SUNDAY TIMES - Budget, student clashes and Fifa: 11 things you might have missed this week
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Sunday Times News By Staff Reporter, 2016-02-26

Budget, student clashes and Fifa: 11 things you might have missed this week

Minister Pravin Gordhan arrives at Parliament to deliver his 2016 Budget speech on February 24, 2016.
Image: Ruvan Boshoff

Need to catch up on what happened this week? From the budget speech to violent brawls at universities, we round up some of the big stories - local and international - that made the news...

1) Budget

This year's Budget - aimed at cushioning the poor and middle class from economic hardship - featured a halt on tax hikes, a freeze on thousands of non-critical public service jobs, plans for the trillion-rand nuclear deal put on ice, financially crippled state entities placed in the crosshairs and a R16.3-billion funding boost for higher education to help students.

Watch this graphic artist's visual representation of Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan’s budget speech to help you understand the key points or read our 10 things you need to know about the 2016/17 budget.

 

2) University Violence

Violence continued to erupt at several universities this week. The university suspended classes after a group of students vowed revenge after a Monday night protest (see video below) during a Varsity Cup rugby match ended with frustrated spectators assaulting them. Protesting students also vandalised a monument to CR Swart in front of the law faculty building and the SRC have said they want Jonathan Jansen to resign as rector.

 

In Mahikeng, protesting students set alight several buildings on the University of North West campus. The violence and vandalism started after members of the EFF’s Student Command disrupted the inauguration of the newly appointed Campus SRC. Students were advised to leave the campus for their own safety and would be given notice when the university will open again.

 

3) Zephany Nurse Trial Starts

The trial of the woman who allegedly snatched Zephany Nurse from her sleeping mother's arms almost 19 years ago got underway in the Western Cape High Court. The woman, who pleaded not guilty to charges of kidnapping‚ fraud and contravention of sections of the Children’s Act, has said the infant was handed over to her at a train station. Another witness meanwhile claimed the woman tried to snatch her baby as well.

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4) Durban Takes Top Spot

For the second year in a row Durban was ranked higher than Johannesburg and Cape Town when it came to offering a 'high quality of life', according to a survey of world cities compiled by consulting firm Mercer.

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5) SA Pulls Out of Darfur

South Africa told the United Nations it was withdrawing its troops from the joint UN-African Union mission in Sudan's strife-torn Darfur this week. The decision to pull out comes after five weeks of intense fighting that have sent some 85,000 people fleeing in the Jebel Marra area while UN officials are seeking to verify reports of an additional 50,000 on the move. The 850 South African troops will end operations on April 15.

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7) Recalls and Cancer Scares

US chocolate giant Mars ordered a massive international recall of Mars and Snickers bars after a piece of plastic found in a snack. The company insisted that products sold locally are safe to eat. Meanwhile a US jury verdict linking regular use of Johnson & Johnson talcum powder to a woman's death from ovarian cancer has spurred new concern from consumers.

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8) Africa's First Solar-Powered Airport

Transport Minister Dipuo Peters will officially launch "Africa’s first solar-powered airport” at George Airport today.

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9) Chesa Nyama Heads to USA

Chesa Nyama is set to bring the iconic South African braai culture to America. The first store‚ in Nashville‚ Tennessee‚ is expected to open before the end of October 2016.

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10) FIFA votes for change

UPDATE: Tokyo Sexwale pulled out of the Fifa presidency race on Friday shortly before voting began to decide who would succeed banned former president Sepp Blatter. A Fifa appeal committee on Wednesday reduced bans against Blatter and Michel Platini to six years but maintained they were still guilty of ethics breaches. A new poll recently showed two-thirds of fans have no faith in the organisation.

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11) THE LIGHTER SIDE: Lip-Synching Gone Wrong

A Chinese folk singer was caught on camera lip-synching during a live performance on national TV when she held her mic upside down.