Today's Big Stories

A Parliamentary show down over lunch time

A Parliamentary summary: it's been a busy morning as Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa has spoken to opposition leaders as head of government business, while the National Assembly has also started to discuss departmental budgets. At the same time, oppostion parties have said that they may take the findings of Parliament's committee - investigating the EFF members who were chanting 'Pay Back The Money' - on legal review. EWN Parliamentary Correspondent, Gaye Davis:

There were some smiles and some sombre spaces with restoring Parliament with dignity. Mbete also holds a very powerful person as ANC Chairperson and even if she were the most unbiased person, she's duty-bound to put her party first, so the oppositon parties went into this session with putting up that Mbete be removed as Speaker.

At the same time that the Deputy President has been having that meeting and briefing, other opposition party leaders are holding a press conference in which they said they completely reject the findings of the Powers and Privileges Committee hearing into those EFF MPs. EWN Correspondent, Rahima Essop:

The parties in question are the DA, UDM and IFP and they say the process was completely flawed and have produced a damning report, which they say scrutinises the processes followed by the Powers and Privileges Committee, which as we know is a majority ANC committee. They also say that Julius Malema's submission - initially disregarded - was only considered after the report was concluded.

Cleaning up our clinics: President Jacob Zuma has been speaking at the launch of Operation Phakisa in Pretoria to upgrade services at local clinics around the country. EWN Senior Correspondent, Barry Bateman:

The situation is we've got problems in our primary healthcare and with facilities and we need to move to a place where we don't need to give up an entire day to access basic health services.

Advocates to be struck out: confirmation on Monday from the General Council of the Bar that it's bringing an application to the High Court in which it will ask three top officials of the National Prosecuting Authority to be struck from the roll of Advocates. The three are Advocate Nomgcobo Jiba, Advocate Lawrence Mrwebi and Advocate Sibongile Mzinyathi, who've all been strongly criticised in Supreme Court of Appeal rulings all of which have to do with the Zuma spy tapes and the Richard Mdluli cases. UCT Law Professor David Unterhalter – Law Professor at UCT:

In essence, the general council of the bar will go to court to set out an affidavit over why these three officials who are advocates are unfit to practice and the court also needs to assess and see if it will take the view whether they are unfit to practice. It's an objective test including submissions to the court for scrutiny.

Local paper shutdown: reports have noted how four Media 24 local newspapers are to be closed down, because they aren't making enough money. WITS Caxton Professor of Journalism, Anton Harber:

Local papers and free newspapers have been relatively immune from the turmoil hitting newspapers, partly due to the economic climate, which affects advertisiting spend. But newspapers in general are suffering pressure of new media publications around the world.

Public Service law stalled: it's been eight months since Parliament passed the Public Administration Bill, which was then sent to President Zuma but hasn't yet been signed into law. Executive Director of Corruption Watch, David Lewis:

(Having the Bill being signed into law) it would potentially have a huge impact on corruption and when it was passed by Parliament, we were full of praise for the department's passing of the bill, but we predicted it would be met with enourmous opposition within the public service itself and within cabinet. It's amazing that it's never been a feature of public service in SA before and we need explanations as to why this Bill hasn't been passed.

Extradited to face Death: the Home Affairs Department has now confimed that it is not in a position to negotiate with the government of Botswana over whether that government will execute Edwin Samotse. He was illegally deported from South Africa to Botswana by two South African immigration officials. The deportation goes against a Constitutional Court ruling that South Africa would not extradite someone to a country if they could face the death penalty. Head of strategic litigation Lawyers For Human Rights, David Cote:

We received an undertaking in Court that the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) would contineue to seek assurances that the death penalty would not be imposed but we haven't received word from them since September. We could put pressue on them (Botswana government) because we do have neighbourly relations. I think the court process has exposed more people that were involved and the officials that were involved in the deportation have since been suspended. We do hope policy will be developed so that it won't happen again. We understand he (Samotse) is in Botswana and we hope to speak to him again.

Matters of the heart: an incredible story out of Poland involves the heart of composer Frédéric Chopin who died in France, but wanted his heart removed and kept in Poland. Now the organ is being examined 165 years later in what is said to be a rather unique ceremony. EWN UK Correspondent, Gavin Grey:

He was born near Warsaw in 1810 - his mother was Polish but his father was a French immigrant and they lived there until he was 20, when he made his way to Paris due to repressions imposed by Russia after a failed uprising. It was always said that while he lived in France and he composed a lot of his music there, his heart was always in Poland. So he requested that when he died, that his heart be removed from his body and taken back to Poland. It was put in a bottle and probably covered in alcohol and sealed and it's been kept at the Baroque Holy Cross Church in Warsaw where it was buried. Scientists have always been intrigued over what he had died of.


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