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DA warns load shedding could slide SA into recession
6 December 2019, 9:03 PM

The DA has warned that load shedding could sink the country into recession. Eskom said the load shedding was due to a shortage of capacity and a highly constrained system.

DA Shadow Minister of Public Enterprises, Ghaleb Cachalia, says load shedding affects the lifeblood of the economy.

“It affects the lifeblood of our economy. It affects our citizens. It affects our industries. It affects our commercial enterprises. This could push us into recession very, very easily. Eskom is run like a secret enterprise. The nation has to be taken into its confidence. They have to tell us what they’re doing; when they’re doing; how they’re doing it, and we have to make sure that we fix this country and we can fix this country only if we fix Eskom.”

Citizens have been advised to check the load shedding schedule on Eskom’s website.

Energy analyst Chris Yelland says the current load shedding will have an impact on the GDP in the fourth quarter if it continues for more than a week. Eskom has ramped up Stage 2 load shedding to Stage 4 amid accusations of continued poor maintenance and concerns about wet coal.

Stats SA earlier this week announced that the economy had contracted by 0.6% in the third quarter and it said load shedding had an impact on growth figures in the second quarter.

Yelland says load shedding is very harmful to the economy.

“The load shedding earlier this year (2019) showed some significant influence in slowing down growth, in fact taking it negative earlier this year. So, this kind of load shedding does have economic impact, but it really all depends on how long the load shedding last for. If load shedding is just one day then it doesn’t have much impact, but if we have a week or two of load shedding then it has a significant impact on GDP. So, let’s just see how this pens out, but it doesn’t look good at the moment.”

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Suspect killed, officer wounded in shootout
6 December 2019, 8:35 PM

A suspect has been killed and another wounded after a shootout with JMPD officers in Hillbrow, Johannesburg on Friday evening. The wounded suspect has been taken to hospital under police guard.

One officer was critically wounded in the incident and has been taken to Milpark hospital.

The suspects allegedly hijacked a white Hyundai before the confrontation with police.

JMPD Spokesperson, Wayne Minnaar says the officers tried to stop the hijacked car on Quest and Captain street when the shootout occurred.

“The K9 officers received information of the location of the Hyundai in Hillbrow. It was hijacked and when officers tried to stop the van at Quest and Captain street, a shootout occurred. One male suspect has been killed. One has been arrested and the officer sustained gunshot wounds to his shoulder and leg.”

Busisiwe Mkhwebane
North West municipalities still disregard Public Protector’s recommendations: Mkhwebane
6 December 2019, 8:16 PM

Public Protector Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane says even though her office works hard investigating cases to root out corruption, some municipalities in the North West are still disregarding the recommendations given out by her office.

The public protector visited the North West province to meet with the Premier, Job Mokgoro, and new executive members to discuss matters of governance and ethics.

She also conducted a community outreach to listen to the public concerns.

The Office of the Public Protector embarked on an annual stakeholder roadshow this week in the North West.

Maladministration and unlawful hiring are just some of the cases the public protector is still investigating in different municipalities of the province.

Mkhwebane says they have issued out a lot of reports.

“It relates to the municipalities’ maladministration. It relates to irregular appointments and violation of supply chain processes. We got the one where there are a lot of reports we’ve issued. Ngaka Modiri Molema, Matlosana, Taung. There are several of them.”

She says some of the recommendations by her office are still being disregarded by some of these municipalities.

“A lot of those remedial actions are, unfortunately, not implemented. We will be working with the MEC because as well they’ve got limited roles. We will check how we meet the legislature because they also have an oversight. They intervene and force that they are implemented.”

Mkhwebane also went to Tlokweng village near Rustenburg to engage with the local community about their concerns. Residents, who packed the Tlokweng Tribal Hall, raised issues that include land claims, the treatment at their local police station, improved schools and sanitation among others. They have asked Advocate Mkhwebane to intervene.

“At this point in time, the Barokologadi are the landlords. That is why I beg the public protector to at least review the claim because it shows there is somehow corruption.”

However, the Chief of Batlokwa says there are rules to follow.

“There have been direct complains … issues like land, people needing land to build or stands to build on. However, the tribe has rules as to who should get land and who should not get land, but it’s not a perfect system.”

The public protector says government must ensure good governance and that services are delivered to the people.

Algerian protesters hold last Friday rally before election
6 December 2019, 7:23 PM

Tens of thousands of Algerians took to the streets on Friday, making a show of strength of their last weekly protest before a presidential election next week that they have rejected as meaningless.

The protesters have been demonstrating twice a week since February to demand that the shadowy ruling elite that has controlled Algeria since independence in 1962 quits power.

On Friday, they chanted “We will not vote” and held aloft banners reading “No need to prepare the polling stations” and “The people are fed up” as they paraded through central Algiers.

The army, the major force within the Algerian state, sees the 12 December election of a new president as the only way to restore normality after nine months of demonstrations which in April ousted the veteran leader Abdelaziz Bouteflika.

Protesters say any election is pointless if the ruling hierarchy, including the army, continues to wield power, and want it put off until more top officials step aside and the military quits politics.

“We will stick to our position. We don’t care about next Thursday. We need change,” said post office employee Aissa Baha’i, 32.

Later on Friday the former senior officials running for president will take part in a televised debate, Algeria’s first, but the protesters dismissed it as political theatre.

“We are used to hearing promises. I don’t trust them,” said Djamila Chabi, 37, referring to the debate.

Though the protest movement, which during the spring was regularly bringing hundreds of thousands of people to the streets, has so far been peaceful, there have been signs of growing tensions as the election nears.

Earlier in 2019, the authorities detained dozens of protesters for waving flags with Berber symbols as it began to put more pressure on the marches, and later sentenced many of them to year-long prison terms for undermining national unity.

Late on Thursday, the security services accused a Berber separatist movement of planning to disrupt the election by using agents provocateurs among the protesters to incite police violence, saying a student in the banned group had confessed.

The government has also arrested several opposition figures and journalists, charging some with attacking army morale.

In recent weeks, protesters have marched more frequently and have also challenged the coming election by demonstrating against campaigning candidates and hanging bags of garbage in public spaces reserved for electioneering.

Meanwhile, the government has sought to appease protester anger over corruption, arresting dozens of senior officials and former officials and businessmen, many of them associated with Bouteflika, and sentencing some to long prison terms.

On Friday, state media also reported that thousands of people had joined marches in towns in western and eastern provinces in support of Thursday’s vote.

“Change cannot be made with the old system’s men. This election is a waste of time,” said university student Noureddine Kadiri, 25, marching with his two younger brothers.

Nancy Pelosi
Trump faces deadline as House Democrats craft articles of impeachment
6 December 2019, 7:20 PM

President Donald Trump faced a deadline on Friday set by United States House of Representatives Democrats as they deliberate over what charges to bring against him after Speaker Nancy Pelosi asked the Judiciary Committee to draft formal articles of impeachment.

The committee could draft and recommend the articles by next Thursday in an impeachment inquiry that Pelosi launched in September into the Republican president’s request that Ukraine investigate former Vice President Joe Biden, a leading candidate for the Democratic nomination to face Trump in the 2020 US election.

The panel’s Democratic chairperson, Jerrold Nadler, gave Trump until 5p.m. (2200 GMT) on Friday to decide whether he or his legal counsel will participate in upcoming Judiciary Committee proceedings by calling witnesses, introducing evidence and making a presentation.

Committee Republicans have been given the same deadline to request witnesses, including any they might want to subpoena.

Nadler has scheduled a committee hearing for Monday. His committee is responsible for drafting articles of impeachment and would have to approve them before sending them to the full House for a vote, which is expected before Christmas.

Trump, who denied any wrongdoing, thus far has refused to cooperate with the inquiry and ordered current and former administration officials not to testify or provide documents demanded by Democratic-led House committees.

Pelosi on Thursday asked the Judiciary Committee to draft formal charges against Trump, which, if passed as expected in the Democratic-led House, would lead to a trial in the Republican-led Senate on whether to remove Trump from office.

Trump’s fellow Republicans in the Senate have given little indication that they would support his removal from office.

Pelosi accused Trump of abusing his power by asking a foreign government to interfere in an American election for his own political benefit at the expense of US national security. The articles of impeachment could include abuse of power, bribery, obstruction of Congress and obstruction of justice.

‘CHANGE HIS MIND’

Pelosi appeared on Friday with other lawmakers at a news conference on climate change but did not discuss impeachment.

She did mention the president after Democratic Senator Sheldon Whitehouse pointed out to reporters that Trump had signed a full-page ad in the New York Times in 2009 calling for aggressive action to combat climate change, a contradiction of Trump’s current position. Pelosi said, “We just hope that the president will change his mind.”

The US Constitution empowers the House to impeach a president for “treason, bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanours.”

No US president has ever been removed from office through impeachment. The last president to be impeached by the House, Democrat Bill Clinton in 1998, was kept in office by the Senate in 1999.

The probe is focusing on a 25 July telephone call in which Trump asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to open an investigation into Biden and his son Hunter and into a discredited theory promoted by Trump and his allies that Ukraine, not Russia, meddled in the 2016 US election.

Hunter Biden joined the board of Ukrainian energy company Burisma while his father was vice president. Trump has accused the Bidens of corruption. They have denied wrongdoing and the allegations have not been substantiated.

Democrats also have accused Trump of abusing his power by withholding $391 million in security aid to Ukraine, a vulnerable US ally facing Russian aggression, and holding back a coveted White House meeting with Zelenskiy as leverage to pressure Kiev into investigating the Bidens.

Republicans accuse Democrats of conducting a politically motivated witch hunt aimed at ousting Trump. Trump’s allies in Congress have argued that the president’s actions in Ukraine were focused on weeding out corruption and not on benefiting himself politically and smearing a domestic rival.

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