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SA Express
SA Express employees take their picket to Public Enterprises headquarters
8 June 2020, 11:27 AM

SA Express employees will picket outside the offices of the Public Enterprises Department in Pretoria on Monday.

The employees picketed outside the Union Buildings on Friday to demand their pay.

The frustrated employees want government to respond and delay the provisional liquidation of SA Express before a final order of liquidation is made. Government has until Tuesday to oppose the liquidation.

The High Court in Pretoria placed SA Express under provisional liquidation in April after the airline’s Business Rescue Practitioners filed an urgent court application.

Employees were told their salaries could not be paid because the airline was facing financial difficulties.

“DPE is our shareholder and we are hoping they will be there to accept our memorandum which addresses three things – one pay employers salaries; two retrench employees and pay retrenchment packages as required by labour law; three delay liquidation until all staff have been retrenched and proper salaries paid through funding from DPE. This will enable faster access to pension and provident fund money for employees. The government has taken care of all other SOEs besides us,” says the employees’ representatives, Thabisile Sikakane.

In the video below, SA Express workers demand payment of outstanding salaries:

SA Express is one of a string of State-Owned Entities that are in the red. The National Union of Metal Workers (Numsa) has blamed the government for the complete financial breakdown of SA Express.  The union believes looting and corruption at the airline are partly to blame for its current financial situation.

SA Express has been running at a loss for years. The airline recorded losses to the tune of R590 million for the financial year that ended on the 31st of March 2019.

COVID-19 has compounded the airline’s financial problems as it was forced to halt operations. South African Airways’ financial problems are also said to have added further financial strain to the airline. While SA Express was operationally independent of SAA, it had incorporated its flights within a strategic alliance with the cash-strapped national carrier.

In May, the Democratic Alliance said it wanted Finance Minister Tito Mboweni to probe how the airline used R1.2 billion government bailout issued in 2019.

Vhembe District councillor due in court on Monday
8 June 2020, 7:21 AM

A 38-year-old member of the Vhembe District Municipal Council in Thohoyandou, Limpopo, is expected to appear in the local  Magistrate’s Court on Monday.

The suspect was arrested for allegedly intimidating two Mayors. He allegedly sent an intimidatory video clip to the Executive Mayor of the Vhembe District Municipal Council, Dowelani Nenguda, and to the Mayor of the Thulamela Local Municipality, Avhashoni Tshifhango.

The suspect is one of the members of the mayoral committee who was reshuffled during a council sitting a week ago.

He was chairperson of the mayoral committee of finance at the Vhembe district municipality. He was arrested at his house in Polokwane on Saturday.

Mbalula urges taxi associations to be mindful of the poor when hiking fares
8 June 2020, 6:26 AM

Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula has urged taxi associations to be mindful of the poor when increasing taxi fares.

He was reacting to reports that the Alexandra Taxi Association, in Johannesburg, will hike its prices from R11 to R30.

More than 50 other taxi organisations in Johannesburg also say they will be hiking fares.

Mbalula has reminded the industry that the current regulations prevent illegal profiteering. He says he will refer this matter to the Competition Commission to assess if the fare increases are both fair and justifiable.

Taxi associations say they have made a loss in revenue after government implemented national lockdown regulations amid the coronavirus pandemic. These include carrying a maximum of seven passengers in a minibus licensed to carry 10 passengers and carrying 10 passengers in a minibus licensed to carry 15 passengers.

“While Minister Mbalula empathises with the taxi sector, he has urged the associations and the operators to be mindful of the poor when they re-determine these fares especially in light of the financial relief that the Government is finalising to assist this industry,” says Transport spokesperson Ayanda Allie-Payne.

 

The Alexandra Taxi Association has urged government to give the taxi industry its long-awaited subsidy in order to support their business.

The South African National Taxi Council (Santaco) has on the other hand promised to engage with taxi associations on their proposed fare increases. Spokesperson Thabiso Molelekwa says they will meet with taxi associations this week.

“Whilst we understand the predicament that the associations find themselves in, we wish to inform the public that Santaco will be having a national leadership meeting this week which, among other issues for discussion will be the taxi fare increase to look at the whole COVID-19 impact and other related issues that have impacted the operations of the taxi increase to try and understand how they could have arrived at that increase,” Molelekwa says.

Mpumalanga records its first COVID-19 death as national death tally rises to 998
7 June 2020, 10:33 PM

The Western Cape remains the country’s COVID-19 epicentre. The province has reported 45 more deaths, bringing the number of fatalities in the Western Cape to 774. Mpumalanga has on the other hand reported its first fatality.

So far 998 South Africans have succumbed to the virus.

The Eastern Cape has the second highest number of infections and is followed by Gauteng.

Active cases are up by 2 160 to 22 923 while 24 364 South Africans have survived the disease.

97.6% of public schools are ready to receive learners from Monday: Motshekga
7 June 2020, 4:38 PM

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga says 97.6% of public schools are ready to receive learners from Monday.  Motshekga was addressing a media conference from Pretoria.

Motshekga says she has received reports that confirm the readiness for classes to resume for grades 7 and 12 across the country tomorrow.

The Minister had to postpone the scheduled resumption of classes last Monday to this Monday amid delays in sanitation procedures and the delivery of Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs).

The Western Cape was the only province to resume schooling under level three lockdown regulations on June first.

Motshekga says vandalism of schools is one of the reasons for the delay in opening across the country. She says a total of 1 672 schools were vandalised – including a number in the past week.

Below is the live stream of the Minister’s address:

Earlier on Sunday, teacher unions and governing bodies cautiously welcomed the report on the progress the Department of Basic Education has made to ensure that all schools are ready to reopen and have the necessary personal protective equipment needed for teaching and learning.

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