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Eskom profits down 34% South Africa

South Africa's state-owned power company has released figures showing its profits are down by 34%. Eskom's figures also showed a worsening cash position, a fall in asset values and a gap of 50% between the funding it needs, and the funding it has. The struggling company has received a number of government bailouts, but is also implicated in a corruption scandal involving South Africa's president, Jacob Zuma. There are allegations that certain contracts relating to Eskom were given to government allies, instead of being properly tendered out. Eskom dominates the electricity market in South Africa and exports power to some of the country's neighbours. But in recent years, the size of its debts have regularly been cited by credit ratings agencies as a threat to South Africa's economic stability. Last month, the company elected a new board, prompting hopes that its fortunes can be reversed.
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Managers focused on furniture needs, not water – De Lille on Cape Town’s ‘derailed’ drought plan

Cape Town - Project managers in the City of Cape Town tasked with coming up with solutions about the drought spent lots of time talking about furniture they wanted instead of water projects, a submission by Mayor Patricia de Lille has revealed. "At some of the very first meetings it was astounding to hear feedback from project managers who, when asked for updates on the plans to get additional water, instead spent a great deal of time talking about furniture for the 'war room' for the water resilience team," she said. "Instead of receiving substantial feedback on the actual delivery of water and commencement of projects, senior project managers spoke about desks and other office furniture needed for the war room and the costs to set it up." De Lille’s scathing submission also details how a year ago, when Cape Town’s water situation needed urgent tackling, some City officials did not believe there was a crisis and did not realise climate change was affecting the water supply, Drought plan 'veered off course' By the end of October last year, her submission said, it worryingly appeared that a water resilience plan created months earlier was not actually moving ahead. "It was apparent that the plan had veered off course and the commitment of the second date in October for 'new water' to come online would not come to fruition," De Lille wrote. "It was incumbent on me to step into the management of the water crisis even more hands on and more frequently."
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South Africa Hawks raid ANC leader’s office

South Africa's elite police unit, known as the Hawks, said they are executing a search and seizure warrant at Premier’s office in Free State province. The premier also happens to be the Secretary-General of the governing African National Congress (ANC), Ace Magashule. The investigation relates to the Estina dairy farm near Vrede, from which the controversial Gupta business family - who are close to president Jacob Zuma - are alleged to have pocketed millions of dollars from a scheme originally meant for poor black farmers. Evidence revealed in a tranche of WikiLeaks-style leaked emails showed large sums of money meant for the dairy project were allegedly siphoned-off to Gupta bank accounts and - eventually - paid for the family’s lavish wedding at Sun City, South Africa's upmarket holiday resort. According to the National Prosecuting Authority's Asset Forfeiture Unit - which filed papers with the Bloemfontein High Court earlier this week - just two million of 220m rand ($169,00 - $18.5m; £118,500 - £13m) given to the project was spent on the farm, South Africa's Times Live reported. Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi, from the Hawks, confirmed the operation. He said they are looking for documents and any other evidence related to the farm project in a search expected to take the whole day. “We have members from our serious corruption and cybercrime team that are that are executing those search and seizure operations at the Office of the Premier and the Depa
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Plane Crash on Ilovo Beach

Two pilots have escaped injury after the plane they were in crashed on Illovo Beach on Saturday morning. Rescue Care spokesperson, Garrith Jamieson, said the incident happened just after 07:00 off Elizabeth Drive in Illovo Beach. "Paramedics responded to the call to find that the plane was lying on its roof," he said. KZN EMS tweeted that the plane had made an emergency landing on the beach. Jamieson said the two occupants of the plane were found outside and had sustained no injuries in the crash. He said the events leading up to the plane crash were unknown, however all necessary authorities were on the scene and will be investigating further.
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Power to Zuma!

It's official: President Jacob Zuma is under investigation. Also under investigation are current and former members of his cabinet, as well as his friends and family. At the heart of this state capture probe is to officially confirm and put a legal stamp on what we already know: Zuma violated the Constitution of the Republic when he placed his interests and those of his family and friends above those of the Republic. In so doing, he gave direct and tacit approval to all government officials – from ministers, bureaucrats and leaders of state-owned companies, among others – to do everything in their power not to serve South Africans but to do the bidding of the Guptas. Multi-national companies from around the world were seemingly given the same impression that all that matters in South Africa is to massage the president’s friends and family for doors to open. It had become an "unofficial official" policy at Eskom, Transnet, Denel and others. Zuma gave away the executive authority of the Republic, which the Constitution vests only in him to use in the interest of the nation. We must not forget that following two elections, in 2009 and 2014, Zuma entered into a contract with the Republic when he undertook, among other things, to "devote myself to the wellbeing of the Republic and all its people". He also undertook to "promote all that will advance the Republic, and oppose all that may harm it". The terms of reference of the commission of inquiry on state capt
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City of Cape Town set to reach out to the bottled water industry

With less than 80 days to go until Day Zero, the City of Cape Town may want to consider getting help from the bottled water industry. South African National Bottled Water Association (Sanbwa) chairperson John Weaver said that some of their members have donated water to afflicted areas in the past and have sold water at a cost. "This cost could be dramatically reduced were government to allow for an emergency water category that, for example, allowed bottlers to omit labels. "Bottled water is regarded as a food product by the Department of Health and must comply with legislation covering, in addition to health and safety issues, packaging and labelling, which is very expensive," said Weaver. READ: Police, army will help secure Day Zero water distribution points - Zille Sanbwa is a representative body of the bottled water industry and has a membership list which includes Bonaqua, Valpré and Clover Waters: Nestle Pure Life. The bottled water industry has remained untouched during the water crisis as 90% of their members use renewable groundwater sources in their packaged products, according to Weaver. "Groundwater is strongly buffered against drought influence because it is renewed (replenished) in a completely different way to surface water, which is mainly dependent on reliable rainfall, and is thus very susceptible to drought patterns," explained Weaver. The city's Director of Trade and Investment Lance Greyling said that he was planning to consult wi
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Spotlight on groundwater as Day Zero moves up 9 days

Groundwater has become an increasingly important resource as Cape Town inches closer to Day Zero. Dam levels have dropped by 1,4% this week, and unfortunately this means that Day Zero has moved closer by nine days, namely 12 April. The City is in the process of implementing "aggressive" pressure management operations and installing water management devices to properties with high water consumption. SEE: #CapeWaterCrisis: 'Privileged Capetonian's guide' to the water crisis will have you laughing then crying The plan for Day Zero, when the taps will be switched off and residents will have to queue for water, has still not been released by the City's Disaster Risk Management team, who have delayed its release by another week. "If we want this disaster plan to be adopted with as little risk and inconvenience as possible, we need to look at the local context of each water distribution point. We need to build flexibility into the design of this plan to ensure that we can address any contingencies as they arise," the City says in a statement. Although desalination and aquifer projects are underway, they won't produce enough water to avoid Day Zero. Many residents have also turned to boreholes to help alleviate the water crisis, pumping straight from the City's precious groundwater. Although a nationalised resource that falls under the jurisdiction of the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS), as well as governed by a municipality's bylaws, use of groundwater has
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Ramaphosa arrives in Davos on wave of optimism as renewal beckons

Johannesburg - Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa touched down at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos on Monday afternoon with the wind at his back. Ramaphosa will lead a boosted high-level government, business and labour delegation at the annual meeting in Switzerland, scheduled from January 23 to 26. This year’s event is held under the theme 'Creating a shared future in a fractured world' and Ramaphosa will promote South Africa’s renewal and fight against corruption. His visit comes amid reforms Ramaphosa is instituting to strengthen governance and boost investor confidence, especially at the country’s troubled state-owned enterprises. This includes overhauling the Eskom board over the weekend and forcing executives with a cloud over their heads out to pasture. “This is part of an ongoing broader effort to restore confidence in the economy,” the South African delegation said. “The South African government will continue to act decisively to address challenges at its key state-owned enterprises to restore public and investor confidence and to ensure that they fulfil their economic and developmental mandates.” Ramaphosa will join various discussion platforms in Davos to develop a response to new strategies towards transforming governance in various parts of the world, the South African government said in a statement.
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ANC SEES PROGRESS IN FIGHTING CORRUPTION

African National Congress (ANC) president Cyril Ramaphosa says that the party is beginning to see progress in addressing corruption. Ramaphosa presided over an ANC lekgotla at the weekend. He adds that he'll tell the World Economic Forum in Davos this week that South Africa is serious about dealing with the scourge as he tries to woo investors. The theme for the World Economic Forum in Davos is “Creating a Shared Future in a Fractured World”. Ramaphosa will join various discussion platforms in Davos with an aim to develop a response to new strategies towards transforming governance in various parts of the world. “The forum presents South Africa with a platform to showcase its attractiveness as an investment destination and trade partner; set out plans that are unfolding to secure improved and inclusive economic growth, and contribute to efforts to respond to societal challenges globally,” a statement reads. Ramaphosa will also hold various meetings with high-level political and business leaders from various countries. The South African delegation, led by Ramaphosa, includes a broad range of leadership from various sectors of the economy and society, with Minister of Finance Malusi Gigaba as the lead minister and coordinator.

OUTCOME OF LEKGOTLA

The ANC NEC met on Friday night with a motion on the removal of state President Jacob Zuma reported to be under discussion. But the party’s Khusela Diko has not confirmed this, saying that t
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Get those buckets ready. Rain is forecast for the Cape!

And now for the good news - rain is forecast this weekend for the drought-ravaged Western Cape. Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille warned this week that preparations were underway for “Day Zero”‚ when taps run dry in the Mother City. But for residents facing ever-tightening water restrictions the approaching wet weather spell will be a welcome respite. The South African Weather Service said on Friday that there was a 60% chance of intermittent rainfall for most parts of the province from Saturday. “Rainfall is expected for the Western Cape on Saturday‚ clearing up by Wednesday‚” said forecaster Victoria Nurse.
Heavy rainfall was expected between Plettenberg Bay and Cape Agulhas‚ she said. Weather SA tweeted: “Strong and gusty winds (65-75km/h) are expected in places over the Cape metropole and surrounding coastal areas between Table Bay and Hermanus from this afternoon (Friday)‚ subsiding early Sunday morning.”
Severe thunderstorms were forecast over the south-western parts of KwaZulu-Natal and northern parts of the Eastern Cape from as early as Friday afternoon. Weather SA tweeted: “Severe thunderstorms over Umzimkhulu and Ntabankulu local