Today's Big Stories

Gautrain's 5th birthday, LRC vs Brit government, what the Grexit could mean

Image: joburg.org.za

The Gautrain 5 years later - said to experience 6% per month growth

Heard on 702's John Robbie Show: as a well-documented legacy feature of the 2010 World Cup's infrastructure projects, South Africa's first mass rapid transit railway system took it's first commercial trip from Sandton Station to OR Tambo international Airport Station on Tuesday the 8th of June 2010 at exactly 5:24 am. The Gautrain has since grown in leaps and bounds, with new stops built along the way in it's half-decade journey. CEO of the Gautrain Management Agency, Jack van der Merwe:

It was good to see something that we'd worked on so long come to fruition. What is quite nice is that when we had the first trip, we had about twenty people there with suitcases on going to the airport, so it wasn't just a fun trip - they were going there as part of their work. (On the Gautrain) we're running about 60 000 passengers per day, we are past more than 50 million people and it's growing by about 6% per month on average, so it's outstripped what we thought it would do. We've only run the full system for three years now, so we're still in a ramp-up phase, so it's doing well.

LRC approaches British and European authorities over email snooping

Image: Telegraph UK

Heard on CapeTalk's Breakfast with Kieno Kammies: with a revelation that British Intelligence have unlawfully intercepted human rights organisation the Legal Resources Centre (LRC)'s emails, the organisation has approached British and European authorites go gain insight behind why this has happened. LRC attorney, Avani Singh:

The next thing for us is to get more information through the coalition of organisations that brought this application before the tribunal. A letter has been sent to the tribunal to re-consider it's decision to withold all of this factual information and to determine whether it is in fact strictly necessary in the interests of national security not to give us more details about the communication that was intercepted - that's taking place in the UK. We also have an appeal pending before the European Court of Human Rights on other issues related to the surveillance activities of the UK government. But in South Africa, it's a question for us to find out how much the South African authorities knew about it and what they can tell us about the activity.

How like is the Eurozone's anticipated Grexit?

Image: Greece's Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras (L) and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker (Credit: AFP)

Heard on 702's John Robbie Show: with the 30th June deadline over a reported €1.6 billion owed by Greece to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the situation for the Hellenic Republic is looking rather bleak. Stanlib Chief Economist, Kevin Lings unpacks probable outcomes:

So Greece owes a huge amount and their debit is probably in the order of about $360 billion in total, which is massive relative to their economy - it sits at almost 180% of their economy. Remember to get into the Euro area, your debt had to be less than 60%, so Greece's debt is enormous by any standards, so they need assistance in financing that debt. The rest of Europe has agreed to offer them finance and they've been doing so for a number of years now and obviously that finance comes with a number of conditions - and those conditions essentially mean austerity, which for Greece means raising tax rates and they have to be reducing the benefits that people get from the government, so you can put the financial position in a healthier shape. Greece has promised to do a lot of these things over the last few years and in general they failed to meet a lot of these promises and the creditors have got a lot tougher and we've come down to the point where either Greece agrees to do a whole lot of these austerity measures, otherwise, they don't get the money. If they don't get the money, certainly by the end of this month, then Greece will default and this puts them on course to exiting the Eurozone.


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