Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Day 3 COP17 Wrap up of delegates concerned over the Kyoto Protocol #COP17

Tashneem Abrahams
30 November 2011

(Wrap up of concerns from delegates about the Kyoto Protocol)

Day 3 COP17 Wrap up of delegates concerned over the Kyoto Protocol #COP17

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Day 3 COP17 wrap up of main discussions #COP17

Xolelwa Mvumvu
30 November 2011

(Wrap up of SA discussions for the day)

Day 3 COP17 wrap up of main discussions #COP17

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Day 3 COP17 wrap up of Gender and Climate Change #COP17

Lusanda Bill
30 November 2011

Interview with Deputy Minister of Environmental Affairs Rejoice Mabudafhasi #COP17

Day 3 COP17 wrap up of Gender and Climate Change

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Nine-million available for young scientists #COP17

Minister of Science and Technology Naledi Pandor addressing the media

Xolelwa Mvumvu
30 November 2011

The Department of Science and Technology has made 9 million-Rands available over a three year period for young scientists. This was announced by Minister of Science and Technology, Naledi Pandor.

Speaking at the ICC in Durban the Minister says they are proud to announce a summer school programme which is going to be run by International Institute for Applied analysis. She said the Institute has run the programme for many years and invites young scientists to participate in the

The summer school will take place in December 2012 until February 2013.

Pandor said this programme will involve 50 young scientists with Masters and PhD's. She added that young scientists participating in the programme will get support in executing the research programme and training in acquiring key components. #COP17

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Department of Environmental Affairs says the Green Climate Fund necessary #COP17

Deputy Minister of Environmental Affairs Rejoice Mabudafhasi

Lusanda Bill
30 November 2011
The Deputy Minister of Environmental Affairs Rejoice Mabudafhasi with the Minster of Woman, Children and People with Disabilities Lulu Xingwana hosted a session called Gender and Climate Change, at COP17/CMP7 in Durban.

The session showcased the development of gender-responsive national climate change strategies, the development of gender-sensitive road maps on gender and the mainstreaming of gender
considerations in concrete programmes dealing with adaptation and mitigation.

The Deputy Minister said that the Green Climate Fund is an essential fund that can help woman and also undeveloped countries.

Deputy Minister Rejoice Mabudafhasi added that all countries need to sign the Kyoto Protocol for the second commitment period. #COP17

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Minister Pandor at YSSSP launch #COP17

Minister of Science and Technology Naledi Pandor opens the Young Summer Southern Scientist Programme (YSSSP) at COP17 being held in Durban. Minister Pandor and the Department of Science and Technology have made 9 million Rand available over the next three years for the programme.

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New technology created for Climate Change #COP17

Tashneem Abrahams
30 Noveember

NGO’s will soon have the data capability that allows them to anticipate the climate changes taking place. The Group on Earth Observation is a global organisation that will allow data, collected by satellite, to be shared throughout the world.

Another new initiative called the Applied Centre for Climate and Earth Systems Science, supported by the Department of Science and Technology, will ensure that South Africa
becomes more able at generating knowledge on climate change matters.

Department of Science and Technology, Minister Naledi Pandor explained that the department would be investing in young scientists because they are important and remain the key to the future.

Minister Naledi Pandor added that it’s not only about developing the technology but also about the required human resources who will carry out the studies that will give solutions to the future.


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Melting Glaciers in the Himalayas #COP17

His Holiness Shri Shri talks about the dangers of Climate Change and how it affects indigenous people from the Himalayas

Tashneem Abrahams
30 November 2011

According to a mystical healer, His Holiness Shri Shri the snow glaciers found in the Himalayas caves are moving, leaving the indigenous people without any homes.

The Chairman of the Soham Baba Mission International said that it is a fact that nature is dying as he has seen this with his own eyes living in the caves.

The indigenous people in the Himalayas are struggling because of global warming and climate change as nature is dying. Nature remains their only provider of sustenance and healing substances such as herbs.

His Holiness Shri Shri requested for governments not to waste time by negotiating but rather to take responsibility by not blaming each other.

He remains hopeful that what governments couldn’t complete last year in Cancun, they will be able to accomplished this year in Durban.

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Kyoto Protocol main discussion on day 3 at #COP17

Minister of International Relations and COP17/CMP7 President Maite Nkoana-Mashabane

Xolelwa Mvumvu
30 November 2011
Minister of International Relations and COP17/CMP7 Maite Nkoane-Mashabane today said discussions at the conference are going as planned and the environment is conducive to constructive engagements”.

Nkoane-Mashane said she has had informal and formal sittings with parties and she intends to
continue with consultation in an open, transparent way as negotiations progress.

The main discussion that has dominated discussions at COP17/CMP7 on day three is the future of the Kyoto protocol.

She also highlighted that the mechanism to promote climate friendly and adaptation related technologies, the COP President also hoped that this could be completed in Durban so that people can start benefiting. #COP17

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Zille slams government over children dying from starvation

By Lelethu Mquqo
30 November 2011

Democratic Alliance leader Helen Zille has slammed a number of government and provincial departments following the deaths of four children who died of hunger and exposure in Verdwaal in North West.

Writing in her weekly newsletter, Zille was particularly hard on the Department of Social Development.

She says the department spent millions on mainly unnecessary traveling, while children died of hunger and lack of services.

Zille was referring to an incident in which four children, aged two, six, seven and nine, tried to walk more than 10 kilometers in heat of more than 40 degrees in an effort to find food.

The African Group says the Kyoto Protocol is important #COP17

African Group Spokesperson Seyni Nafo

Xolelwa Mvumvu
30 November 2011

The Africa Group says three critical points need to be addressed urgently at COP17/CMP7. The three critical points are Adaptation, Finance Gap and Legal Architecture.

Addressing the media African Group spokesperson Seyni Nafo from Mali delegation said that a month ago the African ministers met and had key messages on all the of the three elements. He said the key points serve the basis of engagement for the entire African negotiator.

Nafo added short term finance has had its challenges in terms of transparency. He said they will make sure the short comings will have to be addressed and that the urgent and immediate need in Africa would have to be met.

Nafo concluded that Africa would like to see the Kyoto protocol entering a second commitment period. #COP17

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Delegates issues with the CDM #COP17

UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres and President of COP 17/CMP 7 Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane
30 November 2011
Tashneem Abrahams

Delegates have voiced their concern over the continuity of a second commitment agreement regarding the Kyoto Protocol.

At a conference held earlier this morning countries expressed how the Clean Development Mechanism makes no sense without the binding agreement of a second period.

CDM allows emission-reduction projects in developing countries to earn certified credits, each equivalent to one tonne of CO2. These credits can be traded and sold, and used by industrialized countries to meet part of their emission reduction targets under the Kyoto Protocol.

The delegation of Ecuador highlighted their fear in the uncertainty of a new Kyoto Protocol since numerous countries have expressed their doubt in signing the new treaty.

Venezuela added that the CDM makes no sense and has no purpose as it was created to help developed countries to fulfil their obligation of reducing CO2, but still increases the greenhouse gases. #COP17

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Christmas comes early for domestic workers

By Lelethu Mquqo
30 November 2011

Domestic workers are to get an annual increase as of tomorrow – just in time for Christmas.

Minister of Labour Mildred Oliphant made the announcement this morning.

This year the minimum wage for domestic workers who work 27 ordinary hours per week or less in Area A will receive an increase from R9.12 to R9.85 per hour.

The weekly wages go up from R246.30 per week to R265.

The monthly wages have been increased from R1067.15 to R1152.32.

Oliphant has declared similar increases for domestic workers in Area B.

Greenpeace says renewable energy can work #COP17

Having an interview with Ferrial Adam from Greenpeace

Lusanda Bill
30 November 2011

Greenpeace South Africa is one of the many organisations that are at COP17/CMP7. The central message from organisations including Greenpeace is for governments to listen to the people and not the polluters.

Ferrial Adam who is the Climate and Energy Campaigner for Greenpeace says they hope that the talks at COP17/CMP7 will see clear and progressive action to tackle climate change.

The Kyoto Protocol has recently been labelled as the thorn of the conference. Adam says the Kyoto Protocol is important and hopes government will commit to a second commitment period.

Greenpeace has placed the first ever solar powered tent at the beachfront in Durban. Greenpeace’s Ferrial Adam added that the tent shows that Greenpeace is walking the walk and also showing that renewable energy can work.

(Interview with Ferrial Adam from Greenpeace) #COP17

Greenpeace says renewable energy can work

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Presidency denies that Willie Hofmeyr has been fired

By Khanyisa Tabata
30 November 2011

The Presidency says reports that President Jacob Zuma has fired deputy national director of Public Prosecutions Willie Hofmeyr are wrong.

Advocate Willem Heath will merely take over the running of the Special Investigating Unit, which Hofmeyr has built out to a formidable crime fighting organisation.

Hofmeyr will retain the leadership of the Asset Forfeiture Unit. Zuma says the strengthening of the units at leadership level will improve government's response to the increasing scourge of crime syndicates.

Opposition parties argue that Heath is being rewarded for defending Zuma on corruption charges, while Hofmeyr’s responsibilities have been curbed because he had, at times, been a thorn in some officials’ flesh.

UN conference confronted with farm murder scourge

By Khanyisa Tabata
30 November 2011

AfriForum has appealed to the international community to condemn, in the strongest terms, the crisis proportions that farm murders have reached in South Africa.

The civil rights body’s chief executive Kallie Kriel made the call while addressing the United Nations’ Human Rights Council conference in Geneva, Switzerland.

Delegates strongly supported AfriForum’s standpoint that violence against minorities should be vehemently denounced.

Eastgate Mall device not a bomb

By Lelethu Mquqo
29 November 2011

Gauteng police have confirmed that the device left outside of a jewellery store in Eastgate Mall in Johannesburg yesterday was not a bomb.

Gauteng police chief Mzwandile Petros says that the box was found to contain electrical wires.

He says police detonated the box because it was protocol when dealing with a suspicious device.

Petros believes that the person who left it there had intended to rob the store.

The mall was evacuated yesterday after police said that the box contained a bomb.

The public was led to believe that the bomb squad had disabled the device.

No arrests have been made yet.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Day 2 COP17 wrap up of exhibitions #COP17

Xolelwa Mvumvu
29 November 2011

COP17 wrap up of the exhibitions taking place at the COP17 in Durban #COP17

Documentary for COP17- day2 exhibition

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Day 2 COP17 Sustainable Energy wrap up #COP17

Tashneem Abrahams
29 November 2011

COP17 wrap up of Sustainable Energy press conference #COP17


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COP17 Day 2 Wrap-up #COP17

Lusanda Bill
29 November 2011

A wrap of reports of Canada pulling out of the Kyoto Protocol and the announcement of Qatar to be the host of COP18/CMP8. #COP17

COP17 Day 2 Wrap-up

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Innovative technologies await on Green Climate Fund #COP17

29 November 2011
Tashneem Abrahams

The Green Climate Fund will introduce new technologies for developing countries, which will help reduce energy consumption if it is established.

By receiving finances from the Green Climate fund,
companies would be able to commercialise the new Jupiter Oxygen Corporation product.

The Oxyfuel technology uses oxygen instead of air in industrial melting furnaces. “This allows for a more efficient and environmentally compliant operation,” explained consultant Jim Wolf.

Wolf emphasised that this is the organisations vision for sustainable development and is one of the solutions available that promotes clean energy. #COP17

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DA says ANC wants to buy its councilors

By Lelethu Mquqo
29 November 2011

The Democratic Alliance in the Western Cape says it has uncovered an ANC plot to bribe DA councillors to defect to the ruling party.

DA Provincial leader Theuns Botha says an ANC plan called Project Reclaim details how the party wants to pay off councillors in Matzikama, Witzenberg, Langeberg, Breede Valley, Theewaterskloof, Hessequa and Bitou municipalities to stand for the ANC in by-elections.

Botha says they plan to lay criminal charges against eight ANC office bearers.

Meanwhile, the ANC in the Western Cape has denied a DA statement that it is plotting to bribe DA councillors to defect to the ruling party.

ANC Provincial secretary Songezo Mjongile says when the ANC teams up with any other party of person, the DA cries foul.

He says the DA has a set of rules for the ANC, and a different set for the DA.

Mjongile says the DA must back up their allegations with tangible proof, because the ANC is considering legal action.

Sea rising levels a major concern for South Africa #COP17

Minster of Environmental Affairs Edna Molewa and Minister of Economic Development Ibrahim Patel

Xolelwa Mvumvu
29 November 2011

The Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs Edna Molewa says COP17/CMP7 must provide
an opportunity for South Africa and the African continent at large to ensure that climate change and the associated changes in climate do not threaten the developing countries.

Speaking alongside Minister of Economic Development, Ibrahim Patel at the climate talks underway today at the ICC in Durban, Molewa says that it has been projected that by 2018 about 70 million and up to 30% of Africa’s coastal infrastructure face the risk of coastal flooding because of the sea level rising.

Molewa added the African continent hopes to succeed in getting the second term of the Kyoto Protocol as part of climate regime.

Meanwhile, Minister of Economic Development Ibrahim Patel says South Africa has launched a new growth programme. The target of the programme is to create 5million jobs by 2020. He says the programme puts more emphasis on green economy. #COP17

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Enough gas discovered to supply in all of South Africa’s energy needs

By Lelethu Mquqo
29 November 2011

Huge new discoveries of natural gas off the Mozambique coast mean that South Africa won’t need to go the nuclear route.

South Africa now has enough gas on its borders to generate all the electricity it could ever use.

This is according to a statement released by the Cape Chamber of Commerce this afternoon.

Its President, Michael Bagraim, says the gas was discovered some time ago, but in the last few weeks it has become clear that the resource is a major world find and now appears bigger than the North Sea discovery.

He says it will be the easy way to reduce the South Africa’s carbon emissions.

Qatar to host COP18/CMP8 #COP17

UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christina Figueres

Lusanda Bill
29 November 2011

Today the UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christina Figueres announced that COP18/CMP8 will be hosted in Qatar.

This year saw Qatar and South Korea both lead the bid to host COP18/CMP8 next year. Qatar will host the conference and South Korea will host the inter ministerial meeting.

Figueres said in her announcement speech that “This is a win, win situation for both countries,” she added that at the final stages of consultations I think the spirit of compromise won.”

International Relations and Cooperation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane and COP17 President said "I would like to thank both Qatar and South Korea for having worked together in deciding who should host in the end, we are grateful to both countries.” #COP17

(UNFCC Execcutive Secretary Christina Figueres announcement that Qatar will host COP18/CMP8)

Qatar to host COP18/CMP8

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Free houses for Anglo Platinum workers

By Lelethu Mquqo
29 November 2011

Thousands of Anglo Platinum workers will get free housing after the company announced it will spend R1.4 -billion on the construction of 12 000 houses in North West and 8 000 in Limpopo over the next ten years.

The initiative forms part of the each-one-settle-one campaign started by Human Settlements Minister Tokyo Sexwale.

The campaign is aimed at mobilising South African companies that are part of the Johannesburg Stock Exchange to help government address the housing backlog estimated at 2.3 million units.

Canada to pull out of the Kyoto Protocol #COP17

Lusanda Bill
29 November 2011

The Canadian Youth Delegation on Monday launched a new line of uniforms for Canadian negotiators.

Malkolm Boothroyd who is part of the Canadian Youth Delegation says they launched the line to illustrate the corporate influence on the Canadian negotiators.

One of the main agendas at COP17/CMP7 is the Kyoto Protocol. It has been reported that Canada will be pulling out of the Kyoto Protocol.

Boothroyd says it is vitally important for the Kyoto Protocol to exist because if not then it’s just going to be a voluntary agreement that does not have the necessary ambitions to deal with climate change.

Malkolm Boothroyd added that governments need to put people before polluters.

Canada’s Minister of Environment Peter Kent was quoted in an article as saying the Kyoto Protocol is out of date because it excludes major emitters among developing nations, including China, India and Brazil.

Canada is only expected to make an official announcement on the 23rd of December 2011

(Full interview with Malkolm Boothroyd Canadian Delegation) - Malkolm Boothroyd Canadian Youth Delegation

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Business Council for Sustainable Energy calls for Green Climate Fund #COP17

29 November 2011
Tashneem Abrahams

The Business Council for Sustainable Energy have urged governments to establish the Green Climate Fund and recognize the importance of the finances within the private sector in order to achieve long-term objectives.

The organisation called upon government to operationalize the Climate Technology Centre and Network (CTC&N) to reserve engagement meetings for the private sector specifically.

The Business Council’s President Lisa Jacobson emphasised how important clean energy solutions are, especially the development and implementation of new technology and strategies.

Business Council member, Jeff Moe encourages companies to invest in businesses that create new climate technology since countries are not providing adequate finances.

Moe added that for Climate Technology to be successful there must be country and policy involvement since countries are the ones who develop the policies.#COP17

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Lesotho Going Green at #COP17

Tsepang Hatase from Lesotho Goes Green talks about the green opportunities in Lesotho and their aim to be 100% green, energy wise from the Africa Pavilion at COP17.

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7 year old found dead near Plettenberg Bay

By Khanyisa Tabata
29 November 2011

A seven-year-old girl was found dead near Plettenberg Bay in the Southern Cape yesterday afternoon.

Police spokesperson Captain Malcom Pojie says the girl was reported missing on Sunday.

He says police and community members launched a search for the child and discovered her body.

Pojie says angry residents then turned on a man they accused of murdering the girl.

Mpumalanga ANC Youth League loses half its elective committee

By Khanyisa Tabata
29 November 2011

Mpumalanga provincial ANC Youth League chairperson Kgotso Motloung says 12 of the 24 members of the League’s provincial elective committee have resigned.

He says the resignations came after the Committee suspended the provincial secretary Johan Mkhatshwa and two other members last week. Motloung accused those who resigned of being guilty of ill discipline.

He says they allowed themselves to be used by certain elements within the ANC and their conduct is a serious infringement and danger to the autonomy of the League.

The members who resigned include the deputy provincial secretary Themba Masombuka and treasurer Lerato Theko. Mkhatshwa has resigned from the ANCYL itself, but all the others have retained their membership.

Greenpeace criticises President Jacob Zuma’s leadership

By Lelethu Mquqo
29 November 2011

Greenpeace South Africa claims that there is a lack of African leadership, as displayed by President Jacob Zuma in his opening remarks at the UN Climate Talks in Durban today.

Greenpeace campaigner Melita Steele says the government has once again presented policies that only exist on paper as actual action.

Steele says they will closely monitor the climate negotiations and push for more urgency.

Monday, November 28, 2011

WWF Tasneem Essop interview #COP17

Exclusive interview with WWF Advocate Tasneem Essop #COP17

Tasneem Essop

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WWF Tasneem Essop concerned about the Green Climate Fund #COP17

WWF Tasneem Essop

28 November 2011
Xolelwa Mvumvu and Tashneem Abrahams

The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) has an initiative called Global Climate Change that interacts within the G20 as they try to put pressure on government to take ambitious action to deal with Climate Change.

WWF advocate, Tasneem Essop encourages government private sectors and citizens to take urgent action on Climate Change by using The Green Climate Fund.

In an exclusive interview with Bush Radio she said “With a Green Climate Fund we are going to need developed countries to support developing countries”.

Tasneem Essop is also concerned that the different parties won’t rise to the occasion of COP17 and that there will be no political leadership. She believes people need a political leadership to reach a credible outcome in Durban if any accomplishments are to be made. #COP17

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President Jacob Zuma #COP17

President Jacob Zuma giving a welcoming speech to the delgates attending the COP17/CMP7. #COP17

President Jacob Zuma

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Former COP President Patricia Espinosa #COP17

Former COP16/CMP6 Patricia Espinosa giving her outgoing speech at the COP17/CMP7 opening cermony. #COP17

Former COP President Patricia Espinosa

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Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC Christiana Figueres #COP17

Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC Christina Figueres giving her welcoming speech at the COP17/CMP opening cermony. #COP17

Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC Christiana Figueres

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COP17 President Maite Nkoana-Mashabane #COP17

Newly elected COP17/CMP7 President Maite Nkoana-Mashabane giving her speech at the opening cermony on COP17/CMP7. #COP17


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Bomb threat at Eastgate Mall

By Lelethu Mquqo
28 November 2011

A bomb has been placed outside a jewellery store in Eastgate Mall in Johannesburg.

Captain Ktlego Mogale confirmed that the police received a phone call about a suspicious case left outside the store.

The mall was evacuated and witnesses described seeing the police chasing a man on the roof, while a helicopter hovered above them.

Mogale says the jewellery store received a letter about the bomb.

The bomb squad has since been called in to deal with the threat.

ANC concerned about information leaks

By Lelethu Mquqo
28 November 2011

ANC Secretary General Gwede Mantashe says the ruling party is concerned about members of its National Executive Committee leaking information to journalists before the outcomes of meetings are officially revealed.

Mantashe was speaking to journalists at the ANC headquarters in Johannesburg following the NEC’s final meeting for the year over the weekend.

He says the tendency of leaking stories reduces NEC members to faceless sources for journalists.

SA Air Force Chief back at work

By Lelethu Mquqo
28 November 2011

Head of the South African Air Force, Lieutenant General Carlo Gagiano has returned to work after Minister of Defence Lindiwe Sisulu rejected his resignation.

Gagiano resigned from his post after taking responsibility for a mishap that caused Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe to miss his visit to Scandinavia.

Sisulu rejected his resignation and told him the best way to take responsibility was to return to work.

TheDepartment of Defence’s spokesperson, Ndivhuwo Mabaya, says Gagiano is very busy taking stock of helicopters and aircraft to be used to monitor elections in the Democratic Republic of Congo today.

COP17 kicks off in Durban #COP17

President of COP17/CMP7 Maite Nkoana-Mashabane and behind her Economic Develpoment Minister Ebrahim Patel head to the COP17 welcoming cermony. #COP17

Lusanda Bill
28 November 2011
The 17th Conference of the Parties (COP17) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has finally kicked off in Durban.

The opening ceremony was attended by the South African President Jacob Zuma, Deputy President Kaglema Motlanthe, Minister of International Relations and Cooperation and newly appointed President of COP17/CMP7 Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Christiana Figueres and many other dignitaries.

Outgoing COP16 President Patricia Espinosa urged all delegates in her outgoing speech at the opening ceremony of COP17 that in Durban there should be three issues that needs to be addressed. The first one is the full implementation of the Cancun agreement, secondly come to a financial agreement concerning the green climate fund and thirdly define the future of the Kyoto Protocol.

Minister of International Relations and Cooperation and newly appointed President of COP17/CMP7 Maite Nkoana-Mashabane in her speech at the COP17 opening ceremony said questions from Bali can't be left unanswered; otherwise negotiations are going to be difficult.
Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Christiana Figueres addressing delegates at COP17 Figueres said COP17 in Durban needs to reassure the vulnerable and the people already affected by climate change that tangible action is being taken both in adaptation and mitigation.

President Jacob Zuma in his speech at the COP17 said that climate change is an urgent problem and asked countries to work towards an outcome that is balanced, fair and credible. Zuma also stated that climate change cannot be separated from fighting poverty in South Africa. The President was also very optimistic in stating that with sound leadership nothing is impossible in the next two weeks in Durban.

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Minister to get tough on drunk drivers

By Khanyisa Tabata
28 November 2011

Minister of Community Safety Dan Plato has sent his condolences to the families members and friends who lost their over the weekend.

Jo Lennox Media Liaison Officer Ministry of Community Safety says on Friday a head-on collision on Jan Van Riebeeck Road, Paarl claimed the lives of two men.

Four people were killed in another head-on collision on Saturday between Lamberts Bay and Graaf Water. The driver seemingly lost control of the vehicle.

She says an 11 year old girl lost her life on Saturday on the N7 near Clanwilliam when she was struck by the wheel of a passing truck.

“We are approaching another festive season and with increased traffic on our roads come increased risk.

“Our traffic officials are acting without fear or favour against those who disregard the rules of the road, but people need to also take responsibility for safety and must choose to change the behaviour which puts lives at risk,” said Lennox.

Missing alert: Danie Kirsten

By Khanyisa Tabata
28 November 2011

Somerset West police are requesting the assistance of the public in the search for missing 46 year old Danie Kirsten from Somerset West.

Police spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Andrè Traut says Danie was last seen on Thursday when he left his house at 42 Cyprus street, Somerset West In his white Opel Corsa LDV registration number CFM 34597 to go to Piketberg.

Traut says since then he has not been in contact with his family and his cellular telephone is switched off.

Anyone with information can contact the Somerset West police station at (021) 8501325 or (021) 8501303.

Africa promised billions in push against climate change

By Khanyisa Tabata
28 November 2011

Britain is pledging over 13-billion-Rands to help African nations fight climate change.

Energy and Climate Change Secretary Chris Huhne will announce details of the foreign aid package to mark the Cop17 summit which starts in Durban today.

Experts have warned that levels of the greenhouse gases that drive climate change have reached a record high.

Global warming is likely to result in more extremes of weather, including heat waves and storms.

Meanwhile, several people had to be rescued from floodwaters in Durban’s Randles Road during the night.

Netcare 911 paramedics joined the police in assisting the residents of four houses that were waist-deep under water following heavy rain.

Netcare 911’s Chris Botha says a baby and an elderly lady were treated and returned to their family members. Mopping up work continues.

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Fight against climate change gains momentum

By Khanyisa Tabata
28 November 2011

After months of intensive planning Cop17 is finally underway in Durban, bringing thousands of delegates to our shores.

United Nations climate head Christiana Figueres briefed the media at the city’s International Convention Centre yesterday about her expectations for the climate change meeting.

She says there is growing momentum amongst rich and developing nations to take action against global warming and climate change.

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Sunday, November 27, 2011

Two children killed in an accident

By Lelethu Mquqo
27 November 2011

A one-year-old baby and his two-year-old sister were killed in a crash in Welkom late last night.

Their mother was critically injured.

Netcare 911 paramedics say a meter taxi struck the woman’s car at a junction.

The driver of the taxi was also killed.

The mother is fighting for her life in the Free State’s Bongani State Hospital.

Cabinet ministers wear green on the eve of Cop17

By Lelethu Mquqo
27 November 2011

President Jacob Zuma and his deputy Kgalema Motlanthe have donned green T-shirts, together with members of Cabinet, to show support for the Cop17 Climate Change conference kicking off in Durban tomorrow.

The city’s International Convention Centre has been declared a United Nations zone.

The city centre and the area immediately around the ICC will be completely closed to traffic.

Minister of International Relations Maite Nkoana-Mashabane has urged some 15 000 delegates to do more than just spout hot air during the talks.

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Malema turns to farming

By Lelethu Mquqo
27 November 2011

Kenyan officials have seized a container loaded with 87 elephant tusks.

The shipment, destined for Hong Kong, was inspected for clearance in Nairobi.

The Kenyan Revenue Service says cartons containing soapstone and wood carvings were packed on top of the crates containing the tusks.

A spokesperson did not reveal where the tusks had come from or whether any arrests had been made.

Tourists evacuated from Timbuktu

By Lelethu Mquqo
27 November 2011

The 37-year-old South African kidnapped in Mali was apparently returning from Britain to permanently settle back home.

A German tourist was shot dead in the attack on a Timbuktu restaurant on Friday.

Another two men who were snatched are from the Netherlands and Sweden.

The South African government is rendering assistance and has advised the man’s family not to reveal his identity.

The Dutch foreign ministry has issued a travel warning, advising citizens not to travel north of the Niger River and the area bordering Mauritania.

Malema turns to farming

By Lelethu Mquqo
27 November 2011

Julius Malema intends becoming a farmer.

In an interview with a local newspaper, the suspended Youth League leader admitted that his political career was over.

According to Malema, it is clear that the ANC leadership wants to get rid of him.

But he won’t leave without “putting up a fight”. Farming is close to his heart and he already has 20 cattle of his own.

In addition, Zimbabwean Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono has given him a herd of cattle.

The controversial politician is appealing his five-year suspension from the ANC for sowing divisions and bringing the party into disrepute.

Malema says the Hawks’ investigation of corruption charges against him and another probe by the Public Protector into his business dealings will give him an opportunity to identify his enemies.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Thousands of law enforcers ready for COP17

Lusanda Bill
26 November 2011

Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa says the country is ready for any possible event, during the Cop17 climate talks in Durban.

Over two-and-a-half-thousand designated officers have been deployed around the event grounds, and many others at the points of entries into the country.

Mthethwa says training programmes, including simulation operations, have been completed.

The National Joint Intelligence Structure is working closely with their United Nations counterparts, as well as with police services in the region.

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Angie Motsheka and Blade Nzimande blamed for over spending

Lusanda Bill
26 November 2011

The ministers of Basic Education and Higher Education, Angie Motsheka and Blade Nzimande, are being accused of spending almost 100-million-Rands on travel and expenditure in just two years.

The Independent Democrats’ Haniff Hoosen plans to submit follow-up questions on the matter to Parliament.

He is especially upset that the expenditure on travel continues while education faces huge challenges.

Hoosen says every available Rand should be to address the huge disparities in education.

Mavericks strip club ordered to remove sexist billboard

Lusanda Bill
26 November 2011

The Family Policy Institute has congratulated the Advertising Standards Authority on its ruling that Mavericks strip club must immediately remove sexist billboards in Cape Town.

The Institute’s Errol Naidoo calls the step a victory for the dignity and safety of women and children.

Naidoo is especially pleased that the ruling came at the start of the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence against Women and Children Campaign.

The billboards featured a practically naked woman in a suggestive pose.

Suspected right-wing activists to appear in court

Lusanda Bill
26 November 2011

Three suspected right-wing activists will appear in court in Mookgopong in Limpopo on Monday.

They face charges of arson and the possession of dangerous weapons, as they apparently planned to attack churches.

Limpopo police say the three men were arrested at a farm near the former Naboomspruit on Friday.

Several self-made weapons such as swords, helmets with spikes and suspected bomb making equipment were seized.

It is alleged that the group believe that only whites should live in South Africa, and all other people should be killed.

Warning of tough economic times ahead

Lusanda Bill
26 November 2011

Reserve Bank Governor Gill Marcus has sounded a warning about what she describes as a dark cloud that threatens to engulf the global economy.

Parties at the National Economic Development and Labour Council will map out a joint strategy to help cushion South Africa’s economy.

Marcus says Europe is already in the throes of a light recession.

She warns that policy makers have limited economic room to plan as dreadful debt to gross domestic product ratios pose a threat to growth.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Prepaid power system down nationwide

By Khanyisa Tabata
25 November 2011

Eskom’s pre-paid electricity system has gone offline countrywide.

This is the second time their systems have shut down after most of the Western Cape was affected by the system’s failure last week.

Eskom spokesperson Hilary Joffe says they are working on the problem but cannot give a specified time when it will be up and running again.

Joffe says they cannot put time to it but hope it will be back. She say they apologise to our clients.

31% of South African cities residents in denial about climate change

By Khanyisa Tabata
25 November 2011

A survey has found that 31 per cent of South Africans livings in cities are in denial regarding climate change and say they don’t believe it will affect their lives very much.

But a bigger group, forty-nine per cent of those surveyed, does believe it will affect their lives.

The three week climate change conference or COP17 kicks off in Durban on Monday. Neil Higgs of the research company TNS says many South Africans are not interested in the message of climate change as a disaster.

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The army storms Lavender Hill

By Khanyisa Tabata
25 November 2011

The army, metro police, traffic officers and the police’s tactical response unit have been sent into Lavender Hills on the Cape Flats today, after several gang-related murders and daily shootings.

It is believed that seven people have died in the area since September which has become known as the most dangerous place on the Cape Flats.

Western Cape police spokesperson Andre Traut says the swoop on the area is one of many planned for the festive season. Atleast sixty-four people have been killed in gang related violence in Cape Town since June this year.

Constitutional Court review rings alarm bells

By Khanyisa Tabata
25 November 2011

The Ethics Institute in South Africa says Cabinet’s decision to research the judgements of the Constitutional Court has sounded alarm bells across the country.

Spokesman for the Cabinet Jimmy Manyi says that the assessment of the judgements of the highest court in the country would form part of a broader inquiry into the transformation of the South African judicial system and the role of judges in a developmental state.

CEO of the Institute Willem Landman says the move is inappropriate and they are inclined to be suspicious about the motives of the inquiry, given President Jacob Zuma’s way of putting the courts in their place.

Elderly couple attacked in their farm

By Khanyisa Tabata
25 November 2011

An elderly couple has been attacked in their Vredendal farm house on the Spruitdrif Road this morning.

Police spokesperson Warrant Officer November Filander says

“The elderly couple was woken by three men armed with knives in their bedroom around 03:00.

“The Afrikaans speaking suspects assaulted the 86 year old husband with a screwdriver and strapped the legs of his 84 year old wife,” said Filander.

He added that they then ransack the closet and took an amount of cash and thereafter the suspects took a firearm out of a safe and fled the scene in an unknown direction.

“It was later established that the suspects gain entry through the back door of the house which was forced open but the couple received medical attention on the scene, said Filander.

Anyone with any information on the whereabouts of the suspects or the incident can contact the Vredendal police station on 027 201 3203 or Captain Carn Loock on 082 469 3132. All information will be dealt with confidentiality.

No more free flights for former Presidents and Deputies

By Lelethu Mquqo
25 November 2011

Former Presidents and Deputy Presidents have been forced to pay for their own domestic flights for the rest of the financial year, which ends in March next year.

FW De Klerk, Nelson Mandela, Thabo Mbeki, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka and Baleka Mbete all received a two page letter from President Jacob Zuma’s office, explaining that serious budgetary constraints have forced the decision.

The office of Mbeki and De Klerk yesterday confirmed that they received the letters.

The policy of executive benefits allows former Presidents and Deputies an unlimited number of flights on scheduled commercial domestic airlines.

South African professor sentenced in New Zealand

By Lelethu Mquqo
25 November 2011

South African professor Sean Davison, who pleaded guilty in New Zealand to the assisted suicide of his mother, has been sentenced to five months house arrest in Dunedin.

His Cape Town partner Raine Pan and their two young sons will not be able to join him there.

Davison admitted to giving his cancer-stricken 85-year-old mother Patricia a lethal dose of morphine when she wanted help to end her suffering.

Davison could have faced a jail sentence of 14 years.

Secrecy Bill committee welcomed

By Lelethu Mquqo
25 November 2011

The South African National Editors’ Forum has welcomed the National Council of Provinces’ decision to form an ad hoc committee on the Protection of State Information Bill.

Chairperson Mondli Makhanya says the NCOP now has an opportunity to fully consider the ways in which, in Sanef’s opinion, the Bill fails South Africa’s democracy, and to remedy them.

Makhanya urged the members to consult with civil society, community groups, trade unions, religious bodies and media representatives.

The ad hoc committee has to report to the NCOP by the 8th of April.

It is made up of 10 ANC members, two from the Democratic Alliance, and one each of the Congress of the People, the Inkatha Freedom Party and the Independent Democrats.

Youth League remains defiant

By Lelethu Mquqo
25 November 2011

The ANC Youth League refuses to confirm whether Julius Malema and five other League leaders have appealed against their suspensions.

Several reports claim that disciplinary appeals panel chair Cyril Ramaphosa did receive the applications before the midnight deadline.

The Youth League leaders have been found guilty of sowing dissent in the party and bringing it into disrepute.

Their appeal is likely to rest on claims that they had not been given a chance to argue in mitigation of sentence.

In Bloemfontein, where a three-day ANC national executive committee meeting starts today, Malema said he and his co-accused did not care about being suspended.

He accused the ANC leadership of double standards and said he would not accept that the Youth League’s criticism of the mother body had been wrong.

An alleged gang leader arrested in Mitchell’s Plain

By Khanyisa Tabata
25 November 2011

Mitchells Plain Police have executed an intelligence driven operation which led to the arrest of a suspected gang leader and his wife in Grassy Park.

Police spokesperson Warrant Officer November Filander says persistence by undercover police officials over a period of time led to the successful arrest and confiscation of a firearm and drugs.

“The arrest follows after SAPS members attached to Mitchells Plain police station executed a search warrant at a house in Bass Street, Zeekoei Vlei.

“During the search they discovered a 9mm pistol with 15 rounds, 50 quarts of heroin, 96 straws of heroin, one packet of tik, six cellphones, and an amount of cash,” said Filander.

Filander added that they arrested a 39 year old man and his 29 year old wife for the unlawful possession of a firearm and ammunition, and possession of drugs.

They are currently held at Grassy Park police station and are due to appear in the Wynberg Magistrate’s Court soon, once being charged.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Hospital staff accused of raping patients

By Khanyisa Tabata
24 November 2011

Staff at a psychiatric hospital in Fort Beaufort in the Eastern Cape has been accused of raping and assaulting patients.

Two patients claim they were beaten up by nurses yesterday while another two claim they were raped by nurses working at the hospital.

Spokesman for the Eastern Cape department of health Sizwe Kupelo says they have dispatched a team to Tower Psychiatric Hospital to investigate the serious allegations.

The police have also launched an investigation.

Cosatu prepared to take Secrecy Bill to Constitutional Court

By Khanyisa Tabata
24 November 2011

Cosatu has again voiced its concerns over the protection of information bill.

Speaking at a media briefing earlier today, Cosatu general secretary, Zwelinzima Vavi said the union federation is prepared to take the bill to the Constitutional Court.

Vavi says the scope of the Bill is too broad and varied and Cosatu’s concerns remain largely unaddressed.

Meanwhile DA leader Helen Zille committed her party to fight the billon several fronts. She told a media briefing at Parliament black tuesday when the bill was approved by the National Assembly, would one day be seen as a turning point in South Africa's democracy.

317 suspects arrested in four days in the province

By Khanyisa Tabata
24 November 2011

Over 300 suspects have been arrested by the Western Cape South African detectives in connection with serious and violent cases.

Police spokesperson Warrant Officer November Filander says the operation which started on Monday until early this morning, was executed all over the Western Cape.

“About 275 police members took part in the operation which resulted in the arrest of 317 suspects and the search of 346 premises.

“Warrants of arrests were issued for 28 of these suspects and they were sought for serious cases such as murder, rape, robbery, assault, theft, possession of drugs, possession of firearms, fraud, drunk driving, housebreaking and domestic violence.

Filander added that the members also arrested a suspect wanted for a theft case that was committed 19 years ago in Rondebosch.

“The arrest of these suspects is an indication of SAPS Western Cape’s seriousness in the fight against crime,” said Filander.

Durban ready for COP 17 summit next week

By Khanyisa Tabata
24 November 2011

With just four days before the start of the COP17 Climate Change talks in Durban, the South African negotiating team has revealed its readiness for the critical summit.

The event will see more than 20-thousand delegates descend on Durban.

Spokesperson for the department of international relations, Clayson Monyela says the United Nations has confirmed a thorough check on everything relating to the conference.

Christian Democratic Party applauds defiant ANC MP’s

By Khanyisa Tabata
24 November 2011

The Christian Democratic Party has commended those members of the ANC who had the courage to openly abstain from voting for the Protection of State Information Bill in parliament on Tuesday.

CDP leader Theunis Botha says these members have shown the same determination that many in history have displayed during times of persecution.

Meanwhile the National Council of Provinces has established an ad hoc committee to consider and report the Protection of State Information Bill.

A resolution establishing the committee is expected to be announced by the NCOP’s chief whip today.

The draft law still needs to go to the NCOP, leaving the lobby groups with time to prepare to challenge the passing of the bill in the Constitutional Court.

Treatment Action campaign faces closure

By Lelethu Mquqo
24 November 2011

The HIV Aids Awareness group the Treatment Action Campaign faces possible closure because of a lack of funding.

TAC says they have not received a payment of R6.5 million, which is part of their five year grant from the Global Fund to Fight Aids.

The National Department of Health is responsible for securing the payment on behalf of the TAC.

The organisation says if the funds are not received by the 1st of January, they will go into an unsustainable deficit.

The Department of Health and the Fund will meet today to try and resolve the issue.

North West children die a shocking death

By Lelethu Mquqo
24 November 2011

North West Premier Thandi Modise has expressed shock at the death of four children, aged between two and nine.

The Mmupele children died of hunger and dehydration, in a sad irony at a place named Verdwaal near Lichtenburg.

It is reported that they got lost in search of food.

The Gift of the Givers aid organisation delivered food parcels to the rest of the family yesterday.

Modise says a case of child neglect is being investigated.

Service at public hospitals in Gauteng disrupted

By Lelethu Mquqo
24 November 2011

Service at public hospitals in Gauteng is being severely hampered because medical supply companies have not been paid.

Some companies have halted deliveries pending payment of hundreds-of-millions-of-Rands by the province’s health department.

The SA Medical Device Industry Association’s Marlon Burgess says 40 medical equipment and device suppliers are owed more than R300-million in unpaid bills dating back to 2005.

One company alone is owed R50-million.

Patients are being left in danger as crucial equipment stays undelivered or unserviced.

South Africans in for wet weather

By Khanyisa Tabata
24 November 2011

South Africans are in for a wet summer as heavy rainfall in parts of the country is expected to increase.

The SA weather service says that wet conditions will dominate most parts of the country and will get worse towards the beginning of next year.

Senior forecaster Jan Vermeulen says rainfall will intensify in January and February over the summer rainfall areas, but should clear up by March.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Satanic ritual case postponed

By Khanyisa Tabata
23 November 2011

The case of the six youths accused of setting two girls alight has been postponed to the 17th of January by the Johannesburg Magistrate's Court.

The youths were charged with murder after they allegedly killed two young girls in a suspected satanic ritual.

Public prosecutor Collen Ryan says the case has been postponed for further investigation pending the results of forensic investigation.

The trial will be moved to the High Court in Johannesburg when the investigations are complete.

Fedusa concerned over increasing cost of living

By Khanyisa Tabata
23 November 2011

The Federation of Unions of South Africa is deeply concerned with the ever-increasing cost of living despite the repo-rate remaining unchanged at 5-point-5-per cent.

Fedusa general secretary, Dennis George says the increase in electricity, petrol and municipal rates will continue to decrease workers’ disposable income.

Fedusa will this week meet with the Reserve Bank to address their concerns.

George says they have joined COSATU’s Section 77 Protect Action application against the ORTS and strongly believes the Government must commit to the major expansion of passenger rail commuting services in and around metropolitan areas.

Empowerment of women scrutinised

By Khanyisa Tabata
23 November 2011

Gender transformation received a boost with the launch of the Gender Barometer Project in Pretoria today.

The Commission for Gender Equality’s study evaluates the implementation of women empowerment measures in the public and private sector.

Commission spokesperson Jabu Baloyi says the findings will be used to refine the Gender Equity Bill.

A dedicated wall to be unveiled for 132 political prisoners

Lusanda Bill
23 November 2011

President Jacob Zuma will next month unveil a dedicated wall in the gallows at Pretoria’s C-Max prison.

It will contain individual signs for each of the 132 political prisoners executed there in the apartheid era.

Correctional Services Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula says the families of all the executed political prisoners have been located.

Mapisa-Nqakula added that the families will be assisted to come to Pretoria to take part in a cleansing ceremony.

Inflation likely to exceed six-percent target

Lusanda Bill
23 November 2011

Reserve Bank Governor Gill Marcus says South Africa’s inflation figure is more likely to exceed their undercut official targets.

In its twice-yearly Monetary Policy Review released in Pretoria, the central bank points out that cost-push pressures and the sharp reduction of the Rand are posing the primary risks.

Marcus also warns of potential corruption from the euro zone debt crisis.

Pretoria’s name to be scrapped soon

By Lelethu Mquqo
23 November 2011

Opposition parties and civil rights bodies are up in arms over the Tshwane Metro mayor’s announcement that Pretoria will be renamed Tshwane before the end of next year.

Kgosientso Ramokgopa says the name changes will also affect 21 of the capital’s streets.

Ramokgopa made the announcement at the unveiling of the names of 13 victims on the city's Wall of Names at Freedom Park.

The 13 were shot dead during a 1985 protest against high rentals.

ANC defends Secrecy Bill

By Lelethu Mquqo
23 November 2011

In the face of national and international criticism, the ANC has defended the Protection of State Information Bill.

The party says the draft legislation is essentially a security Bill, not a media Bill.

Following its acceptance in Parliament yesterday, the party added that the legislation mirrored international best practice as states have constitutional obligations to protect their people and territorial integrity.

According to the ANC, the Bill aims to promote transparency and accountability in governance.

Scopa to probe Patricia De Lille in investment scandal

By Khanyisa Tabata
23 November 2011

The Western Cape Standing Committee on Public Accounts or Scopa has confirmed that they will probe Cape Town Mayor Patricia De Lille’s role in awarding a contract worth eight-million-Rands.

De Lille allegedly pressured Swellendam Municipality’s former chief financial officer Nigel Delo into awarding the eight-million-Rands tender to an investment firm called Quadrix in 2009.

The Independent Democrats party is reported to have invested party funds with Quadrix. Scopa chairperson Pauline Cupido says they will study the evidence before deciding on the next step at next week’s meeting.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Skwatsha challenges Zille unsafe sex proposal

By Khanyisa Tabata
22 November 2011

The ANC is the Western Cape has blasted DA leader Helen Zille’s proposal to have people who have more than one sexual partner or those have unsafe sex charged with attempted murder.

Zille made the comments at a wellness summit hosted by the provincial government in Cape Town last week.

Mcebisi Skwatsha of the ANC challenged Zille to explain to government how she would implement her suggestions.

Zille said she was so worried about the spread of HIV and its cost to the government that she wants men who have multiple sexual partners and refused to use condoms to be charged with attempted murder.

Missing Child Found: Dylan Gowe

Protection of State Information bill passed in Parliament

By Khanyisa Tabata
22 November 2011

An overwhelming number of MP’s voted in favour of the Protection of State Information Bill today.

A total of Yes: 229 yes votes were received, with 107 no votes and two abstentions.

Various political parties made declarations on the Protection of State Information bill and attempted to postpone the proceedings in the National Assembly before the decision was taken.

The Democratic Alliance’s Lindiwe Mazibuko says they will approach the constitutional court now that the Bill has been passed.

The vote comes amid anger and outcry from South African media and public.

3rd suspect arrested in Atlantis

By Khanyiss Tabata
22 November 2011

A 33 year old suspect, who was on the run since January 2009, was arrested this morning by the Western Cape SAPS Suspect Tracing Team.

Police spokesperson Warrant Officer November Filander says the suspect who is wanted in connection with a robbery, pointing of firearm, attempted murder and possession of drugs cases was arrested this morning after members of the community alerted police on his whereabouts.

“The suspect was detained at Kleinvlei SAPS and will appear tomorrow in the Kuilsrivier Magistrate’s Court,” said Filander.

2-year old reported missing in Bishop Lavis

By Khanyisa Tabata
22 November 2011

Bishop Lavis Police are requesting the assistance of the public in tracing the 2 year old Daylan Gowe.

Polce spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Andrè Traut says his mother accompanied him on a train from Khayelitsha to Maitland this morning and between Netreg and Bonteheuwel station the train caught fire and passengers were forced to exit the train.

“The mother handed the boy to an unknown Zimbabwean man as they attempted to exit the train and when the boy was off the train the doors closed and drove off with the mother inside and the boy in the company of the unknown man.

“At the time of his disappearance, the 2 year old was wearing grey jacket, brown pants, white takkies and yellow t-shirt under the jacket,” said Traut.

Anybody who saw the 2 year old or know where he can be can contact the investigating officers, Sergeant Earl Coetzee and/or Cst Naj Salie at 021 9359815 or 0798941765 or Crime Stop on 08600 10111.

SA has the world’s highest number of people living with HIV

Lusanda Bill
22 November 2011

The United Nations says South Africa still has the world's highest number of people living with HIV, estimated at five-point-six-million.

This is despite the fact that the number of new HIV infections in sub-Saharan Africa have fallen by more than 26-percent since 1997.

The region remains the area hardest-hit by the outbreak.

UNAids says Sub-Saharan Africa still accounted for 70-percent of the world's new infections last year.

Nelson Mandela Centre concerned about Information Bill

Lusanda Bill
22 November 2011

The Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory is concerned about the Protection of State Information Bill, to be passed by the National Assembly today.

The Centre has, together with the Wits Law School, hosted extensive talks about the legislation.

It found that the Bill does not meet the required standards of the constitution or freedom of information and expression.

The Centre will continue fighting for a balanced law, which it regards as crucial for the country’s constitutional democracy.

Sanef supports M&G's bid to get permission to publish a report

By Lelethu Mquqo
22 November 2011

The National Editors' Forum is supporting the Mail & Guardian's bid to get permission to publish a report.

The information purportedly proves allegations that presidential spokesperson Mac Maharaj and his wife received kickbacks while he was transport minister.

Sanef says information about someone who is at the heart of government is of major public interest.

The Forum has expressed concern about M&G reporters Sam Sole and Stefaans Brummer’s arrest after Maharaj laid criminal charges against them for being in possession of a document which could prove the allegations.

Constitutional Court could have final say on Secrecy Bill

By Lelethu Mquqo
22 November 2011

Groups as politically divergent as Cosatu-affiliated municipal workers’ union Samwu and civil society organisation AfriForum are preparing to take the controversial Protection of State Information Bill to the Constitutional Court should it become law.

It is expected that the ANC will use its majority to push the so-called Secrecy Bill through Parliament today.

It will then go to the National Council of Provinces, where after President Jacob Zuma could sign it into law.

The main objections to the bill are that it will prevent the uncovering of corruption and other wrongdoing and impose harsh jail sentences on those who disclose information.

ANC Youth League denies fabricating constitution amendments

By Lelethu Mquqo
22 November 2011

ANC Youth League spokesperson Magdalene Moonsamy has labelled those who accused the League of amending its constitution to save its president Julius Malema as propagandists.

Malema told reporters at the ANC headquarters last week that the National Disciplinary Committee that suspended him for five years had referred to an outdated version of the Youth League’s constitution.

Malema said this would mean that the sentence does not apply to his position as president.

Dis-banned League members in Kwa-Zulu Natal have accused Malema of fabricating the amendments to the constitution.

SAMWU against Information Bill

By Khanyisa Tabata
22 November 2011

The South African Municipal Workers Union says it is worried that the Protection of Information Bill will disadvantage whistle blowers and workers who are fighting corruption tooth and nail.

SAMWU spokesperson Tahir Sema says they are worried that the bill is now set to go before the National Assembly and then the National Council of Provinces, before it is sent to President Jacob Zuma to be signed into law.

“The Bill is not ready to be signed into law and is set to negatively impact the noble fight against corruption.

“For those of us in the Municipal sector, there are particular concerns. SAMWU has been in the forefront of fighting corruption at Municipal level, and long before it was politically acceptable to do so,” said Sema.

He says many of our leaders at local level were vilified, often victimised, and some physically attacked for courageously exposing corrupt practices.

“We remain proud of all of our members who have taken such a stand, and who have contributed substantially to awakening Government to launch an explicit and thorough anti-corruption drive.

“If the Protection of Information Bill is signed into law, it will not only enable a whole range of Municipal documents to be classified as secret, but will also serve to protect those who are misusing their positions for private and nefarious gain,” added Sema.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Prepaid electricity customers left in the dark over the weekend

By Khanyisa Tabata
21 November 2011

Prepaid electricity customers were left in the dark for hours after the card vending system went offline over the weekend. Vendors were unable to log into the system which meant customers could not buy electricity.

Eskom spokesperson, Hilary Joffe explains that routine maintenance had slowed down the system and caused data lock issues for people trying to buy electricity.

According to Joffe, some areas in the Eastern Cape have been affected, while the Western Cape was worse off.

Meanwhile The Congress of the South African Trade Union says is outraged at the failure of the Eskom to provide consistent electricity supply for the entire weekend.

Cosatu’s Tony Ehrenreich says the failure of the services of Eskom to provide much needed electricity for the entire weekend is unacceptable.

He says they are calling on Eskom to investigate the failure of the service in the City of Cape Town and take urgent steps to fix this.

State Security Agency slams the so-called Secrecy bill critics

By Khanyisa Tabata
21 November 2011

The State Security Agency has slammed the criticism of the proposed protection of state information bill as sensationalism.

The agency says that the bill will not lead to censorship or information blackouts, and actually does make provision for access to state information.

This comes as the National Assembly prepares to vote on the bill tomorrow. The agency also says that the bill has been drastically narrowed down to apply only to state security departments.

Meanwhile, presidential spokesperson Mac Maharaj has convened a press briefing tomorrow where he is expected on give clarity on the role he played as Transport Minister in the controversial arms deal.

This comes after the Mail and Guardian newspaper revealed its plans to approach the director of public prosecutions Menzi Simelanle in an effort to publish a story about Maharaj.

The newspaper was barred from publishing the story last week as they are not allowed to reveal confidential information that Maharaj had given to the Scorpions about the arms deal.

DA calls for urgent meeting of parliamentary oversight body

By Khanyisa Tabata
21 November 2011

The DA says it has been informed that Parliament suspended funding to the ANC after millions-of-Rands were allegedly used in a questionable loan scheme.

According to the DA’s Watty Watson the ruling parties are suspected of making a nine-point-six-million-Rands transfer in the form of a short term, interest free loan from its constituency fund to its caucus fund.

He says he will also request that the speaker provides the DA, and all other political parties, with a copy of the audit reports which revealed this transgression on the part of the ANC.

Watson is questioning the alleged breach of parliamentary rules.

Raped cancer patient passes away

By Khanyisa Tabata
21 November 2011

The tragedy of the terminally ill Free State cancer patient who was raped at a government hospital has intensified. Police have confirmed that 51-year-old Magda Lombard has died.

Her family transferred her to a private hospital following the attack at Bloemfontein’s National Hospital just more than a month ago. A male nurse allegedly raped Lombard, while a female colleague apparently held her down.

The male nurse, who is out on bail of one-thousand-Rands, will be back in court on the first of next month.

Motlanthe unhappy about sporting codes like soccer and Olympics

Lusanda Bill
21 November 2011

Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe says while the country has made great strides since 1994 in the development of sporting codes, much more needs to be done regarding development and transformation.

He was opening the Sport and Recreation Indaba in Midrand, Gauteng.

Motlanthe criticised the fact that progress seemed to have ground to a halt in sporting codes such as soccer and Olympics.

He also wants to see more transformation at the level of sports administration and management.

Crawford-Browne hits out at French company Thales over arms deal

Lusanda Bill
21 November 2011

Arms deal activist Terry Crawford-Browne has hit out at French company Thales.

Crawford-Browne says the arms manufacturer has had a long relationship with South Africa even supporting the apartheid government.

He has regarded the company as the big culprit behind the arms deal scandal.

Browne accuses Thales of bring about wars and then bribing officials in several countries, including South Africa, to buy its weapons systems.

R70 million set aside to fund post-school studies

By Lelethu Mquqo
21 November 2011

The Higher Education and Training Department is giving over R70 million to fund post-school studies.

The step forms part of an agreement between government and the private sector, which aims to widen access to post-school education and training for the youth.

The learnerships are aimed at boosting the number of mid-level financial administrators in municipalities.

The Department points out that money made available to the national student financial aid scheme has more than doubled over the past two years to R6 billon.

Mitchells Plain residents oppose bail for alleged murderer

By Lelethu Mquqo
21 November 2011

A 24-year-old man who is suspected of killing his ex-girlfriend will be appearing in court today on charges of murder in the Mitchells Plain Magistrate's Court.

Twenty Two year old Shaune Pekeur was killed when her throat was slit in the front yard of her home in Westridge in Mitchells Plain with a knife.

Her grandfather, Mr. Harry Mentoor, a businessman from Mitchells Plain, said his granddaughter had interdicts and protection orders against the suspect.

Mentoor said residents will present a petition to the court opposing bail.

Mentoor said: “the petiotion sends a message to all the gang members in the area that the community has had enough”.

Pressure builds on Mac Maharaj

By Lelethu Mquqo
21 November 2011

The SA National Editors’ Forum says presidential spokesperson Mac Maharaj should now come clean about his involvement in the arms deal.

Maharaj has shrugged off allegations that he and his wife Zarina received millions of Rands from French arms company Thales.

Sanef chairperson Raymond Louw says given his high profile role in government, information about Maharaj’s testimony and conduct, is of major public interest.

Meanwhile, the ANC has slammed the National Press Club’s likening of this week’s vote in Parliament on the controversial Protection of State Information Bill to the infamous 1977 Black Wednesday suppression of media freedom under apartheid.

He Club has called on everyone to wear black on the day of the vote.

The ANC says in comparing what it describes as a purely democratic and open parliamentary process to one of the darkest days of apartheid rule the Press Club fails to offer valid arguments against the Bill.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Two senior Gauteng officials could be fired

By Khanyisa Tabata
20 November 2011

Two senior officials of the Gauteng sports, arts and culture department could be fired following a disciplinary hearing this week.

They are alleged to have signed off a multimillion-rand lease deal without following proper procedures.

Reports say the implicated officials are the chief director of corporate services Dennis Molaba and the deputy director of facilities Wonga Msikinya.

They are believed to have illegally awarded a one-point-two-million-Rands tender to the Giant Leap company for new premises for the department.

85 homeless in Cape Town after fires

By Khanyisa Tabata
20 November 2011

Eighty five people have been left homeless after three separate fires occurred overnight.

Cape Town City’s Disaster Risk Management Centre says it will be rendering humanitarian relief aid to the victims of these fires during the course of this morning.

Disaster Risk Management spokesperson Wilfred Solomons-Johannes says the cause of the fire is as yet unknown and the authorities will investigate.

Solomons-Johannes has appealed to residents to be careful when working with open flames.

‘When going to bed, residents should isolate electrical devices and extinguish gas burners, candles, lamps and paraffin stoves in order to prevent fires,” said Solomons-Johannes.

Man dies after bee attack

By Khanyisa Tabata
20 November 2011

An East Rand factory worker was killed and another was critically injured when they were attacked by a swarm of bees at warehouse in Germiston.

Netcare 911 spokesperson Jeffrey Wicks says the huge swarm passed through the factory yesterday afternoon and stung one man repeatedly. A co-worker rushed to his aid.

Paramedics found that the victim sustained nearly a thousand stings. He had died prior to their arrival.

The man who had attempted to save him was also stung and is in hospital in critical condition.

More allegations against Mac Maharaj

By Khanyisa Tabata
20 November 2011

A report in a Sunday newspaper alleges that President Jacob Zuma's spokesperson Mac Maharaj could have benefitted from bribes paid by French weapons manufacturer Thales.

The company will be at the centre of the government's arms deal inquiry next year.

According to the paper, its journalists have spent two months uncovering a paper trail that they say links Zuma's former financial adviser Schabir Shaik to Maharaj, his wife Zarina and Thales.

Shaik was convicted of corruption in the arms deal trial.

Meanwhile, Mail & Guardian editor Nic Dawes has vowed to fight the criminal charges Maharaj has laid against his publication and two journalists in connection with a report it did not publish.

Dawes says the charges will not wash in court as the National Prosecuting Act refers to disclosure of information obtained, and not the possession of it.

Maharaj wants police to investigate the possible theft of the records of various inquiries.

The former transport minister is adamant that he is innocent. He points out that he has not been charged, despite extensive investigations over the years.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Maharaj lays charges against the Mail and Guardian and journalist Sam Sole

By Khanyisa Tabata
19 November 2011

Presidential spokesperson Mac Maharaj’s attorneys have laid criminal charges against the Mail & Gaurdian and its journalist Sam Sole.

They are accused of contravening the National Prosecuting Act. Maharaj wants police to investigate the possible theft of the records of various inquiries.

The Mail & Guardian yesterday withheld a report alleging wrongdoing by Maharaj, following threats of criminal prosecution. The weekly publication is approaching Public Prosecutions director Menzi Simelane for permission to disclose the material.

Government seemingly not in agreement over Walmart deal

By Khanyisa Tabata
19 November 2011

Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe has again confirmed that government welcomes Walmart's investment in the country.

Addressing the Gordon Institute of Business Science in Johannesburg, Motlanthe said the US retail giant had carried out an extensive assessment which found that South Africa was a prime destination for foreign direct investment.

Cosatu has serious reservations about the 16-point-five-billion-Rands merger between Walmart and local retailer Massmart.

Motlanthe made no mention of three of his Cabinet colleagues - Minister of Economic Development Ebrahim Patel, Trade and Industry’s Rob Davies and Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson – who want the Competition Appeal Court to impose more stringent conditions on the transaction.

Global warming could make parts of the world unliveable

By Khanyisa Tabata
19 November 2011

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has warned world leaders to prepare for more dangerous and unprecedented extreme weather caused by global warming.

The Nobel Prize winning group met in Kampala, Uganda. The international climate scientists and disaster experts say making preparations will save lives and money.

The experts fear that heat waves, floods droughts and storms will make parts of the world difficult to live in.

Meanwhile, the heat wave that has been torturing residents in the northern parts of South Africa has also hit the Western Cape today.

The South African Weather Service has warned of runaway fires in the Cape Peninsula and Boland as the heat and strong winds increase.

Temperatures are expected to top 34 degrees in many places. Cape Town Disaster Risk Management has appealed to residents to drink enough water, keep their heads covered and not to throw cigarette butts out of car windows.

Global warming could make parts of the world unliveable

By Khanyisa Tabata
19 November 2011

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has warned world leaders to prepare for more dangerous and unprecedented extreme weather caused by global warming.

The Nobel Prize winning group met in Kampala, Uganda. The international climate scientists and disaster experts say making preparations will save lives and money.

The experts fear that heat waves, floods droughts and storms will make parts of the world difficult to live in.

Meanwhile, the heat wave that has been torturing residents in the northern parts of South Africa has also hit the Western Cape today.

The South African Weather Service has warned of runaway fires in the Cape Peninsula and Boland as the heat and strong winds increase.

Temperatures are expected to top 34 degrees in many places. Cape Town Disaster Risk Management has appealed to residents to drink enough water, keep their heads covered and not to throw cigarette butts out of car windows.

City alerts residents and visitors to extreme heat and high fire danger

By Khanyisa Tabata
19 November 2011

The South African Weather Service has issued a fire danger associated with extreme hot and uncomfortable conditions which are favourable for runaway fires for today.

A warning also been issued for gale force south early winds 65km per hour that are expected in places between Cape Point and Cape Agulhas.

The City’s Disaster Risk Management Centre appeals to residents to drink enough water; stay in a cool place; cover your head; not throw cigarette butts out of motor vehicle windows that could lead to run-away fires and to not make fires that cannot be controlled.

Disaster Risk Management spokesperson Wilfred Solomons-Johannes says tourists visiting Cape Town that are not acclimatised to the heat, could suffer from swelling of their ankles, inflammation of the skin, sharp pains from water loss, dizziness, nausea, diarrhea and fainting.

“We are appealing to residents to drink enough water; stay in a cool place, cover their heads and not throw cigarette butts out of motor vehicle windows that could lead to run-away fires and to not make fires that cannot be controlled”, said Solomons-Johannes.

Any emergency and/or distress call can be reported to the 107 emergency numbers from a Telkom line. Cellphone users need to dial 021 480 7700. The sooner you phone, the sooner help will arrive.

Controversial South African cricketer dies at 80

By Khanyisa Tabata
19 November 2011

One of the most controversial figures in South African cricket during the days of apartheid Basil d’Oliveira, or Dolly as he was known, has died in England at the age of 80.

CEO of Cricket South Africa Gerald Majola paid tribute to Dolly, saying he was a true legend in his time. Majola says Dolly was a man of true dignity and a wonderful role model.

As a Test player for England, he had a batting average of 40 in 44 Tests and an economy rate of less than two with the ball. He made his debut for England in his mid-30s.

Majola says one can only imagine what Dolly might have achieved had apartheid not wrecked his young career.

ANC schedules Secrecy Bill consultations

By Khanyisa Tabata
19 November 2011

ANC members of Parliament will this weekend visit several provinces to interact with communities on the Protection of State Information Bill.

Cosatu, the opposition and advocacy groups have criticised the party for not holding consultation sessions on the so-called Secrecy Bill as promised.

The ruling party says the weekend’s interaction is part of its continuous engagement with various stakeholders on the draft legislation.

The party’s chief whip Mathole Motshekga says in a statement that the aim of the exercise is to explain the Bill to communities and obtain their views.

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ANC leader’s fraud case postponed

By Lelethu Mquqo
19 November 2011

ANC Northern Cape leader John Block’s fraud case has been postponed to next year by the Kimberley Magistrates Court.

Block and five other accused face charges of fraud, relating to alleged irregularities in the acquisition of a water purification plant by the Sol Plaatjie Municipality in the Northern Cape.

The National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Mthunzi Mhaga says the case will resume on the 2nd of February 2012 in the Northern Cape High Court.

Friday, November 18, 2011

More suspects arrested in Chanelle Henning’s killing

By Lelethu Mquqo
18 November 2011

A close friend of Nico Henning, the estranged husband of murdered Faerie Glen mother Chanelle Henning, appeared in court in Pretoria today.

André Gouws was charged together with Willem Pieterse, who was arrested in the Eastern Cape.

The pair stands accused of murder, conspiracy to commit murder, unlawful possession of a firearm and illegal possession of ammunition.

The case was postponed until Wednesday, when they will appear in court with former Nigerian Olympic athlete Ambrose Monye, suspended police constable Gerhardus du Plessis and Preshan Singh.

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Tokyo Sexwale responds to racism accusations against Sepp Blatter

By Lelethu Mquqo
18 November 2011

Human Settlements Minister Tokyo Sexwale has commented on a racism commotion raging in football.

He addressed a media briefing in Midrand, following statements made by Sepp Blatter.

The Fifa president said in a television interview this week that racial confrontations on the field could be settled by a handshake between the players concerned at the end of the game.

Sexwale was instrumental in organising the last year’s Fifa World Cup in South Africa and is currently a member of Fifa's Fair Play and Social Responsibility committee.

He believes Blatter's statements were misinterpreted.

Young couple assaulted in Western Cape farm attack

By Lelethu Mquqo
18 November 2011

A couple was assaulted for an hour in a farm attack in the early morning hours near Malmesbury in the Western Cape’s Swartland.

The 30-year-old man’s 26-year-old fiancé managed to press a panic button while three intruders were attacking them with an axe and a steel pipe.

The suspects eventually fled on foot with wine and a DVD hi-fi system.

The woman is being treated in the local hospital, while the man was rushed to the Paarl Medi-Clinic due to the seriousness of his wounds.

Right wing flag hoisted at North West hospital

By Lelethu Mquqo
18 November 2011

North West Premier Thandi Modise has called the hoisting of an Afrikaner Weerstandbeweging flag at Ventersdorp Provincial Hospital a desperate act by misguided elements.

Modise says her administration won’t be intimidated by people seeking to drive a wedge between the provincial government and the Afrikaner farming community in the area.

The flag was apparently hoisted early this morning in anticipation of a visit by officials to congratulate the staff on the cleanliness of the facility.

DA lays criminal charges against ANC MP

Lusanda Bill
18 November 2011

The Democratic Alliance has laid criminal charges against ANC MP Yolanda Botha.

The DA’s Anchen Dreyer says Botha is not being taken to task after the Ethics Committee found in September that Botha had failed to disclose her business interests.

She is also said to have wilfully misled Parliament concerning kickbacks she received from a business venture.

Dreyer accuses ANC members of the Ethics Committee of voting to adopt a watered-down version of the report on Botha’s transgressions.

Shabangu warns mining industry

Lusanda Bill
18 November 2011

Mineral Resources Minister Susan Shabangu has warned the mining industry not to put the lives of workers at risk for the sake of making a profit.

Shabangu was speaking at the Mine Health and Safety Council Summit in Johannesburg,

She said she could not understand how mining companies that make billions in profit fail to buy the latest available and proven ground movement monitoring and detection equipment.

The minister wants to see a drastic improvement in mines’ safety records.

Mail & Guardian accuses Mac Maharaj of censorship

Lusanda Bill
18 November 2011

The Mail & Guardian has been compelled to suppress a report about presidential spokesperson Mac Maharaj.

This follows a threat of criminal trial under the National Prosecuting Authority Act.

The newspaper has a large banner reading “Censored” across its front page today. Editor Nic Dawes says they sent questions to Maharaj on Wednesday.

The following day they were warned by Maharaj's lawyers that the paper would face criminal trial if the story was published.

Hlaudi Motsoeneng’s appointment slammed

By Lelethu Mquqo
18 November 2011

The Democratic Alliance has slammed the appointment of Hlaudi Motsoeneng as acting chief operations officer of the SABC.

The DA’s Natasha Michael says it appears to be a political appointment.

Michael says the position was not advertised. Motsoeneng was nevertheless appointed, despite an internal audit in 2006, which revealed that he had apparently falsified his qualifications in his initial application.

He is said to have claimed to have passed matric, but had failed it twice.

Motsoeneng was also dismissed from the corporation before, for breaching SABC rules.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Orion Cold Storage’s Halaal certification suspended

By Lelethu Mquqo
17 November 2011

The Muslim Judicial Council has suspended Orion Cold Storage’s Halaal certification after the case appeared for the first time in the Western Cape high Court today.

Dozens of Muslim’s protested in silence outside the court, showing posters of disapproval with Orion Cold Storage.

The company is accused of relabeling pork as Halaal and removing expiry dates from its products.

Marketing manager for the company, Patrick Gaertner claims they were set up by a former business associate.

Diesel shortage hits home

By Lelethu Mquqo
17 November 2011

The Fuel Retailers’ Association has warned that the shortage of low sulphur diesel, particularly in Durban, is likely to get worse over the next few days.

Chief executive Reggie Sibiya says the shortage has apparently been caused by a problem with the imported product.

The next shipment is expected to arrive on Tuesday.

That means that diesel will probably only reach service stations by next Thursday or Friday.

Sibiya adds that the association is concerned about supply problems due to planned and unplanned refinery shutdowns.

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