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Eskom gets greenlight to adjust tariffs
19 May 2020, 9:02 AM

The National Energy Regulator (Nersa) says it will immediately begin implementing plans that would allow Eskom to recoup over R13 billion from customers.

The cash-strapped power utility had applied to Nersa to recoup R27.3 billion through power tariffs saying it needed to cover costs incurred for the financial year 2018/19.

However, Nersa only approved Eskom to recover the R13 billion. Eskom struggles with high debts and faulty power stations and is dependent on government bailouts to stay solvent.

Nersa’s Nhlanhla Gumede says these funds will only be added onto the tariff prices, once the plan has been agreed upon.

Gumede says, “The process will start immediately, it starts with a conversation with the licensee as well as consumers of electricity. We are looking at perhaps a plan that might be developed by July/August.”

“The Eskom tariffs at the moment, the wholesale tariff, is about 85 cent per kilowatt (kWh) but that’s not the price that the consumer out there will see.  Eskom retail clients will probably see in the order of R1.29 per kWh hour.”

NERSA gives Eskom green light to make tariff adjustments

 

Nersa says it took the decision to give Eskom the green light to make tariff adjustments after analysing the difference between Eskom’s uncontrollable costs, its actual costs and revenues for last year.

The Energy Regulator says it also needed to balance the interests of both Eskom and the public.

Eskom recently blamed Nersa for using the lockdown as an excuse to delay dealing with outstanding matters between the two entities, including the application for this outcome.

 

Winde urges calm as W Cape surpasses 10 000 COVID-19 infections
19 May 2020, 8:06 AM

The Western Cape has recorded an additional eight COVID-19 deaths, bringing the total number of deaths from the coronavirus in the province to 166.

The province has more than 10 000 confirmed cases and with close to 4000 recoveries.

Premier Alan Winde says currently 424 people are in hospital with 111 in ICU.

Winde says, “I wanted to say, as we reach the 10 000 case mark in the province, according to the specialists, we are doubling every eight days and I want to say we need to remain calm. We need to understand that we put our systems and our responses in place and we all just need to make sure that we follow the golden rules of social distancing, of staying home as much as possible, of washing your hands, sanitising and masks when you go out.”

 

Meanwhile, South Africa now has 16 433 COVID-19 infections and 286 related deaths.

This means that the country recorded 918 new cases and 22 deaths overnight.

Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize has urged South Africans who are regarded as high-risk groups to take extra precautions and avoid possible exposure to COVID-19.

The elderly and people living with chronic diseases like HIV, diabetes and hypertension are among those advised to take extra measures to avoid COVID-19 exposure.

 

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North West health workers strike over allowances, over-time
19 May 2020, 7:42 AM

North West MEC for Health Madoda Sambatha, has condemned the shutting down of the Christiana Hospital by the nursing staff including some health personnel.

Health workers at the hospital embarked on tools down over the weekend, demanding to be paid over-time and night shift allowances, leaving patients stranded.

Christiana Hospital is a district hospital which renders a 24 hour service and mostly serves Lekwa Teemane local municipality and other surrounding areas.

However, since Friday, health services at the hospital have not been accessible to the public and this has negatively impacted patients, with some having to be discharged prematurely while others were transferred to Bloemhof.

National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) says they had no other option, but to go on strike.

The union’s deputy regional chairperson in the region Tebogo Kwati says the action by its members was to attract the attention of the provincial health authorities.

Kwati says, “If it was not for this action, it would have been business as usual. Two or three managers of the district would have come here and play hide and seek to our members, but we did not want members from the district we wanted the MEC.”

Health workers at Mahikeng Provincial Hospital demand safe working environment

 

Sambatha has condemned their action as illegal and unprocedural.

“There was no reason for them to leave the community health or to leave the hospital. They render 24 hour services and in actual fact, we must be very strict on an element that, with a blink of an eye, workers decide to withdraw labour even procedurally and later claim we were aggrieved. There are labour relations in South Africa, which stipulates provocation and you act on that, and that must be followed.”

Samabatha engaged striking workers on Monday night and urged them to return to work, promising that their demands will be addressed before the end of the week.

Challenges faced by nurses amid COVID-19

Mpumalanga man demands police return his beer
12 May 2020, 1:03 PM

Police in Piet Retief in Mpumalanga are accused of using excessive force when dealing with the public after they dug up beer hidden in a garden and assaulted one person.

Three weeks ago police allegedly confiscated alcohol that Fana Nkosi (50) had concealed in his garden and allegedly assaulted his son in the process.

A video circulated on social media shows the police unearthing the alcohol and have accused Nkosi of contravening the national disaster regulations that prohibits the sale of liquor.

Nkosi says the police have accused him of selling alcohol while the country is in lockdown to curb the spread of COVID-19. However, he says the police do not have enough evidence to prove that he was selling the alcohol.

He claims he had decided to hide the alcohol in his garden because some of his beers went missing. Nkosi says he is having sleepless nights after his alcohol was dug up.

Nkosi says, “The police asked me why is the liquor hidden in the garden, then I told them that I was hiding it from my children because they are also drinking alcohol. This was because at some point I noticed that some beers were missing. Then I thought that let me then hide it like we use to do in the olden days.”

He says police should return his alcohol because the case was not taken to court.

“I didn’t want to keep the alcohol in the house because it was going to be my fault if the children were to be found drunk.  And my children didn’t know the alcohol was hidden in the garden. They were surprised when the police took it out of the garden. Now, I am requesting them to return it because I can’t fall asleep without drinking alcohol.  The court ordered that I should get my bail refund and get my beer back,” says Nkosi.

Police confiscate alcohol from illegal traders

 

Mpumalanga Police spokesperson Leonard Hlathi says Nkosi will not get the alcohol back because they are still investigating the matter.

Hlathi also confirmed that a case was opened against the police who allegedly assaulted Nkosi’s son.

Hlathi says, “Firstly there is a case that we have opened against the old man. The case did not sit at court because now we were directed to go and take further statements. This is what we’re busy doing currently and regarding the case which has been opened against one of our own, that case is receiving the necessary attention…”

“We have informed the relevant authority of the IPID. We are still awaiting for them to come so that they can take the docket. However, we’re not folding arms, we continue with our investigation on this matter,” added Hlathi.

The sale of alcohol remains prohibited under level 4 of the lockdown regulations.

 

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Cele calls for co-operation between SAPS and Hambanathi community
12 May 2020, 12:40 PM

Police Minister Bheki Cele has called for co-operation between the Tongaat Police and the Hambanathi community in KwaZulu-Natal.

Cele visited the family of Andile Mbuthu, the grade 12 learner who is believed to have been killed by a local tavern owner and his accomplices.

Seven people appeared in the Verulam Magistrate’s Court on Monday charged with the murder and kidnapping of  Mbuthu.

Cele says the Provincial Commissioner will also investigate complaints from the Mbuthu family on how the local police station has handled the matter.

He says, “We have discovered along the way that there have been injured relationships between police and the community especially the station…”

“They are very satisfied with the progress being made by the police at provincial level but our agreement should not be at provincial level, it should be between the police at station level with the community,” added Cele.

A video, showing Mbuthu injured and bleeding last week surfaced on social media after he was reported missing. Police divers later retrieved his lifeless body from a river in the area.

Angry community members set alight the tavern they believe Mbuthu was assaulted in.

Ward councillor Zanele Khumalo said the community was not happy with how local police have handled the case.

Khumalo said, “The situation was so dire that the police failed to manage it. The biggest concern that we were aware of is that the community wanted to find the missing child; which we did. They wanted the suspects to be arrested; which they were. I spoke to the community now that these two concerns have been addressed, can they please calm down.”

“Unfortunately, the community had other plans when I left and they proceeded to burn the tavern. When I arrived the second time, I had asked them where the police where gone, they said they chased them and the firefighters.”

KwaZulu-Natal police spokesperson Jay Naicker says an arson investigation is under way, after residents burnt down the tavern.

 

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