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Pieter Groenewald
Black economic empowerment, affirmative action disadvantages white youth: FF Plus
13 October 2021, 9:11 PM

Freedom Front Plus leader Pieter Groenewald says the party is against black economic empowerment and affirmative action.

Groenewald says the policy disadvantages young white people who were not part of the apartheid era. Groenewald was speaking to the SABC in an exclusive interview on the party’s manifesto unveiled last weekend ahead of the November first local government elections.

He says white South Africans cannot be disadvantaged because of the past.

“No affirmative action, no black economic empowerment and the reason is simple. If you look in South Africa, the people in South Africa, the majority of the people are black people. If you go to our universities, there are three times more black students than white students in South Africa and I say it will be unfair to be creating a new dispensation where young white children, just because they’re white, they’ve never been part of apartheid, that they are disadvantaged because of the past.”

Groenewald says the concept of affirmative action and black economic empowerment are tools used by the ANC for cadre deployment and self-enrichment.

“The big problem is with affirmative action, it is most used by the ANC government for cadre deployment. It’s a smokescreen to put their people there to get a situation where they are enhancing corruption.”

FF+ launches its 2021 Municipal Elections manifesto:

The FF+ says it will also put an end to affirmative action in municipalities and do an audit to ensure that all employees are qualified for their jobs.

Party MP Wouter Wessels says they want to appoint on merit.

“Our main focus areas are the appointment of officials on merit, to get service delivery going, sound financial management and economic growth and lastly keeping Local Government local, because currently, we are not devolving power to the people. Communities should have decision-making power about what affects them and that is the main focus areas of our manifesto.”

 

Algerian security forces foil planned armed attack by separatists : Ennahar TV
13 October 2021, 8:46 PM

Algerian security forces foiled a plot to carry out an armed attack by separatists aided by “the Zionist entity” (Israel) and a North African country, Ennahar TV said on Wednesday.

Seventeen members of a separatist group that authorities have declared a terrorist organisation called “MAK” were arrested and documents indicating continuous contact with the “the Zionist entity” organizations and weapons were seized, Ennahar TV added.

In August, the government accused MAK and another group of being behind the devastating forest fires, which hit several provinces in Algeria, including Tizi Ouzou, adding that one of them was backed by Morocco and Israel.

Algeria cut diplomatic relations with Morocco later in August, citing what it called hostile actions by its most populous neighbour with which it has had strained relations for decades.

Algeria closes airspace to Moroccan aviation as dispute deepens

Algeria’s supreme security council decided in September to close the country’s airspace to all Moroccan civil and military aircraft, less than a month after it cut diplomatic relations with the Kingdom.

The decision came “in view of the continued provocations and hostile practices on the Moroccan side”, it said in a statement.

The closure also includes any aircraft carrying a Moroccan registration number, the Presidency said after a meeting of the council.

A source at Royal Air Maroc said the closure would only affect 15 flights weekly linking Morocco with Tunisia, Turkey and Egypt.

The source described the closure as insignificant and said the relevant flights could reroute over the Mediterranean.

The airline gave no official comment on the Algerian decision.

Algeria late last month decided to cut diplomatic ties with Morocco, citing “hostile actions” from the Kingdom, referring mainly to comments made by Morocco’s envoy in New York in favour of the self-determination of the Kabylie region in Algeria.

Algiers also accused Rabat of backing MAK, a separatist group that the government has declared a terrorist organisation.

Authorities blame the group for devastating wildfires, mainly in Kabylie, that killed at least 65 people.

MAK has denied the accusations.

Russia can help Europe, not using gas as a weapon says Putin
13 October 2021, 8:33 PM

President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday Russia was not using gas as a weapon and was ready to help ease Europe’s energy crunch as the EU called an emergency summit to tackle skyrocketing prices.

Energy demand has surged as economies have rebounded from the pandemic, driving up prices of oil, gas and coal, stoking inflationary pressures and undermining efforts to cut the use of polluting fossil fuels in the fight against global warming.

China, the world’s second biggest economy and its biggest greenhouse gas emitter, has boosted coal output and imports, as domestic coal prices have hit record levels and power stations have struggled to keep the lights on in homes and factories.

The energy crunch has amplified Wednesday’s call by the International Energy Agency (IEA) for tripling investment in renewables to steady markets and fight climate change.

Europe’s gas squeeze has shone a spotlight on Russia, which accounts for a third of the region’s supplies, prompting European politicians to blame Moscow for not pumping enough.

Putin told an energy conference in Moscow that the gas market was not balanced or predictable, particularly in Europe, but said Russia was meeting its contractual obligations to supply clients and was ready to boost supplies if asked.

He dismissed accusations that Russia was using energy as a weapon: “This is just politically motivated chatter, which has no basis whatsoever.”

The European Union has not asked Russia to increase supplies of gas to the bloc, a European Commission official told Reuters.

Russia and Europe have been embroiled in a dispute over a new pipeline, Nord Stream 2, to supply Russian gas to Germany. The pipeline is built but awaits approval to start pumping, amid opposition from the United States and some Europeans nations that fear it will make Europe even more reliant on Russia.

Some European politicians say Moscow is using the fuel crisis as leverage, a charge it has repeatedly denied.

DE-GAS EUROPE

The European Commission outlined measures on Wednesday that the 27-nation EU would take to combat the energy crisis, including exploring a voluntary option for countries to jointly buy gas.

Ministers from EU countries hold an extraordinary meeting on Oct. 26 to discuss the price spike.

“The only way to fully decouple gas from electricity is no longer to use it to generate power,” EU energy policy chief Kadri Simson said. “This is the EU’s long-term goal, to replace fossil fuels with renewables.”

The Paris-based IEA said the world had to invest $4 trillion by 2030 in clean energy and infrastructure – triple current levels – to achieve net zero emissions and limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius by 2050, the target of the 2015 Paris climate accord.

“The world is not investing enough to meet its future energy needs,” it said in a report, published before the United Nations COP26 climate change conference in Glasgow, Scotland, which starts on Oct. 31.

WINTER SPIKE?

As renewables have failed to fill gaps amid surging demand, oil and gas prices have roared higher.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries trimmed its world oil demand forecast for 2021 but said surging gas prices could mean customers switch to oil.

Benchmark crude was trading close to last week’s more than three-year high above $84 a barrel.

Putin said that oil prices could reach $100 a barrel. “This is quite possible,” he said. “We and our partners at OPEC+ are doing our utmost to stabilise the market.”

The benchmark European gas price is up more than 350% this year, trading above $31 per million British thermal units (mmBtu) on Wednesday, although down from last week’s spike above $52.

“Current prices are above fundamentally justified levels, should remain volatile and could still reach $100/mmBtu or above this season if the weather gets very cold,” Citi bank said as it also raised its forecast for European and Asian benchmark gas prices for the fourth quarter by about $3.

The United States was also likely to feel the pain, according to the Energy Information Administration, which warned on Wednesday that it would cost more to heat U.S. homes this winter.

The European Network of Transmission System Operators for Gas (ENTSOG), which monitors security of supply, said a cold winter in Europe would require an increase of gas imports by about 5% to 10% compared to previous maximum levels.

“We’re reaching out to trade partners to discuss if it’s possible to increase their deliveries in the market,” EU energy commissioner Kadri Simson said.

The Commission expects prices to remain high until April 2022.

In China, the most active January Zhengzhou thermal coal futures touched a record high of 1,640 yuan ($254.54) per tonne on Wednesday, up more than 190% so far this year.

Local governments in top Chinese coal-producing areas Shanxi and Inner Mongolia ordered about 200 mines to boost output, but rain flooded 60 mines in Shanxi. China’s coal imports surged 76% in September.

Seeking to ease the power crunch, Beijing said it would allow power plants to charge commercial customers market-based prices, breaking with a policy that had allowed the industry to lock in fixed-price electricity deals with suppliers.

Taxi violence
At least 12 taxis torched in Gqeberha
13 October 2021, 7:35 PM

At least 12 mini-bus taxis, two cars and a shop have been torched after violence erupted in Korsten, Gqeberha on Wednesday afternoon.

It is alleged the violence was sparked by a road rage incident when a taxi and a car driven by a foreign national collided in Durban road.

The police are investigating the cause of the violence and the subsequent acts of arson. No arrests have been made yet.

A large police contingent has been deployed to the area to restore calm and maintain order.

Mental healthcare access in South Africa very limited: WHO
13 October 2021, 6:52 PM

Statistics from the World Health Organisation (WHO) indicate access to mental healthcare facilities in South Africa is limited to four beds per 100 000 people in general hospitals and 16 beds per 100 000 in mental health hospitals.

With October being Mental Health Awareness Month, the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG), has initiated a number of programmes to stimulate discussions and increase access to mental health.

SADAG Operations Director Cassey Chambers says the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the problem, as the effects of lockdown have impacted negatively on the physical, financial and emotional wellbeing of people.

“SADAG is raising awareness tied in with the international theme for World Mental Health Day that’s looking at mental health in an unequal world which couldn’t be more true for SA. With one in three South Africans who will have a mental health issue at some point, yet only 1 in 10 have access to treatment. This has to change. For October, SADAG is hosting various online chats, through our Facebook Friday where we tackle important topics. This is free important expert advice. We have exciting events happening throughout the month of October.”

SADAG urges South Africans to take care of their mental health

SADAG has also highlighted the importance of taking care of one’s mental health during the coronavirus pandemic.

Chambers says the effects of the pandemic have caused increased anxiety in the public. She says in 2020, their call center received over 90 000 calls on the suicide helpline.

SADAG says before the pandemic they received 600 calls a day and after the outbreak, those numbers doubled.

Chambers says anxiety, fear over job losses, finances and relationships have been some of the problems many South Africans are facing during this time.

Mental health is the second pandemic after COVID-19:

Weather

 

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