Eskom ‘needs more cash to avoid crisis’
Ailing power utility Eskom urgently needs more cash to stabilise its ballooning debt pile with the funds coming from a rise in tariffs or new equity, new chief executive Andre de Ruyter told lawmakers on Tuesday. "The issue of Eskom debt has to be addressed to make Eskom sustainable," he told parliament's Standing Committee on Public Accounts, Reuters reported. The utility has debt of about R450bn, mostly backed by the government, and is struggling to service the interest on its borrowing due to falling revenues. Its access to capital markets has also been constrained by years of mismanagement. "The money is going to have to come from somewhere. Either it comes from a tariff increase or it comes from an equity injection. It (the debt) doesn't just disappear," said De Ruyter. Parliament, meanwhile, criticised Eskom’s board for failing to appear at the meeting.
Newborn dies after nurses ‘refused to help’
Two nurses have been suspended following allegations that they failed to help a woman in labour at a Durban state facility. Health MEC Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu said on Tuesday she welcomed their "immediate suspension", following the alleged incident at St Mary's Hospital in Mariannhill on Friday. "The woman, who was eventually assisted by other patients in the ward to give birth, reportedly had her pleas for help ignored, and was instead allegedly told by nurses on duty to ‘let us know once the baby starts crying’. The premature baby unfortunately passed away on Saturday, about eight hours after being born and placed in an incubator," said Simelane-Zulu. The nurses were placed on special leave on Sunday and received letters on Monday notifying them of their suspension pending the finalisation of a formal investigation.
Habib to leave Wits after eight years
Prof Adam Habib said on Tuesday he would leave his position as vice-chancellor of the University of the Witwatersrand at the end of 2020. He will take up the position of director at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in London in January 2021. His tenure at Wits would have spanned eight years by the time he departs. “After much deliberation with my family and considerable engagement with the Wits council and the executive, I have agreed to accept the [SOAS] offer,” Habib said in a recorded statement. “My decision was not made lightly. I am a proud leader and champion of Wits University and South Africa, and will continue to fly these flags high,” he said.
Guard ‘walks out mall with R4m cash’
Cash transport company SBV Services has appealed for information to help the police find a former employee allegedly linked to the theft of R4m from its collection facility at the Mall of Africa more than six months ago. The Sowetan reported that Bathobile Mlangeni allegedly walked out of the shopping centre on July 15 2019 with a trolley containing refuse bags stuffed with cash. Mlangeni, 29, from Dlamini, Soweto, who was on duty at the time, allegedly cut open two bulk cash bags with scissors before transferring the cash into the bags, the newspaper reported, quoting a source close to the investigation. Gauteng police spokesperson Capt Mavela Masondo said Mlangeni "has not reported to work since the day the money went missing”.
KZN braced for heavy rain, flooding
KwaZulu-Natal disaster management teams have been put on high alert following a warning of possible heavy rains in parts of the province. The alert comes after the SA Weather Service issued a warning of possible heavy rains in the Harry Gwala, Ugu, uMgungundlovu, iLembe and King Cetshwayo districts, and the eThekwini metro. According to the KZN department of co-operative governance and traditional affairs, the rain is expected to bring localised flooding and reduced visibility. “We have placed our teams on alert as inclement weather continues to pose a serious risk to residents in our province,” said MEC Sipho Hlomuka. KZN premier Sihle Zikala made a call for the province to be declared a disaster area after bad weather claimed 44 lives since November 2019.
‘Drunk driver’ arrested after cop killed at roadblock
A Johannesburg metro police officer was killed when an allegedly drunk driver crashed into him on Saturday. Michael Sun, the DA's shadow MMC for public safety in Johannesburg, said metro officers were conducting a routine roadside check at about 3.15pm in Meadowlands, Soweto, when the incident occurred. The officer had just finished checking a vehicle when a silver Honda Ballade approached the checkpoint without any sign of stopping. "The Honda crashed into the JMPD officer, killing him instantly.” Sun said the driver, believed to be driving under the influence of alcohol, was arrested at the scene and taken to Meadowlands police station. "I will be launching an online petition to parliament to ensure that the country’s laws are amended for stricter and heftier sentences,” he added.