as heroin? Maybe, but Most Likely Not.:a claim this morning says that dagga is as addictive as heroin. President of the South African Society of Psychiatrists, Dr Jan Chabalala agrees:

I’m not surprised (by this finding), dagga is extremely addictive. It changes ones’ perception, once people smoke it, theyexperience a kind of dissociative state, where they become lethargic. Thisplays into people who are facing problems or are depressed, so when they are inthat lethargic state, nothing ever matters.

To a downward economic outlook for SA: the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Tuesday cut our economic growth outlook from one point seven percent in July, to just one point four percent now. Senior Economist at Renaissance Capital, Dr Thabi Leoka:

Business requires confidence, and I don’t think business is very confident with how the economy is being run. Economic growth isn’t being supported with skills, due to a skills shortage and we’re seeing many of our companies going into the rest of Africa to look for skills.

To further afield in Hong Kong: it appears there are few people on the streets in pro-democracy demonstrations – while negotiations are now planned between student leaders – and representatives of the Bejing-backed administration. EWN Asia Correspondent, Steve Vines:

These are very interesting talks between student leaders and the administration. What’s even more interesting with these talks is they will be broadcast live. This is somewhat reminiscent of what was happening in the solidarity movement in Poland a few decades ago. They (the Beijing administration) have been under considerable pressure to do something, because they protestors are still there – much reduced in numbers – but they are still there.


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