Are E-tolls here to stay…long term?: Transport Minister Dipuo Peters has said at the Gauteng E-tolls Review Panel that critics of the system have been peddling false information, and assured those in attendance that the system was only implemented after proper consultation. Peters has previously been on the Midday Report, strongly defending E-tolls and rejecting the use of the fuel levy to pay for roads. EWN Senior Correspondent, Barry Bateman:
(Peters) has been making it quite clear to the panel that opposition parties, unions, lobbyist and motorists must accept that this decision was done lawfully, with consultation. Peters took it back to 1996, saying that this was when the concept of E-tolling was first discussed and first brought up by the Gauteng government. It was later pushed aside due to costs, but Peters emphasises that the Gauteng government needs to take credit for initiating this conversation. With nearly a third of SA’s 10 million cars being in Gauteng, Peters argues that South Africa shouldn’t be made to pay for Gauteng road users.
What’s the latest at the Nedlac Labour Relations Indaba?: the Indaba is being presided over by Deputy President, Cyril Rampahosa. EWN Correspondent, Thando Khubeka:
One the first things Ramaphosa said is that unemployment and inequality are the biggest issues contended with in SA and the strengthening of dialogue for social empowerment is key. Meanwhile, COSATU General-Secretary, Zwelinzima Vavi has emphasized that over 38% of SAfricans are unemployed.
Vavi expanded on the aims of this Labour Indaba:
We want an irreversible way towards declaring a figure for the minimum wage. We want consensus developed –not to be disturbed – to march towards minimum wage and addressing poverty and inequality amongst workers.
Meanwhile, Nedbank Chief Economist, Dennis Dykes is apprehensive on the minimum wage proposition:
It depends on what levels it is set. In a world with a very competitive drive, if you set it too high, you could kill competitiveness. Brazil did increase the minimum wage, which saw a reduction in short-term inequality, but they aren’t a textbook case because they narrowly avoided recession. Most countries in Latin America aren’t a great example in this regard.
Will Rand Water suffer with supply due to load shedding?: on the Monday edition of the Midday Report, a question had been put to Rand Water as to whether load shedding could affect their operations. The context was that problems with electricity supply had led to water supply issues in Gauteng six weeks ago, that lasted over a week. Here is Rand Water’s written response, following an interview cancellation from Rand Water:
Resistance to having tablets in school?: teachers union NAPTOSA on Monday expressed its reservations about the proposal by Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi to make sure every child in a Gauteng school has a tablet computer. NAPTOSA President Basil Manuel explained his concerns:
This is part of inequity in our country. Other parts of the country aren’t even thinking about electronics, yet we have a province that seeks to roll these out. If teachers are not involved in the agenda, we need to see who is benefiting from this? Big business shouldn’t dictate on education.
Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi meanwhile says big business doesn’t pull the strings in the sector:
I have consulted all teacher unions, school governing bodies and all have approved this program. We are not influenced by big business. I’m taken aback, we are not the first one – when you go to all of the rich schools in this province, all of the private schools, all of the learners are literally on tablets. Why don’t people question that? Is it because this seeks to benefit a black child or one from a previously disadvantaged community? I’m seriously taken aback and I feel I need to have an urgent meeting with NAPTOSA to see where they are coming from. When I met with them, they gave me the ‘OK’, so I need to find out what the turnaround is all about.
The latest on the NPA’s appeal of Judge Masipa’s Pistorius judgement?: EWN Senior Correspondent and co-author of “Behind the Door – the Oscar Pistorius and Reeva Steenkamp Story”, Mandy Wiener:
The NPA are filing their papers and are going straight to the Supreme Court of Appeals in Bloemfontein and not the High Court in Pretoria, arguing that the sentence was light, inappropriate and the judge erred in a number of areas. They say that Masipa didn’t look at all the circumstantial evidence before her, relying on the version given by Pistorius. They’re also asking whether the court correctly applied the principle of dolus eventualis.
Another economic downgrade for SA?: the World Bank’s team in South Africa has given their predictions for the South African economy in Pretoria, in the context of the International Monetary Fund dropping its forecast for economic growth in our economy this year. World Bank Lead Economist for South Africa, Catriona Purfield:
We’ve revised our growth forecast. The power supply and infrastructure are a key downside to forecasting. South Africa needs to build railway infrastructure so exports can happen more competitively. Another key thing we highlight in this report is that labour relations need to stabilise and bring about greater trust and stability amongst workers.
Is a gun-free South Africa plausible?: in the wake of Bafana Bafana Captain Senzo Meyiwa’s fatal shooting, the spotlight has been shed very tightly on gun laws and gun ownership in South Africa. Calls have been made in some corners of society for the declaration of a gun amnesty. Spokesperson for Gun Free SA, Claire Taylore:
We do believe it would make a big difference. We’ve had a number of amnesties in South Africa and they have been successful. But there need to be other operations with the amnesty, including search and seizure and operations based on intelligence. It’s not just about an amnesty, it should involve other policing operations.
Are we moving closer to having a vaccine for Ebola?: EWN Africa Correspondent, Jean-Jacques Cornish:
This is the African Vaccine Regulatory Forum, but due to the Ebola outbreak, they have focused their conversation on Ebola. They’re doing tests right now and if successful, they would use these in a wide-ranging manner, on a global scale.