News Roundup: 10 things that happened this week

29 January 2016 - 14:08 By Staff Reporter

Need to catch up on what happened this week before that big dinner party? We round up some of the big stories - local and international - that made the news...

ANC Western Cape leader Marius Fransman. File photo
ANC Western Cape leader Marius Fransman. File photo

1) Marius Fransman Steps Aside

ANC Western Cape chairperson Marius Fransman was directed by national officials to step down this week pending the finalisation of the investigation into the alleged sexual assault charges laid against him.  Fransman is accused of inappropriately touching a 20-year-old woman in Kimberley, while en route to the ANC's January 8 birthday celebrations in Rustenburg. The ANC has also given Western Cape secretary Faiez Jacobs 48 hours to give his side of the story on an assault case involving him and a staff member in December.

2) Gareth Cliff vs M-Net

The South Gauteng High Court on Friday ordered M-Net to reinstate Gareth Cliff as an 'Idols' judge and to pay the costs of his court application. M-Net axed Cliff as a judge for the 12th season of the South African version of the talent show earlier this month after a public outcry over a remark he posted on social network Twitter. In the wake of the Penny Sparrow racism row, Cliff tweeted that "people don't understand free speech at all".

3) Zika Virus Fears

The World Health Organization has come under pressure for quick action against the infection linked to thousands of birth defects in Brazil that is spreading through Latin America and the Caribbean. There is no vaccine or treatment for Zika, which is a close cousin of dengue and chikungunya and causes mild fever, rash and red eyes. An estimated 80 percent of people infected have no symptoms, making it difficult for pregnant women to know whether they have been infected

4) Mining Jobs At Risk

Mining companies informed the mines ministry this week of intentions to cut about 32,000 jobs as prices decline. Plunging commodity prices are adding to pressure on an industry struggling with regulatory changes and unreliable power supplies. In related news, 2015 saw the ‘lowest-ever fatalities recorded in the mining sector’ - a total of 77 miners lost their lives last year‚ an 8% decrease from the 84 who died in 2014.

5) Reserve Bank Hike

Reserve Bank governor Lesetja Kganyago took aggressive action this week when he raised the repurchase rate by 50 basis points to 6.75%. The move, he explained, was because of inflation worries caused by the weakening rand, which had depreciated by 15% against the dollar since the Bank's last monetary policy meeting in November.


6) Prince and Tenders

Beaufort West mayor Truman Prince was unapologetic this week about requesting that a tender be given to a construction company which was "sympathetic and having a relationship with the ANC". The Democratic Alliance accused Prince of blatant corruption, but the mayor said he was a seasoned politician and would never be stupid enough to ask for corrupt favours. ANC secretary general, Gwede Mantashe, said the party would follow up on the issue.

7) Typhoid Fever

The National Institute for Communicable Disease has urged South Africans not to become overly concerned about typhoid fever after the Western Cape department of health confirmed three cases of typhoid fever. There have been six cases in Gauteng in January. The laboratory services in South Africa identified 72 typhoid cases in 2015, and 103 in 2014. Most cases in South Africa have a travel history to a place where there is a current outbreak of typhoid.

8) Trump Puts On A Show

US Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump withdrew from a debate with party rivals this week, hosting his own separate rally a mile away in front of a packed house of cheering supporters. Trump has been engaged in a public spat with Fox News since the network hosted the first debate and moderator Megyn Kelly asked Trump about his treatment of woman, prompting a stream of insults from the candidate.

9)Oregon Occupation Shooting

The FBI released a video showing Oregon state police shooting dead one of the armed protesters who took over a wildlife refuge in a three-week occupation involving ranchers angry over land management policies. Ammon  Bundy and his supporters took over the wildlife refuge on January 2 to protest at the jailing of two local ranchers, Dwight Hammond and his son Steven, who were convicted of arson.

10) AND IN LIGHTER NEWS: Minaj Coming To Town

Multi-award winning rapper and singer Nicki Minaj announced on Instagram this week she will heading to South Africa in March. Minaj will be performing in Johannesburg (Ticketpro Dome) on 17 March, Durban (Moses Mabhida Stadium) on 20 March and Cape Town (Grand West Arena) on 22 March.