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Eskom wage negotiations nearing collapse as unions walk out
6 May 2021, 9:46 PM

The crucial Eskom wage negotiations are teetering on the brink of collapse. The talks have been suspended after unions walked out.

The unions are insisting that Eskom Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Andre De Ruyter must come and address them. Eskom, on the other hand, is resisting the move saying the CEO is not part of the company’s negotiating team.

A delegation of top leaders from the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) and Solidarity met with Eskom Board Chairperson, Professor Malegapuru Makgoba, on Thursday morning, to discuss a way out of the impasse.

The negotiations have failed to get off the ground since they began two days ago.

Eskom wage negotiations teetering on the brink of collapse

Eskom is rejecting all union demands and refuses to table a wage offer until the unions lower their demands. The power utility says the demands are unreasonable and simply unaffordable.

The unions maintain that their demands are justified. However, NUM and Numsa are demanding a 15% wage hike.

Solidarity, which represents mainly white workers, is demanding 9%.

Makgoba has written to the unions saying he is going to convene a meeting of the Eskom executive management to discuss the parastatal’s turnaround strategy ahead of the next scheduled round of wage negotiations two weeks from now.

Crucial Eskom wage negotiations hit a snag from the get-go

Office of Chief Justice clarifies Mogoeng’s long leave
6 May 2021, 6:57 PM

The office of the Chief Justice has clarified the issue of Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng taking long leave. In a statement, it says Regulation 3 of the Judges’ Remuneration and Conditions of Employment Act of 2001 provides for Judges to take leave of three and half months for every period of four years’ actual service.

This leave is referred to as long leave within the Judiciary.

The Chief Justice’s four-year cycle to take his long leave commenced on the 1st of July 2018, but he was unable to take it, due to his judicial and extrajudicial commitments.

It further states that judges’ leave is not cumulative and therefore had the Chief Justice not taken his leave, it would have been forfeited.

Judge Sisi Khampepe has been appointed as the country’s Acting Chief Justice.

Mogoeng’s leave comes five months before his term as the Chief Justice of the Constitutional Court comes to an end in October this year.

In the past few months, Mogoeng has been controversial in his comments over Israel and the COVID-19 vaccines.

Last month, he appealed against the Judicial Conduct Committee’s finding of misconduct where he was ordered to apologise for criticising South Africa’s foreign policy on Israel.

EC Health department tracing contacts of COVID-19 positive crew members from India
6 May 2021, 5:36 PM

The Eastern Cape Health Department says their COVID-19 tracers are working around the clock to track down any possible contacts to the 14 crew members that tested positive for the coronavirus on a vessel from India.

The vessel docked at the Port of Ngqura to transfer the infected crew members off the ship. The ship was en route to Kenya.

Provincial Health Department Spokesperson Sizwe Kupelo says the infected crew members are now self-isolating at a private facility in Gqeberha.

No deaths have been confirmed yet.

“Subsequent to that, they were put on isolation first on-board and later on, 10 other crew members who were tested were negative for COVID-19. However, we have ensured that those crew members are put on quarantine to monitor. We have also activated our tracing teams to ensure that the infection does not spread to the community of Gqeberha. The situation seems to be under control,” says Kupelo.

14 crew members on a ship from India test positive for COVID-19: Moshe Motlohi

On Wednesday, South Africa has recorded 2 073 new coronavirus infections.

The country also recorded 46 new COVID-19 related fatalities, which brought the total number of deaths to 54 557.

In a statement, Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize says most of the new deaths were recorded in Gauteng.

COVID-19 cases in South Africa



Concerns of a possible COVID-19 third wave in SA: Prof. Ramneek Ahluwalia

SASSA in Limpopo finalising COVID-19 grant as citizens seek other means of living
6 May 2021, 2:44 PM

The South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) in Limpopo says it is in the process of capturing the details of R350 COVID-19 social relief grant beneficiaries who were not paid before the termination of the grant.

The grant was terminated at the end of April. Some of the people that submitted applications say they don’t understand why they were not paid.

Unhappy recipients have been advised to approach the agency before the end of May to lodge appeals.

26-year-old Innocent Mosetlha from Seshego in Limpopo sells scones for a living. He uses the few hundred rands he makes daily to send job applications and take care of his family.

Mosetlha says the money is not enough. He submitted an application for the government COVID-19 social relief fund when it was launched last year. He says he only received the payments for a few months before they stopped.

“I only received once, for the first month. From there I never received anything until now. Every time I always check my status it says IRP registration declined or something like that. When I do the follow up they tell me to go to SASSA, the Post Office. So many places – so I end up losing hope,” says Mosetlha.

31-year-old Lebo Mabutla is rummaging in a municipal bin for cans and other materials to recycle.  He scours the Greenside township in Polokwane every day, searching for any item which he can sell for money.

Mabutla says he tried to apply for the social relief grant, however, there were problems with his identity document.  He says SASSA was unable to capture his ID number, and he was told to apply for a new ID card. The grant was terminated before he had an opportunity to get a new ID card.  Mabutla says the money would have helped him.

“Here I am suffering, I am just picking up some cans, something like recycling, at the end of the day I can get something to eat, my ID, everything you have to do with an ID. I just need that help because I don’t have money to do it, to do it it is very hard for me to find that money, I want it, I want the R350,” says Mabutla.

SASSA’s COVID-19 Social Relief grant comes to an end: Moabi Pitse

Another disgruntled person is 32-year-old Barrent Sefole who stays with his grandmother outside Polokwane. He says his SASSA grant of R350 was not paid from January, before the termination of the grants at the end of April. Sefole says he used the grant money for prepaid electricity.

“I will be going to the SASSA offices or the post office to see if maybe I cannot get the past months that were not paid, to see if they cannot give me a payout, because I really need that money,” says Sefole.

SASSA Spokesperson in Limpopo, Zwannda Kutama says people who did not receive grant money after applying, or who did not receive funds during some months can lodge appeals with the agency. Kutama says new applications will however not be accepted.

“Those who want to make the appeal they have until the end of May 2021 to make those appeals, those appeals will be reconsidered and then after validation by the system as to whether they do qualify those who go through and qualify will be paid, once the system has validated and we have reconciled the stats of those who have lodged those appeals we will be able to provide those numbers for the people who have appealed before the end of this month,” says Kutama.

Kutama says 1.2 million people in Limpopo benefited from the COVID-19 social relief grant.

COVID-19 Pandemic | SASSA urges applicants to appeal rejected R350 grant claims

Water and Sanitation department to assist with water crisis in Nelson Mandela Bay
30 April 2021, 9:20 PM

The Department of Water and Sanitation has committed to financially assist the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality in the Eastern Cape to deal with its worsening water crisis.

The combined levels of the dams supplying the metro have plummeted to 13%.

Water and Sanitation Minister Lindiwe Sisulu says she will also request the rollover of R183 million conditional grant the Treasury took from the municipality.

The Metro’s council has recommended the building of a desalination plant to deal with the drought.

Speaking at a media briefing in Gqeberha, Sisulu warned the municipality against this ambitious plan.

“We launched with great fanfare a desalination plant in Albany District about a year or so ago and I’m told now it has fallen into disrepair. We also do have experience of a desalination plant in the Western Cape. The mayor has assured me with the experience he has by his side we can avert all the experiences with had with the desalination plant,” says Sisulu.

Minister of Human Settlements meets Mandela Bay leadership over looming water crisis



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