Outgoing Sunday Times ed: ‘It’s been an honour’
Sunday Times editor Bongani Siqoko is leaving the publication at the end of February. Arena Holdings MD Andy Gill announced his departure to staff on Tuesday. He said Siqoko is taking up a managerial position to help grow the group’s business in the Eastern Cape. Arena owns the Daily Dispatch in East London and The Herald in Port Elizabeth, and also publishes Times Select. Siqoko was appointed editor in November 2015. “It’s been a huge honour to lead and edit the Sunday Times during a very difficult period. I want to thank the whole Sunday Times team of hard-working journalists, editors, admin support, marketing, sales, circulation and everyone else involved in putting together this great publication each week,” he said. Current Sowetan editor S’thembiso Msomi will take over from him on March 1.
All 60 coronavirus tests in SA negative: NICD
The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) has run tests on 61 people in SA for the novel coronavirus, with all of those tests proving negative. NICD spokesperson Sinenhlanhla Jimoh said: “SA remains a destination of choice for many travellers, with a lot of traffic managed from Cape Town International Airport and OR Tambo International Airport. All ports of entry … remain on high alert for a possible case. It is possible that we will detect a case and as such, we would like to assure the public that should SA identify a positive case, the country is well prepared to deal with it,” she said.
Pupil dies in fall from Randburg school balcony
A pupil died after falling from a balcony at Ferndale High School in Randburg on Tuesday. Gauteng education spokesperson Steve Mabona said the 16-year-old boy may have had a seizure related to epilepsy. He was a grade 10 pupil at the school. “Unfortunately the boy fell ... to the ground floor. Emergency services were called and the boy was attended to on the scene and later taken to a local hospital. Unfortunately he did not make it,” said Mabona. The boy apparently fell from the third floor. The incident brings to 11 the number of pupils who have died in Gauteng since the start of 2020.
WC Prasa boss replaced and put on paid leave
Metrorail’s manager in the Western Cape, Richard Walker, has been put on paid leave amid “multiple challenges and lapses”, the Passenger Rail Agency of SA (Prasa) said on Tuesday. Regional engineering manager Raymond Maseko will take over with immediate effect, said Prasa spokesperson Makhosini Mgitywa. Mgitywa said Prasa administrator Bongisizwe Mpondo had visited all the agency’s regions since assuming sole responsibility for the organisation in December. “The Western Cape region has so far proven to be the most troubled,” said the statement, and as a result passengers and stakeholders had lost confidence in the business. Maseko’s appointment was aimed at stabilising the region and improving performance.
SAA unions head to court to stop job losses
Unions at SAA have approached the labour court for an urgent application to stop business rescue practitioners from retrenching staff at the ailing airline, until they have complied with the Labour Relations Act. The National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) and the SA Cabin Crew Association (Sacca) said the application was expected to be heard on Thursday. SAA business rescue practitioners (BRP) announced last week that the airline would cancel all domestic flights, except for a reduced service to Cape Town, as well as some international and regional flights, at the end of February in a bid to further cut costs. This came after the practitioners told employees that they intend to expedite retrenchments at the airline. In reaction to this, unions said the business rescue practitioners were unable to provide any rational basis for the cancellation of routes, and that the decision would have a devastating effect on employees and their families.
Union hopeful about decline in farm murders
Commercial farmers’ union TLU SA said it hoped a reported decline in farm attacks and murders - with no killings in January 2020 - would continue for the rest of the year. The union said there were 20 farm attacks but no murders in January. This was in contrast to 35 farm attacks and six murders registered in January 2019, and the 39 farm attacks and five murders recorded in January 2018. Maj-Gen Chris van Zyl, deputy general manager of TLU SA, said this could possibly be attributed to better safety and security awareness among farm and smallholding residents, as well as quick reactions by neighbours and farm patrols. He said that the number of murders and the number of farm attacks had increased in 2019 from the year before - from 54 to 56, and from 394 to 419, respectively.