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Kimberley residents up in arms over alleged highest electricity cost in the country
21 August 2020, 9:39 PM

The Sol Plaatje Municipality in Kimberley, in the Northern Cape, could face legal challenges and protests soon over its alleged high electricity costs. Anger has been mounting in the city since Eskom CEO, André de Ruyter, revealed that Sol Plaatje has the highest mark-up in the country.

Two years ago, Kimberley was under siege for weeks as residents protested over a proposed electricity tariff the municipality wanted to implement.

Residents say the electricity tariff in Kimberley is one of the highest in the country and De Ruyter’s revelation that Sol Plaatje added an 84% mark-up was their confirmation.

For 59-year-old Christine Joseph it is a struggle to keep the lights on every month. Her pension barely covers the cost of living for her brother and grandchild.

Joseph and her neighbours also say negotiations following the 2018 Kimberley shutdown did not bring the relief they were expecting. They’ve vowed to escalate their actions.

Community leader, Tumelo Mosekari says they will go back to the streets should negotiations fail and the chairperson of the Northern Cape Chamber of Commerce’s Hendrik Wessel says they will talk the municipality and if that fails, they will go to court to make sure the municipality charges less.

Wessel says high electricity prices have a knock-on effect on business with some struggling to survive, while others  choose to invest elsewhere.

The Sol Plaatje Municipality has denied the pricey mark-up, saying it will seek clarity from Nersa and Eskom. Sol Plaatje Municipal mayor Patrick Mabilo says the mark-up is around 26% and they can’t afford another shutdown of the city.

Two of three DA leadership contenders unhappy with online voting system
21 August 2020, 7:38 PM

The race is on for the divided Democratic Alliance (DA) as leadership hopefuls, Mbali Ntuli, John Steenhuisen and John Moodey battle it out for the party’s top position. The official opposition is gearing up to hold its elective conference virtually from October 31 to November 1.

DA members will vote for their new leader through an IT voting system. But discontent seems to be rising from two of the candidates, Ntuli and Moodey. They’re questioning the independence and legitimacy of the online system.

“The opus system will not allow any verification of who is actually voting, it will only allow us to know that a vote took place. I also stress that the system will be able to be rigged. This opus system does not allow myself or anybody in my team to be able to ensure the fidelity, impartiality of the system,” says Ntuli.

Moodey says: “It has been admitted that the electronic voting system is not without flaws. It cannot be guaranteed that the intended delegates will be in fact be the people who are voting. Quite frankly I’m not gullible to believe that the process will not be manipulated.”

But in a statement, the party’s federal chairperson and CEO refuted allegations that the party would attempt to influence internal election results through the IT system. The DA says all systems are in place for the conference.

“We are getting into the phase where candidates are intensifying their campaigns but from the party’s side, the focus now is making sure that all those qualifying branches conduct their branch launches and that they can nominate their candidate. So by the end of this month, we can be done with the nomination of delegates to congresses in order to establish the voters roll to congress,” says DA National Spokesperson, Solly Malatsi.

Earlier this week, Ntuli challenged Steenhuisen to a series of public live debates. She says she targeted Steenhuisen because he is the interim party leader.

In a short response to SABC News, Steenhuisen says he respects the decisions of the party and the presiding officers to determine when, and on what platform, any internal debates will take place.

He further says that he is focused on his campaign and will only be speaking directly to voting delegates for the upcoming congress.

However, one analyst is of the view that by virtue of being an incumbent leader, Steenhuisen may have the upper-hand in the leadership race.

“There is no doubt that any incumbent leader that would include Steenhuisen does have an advantage when they run office. You can look comparatively to the ANC. Incumbents have advantages. When opponents like Ntuli raise this points it sensitizes participants, it could even help her of John Moodey for that factor,” suggests Professor Susan Booysen- a researcher for the Mapungubwe Institute for Strategic Reflection.

Ntuli has since sent her grievances to the DA’s electoral team.

 Mbali Ntuli speaks to SABC News on her decision to run for DA leader:

North West municipal official accused of raping wife appears in court
21 August 2020, 5:30 PM

The Wolmaranstad Magistrate’s Court has postponed the case of a 45-year-old man accused of raping his estranged wife. The case will be back in court on the 17th of September. The accused – whose identity cannot be revealed at this stage – is an official at the Maquassi Hills Local Municipality at Wolmaranstad in the North West.

He made a brief court appearance today – his second. The case was postponed to next month as investigations are still unfolding. The accused allegedly raped his estranged wife last month. Meanwhile, outside court, different political parties called for harsh punishment against the accused. They reiterated their stance against Gender-Based Violence.

Tebogo Phutiyagae of the EFF elaborates: “ We are here as the EFF, we are saying enough is enough. Stop hurting our women; stop hurting our children. Should you persist in being a perpetrator of such crimes, we will expose you. We will stand against you and we will make sure that you are removed from society.”

ANC councillor, Phesi Mokgabi, says he’s concerned about the deployment of the accused at the Maquassi Hills Local Municipality.

“The mayor, the speaker and the municipal manager are in support of the perpetrator so we want action to be taken and I am calling upon the leadership of the ANC to descend upon their deployees. I am a councillor here, we appear to be sleeping in our laurels.”

The municipality says it will not comment because the matter is still under investigation. The accused has been instructed by the magistrate not to contact the victim. He has to report to the Wolmaransstad Police Station on Saturdays. The case will be back in court on the 17th of September.

 

Biden promises to be a President for all Americans if elected
21 August 2020, 5:00 PM

At 77 years old Joe Biden became the oldest person to accept the Democratic Party’s Presidential nomination last night, with a vow that he would be a President for all Americans if elected.

In a speech that closed the four-day Democratic National Convention, he veered between his vision for the country and eviscerating President Donald Trump whose handling of the coronavirus he labelled as “unforgivable” –  urging Americans to have faith that they could overcome “this season of darkness”- as he became his party’s standard-bearer in an election billed as the most important in a generation.

Biden has been in politics for 50 years now and held various roles including working as a City Councillor, Senator, Vice President and now, a major party Presidential nominee.

“I’ll be proud to carry the banner of our Party into the general election. It is with great honor and humility that I accept this nomination for president of the United States of America. But while I will be a Democratic candidate, I will be an American president. I will work hard for those who didn’t support me as hard for them as I did for those who did vote for me. That’s the job of a president, to represent all of us, not just our base or our party. This is not a partisan moment, this must be an American moment. It’s a moment that calls for hope and light and love. Hope for our futures, light to see our way forward and love for one another,” Biden said while accepting his nomination.

He talked about four crises that have delivered a perfect storm for a country – the worst pandemic in over 100 years, the worst economic crisis since the great depression – even worse than the great recession of 2009, the most compelling call for racial justice since the 1960s and the undeniable reality and accelerating threats of climate change.

Biden echoed his Vice Presidential Nominee that the country was at an inflection point.

“This is a life-changing election. This will determine America’s future for a very long time. Character is on the ballot, compassion is on the ballot, decency, science, democracy. They are all on the ballot. Who we are as a nation. What we stand for and, most importantly, who we want to be. That’s all on the ballot and the choice could not be clearer. No rhetoric is needed, just judge this president on the facts.”

Other speakers lauded their new party leader as a man tried and tested; someone who represented the best of America, not its worst.

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said: “We know how important it is that we elect real servant leaders — leaders like Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, people of honour and integrity who hold justice close to their hearts and believe that the lives of my four Black children matter. In the words of womanist poet Audre Lorde “Your silence will not protect you.” Congressman Lewis would not be silenced. And neither can we. We cannot wait for some other time, some other place, some other heroes. We must be the heroes of our generation, because we, too, are America!”

Billionaire and former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg – who has run for office as a Republican and an Independent – is now a registered Democrat.

“Before I ran for mayor, I spent 20 years running a business I started from scratch. So I want to ask small business owners and their employees one question, and it’s a question for everyone. Would you rehire or work for someone who ran your business into the ground? And who always does what’s best for him or her, even when it hurts the company? And whose reckless decisions put you in danger and he spends more time tweeting than working? If the answer is no, why the hell would we ever rehire Donald Trump for another four years?”

A question that will only be answered emphatically after election day on November the 3rd. President Trump is scheduled to put forward his vision for America next week.

Below is a discussion on Joe Biden’s leadership:

 

Former Eskom CFO Anoj Singh stripped of his SAICA membership
21 August 2020, 2:25 PM

Former Eskom CFO Anoj Singh has been stripped of his membership of the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA). This, after an independent committee found him guilty on 12 of the 18 charges levelled against him.

Singh did not attend the disciplinary hearing in which he was charged for dishonesty, gross negligence and for breaching a number of by-laws. The charges related to his conduct while he was CFO at state-owned enterprises, Transnet and Eskom between 2012 and 2015.

He was in charge of finances at Transnet when the dubious 1 064 locomotive contract was forged.
Singh was also in charge of finances at Eskom when dodgy payments were made to the likes of McKinsey, Trillian and Tegeta Resources.

Singh has been ordered to pay the costs of the disciplinary hearing.

In the file video below, former Public Enterprises Minister Malusi Gigaba thanks Anoj Singh for stepping down from Eskom:

 

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