Today's Big Stories

Who's wasting power during a crisis?

Pic credit: joburg.org.za

Who's wasting power during a crisis?

An EWN investigation found several high profile organisations – and particularly Telkom – have not been obeying the request from Eskom and from government to switch their lights off when they’re not using them. The news comes as Eskom first said there would be load shedding from 10 am until 10 pm today, and then cancelled those rolling power cuts. EWN's Barry Bateman:

We took drives around the city of Joburg's parastatals. We found that many of our big buildings were not switching off lights overnight, especially in Pretoria - there were two towers in Madiba Street where you found every single light was burning. We hope our questions and investigation will encourage a culture of conservation.

Earthlife Africa's Dr Tristen Taylor:

They're not only wasting power, but their hard earned cash. I found it amusing that this investigation found that government and parastatals were the biggest culprits. I've recently moved into a new house, I've converted all my lights to LEDs. If Eskom hadn't destroyed the solar water rebate, I would be putting a solar water geyser in my roof.

Malamulele muni update

In Malamulele in Limpopo, it appears that part of the local high school has been burnt to the ground by protestors angry at the decision by the Municipal Demarcation Board to not create for them a separate municipality. Economist at Municipal IQ, Karen Heese:

We have seen this before, most significantly in Khutsong wanting to stay within the Gauteng provincial boundary. We see disadvantage throughout this municipality, that exist along ethnic lines.The perception of poor service delivery is true - the problem is the entire issue has become highly politicised. There may be ethnic divisions, but there are also divisions of nationalism.

Independent South African schools and diversity

On the Monday edition of the Midday Report, the Gauteng Education Department said it would ensure that independent or private schools in the province would be properly integrated. This came after EWN broke the story last week about the Roodeplaat Curro School which had its white and black children in Grade R in different classes. National Director of the Independent Schools Association of Southern Africa (Isasa), Lebogang Montjane:

All schools, including private schools, are subject to Section 29(3) of the Constitution, required to be registered, within the legislation that exists for provinces. All schools are subject to registration requirements as per province. Curro is not a member of Isasa and I don't all the facts. Isasa schools are committed to diversity: 51% of our students are black and 30% of our teachers are black teachers. Transformation and diversity is a journey that doesn't end.

Drinkers: forget about driving

There's a a proposal in a new draft bill from the Department of Transport that would make it illegal to drive with any alcohol whatsoever in your system; that is to say, instead of being allowed to drive after one or two drinks as is the case at the moment, you would not be able to drive after having any alcohol at all. Founder and Director of South Africans Against Drunk Driving (Sadd), Caro Smit:

The problem in South Africa is that we talk about 'one or two drinks' - what is a drink? If you have a few beers, you are over the limit. Our enforcement in South Africa is absolutely atrocious - if we implemented what we have, we would be fine. If they would push for this by giving a breathalysers every time a car is stopped, we would really get our death rates down.

National Chair of the Justice Project South Africa, Howard Dembovsky:

It's not going to have much of an impact if the law isn't enforced properly. If you lower it, lower it to 0,02 rate to cater for people that are on medication. We don't want a situation where there's a whole lot of people that are being arrested for no particular reason as this would result in a number of civil suits coming up.

Spaza regulation

Over the last week, there have been various calls to regulate spaza shops more closely after the violence that was described as xenophobic in Soweto last month. President of Soweto Business Access, Mphuthi Mphuthi:

When we talk regulation, we are talking about the Minister saying there needs to be management of proliferation of spazas emerging in townships. There needs to be a moratorium of spazas that emerge. If you go to Nigeria, the Congo, the United States or any civilised country, this exists, but it doesn't happen in South Africa. This is where you find smuggled foreign products emerging and ultimately competing with local products. Spazas are an interim measure for people that are emerging and so government should be helping those people. What we are seeing are a lot of foreign shops that are opening without diversifying their products and a lot of them are retail; these businesses are killing those that pay taxes and they don't even employ local people. We need to be able to identify such shops. We are competing with the underworld.

Motlanthe on F.W. de Klerk street name

In Cape Town, Former Presidents F.W. de Klerk and Kgalema Motlanthe have spoken at an event this morning at which de Klerk has said he would have done what he did in 1990 - even if he couldn't predict the future – because it was the right and moral thing to do. Motlanthe has said that he would have no objection to renaming a road after e Klerk in Cape Town. Political analyst, Professor Sipho Seepe:

One must accept that de Klerk has earned his place in history by making that speech and introducing those reforms. Mandela was really appreciative of the work that de Klerk did and there are many people in the ANC who hold the same view, that although his motivation was different, he did the right thing. But I don't have a problem with people within the ANC differing on this.

Lesotho shooting ahead of election

The country’s army says it was not responsible for a shoot-out that killed an innocent bystander and hurt two of the bodyguards of Prime Minister Tom Thabane. EWN Africa Correspondent, Jean-Jacques Cornish:

We understand that the two army guards who were shot were amongst those who had warned the PM of an impending coup in October, so it seems like a bit of a revenge thing. This is very worrying with an election coming up on the 28th of February, because those elections themselves as we know are two years early and are there due to the coup. It's going to be a humdinger of an election and Thomas Thabane would be very lucky to win it.

Hofmeyer out in the cold

News this morning that Steve Hofmeyr has not been invited to this year's Innibos music festival - the Innibos Laeveld Nasionale Kunstefees – after he made comments claiming that apartheid was caused by black people and then going to court against the puppet Chester Missing. Festival Founder and Media Manager, Sandra Jacobs:

He's certainly a very popular artist, but we are an arts and culture festival and not a political platform. The concert we had last year was one of 18 artists and he deviated from the original program and as an arts festival, we feel he abused the platform for his own political gain. Innibos is much more than a festival with Steve in it. He is welcome to have his opinion, but we are an inclusive festival and are an Afrikaans-speaking festival of people of any race.

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