South Africa: Today’s latest news and headlines, Friday 7 February_1

Never miss a beat when it comes to the latest news in South Africa – check out all major headlines on Friday 7 February.

Just when one thinks things can’t possibly get any worse, it does. And it’s all thanks to some more state-owned misery. The South African Airways (SAA) has made the shock announcement on Thursday that it would discontinue its domestic routes for Durban, East London and Port Elizabeth effective from 1 March. And the “dark lords” at Eskom have broken yet another one of their promises with load shedding set to continue until Friday — and most probably into the weekend.

On the sports front, the Match in Africa event is all the rage as tennis greats Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal will be acing it at Cape Town Stadium on Friday with a curtain-raiser pro-celebrity doubles match between Roger Federer/Bill Gates and Rafael Nadal/Trevor Noah.

Today’s latest news in South Africa, Friday 7 February

Eskom struggle continues

Surprise surprise…Load shedding, which was due to be terminated at 6:00 on Thursday, will continue until Friday. Worse still, is the high probability of Stage 2 power outages this coming weekend as the embattled power utility cites an “unsually high” demand for electricity this week as one of the reasons.

According to Eskom, more than 11 500 MW is already off the grid, and load shedding alerts usually start when that figure hits 9 500 MW. Eskom also confirmed that it is still in the process of replenishing its emergency diesel supplies.

Andre de Ruyter added to the SOE’s load shedding shame by presenting South Africans with the dismal prospect that the likelihood of load shedding was most probably set to increase over the next 18 months. This will be due to the new CEO having sanctioned a wave of critical infrastructure projects across Eskom’s sites as part of his turnaround strategy.

To top this all, the power utility is trying to justify its bid to claw back R27 billion from consumers that would result in an electricity tariff increase of 10%. All we can say about that while we buckle under the burden of load shedding, is: “Take a hike, Eskom!”.

Ramaphosa talks ‘clean energy with German chancellor

This comes amid German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s state visit to South Africa which kicked off on Thursday, with President Cyril Ramaphosa calling for greater cooperation between the two nations on clean energy, low carbon growth and skills training.

Ramaphosa stressed that government was working to repair the damage entrenched corruption had caused to the country’s state-owned enterprises, and to resolve the energy crisis.

As Eskom relies predominantly on coal-fired plants, the president said he is particularly keen to see how Germany and South Africa can collaborate in the field of clean and renewable energy.

The state visit continues on Friday with the two countries hoping to exchange proposals on the expansion of mutually beneficial trade and investment. (Source: ANA)

SAA wings clipped even more

Business practitioners Les Matuson and Siviwe Dongwana are following a hard-line approach to try and save the state-owned airline after it was put under business rescue in December.

At least 12 major routes have been scrapped from its schedules, as SAA scrambles to save itself more cash. SAA would continue to operate all international services between Johannesburg and Frankfurt, London Heathrow, New York, Perth and Washington via Accra.

However, international and regional SAA routes to be closed effective March 1, would be: Johannesburg to Abidjan via Accra, Entebbe, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Livingston, Luanda, Munich, Ndola, and Sao Paulo.

The truly shocking news comes from the domestic side of its operations. It would continue to serve Cape Town “on a reduced basis”, but all other domestic destinations, including Durban, East London and Port Elizabeth, will cease to operate on 29 February. Domestic routes operated by Mango will not be affected by the changes.

This comes amid testimony by SRS Aviation founding member and director Sibongile Sambo before the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture which has unearthed the deep roots of corruption at SAA while under the administration of former SAA board chairperson Dudu Myeni.

The State Inquiry hearings will continue on Friday, hearing SAA-related testimony from the former head of the airline’s technical procurement department, Nontsasa Memela.

To add to the “flight-mare”, the cash-strapped carrier SA Express has become the second state-owned airline to go under business rescue on Thursday for failing to settle its debt of R11 million to global logistics firm Ziegler SA.

Proteas vs England in second ODI

Friday will see the Proteas face-off against England in their second One-Day International at Kingsmead Stadium, in Durban, from 13:00.

Quinton de Kock made an ideal start to his full-time captaincy of South Africa’s ODI team on Tuesday when he hit a century as his side beat England by seven wickets in the first ODI at Newlands Stadium, in Cape Town.

This was a perfect start for De Kock who has been identified as the man to lead the Proteas to the 2023 World Cup in India. 

We hold thumbs that the Proteas can continue to stand and deliver against a powerful England team who would be out for revenge.

Sharks to show teeth in Dunedin

The Highlanders get their Super Rugby 2020 season underway against the Sharks on Friday after enjoying a bye in the first round of the competition.

Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin welcomes the Sharks for the first time since 2016 when the Black and White Dynamite won a tight contest 15-14.

Coming into the match off the back of a 23-15 win over the Bulls, the Sharks have the advantage of having already played this season though Dunedin is a tough place to travel to.

The Highlanders are undefeated in their last five matches at Forsyth Barr Stadium, but included in that number are two draws.

The Sharks have registered log points in each of their last seven Super Rugby regular season games in New Zealand.

Match in Africa the place to be

This is the tennis match South Africans have been waiting for. Tennis greats Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal will be in action on Friday at the Cape Town Stadium in the Match in Africa event.

Within 10 minutes of tickets being put up for sale, 48 000 tickets were sold.

It is said that organisers are hoping to raise more than $1 million (about R14 million) for the Roger Federer Foundation that supports early childhood education in six African countries and Switzerland.

The two tennis legends, who will be joined by The Daily Show host Trevor Noah and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, also want to break the world record for attendance at a tennis match.

Stormers skipper and Springbok captain Siya Kolisi welcomed Federer on his arrival in Cape Town on Thursday and the two even hit a few balls around the court at a sponsored event at the Mount Nelson Hotel .

Expect traffic to be a nightmare as the expected 50 000-strong crowd will descend upon Cape Town Stadium. See all the road closures here.

Latest weather forecast, Friday 7 February

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

Live traffic updates for Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban

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