South Africa: Today's latest news and headlines, Wednesday 2 September

Never miss a beat when it comes to the latest news in South Africa; check out all the biggest headlines on Wednesday 2 September.

While Eskom struggles to bring broken power units back online to mitigate load shedding and match South Africa's electricity demands, government debates the vicious scourge of farm murders and attacks which have intensified over the past month.


Farm attacks and murders dominate national debate

On Thursday, Parliament hosted a Debate of National Importance on the Recent Scourge of Farm Attacks and Murders initially tabled by the Democratic Alliance (DA). The official opposition party's Shadow Minister of State Security, Dianne Kohler Barnard, led the charge for intensified law enforcement operations aimed at protecting farmers and farmworkers, arguing that the agricultural sector had been hard-hit by the recent crime wave.

Kohler Barnard added that Police Minister Bekhi Cele had failed the farming community by disbanding localised patrol units and that, now, a farmer was "three times more likely to be murdered than a police officer. Kohler Barnard noted:

"The men and women who feed South Africa don't sleep. They do nightly patrols around their farms, and I know of wives who watch their husbands on cameras as they do their patrols in the dark. Watching for attackers, waiting to see if tonight is the night their beloved husband will be killed."

The parliamentary debate was preceded by the brutal murder of well-known KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) farmer Glen Rafferty and his wife Vida. The heartless attackers also shot the Rafferty's dog. The violent attack has been condemned by KZN Premier Sihle Zikala, who said:

"The ongoing killing of farmers goes against the spirit of Ubuntu. It is an indictment on the significant contribution made by the farming community in the upliftment of our rural people."

Zikala urged police to act swiftly in tracking down the attackers and further called on members of the community to assist law enforcement agencies and farmers to quell the violent tide.

Load shedding piles more pain on South Africa's economic woes

Eskom's dire operational failures have, once again, plunged South Africa into protracted periods of darkness as a result of rotational load shedding. Eskom announced that load shedding was likely to continue throughout the week after revealing that at least seven power-generating units at key plants had broken down. Adding to the embattled utility's woes, maintenance and repair programmes have been delayed.

The recent bout of load shedding, which, ironically, ushered in South Africa's first day of spring, comes at a most inopportune time for the country. As South Africa attempts to recoup grave economic losses incurred during the lockdown, which was first announced in March 2020, the cost of unserved energy as a result of Eskom's load shedding continues to siphon billions of rands from the country's already-meagre coffers.

Eskom has noted that load shedding, implemented to avoid a complete national blackout, is the direct result of ailing infrastructure which has suffered from years of misuse and a lack of proper maintenance. Eskom CEO, Andre de Ruyter, has described the aging infrastructure issue as the single greatest threat to Eskom's ability to meet demand.

Today, Stage 2 load shedding will be implemented between 08:00 and 22:00.

Ramaphosa warned of resistance to new 'anti-corruption' resolutions

President Cyril Ramaphosa can expect factions within the African National Congress (ANC) to resist new directives aimed at uprooting corruption, adding to the already tense atmosphere within the ranks of the ruling party. This is according to leading political analysts, who have added commented on Ramaphosa's report on the outcomes of the party's latest National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting.

Political analyst Somadoda Fikeni noted that the NEC's resolution to suspend members facing corruption charges, from both ANC and governmental positions, would ultimately result in finger-pointing and graft-related squabbles.

Both Ramaphosa and ANC Secretary-General Ace Magashule have been summoned to appear before the party's Integrity Commission. Ramaphosa is expected to answer for allegations of corruption related to dubious campaign funding while Magashule will need to clarify comments made in response to the president's strong-worded letter on corruption.

Level 2 lockdown: 'Rogue' restaurants receive stern warning

Tourism Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane has sent a stern warning to restaurants seeking to profit from off-site alcohol sales in contravention of Level 2 lockdown regulations stipulated within the Disaster Management Act. According to Kubayi-Ngubane, the department has been inundated with complaints and tip-offs related to 'take-away' booze sales, whereby customers have been allowed to purchase liquor for consumption elsewhere. Kubayi-Ngubane warned:

"We have received numerous complaints from ordinary law-abiding citizens, other operators, and employees about the situation in these restaurants during Level 2. This does not only risk these businesses' licenses, but it also endangers the safety of their loyal customers and dedicated workers."


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