Today's Big Stories

Oscar sentencing and did Tiger Brands put dangerous items on shelves?

The latest at the Oscar Pistorius sentencing hearing?: the Acting National Commissioner of Correctional Services, Zacharia Modise has been facing questions about the conditions Pistorius would face in prison, if he were sentenced to jail time. Modise spent most of his time defending South African prisons over claims made of poor conditions ranging from gangs controlling some areas, to officers torturing prisoners. Criminal lawyer, Cliff Alexander:

He’s (Advocate Nel) done a fantastic job and even illustrated that Pistorius might even have to be put into a hospital facility if need be. It was the right thing to do to get the cousin (Reeva’s cousin Kim Martin) in, she’s one of the best witnesses I’ve ever had the privilege of seeing.

What's the story with a Tiger Brands product recalling? : the food group has announced its recall of seventeen thousand packs of one of its rice products after finding potentially carcinogenic (an agent that can cause cancer) ingredients in them. Managing Executive for Rice and Pasta at Tiger Brands, Naresh Singh:

We’re recalling the Tastic ‘Simply Delicious’ products from our shelves - which we import from India - due to unpermitted colourants. The colourants are potentially carcinogenic. We are investigating this with our supplier from India. We don’t believe it is serious in terms of levels available in products, but if someone is feeling sick, they should get checked out. (Next steps for consumers that have already brought this type of rice) they should go back to their retail store to return the product for a reimbursement.

Is government selling Vodacom shares for the sake of Eskom? : Bloomberg has reported that government is considering selling its stake in Vodacom to help pay for Eskom which is rapidly running out of money. Renee Bonorchis is one of the journalists that broke that story for Bloomberg:

According to our records, 13,9% of Vodacom is still owned by government. Eskom has a R225 billlion shortfall between now and 2018, of which R50 bil. is through bonds, but they haven’t stipulated how much through equity. There will be a R100 billion injection going in, in the next few months but I don’t think that’s enough. It’s difficult finding out these balances but the policy statement of October the 22nd will give more clarity.

Is our reportedly cash-strapped power utility providing power for Botswana? : EWN reports show that Eskom is supplying electricity to Botswana – despite frequent supply woes in South Africa. Eskom’s Senior General Manager, Andrew Etzinger:

Botswana use a very small amount of power. In terms of our deficit - we supply only when we have capacity available. Many times when they’ve asked us to, we have said we don’t have capacity. Botswana is dealing with teething problems and the poor performance of a new power station they’ve built there. But this is really on a day-to-day basis arrangement. We are also pursuing revenue opportunities through sales, because it is revenue that’s much needed at this time. We have a trading arrangement with all SADC nations, especially with Mozambique. When Botswana’s power station is up and running, they would be able to meet their own needs but without being able to give capacity to us, because they are dealing with smaller units.

Are Apple and Facebook putting womens' reproductive choices first? : some discussion over the last twenty four hours or so about a new policy from Facebook and Apple to allow their female employees to have their eggs frozen - as a perk. The claim from these companies is clearly that they’re worried women are putting off having children because of their careers and this is a means of supporting those who want to the option to have career and family. Chief Operating Officer of Tourvest and a Board Member of the International Women’s Forum of South Africa, Judi Nwokedi:

If I was thirty years old and there was a need, being conscious of my sexual reproductive health, absolutely. I think it’s a game-changer. It wasn’t a top-down decision, it followed a surveying of 98000 of their staff and this is an add-on to a globally enviable HR policy. They are not coercing, but are willing to pay in excess of $20000 so a woman doesn’t have to feel confined in terms of choices between personal life and career. It’s empowering in my view.

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