Let’s wrap up some of the top stories happening in South Africa this week.
TRAGIC INCIDENT AT IMPALA PLATINUM MINE LEAVES 12 DEAD
A tragic elevator accident at Impala Platinum Mine in Rustenburg, North West, has left 12 people dead and numerous others seriously injured. The incident occurred when a winding rope connected to a cage lift in the mine shaft broke. A total of 86 employees were involved in the accident, with 75 being hospitalized, and 13 of them in critical condition.
Authorities and the mining company are expected to conduct investigations to determine the cause of the accident and address safety concerns. Family members are seeking answers about their loved ones affected by this devastating incident.
SENZO MEYIWA MURDER TRIAL POSTPONED TO NEXT YEAR DUE TO DEFENSE ADVOCATE’S ILL HEALTH
The High Court in Pretoria has postponed the Senzo Meyiwa murder trial to next year, a day earlier than expected. The defense Advocate Thulani Mngomezulu requested the postponement, citing ill health and the need to consult a doctor. The trial was originally scheduled to sit until Friday, but the court agreed to the request. Mngomezulu had been cross-examining the lead investigator in the case, Brigadier Bongani Gininda, before the postponement was granted. The trial will now resume on January 22, 2024.
SIU INVESTIGATING OVER 100 LAW FIRMS FOR DEFRAUDING ROAD ACCIDENT FUND MILLIONS OF RANDS
The Special Investigating Unit (SIU) is investigating over 100 law firms, including sheriffs, for defrauding the Road Accident Fund (RAF). Some law firms have admitted guilt, and the SIU has managed to recoup over R300 million of the defrauded funds, which were paid out on behalf of thousands of road accident victims. The investigation involves duplicate permits from RAF totaling approximately R340 million.
MORE HEATWAVES EXPECTED IN COMING WEEKS
The South African Weather Service has indicated that more heatwaves are expected in the coming weeks. This follows a recent heatwave in the northeastern parts of the country that broke temperature records for November. Over 10 weather stations recorded the highest temperature records on November 27. The global trend of 2023 being one of the hottest years is in line with this local prediction of continued heatwaves.
18-YEAR-OLD LEARNER DIES AFTER BEING BITTEN BY SNAKE WHILE PREPARING FOR EXAMS
An 18-year-old Grade 12 learner tragically died after being bitten by a venomous snake while preparing for examinations at Mawewe Secondary School in Dumphries village, Bushbuckridge. The incident occurred during a Grade 12 camp organized to enhance learners’ preparation for the 2023 National Senior Certificate Examination. The specific species of the snake and the circumstances leading to the bite are currently unknown. The Mpumalanga Department of Education expressed deep sadness over the learner’s death and is likely investigating the incident.
LOAD SHEDDING INTENSITY EXPECTED TO DECREASE: MINISTER RAMOKGOPA
South Africa’s Electricity Minister, Kgosientsho Ramokgopa, expressed confidence that the intensity of load shedding would decrease once emergency reserves stabilize. The country is currently facing rolling blackouts, and the minister addressed the media during the handover of 450 gasoline generators donated by China.
The generators will be distributed to public service facilities across the country as part of efforts to address power challenges. Authorities are working to stabilize the energy situation and reduce the impact of load shedding by the weekend.
PETROL PRICE CUT EXPECTED FOR DECEMBER
The Department of Mineral Resources and Energy is expected to announce fuel price changes set to come into effect on Wednesday, 6 December. Current data suggests a cut for both petrol and diesel. Daily under and over-recovery numbers from the Central Energy Fund (CEF) indicate a petrol price cut of around R1.00 per litre and a larger cut for diesel, ranging from R2.22 to R2.28 per litre.
JULY UNREST INSTIGATOR MDUMISENI ZUMA SENTENCED TO 12 YEARS IN PRISON
Mdumiseni Zuma, who was convicted for instigating the July 2021 civil unrest in South Africa, has been sentenced to 12 years in prison. This comes after he appeared at the Pietermaritzburg Magistrate’s Court for sentencing. Zuma is not related to former President Jacob Zuma.
He is the first among over 60 so-called instigators to be convicted and sentenced for the violence that occurred in KwaZulu-Natal and parts of Gauteng, resulting in significant infrastructure damage and job losses.
MAN ACCUSED OF PLANNING HITMAN TO KILL DISABLED ADOPTED CHILD FOR INSURANCE PAYOUT
Mboneleli Msila from the Western Cape has been arrested for allegedly hiring a hitman to kill his adopted daughter, Nosipho Mfana, in a bid to benefit from a R200,000 life insurance payout. The incident is said to have occurred in April 2022. If convicted, Msila could face life imprisonment.
Charges against him include murder, conspiracy to commit murder, illegal possession of a firearm, and illegal possession of ammunition. The State alleges that two men forcefully entered the home on 15 Cuba Street, Kwanokuthula, Plettenberg Bay, on the evening of April 30, 2022.
IEC RELEASES REPORT ON POLITICAL PARTY DONATIONS
The Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) has released its report for the second quarter on political party donations. The Democratic Alliance (DA) received over R36 million from various sources, making it the highest recipient.
The African National Congress (ANC) received R778,000 from three different companies, including Iceburg Trading (R428,000), Phepha MV Security Services (R200,000), and Elohim Erets Retailers (R150,000). ActionSA received R3.2 million, with R2 million coming from its leader, Herman Mashaba. Patriotic Alliance (PA) president Gayton McKenzie donated R225,000 to his party.
VOTE ON NATIONAL HEALTH INSURANCE BILL POSTPONED
The National Council of Provinces (NCOP) in South Africa has postponed the vote on the draft legislation for the National Health Insurance (NHI) Bill to December 6. Last week, the NCOP adopted the contentious NHI Bill without making any changes despite extensive public submissions and recommendations.
The reason for the postponement was not provided, and the Western Cape was the only province not in support of the motion to debate the bill next week.
WARDEN TO LAY CHARGES AGAINST 3 ACCUSED IN SENZO MEYIWA MURDER CASE FOLLOWING A SCUFFLE IN COURT
A warden who has been accompanying the people accused of killing footballer Senzo Meyiwa is pressing charges against three of them. A scuffle broke out in court between the warden, Vusi Jele, and the three accused (Mthobisi Mncube, Mthokoziseni Maphisa, and Mdumiseni Ntuli) over the manner in which the accused were seated during a tea break.
Charges are expected to be laid against the three accused individuals involved in the altercation.
KZN LAUNCHES NEW NUMBER PLATES FOR VEHICLES
KwaZulu-Natal has officially launched a new vehicle license number plate program. Premier Nomusa Dube-Ncube launched the initiative in Pinetown, west of Durban. KwaZulu-Natal and the Western Cape were the only provinces with their own numbering system. Under the new format, the Department of Transport in the province will print just over 15 million license numbers for the next 70 years.
The province is aligning with the national format, citing the outdated current system as the reason for the change. Motorists will have two years to migrate to the new system. The rollout will begin on December 1, 2023, with the registration of new vehicles, change of ownership, and government vehicles. The second phase will commence in March next year with the voluntary migration of all vehicle owners.
FLOYD BRINK REINSTATED AS JOHANNESBURG CITY MANAGER
The City of Johannesburg metro council has confirmed the reinstatement of Floyd Brink as City Manager. This decision comes after the City lost an appeal regarding a High Court ruling that set aside Brink’s appointment earlier this year. The court ruled in the Democratic Alliance’s application that the process to appoint Brink was procedurally flawed.
The City of Johannesburg re-tabled and adopted its previously adopted report to appoint Brink as City Manager, maintaining its belief that the High Court failed to independently and unbiasedly consider valid legal arguments in the case.