All eyes on Eskom's Tsotsi and the forecasted ejection
There's a meeting underway of Eskom’s board that could see its Chair Zola Tsotsi being removed as a director. The last week has seen claims that Tsotsi instituted an inquiry into the utility and asked its CEO Tshediso Matona to step aside because he was asked to by Zuma. Then came a claim that the inquiry was instituted to stop an audit that could perhaps lead to questions for members of the board. At the same time, there was news over the weekend that Eskom has been preparing for a national blackout and preparing to deal with such a situation. Eskom Board Director, Zola Tsotsi:
That is a resolution that's on the table - whether I should be removed as a Director or not. I believe in all conscience, that I have done nothing wrong and that my position will prevail. (On the inquiry underway at Eskom) the President does not have any involvement in this - the President didn't get involved in calling for the inquiry. All I did was motivate the situation (that led to the inquiry) and the board accepted. There is nothing sinister or untoward that needed to be uncovered about board members.
Vavi vs Cosatu CEC
At Cosatu House in Central Joburg, Cosatu’s Central Executive Committee (CEC) meeting is now underway after a Sunday statement by its General Secretary Zwelinzima Vavi that he would not attend the meeting. Also at the Sunday press conference - and sitting next to Vavi – was the Deputy General Secretary of the metalworkers union Numsa which has been expelled from Cosatu. Numsa Deputy General Secretary, Karl Cloete:
We have always stood by the General Secretary on the basis that we elected him during a general congress where he was in good standing. The suspension was unfair, and Numsa supported him through this. The court proved Numsa right, as he was reinstated. Our support is an organisational support.
Stephen Grootes did make attempts to get comment from Cosatu President Sdumo Dlamini, who said he couldn't respond until the CEC meeting would have concluded. Political analyst, Professor Somadoda Fikeni:
Given the circumstances, he might have read that all decks are against him in the CEC, therefore he is unlikely to get a fair hearing with the CEC. It just a symbolic defiance in a sense, which is meant to galvanise other symphathetic parties in his case. I doubt they (the CEC) will do nothing: they may raise a number of other issues with him and that will be the scene-setting for a potential battle.
Mbalula meddling in cricket affairs?
A claim this morning in The Times is that the board of Cricket South Africa (CSA) demanded that Vernon Philander play in the Proteas World Cup semi-final match in a decision that meant that Captain AB de Villiers didn’t actually want to take to the field. It’s claimed that this was because the team had to include four non white players. Spokesperson for the Ministry of Sports, Esethu Hasane:
I would go on record to say that the Minister and the Ministry doesn't get involved in any process that selects players in any tournament or the World Cup. Going to the World Cup, neither the Minister nor the Ministry did not communicate with Cricket South Africa around any of this. Cricket South Africa is an independent entity - any decision that the team believes is appropriate is one that the Minister will support. It is quite amusing when people pin down just one player as a reason that we lost, when there were other events. We wouldn't be surprised is someone would come out to say that the Minister also called the rain out on that day!
Mandarin as part of Early Childhood education
An announcement over the last few days from the Gauteng Education Department is that Mandarin Chinese is now going to be available as a language option for children in some schools. Mandarin teacher at Wits Language School, Luna Han:
I would like to say it is not hard, because some English words have more than three syllables, such as 'refrigerator', which has 5 syllables. Most Chinese words have one or two syllables. The writing is very different to English words, the word is built by the characters - once you learn more characters, you can then build more sentences.
Economic impact of Nhleko taking on WTO services agreement
A suggestion in the Business Day is that the announcement by Police Minister Nathi Nhleko that government wants to re-negotiate our involvement in the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) general agreement on services could have a big impact on our economy. Nhleko said two weeks ago he wants to change our involvement in this agreement because that would allow the government to force all private security companies to be privately owned. Partner at Webber Wentzel, Peter Leon:
It's an expropriation of their investments in South Africa, with this requirement of 51% South African ownership in this space; a move that comes without any indication of compensation. What the bill should have done is you can't have any interest in South African security companies, but it hasn't gone that far.
Home Affairs Dept biometric sees tourism dip
A claim this morning that regulations by the Home Affairs Department requiring foreign nationals to get visas before coming here on holiday are having a big impact on our tourism industry. CEO of Cullinan Holdings Company Limited, Michael Tollman:
I looked at our official numbers for September, which was the month that biometrics were implemented for China and we saw a 53% drop in turnover in revenue. The announcement was made in about April/May - we have since also been impacted by Ebola, but that only came later. The flight there to a specific city to get a fingerprint and back could end up costing more than a flight directly to South Africa and back.
Sanral+City of Cape Town tolling tussle detailed
The supreme court of appeal has overturned a Western Cape High Court ruling that kept certain documents in a case between the SA National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) and the City of Cape Town secret. EWN's Rahima Essop:
Five judges have set aside the Western Cape High Court ruling, which ultimately kept the details around the tolling system for the Western Cape out of the public domain. Only the City of Cape Town has access to these documents. This tension dates back to 2012. The review application is the main legal action here. The City has opposed the toll project on the basis that it is unnecessary and costly and the City also doesn't trust Sanral.
Zulu King's repeated xenophobic comments
A report this morning that Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini has repeated his comments that foreign people should leave the country and that there are too many people who are not South African living here. Lawyers for Human Rights' Head of Refugee and Migrant Rights Programme, Patricia Erasmus:
I think it's very important because it impacts on public perception on foreigners, especially from persons of power. It is concerning when such comments are repeated. Even if it doesn't crossover into the realm of legally-defined hate speech, it is important to note that it is the resultant of the conflict of an increasing tension between South Africans and foreigners.
'Black Barbie' boom
The release over the last few weeks of a set of African-imaged dolls called the Ntomb'entle Dolls. Creator, Molemo Kgomo:
I decided to create these dolls because I couldn't find one back in 2005/2006 and I needed them for my daughter who was much younger then. They are flying, I am actually scared that they will run out before I can have more to sell.