Today's Big Stories

Pistorius sentencing continues and could the Gauteng ANC end E-tolls?

Is Pistorius physically suitable to cope with prison? : at the Oscar Pistorius trial, Probation Officer Annette Vergeer has taken to the stand, going through a report she’s prepared on Pistorius. Earlier Pistorius’ agent Peet Van Zyl was cross examined by State Prosecutor, Advocate Gerrie Nel about Pistorius’s involvement in several charities. Vergeer is testifying for the Defence – in mitigation of sentence – after Pistorius was convicted of culpable homicide for the killing of Reeva Steenkamp. Criminal Law Specialist, Advocate Manny Witz:

An eNCA stat mentioned that 88 disabled people are currently incarcerated by the Department of Correcrtional Services. If you want an alternative sentence (since there is no mininum sentence for culpable homicide), you have to call a proabational officer to assess whether you’re suitable for one. (On Adv. Nel questioning Pistorius’s motives in being involved in charity work) whether this charity work was arranged by his agent is part of being a sportsman, an icon and a legend and whether he did this out of his own pocket and accord is going to be assessed, but I don’t think the judge will make much of that.

Could the Gauteng ANC coerce the national administration to end E-tolls? : the Gauteng ANC led by its Chair, Paul Mashatile and Deputy Chair, the Gauteng Premier David Makhura along with other senior leadership have made their submissions at the E-tolls review panel in Centurion today. Mashatile maintains they represent the call of the people on the E-toll system:

As we are moving around in the province, our members find it (E-tolls) very expensive. They are not against paying, but need something affordable. We should find another solution. We’ve proposed to the panel to look at the fuel levy which could be collected national to benefit all roads, not just those of Gauteng. Last Monday, the President issued a statement that the Gauteng leadership has the right to express their lack of support on the system. After we’ve done our submissions, we will make sure Head Office (Luthuli House) knows our view and we are sure we’ll find support from Head Office. We want to persuade one another. We can’t have the ANC as a ruling party in loggerheads with its citizens. We will take the side of the people, and not the system.

What to make of an overwhelmingly underinsured driving population?: a claim in The Times says that around eight million motorists currently without third party insurance could be forced to buy it under a new plan proposed by the insurance industry itself. SA Insurance Association’s Manager of Property Insurance Risks, Dawie Buys:

This is about compulsory third party insurance. The Road Accident Fund already provides coverage for injuries sustained on the road. It would seem, currently, that the insured section of the driving population is almost subsidising the uninsured section of the driving population. We’ve done a motivation document in 2010 and formed a task team to elaborate on it, along with a task team of actuaries for scenario planning.

Will the SABC get to the bottom of the **Tshabalala qualification scandal? : **Parliament’s Communications Portfolio Committee has started its hearing into whether SABC Chair Zandile Tshabalala lied about her qualifications. EWN Parliamentary Correspondent Gaye Davis notes how the hearing has stalled:

She (Tshabalala) arrived with her lawyer and senior counsel in tow. When asked how they would plead, her legal counsel said they were unprepared, since they were only briefed yesterday. The committee was unimpressed with this show as they couldn’t havethe hearing today. Arendse (Tshabalala’s legal counsel) said if he could be given two weeks to prepare, it wouldn’t be enough, while the Committee maintains that the next available date is in fact Thursday the 16th (of October, 2014).

Will Boko Haram ever #BringBackOurGirls? : it’s now six months since nearly two hundred schoolgirls were kidnapped by the insurgent group Boko Haram in Nigeria. EWN Nigeria’s Samson Omale expresses the nation’s hopelessness on the matter:

All the promises have come to nothing and none of the girls have been released. A couple of weeks ago, Former President Obasanjo did say that the girls may likely not come back, because he did have some contact with Boko Haram. A reaction to that statement has been that he has not been authorized to go and have negotiations with the Boko Haram insurgent leaders. He (Obasanjo) also said that some of the girls have become pregnant and that those of the girls that Boko Haram cannot maintain may likely to be released, but he did say emphatically that the girls may not return they way they were picked.

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