Tag: chaos

Chaos reigns at Eskom virtual meeting

By Antony Sguazzin for Bloomberg

With South Africa’s biggest state utility in crisis, one of parliament’s most important financial oversight committees called an urgent online meeting with the company.

Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd. non-executive board members failed to log on, sending a text message to say they were tied up, and parliamentary staff forgot to invite Pravin Gordhan, the public enterprises minister, who oversees the utility.

The meeting was convened, to among other things, discuss two legal reports — one of which dealt with the conduct of Chief Operating Officer Jan Oberholzer, and the other with a multi-billion rand fuel oil supply contract. Oberholzer, Eskom Chief Executive Officer Andre de Ruyter and several other executives did attend.

“You had chaos from the board side, which made it a farce,” said Alf Lees, a member of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts for the main opposition Democratic Alliance. “You couldn’t address the issues, particularly the issue of the COO.”

The need for urgency is self evident. Eskom is mired in corruption allegations, has debt of about 450 billion rand ($26.8 billion) and is struggling to supply the country with sufficient power.

The committee adjourned and will try to meet again next week to discuss Eskom.

Taxi strike causes commuter chaos

A major taxi strike is underway in Johannesburg this morning, causing chaos as commuters try to get to work.

Major transport routes – including the N1 between Johannesburg and Pretoria at Allandale, the M1, N12 and the N3 – have been blocked. Traffic has ground to a halt, causing road users to be stranded in traffic jams backing up for kilometres.

According to EWN, drivers affiliated to South Africa National Taxi Council (Santaco) have gone on strike on Thursday morning after talks with SA Taxi Finance Holdings deadlocked. The association argues that the monthly instalments on the Toyota Quantums it uses are simply unaffordable at prime plus 10%.

People urged to stay at home
The Gauteng Education Department says it will be safer for parents to keep their children at home today. A number of large corporates in Johannesburg’s CBD have advised their employees to stay at home too.

Shots have been fired
There have been reports of gunshots fired as taxis congregated near the Mall of Africa at the Allandale Road off-ramp.

Costs for commuters
Commuters have taken to Twitter to voice their frustrations at being unable to get around the city. Aside from an inability to get to work and the financial implications of losing a day’s wage, people are also citing lost opportunities (such as job interviews) as well as the dangers of taking lifts from strangers to meet commitments (which could result in kidnap, rape or human trafficking).

Image credit: Traffic SA

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