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Stage 2 load shedding to be implemented over the weekend: Eskom
4 September 2020, 6:41 PM

Eskom has announced plans to roll out stage 2 load shedding throughout this weekend.  In a statement issued on Friday evening, the power utility says load shedding will be implemented between 8 am and 10pm.

“This is necessary to replenish the emergency generation reserves which were depleted over the past week, in order to better prepare for the coming week,” read the statement.

Eskom says its systems remain unreliable and vulnerable.

 

South African are still urged to use electricity sparingly.

Plant managers suspended

Earlier today, the Eskom board said it strongly supports the suspension of its Tutuka and Kendal Power Station managers pending disciplinary inquiries.

The suspension was actioned by Group Chief Executive, André de Ruyter on Thursday morning. South Africans face power cuts as a result of continuous breakdowns at the utility.

In a statement, Eskom says further interventions are ongoing at the Kriel and Duvha power stations.

“Engagements have been held with other power station managers to ensure that the previous culture of weak consequence management will no longer be the norm and will no longer be tolerated at Eskom. The Executive has, in the meantime, deployed three senior Generation managers to the sites in question (Duvha, Kriel, Tutuka and Kendal power stations) to provide leadership and oversight in person,” says Eskom.

Eskom says there are 5 000 megawatts of capacity currently on planned maintenance and 10 950 megawatts on unplanned breakdowns.

“The Board and executives are fully cognisant of the substantial strain that load-shedding exerts on the wellbeing of citizens, on an already depressed economy and are committed to attaining sustainability and reliability of the Eskom generation plant. The Board and Executive Management have met twice in the past two days, with the Minister of Public Enterprises, Mr Pravin Gordhan, to interrogate the systemic causes of the load-shedding and the measures being taken to repair breakdowns,” says Eskom.

Eskom says following meetings with Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan, it was agreed that an urgent culture change and high-level competence enhancement across all 44 000 staff should be promoted and strongly supported.

All systems go for DA’s weekend policy conference
4 September 2020, 5:30 PM

The Democratic Alliance (DA) says its virtual policy conference to be held this weekend is historic. The conference was initially scheduled to be held in April 2020, however, it was postponed due to the COVID 19 pandemic.  Two-hundred delegates are expected to attend, with discussions focusing on the party’s values and principles as well as economic justice among other things.

 

On Friday, DA’s interim Federal Chairperson, Ivan Meyer, briefed journalists on preparations for the conference.

‘The Democratic Alliance will again make history by conducting its virtual policy conference and the policy conference is a very important phase as we prepare for two conferences, one for the local government elections and the election for 2024. But nothing precludes us to have some further subsequent policy discussions so we are looking forward to these processes that will unfold tomorrow.  This is one of the widest consultative processes that the DA ever had.”

Meyer says the DA has covered all its bases to ensure that its virtual conference goes without a hitch.

He says all potential logistical and technical risks have been considered.

“We have done an audit of the technical platform capability as well as venue and data connectivity.  We also gave some Zoom training and we also did a test on the virtual platform for this policy conference in addition for those venues who may be having technical problems, we have some generators on standby to assist those particular people.  We have done an extensive audit about all those challenges so that we can have mitigation strategies in that regard.”

The DA’s head of policy Gwen Ngwenya says the party sought to solicit a wide range of comments and proposals ahead of the conference. She says this was not confined to just party members, but also ordinary citizens across all sections of society.

Besides physical consultation with people across the country prior to the lockdown, she says the DA has received input through its online policy portal.

“On the portal for example you had an opportunity to comment but then at the end of all the portal documents, it said is there any other comment?  So you could put in anything else,  your own kind of blue-sky thinking on values and principles or on economic exclusion so I think it was fairly open in that sense.  Also, it was open in that there were all of these physical consultations when we could still have them and I think they were wide-ranging in what anyone could put forward.”

The conference happens as the party is experiencing turbulence. This week there was the resignation of long-time Gauteng leader John Moodey and several other provincial leaders face charges of misconduct for an alleged sex-for-jobs conspiracy against senior Parliamentarian, Mike Waters.

Meyer is certain that these tensions will not spill over into the conference.

“We don’t expect any virtual walkouts from our meeting because in the DA we encourage open debate. We are a liberal party.  People express their views and we discuss them.  We always believe that people should not raise their voices but raise their arguments so we don’t expect such things.  We are a disciplined organisation and certainly, we will continue to have a very successful policy conference this weekend”

Small businesses in Cape Town hit hard by current load shedding
4 September 2020, 5:00 PM

The Cape Chamber of Commerce is advising businesses to reduce their dependence on Eskom by investing in their own power generation.

This as small businesses in the Western Cape are reporting what they call a double blow to their businesses, given COVID-19 regulations and stage 4 load shedding.

Eskom implements stage 4 load shedding:

The businesses say the load shedding puts a damper on their plans to economic recovery from the effects of COVID-19. 

Fidelia Pietersen had to shut down her hair salon during the earlier levels of the COVID- 19 lockdown. Six staff members lost their only source of income. They were beginning to pick up business as level 2 of the lockdown was declared.

However, with Eskom’s load shedding, Pietersen says its a double blow. She says she’s losing business again.

” You can’t keep rescheduling, because yes I can reschedule one client but I still lose hours of work because of the time I should have done that client, I’m sitting doing nothing but I have had to move a client out. Here you have me, who had a salon with eight staff members, I had to close the business down totally and now we are only two, what happened to my other employees, it’s unfair.”

CEO of the Cape Chamber of Commerce, Geoff Jacobs, says it’s disturbing that business is held to ransom by the utility that seems unable to fix its business model.

” Every kind of business that does not have alternative sources of electricity shuts down when Eskom imposes what it calls load shedding, it is an unwelcome obstacle for manufacturers and businesses that require uninterrupted power supply. What is disturbing is that the country is held to ransom by Eskom who is unable to fix its business model and the bureaucracy that continues to prevent viable alternatives such as the relief that independent power producers could provide.”

Western Cape Finance and Economic Development Minister, David Maynier says the current load shedding is devastating to the already hard-hit small businesses in the province.

Maynier says Eskom’s power cuts, which are expected to continue into the weekend, is a blow to the provincial economy which is just starting to recover from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

He, however, says there are solutions to the country’s energy crisis.

“National government can drastically change the current energy crisis, with just a stroke of a pen. The national minister could lift the one-megawatt cap on self-generation to immediately bring on line a significant amount of renewable energy on the national grid, with just a stroke of a pen.”

The province says the current load shedding is estimated to cost the Western Cape R300-million a day.

 

School
School rotation system putting added pressure on teachers: NATU
4 September 2020, 4:11 PM

The rotation system that is currently being adopted for students has placed more pressure on teachers and schools are battling to cope, according to National Teachers Union (NATU).

Since schools resumed last month, learners have been divided into groups that attend on different days. Some attend classes for two days in the week and others thrice a week.

The measures have been introduced to comply with COVID-19 protocols.

NATU says the situation is so bad that principals are forcing sick teachers to return to school.

Union president, Allan Thompson, says the rotation system will also result in teachers not covering all of the syllabus.

” The Department promised to employ substitute educators but there are no substitute educators that are employed that are coming to school, we have seen teachers who are having very serious comorbidities being compelled to by their principals. Some have already started reporting for duties but we are worried that those people are likely to die in the working environment.”

Meanwhile, this week Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga announced that she has approached National Treasury for money to pay for the 22 000 substitute teachers required nationwide.

National Professional Teacher’s Organisation of South Africa (Naptosa) President, Basil Manuel, says they raised the matter in May already and does not understand why the national Department didn’t approach Treasury sooner.

“So we are very concerned about the Minister’s statement what makes one particularly unhappy is that the Department has had three months to do this, the agreement was signed on the 30th of May and we are now in September, three months later after promising these people would be appointed now they are saying they are looking for money. What have they been doing for 3 months? At the same time, we see that schools are really battling..”

Unions say that schools are filling the gaps by making teachers available to teach subjects that they’re not familiar with.

They say some learners are left without teachers, including those in matric that will be writing their final exams soon.

The Department of Education in Gauteng says it has given approval for over 4 500 teachers to work from home due to comorbidities. The Department says schools have been getting stand-in teachers from their database and so far that process has been smooth.

Spokesperson, Steve Mabona, says the stay-at-home teachers have been roped in to record lessons from home and to mark school-work.

“We have enough educators so when there is a need we go into the database, and make sure that we get the necessary profile of what is needed at the school and that post will go at school level they will conduct necessary recruitment processes and a replacement will then be appointed.”

Health Panel
LIVE: Discussion on managing COVID-19 and flattening the curve
24 August 2020, 8:10 PM

Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize is part of a panel discussion on the  COVID-19 pandemic and flattening the curve.

Dr Zweli Mkhize is addressing the importance of primary care doctors during this time.

Others on the panel are Prof Salim Abdool Karim – Epidemiologist, ID specialist and chair of the Presidential Advisory Committee,  Prof Guy Richards – Emeritus Prof critical care Wits University and  Dr David Jankelow- President of the SA Heart Association and Cardiologist Netcare Linksfield Clinics.

Below is the stream:

Weather

 

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