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Friday, July 20 2018 @ 08:36 am SAST

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At the beginning of June, petrol increased by 82 cents a litre
Source The Citizen | Monday, 18 June 2018, 11:52

Petrol price could increase by another 32c

At the beginning of this month (June), petrol increased by 82 cents a litre, while diesel climbed by 85c/l.
NATIONAL NEWS - The Automobile Association (AA) expects an increase of 32 cents a litre (c/l) for petrol and 30c/l for diesel next month, Ladysmith Gazette reports.

Illuminating paraffin is likely to jump by 22 cents, if current trends continue.

The AA based its estimation on unaudited data from the Central Energy Fund.

At the beginning of this month (June), petrol increased by 82 cents a litre, while diesel climbed by 85c/l.

This pushed prices to record levels, a trend that looks set to continue, much to the dismay of motorists.
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Ongoing blackouts are just part of woes that are threatening the economy, but a willingness to implement change can turn it around.

Source The Citizen | Monday, 18 June 2018, 08:14

The high price of load shedding

Eskom spokesperson Khulu Phasiwe said the power utility was unsure on whether all its staff would return to work today, which meant its stability status was still uncertain.
NATIONAL NEWS - Recessionary conditions are threatening the economy amid continued warnings of South Africa plunging into darkness, while experts say the power utility’s road back to profitability will be long and hard, but not entirely impossible.

It would, however, require possible job losses at the utility, whose finances are already stretched thin.

Despite the fact that workers are expected to return today, the effects of last week’s labour action would be felt for days to come.

Economist Chris Hart said although Eskom had assured the public that load shedding was a “thing of the past” two years ago, the utility now appears to be in a precarious position.

However, he said Eskom still had the opportunity to improve and bounce back to profitability.

He pointed out that one of the biggest concerns was that their wage bill was inefficient, and that the continued increase in the amount of well-paid workers would worsen its ongoing cash flow problems, which would in turn lead to even less profitability and less cash flow.

Although the simplest solution to most would be staff reduction, fellow economist Mike Schussler said it was more complicated than that.

He said while staff reduction definitely needed to be implemented, only a small percentage of the utility’s revenue went to its workers, which made it a minor issue compared to the other burning issues.

These included interest rates and toll controls. However, he said a reduction of staff was inevitable, and would be the most emotional and difficult issue to deal with.

Eskom spokesperson Khulu Phasiwe said the power utility was unsure on whether all its staff would return to work today, which meant its stability status was still uncertain.

He also added that once stability had been reached, it was the intention of the utility to carry out a “mop-up” operation to fix everything broken within its enterprise to prevent revenues from being lost and companies reliant on power from closing down.

The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa’s (Numsa’s) general secretary, Irvin Jim, said the union “views the agreed process of engagement as necessary in resolving the dispute between us and Eskom management, and laying the grounds for the negotiations to continue”.

“We are ready to engage meaningfully with Eskom on our demands, as has been our attitude from the beginning of the negotiations.”

According to the department of public enterprises’ Richard Mantu, the resolutions from the meeting on Friday were to “resume negotiations with immediate effect, as it was agreed the 0% offer from Eskom was off the table, and to normalise operations immediately and restore production to ensure the security of electricity supply, to engage on other key issues that are impacting on the future sustainability of Eskom such as the cost of coal and impact of policy – including the independent power producers programme – and to begin a process to build a trustworthy relationship following the wage negotiations.”
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Protest action in Plettenberg Bay has resulted in various road closures.

PLETTENBERG BAY NEWS - Most of the protest-related fires in the Plettenberg Bay area have been extinguished.

Additional members of the Public Order Police have arrived in Plett to stabilise the situation.

Residents have been protesting in the area since Monday. The protest action is related to housing issues.

The N2 at the footbridge and the entrance to Crags is closed.

Motorists entering or exiting Plett (towards Knysna) have been redirected via Airport Road

According to Bitou Public Safety, the toll gates at Tsitsikamma have been closed. No vehicles - from Port Elizabeth-side or Plettenberg Bay-side - can pass through the toll gates.

Bitou Mayor, Peter Lobese will be addressing the protestors at 13:00 on the N2.
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Surely you did not threaten Elmien du Plessis, Mr Roets?

When I read the article on News24 by Amanda Khoza regarding AfriForum's Ernst Roets's angry reply to Elmien du Plessis's article I was really disappointed in Roets. I mean, how could he threaten Elmien?

But then I took the trouble to listen to his "tirade". Do yourself a favour and listen to it. You may want to support AfriForum!

It is filled with chilling facts about farm murders, contradicting Du Plessis on many points and putting AfriForum's side of the story. The so-called 'threat' as stated in Khoza's article is only in the mind of those who want to mislead. His quote only serves to point out his disdain in the honourable Prof Du Plessis and her ilk who prefer to ignore the cries of anguish of the tortured and murdered farming community.

Please give it a listen. It may just broaden your mind.
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Why I will and won't miss Aunty Pat

I will seriously miss the original Patricia de Lille.

You know, the one who had video cameras live streaming from her office. The one who was hailed as one of the hardest working mayors in the world.

There was a time when I looked up at Patricia De Lille. Not because of our political views. Mine cannot in any way differ more from hers. I respected her, though the doctrine she supports, the party she represented, is and always will be abhorrent to me.

A party of useless, two-faced snakes with hidden agendas. A party of cowards. A party not man enough to handle someone like Patricia de Lille with the necessary discipline, when her nepotism came to light. When she failed us ordinary people with a total disregard of our service needs, leading to the Day Zero fiasco.

I will definitely not miss Patricia de Lille when I get my City of Cape Town (COCT) monthly account, which has become a huge mess under her watch.

I will never miss De Lille whilst we Capetonians struggle through terrible water shortages, something she new about for years, yet chose to ignore.

I will never miss De Lille every time there is a riot by those people seeking something, basically guaranteed by our constitution - simple service delivery. De Lille failed in her duty to provide for such people.

De Lille is also responsible for harm to innocents, like the young man who died on Wednesday last week in Mitchells Plain during the Siqualo rampage. Should she have done her duty as a decent mayor should, that boy's death would not have happened. It would have been just another peaceful night in Colorado.

Patricia de Lille, Helen Zille and ultimately Mmusi Maimane has the blood of dozens of Capetonians on their hands. For the DA in the Western Cape failed these people.

Although I will not miss De Lille for the things I mentioned, I will most definitely remember how she defiled her oath as mayor, someone chosen by the people, and who then sold her soul to the devil.

I am frankly relieved that her lately messy argument with the DA has come to a head. Hopefully some other useless DA COCT members will also go. Like De Lille. Like Achmat Ebrahim. Like Melissa Whitehead. You know who you are, but I single out three despotic tyrants who have no place in COCT nor in the Western Cape.

Helen Zille, JP Smith and Anton Bredell. I hope your autocratic, nonsensical rule over your portfolios are ended soon.

It's time for decent, civil, BETTER managers to take the reigns at COCT and in the Western Cape. We need proper, capable people with MORALS to pull us out of this state YOU put us in. You, unfortunately, do not qualify.

What a sadness our beautiful city has become, since you people came onto the scene....
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WC Fire Chiefs meet in George ahead of International Firefighter’s Day

WC Fire Chiefs meet in George ahead of International Firefighter’s Day

George Acting Executive Mayor Charlotte Clarke this morning (4 May 2018) welcomed the Western Cape Fire Chiefs to the city ahead of their joint provincial meeting and the International Firefighters’ Day celebrations this weekend.
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What’s on the cards for property in 2018

PROPERTY NEWS - 2017 has been a challenging year for the South African property market in general, despite small pockets of thriving activity in areas like the Western Cape.

As we head into 2018, Tony Clarke, Managing Director of the Rawson Property Group, casts his eye forward to property trends and market influences that could make their impact felt in the New Year.

Demand and Market Activity
“2017 showed a slow but consistent decrease in market activity across the country,” says Clarke, “with the average time on the market increasing to around 16 weeks.

"This was mainly due to two influences: a decrease in consumer confidence and spending power thanks to our tumultuous political and economic climate, and a reluctance – or inertia – from sellers to adjust their asking prices accordingly.”

While these influences are unlikely to change much in 2018, and their combination will almost certainly continue to depress market activity in the mid- to high-end price bands, Clarke says the outlook for entry-level properties is much more positive.

“No matter what the financial situation, people need a place to live, which means there’s always going to be demand for property,” he explains.

“In tough economic times, that demand shifts towards more affordable investments, increasing activity on the lower end of the market.”

As a result, Clarke predicts new developments and entry-level housing to hit the ground running in 2018, and remain a profitable investment in the long term.

Price Growth
In keeping with demand trends, Clarke predicts that the lower end of the property market will likely experience the highest growth in 2018.

“We’ve already seen this trend making its impact felt over the course of 2017, with properties valued under R1million seeing far stronger price growth than those over the R1million mark,” says Clarke.

“There are, of course, areas that buck this trend and show excellent price growth in other value bands, but on average, we do expect affordable property to outperform the rest in 2018.”

Despite 2017’s economic issues, banks are reported to have lightened up on their lending criteria towards the end of the year, which could make things easier for buyers in 2018.

“We’ve seen bonds being granted at better rates than we’ve had for a while,” says Clarke, “and banks are making it easier for entrepreneurs to access housing finance.

"That’s good news for first-time buyers who are considering getting into the market – they could find very favourable options on the table in 2018.”

For the "Buyer to Be", Clarke strongly advises to save for the highest deposit possible in order to secure a better loan to value ratio, this will inevitably give the buyer negotiating power with the banks in order to achieve the best interest rate possible.

Clarke also points out that affordability is still key, and that consumers should be conservative in their expenditure wherever possible.

“Banks may be tending towards leniency, but they’re far from reckless,” says Clarke.

“You’re still going to need to be able to prove financial responsibility and your ability to service a loan.

"With all our economic uncertainty, I’d definitely recommend erring on the side of caution when it comes to financial commitments, but I do think property remains one of the most stable investments you can make in present circumstances.”

2017 has been a challenging year for the South African property market in general, despite small pockets of thriving activity in areas like the Western Cape.

As we head into 2018, Tony Clarke, Managing Director of the Rawson Property Group, casts his eye forward to property trends and market influences that could make their impact felt in the New Year.
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Be courteous to truck drivers

Even as early as 1919, the importance of transport by truck was recognised. This historical advertisement is from the magazine Country Gentleman of January in that year.
MOTORING NEWS - It is important for car drivers to be aware that truck drivers face very different challenges from their own - but without trucks, South Africa will grind to a halt.

As a learner truck driver myself these days, it is becoming painfully clear that the weight and size of a truck as well as the different loads which one might one day carry, means needing more time to get going, to stop or slow down and too many other factors to list.

I therefore concur with these tips from MasterDrive on how to share the road safely and courteously with truck drivers:

Leave large spaces between your car and the truck. This will help avoid one of their many and much larger blind spots. Their blind spots are in front or close to their bumper, close behind the truck as well as in certain spots beside the truck.
A rule of thumb is if you can see the driver in the side mirror, they can see you.
Never pull directly in front of a truck or in a small gap between a truck and another vehicle. A medium-sized truck can take 40% longer to stop than a car.
When overtaking, do not just check if there is a gap but check the length of the truck before you go.
Before you do overtake, also make sure you give yourself more than enough time so if the truck is longer than expected you have extra time.
Be extra cautious with trucks carrying abnormal loads.
If there is a double turning lane and a truck in the lane on the left, do not drive next to it. Once they make the turn, this space closes up. The driver left that space there for a reason.
When it rains, leave extra space around the truck as their water spray zone is going to be larger. They will also take even longer to stop.
When travelling in front of a truck, signal early and avoid making sudden turns, as they need longer to stop.
Never stop in the emergency lanes for trucks. These lanes are there for trucks whose brakes have failed going downhill and you could endanger everyone, including yourself.
Do not pressure a truck to drive in a yellow lane so you can pass. They can see more than what you can in that position and will not move over if it is dangerous or illegal to do so. They might also be forbidden by the employer to do so. Those that give you passing space, do it out of courtesy anyway.
Be aware that driving on hilly roads is especially challenging for truck drivers.

Do not pass a truck on an incline then cut in front of them on the decline.
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Wes-Kaap tot rampgebied verklaar.

Die pyl dui die posisie van drie hengelaars langs die dam aan en gee 'n idee van hoe laag die damvlak tans is.

NASIONALE NUUS - Die droogte in die Wes-Kaap het die provinsie se premier, Helen Zille, genoodsaak om die Wes-Kaap vir 'n drie maande tydperk as 'n rampgebied te verklaar.

Zille se verklaring is in die regeringskoerant geproklameer.

Damme in die Wes-Kaap se watervlakke staan nou op 'n gemiddelde 18,6%, waar dit dieselfde tyd verlede jaar op 30,5% gestaan het.

Drie damme in die Suid-Kaap en Karoo-omgewing wat as voedingsbronne dien, is dolleeg, met nog vyf damme wat minder as 10% water bevat.

Al drie die leë damme, Gamkadam (Beaufort-Wes), Gamkapoortdam (Ladismith) en Prinsrivierdam (Prinsrivier) is in die Suid-Kaap-omgewing. Drie van die vyf ander damme wat oor 'n watervlak van minder as 10% beskik is ook in die Suid-Kaap-omgewing geleë. Dit is die Stompdriftdam (De Rust - 6,3%%), Kammanassiedam (Oudtshoorn - 6,1%) en Floriskraaldam (Laingsburg - 4,4%).

Die Floriskraaldam was presies 'n jaar gelede 25,8% vol. Die Suid-Kaapse leë damme was dieselfde tyd verlede jaar onderskeidelik 37,4% (Gamkadam), 3% (Gamkapoortdam) en 26,9% (Prinsrivierdam) vol.

So was die Stompdriftdam 37% vol, met die Kammanassiedam op 55,6%.

Volgens Zille se verklaring gaan die Wes-Kaap gebuk onder die ergste droogte sedert 1904. "Die droogte gaan ons biljoene rande uit die sak jaag. Daar is reeds R27 miljoen bewillig om hulpbronne in plek te stel."

Zille het 'n interim ministeriële komitee saamgestel om met oplossings vorendag te kom om water aan Wes-Kapenaars te voorsien.

'n Navraag oor hoe die droogte Oudtshoorn raak en of streng waterbeperkings ingestel gaan word, is Maandag aan die munisipaliteit gerig.

Met ter perse gaan Donderdagmiddag is die navraag nie beantwoord nie.

Drie hengelaars op die kaal oewer van die Calitzdorpdam wat tans minder as 30% water bevat. Foto's: Hannes Visser
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Russian nuclear deal places massive liability on South Africans

Cape Town - A nuclear agreement with Russia has far-reaching consequences for the budget the Western Cape High Court heard on Friday, as it places all liability for a nuclear accident on South Africa, while indemnifying Russia completely.

David Unterhalter, SC, appearing for Earthlife Africa and the Southern African Faith Communities’ Environmental Institute, who are challenging government’s nuclear procurement process in court, said liability for nuclear accidents fell on South Africa even if it occurred outside the country.

If the Russian company building the proposed eight new nuclear power stations had an accident while transporting nuclear material from Vladivostok to Qatar, for instance, causing extensive damage, the Russian inter-governmental agreement made South Africa liable for what could be “massive” costs, GroundUp reported.

“South Africa bears the burden under the indemnity clause. A country making this kind of offer would have to make very special provision for this in its budget,” Unterhalter said.

Such liability was not even consistent with the Vienna Convention on liability for nuclear damage, he said.

“So we have gone very far in seeming to court Russia and to say, ‘We will pay and we will indemnify’,” Unterhalter said.

The court is not being asked to decide on the merits of the Russian nuclear agreement, as this would be beyond its powers. However, the contents are relevant as the court is being asked to decide whether an international agreement of this nature should first have been tabled in Parliament for approval, particularly because of the massive financial implications.

The litigants argue that tabling the agreement without Parliamentary approval was unlawful as it did not comply with the Constitution and the agreement should be set aside.

Counsel for Minister of Energy Tina Joematt-Pettersson, who tabled the Russian agreement, argued that it did not need to come before Parliament, nor was there a need to allow the public to make representations. This was because it fitted into the category of agreements between countries that dealt with “technical, administrative or executive” matters, which did not have extra-budgetary consequences.

Marius Oosthuizen, SC, for the government, argued that the minister’s tabling of it under this category therefore did not contradict constitutional requirements.

One of the two presiding judges, ED Baartman, commented that a government guideline indicated that international agreements which dealt with minor, everyday issues did not need Parliamentary approval.

“Are you saying the Russian agreement is a minor, everyday issue?” she asked.

Oosthuizen replied that the Russian agreement would not constitute something that was high on the South African agenda as it was about co-operation between governments on an executive level.

The litigants are also asking the court to set aside the minister’s “determinations”, made under the Electricity Regulation Act, that South Africa needed 9600MW of new nuclear power.

One was made in 2013, where the Department of Energy was the body that would buy the nuclear power, and the other in 2016 that made Eskom the procurer.

“Both are infected with administrative error and neither should survive,” Unterhalter said.

The court heard submissions on whether the minister’s decisions were administrative in nature – which meant they could be reviewed and set aside – or whether they were policy decisions, which could not be.

One of the tests in deciding whether a decision was administrative was whether it had consequences and whether it affected anyone.

Oosthuizen argued the decision to determine that South Africa needed 9600MW of nuclear power had not affected anyone’s rights, but had merely imposed an obligation on the National Energy Regulator of SA (Nersa) which had the statutory duty to issue electricity-generating licences.

Judge LJ Bozalek said, “You can’t just look at this through the prism of Nersa’s rights. You have to look at the rights of people.”

Oosthuizen replied, “Yes. But that decision did not affect my electricity bill by one cent.”

Baartman said, “Not yet.”

The case has ended. No date was set for judgment.
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