Today's Big Stories

Eskom's big credit downgrade, Chabane remembered, Rhodes University name debate

Credit downgrades for Eskom unsurprising

EWN's Gia Nicolaides on this story: economists on Thursday warned that Eskom should brace itself for further credit downgrades unless the parastatal can get its financial affairs in order soon. Standard & Poor's Ratings Services said the recent suspension of four of Eskom's senior executives gives it 'less confidence' in the utility's corporate governance. The ratings services downgraded Eskom to BB+. This is the second time Eskom has been hit by a junk credit rating. Economist Dawie Roodt said, “I think what we have is a government that’s lost their ideological compass, I think we have got contradictory policies and I think we have a government that’s got weak implementation of some of these policies.” The ratings agency said the negative outlook reflected that Eskom's operating performance has not yet stabilised due to rising costs. It also said it was of the opinion that the material execution risk remained associated with government’s support plan.

Minister Chabane remembered for his humility

EWN's Govan Whittles on this story: Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa has paid tribute to the late Public Service and Administration Minister, Collins Chabane, saying he had one of the most simplistic lifestyles but was very effective at getting his job done. Chabane, along with his two bodyguards Lesiba Sekele and Mareme Lentsoane, died in a crash with a truck last weekend on the N1 between Polokwane and Mokopane. The truck driver has since been arrested and charged with three counts of culpable homicide as well as driving under the influence of alcohol. Chabane worked with Ramaphosa in peace talks during the conflict in Sudan about five years ago, and the deputy president says his humble demeanor was evident on those trips: “He would always want us to stay in the simplest and cheapest hotel each time we went to Juba. And Juba can get very hot in summer, and Collins always chose a hotel that didn’t have air conditioning.”

[WATCH] Minister Collins Chabane's memorial service here

Rhodes name debate: University up next

Picture of the Rhodes University clock tower courtesy of Rhodes University

EWN's Masa Kekana and Xolani Koyana on this story: the Department of Higher Education and Training on Thursday called on all universities to speed up transformation in light of recent student protests. A group of University of Cape Town (UCT) students have been demanding the removal of a statue of colonialist Cecil John Rhodes. At Rhodes University in Grahamstown, some students have been campaigning for the institution to change its name. Protesting student Thembani Onceya said, “The movement has suggested a lot of names of those who are internationally well known so they can use that name.” Both institutions have been accused of lacking transformation, with non-white students being allegedly marginalised. Protests at UCT are continuing on Friday with the ‘UCT Rhodes Must Fall’ movement insisting the statue be removed. On Thursday night, staff and students at Rhodes met to discuss issues of transformation while UCT has called for similar dialogue. Rhodes University Vice Chancellor Sizwe Mabizela said he believed the name of his institution should only change if the majority of the university’s community wanted it to.

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