Weekly News Brief

Weekly News Brief
Secunda at Night - photo credit: showme.co.za

HEADLINE NEWS THIS WEEK

This week, the South African Human Rights Commission weighed in on the situation of the homeless people in Cape Town, saying the policy of the town to fine the homeless is a violation of himan rights. The SAHRC officials were to meet with Cape Town Mayor Dan Plato over a policy on homeless people this week. The commission received hundreds of complaints from people living on the streets regarding their treatment at the hands of municipal officials. Last week, the City of Cape Town was criticised for fining homeless people in the city. The municipality issued 199 fines over a period of six months to homeless people and has denied harassing those living on the streets.

Opposition parties have questioned the financial sustainability of the National Health Insurance (NHI). On Friday, Members of Parliament (MPs) debated the nation’s health budget tabled by Minister Zweli Mkhize. As expected, the budget speech centred around universal healthcare and improved health conditions for South Africans. Mkhize’s budget vote came a day after Cabinet announced that it had approved the National Health Insurance Bill, which would give effect to universal healthcare.

Cabinet has approved the National Health Insurance Bill, which will be tabled in Parliament shortly. Minister in the Presidency Jackson Mthembu said the Bill would give effect to the government’s plan for universal healthcare services for all South Africans, regardless of their socio-economic circumstances. The NHI Bill is expected to introduce sweeping reforms aimed at achieving the government’s goal for universal health coverage.

International Relations Minister Naledi Pandor said that President Cyril Ramaphosa should consider recalling Bruce Koloane as ambassador to the Netherlands. Pressure is mounting for Ramaphosa to act against Koloane after shocking revelations at the Zondo Commission. When presented with evidence this week, he confessed he pushed for the illegal Gupta plane landing at the Waterkloof Air Force Base in 2013. Koloane admitted to using former President Jacob Zuma’s name to put pressure on Department of Defence officials to authorise the Guptas landing a privately chartered jet at Waterkloof Air Force Base. He said that he wanted to impress the Indian High Commissioner.  Koloane admitted to so-called name-dropping but denied ever being in communication with Zuma or the other politicians whose names he used.

Gang wars in Western Cape have gone out of hand. “It’s all-out war.” This is how Community Safety MEC Albert Fritz is describing the province’s high murder rate, aggravated by almost daily gang gun battles. Fritz has reiterated the Western Cape needs to be given control of the police in the province, a promise which featured prominently on the Democratic Alliance (DA)’s election manifesto. Added to this are repeated calls for the army to be sent into communities worst affected by gangsterism.

Police Minister Bheki Cele has announced that the South African Police Service (SAPS) and South African National Defence Force (SANDF) members will be deployed in crime-riddled communities in Cape Town. The officers were meant to be deployed to undisclosed areas from early Friday morning. Several areas in the Mother City have buckled under violence in recent months. These areas include Bonteheuwel, Delft, Hanover Park and Philippi East.

OTHER THINGS WE LIKED

The first aircraft assembled, and flown, by South African teenagers arrived safely in Cairo, Egypt, on Monday, after it jetted off from Cape Town last month. The aircraft was assembled by a group of 20 students from vastly different backgrounds. According to the BBC, the four-seater Sling 4 plane landed in Namibia, Malawi, Ethiopia, Zanzibar, Tanzania and Uganda during the 12 000km trip to Egypt.

The debate on the e-tolls in Gauteng ranged on with Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula saying that although government acknowledged the overwhelming opposition to e-tolls in Gauteng, the economic burden they carry cannot be ignored. The minister was part of a presidential task team formed to find a solution to the debacle, which has seen outright public defiance of the e-tolling system. A few days ago, Finance Minister Tito Mboweni and Gauteng Premier David Makhura clashed on social media over e-tolls, with the president calling the incident regrettable.

The Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula has promised to prioritize two major rail projects that have been in the pipeline for the last four years. Mbalula gave his budget vote speech in Parliament on Tuesday.  He told MPs that the finalisation of feasibility studies into the Moloto Rail Corridor and the high-speed rail network between Johannesburg and Durban would be prioritized.

Opposition parties have called on the SABC to go after former executives to recoup lost funds. They made the call during debate on the Communications Department’s budget vote on Wednesday. Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams said that the Broadcasting Agency would be receiving some form of financial relief from Treasury in the next 10 days. This follows an initial decision by Treasury to decline the public broadcaster’s application for a R3.2 billion guarantee. Opposition parties want the SABC to not just ask for bailouts, but to also recoup monies lost due to the decisions of former employees.

The South African Reserve Bank is likely to cut interest rates by a quarter of a percent next week as a slowdown in the economy during the first three months of the year could turn worse if left unchecked, a Reuters poll showed on Thursday. Twenty-four of 30 economists in the survey taken over the past three days said the repo rate woul d be cut by 25 basis points to 6.50% on July 18. Two expected a cut of 50 basis points. The other four said rates would be left unchanged. “Conditions in South Africa have been shifting in favour of a rate cut for some time,” said Razia Khan, chief economist for Africa and Middle East at Standard Chartered Bank.

ICYMI

Globetrotting Soweto Based String Ensemble Buskaid to perform In Joburg at Linder Auditorium , St Andrew’s Road, Parktown, Johannesburg.

July 21 @ 08:00 – 17:00 Tickets 180 to R280

Buskaid, which is based in Diepkloof, Soweto has now entered its 22nd year. In that time, the Buskaid Ensemble has travelled the world 26 times to huge international acclaim. It’s the only South African orchestra to have played at the BBC Proms and was subsequently named as one of the world’s 10 most inspirational orchestras by the UK’s Gramophone Magazine. 


International Maritime Defense Exhibition and Conference 2019

July 23 @ 08:00 – July 24 @ 17:00

Commemorating the 60th anniversary of the Ghanaian Navy, the inaugural International Maritime Defense Exhibition and Conference 2019 will feature the largest gathering of Africa’s maritime industry, as we host regional and international Chiefs of Naval Staff to celebrate this important milestone.