Stay informed and up to date with the latest news in South
Africa by reviewing all major headlines on Friday 13 December.

After a week of dire load shedding schedules, which have
left South Africans confused, frustrated and, ultimately, poorer, Eskom
executives have lost their December leave to focus on the country’s crippling
energy crisis. Unfortunately for the power utility, and other state owned
enterprises, trade unions’ plans for industrial action make for a daunting start
to 2020. In sports news, Cape Town gears up to host the Rugby Sevens, with the
Blitzboks hoping to build on their first round victory.

Today’s latest news
in South Africa, Friday 13 December

Eskom executives lose
Christmas leave

For the second year in a row, Eskom executives have been forced to abandon holiday plans as a result of load shedding. In the face of a catastrophic energy crisis, President Cyril Ramaphosa vowed to keep the lights burning through the festive period by revoking leave owed to Eskom’s top brass and tasking Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan with direct oversight duties.

Eskom’s operational incapacity reached new levels of
depravity in December, with unplanned breakdowns, ‘wet coal’, power station
floods and ‘sabotage’ all culminating in a wildly erratic load shedding regime.
Rotational blackouts are estimated to have cost the South African economy in
excess of R27 billion.

Making matters worse for already-embattled consumers, Eskom has announced its intention to recoup losses incurred by load shedding by raising electricity tariffs in 2020/21. The flailing utility is embroiled in court action against the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (NERSA) in an attempt to hike increases beyond what has already been approved.

Unions wage war on
state owned enterprises

South Africa’s state owned enterprises have had a dismal year. Recently, South African Airways (SAA) was placed under business rescue administration after being crippled by labour unions’ strike action and fierce financial losses. The Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa), which oversees all rail infrastructure in the country, was also recently placed under administration by Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula.

Add in Eskom’s calamitous position and the picture of
government-run enterprises becomes even more depressing.

Unions, however, believe that this sorry state of affairs
has been constructed by capitalist interests as a push towards privatisation. Unions,
fearing mass retrenchments, have vowed to embark on national protests in
January 2020.

The National Union of Metal Workers (Numsa), National Union
of Mineworkers (NUM) and their affiliated unions have issued a war cry which
aims to mobilise 50 000 state owned enterprise employees. Numsa president,
Andrew Chirwa, noted:

“We are engaging together as we all have an interest in saving Eskom as one of the State-Owned Enterprises. You are talking about all workers in SAA, we are talking about workers in Eskom, on the street alone we are talking about over 50 000 workers.”

Government launches
festive season safety initiatives

Notoriously the deadliest time on South African roads, the
festive season brings with it a massive surge of traffic on the country’s road.
The road death toll during 2018/19 festive season was 1 612, which increased
from the 2017/18 festive season of 1 527.

In attempt to mitigate carnage on the road, Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula launched the festive season road safety campaign in conjunction with multiple law enforcement agencies on Thursday. Mbalula was present at road blocks and border posts, conducting stop-and-search operations.

In addition to impounding unroadworthy vehicles, Mbalula
cracked down on undocumented foreigners and drunk drivers. The minister also
unveiled new technologies which will be used to track and identify stolen
vehicles.

Police Minister Bheki Cele, who was also conducting patrols
on Thursday, said:

“SAPS is currently rolling out its holiday season strategy with a special focus on the coastal provinces and Mpumalanga.”

Still no arrests in
KwaZulu-Natal massacre

Police are still on the hunt for gunmen who brutally gunned down a family of five in KwaZulu-Natal on Wednesday night. The targeted attack, which also claimed the life of a neighbour, has left a rural community reeling.

Police spokesperson Brigadier Jay Naicker confirmed that a
three-year-old boy survived the attack and was being treated at a local clinic after
sustaining a gunshot wound to the leg.

KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Commissioner, Lieutenant General
Khombinkosi Jula, has noted that police are following-up on all available leads
to bring the murderers to justice. KwaZulu-Natal’s MEC for transport, community
safety and liaison, Bheki Ntuli, said:

“I condemn in the strongest terms the callous and cold-blooded murder of the six people and call on the police to leave no stone unturned in finding the perpetrators of this horrendous act. Police must search the length and breadth of this province to find these gunmen so that they can be brought to book.”

Blitzboks to capitalise on home ground advantage

Springbok Sevens coach Neil Powell named an unchanged tournament squad for the Cape Town Sevens, which kicks off on Friday at the Cape Town Stadium.

Siviwe Soyizwapi will lead the same 11 men on the field that
left Dubai last weekend as gold medal winners, a feat that will see them
running out in front of their home fans as first seeds and early leaders in the
World Rugby Sevens Series.

Powell said there was no real need to change the squad after
they did so well in Dubai.

“We did bring in Hacjivah Dayimani as 13th player as we
wanted to give him a feel for the World Series, but his ankle injury put paid to
that idea,” Powell explained. (Source:
ANA
)

Will Cricket SA be
able to save its sponsors?

Cricket SA (CSA) on Thursday were told to fire their current
board by sponsor Momentum.

Momentum issued a statement on Thursday, stating its
concerns over all the issues surrounding CSA saying: “In light of recent
revelations and reports of lack of good governance at Cricket South Africa
(CSA), Momentum places its concern on record. The negative impact of CSA’s
actions is neither good for cricket nor for instilling national pride.”

Carel Bosman, head of Sponsorships at Momentum, said: ”We’ve
had various conversations with cricket leadership, including the acting CEO,
Jacques Faul, as well as Kugandrie Govender (Head: Commercial, CSA).

Latest weather
forecast, Friday 13 December

Take a look at weather forecasts for all nine provinces here.

Live traffic updates
for Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban

Stay one step ahead of the traffic by viewing our live traffic updates here.

Horoscope today

Free daily horoscope, celeb gossip and lucky numbers for Friday 13 December.

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Presh JM Reporter

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