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State Capture Inquiry to resume with officials from National Treasury
17 February 2019, 9:33 PM

The Commission of Inquiry into State Capture will resume on Monday morning in Parktown, Johannesburg. The Commission is expected to hear the testimony from officials in the National Treasury, including former Director General (DG) Lungisa Fuzile.

Fuzile appeared before the commission last year, where he told Chairperson, Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, of the comedy of errors which he witnessed, when Des van Rooyen was appointed as finance minister for just two days in December 2015.

The former DG also told the commission of how Van Rooyen was accompanied by three advisors – allegedly supplied by the Guptas – on his arrival in the department.

Last week former African National Congress (ANC) Member of Parliament (MP) Vytjie Mentor was at the inquiry again.

The commission put Mentor’s evidence under the microscope and exposed a number of apparent inconsistencies.

However, Mentor insisted she had met one of the Gupta brothers on an official trip to China.

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MMA announces 2018 Isu Elihle Award winners
17 February 2019, 8:09 PM

South African based media watchdog, Media Monitoring Africa on Sunday announced the 2018 lsu Elihle Awards winners. Director of Media Monitoring Africa, William Bird announced some of the winners, from the SABC, in an interview.

The awards were launched three years ago in November 2015.

Bird says they are trying to encourage fresh new thinking with these awards.

“So we say submit your idea of a story you would like to do. That then gets adjudicated by a range of experts including a panel of children.”

The aim of the awards is to encourage fresh reporting, innovative approaches and insightful investigations that seek to give children a voice and elevate the status of the child all over Africa.

In the past two years, the awards were open only for journalists in Eastern and Southern Africa but in 2018,  journalists from all over Africa were included.

The first runner up was Krivani Pillay, from the SABC, who did a series called, Hunger Games: Giving South African children the right life. Pillay won R15000 for her runner up spot

“She told these stories using multiplicity of experts and views to really bring hunger down to an issue that you think about and feel in a way that you don’t normally think about and engage in. It was particularly powerful,” says Bird.

The overall winner and prize money of R25 000 was Jamaine Krige, also from SABC, who did a series of stories on surviving school transport.

“To give an idea of how powerful these things are. In the first episode we hear the stories of eight young people and their dreams of what they would like to become. It emerges as the story goes on that these are the numbers of children that die on our roads every single day. Its talking about school transport,” adds Bird.

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IEC poster
PAC faction threatens to shut down IEC offices
17 February 2019, 4:33 PM

The Nyhontso-led Pan Africanist Congress of Azania (PAC) has threatened to shut down all Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) offices if the commission refuses to recognise its President Mzwanele Nyhontso as the face of the party in the upcoming general elections.

The IEC wrote to both PAC factions asking them to resolve their leadership squabbles before the deadline to submit lists of candidates.

This as both factions, one led by Mzwanele Nyhontso and the other by Narius Moloto, claim to be party presidents.

Nyhontso met with the Eastern Cape executive committee in East London and warns that those who think they’re bigger than the party won’t be tolerated.

“There is only one PAC here. They can go and register tomorrow the PAC in this province. They can go and submit the PAC list in this province because there is no faction. The same thing goes to KZN, there is no faction there. There’s only one PEC and that PEC supports the leadership that was elected in Kimberley. Go to Free State, there is one PEC. Go to Western Cape, there is one PEC. Go to Northern Cape, there is one PEC. In all Provinces, where does this Mickey Mouse have support? The IEC must tell us. There is a Mickey Mouse and I am concerned. People must be called for what they are.”

He adds that they’re taking the matter to court but has made threats of a shut down.

“Remember the congress was televised. The public broadcaster, the SABC was there and everybody saw that. Every step of the way was on camera. The nomination process, the announcement, the election, the acceptance speech and yet again the IEC had the audacity to give us an ultimatum as the PAC, the party of revolution, the party of land. We will never accept that. If it means we must shut down IEC, we will. We will shut down IEC. We will sit down to all IEC offices throughout the country. We will shut down IEC. There will never be elections without the PAC.”

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Victoria Beckham
Victoria Beckham looks to ’70s prints, Preen influenced by dance
17 February 2019, 3:30 PM

Victoria Beckham looked back to the 1970s for her show at London Fashion Week on Sunday, presenting a collection rich in vibrant colours and patterns, while label Preen opted for retro floral prints and layered skirts inspired by dance and music.

In front of an audience that included Beckham’s husband David and their children, models showed off dresses and skirts slim fitted over the knee, some with abstract chain patterns. Beckham also stuck to her signature silhouette of fitted skirt suits, which were chequered, and wide-leg trousers.

The former Spice Girl turned fashion designer used to present her line in New York during the catwalk calendar season, but moved to London in September to celebrate the 10th anniversary of her eponymous brand.

“For Autumn/Winter 2019 I have been thinking about what women want, about modern femininity and about how to curate those ideas into a collection for today,” Beckham said in a statement.

“There are touches of retro, pinches of the ’70s. Yet it’s all brought together into something encapsulating what we call the modern feminine alphabet.”

The designer used a colour palette that included lipstick red, teal, pink, absinthe and lilac and her footwear consisted of high-heeled stretch open toe boots, in vibrant blue, red or leopard print. Heels came in hot pink or yellow.

At Preen, designer duo Justin Thornton and Thea Bregazzi said their show was “inspired by the culture of dance and music and the impact it has had on us.” The show opened with floral prints decorating outerwear and asymmetric layered skirts, before moving on to 1980s style silhouettes – round, open neck and exaggerated shoulders.

The outfits were accessorised with a type of harness on top, with rosette decorations and ribbons flowing at the side, sometimes with small backpacks. Patterned silk shirts were frilly, fitted tops revealed mid-riffs and knits were also cropped, while coats were voluminous.

Models wore blue tights and clog-like shoes and for the evening, shiny black or lace dresses were on show, some in lace and see-through in red, with a sparkly evening version of the harness.

 

Eskom power lines
SA seeks to reopen costly renewable deals to help Eskom
17 February 2019, 3:14 PM

South Africa wants to talk to Independent Power Producers (IPPs) about lowering the price Eskom pays for electricity from older renewable energy projects, a senior minister told Reuters, as the state utility struggles to emerge from a financial crisis.

Eskom supplies more than 90% of South Africa’s power but is drowning in debt after a decade of decline. It implemented power cuts for five consecutive days last week because of breakdowns at its creaking fleet of mainly coal-fired power stations.

Labour unions and some conservative sections of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) blame Eskom’s financial woes on 20-year agreements it signed to purchase power from renewable energy projects launched in 2011 and 2012. The power prices Eskom pays for later renewable projects are considerably lower because technology and finance costs in the renewable energy sector fell by the time they were agreed.

“The simple assurance is that this is not about scrapping contract. This is about exploring possibilities that are created by the rapid fall in costs in the renewable sector, whether that’s solar or wind,” Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan said in an interview.

“There are players in the renewable industry who are saying let’s talk.” Gordhan said he wanted to reassure IPPs that the South African government would be careful about how it handled any negotiations over power prices.

“We are a law-abiding country. … We need to look after the interests of everyone concerned,” he said.

Gordhan, an important ally of President Cyril Ramaphosa, said the government wanted to “balance out” prices agreed during bid windows one and two of the country’s renewable energy programme – launched in 2011 and 2012 – with lower prices in later bid windows.

Ramaphosa – who is trying to appease critics before a parliamentary election in May – has promised to support Eskom’s balance sheet and split the utility to make it more efficient. But some analysts say bolder steps are needed to rescue the power firm, the largest on the African continent. Eskom expects to make annual losses of around R20 billion ($1.4 billion) this year and next and does not earn enough to service its 419 billion rand debt mountain.

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