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News today: Stage 6 disaster, Postbank glitch, egg prices, Busi’s parting words

Here’s your morning news update: An easy-to-read selection of our top stories.

News today includes Khumbudzo Ntshavheni saying stage 6 load shedding is a “short-term phase”, while Eskom burnt through more than R18 billion.

Meanwhile, Sassa’s apologies mean nothing to the 600 000 citizens who were left hungry, vulnerable, and elderly last week; and Busisiwe Mkhwebane says she leaves the public protector’s office “a very proud person”.

News Today: 15 September

In today’s weather update, multiple warnings have been issued across South Africa for damaging winds, waves and extreme fire conditions – full forecast here.

Eskom also refutes that South Africa is on the brink of stage 7 load shedding amid the cold front and general capacity constraints.

Stay up to date with The Citizen – More News, Your Way.

Stage 6 a ‘short-term phase’

Minister Khumbudzo Ntshavheni says Stage 6 load shedding is a “short-term phase”, as cabinet is on top of fixing things at Eskom

Ntshavheni said cabinet had been updated on Eskom’s current planned maintenance plan, which had resulted in higher stages of load-shedding this week.

CONTINUE: Stage 6 load shedding is a ‘short-term phase’, says Ntshavheni

Minister in the Presidency Khumbudzo Ntshavheni. Photo: Facebook

In related news, Eskom burnt through more than R18 billion. The utility’s data showed it generated more energy from its open-cycle gas turbines that run on diesel in the financial year that began on 1 April than in the previous year.

“It spent more than (R18 billion) on fuel in the past year through 31 March, more than double the previous period, a bill that’s set to escalate even further.”

READ: Eskom burns over R18 billion on diesel as stage 6 load shedding persists

600 000 affected by Postbank glitch

About 600,000 of the most vulnerable in society were left destitute, desperate and hungry last week after a technical glitch in Postbank’s social grant payment system, with some elderly still yet to receive their money.

Postbank, which distributes social grants on behalf of the government, confirmed the system difficulties last week left grant recipients unable to get cash from ATM, the Post Office, and retailers.

CONTINUE: 600,000 beneficiaries were affected by Postbank glitch, with some still yet to be paid

Sassa and Postbank
Photo: Ashraf Hendricks/GroundUp

Meanwhile, Black Sash said the Sassa grant apologies meant nothing.

Lindiwe Zulu and Mondli Gungubele were among officials who addressed the media to outline measures by Sassa as well as Postbank to prevent similar events from recurring.

“We are disappointed that neither minister nor the respective CEOs failed to outline any plan or measures by Sassa and Postbank to prevent similar events from happening again.

READ: Sassa grant apologies meant nothing to the hungry, vulnerable, and elderly

Spike in egg prices

SA is losing more than 25% of its total egg production, with retailers and the SA Poultry Association (Sapa) warning South Africans to brace for an increase to already high prices.

Sapa said egg prices would increase as SA has lost a quarter of its production capacity. Image: iStock

The country has been hit by a third cycle of the Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (Avian Flu) with a new strain noticed in South Africa called H7N6.

There are now two dominant strains of the virus. The first outbreak was reported in April in the Western Cape, and soon spread to other provinces.

The outbreak has led to a shortage of eggs, with several retailers alerting customers shelves could be empty soon.

CONTINUE: Warnings of further spike in egg prices, as SA loses more than a quarter of supply

UDM and co slammed for wasting taxpayers’ money

The United Democratic Movement (UDM) and other litigants have been accused of wasting taxpayers’ money after suddenly withdrawing their court action on load shedding.

Presidency Vincent Magwenya / Eskom corruption
Presidency spokesperson Vincent Magwenya during a media briefing at the Union Buildings in Pretoria. Picture: GCIS

Addressing the media on Thursday, Presidency spokesperson Vincent Magwenya criticised the applicants for their last-minute abandonment, saying government had spent “a great deal of energy, time and money” to challenge the litigation.

“This process has cost taxpayers’ money and to some extent taken attention away from the urgent related issues which government has to attend to operationally.

CONTINUE: UDM and co slammed for ‘wasting taxpayers’ money’ after load shedding case withdrawal

Mkhwebane’s parting words to PP office

Fired public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane says she leaves the office “a very proud person”, telling her former staff to focus on the public and not themselves. 

Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane was fired ‘for incompetence’. Picture: Nigel Sibanda

Mkhwebane was fired by President Cyril Ramaphosa on Tuesday, a month before her tenure of office was due to end. Her seven-year term was supposed to expire in mid-October.

Speaking to Newzroom Afrika, Mkhwebane said she did her best as Public Protector. 

CONTINUE: ‘Focus on the public and not you’: Mkhwebane’s parting words to PP office

In other news today:

Yesterday’s News recap

READ: Malema loses cool, wage ‘monster’, horror truck ordeal, Mkhwebane fights back

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