Russian ties in Africa – stuff of crime thriller movies

As quoted in DM: Russia’s concerted push into Africa is re-establishing the country’s strongest links with the continent since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991. Trade with Africa grew to $20.4bn in 2018 with Russia signing military agreements with 21 African countries.   Russia is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma – Winston Churchill Vladimir Putin’s inaugural Russia-Africa summit last month saw 43 of the African continent’s 55 heads of state attending. In a thought-provoking article in Daily Maverick (which incidentally is better than the…

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Thousands of jobs on the line as a result of PRASA’s woes

The operational performance of the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) had continued to deteriorate with only a quarter of its targets met in the past financial year. In the year ended March 2019, Prasa carried 208 million paying passenger trips. That was down from 262 million the previous year. Management and performance instability intensified with executives either suspended, placed on special leave or fired for corruption. This had gutted the utility over the past decade. Failure to undertake critical maintenance, the writing had been on the wall, even…

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Another tornado hits Natal Midlands

A second tornado touched down in Bergville, KwaZulu-Natal this (Thursday) afternoon. The South African Weather Service (SAWS) confirmed it.According to Storm Report SA a witness said the funnel had touched the ground multiple times. The province was still counting the cost of the first tornado which wreaked havoc in areas north of the provincial capital, Pietermaritzburg two days ago. SAWS issued a warning for severe storms, with damaging wind, hail and heavy falls. The area around Bergville is highly prone to thunderstorms. The province is on storm alert and schools…

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Johnny the “Bulldog” – favourite for DA interim leader

The Democratic Alliance’s (DA) federal council would vote this coming Sunday for the party’s new interim leader. Johnny Steenhuisen is expected  to come out on top, putting the liberal forces in the party in the driving seat. Since the former DA leader Mmusi Maimane’s resignation, Steenhuisen, the party’s parliamentary leader, had stepped into the gap and had been prolific in the media over the course of the last week. “Johnny Chief Whip” is also known for his remark “I cannot change my skin colour.”He is not scared of speaking his…

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SA no stranger to tornadoes – interesting facts from SAWS

As many as 16 tornadoes were recorded in South Africa over the last decade. This year alone,  tornadoes made landfall in Bainsvlei outside Bloemfontein in May, while a small tornado was reported in Sedgefield, the Western Cape, in September. According to the South African Weather Service (SAWS), especially the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands and Eastern Cape are prone to these weather phenomenons. SAWS told the media that a tornado is a “violently rotating storm of small diameter” developing from a thunderstorm. Most damage is usually caused by winds which could reach speeds…

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Almost all SAA flights cancelled due to “mother of all strikes”

South African Airways (SAA) had cancelled nearly all its domestic, regional and international flights scheduled for Friday, 15 November and Saturday, 16 November 2019. While outbound flights from South Africa had been cancelled, certain flights would operate from selected out stations to OR Tambo International Airport. Flights  on partner airlines SA Express, Mango, SA Airlink and all code share partners, including flights operated by its Star Alliance partner airlines would operate as normal. This what is called “the mother of all strikes follow”s an announcement by SAA that jobs would…

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Third country bans meat from SA due to foot and mouth disease

Eswatini (Swaziland) is  the third neighbouring country to ban meat imports from South Africa. Botswana and Zimbabwe had already banned meat imports after a new confirmed case of foot and mouth disease in the Molemole district of Limpopo. According to a media statement by the Transvaal Agricultural Union, the meat industry is still struggling after a previous case of the disease was found in the Vhembe district in February this year. The following ban paralysed a considerable portion of the game and meat industry and caused the wool price to…

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Job cuts to save SAA R700 million

SAA, another drowning-in-debt state entity would retrench more than 900 employees to save the company about 700 million rand. The process would be finalised by end March 2020. The company told the media that it had started consultations with its more than 5,000 staff and labour unions about cutting jobs to bring down its massive debt, including a 21.7 billion rand funding gap. The SA government had to repeatedly bail it out.

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Tornado in KwaZulu-Natal wreaks havoc

While the South African Weather Service (SAWS) could not confirm a tornado having hit parts of KwaZulu-Natal on Tuesday evening, they said there was a “high possibility” one would set in between Richmond and Pietermaritzburg. While SAWS worked on their carefully phrased statement, the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs in KwaZulu-Natal had activated its disaster management crews and volunteers to assist affected communities after a tornado hit New Hanover, Pietermaritzburg, late yesterday afternoon. Videos of the tornado went viral on social media. The tornado, according to the department,…

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