Today's Big Stories

Vavi's scribed sorrows solidify union slippage

Vavi scribes his sorrows: in a letter sent by Cosatu General Secretary Zwelinzima Vavi to the leaders of the federation’s unions, he says he cannot defend the decision to expel Numsa from the federation. It comes amid intense speculation that he may in fact follow Numsa out of the federation or could even be expelled himself. Prior to this, at a Cosatu House media conference on Tuesday, Cosatu Spokeperson Norman Mampane explained Vavi would not be speaking on this issue. This was followed by Cosatu President Sdumo Dlamini explaining why Vavi was not there - all this before Tuesday evening's grand letter from Vavi. EWN Correspondent, Govan Whittles:

The wording and phrases used by Vavi in the letter indicates the relationship he has with the federation leadership, stating he's defended decisions in the past that he didn't agree with due to democratic centralism, but that he cannot defend this decision to expel Numsa from the federation. Sdumo Dlamini and Zwelinzima Vavi have been put in the front of the Numsa fight, along with Irvin Jim in a sense, which really culminated in the 7 union media conference hosted with Vavi - the greatest indication of the rift between Vavi and Dlamini. vavi had also refused to sign the expulsion letter that solidified the removal of Numsa from the federation and it ultimately had to be signed by the Cosatu Deputy General Secretary Bheki Ntshalintshali.

Here is Vavi's letter in full.

EFF-supported land grabs: in Nellmapius, East of Pretoria, reports have come through that a large group of people are queueing up to be given land by the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), with many of them bringing sheets of corrugated iron to build shacks. EWN Senior Correspondent, Barry Bateman on the scene:

We have several hundred people who were apparently told that if they claim land, the paper work would be sorted out and the land will be theirs. We see people dismantling existing shacks and building new ones.

EFF National Spokesperson, Mbuyiseni Ndlozi:

This is for people that have been waiting a very long time for land and people have now decided to take matters in their own handsby taking land. (On whether the EFF coordinated this) no, this is a community initiative, and of course the EFF have branches in communities. As the EFF, we have taken a vow to take part in people having access to land. But this is about the basic problem of human settlements in SA, due to a problem of industrial capitalism in SA and about the struggle of homeless people held ransom by authorities. All struggles of our people relate to how the laws in place are delaying justice for people - the laws are meant to deliver for people and in our view, this isn't the breaking of the law.

Comet's a-coming: in Space later on Wednesday, the satellite Rosetta will try to land on the comet that is known – for some reason as comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. WITS Planetarium Director, Dr Claire Flanagan:

So far, things seem to be going more or less okay and right now the lander is headed towards the comet. It should be landed by 6 o'clock this evening. What this lander has to do is drill into the ground of the comet, so it doesn't float off, this has never been done before. It will analyse what chemicals are in the comet and it will also take photos of the comet as well.

Click here to watch the comet landing via livestream.

SAA - Kalawe in or out?: at SAA there still appears to be serious confusion after Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown said that CEO Monwabisi Kalawe was no longer suspended. On the Tuesday edition of the Money Show with Bruce Whitfield, Kalawe's attorney Mushtaq Parker disagreed, saying the suspension was clearly still in force. Editor of SA Flyer Magazine, Guy Leitch:

It's impossible to understand how this situation can be allowed to roll on, since it's being going on for three weeks. It seems to be a battle of wills between the Chairman Dudu Myeni and Minister Lynne Brown. (On Miyeni wanting Kalawe out) we don't know why, but it may be linked to allegations levelled against Kalawe six months ago, which were all found to be baseless, but it may also be linked to Kalawe wanting to opening a West African hub which would be key for growth, but he did this without board approval; that may also be a reason.

Eskom powered low: a warning from Eskom on Wednesday morning is it’s running low on power and that it may have to implement load shedding. Eskom General Manager, Andrew Etzinger gives a status update:

It's quite tight, especially following the dark weather in Gauteng in recent days, so the system is very tight. We've been using diesel-powered facilities, but we don't anticipate having to implement any load shedding right now.

Focus on social compacting: the Mapungubwe Institute for Strategic Reflection (Mistra) has been hosting a conversation on nation formation and social compacting. It's a conversation chaired by Mistra Head, Joel Netshitenzhe - a key political strategist of the Mbeki dispensation:

One can argue - amongst the points made by presenters this morning - that we have a form of a political compact, through the Constitution built in 1996 and matters that South Africans pay allegiance to. We also have a social compact, relating to socio-economics and matters around inequality, poverty - these are matters that South Africans need to tend to. The disagreement tends to be in the nature of what South Africans are to deal with. Business is looking at initiating an Economic Codesa, while the ANC calls for radical economic transformation with the EFF calling for econmic freedom.


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