Never miss a beat when it comes to breaking news in South Africa; be sure to check out all the major headlines on Wednesday, August 19.
As South Africans hailed the easing of coronavirus-induced lockdown regulations, Eskom’s inability to stabilize the power grid has plunged the country into long periods of darkness due to the Phase 2 load shedding Meanwhile, government corruption – which intensified during the pandemic – remains a serious concern for cash-strapped citizens and investigative agencies.
LATEST NEWS TODAY IN SOUTH AFRICA, Wednesday AUGUST 19
Level 2 lock spoiled by load shedding in step 2
As South Africa’s struggling economy tries to recoup losses from nearly five months of lockdown, the country’s struggling electricity supplier has been hit by a wave of blackouts, forcing the implementation of load shedding at the worst possible time.
Since the country has slowly rolled out of harsher versions of lockdown, Eskom’s serious shortcomings – which lay dormant during periods of low use between April and June – have come back to the fore. As industries revive, Eskom has issued several warnings about unstable power grid, instituting rotational outages to avoid a nationwide power outage.
Eskom’s operations were further hampered by delayed maintenance procedures, unexpected plant outages and a fierce cold front that damaged critical infrastructure in the Western and Eastern Cape.
On Tuesday evening, Eskom revealed he was caught in a vicious cycle; the return of triggered units to the network only to encounter other failures at other sites. Eskom said:
“Yesterday, six generators were put back into service at the Medupi, Tutuka, Kendal, Majuba and Grootvlei power stations. The failure of four units overnight and this morning at the Medupi, Duvha, Majuba and Lethabo power plants, as well as the delay in the scheduled return to service of a unit in Medupi, resulted in a strain on the electrical system.
The second stage load shedding is expected to last from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. today.
Corruption storm intensifies as procurement ‘irregularities’ mount
The skeletons of coronavirus-related corruption continue to come out of the government’s closet. As the ruling African National Congress (ANC) faces a wave of fierce discontent – both from the public and from its own ranks – reports of procurement irregularities, almost affecting all government departments have been revealed to Parliament.
The latest report, which deals with the controversial fence built near the Beitbridge border post, revealed numerous flaws in the issuance, award and completion of the public works project. The fence – which has unceremoniously been dubbed the border’s “washing line” due to its poor structural integrity – cost taxpayers R40 million. The report tabled in Parliament on Tuesday found that the price had been inflated by over R17 million and that nearly all procurement protocols have been compromised.
Public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane, who is currently locked in a legal battle with the government to retain her post, has launched multiple investigations into allegations of tender fraud within the Gauteng health department. The provincial health MEC, Bandile Masuku, was recently ordered to step down pending the results of multiple investigations that may have political, civil and criminal ramifications.
From sports field to parliament: #BlackLivesMatter debated
The #BlackLivesMatter movement, which started in the United States to protest police brutality against black minorities, continues to divide public opinion in South Africa. With recent allegations of racism enshrined in South Africa’s sporting codes, Minister Nathi Mthethwa called for an overhaul of sport culture. The Sports Minister recently focused his attention on eight South African rugby players who “refused” to kneel down to support the BLM movement while playing in Europe.
Mthethwa ordered SA Rugby to investigate the incident. The order itself has subsequently come under heavy criticism from those who argue that supporting any movement remains a personal choice that should not be dictated by the government.
Some hours later SA Rugby responded to Mthethwa’s concerns, Members of Parliament have engaged in a heated debate around the issue of #BlackLivesMatter in South Africa. While many political parties in attendance expressed support for the movement’s core ethics, with Zakhele Mbhele, the shadow minister of small business development for the DA, asserting that “’Save the Rhinos’ does not mean other animals don’t matter ”in response to #AllLivesMatter rhetoric, the African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) and Freedom Front Plus (FF +) criticized the movement.
The department lifts the quarantine on certain Limpopo FMD sites
The Ministry of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development has lifted the quarantine on nine sites affected by foot-and-mouth disease in Limpopo.
“The ministry is pleased to announce that the quarantine has been lifted on nine locations, with 10 properties remaining in quarantine. Our veterinary services are continuously working with affected breeders to resolve the remaining 10 farms, and good progress is being made in this regard, ”the ministry said in a statement Tuesday.
In addition, the department said Botswana had lifted the ban on the export of live cattle from South Africa.
“The import conditions for exporting livestock to Botswana have been revised and a health certificate has been approved. Foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) specific import conditions include isolation of animals for at least 30 days while preparing for export under the supervision of the Veterinary Authority and screening for foot-and-mouth disease during this. period. “
The agreed terms have been provided to the Provincial Veterinary Services and potential exporters are advised to contact their local national veterinarian to familiarize themselves with the requirements for exporting cattle to Botswana.
The ministry said most trading partners have retained the negotiated agreements for safe products. (Source: SAnews)
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