News in South Africa 7th February:
1. SAA ending multiple routes:
SAA is cancelling all of its domestic routes apart from Johannesburg to Cape Town, the joint Business Rescue Practitioners (BRPs) of South African Airways (SAA) announced on Thursday.
According to the BRPS Les Matuson and Siviwe Dongwana the latest initiatives are aimed at supporting SAA’s transformation into a sustainable and profitable business and in line with the urgent action required to conserve cash.
The BRPs also announced that they are exploring the sale of some of the embattled airline’s assets, and confirmed that staff cuts would have to be made.
At the end of February, SAA will end all domestic routes, including Durban, East London and Port Elizabeth. SAA will continue to serve Cape Town on a reduced basis. It will also end flights to Abidjan via Accra, Entebbe, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Luanda, Munich, Ndola, and Sao Paulo.
2. Load shedding continues:
Due to higher generating unit breakdowns, stage 2 load shedding will continue on Friday, with a high probability of load shedding on the weekend too, Eskom said on Thursday night.
It had “no choice”, as the system remains unreliable, the power utility said in a statement.
Demand exceeded 30 000 MW during peak hours on Thursday, it added.
3. SA Express to be placed into business rescue:
State-owned airline SA Express must be placed into business rescue, the Johannesburg High Court ruled. Earlier transport and logistics company Ziegler filed an urgent court application to place SA Express under business rescue, in an effort to recover around debts.
While SA Express and SAA are both state-owned airlines, they are distinct businesses. SAA was placed into voluntary business rescue in early December.
“The court has also not made any order on whether the matter was urgent or not, in circumstances when the urgency was specifically opposed. The company has instructed its attorneys to apply for leave to appeal, which leave will be filed as soon as it is considered and settled by senior counsel.”
4. No confirmed cases of coronavirus in SA:
There are still no confirmed cased of coronavirus in South Africa.
Two patients in KwaZulu-Natal suspected of being infected with the coronavirus have been cleared, the National Institute for Communicable Diseases confirmed on Thursday night.
Spokesperson Sinenhlanhla Jimoh said there were therefore no positive cases in South Africa.
According to Al Jazeera, at least 25 countries have confirmed cases of the virus.
On Wednesday, the death toll from the outbreak in mainland China rose to 563, it reported.
5. ArcelorMittal has incurred R4.68bn in losses:
ArcelorMittal South Africa, the largest steel company in Africa, said in a statement on Thursday that it had incurred a loss of R4.68bn for the year as the “downturn in world steel” deepened.
In the trading update for the year ended 31 December 2019, the mineral company said the loss was largely due to weak steel demand in 2019, which “presented an extremely challenging situation, especially against the backdrop of escalating geopolitical and trade tensions throughout the year”.
Contributing factors to the loss included net impairment charges of R1.4bn, compared to 2018’s R10m. This was made up largely of R1bn for the impairment of the property, plant and equipment at Newcastle Works, R294m for Saldanha Works and R99m towards the closure of the tin plant at Vanderbijlpark Works, the steelmaker said.