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Climate change to top agenda of upcoming G7 Summit
9 June 2021, 8:18 PM

Climate change will be high on the agenda at the upcoming G7 Summit this weekend in the United Kingdom. President Cyril Ramaphosa has been invited and is expected to raise issues of financial support for developing nations tackling the effects of climate change.

In a pre-Summit telephonic conversation with UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson yesterday; the topic was among some of the global issues that will be discussed over the weekend. The UK will also host the United Nations Climate Change Conference – COP26 in Glasgow in November.

The G7 Summit’s three main issues to be discussed are global public health and how to prevent another pandemic, economic recovery, and global trade as well as climate change. On Sunday climate talks will take centre stage and an integral part is a commitment by the advanced economies to financially supporting adaptation and mitigation efforts in the Global South.

The Committee of African Heads of State on Climate Change met yesterday.

“Africa continues to bear the brunt of climate change, with annual costs to African economies of between 3 to 5 % of their GDPs on average. Africa continues to be one of the most affected regions and frequently experiences phenomena associated with global warming. These include droughts, floods, cyclones, and other extreme weather events, which have caused enormous damage to infrastructure and displaced thousands of people,” says President Cyril Ramaphosa.

Africa’s negotiating team at the Climate Change Conference in November will have its work cut out for them.  Ramaphosa’s participation in the G7 Summit talks aims to assist the negotiations during COP26 in Glasgow.

President Cyril Ramaphosa says Africa has been suffering the effects of climate change: 

The United States having rejoined the Paris Agreement is seen as positive. “It is absolutely imperative that everyone must contribute their fair share if we are to limit global warming to the agreed target of well below 2 degrees, build the resilience of our economies and ensure the safety and well-being of our citizens. Therefore, at this critical juncture, Africa needs to speak with one clear voice to emphasise the primacy of multilateralism and to express our unwavering support for the full implementation of the UN Climate Change Convention and its Paris Agreement.”

Ramaphosa says Africa also needs to have clear ambitions ahead. “We need to send a clear signal that implementation and ambition apply equally to mitigation, adaptation, and support. Increased ambition for action must be matched with enhanced ambition for support. While this pandemic is having a profound impact on sustainable development and our efforts to combat environmental degradation, it also presents opportunities to set our recovery on a path of transformative sustainable development. In this regard, many governments and regions are prioritising a green recovery as part of their stimulus packages to address the crisis.”

Africa has been calling on developed nations to consider pouring in financial aid, technological and knowledge transfers as part of their climate ambitions.

 

Power cuts likely to continue throughout winter: Eskom
9 June 2021, 8:00 PM

Eskom has warned that planned power cuts are likely to continue through winter because of an aging generation fleet and the cold weather which leads to higher demand.

The cash-strapped power utility says people should conserve power as much as possible. Eskom has implemented Stage 4 loadshedding until 10 this evening.

It will then switch to stage two loadshedding for the rest of the week. Eskom spokesperson Sikhonathi Mantshantsha says the power utility is aware of the economic damage caused by power outages but the demand for electricity currently exceeds supply and Eskom has to protect the grid.

“By law, there are areas that cannot be shed but by and large everybody is loadshed and that’s the reality we find ourselves in at this point. It cannot be overestimated, the amount of damage that any disruptions to the supply of electricity cause across a wide range, across society and across very critical key services there’s no doubt that a lot of damage has been caused by the implementation of loadshedding and Eskom would like to apologise to the people of South Africa for the inconvenience. The reality though is that we will be having loadshedding throughout winter.”

In the video below stage 4 loadshedding is explained:

Impact of loadshedding on businesses

Business Unity South Africa says stage four loadshedding will have a detrimental effect on businesses as they are still trying to recover from the COVID 19 pandemic. BUSA Chief Executive Officer Cas Coovadia says this is bad for an economy that is already on its knees.

“In an economy that’s barely growing, business has just started coming out of COVID. And we are in a midst of the third wave of COVID now. And we have been warned by Eskom that this is going to take a while. Not having power is detrimental to all types of business.”

A call for Eskom CEO to be fired 

The National Union of Metalworkers is calling for Eskom CEO, Andre De Ruyter to be fired over the worsening power supply crisis in the country.  Numsa is the second-biggest union at Eskom and has long been critical of De Ruyter’s performance.

“Under Andre De Ryter we have experienced the worst bouts of rolling black-outs. We reiterate our call for Andre De Ryter to be dismissed because he does not know what he is doing when it comes to the role that he needs to play as the GCEO of Eskom,” says spokesperson Phakamile Hlubi- Majola.

Concerns raised about increasing number of COVID-19 infections
9 June 2021, 7:37 PM

Co-chair of the Ministerial Advisory Committee on COVID-19, Professor Koleka Mlisana, says South Africa has recorded more than 8 000 COVID-19 infections in the latest reporting cycle.

This is almost double the earlier number of more than 4 200, reported by the health ministry last night.

South Africa is widely believed to be entering a third wave of the pandemic.  Prof Mlisana says it is concerning that all provinces now are showing rises in coronavirus infections.

“Yes, we are all are very concerned about the third wave and we know that Gauteng is in the third wave so is the Free State, and North West. And actually, if we are looking at the numbers, all provinces now are showing increasing numbers. I was just looking at numbers today which would last 24-hours it is actually sad to say that that the number of cases has actually doubled that yesterday which is 24-hours ago. We had more than 8 000 cases in fact to be exact 8 800.”

The Department of Health reported 120 new fatalities last night, bringing the total to 57 183.

Below are the latest coronavirus stats: 

 

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In the video below Prof Mlisana and Dr. Kgongwana discuss the increasing numbers of hospitalisations due to COVID-19

Earlier this week, Gauteng Premier David Makhura said while the third wave of COVID-19 infections may not be as deadly as the first and second waves, it will be more prolonged. Gauteng has the highest proportion of active coronavirus cases in the country, at 36%. Johannesburg, Krugersdorp, Vereeniging and Atteridgeville are the province’s current hotspots.

Premier Makhura said many residents are not complying with lockdown regulations.

“Over the past 3 weeks, we have had sustained increases. The spike is continuing, the third wave is slower but more sustained. It means, the whole of June, we are going to experience, unless something happens, including more enforcement.”

The Gauteng Provincial Command Council briefs the media on the coronavirus situation:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Loadshedding will negatively affect SA’s economic recovery: SACCI
9 June 2021, 4:36 PM

The South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SACCI) says the current loadshedding crisis will have a huge impact on South Africa’s economic recovery from COVID-19.

Eskom on Wednesday afternoon announced it would be implementing Stage 4 loadshedding because of additional generating unit breakdowns and high winter demand.

Eskom spokesperson Sikonathi Mantshantsha explains Stage 4 loadshedding: 

Job losses

The Chamber, which represents more than 20 000 small and medium-sized businesses, warns that companies are struggling with the current power cuts and this will lead to additional job losses.

“We have seen the GDP improving obviously of a very low base given COVID-19 in the last year. But Eskom really gives a significant danger in that economic recovery. It’s a situation, if it prevails, that people will lose a lot of jobs because businesses cannot sustain. We are still in a lockdown somewhat and people are only beginning to see some light at the end of the tunnel, the vaccination program, and what we actually can’t have now is a huge energy crisis,” says SACCI Chief Executive, Alan Mukoki.

Several units at Medupi and Duvha were reported out of action on Wednesday. This plunging most parts of the country into another darkness and a cold evening for 8 hours.

Stage 4 will see South African households and businesses without power for at least 4 hours on a rotational basis.
Economists say that loadshedding costs the country’s economy R17-million loss per hour.

‘Urgent solution’

Economists share the same sentiment that persistent loadshedding will cripple South Africa’s economic recovery if there is no urgent solution being found to the planned power cuts.  Economist Mike Schussler says loadshedding is very bad for the economy.

“When we have loadshedding in South Africa, every kilowatt-hour passes R17 is lost to the economy. You are probably talking R17 million per hour lost to the economy in the daytime, it’s a bit more and at night it’s a bit less. If the loadshedding continues at Stage 4 pace it’s going to be damaging to the economy. Obviously, with four stages, we are looking at an R68 million loss. But if the loadshedding continues, it is going to be very damaging to the economy and in some cases, even water shedding is against us.”

‘Detrimental to all types of business’

Business Unity South Africa (BUSA) says stage four load shedding will have a detrimental effect on businesses as they are still trying to recover from the COVID 19 pandemic. BUSA CEO Cas Coovadia says this is bad for an economy that is already on its knees.

“In an economy that’s barely growing, the business has just started coming out of COVID. And we are in a midst of a third wave of COVID now. And we have been warned by Eskom that this is going to take a while. Not having power is detrimental to all types of business.”

In the video below is the reaction to stage 4 loadshedding by Energy Expert Ted Blom:

Here is a bird’s-eye view of Johannesburg as Stage 4 loadshedding hits SA: Mbongeni Muthwa

Advocate Mpofu delivers closing remarks in Mkhwebane impeachment case
9 June 2021, 3:16 PM

Advocate Dali Mpofu is delivering his closing remarks at the High Court in Cape Town in the case brought by Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane to challenge Parliament’s impeachment rules. Mpofu says the new rules are unconstitutional.

He also says the National Assembly Speaker, Thandi Modise, acted unfairly against Mkhwebane and that she was biased.

Earlier, legal representatives of two organisations that have been admitted as friends of the court, Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution (Casac) and Corruption Watch, said the rules were in line with what happened in other jurisdictions around the world.

Advocate Michelle Le Roux argued that the process was important to ensure that there was public trust in the work of the office of the Public Protector.

“If there’s any cloud over that individual that occupies the office of Public Protector not only will it undermine public trust and confidence in the office but it may lead to the public officials that she is required to hold accountable disregarding the office or dismissing her attempts to hold them accountable when exercising the public protector’s important functions.”

Mkhwebane is challenging the rules of Parliament which provide a mechanism for incumbents of Chapter Nine institutions to be removed from office. The Public Protector has questioned the constitutionality of the rules.

Among the grounds for this is that the rules seek to amend the Constitution via the back door by adding gross misconduct as one of the grounds for her removal.

She has also said the rules cannot be applied retrospectively because they had not been adopted at the time of her alleged misconduct. The Public Protector has also questioned why the rules do not allow her to be represented by her lawyer in the proceeding of the ad-hoc committee that will investigate her suitability to hold office.

Below are some of the arguments that have been presented in court: 

 

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