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Mostert and Kriel earn 50th Boks caps
9 November 2021, 1:55 PM

Springboks Franco Mostert and Jesse Kriel will earn their 50th Test caps when South Africa line up against Scotland in Edinburgh on Saturday.

Coach Jacques Nienaber made just two rotational switches and one injury-enforced change to the starting fifteen that defeated Wales 23-18.

Mostert comes in at lock and Elton Jantjies will start at flyhalf, with Lood de Jager and Handré Pollard moving to the replacements bench.

Willie le Roux was named at fullback, taking over from Damian Willemse, who has to follow concussion return to play protocols. The match will also be a memorable one for Frans Steyn, who will edge Victor Matfield as the player with the longest Springbok career.

He’ll become the first South African to play Test rugby for over 15 calendar years, should he take to the field.

Team effort

Mostert believes a team effort will be needed against Scotland.

“We can sharpen up on everything, it wasn’t a perfect game for us but I think we fought it out and we have to stick to our game plan and not fall in a trap or something like that. Finn Russell is a good player and we don’t look at one player, we are looking at the whole team and the performance they did on the weekend, they did play some running rugby and stuff like that and I think with our defence, we are more suited with that and hopefully it is going to take a team effort to back it up.”

The last time Scotland beat the Springboks was back in 2010 on the end-of-year tour at Murrayfield.

OPINION: 2021 LGE showed most effective protest by fed-up South Africans
8 November 2021, 7:07 PM

With the 2021 Local Government Elections [LGE] now over, there is no doubt that South African voters protested in an altogether different way; by either staying away from the voting booth or by voting for smaller parties at the expense of more-established players such as the African National Congress [ANC] and Democratic Alliance [DA].

Due to the ongoing covid pandemic, South Africa’s Electoral Commission [IEC] was forced to truncate the official timetable, effectively reducing the number of days to organise the election from 82 days to 42 days.

Political parties, too, such as the Economic Freedom Fighters [EFF] and DA were arguably concerned that these elections would not be free and fair due to the restricted campaigning during a pandemic. Parties like the ANC, whose hallmark of door-to-door campaigning, walkabouts and mass rallies, is said to also have suffered from the limited voter contact.

For the political pundits, the 2021 LGE was not only about reporting the events leading to the elections and actual election results; it was about actual grassroots service delivery and the grievances of a fed-up electorate. For example, the communities of the Maluti A Phofung municipality who have gone for years without running water either in their communal taps or homes used these polls to make their unhappiness heard. The Standerton communities in the Lekwa Local Municipality who witnessed the deterioration of their town’s roads and sewage systems which resulted in council being dissolved and the municipality put under administration used their voting right by giving the opposition parties power instead of dwelling in the same ruling party that’s been giving timeless electric cuts.

Another example is the community of Emfuleni in the Vaal, Gauteng who experience daily electricity cuts from Eskom because their municipal council owes the power utility more than R3.5 billion. Moreover, water pressure to their taps has been steadily reduced by 20% because Rand Water is owed more than R1.3 billion by the defaulting council. In Emfuleni particularly, residents registered their grievances by causing an upset to the ruling party, the ANC by forcing it under 50% on Election Day. This was replicated in 69 other municipalities across the country where there were no outright winners – rightly known as ‘hung councils’.


PROVINCE 2016 LGE 2021 LGE 2016 – 2021
EC 1 3 66.6%
FS 1 4 75%
GP 4 8 50%
KZN 7 21 66.66%
LIM 2 2 100%
MPU 0 3 300%
NC 3 10 70%
NW 1 3 66.6%
WC 8 16 50%
TOTALS 27 70

The 2021 LGE results represent a true reflection of the past five years of failed municipal administration as communities have had enough of failed promises. The ‘gatvol’ factor this time around manifested in probably the most effective service delivery protest when more than half of the country’s 26.2-million registered voters stayed away from the voting booth. As a result, the ANC was pushed below the psychological 50% threshold for the first time since 1994. The DA, too, was dragged down from 26% vote-shared in 2016 to just above 21% in these elections. This protest will not only send a strong message to the ANC and the DA.

If you want evidence of the extent of municipal rot, you need only drill down to the Auditor-General’s reports from a few years back. AG reports in the last four years paint a bleak picture of multiple transgressions and wastage running into billions. Some municipal officials like the mayor of Vhembe District even had the audacity to heap blame on the pandemic for service delivery failures in his council.

Therefore, the November 1, 2021 vote must be taken seriously and be celebrated as one of the watershed moments in our still-developing democracy.


YEAR 2000 2006 2011 2016 2021
NATIONAL 47.33% 48.40% 57.6% 57.94% 45.87%


With national voter turnout dipping from 58% in 2016 to just above 45% five years later should send a clear and very loud message to the political elite; that the days of complacency are over.

 Maswele Ralebona is a Specialist Researcher at SABC News Research



South Africa’s power grid is under pressure: the how and the why
8 November 2021, 4:06 PM

South Africans are facing another round of power cuts despite promises from South Africa’s power utility, Eskom, that it would keep the lights on. Unexpected breakdowns and scheduled maintenance at various generation plants have been blamed for reduced generation capacity. These have compromised the stability of the national power grid. Since this affects everyone in the country, The Conversation Africa invited Thinus Booysen and Arnold Rix to explain what the power grid is and what keeps it stable – or not.

What is the power grid?

The grid is made up of three building blocks: generation, transmission and distribution.

Generation consists of power stations (or plants) that generate electricity. Examples of these are the newly built Kusile and Medupi power stations. South Africa has a generation capacity of approximately 58 GW – enough to power 26 million kettles concurrently – mostly made up of Eskom’s coal-burning power plants. Eskom’s share of this is a generation capacity of 44 GW, of which 38 GW is from coal-powered stations.

Transmission comprises the 28,000 km of high voltage lines that transport electricity at high voltage levels (such as 400 kV or 765 kV) to cities and towns.

There, it branches out to 325,000 km of lower-voltage lines that distribute electricity to homes and businesses. In comparison, New Zealand has 150,000 km for a tenth of South Africa’s population and the UK has over 800,000 km.

The transmission lines and distribution lines, therefore, connect the generation plants and users in a network that collectively form the grid, which operates at a synchronised alternating current frequency of 50Hz.

All generating plants, including coal-burning plants, solar farms, wind farms and hydro-electric plants, are synchronised and interconnected in this way. All turbines running in power plants must run in unison, and all renewable sources must fall in line.

The electricity in a house’s plugs is also synchronised to the grid. This includes plugs (and light sockets) all over the country and beyond South Africa’s borders in countries that it sells electricity to.

Like a heartbeat, this 50 Hz oscillation keeps the grid alive. It allows electrical power to flow from the numerous generation plants and spread throughout the country to the places where it is needed.

What threatens stability on the grid?

When generation can’t keep up with demand.

Unfortunately, due to the backlog of maintenance of older Eskom plants and mismanagement during the development of newer plants, the generation capacity of Eskom often dwindles. With an average plant age of 40 years, breakdowns and maintenance have amounted to as much as a 20 GW loss in generation capacity.

Read more:
South Africa’s electricity supply: what’s tripping the switch

There are two ways to ensure that supply outstrips demand: managing demand and increasing supply.

Demand management includes efficiency interventions such as replacing electric water heaters (geysers) with solar thermal water heaters, replacing lights with energy-efficient versions, or more direct approaches like turning off all water heaters with ripple control.

Unfortunately, increasing supply is a time-consuming and capital intensive process. It takes years and billions of rand to build a new coal-burning power plant. Also, coal is the reason South Africa is one of the worst emitters per capita in the world. Installing renewable generation plants, such as solar or wind, is easier, faster and less expensive per energy unit. The challenge is that renewable energy is weather dependent and therefore the generation unpredictable.

When the amount of power being used (demand) starts to exceed the amount of power generated (supply), the frequency of the grid starts to fall slightly, as the turbines struggle to keep up. This is similar to your blood pressure dropping when you start to exercise. Your heart, the generator in your body, quickly starts to increase the rate at which it supplies blood to stabilise your blood pressure and supply oxygen where it is required. If your heart can’t keep up you black out as a protection mechanism to give your heart a chance to catch up and restore functionality in your body.

If the electrical demand starts to outstrip supply, the generators’ speed will drop below 50 Hz and the built in protection will disconnect the generator to keep it turning. This means that there’s less generation connected to the grid, so more generators will disconnect. Eventually all the generators disconnect one by one as their supply cannot meet demand.

A cascading event like this would happen quickly (seconds), leaving the network with no generation.

What happens if it collapses?

When no generation is happening, the grid collapses and there’s a blackout. This has happened before in various other countries. For example the 2019 blackout in Argentina left 48 million users without power for most of a day, while 55 million North Americans were left in the dark for a fortnight in 2003. These examples are dwarfed by the 2012 blackout in India, which affected over 400 million users.

To avoid a collapse of the grid, Eskom, which controls the grid frequency from a National Control Centre in Johannesburg, has put in place a severe form of demand management for situations in which demand starts to outstrip supply. It imposes a series of planned power cuts – called load shedding – to reduce demand. If the situation is extremely bad it institutes Stage 4 load shedding, which means 4GW of the total demand is cut on a rolling schedule.

A total collapse of the system would mean that the country – and some countries in the region – would be without power for extended periods rather than the 2 to 4-hour periods that are currently the norm.

It hasn’t happened in South Africa yet because of Eskom’s well-coordinated and responsive demand management – and good fortune.

Such a collapse of the grid would require generation plants being brought back online in synchronisation with the 50Hz, which means they have to be ramped up and added one by one. The reconnection of all the generators after a blackout would probably take two weeks or more, leaving large parts of the country and some neighbouring countries without electricity for days or more as plants, and limited critical demand, are gradually turned on.The Conversation

MJ (Thinus) Booysen, Professor in Electrical & Electronic Engineering, Stellenbosch University and Arnold Rix, Senior Lecturer, Electronic and Electrical Engineering, Stellenbosch University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

ANC in Mangaung thanks voters for showing confidence in the party
5 November 2021, 9:30 PM

The African National Congress (ANC) in Mangaung Metro in the Free State has thanked locals for giving them another term in office after the local government elections. Many locals raised concerns during the elections about service delivery problems. Despite the drop in seats from 58 to 51, the local ANC says the numbers are not a big concern to them. Provincial interim committee spokesperson, Oupa Khoabane, says they appreciate the gesture of confidence from the electorate.

“The drop in the number of seats is not a worrying factor, I think a motivating factor more than anything else is the confidence that the electorate has shown in the ANC that ensure that the ANC still controls this municipality of Mangaung. And we think that that motivation will inspire the ANC to improve service delivery mode and more than before. And we thank the voters for that gesture and we promise to really do more to ensure that we turn things around.”

DA to keep watchful eye on ANC in Mangaung

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in the Mangaung Metro says it intends to keep a close watch on council and monitor how the ANC will run the municipality.

Despite losing one seat in the council, the DA retained its position as the official opposition.

The ANC also lost support but managed to retain its absolute majority.

DA Caucus leader is David Masoeu says, “The other thing is we don’t think that ANC will change much in Mangaung Metro in terms of service delivery. The poor service delivery will continue because the same people that brought down this municipality will probably be elected again in other words the same personnel but different term.
So we are of the opinion that we need to hold them accountable as opposition party and make sure that they keep the promise that they made to the voters that they will improve things in Mangaung Metro.”



SA records 339 new COVID-19 cases
5 November 2021, 7:35 PM

South Africa recorded 339 new COVID-19 cases, which brings the total number of laboratory-confirmed infections to 2 923 393. This increase represents a 1.1% positivity rate.

A further 44 COVID-19 related deaths have also been reported, bringing total fatalities to 89 295 to date.

18 670 029 tests have been conducted in both public and private sectors.

Latest SA stats:





According to the NICD, “The majority of new cases today are from Gauteng Province (26%), followed by Western Cape (19%). KwaZulu-Natal accounted for 14%; Free State accounted for 13%; Eastern Cape, Mpumalanga and Northern Cape all accounted for 7% respectively; North West accounted for 6%, and Limpopo accounted for 1%.”



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