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Floods
SA weather service warns of more rains
8 February 2020, 8:42 PM

The South African Weather Service has warned Johannesburg residents to brace themselves for more rains on Saturday night after severe flooding hit large parts of the metro due to overnight downpour.

Several rivers and streams burst their banks and scores of homes were flooded.

Meanwhile, some residents of Kliptown in Soweto have nowhere to sleep tonight after their houses were flooded.

The residents that have been affected in Kliptown live near the banks of the Klipriver.

Several houses have been flooded in Kliptown, leaving residents without shelter. Some say all their belongings were swept away and all they have left is the clothes they are wearing. Their furniture has also been damaged as some houses are half-filled with water.

The plastic toilets that have been provided by the municipality are floating in the water.

They have appealed to the government to move them to a safe area as they say they experience these problems every time there are heavy rains, adding that a toddler was swept away by floods in the area two years ago.

Meanwhile, Johannesburg Metro Police Department senior Spokesperson Wayne Minnaar has advised motorists to be cautious on wet roads.

“We’re likely to see some more flooding on roads around Jukskei River, Rabie Road in Randburg. Those are the roads that at likely to flood again should it rain. We encourage drivers not to drive through water, where there’s river water over a road, either turn around or take an alternative route,” explains Minnaar.

Chiefs
Super rugby Round 2 results raise eyebrows early in the competition
8 February 2020, 8:10 PM

Round 2 of Super Rugby delivered a mixed bag of results, but none were bigger than the defeat of 10-time champions, The Crusaders. In Hamilton, The Chiefs recorded a 28 points to 18 victory over The Crusaders, in what would be back to back victory’s against the defending champions whom they also beat 40 – 27 the last time they played in June 2019.

There was also a shock loss by the Waratahs who went down to the Blues by 32 to 12.

The Lions pulled their match against The Reds out of the bag, to scrape home a 27 to 20 win whilst the DHL Stomers maintain their solid defence performance as the only side not to concede any points as they earned a hard fought victory over the Bulls.

Having eased to a 43-25 opening victory over the Waratahs, the Crusaders headed to Hamilton with arguably their strongest possible side on paper, with nine All Blacks starting and another three on the bench. With a backline consisting nearly entirely of internationals, fullback Will Jordan the only player yet to play Test rugby and a forward pack consisting of no less than three All Blacks.

That did not seem to faze the Chiefs on their way to becoming the only New Zealand team to have beaten the Mighty Crusaders in the last 15 matches played by the 3 time defending Super Rugby Champions.

There’s something about the Chief’s belief following the opening Two Rounds of the competition, many attributing it to the return to New Zealand Rugby for Warren Gatland. The Welsh Wonder has already won two Kiwi derbies against the Chiefs’ biggest rivals, both of them involving comebacks with 15 minutes to go in the match.

As it stands, the Chiefs are the only unbeaten team in New Zealand and although it’s early in the season but their credentials are pretty clear.

Across the Tasmanian Sea in New South Wales Australia, it was a night of firsts in Newcastle, but for all the wrong reasons. The Warathas and the Blues who came off defeats at the hands of the Crusaders and the Chiefs respectively, squared off to try and finally get their opening points on the board for the season.

Rob Penney’s men travelled up the Pacific Highway looking to avoid consecutive defeats for the first time in their 25-year history, instead their horrid run against the Blues continued as they went down 32-12. The Waratahs have now lost five straight matches against New Zealand’s bottom placed side of the past six years.

At Ellis Park Stadium in Johannesburg, heavy rains were not the only thing putting a damper on the local spirits. The Reds opened the scoring against their hosts the Lions in their Super Rugby encounter. They did not have to wait too long though before they too were on the scoreboard, Tyrone Green scoring his 1st Super Rugby try in 12 matches.

At half time the Lions were 4 points ahead and were living dangerously. The Reds made them pay to take a 20 points to 18 with less than 20 minutes to play but a converted Try by Courtnall Skosan and an Elton Jantjies converted penalty late in the game saw the home team securing a 27 points to 20 victory.

At Cape Town the North versus South Derby ended with the Home side the DHL Stomers claiming a hard fought victory over the Bulls. A first half try by new recruit Jamie Roberts and a penalty conversion by fly half Damain Willemse had the home side leading 8-0 at half time. A solitary try by flyer Seabelo Senatla had the home side leading 13-0. A solid defence by the Stomers was displayed as they kept the Bulls side scoreless throughout the encounter showed strong warnings to all other Super Rugby sides. This is the second side to leave Newlands scoreless after 80 minutes of rugby.

Crime
Eastern Cape municipal officials arrested in connection with robbery
8 February 2020, 7:02 PM

The eMnquma Local Municipality has expressed dismay at the arrest of three municipal officials in connection with an armed robbery near Bumbane junction in Mthatha in the Eastern Cape.

It is alleged that East London police, who were travelling from Mthatha caught the suspects robbing a truck driver and his passenger of an undisclosed amount of cash.

Municipal Spokesperson, Loyiso Mpalatshane says the manager has called for an immediate disciplinary hearing and for the suspects to be dismissed if they are found guilty.

“The whole institution has been left very shocked and angry at these reports of our officials being allegedly involved in criminal activities. The municipal manager is left very angry and is fuming by these disturbing reports to the extent that he has ordered disciplinary steps to be taken against the suspects and that he wants them to be dismissed or fired immediately,” says Mpalatshane.

Bashar al-Assad
Iran ready to mediate between Turkey and Syria
8 February 2020, 7:01 PM

Iran is ready to help Turkey and Syria resolve their differences over the nearly nine-year-old war in Syria, the Foreign Ministry said on Saturday, adding that Tehran backs the sovereignty of its key regional ally Damascus.

Turkey has backed rebels looking to oust Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, while Iran and Russia have supported Assad’s forces in the war. The three countries have also collaborated on a political solution to the conflict.

In a meeting between the visiting United Nations’ special envoy for Syria, Geir Pedersen, and Iranian officials, Tehranunderlined the importance of resolving issues in Syria through diplomacy, it said on its website.

“During the meeting, Iran reiterated that civilians in Syria should not be used as human shields and that Iran is ready to mediate between Turkey and Syria to solve the issue,” the website reported.

Iranian state TV reported that Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, in a separate meeting with Pedersen in Tehran, said Iran was prepared to help in the de-escalation of the crisis in Syria with respect to Syria’s independence and sovereignty.

Russian-backed Syrian forces have tried to capture Syria’s Idlib province, the last rebel stronghold in the country, displacing more than half a million people since early December.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has threatened to drive back the Syrian troops in Idlib unless they withdrew by the end of the month, after eight Turkish soldiers were killed on Monday by Syrian government shelling near the town of Saraqeb.

SAA Flight
SAA should maintain itself or be sold: Mantashe
8 February 2020, 6:30 PM

African National Congress (ANC) Chairperson, Gwede Mantashe says if the South African Airways (SAA) cannot sustain itself it must be sold to a willing buyer. Earlier this week, the airline announced its decision to cancel most domestic, as well as some international, routes in an effort to make it financially sustainable.

SAA was placed under voluntary business rescue in December 2019. It has received more than R20 billion in bailouts over the last three years.

Speaking at the party’s 108th anniversary celebrations in Komga in the Eastern Cape, Mantashe said the government could not continue to bailout an entity that was failing to make money.

“We can’t throw a billion at one entity every month – R2 billion rands in December; R3.5 billion from DBSA this month and still it does not have money. There is something wrong. Let’s deal with the issue that is wrong, and not throw money at the problem because throwing the money at the problem does not improve the quality of service. In any way, I was making a very important point that airlines do not transport working class and the poor. They transport the middle class and high class. So, to throw money in subsidizing the high class and the middle class is bordering on being reckless,” says Mantashe.

Meanwhile, government is planning to make representation to the SAA Business Rescue Practitioners to review the airline’s recent announcement that it will be cancelling most of its domestic as well as some international routes.

On Friday, President Cyril Ramaphosa said government did not agree with the decision.

The State-owned airline was placed under voluntary business rescue in December 2019.

The airline, which is fighting for its survival, has not made any profit since 2011. It has received more than R20 billion in bailouts over the last three years.

Richard Mantu from the Public Enterprises Department says they want the route changes reviewed.

“So, government, as it is now, will be making representations to the Business Rescue Practitioners in order to balance the necessity for trimming the unprofitable routes with the need to ensure that there is balance for both the airline and the South African Aviation Industry.  While understanding the impact of the process, which is obviously resulting in the restructuring of routes staff and costs, both government and the Business Rescue Practitioners are both committed to a viable SAA at the outcome of this process.”

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