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by Roi Simpson

Eskom

Rolling blackouts for the week- but not during the morning rush.

It’s stage 2 all the way until Thursday, with Eskom only promising to do what it can to avoid blackouts between 06h00-09h00.

 

That’s a fairly proactive approach to what is otherwise something of an unmitigated disaster.

I’d be open to Eskom declaring that as a permanent state of affairs for a few months if that gets it back to capacity for winter.

The upside of that arrangement would be that we can plan our lives around the unpleasant reality – and, overall, we’ll all feel the pain in somewhat equal measure, as opposed to randomness we currently face.

Meanwhile …

At some time on Monday, Cosatu will present its plan to rescue Eskom.

The proposal will be put to the President’s Working Council, which is made up of government, and business and labour leaders.

 

Cosatu wants the Public Investment Corporation, the Development Bank and the Unemployment Insurance Fund to take over 254- billion-Rand of Eskom’s debt in exchange for equity.

But the idea has already received strident opposition from economists.

 

The PIC manages government pensions, which are guaranteed by the Treasury.

Critics say that if Eskom’s poor performance continues, the debt burden will simply fall on taxpayers.

Cosatu’s plan reportedly doesn’t allow for any form of privatisation, and expects any workers who are retrenched to be employed by other government entities.

The idea may be incompatible with Eskom CEO André de Ruyter’s promise to announce new boards by the end of this week to manage three broken-up parts of the company.

That break-up was proposed by President Cyril Ramaphosa during last year’s State of the Nation Address.

 

Kidnapped baby

We’ll be watching the courts on Monday to see if there’s any progress toward finding the kidnapped two-month-old boy.

22-year-old Elly Ki Bundu from the DRC is facing a charge of kidnapping Kwahlelo Tiwane.

He’s expected to apply for bail – but we’ll be watching for any new information.

The 18-year-old co-accused in the case will return to court on Tuesday for her bail application judgement.

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ON THE CONTINENT:

It’s all eyes on Malawi.

The courts there will rule on Monday on the validity of last year’s Presidential Election.

The poll returned incumbent President Peter Mutharika to power, sparking widespread protests that have gone on for months.

Allegations of rigging include the use of Tipp-Ex on ballot count papers.

 

The atmosphere is reportedly tense, amid fears that violence could result regardless of the decision.

A lot of people have elected to stay at home – with many schools closed, some public transport not operating.

In fact, the judges have been transported in armoured vehicles driven by the Malawi Defence Force.

 

That might not be as sinister as it sounds.

As regards compromised security forces – it’s the police who are being criticised for pro-government bias – not the army.

The court proceedings leading to today’s judgment were live broadcast by multiple radio stations, and were reportedly the main topic of conversation for Malawians.

 

Malawi is, of course, part of SADC – The Southern African Development Community – so today’s ruling will have some impact on us.

But locally, who’s in charge is a big deal: Malawi is ranked 172 out of 189 countries on the Human Development Index.

So that’s the very bottom end on issues like income, education, and – alarmingly – lifespan.

 

Mutharika has also not impressed when it comes to rooting out corruption.

Half the population thinks it’s getting worse according to the 2019 Global Corruption Barometer.

And one in four Malawians claims to have actually paid a bribe to a government official.

 

The ruling is apparently 500 pages long – so, it might be late afternoon on Monday before the outcome is known.

Cape Town, News