Stay informed and up to date with the latest news in South
Africa – review all major headlines on Friday 13 March 2020.
As the operation to evacuate South Africans from the
epicentre of the coronavirus in Wuhan, China, enters its final stage, case
numbers continue to swell on home soil. Meanwhile, Eskom still struggles to meet
capacity amid worsening load shedding schedules. In sports news, the Proteas’
tour of India has gotten off to a damp start after rain cancelled play before a
ball was bowled.
Today’s latest news
in South Africa, Friday 13 March
Coronavirus update: South
Africans return from Wuhan
The South African National Defence Force (SANDF),
accompanied by Health Department officials, will complete its mission to
evacuate citizens trapped in Wuhan back to home soil today. While government has
been tight-lipped on the exact details, the chartered flight, which departed on
Tuesday evening, will return to South Africa today.
While South Africa struggles to contain the spread of the deadly coronavirus – with 16 cases being confirmed in five provinces on Thursday – all 122 locals evacuated from China will enter quarantine for no less than two weeks upon their arrival. The evacuees will be joined in isolation by all SANDF members who facilitated the rescue operation.
It’s reported that the Ranch Hotel in Polokwane, Limpopo, will be used as the primary place of quarantine.
tough task over COVD-19 spread
The Health Department, led by Minister Zweli Mkhize, has spent the last few days in crunch talks with government and the World Health Organization (WHO) over the looming outbreak of COVID-19 in South Africa. In just over a week, the coronavirus has spread to five provinces infecting 17 people – one of whom remains in a critical condition in an undisclosed Gauteng care facility.
On Thursday, government announced that it would be conducting an emergency cabinet meeting to deal with the coronavirus threat in South Africa. Minister in the Presidency Jackson Mthembu confirmed that the special meeting would convene in Tshwane on Sunday.
Meanwhile, Mkhize noted, with concern, the first instance of
local transmission concerning a 32-year-old male who came into contact with a
Chinese businessman in the Free State. All other confirmed coronavirus cases emanate
from travellers who re-entered the country after being infected while overseas.
Dark days continue as
Eskom’s load shedding lingers
Load shedding is set to continue, at various stages,
throughout the weekend. This follows a particularly dire week, which saw Eskom
ramp rotational cuts up from Stage 1 to 4 within the space of 48 hours.
While Eskom put the blame on a ‘turbine fault’ at Koeberg Power Plan, experts have warned that the combination of both planned and unplanned breakdowns, threatened to cripple the electricity grid. Eskom spokesperson Sikonathi Mantshantsha confirmed that a whopping 18 000 MW had been lost to breakdowns – one of the highest levels of incapacity on record. Mantshantsha added:
“The situation is highly volatile and at any moment a unit can trip which would worsen the situation.”
appear in court for corruption
Fifteen people, who were arrested in Bethlehem and
Harrismith on charges of corruption, are expected to appear in court today.
Five traffic officials, three administration clerks, four
jockeys, two examiners and one driving school instructor were arrested by the
Hawks in Bethlehem and Harrismith, Free State.
The suspects are facing charges of corruption after they
allegedly issued fraudulent driver’s licences and roadworthy certificates to
motorists in the province.
The sting operation, which saw the suspects being arrested,
was conducted by the Serious Corruption Investigation unit, Crime Intelligence,
the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC), Tactical Response Team (TRT)
and the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA).
The National Head of the Directorate for Priority Crime
Investigation (DPCI), Lieutenant General Godfrey Lebeya, has welcomed the
arrests. (Source: SAnews)
confirms suspension of colleague who called on her to resign
Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane has suspended her office’s Free State director after he called on her to step down following the most scathing high court judgment on her work to date.
Mkhwebane said Hamilton Samuel was placed on precautionary
suspension on Wednesday afternoon “following his writing and wide
distribution of a disparaging letter which he addressed to the Public Protector
She added that he had written the letter using office
resources, including his official email. (Source:
take aim at government infrastructure
Protests which have enveloped Ladysmith and its surrounds, in KwaZulu-Natal, show little signs of dissipating after six vehicles belonging to the Department of Social Development were torched on Wednesday night. The town has been marred by vicious protests since February, with calls for Alfred Duma local municipality mayor Vincent Madlala to step down coupled with escalating taxi violence and basic service delivery demonstrations.
KZN Premier Sihle Zikalala condemned the latest attack on
government property and has vowed to quell the protests which have embattled
the area. The ‘total shutdown’ of Ladysmith, by way of barricades and burning
debris blocking roads, is estimated to cost the region R2 million a day in
India and South
Africa to play rest of series behind closed doors
The rapid spread of the deadly coronavirus could force the rest of the ongoing One Day International (ODI) series between India and South Africa to be played without spectators.
The three-match series is due to make stops in Lucknow and
Kolkata, but both matches face the threat of being played behind closed doors.
This is after an advisory issued out by the India sports
ministry to the country’s Sports Federations, including the Board of Control
for Cricket in India (BCCI), to “ensure that no public gathering takes place in
any sporting event”.
Odendaal returns from
injury to lead Bulls against Reds
Burger Odendaal is back from injury and will lead the Bulls
in their Super Rugby Australasian tour opener against the Reds in Brisbane on
The match at Suncorp Stadium kicks off at 10.15am (SA time).
Odendaal’s inclusion at inside centre is the only personnel
change to the Bulls’ team from last weekend’s win over the Highlanders. As a
result, Johnny Kotze moves back to outside centre.
On the Reds’ side, Brad Thorn has made six changes to his
team, the most prominent of which is the return of James O’Connor at flyhalf
after having recovered from an ankle injury.
Each of the last 13 Super Rugby meetings between the Reds
and the Bulls have been won by the home team on the day – indeed, the
Queenslanders have won their last six home games on the bounce against the men
from Pretoria, with four of those wins being by seven points or fewer. (Source: ANA)
forecast, Friday 13 March
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.
Free daily horoscope, celeb gossip and lucky numbers for Friday 13 March.