Stay informed and up to date with the latest news in South Africa by reviewing all major headlines on Wednesday 29 January.
As South African Airways (SAA) breathes a sigh of relief following government’s decision to bailout the embattled national carrier with a few billion rand, concerns about the deadly Coronavirus penetrating the country’s porous borders intensify. In sports news, rugby fans ready themselves for the 2020 Super Rugby season which begins this coming weekend.
Today’s latest news in South Africa, Wednesday 29 January
SAA handed R3.5 billion lifeline
SAA, which was recently forced to cancel a host of flights due to severe financial constraints, will receive a much-needed reprieve of R3.5 billion. Government’s decision to award the national carrier a controversial bailout comes more than a month after crippling wage strikes almost collapsed the airline, costing billions of rand in revenue.
As a result of the airline’s dire predicament, which saw grim financial losses in the 2018/2019 year, SAA lodged an urgent bailout application in November, arguing that without government assistance, it would be forced to shut its doors.
While SAA will be pleased with the lifeline, albeit months after the initial request, taxpayers have lambasted the government for keeping SAA airborne amid protracted operational delinquencies which have drained the state’s coffers.
SAA, which is currently under business rescue administration, is expected to return its flight schedule to normal following the cash injection.
Coronavirus hits Africa, spreading fear down south
The deadly virus, which has killed more than 100 people in China, has made landfall in Africa, with two students, from the Ivory Coast and Kenya, being held in quarantine while further tests are being conducted. The Coronavirus outbreak, which is suspected to have originated in Wuhan, has spread panic around the world, with foreign governments urging citizens to exit the China as swiftly as possible.
While the Department for International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) has noted that no South Africans have yet been tested for the deadly virus, the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) says that it has intensified its monitoring efforts, particularly at the country’s ports of entry.
Ramaphosa outlines pillars of South Africa’s AU chairship
Economic integration, women’s empowerment and good governance are the three main priorities for South Africa as it prepares to assume chairship of the African Union (AU) this year.
President Cyril Ramaphosa highlighted the priorities at the African Heads of Mission Conference, taking place at the Department of International Relations and Cooperation’s offices, in Pretoria, on Tuesday.
On 8 and 9 February 2020, Heads of State and Government will convene in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, for the 33rd Ordinary Session of the AU assembly where South Africa will assume chairship.
South Africa previously held the AU Chairship in 2002, at the seminal session that officially launched the African Union.
“At the top of our agenda as Chair must be the deepening of economic integration. This is a historic moment that we must seize.
“Together with our fellow African countries, we must implement the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement with purpose and determination,” said the President.
The AfCFTA brings together all 55 member states of the AU covering a market of more than 1.2 billion people and aims to accelerate intra-African trade and boost Africa’s trading position in the global market. (Source: SAnews)
War of words between DA and Public Protector Mkhwebane
Democratic Alliance (DA) chief whip Natasha Mazzone said on Tuesday that the country’s public protector, advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane, had “an exceptionally poor understanding of the law”.
Mazzone made the statement following a press briefing held by Mkhwebane at which she released several reports and also addressed parliament approving a process that may see her removed from office.
Mkhwebane has demanded that parliament speaker Thandi Modise halt the proceedings, and questioned the constitutionality of the rules that will be used in the process.
“The public protector alleges that the recently-adopted National Assembly rules, which govern the process by which parliament may remove the head of a Chapter 9 institution, are unconstitutional and unlawful,” said Mazzone.
“Among other things, she seems to be under the impression that parliament’s duty to ensure that her office functions independently prohibits this institution from criticising her conduct or exercising its own constitutional powers to remove her.”
Section 194 of the constitution provided for the removal of the public protector or another head of a Chapter 9 institution on the grounds of misconduct, incapacity or incompetence, said Mazzone. (Source: ANA)
Bulls Tongan centre Tuitavake finally arrives in Pretoria
The Bulls weren’t able to give new signing Nafi Tuitavake a run in their Superhero Sunday warm-up match against the Lions, but the display impressed the former Crusaders centre.
The Tongan outside back’s arrival in the country was delayed due to a work permit issue, but he has since arrived and is eager to get into the mix for the Bulls.
Tuitavake said that he is open to playing both in the outside centre berth vacated by Japan-bound Springbok Jesse Kriel or out on the wing.
Chiefs forward Twala makes the move to NFD side Swallows
Kaizer Chiefs have released centre forward Sizwe Twala to GladAfrica Championship (National First Division) team Swallows FC.
Swallows are currently fourth on the log.
Twala was promoted to the Chiefs first team ahead of the current season, after spending time with the Chiefs reserve team last season.
The 22-year-old Twala has been released in order for him to gain valuable game time which will further aid his development. (Source: ANA)
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