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Rainfall brings relief to drought-hit Karoo
8 January 2020, 1:21 PM

The South African Weather Service says a significant amount of rain has fallen in drought-hit Karoo towns overnight, with predictions of more rain on its way on Wednesday.

Rain also fell in areas of the Garden Route and Little Karoo.

While the danger of flash flooding has been averted in the Karoo, the weather office says there’s a strong likelihood of thunderstorms towards Wednesday afternoon.

The rain was also welcomed in dry areas of the Eastern Cape such as Aberdeen and Graaff Reinet.

Eastern Cape farmers have welcomed the rain that fell in many parts of the province over the last 48 hours.

The drought-stricken areas of Graaff-Reinet and Adelaide received some encouraging rainfalls.

Seventy mm of rain was recorded in the Adelaide -Fort Beaufort area, and 26mm in Graaff-Reinet.

However, Eastern Cape Agriculture president, Dougie Stern, says any rain is welcome, but a follow-up rain is needed in order to end the drought in the province.

“When you talk drought of this magnitude, 20mm or 30mm is not going to give you any sort of relief. You need to follow up on rain that is very important. With this current rain, we would need more in the next two weeks’ time of another 20mm. Only then will we start to talk about relief. It is important to understand that one rain won’t change the situation dramatically,” says Stern.

Plaatje family honoured by ANC’s efforts
8 January 2020, 12:35 PM

Several events are organised on Wednesday to mark the African National Congress (ANC)’s 108th anniversary in Kimberley.

President President Cyril Ramaphosa leads a wreath-laying ceremony at the grave of the ANC’s first Secretary-General Sol Plaatjie and at the graveside of struggle veteran Mittah Seperepere before cutting the cake at the Galeshewe Multi-Purpose Centre at noon to mark the party’s birthday.

A representative from Solomon Plaatje has thanked the government for being patient with them during the preparations of the wreath-laying at his grave.

There has been a feud between the two Plaatje family factions – with one faction accusing the provincial government of not involving them during the preparations of the wreath-laying.

The faction went as far as removing what they referred to as a ‘cage’ that was erected by the government ahead of Wednesday’s event.

The family representative, Obakeng Plaatje who spoke just after President Ramaphosa laid a wreath on the grave says they are happy for the honour of their father.

“With all the drama that has happened amongst the family, we did not give up. We stood together. We made the promise that the Plaatje family will be united and we will afford the ANC the opportunity to respect our father and we will all join them in doing so. Solomon Plaatje does not belong to us, he is a world icon and the father of the ANC,” says Plaatje.

Walkabouts, town hall meetings and sectional engagements are some of the activities planned for the week to mark the anniversary.

Ramaphosa will deliver the party’s annual January 8 Statement on Saturday, which ANC Secretary-General Ace Magashule has said will be about reviving the hopes of South Africans who are unemployed and living in poverty.

Somalia bomb attack wounds 11
8 January 2020, 12:04 PM

A bomb exploded at a busy junction in Mogadishu on Wednesday, wounding at least 11 people, the head of the rescue service in the Somalia capital has said.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the blast, which happened near buildings, housing and government offices.

The dead of Aamin Ambulance Services Abdikadir Abdirahman told Reuters that three of the wounded were women.

There was no immediate comment from the police.

At least 90 people were killed in Mogadishu last week in a bomb attack by militant group al Shabaab, the deadliest in the country in more than two years.

No extensions for section 25 amendment: Mathole Motshekga
8 January 2020, 10:18 AM

Parliament says it has given the public enough notice for the process to amend section 25 of the Constitution to expropriate land without compensation to be considered fair.

It says it won’t extend the deadline for written submissions on the amended draft Bill.

The deadline for interested parties to submit their input is January 31, 2020.

Chairperson of the Ad Hoc Committee of the National Assembly Mathole Motshekga says they won’t accept any further delays to the process.

“This process started in the fifth Parliament. It is a continuation and the process that started during the fifth parliament was given wide publicity before the festive season and we have also announced a time table which shows that South Africans will be given sufficient time to make inputs. So only people who want to make excuses to delay the process are making these claims so the process is continuing. We are not considering and we are not going to consider any extension,” says Motshekga.

The committee was established to initiate and introduce legislation to amend the property clause of the Constitution.

Numsa calls for drastic measures to avoid constant power cuts
8 January 2020, 9:23 AM

The National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) has expressed anger at the constant load shedding.

The trade union says the power utility every December and January plunges the country’s economy into crisis. It says load shedding costs the country billions of Rand.

Numsa has called on Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan to take drastic measures that will help Eskom avoid the constant power cuts.

It says the power utility does not have the necessary human capital for maintenance of the current fleet of power stations.

The labour union has cautioned that load shedding will result in the loss of jobs and destroy livelihoods of many people.

Numsa believes the constraint in the country’s power gird is due to high and increasing reactive, instead of proactive, maintenance.

Eskom implemented Stage 2 load shedding from 1am-6am on Wednesday.

The power cuts were reintroduced over the weekend after a national respite over the Christmas holidays.

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