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Goodbye 2020 — here are the big events we can expect in 2021

Diarise the upcoming events of 2021, because 2020 is a thing of the past.
Diarise the upcoming events of 2021, because 2020 is a thing of the past.
Image: REUTERS/Loren Elliott

We're hitting the ground running in 2021 as many of last year's big news stories spill over into the new year.

So if you are keenly awaiting the outcome of a newsworthy case, or if you are looking forward to an important date, then take note of this diary list of big events and news stories for the upcoming year.



  • Jan 8: ANC birthday commemoration in Limpopo.
  • Jan 18: Trial of three alleged Isis affiliates accused of the 2018 murders of two elderly botanists.
  • Jan 20: The criminal case against paediatric surgeon Prof Peter Beale‚ whose co-accused, anaesthetist Dr Abdulhay Munshi, was shot dead in September‚ returns to the Johannesburg magistrate's court for an indictment.
  • Jan 20: Donald Trump officially leaves office. If all goes according to plan, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will be sworn in as US president and vice-president and officially assume their offices at about noon on January 20.
  • Jan 21: Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane will appear in the Pretoria magistrate's court on three counts of perjury. The complaint was made by Accountability Now in 2017.
  • Jan 26: The case of seven people arrested in connection with the plundering of VBS Mutual Bank is back at the Palm Ridge magistrate's court.
  • Jan 27: Back to school.
  • Jan 27: Nateniel Julies case resumes in Protea magistrate's court.
  • Jan 27: Themba Daniel Shikwambana arrested after an investigation into the leaking of matric maths exam paper, due at the Johannesburg magistrate’s court.
  • Jan 31: The 63rd Annual Grammy Awards.


  • Feb 4: African Transformation Movement's case in the Western Cape High Court‚ seeking an urgent judicial review of National Assembly speaker Thandi Modise's decision to refuse to grant a secret ballot in the motion of no confidence in President Cyril Ramaphosa.
  • Feb 8: The Australian Open tennis Grand Slam will be held in Melbourne.
  • Feb 11: Floyd Shivambu trial for assaulting Media24 photographer Adrian de Kock. In March 2018 the alleged assault was caught on camera in the parliamentary precinct. In October Shivambu failed in his bid to avoid standing trial.
  • Feb 12: The case of the wife of former finance minister Malusi Gigaba‚ Norma Mngoma, will be heard at the Pretoria Regional Court in connection with charges of malicious damage to property and crimen injuria.
  • Feb 15: Grade 12 pupils will hear whether Umalusi, Council for Quality Assurance in General and Further Education and Training, will declare the matric exams free and fair. This will be preceded by reports on the investigations into the leaked maths paper 2 and physical science paper 2 that will be furnished by senior officials of the basic education department to the exam quality assurer.
  • Feb 15: Provisional trial date set down for appearance of ANC MP Bongani Bongo in the high court in Cape Town for allegedly attempting to bribe an evidence leader of parliament's Eskom inquiry in 2017.
  • Feb 18: The Angelo Agrizzi trial is to be heard in the Pretoria specialised commercial crimes court‚ where he faces charges related to the Bosasa R1.8bn fraud and corruption case.
  • Feb 19: Ace Magashule due in court.
  • Feb 22: Matric exam results.
  • Feb 23: Former president Jacob Zuma will face charges that he took bribes from arms dealers in the 1990s.
  • Feb 24: The SAFTU general strike. On December 16 the SA Federation of Trade Unions called on all public servants to mobilise for a general strike after the Labour Appeal Court dismissed the application to enforce the final year of a three-year collective wage agreement. The labour court declared Clause 3,3 of the 2018 public service collective agreement invalid.
  • Feb 25: Brig Rosy Resandt and her husband Clifford Resandt to appear at the Pretoria magistrate's court in connection with a R500,000 corruption and defeating the ends of justice case linked to self-proclaimed prophet Shepherd Bushiri.
  • Feb 28: The 78th Golden Globe Awards.
  • Feb/March: The Indian Space Research Organisation will launch their rocket Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle-C51 (PSLV-C51). They will also launch several other commercial satellites including Brazil's Amazonia.


  • Mar 1 and 17: Former president of France Nicolas Sarkozy will hear on March 1 the outcome of his trial where he is accused of trying to bribe a court official. Then on March 17 he will hear the outcome of a trial where he is accused of exceeding campaign spending limits during his 2012 election bid.
  • Mar 5: The case against the five men implicated in the murder of Bafana Bafana and Orlando Pirates goalkeeper Senzo Meyiwa will begin in the Boksburg magistrate's court. Muzikawulahlelwa S’tembu Sibiya, Bongani Sandiso Ntanzi, Mthobisi Prince Mncube, Mthokosizeni Ziphozonke Maphisa and Sifikuhle Nkani Ntuli will appear for the 2014 killing. They face counts of murder, attempted murder, robbery with aggravated circumstances and unlawful possession of a firearm and ammunition.
  • Mar 8: The former Minneapolis police officers accused in the George Floyd killing go on trial.
  • Mar 9: Ex-ANC MP Vincent Smith and Agrizzi corruption case in the Palmridge court. Agrizzi was formally joined as co-accused with Smith. Smith is facing a charge of corruption and a charge of fraud and stands accused of receiving gratifications in the form of security upgrades to his home and cash transferred into his personal bank account via the Euroblitz 48 bank account.
  • Mar 9: Elizabeth Holmes, founder of Theranos Inc. will go on trial for nine counts of wire fraud and two counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud for distributing blood tests with falsified results to consumers. She found fame early on with a blood testing machine which was set to revolutionise health care — only it didn't work.

From Academy Award-winning director Alex Gibney comes a documentary about the rise and fall of Theranos, the one-time multibillion-dollar healthcare company founded by Elizabeth Holmes.


  • Apr 25: 93rd Academy Awards ceremony.


  • May 18: The Eurovision Song Contest 2021 will be held in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, after the country's victory at the 2019 contest with the song “Arcade” by Duncan Laurence.
  • May 23: The start of the French Open tennis tournament.
  • May 26: The second-shortest total lunar eclipse of the 21st century will occur, lasting just 14 minutes and 30 seconds and can be seen.
  • May 31: Fraud and money laundering case against self-proclaimed prophet Shepherd Bushiri and his wife Mary due back in the Pretoria high court.


  • Jun 10: Annular solar eclipse.
  • Jun 11: The Euro 2020 football event, which was postponed because of the coronavirus, will finally begin.  
  • Jun 28: Wimbledon is back after skipping the tennis tournament in 2020.


  • Jul 3: The British and Irish Lions begin their tour to SA.
  • Jul 12: British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell, the former girlfriend and confidante of Jeffrey Epstein, a convicted sex offender, will go on trial for sex-trafficking charges.
  • 23 Jul: The start of the Tokyo Olympics. The games were set down for 2020 but were postponed because of the virus.


  • Sep 1: Singapore plans to prohibit the ivory trade on this date.


  • Oct 23: The 2021 Rugby League World Cup begins in England.


  • Nov: The month of the planned launch of Nasa's Artemis 1 mission to the moon.
  • Nov 1: The 2021 UN Climate Change Conference is scheduled to take place in Glasgow, Scotland, UK. It was rescheduled from November 2020 due to the pandemic.


  • Dec 4: A total solar eclipse will occur.


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