News in South Africa 17th May: 

1. Second phase of vaccines:

South Africa’s second phase of the Covid-19 vaccine rollout commences today, with government targeting 6.5 million people over the next six months, as well as the remaining 500,000 healthcare workers who were not vaccinated during phase 1.

Second phase of vaccines
Image taken by: Anna Tarazevich

Mkhize was speaking on Sunday ahead of the rollout of the second phase of the Covid-19 vaccination plan which will see citizens above the age of 60 inoculated.

He said the country was ready for the rollout.

“Many people have mild symptoms after vaccination. These include flu-like symptoms like mild fever, headache and tiredness, as well as redness, swelling and pain at the injection site,” said Mkhize.

“These generally disappear within one or two days and can be managed at home with rest and paracetamol,” he said.

As areas in the country are already in the third wave of Covid-19 infections, Mkhize stressed the importance of vaccinating as many people as soon as possible.

He warned that there may be a slow start at the beginning of the second phase of Covid-19 vaccinations but said the numbers should pick up during the course of the month.

The minister said there were 87 vaccination sites nationally, with 83 in the public sector and four were in the private sector. The health department was hoping to up this number to 200 by the end of the week.

Assuming a miraculous 100% turnout among the 4,288 people invited to receive their Covid-19 vaccinations today, South Africa will achieve 3.8% of its daily target on the first day of the second phase of rollout.

2. Stage 2 load shedding:

Eskom has announced that it will be implementing stage 2 load shedding from 17:00 on Sunday until 22:00 on Tuesday night.

The power utility said it needed to ration electricity due to the loss of ten generating units at seven different power stations.

“We urge the public to help us by reducing consumption while Eskom teams are working around the clock to restore as many of these units to service as soon as possible,” it said in a power alert on Sunday evening.

The utility said it had lost a total of 6 044MW of generating power over the past 24 hours.

The losses included:

  • three generation units at Tutuka power station due to loss of air compressors
  • a unit at Majuba, which was forced to shut down while another unit tripped
  • a generation unit at Kriel, which was taken down for a boiler tube leak
  • a unit at Matla power station, which was forced down due to a steam leak
  • units at Kusile, Medupi and the Duvha power stations

3. CNA in financial trouble:

Creditors remain in the dark as CNA battles to avoid business rescue. Reports emerged last week that the stationery retailer is in financial trouble and that the relationship between the board and CEO has soured.

The board is accusing CEO Benjamin Trisk of engaging business rescue practitioners without its consent, according to Business Day. The board is of the view that Trisk acted “unilaterally”. However, Trisk told the paper that, as a director, he had to look after the “welfare of the company, its staff and its creditors”.

He claims that the board discussed business rescue at the end of March.

It is understood that CNA has not paid multiple creditors for months. One creditor has still not been paid for January purchases.

Last week, CNA contacted creditors to state that the proposed payment plan would be amended further with part payment now likely at the end of the month. The letter stated that the retailer needed time to put funding in place.

This suggests, on the surface at least, that funding is being lined up.

Majority shareholder Astoria, which owns 70% of the business, announced on Thursday that it would sell its holding to management (which holds the remaining 30%) for the price it paid. It is unknown whether the ructions at board level contributed to this decision.

4. Zuma on trial today:

Former President Jacob Zuma is due to go on trial for corruption today, but after his lawyers quit just weeks ago, his new representatives may not be ready to proceed.

Judge Piet Koen has been confirmed as the judicial officer who will determine whether former president Jacob Zuma and French arms company Thales are guilty of corruption.

Pietermaritzburg High Court manager Mbusowezwe Zondi stated on Thursday afternoon that Koen, who has also served as an acting judge in the Supreme Court of Appeal, has been appointed as the presiding judge in the long-awaited Zuma matter, which is scheduled to start on Monday.

At this stage, it is unclear whether the trial will actually go ahead, as Zuma’s former lawyers resigned last month, reportedly because of undisclosed “ethical reasons”.

The former president’s erstwhile attorney, Eric Mabuza, has been called upon to explain the legal team’s last-minute withdrawal from the case when it gets underway on Monday.

5. Ace refuses to apologise:

Suspended ANC secretary general Ace Magashule will not apologise to president Cyril Ramaphosa for sending him a letter of suspension. Instead, he has filed papers to the courts trying to challenge his suspension, and the step-aside rule adopted by the party.

On Friday it was confirmed that the suspended ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule is going to court to challenge his suspension. In his papers he makes a series of claims: that he was treated unfairly, that his attempted suspension of President Cyril Ramaphosa as leader of the ANC has legal standing, that his own suspension was an attempt to ensure Ramaphosa wins another term as ANC leader and that it is all about politics.

However, just by lodging the challenge with the court, he is also raising the stakes in the entire game and saddling his own career with another layer of risk.

It is clear that Magashule has lost the game of politics within the ANC’s national executive committee. By going in this direction he is trying to broaden the playing field, with still no evidence that he is notching political wins on the ground level. In the end, his ultimate defeat may in fact be deeper than it could have been otherwise.

All information sourced from articles posted by: BusinessTech, Business Insider, TimesLive, Fin24, Moneyweb, News24, and Daily Maverick.

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