File image of Gauteng Roads and Transport MEC Ismail Vadi and Tshwane City Executive Mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa (Credit: Facebook)
Tshwane taxi tussle: taxi owners prevent Autopax operations in Mamelodi
News this morning is that taxi drivers have attacked Autopax buses in Mamelodi, Pretoria and stopped them from operating today. Autopax was due to take over certain bus routes from the bus company Putco. Wednesday saw taxi drivers blockading the depot and refusing to let the buses leave. The City of Tshwane has said it will try to work out a way to integrate these various services. Tshwane City Spokesperson, Selby Bokaba:
Naturally, we are disappointed. We had a fruitful discussion yesterday, facilitated by the Tshwane Mayor, with the Transport MEC in attendance. We are disappointed with the turn of events this morning which saw buses being prevented from leaving from the depot, while some buses were stoned as well. We cannot allow this hooliganism that borders on anarchy to continue.
The Solly & Co slush fund
In the High Court in Pretoria, the trial of former Police Crime Intelligence financial head Solly Lazarus and Hein Barnard has now started. They are accused of fraud for settling up a slush fund through a car dealership. EWN's Barry Bateman:
We've got Hein Barnard that was responsible for fronting cars for crime intelligence. What they did was set up an account at the dealership principle. They were buying vehicles for crime intelligence and the profit made from these purchases was channelled into a Beirut account.
Confusion over new e-toll dispensation
Today has seen the start of what is being called a new dispensation for Gauteng’s e-tolls system that is supposed to be easier and cheaper for people who do pay to use those highways. EWN's Alex Eliseev:
It depends on who you listen to: Ramaphosa and government say it's a completely new system. Then you listen to the general critics like OUTA and Cosatu saying there is nothing new here, adding that 'it's not a new dispensation, it's a new desperation', which I think is a nice catch phrase. The two changes came into play today : all tariffs have been standardised - there's one flat rate per kilometre; the second is that if you are a registered user, you get a 50% discount on your tariff. But the question is whether the e-toll system will ever be financially viable.
Proposal to factor in more religions in SA holidays
Several reports this morning have noted a proposal from the South African Law Commission to review all the religious holidays in the country. Deputy Chairperson of the Commission, Professor Luka Mosoma:
This critical issue that the Commission is grappling with - as a Commission, the position we hold is that the Easter and Christmas holidays retained for Christians be retained as is, but that government also seek to accommodate the other religions. An existing holiday such as December the 16th could also be used to commemorate another religion, but if you look at how many religions there are - and if you'd accord a holiday for each religion - this country would come to a standstill.
Cuban-US diplomatic presence resurfaces
News breaking overnight is that Cuba and the US are now going to re-open their embassies in each others countries as the relationship between them continues to thaw. US Policy Expert, Brookes Spector:
It is both symbolic and substitute, but we also need to remember there are many obstcles that exist between the US's dealings there. Not everything will happen over night - there are processes that still need to unfold in Congress.
Could Eskom ditch diesel for gas?
In the letters section of the Business Day over the last few days, there has been a discussion about the type of fuel that is being used by Eskom to run its gas turbines, amid all sorts of questions about the price that Eskom is paying for diesel. Energy expert, Ted Bloom:
The reality is those turbines can use three types of fuel: bunk oil, diesel and gas. When you use gas, you only have to refill them once a year.
Yes, there's a new CEO - but who is really in charge at the SABC?
An announcement on Wednesday from the Deputy Chair of the SABC Board Leah Khumalo that Frans Matlala is the new Group CEO of the SABC. At the SABC's Auckland Park headquarters, Stephen Grootes asked Matlala who would be really be in charge of the organisation - he said that everyone was driving the same bus at the SABC. The same question posed to COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng elicited the response: "Running the organisation means that action must be done and I'm not apologetic about that. As the COO of the organisation, I make sure that people deliver what they are supposed to deliver. You may call him (Matlala) a driver - he's going to drive - but he needs a good engine, and I'm (the) engine of the organisation, just to put it clearly. Because my job is to make sure that we have local content, people are on time and they deliver what they are supposed to deliver. Here, it's not politics - we run business and when you run (a) business, we work as a collective, but the assignments are different. But there's no car that can move without an engine - that is a fact. When you want things done, I'm here to ensure that things are done."
SOS Support Public Broadcasting Coalition Coordinator, Sekoetlane Phamodi:
You'll remember that Makhubu that she was being undermined by Mr Motsoneng, but we don't have any evidence of that. It seems he yields a lot of influence, but we hope Matlala will be able to fulfil his role, especially since the MOI of the SABC still has to be settled on.
Burundi electoral violence escalating
In Burundi, 6 people have now died in clashes with security forces amid a tense situation after Parliamentary Elections there. Senior Lecturer in government communications and scenario planning at the Wits School of Governance, Koffi Kouakou:
It's very concerning and if nothing can be done to convince President Pierre Nkurunziza, the situation will become very grave - in fact, it is already very grave. He is controlling events and what happens is that the outcomes are not favourable and even the outside world including South African President Jacob Zuma have said he needs to leave.