Stay up to date with the latest news in South Africa by reviewing all major headlines on Thursday 2 January.
While South Africans had hoped for a positive and peaceful start to the New Year, a wave of violence which swept over Johannesburg, leaving in its wake a trail of death, destruction and a police manhunt for perpetrators, has reminded citizens of the wanton criminality which embattles the country. In sports news, the Proteas ready themselves for a vital ‘New Year’s Test’ against England at Newlands in Cape Town.
Today’s latest news in South Africa, Thursday 2 January
Mass shooting in Melville sparks outrage and police manhunt
Police have vowed to intensify the search for suspects involved in the Melville shooting, which took place amid New Year’s celebrations in the early hours of Wednesday morning. Reports indicate that an altercation inside a popular restaurant on 7th Street spiralled out of control, with one party exiting the establishment and vowing to return.
Moments later, the occupant of a BMW SUV opened fire on the packed restaurant, before speeding off.
Amid the pandemonium which enveloped the crowded street, it was discovered that two women had been killed by the hail of bullets, while six other victims were rushed to hospital in a critical condition.
The Provincial Commissioner of police in Gauteng, Lieutenant General Elias Mawela, has called on witnesses to come forward with information which may lead police to the perpetrator(s).
Cape Town’s refugee ‘crisis’ deepens
The situation in and around Greenmarket Square, following violent internal conflicts between refugees who are currently housed at the Methodist Church, are expected to deepen.
This follows the arrest of a one of the group’s leaders on Wednesday afternoon. While SAPS have not yet released the name of the suspect arrested on charges of assault, earlier reports indicate that refugee leader Jean Pierre (JP) Balous was involved in a violent confrontation on Monday night.
The arrest comes after a fierce power struggle erupted earlier in the week. Western Cape police spokesperson Colonel Andre Traut confirmed that a group of refugees, led by Papy Sukami, attempted to evict Balous from the Methodist Church.
The suspect is expected to appear before court on Friday 3 January.
More questions surround Mary Fitzgerald Square shooting
Moments after gunshots rang out in Melville, another shooting was reported approximately five kilometres away at Mary Fitzgerald Square in Newtown.
Reports indicate that at least 11 New Year revellers were injured in the attack. The Gauteng government issued a statement on the shooting, claiming that the gunman had taken up a vantage point on the M2 double-decker bridge. The statement said:
“Preliminary investigations on the Mary Fitzgerald Square incident reveal that the shooter fired several shots from the upper level of the M2 (south-bound) double-decker bridge and targeted the VIP area.
No arrests have yet been made, but police are working hard to ensure that suspects are identified and arrested.”
14-year-old among mums of 66 KZN New Year babies
A total of 66 babies were born on New Year’s day, KwaZulu-Natal’s health department said on Wednesday, with the youngest mother being only 14.
The little bundles included 34 boys and 32 girls, with the first child being born at midnight at Ladysmith Hospital.
Some of the tots and their mums at Durban’s King Dinuzulu Hospital were visited by health minister Dr Zwelini Mkhize and KZN premier Sihle Zikalala. (Source: ANA)
North West starts the year with fewer festive season road fatalities
Festive season road fatalities have been reduced by almost a third in North West province, Community Safety and Transport Management MEC Sello Lehari said on Wednesday.
“Preliminary statistics show that there is a 29% reduction of fatalities in the province compared to 2018. By December 31 in 2018, there were 104 fatalities and by the last day of 2019 this figure was down by almost 30%,” he said in a statement.
Twenty-six crashes were recorded in the province in the third week of December, 16 fewer than in the same period in 2018.
Two major accidents claimed nine lives.The first happened on December 19, when a sedan and a bakkie collided head-on along the N4 between Rustenburg and Swartruggens. (Source: ANA)
South Africa vs England: Second Test preview, pitch report and betting tips
The four-match series between South Africa and England rolls into Cape Town this week for a fixture that has become iconic on the cricket calendar.
The New Year’s Test at Newlands is an experience unlike any other, and with the first three days already sold out, the atmosphere should be electric.
The Proteas head into the Test one-up in the series after their 107-run win at Supersport Park. That win was comfortable in the end but the hosts were made to sweat by a dangerous, if somewhat flawed England team.
Both teams have struggled to put runs on the board which means we could be in for another tense low-scoring affair.
Latest weather forecast, Thursday 2 January
Take a look at weather forecasts for all nine provinces here.
Live traffic updates for Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban
Stay one step ahead of the traffic by viewing our live traffic updates here.
Free daily horoscope, celeb gossip and lucky numbers for Thursday 2 January.