Today's Big Stories

Farlam Commission - Mpofu says Ramaphosa should be 'Accused No. 1'

The latest at the Farlam Commission on Marikana: the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) is now presenting its final arguments. The last few days have seen the miners' advocate Dali Mpofu claim that the NUM was part of a toxic partnership that led to the shootings in 2012. Amcu has also claimed many times that the deaths were partly the result of the rivalry between the two organisations. EWN Senior Correspondent, Gia Nicolaides:

Dali Mpofu says that the miners only armed themselves to defend themselves from the members of the NUM, who were heavily armed. Mpofu says that according to him, Cyril Ramaphosa is accused No. 1 and says that if Ramaphosa isn't going to be charged with murder, then no one else should be charged. According to Mpofu, it was Ramaphosa who turned this into a political situation and is also responsible for the death of 34 miners.

Mbete absolved: the Ethics Committee in Parliament has absolved National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete of wrong-doing in her acquisiation of shares in the company Goldfields through a BEE deal. EWN Parliamentary Correspondent, Gaye Davis:

The committee hasn't actualy investigated the allegations linked to the Speaker. UDF leader Bantu Holomisa is unhappy that the committee has decided against investigating, and he's taking this matter to the Public Protector. Relations between the opposition party and the ruling party are at their worst right now, with regards to fulfilling obligations towards the citizens who've put them in power. We yesterday had 7 opposition parties presenting their counter-report to the Nkandla ad-hoc committee which exonerated President Jacob Zuma.

Could Cell C's Most Disgruntled Customer have a point?: this afternoon the South Gauteng High Court is expected to hand down judgement in a case brought by Cell C against a man who put up a massive billboard claiming the network was the most useless operator in South Africa. South African Customer Satisfaction Index's Professor Andre Schreuder:

We've compared this netowrk provider to the others and it was performing at 6,4% lower than the industry average. This is an international index that is compared to the American index and the model is very robust and credible. The power is shifting to the hands of the consumer through the expression of frustration in social media and other platforms.

Successful landing for comet probe: out near the orbit of Mars, the satellite Rosetta is still on the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko in what was the first landing on a comet by a man-made craft. SA Astronomical Observatory's Dr Nicola Loring:

It's about 500-million kilometres away and we found it in space and it was quite a risky landing, because the comet is quite small and there was a worry about gravity and the comet floating off. There were concerns with bounce, but thankfully, the probe is firmly on there.

Oil prices set to drop: the US Energy Information Administration has said it believes that average prices of oil will drop sharply over the next twelve months and is now suggesting that the price may well average around seventy seven dollars for next year. Chief Strategist at Investment Solutions, Chris Hart:

Slower global growth in Europe and the developing world has seen the equation being weaker, but things have been quite strong on the supply side. It's going to be interesting to observe what happens early next year, but with the price being $77/barrel, it can take out quite a bit of the supply and it does also help the global economy grow as well.

School twinning still going ahead?: a comment by Gauteng Premier David Makhura on Wednesday has been interpreted as him saying that his government is backtracking on its plans to twin schools in rich and poor areas, to make sure resources are available to children in poorer areas. Gauteng Education MEC, Panyaza Lesufi:

I'm quite excited that we've adopted this yesterday and there's no u-turn and the policy has been adopted by cabinet. Our education system was one day or one way, going to crumble, due to migration from our township schools. The best teachers in South Africa are teaching fewer learners, while those that aren't the best are teaching the majority of our learners. We need to have this balanced. We are proposing that the school governing bodies of rich schools and poor schools work together.

Speed regulation for public transport: the Transport Department has issued a regulation that would see all public transport vehicles having to have a speed governor installed to make the roads safer. A governor is a speed limiter which prevent high speed application in vehicles. Transport Department Chief Director of Communications, Tiyani Rikotso:

We're not only limiting this to public transport vehicles, but also to heavy vehicle, to avoid situations like the recent crashes. We are working with the motor manufacturing industry. We believe this intervention is in the best interest of society because it is communities who suffer the most when people perish.

Swimmer snakes: there’s been a huge discussion this week after a series of photographs emerged showing a two-metre long Cape Cobra taking a swim in the sea on Hout Bay beach over the weekend. Curator at Chameleon Reptile Park and Zoo, Martin Smit:

It does happen, and they're rarely photographed, but it does happen. It may when happen when it has an enourmous amount of parasites and it doesn't have any arms or legs to scratch with. It may also be getting ready to shed it's skin. Snakes only have one lung so anything they do takes an enormous amount of energy, but they do swim very well.

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