Today’s latest news and headlines, Wednesday 29 July

Never miss a beat when it comes to the latest news in South Africa; review all major headlines on Wednesday 29 July.

As government attempts to tighten its checks and balances concerning coronavirus relief funds amid a damning wave of corruption, thirsty South Africans may soon be afforded some relief as government provides feedback regarding proposals aimed at lifting the controversial alcohol ban.


Corruption: South Africa’s bigger pandemic

As South Africa battles a burgeoning coronavirus caseload which has, as a result of the nationwide lockdown, decimated economic opportunities and laid waste to millions of jobs, a deeper pandemic has once again reared its ugly head. Cries of corruption draining relief funds intended to combat to outbreak — in saving both lives and livelihoods — has stretched from local district, municipalities and provincial departments right to the president’s own doorstep.

This comes at a time when President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that corrupt officials would be severely dealt with and that the looting of coronavirus relief funds would not be tolerated. Mere days after the president’s war talk, presidential spokesperson, Khusela Diko, embarked on a sudden leave of absence amid allegations that she secured her husband a lucrative — and wholly corrupt — government contract to supply personal protective equipment (PPE) to the Gauteng department of health.

As investigations into the matter continue, calls for Gauteng Health MEC Bandile Masuku to step down have grown louder. This turmoil coincides with the approval of a R70 billion loan, delivered by the International Monetary Fund (IMF). South Africans have voiced serious concerns about the safety of these funds, which have been awarded to bolster the battle against COVID-19.

In the meantime, Parliament has called on Finance Minister Tito Mboweni to account for the wanton looting of coronavirus relief funds. Joe Maswanganyi of the standing committee on finance has also called on Health Minister Zweli Mkhize to come forward. The issue of PPE procurement is expected to be heard before parliament next week.

Government to report back on alcohol ban

South African drinkers, hospitality industry stakeholders and tax watchdogs are eagerly awaiting a response from government after the Restaurant Association of SA (Rasa) confirmed that it had tabled new proposals which hoped to see the alcohol ban lifted. According to Rasa’s Wendy Alberts, the new proposal, which is currently being deliberated by government, adopts a localised district-based approach.

Essentially, the proposal allows for restrictions in districts which record high cases of non-compliance and irresponsible drinking behaviour which further embattles healthcare services.

Alberts, who has detailed the devastating impact that the alcohol ban has had on the hospitality industry, said that government would reply to the proposal later today.

No joy for motorists as petrol prices increase again

As the country slowly emerges from harsher levels of lockdown and streets begin hum with the sound of motor vehicles and commuters, petrol prices edge upwards as the demand for travel increases. According to the Central Energy Fund (CEF), South Africans will be expected to cough up more at the pumps in August as follows:

  • Petrol: Increase of 11 cents per litre
  • Diesel: Increase of 50 cents per litre
  • Paraffin: Increase of 44 cents per litre

Sisulu, Plato seek lasting solutions to Cape Town land invasions

Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation Minister, Lindiwe Sisulu, is expected to meet with the City of Cape Town Executive Mayor, Dan Plato, today to consolidate a plan aimed at addressing the housing challenges currently facing the city.

The meeting follows a meeting held on Monday, where Sisulu met with Police Minister Bheki Cele, Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development Minister Thoko Didiza, and Public Works and Infrastructure Minister Patricia de Lille, to devise a plan to address the challenges facing people in the city.

The meeting also comes just few days after the Minister’s meeting with community leaders in Khayelitsha and surrounding areas to understand the causes of the recent unrest in the City of Cape Town.

Since this meeting, Sisulu has been consulting with various stakeholders in order to address the causes of invasions and evictions. (Source: SAnews)

SAA ‘takes flight’ as rescue plan officially authorised

South African Airways (SAA), which narrowly avoided outright liquidation earlier this month following years of poor financial outcomes and debilitating mismanagement, will return to the skies in the near future. This comes after stakeholders voted in favour of the costly Business Rescue Plan which was ratified by the Minister of Public Enterprises and the Minister of Finance.

Government’s ‘unconditional’ support of the rescue plan will set SAA on a path of rejuvenation which could see the national carrier evolve into a ‘new’ airline.


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