Let’s wrap up some of the top stories happening in South Africa this week.
HIGHLIGHTS FROM PRESIDENT RAMAPHOSA’S 2024 STATE OF THE NATION ADDRESS
On February 8, 2024, President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa delivered the annual State of the Nation Address (SoNA), a pivotal event in the country’s political calendar. During this address, the President reflects on the nation’s current standing, highlights achievements, acknowledges existing challenges, and unveils the government’s forthcoming plans.
This year’s speech holds particular significance as it commemorates the 30th anniversary of South Africa’s democracy, emphasizing the progress made since 1994. Ramaphosa candidly acknowledges the formidable hurdles that persist, encompassing the global financial crisis, the Russia-Ukraine conflict, the state capture scandal, the enduring impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the attempted insurrection in July 2021.
The speech outlines the government’s plans and priorities for the next five years, focusing on the following areas:
* Economic recovery and transformation, including infrastructure development, industrialisation, job creation, innovation, and investment.
* Social development and welfare, including health, education, social grants, housing, water, and sanitation.
* Energy security and sustainability, including the expansion of renewable energy, the reform of Eskom, and the reduction of carbon emissions.
* Governance and service delivery, including the fight against corruption, the strengthening of public institutions, the promotion of accountability and transparency, and the improvement of municipal performance.
* Peace and security, including the prevention of crime and violence, the protection of human rights, the enhancement of social cohesion, and the promotion of regional and continental stability.
* International relations and cooperation, including the advancement of South Africa’s interests, the support of multilateralism, the solidarity with the African Union, and the contribution to the global response to COVID-19.
VODACOM ORDERED TO OFFER FAIR SETTLEMENT TO ‘PLEASE CALL ME’ INVENTOR
The Supreme Court of Appeal has instructed Vodacom, South Africa’s leading mobile network operator, to provide a fair settlement to Nkosana Makate, the inventor of the ‘Please Call Me’ feature, within 30 days. This directive comes after Makate rejected a R47 million offer.
Despite Vodacom’s plan to appeal, the court’s decision mandates compensation to Makate based on a percentage of 5% to 7.5% of the total voice revenue generated by the ‘Please Call Me’ product over 18 years, along with accrued interest.
According to reports this is an amount of R20 billion.
CAPE TOWN TRAFFIC OFFICERS SEIZE R3 MILLION WORTH OF MANDRAX
Western Cape provincial traffic officers made a significant drug bust, confiscating over 50,000 mandrax tablets during routine vehicle checks on the N2 along Borcherds Quarry in Cape Town. The Department of Mobility confirmed the seizure, which occurred on Wednesday, February 7, estimating the street value of the mandrax tablets at approximately R3 million.
The provincial MEC for Mobility, Ricardo Mackenzie, stated that a traffic officer became suspicious during an inspection and discovered the drugs in the boot of a light motor vehicle.
BAFANA BAFANA TO FACE DR CONGO IN AFCON THIRD-PLACE PLAYOFF
After a heartbreaking defeat against Nigeria, Bafana Bafana gears up for the Africa Cup of Nations third-place playoff against DR Congo on Saturday, 10 February 2024, at 10 pm. Despite elimination from the title contention, South Africa aims to secure the bronze medal in the upcoming clash.
DSTV OWNER MULTICHOICE REJECTS CANAL+ BUYOUT OFFER
Multichoice Group’s board has turned down a bid from France’s Groupe Canal+ to acquire the JSE-listed pay-television group. The indicative offer of R105 per share, which values the business at around R48 billion, was considered undervalued. The rejection comes after over a year of discussions between Canal+ and Multichoice. Canal+ had publicly disclosed the proposal after delivering a non-binding offer.
PRESIDENT RAMAPHOSA TO ANNOUNCE ELECTION DATE THIS MONTH
President Cyril Ramaphosa is set to announce the date for the 2024 national elections within 15 days of the State of the Nation Address (scheduled for 8 February 2024). Vincent Magwenya, the President’s spokesperson, emphasized the importance of the address in addressing the state of the entire nation.
PETROL PRICES SURGE, MOTORISTS BRACE FOR MARCH HIKE
The AA warns South African motorists of an imminent fuel price increase at midnight on Tuesday, following a notable surge in February. Daily recovery data from the Central Energy Fund reveals a substantial under-recovery of between R1.47 and R1.54 for petrol and R1.49 and R1.58 for diesel, as per Businesstech report.
This signals the likelihood of back-to-back months of fuel price hikes, impacting both motorists and the broader economy with increased inflation levels.
CHOLERA OUTBREAK: SOUTH AFRICA REPORTS 46 SUSPECTED CASES
South Africa has recorded 46 suspected cases of cholera and five laboratory-confirmed cases between January 1 and February 1. Minister of Health Joe Phaahla stated that three cases were imported from Zimbabwe, currently grappling with a cholera outbreak. Two cases, aged 11 and 13 and without travel history to outbreak areas, suggest a potential local transmission.
Four cases were detected in Limpopo hospitals, and one in Helen Joseph hospital in Gauteng. Additionally, a cluster of 24 diarrheal disease cases was identified in a school in the Blouberg Local Municipality in Limpopo.
A TOTAL OF 27.4 MILLION PEOPLE REGISTERED TO VOTE FOR THE UPCOMING ELECTIONS
The Electoral Commission expresses gratitude to millions of South Africans for participating in the registration weekends, resulting in a growth of 1.2 million on the voters’ roll.
The total voters’ roll now stands at 27.4 million. Over two million citizens engaged through voting stations or the online portal, applying for new registration or updating details.
INVESTIGATION INITIATED AFTER TRAGIC BUS CRASH CLAIMS 6 PUPILS’ LIVES IN FREE STATE
A police investigation is underway following a devastating bus crash that resulted in the death of six pupils from Hoërskool Riebeeckstad. The incident occurred about 30km from Ventersdorp in the Free State, where the bus overturned, leaving 48 other students injured. The female students were returning to Welkom after participating in a sports event near Ficksburg and Rosendal.
Authorities have indicated that the bus overturned due to a loose wheel, leading to the driver losing control. The Department of Basic Education is closely monitoring the situation, emphasizing the need for a thorough investigation.
MAN ACCUSED OF KILLING SIX JOBURG SEX WORKERS BACK IN COURT FOR CONFESSION RULING
Alleged serial killer Sifiso Mkhwanazi, accused of murdering six sex workers, awaits the outcome of a trial within a trial to determine the admissibility of a confession made to his father. Trial-within-a-trial proceedings were rescheduled for Friday following the sick call of Vuyolethu Maqetuka, the accused’s attorney.
The Johannesburg High Court ordered the trial to assess if the confession, allegedly made involuntarily in 2022, can be used in the main murder trial.
Mkhwanazi faces six murder charges and seven counts of rape. The trial’s delay, due to the accused’s reported illness, will resume to decide the confession’s admissibility.
PROFESSOR DIRE TLADI SWORN IN AS SOUTH AFRICA’S FIRST PERMANENT JUDGE AT ICJ
Professor Dire Tladi has made history as the first South African to serve as a permanent judge on the International Court of Justice (ICJ). Elected by the United Nations General Assembly and security council, Tladi, along with three other members, embarks on a nine-year term in The Hague, Netherlands. Tladi, an accomplished legal scholar with multiple publications, previously held roles such as special rapporteur and legal adviser to South Africa’s mission in New York. His appointment marks a significant achievement for South Africa in international legal circles.
TSAKANE RESIDENTS LOOT SHOPS FOLLOWING PUPIL’S DEATH FROM FOOD POISONING
In Tsakane, East Rand, residents engaged in looting foreign-owned shops after the tragic death of a grade one pupil from Mandlethu Primary School due to alleged food poisoning. The learner reportedly consumed biscuits from a foreign-owned spaza shop, leading to vomiting and eventual death. In response, residents accused the shops of selling expired goods and began looting. The incident highlights tensions and concerns over food safety, prompting authorities to address the situation and investigate the circumstances surrounding the pupil’s demise.