Today's Big Stories

SA's National Key Points: what's with the secrecy?

The secrecy behind public-serving structures: at the High Court in Johannesburg, the Right 2 Know Campaign and the South African History Archive (SAHA) are now asking a judge to force the Ministry of Police to release a full list of areas defined as National Key Points. The ministry has previously refused to release this list and at the moment if someone takes photographs of an area that is a national keypoint, they can be sentenced to over twenty years in jail. EWN Correspondent, Mia Lindeque:

The High Court has heard the State Advocate say that this list cannot be made public as this will put the country's security at risk. The National Key Points Act in the 1980's never mentioned anywhere that this list must not be published and the State is arguing against this, saying much has changed since then. The Right-2-Know Campaign members are protesting, saying the public must allowing where these points are and why we aren't allowed to get close to them as tax payers.

Right 2 Know Campaign National Coordinator, Murray Hunter:

We see that the Key Points Act has been around since 1980's and was drafted very much in the spirit of that time. It is being used to shield public and private bodies from members of the public. It's a law that has severe restrictions on certain constitutional rights, including the right to know and the secrecy around the national keypoints creates a situation that allows for abuse of national key points.

Hlongwane a Seriti 'no show': in the Seriti Commission of Inquiry into the Arms Deal we were expecting testimiony from Fana Hlongwane today, a former advisor to Former Defence Minister, Joe Modise. It appears that Hlongwane will not be testifying. EWN Senior Correspondent, Barry Bateman:

Hlongwane's legal counsel says they weren't given enough time to prepare and have committed to making an appearance on the 11th and 12th of next month. First requests for appearance do go back to a year from now and they did get the subpoena to appear then, so they've certainly been given enough time to prepare. (On requesting not to be photographed) we heard that Fana Hlongwane was here but didn't make an appearance, making an in tandem meeting with the judge, but there is no exact reason behind his not wanting to be photographed. And yes, when you do do a Google search for him, you won't find an image of him.

Grade 7, 8 and 9 pass rate changed: the Basic Education Department says it has ordered schools to adjust the marks of learners in grades 7, 8 and 9 because there was a risk too many of them would otherwise fail. Basic Education Department Spokesperson, Elijah Mhlanga:

It's not going to be any easier. Last year and the year before that, they were required to pass 7 of the 9 subjects and this year, they are required to pass 8 of the 9, which makes it tougher. What we've done - which is international practice - is we've introduced a curriculum which will impact on the system in some way and we've picked up that this year in 2014, there will be a drop in the pass rate in those grades of 7, 8 and 9, so we've put in place an interim measure to help us manage the transition.

Skweyiya loses investment following Petro SA CEO's advice: a suggestion in the Business Day newspaper that the situation regarding the appointment of the new Petro SA Chair, Tshepo Kgadima is partly the result of a lack of action by the National Prosecuting Authority when companies go bust through irresponsible and possibly illegal actions by the people in charge of them. Business Day Columnist, Stuart Theobald:

Recently, there's been a particular case where the Petro SA CEO has been invested in an investment scheme which appears to a scam, which also involved Former Minister (of Social Development), Zola Skweyiya who lost it (the investment), and has appealed to the the government for help.

Load shedding update: there are more warnings from Eskom that the national grid is constrained again, even after a weekend that saw load shedding in major parts of South African cities. Eskom General Manager, Andew Etzinger:

The grid is doing well and stable after the weekend and we've managed to replenish our upper dams. It's a good start to the week all in all but will hopefully stay that way for the week, but anticipate a tighter system towards the end of the week. We will be facing a tough summer, but we don't anticipate prolonged load shedding. We are recovering and hoping this has been the worst of it for the summer. The two remaining silos at the power station are not in operation at the moment, have been emptied of their coal and are part of the investigation looking into the silo collapse.

Al-Shabaab pushing conflict in Kenya: Kenyan security forces say they’ve killed a hundred members of the group al-Shabaab after that group said it had killed 28 fish vendors for refusing to recite a verse of the Koran. EWN Kenya Correspondent, Vauldi Carelse:

The government has released some pics to local newspapers this morning and the pictures can't be confirmed for their voracity. Al-Shabaab are said to have called the Kenyan Deputy President William Ruto 'absurd'. The coastal town of Mombasa has been affected most and there's been a surge in radicalisation.

Blue Bulls' Bakkies retires: Springbok lock and Blue Bulls player, Bakkies Botha announced over the weekend that he’s retiring from international rugby. Captain of the Blue Bulls, Flip van der Merwe:

It's sad and sudden news about Bakkies but he's had a good run in the jersey. Bakkies was a great leader to look up to and when I joined the Bulls back in 2009, he and Danie Rossouw pulled me in and in many ways, they made me the player that I am today. I think Bakkies has his head in the right place and has made this decision after having given it much thought.


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