Today's Big Stories

Gauteng slowed down by taxi strike

A slowed down Gauteng: there was chaos in some parts of Gauteng this morning caused by what appears to be a strike by minibus taxi drivers. They’re currently driving in a convoy to the offices of the Gauteng Transport MEC and parts of the N12 have been badly disrupted as a result of this action, while hundreds of thousands of people have been unable to get to work as a result of the strike. EWN Correspondent, Aurélie Kalenga:

Another group of taxi operators has just arrived, easily bringing the number to thousands congregated here now, bringing various demands including on a ban of the E-toll system and a demand one centralised permit for all the cars owned, per operator.

Chief Strategic Manager of Santaco (South Africa National Taxi Council), Bafana Magagula:

It is not our members that are on strike, we condemn such behaviour towards our customers, but we did not call a strike. We do apologise that people were inconvenienced, but it other people who went on this strike without calling on people like us.

How big are Numsa's boots?: Numsa General Secretary, Irwin Jim has claimed the reason his union has been expelled from Cosatu is that it simply grew too big for the federation. EWN Senior Correspondent Barry Bateman is on that story:

Jim refers to the decision as a sham, which was made by 33 people sitting in a board room for over 300 000 workers. There isn't talk of another affiliation, because Jim says he's still seeking a new mandate from the workers. Jim says he has no time for Nzimande and he doesn't know how could the Communist Party - which claims to be the vanguard of the workers - be involved in factional politics instead?

Nkandla saga continued: the City Press reports that the Public Works officials accused of maladministration relating to the amount of government spending on President Jacob Zuma’s Nkandla home fear for their lives. Public Servants Association Manager for KwaZulu-Natal, Claude Naicker:

They're not really afraid, as this is an internal disciplinary issue - a private matter between the individual and the department itself. They believe that this matter is being hyped up by the media and they want to get this disciplinary hearing over and done with as soon as possible. Documents will surface, no matter what the nature of the documents is. Bearing in mind, these officials will have to name people in order to protect themselves as well. Unfortunately, officials will have to be named.

Comet probe battery dead: in the orbit of Mars, the lander Philae has now gone into hibernation on the comet 67P after its batteries finally gave out when it landed in shadow. Director of the Wits Planetarium, Dr Claire Flanegan:

It sounds like it got most of the scientific data that they'd wanted, because the battery was designed to last about 2 1/2 days. They were hoping to charge the battery through solar power as it got closer to the sun, but that part didn't seem to work.

Pawn protects privilege: the Times reports that more people are pawning goods in a bid to keep their finances afloat. Owner of Executive Traders, Jenny Dinham:

We have noticed a huge trend of bringing on goods and the quality of the goods seems to be getting better and better. We've now found that middle class to high-income earners are getting into pawning, including paintings by William Kentridge for instance.

Government limiting Emirati flights?: Transport Minister Dipuo Peters has reportedly demanded that a Minister from the United Arab Emirates come to see her in South Africa today to discuss the dispute over the number of flights Emirates is allowed to make to this country. Transport Department Spokesperson, Tiyani Rikhotso:

The DDG responsible for aviation in our department will be travelling to the UAE to meet with our ambassador that side to facilitate negotiations with the Emirati government and come up with a service agreement between us and them. Without it, Emirates cannot continue to conduct its business with us.

Free Zimbabwe?: over the weekend, the publication of parts of what’s become known as the Khampepe report – a document written by now Deputy Chief Justice, Dikgang Moseneke and then High Court Judge, Sisi Khampepe - show how they found that Zimbabwe’s elections in 2002 were not legitimate or free and fair. EWN Zimbabwe Correspondent, Ryan Truscott:

Any condemnation from South Africa would have highly angered Zanu-PF and we don't know what was said behind closed doors. I believe this report would more than likely hurt the MDC more than anything else, and they certainly put their faces in South Africa's way quite often, hoping SA would speak out.

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