Today's Big Stories

Meyiwa murder accused - charges dropped

Charges dropped!: the Boksburg High Court has called the SAPS to immediately release the man arrested in connection with the murder of Bafana Bafana Captain, Senzo Meyiwa.Zanokuhle Mbatha was arrested two weeks ago and this morning prosecutors said they needed more time to complete their investigations. Magistrate Daniel Thulare then ordered he be released. EWN Senior Correspondent, Alex Eliseev:

It was extraordinary. There were 30 - 50 police officers brought in, with two convoys of barbed wire and closing off access to the entire court, along with a K9 unit. This was all part of preparation made by the police of this expected high-profile appearance, with instructions given to the media not to film or take pictures of the accused. The NPA didn't have enough evidence to carry on with this trial and charges against the accused were dropped.

NPA Spokesperson, Nathi Mncube:

The issue with prosecution is that we always depend on evidence presented to us. There were two people who identified the accused in the identity parade. After the first appearance of the accused, more evidence came to light, along with new information and we were of the view we'd have challenges going forward. We're going to withdraw the matter and send the dockets to the police due to insufficient evidence.Our role as the NPA has ended today, since we've referred the matter back to the police.

Was the SCOAN collapse a work of evil?: a claim on 702's John Robbie Show from the Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN) Spokesperson, the lawyer Bally Chuene, is that the church lodge collapse in Nigeria was the work of evil forces. Civil engineer at CMC di Ravenna's South African operation, Tony Tasker:

The video that I've seen shows an aircraft going past the building a few times before the building collapsed. I can't tell if it's the same plane flying past or different planes flying at different turns. We don't even know if there isn't a landing strip nearby where that plane could have landed. But I don't believe that it had anything to do with the building collapse because of the timing. It looks to me like the bottom columns collapsed. This could have been a controlled demolition, but if it was, then my word, I would have expected someone to tell people evacuate. It is rare - we had a similar situation in Tongaat, KwaZulu Natal - but it hardly ever happens.

The high price of high art: an art auction overnight that saw a painting by JH Pierneef being sold for just under twelve million rand. Pierneef is one of the few artists in the world with a suburb named after him. Strauss & Co. MD, Stephan Welz:

It was an unusually large example, painted in 1926 upon his return from Europe. We had 14 of his works and sold 13 well above our estimate. He's got a very definite signature that is readily identifiable and has maintained a very high standard throughout his career.

Township housing market on the rise: a report out from First National Bank suggests that house prices are moving up more quickly in township areas than in the suburbs. FNB Property Analyst, John Loos:

The difference is not massive, in the township market has seen 9,5% up year-on-year and the overall metro index is 7% up, so it's 2,5% slower. There's a low interest rate phase, for first-time buyers coming out of their shells. The supply constraints are more acute than in the higher income bands. Infrastructure upgrades and the influx of retail have also seen an increased popularity in townships in recent years.

Can you go back, Cosatu?: ANC Secretary General Gwede Mantashe said at a Monday media conference that the split in Cosatu is not irreversible, but that it may still be possible to get the various parties to talk to each other. Later, seven unions have voiced wanting to suspend their participation within Cosatu over the Numsa expulsion. EWN Correspondent, Govan Whittles:

The expulsion could be reversed at a special national congress, but in terms of the divisions, it's clear that the unions have chosen their sides are sticking to them. If the special congress does go ahead, and the unions who support Numsa do have their way, it would mean that Numsa returns to the fold, but certainly there would be a question on Cosatu's leadership, and if that happens, there might be a complete change and a shift in power in terms of the Central Executive Committee. Only once that happens, that means there'd be talk of 'super unions' amending Cosatu's constitution to allow two unions to emerge. When Gwede Mantashe says that the parties involved 'need to let go of the things that are dear to them', if for example NUM and Numsa had to merge because Numsa wants to go into the mining sector, there would be serious contestation over the leadership of such a super union. For Frans Baleni and his union (NUM) coming out of Amcu's rise to power in the mining industry and now having a really big focus in the construction industry when Numsa has already started positioning itself, it would be a huge risk to the existance of NUM, but for Numsa that's seen Amcu make inroads in the metal industry, they can't sit by and allow Amcu to continue organising against the NUM, which has become weak in the industry, they need to become the alternative union in the industry and the only way to do that is to break the Cosatu principle of 'One Union, One Industry' and that would entail going into the NUM's territory. (On Vavi) his future in Cosatu has certainly been up for debate, but he hasn't really let people know of next steps

Phantom spy satellites?: in Parliament on Monday, DA MP David Maynier raised questions about what appears to be a spy satellite that is being launched by the Russians for our government.DA Shadow Minister of Defense and Military Veterans, David Maynier:

It's very clear that this is a defense intelligence acquisition project that has gone horribly wrong. It appears that the taxpayers forked out more than R1,4 billion and after 8 years of development, there is still no spy satellite. We have to ask some very hard questions about who should be held accountable for this.

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