Today's Big Stories

The Load Shed Blues: impact on traffic

Pic credit: eNCA

Power outages and traffic loads: the resumption of load shedding for a second day, as Eskom says that the demand for electricity is greater than the supply it has available. As a result, companies around the country are battling to keep up production as offices swelter while they wait for the power – and their computers – to come back on. One of the biggest impacts is on the movement of traffic as robots are out because they don’t have electricity. Sandton was just one place affected on Monday afternoon – the entire suburb around its CBD was completely gridlocked – as the smell of clutches filled the air. Spokesperson for the Joburg Metro Police, Edna Mamonyane:

We try to do that (direct traffic) and we mostly use the traffic free-flow service that 702 + OUTsurance has sponsored. But people must understand that we can only cover the big intersections. Sometimes it's a bit difficult because a lot of the traffic lights are at the big intersections in big companies in areas such as Sandton and around Sandton City. You could say that 150 officers will be deployed - apart from the pointspeople - to come and assist.

Managing Director of Traffic Freeflow - the organization that trains and provides traffic points people at certain intersections - Colleen Bekker:

It's very challenging at the moment, because there's so many areas that go out at once. Our mobile team is quite restricted and we send out a team of 32 people across intersections. More challenging than that is that we do try and work with the load shedding schedules, but a lot of the time, they don't stick to those schedules and so we aren't able to plan properly for deployments.

EWN Traffic Presenter, Aki Anastasiou:

I think we all have to coordinate our efforts together and Eskom should stick to their schedules, in order to reduce the economic impact of this, especially in business areas like Sandton. These areas should have a UPS - an unlimited battery back up supply - to limit the impact of load shedding.

Instability in corruption-fighting organisations: an announcement from the head of the Special Investigating Unit Head Advocate Vas Soni on Monday afternoon is that he is stepping down to spend more time caring for his ill wife. Soni had been head of the unit for 16 months after it had been left without a head for over a year and a half. Reacting to this news, the Executive Director of Corruption Watch, David Lewis told EWN he believed this would add to the instability within the institutions that are meant to fight corruption and uphold the law:

When powerful people in the leadership of the country have a reason to fear competent law enforcement organisations, then it follows that such organisations aren't going to be unstable. When such organisations are chronically unstable - as many of these have been so for the last 8 years - it reflects on the leadership and they have to take responsibility.

Director at the Centre for the Study of Democracy, Professor Steven Friedman:

Obviously he's right that these are public functions and government should take responsibility where things go wrong. Where he's wrong is in saying that everything rests with government, because there are people that are outside of government that are involved in corrupt activities and a lot of these people orchestrate campaigns against those involved in government.

SANDF court drama: confirmation this morning that two senior officers in the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) failed to appear in a civilian court, after they were accused of surrounding a police station in May last year and ordering the release of several soldiers who were being held by police. Defence Analyst, Helmoed Römer Heitman:

If it happened - the way it was described in the newspapers - it looks very much like extradition and that would be a very serious offence in any country. If they didn't, then the accused should press charges for criminal libel because these are very serious allegations.

Online gambling and regulation: a claim today that the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has decided to try and ban online gambling in South Africa. It follows a review board that appeared to say online gambling should be allowed. Wits Senior Lecturer in Politics and former member of the Gambling Review Commission, Dr Stephen Louw:

In terms of our recommendation, our view was we don't believe that government has the right to stop online gambling. What we feared was there would be a proliferation of illegal online gamblers, which wouldn't be good for the promoters and those who participate in it. What we propose is a situation that is regulated and seeks to protect users.

Hlongwa saga: on the Monday edition of the Midday Report, a claim was made by the DA’s Health Spokesperson in Gauteng Jack Bloom that the ANC must take action against former Health MEC and current Gauteng ANC Chief Whip, Brian Hlongwa. ANC Gauteng Spokesperson, Nkenke Kekana:on the Monday edition of the Midday Report, a claim was made by the DA’s Health Spokesperson in Gauteng Jack Bloom that the ANC must take action against former Health MEC and current Gauteng ANC Chief Whip, Brian Hlongwa. ANC Gauteng Spokesperson, Nkenke Kekana:

We have already taken action and we've referred the matter of Comrade Brian to the Integrity Committee, which is made up of our veterans and is part of the National Executive Committee. I spoke to the Chair of the Integrity Committee and he's assured me that this matter is receiving attention and he will compile a report very soon. This will be sent to the Provincial Executive Committee. But I'd like to say that Jack Bloom doesn't know the internal processes of the ANC, he'd need to join to understand how we are dealing with this matter.

Under-age gay marriage: the Law Reform Commission is now reportedly looking at proposals to allow teenagers who are under the age of eighteen - but over the age of sixteen - to marry people of the same sex. At the moment, those between 16 to 18 years of age can marry in a same-sex union, but with their parent's consent. Constitutional Law expert, Professor Pierre de Vos:

The special dispensation that applies to different sex couples didn't apply to same sex couples, which is discriminatory, meaning it was unconstitutional. So this will essentially get things to be in line with the constitution. Some South Africans are pretty conservative, even reactionary - it's part of a democracy to have this discussion and dialogue. The bottom line is, if the Constitution prohibits discrimination, then the law cannot promote discrimination.

Learning through translation: Stellenbosch University has reportedly been using a series of translators to help show new students around the campus and their lectures will reportedly also be translated as well. Stellenbosch Uni's Senior Director for Learning and Teaching Enhancement, Dr Antoinette van der Merwe:

The use of simultaneous translators is nothing new to Stellenbosch, we've been using them since 2011. What's new and revolutionary now is the use of radio frequencies to transmit this translation, so you can essentially tune into a translation in the language of your choice on your cellphone. In 2014, we translated about 6000 lectures, whereas in 2015, we will be translating 11 000 lectures. It's quite an intricate procedure to manage.

Go Bafana! #Afcon15: it’s a huge game tonight against Ghana for Bafana Bafana, as they have to win and Senegal have to beat Algeria for Bafana to go through to the next round of the Afcon. SABC Sport analyst, Christop Bongo:

It is a mountain to climb and it wouldn't be one if it wasn't a competition. We have 53 countries and only one of them will qualify, so it should be a mountain. The coach and the team might be switching to the progress of the team and Coach Mashaba's main objective is the World Cup of 2017 and the Afcon of 2018 respectively. I had bet that South Africa would draw with Algeria and now I think they will beat Ghana in this game, because Algeria are much stronger.

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