News in South Africa 5th October:
1. Cosatu to strike from Wednesday:
As the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) prepares to lead protests against corruption and other issues across the country this week, its leaders have dismissed suggestions that the action will be detrimental to the economy.
Between April and June, 2.2 million South Africans lost their jobs, while the economy recorded a massive decline in the same period.
On Wednesday, Cosatu and other federations and trade unions are embarking on a strike against corruption and government’s failure to increase public servants’ wages for the year.
Elsewhere mass strikes regarding wages are planned within the mining industry.
Members of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) are set to down tools at De Beers, Exxaro and Petra Diamonds after they failed to reach a wage settlement at the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA), the union announced on Friday.
The planned strike at the three companies had been give a go-ahead by the CCMA, with the union saying it was now finalising logistics. The strike action which will take place while the country is still under alert Level 1 of the Covid-19 lockdown.
At leading diamond producer owned by Anglo American, De Beers, the NUM wants an 8% raise for all its employees, but the company is only offering 1.5%. The union is also demanding a R30 000 three-year payment as part of an employee stock ownership plan, which it says must be paid in December.
2. Petrol and diesel prices to drop:
South African motorists can expect a fuel price decrease from Tuesday, following the department of mineral resources and energy’s Sunday announcement on the monthly price adjustments for October.
According to the department, 93 ULP and LRP petrol will fall by 23 c/l, while 95 ULP and LRP will decrease by 32 c/l.
The price adjustments are:
- Petrol (both 93 ULP and LRP): 23.00 c/l decrease
- Petrol (both 95 ULP and LRP): 32.00 c/l decrease
- Diesel (0.05% sulphur): 90.00 c/l decrease
- Diesel (0.005% sulphur): 93.00 c/l decrease
- Illuminating Paraffin (wholesale): 76.00 c/l decrease
- Single Maximum National Retail Price for Illuminating Paraffin101.00 c/l decrease
- Maximum LPGas Retail Price: 20.00 c/kg decrease
3. Land expropriation criticized:
Government’s policy of land expropriation without compensation is under the spotlight once again, with critics highlighting that recent revelations show that the move is purely political, and unnecessary.
This is because government itself is about to auction off about 900 under-utilised or vacant pieces of land – while Eskom has just attached 139 farms in the Free State for unpaid electricity bills.
When asked what prompted the attachment of these farms, Eskom replied: “To collect this debt, Eskom is implementing the contractual conditions as per the supply agreement such as interrupting supply, pursuing legal avenues consistent with good credit management processes. So far, these 139 farms are the only property of this nature that Eskom is holding as security to cover unpaid debt.”
The farms were attached as security for Matjhabeng municipality’s R3.4 billion debt. The municipality values the farms at R2.5 billion, or R18 million each on average (bear in mind this is gold mining country, and includes the town of Welkom).
Critics say this shows that government has plenty of land at its disposal for land reform purposes.
4. Healthcare corruption:
Head of the Special Investigating Unit (SIU), Advocate Andy Mothibi says that corruption has always been part of South Africa’s healthcare sector – where corrupt officials act with impunity, believing nothing will happen to them.
The SIU hosted the webinar in partnership with Corruption Watch, the Health Funders Association, The Daily Maverick and The Bhekisisa Centre for Health Journalism.
“The tide is turning when we look at criminal cases and civil litigation,” said Mothibi, who added that what has been lacking was the proper monitoring of the sector.
“There need to be clear monitoring and clear auditing measure put in place to detect future abuse,” he said.
With the procurement of PPE, Mothibi said they found irregularities which included companies not registered on the database of suppliers of health products having scored tenders.
Mothibi said 20 cases were reported to the SIU. Most of these are from the health sector and he said they are already seeing results as most of those cases have been referred for action to be taken.
Mothibi made a specific reference to the Gauteng health department, where he said the matter is receiving priority and said actions would be taken against senior officials like the HoD, CFO, and GM for human resources as they were found to have been part of the irregular procurement of PPE in the province.
Mothibi said the procurement processes in the health sector is riddled with maladministration and pointed out that almost everything in the health sector has some elements of corruption.
5. New air travel rule cause confusion:
Confusion about the screening of cabin crew led to the cancellation of an Emirates flight, according to King Shaka International Airport’s general manager, Terence Delomoney
Delomoney says the flight that was due to land in Durban on Monday was the only one affected.
Reports had suggested Emirates cancelled flights due to regulations released by the South African government earlier in the week.
“I think the entire industry is getting accustomed to the regulations and in this particular case and regulation is how the crew is screened and the regulations around that and obviously Emirates was supposed to fly into Durban today and there were challenges in how they would comply to that regulation, bearing in mind that safety is paramount so we rather be safe and ensure that we are able to comply,” he said.
While this has caused some pressures with incoming flights, authorities assure that these are just wrinkles that will be ironed out and normal services will resume.