Today's Big Stories

Commuters left in the cold amid tensions between Autopax and taxi services

Autopax buses a no-show in Mamelodi

Autopax buses at the depots in Mamelodi were delayed as a result of disruptions from local taxi drivers.

The Prasa owned bus company was due to take over routes that Putco used to operate, but taxi drivers blockaded the depots and refused to let the bus services run. EWN reporter, Dineo Bandile:

It seems government plans have not materialise. Many of the buses did leave the depot this morning. When buses arrived for work this morning, they were confronted by taxi drivers. In the middle of this battle are hundreds of commuters who say there are just seeking a reliable and affordable transport service.

Dineo Bandile, EWN reporter

South African National Taxi Council (Santaco) secretary general, Ralph Jones, responds to claims of unlawfulness:

This whole thing is unfair from the government side. As the taxi industry, we had showed interest when Putco’s contract expired. But now there are buses in our area. We don’t have to go to court, because they didn’t go to court. We wanted first preference and they have bombarded our routes. They must come up and ask to engage with us, instead we have been undermined. There is a problem. They have done what they have always done by denying that we are part and parcel of public transport.

Ralph Jones, SANTACO Secretary General

Government has their eye on Uber

Gauteng Transport MEC, Ismail Vadi, has said that government is looking to regulate the controversial taxi service Uber. Alon Lits, Uber GM for Sub-Saharan Africa, responds:

I think what comes out of this statement is that government is taking the intimidation by the metred taxi industry at the airports very seriously. This is something that we welcome and have been trying to address for quite some time. Consumers have the right to choose. Uber is a technology company, not a transport provider. Though we don’t operate cars, the drivers we connect to the consumers have background checks. We go above and beyond what’s required from a regulatory perspective. It’s not about bypassing any system.

Alon Lits, Uber GM for Sub-Saharan Africa

Government sells R28.7 billion stake in Vodacom for Eskom bailout

The National Treasury has sold its 13.91% stake in Vodacom to the Public Investment Corporation.

The R23 billion stake will be used to finance Eskom’s allocation. Stephen Grootes spoke to Director-General of the National Treasury Lungisa Fuzile:

It was a question of the amount of money we needed and who had the balance sheet to give us the amount of course plus other price related factors and there is good advantage with the PIC given its natural connections to government.

Lungisa Fuzile, Director-General of the National Treasury

South Africa in for a number of price hikes

The 1st of July sees the the start of the new municipal financial year and warnings from the United Nations that a drought in Southern Africa could push up food prices in Southern Africa. EWN Reporter, Rahima Essop, looks at the rising cost of living:

We all woke up this morning to various price increases. Let me use myself as an example to illustrate the impact. In Cape Town today, I got out of bed and turned on the lights – that’s going to cost me more. I turned on the shower – basic service like water is up by 11% I took out the trash - refuse removal is up by 9.3%. Property rates are up too, so my apartment is costing me much more. These are all above inflation increases. The figures may differ slightly in Johannesburg, but the increases remain across the board and extend to travel because petrol has also gone up and so has public transport.

Rahima Essop, EWN reporter

Long-awaited release of Swazi activists welcomed

Activist are relieved that the Swazi monarchy has finally released journalist Bheki Mabkhubu and lawyer Thulani Maseko.

The two men spent more than a year in jail for writing articles critical of judges in Swaziland, and were charged without trail. Their release has been welcomed by many in the country, including the spokesperson of Swazi solidarity, Lucky Lukhele:

We welcome our brothers home. For the first time, last night, they had a proper bath and coffee. This is not a surprise to us at all. Their release was more than just a gesture from the king. This was due to the pressure that was exerted on the monarchy by the international community and the people of Swaziland. We want to say bravo and thank you to their two wives who supported and sustained the family structure.

Lucky Lukhele, spokesperson of Swazi solidarity

Greek Prime Minister to address the public on financial crisis

Greece has missed its deadline to make a payment on the debt it owes to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). However, Eurozone Ministers says they are now discussing a last minute plea for another deal.

If Greece doesn't make another payment by July 20, the country could be cut off from almost all forms of international funding. Patek Pitik, EWN's Greek Correspondent:

The daily life is so difficult right now that people do not have the time to think about this failure for Greece to meet its commitment to the IMF. The breaking news is that Greece's Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, is going to address the public through Greece public television but we have no information about what he is going to say.

Patek Pitik, EWN's Greek Correspondent

Numsa discuss plans for Cosatu's special congress

Nine unions who support the metalworkers union attended a press conference at Numsa House in Johannesburg to discuss their plans for Cosatu’s special congress to be held in two weeks’ time. EWN reporter Govan Whittles, with more:

Numsa supporters seems to think that they would be able to get the metal workers union reinstated within Cosatu as well as Zwelinzima Vavi if the matter had to come down to a vote. Over the last few years we’ve heard from the Numsa allies that union who have supported Numsa’s expulsion from Cosatu actually have members who disagree with that decision

Govan Whittles, EWN reporter

Amazulu buy their way back into the PSL

Football club Amazulu is going to buy the PSL status of Mpumalanga Black Aces in a deal worth around R82 million. Stephen Grootes spoke to David Kekana, SABC soccer analyst:

The practice has happened before in 2006 and Amazulu has again did by buying the status of Dynamos which is based in Limpopo to return back into PSL… it is not a foreign thing to happen in the PSL. I remember former chief executive of PSL, Trevor Philips has said that the practice has turned the PSL into the Mambo-jumbo league”

David Kekana, SABC Soccer Analyst
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