On 12 February 2015, President Jacob Zuma held his annual State of the Nation address. Amid parliament’s chaos that evening, journalists reporting on the SONA address had absolutely no cellphone reception available in the National Assembly. The State Security Agency has been cited as being responsible for placing the cellphone jammer in parliament during the president’s speech. Meanwhile, President Jacob Zuma and the African National Congress (ANC) have described the signal jammer incident as unfortunate. A department investigation into the matter is ongoing.
On Monday, power utility Eskom reported that the risk of blackouts in the country was medium to high. In a statement on Sunday 22 February, Eskom said that stage 1 load shedding would be implemented from that afternoon due to a loss of generating units. “The electricity supply system remains very vulnerable due to a shortage of generation capacity as several units are currently out of service due to planned and unplanned outages. Any unforeseen incident in the power system will thus trigger the implementation of load shedding.” Customers have been urged to use electricity sparingly.
Budget Speech 2015
Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene is ready to present the budget speech to Parliament on 25 February 2015, at 2pm. According to Fin24, looming large in the minister’s speech will be employment, energy and infrastructure. It is also believed that the minister will have to entertain South Africans with the good news figures he has to offer. Stay up-to-date with all budget speech news here.
Reeva Steenkamp’s family has expressed unhappiness at prison privileges that have been granted to Oscar Pistorius. Pistorius is scheduled for consideration for release into house arrest in August. In addition, his prisoner status has been upgraded from category B to category A. This means he’s now able to hug and kiss visitors, own a radio and wear jewellery. He will also be able to make more phone calls and buy more toiletries and treats.
Cricket World Cup
The Proteas who face the West Indies this Friday, are sweating over the availability of seamer Vernon Philander. Philander bowled only four overs in Sunday’s 130-run loss to India at the MCG in Melbourne before pulling up with a left hamstring injury. On Monday he underwent a scan to determine the severity of the injury. Until his medical results are known, it remains unsure if Philander will be able to play on Friday.
Stellenbosch family murder
In late January, shockwaves were sent through the the country when news of a grim axe attack on a prominent Stellenbosch family, was released. In the latest updates on the Van Breda family, police fear that 16 year old Marli van Breda, who survived the attack, may never fully recover to explain what happened on the night her family was murdered. Meanwhile, the younger brother, Henri van Breda, who sustained scratches and bruises to his arms, is believed to have a tik addiction. Investigations into the family murder are still under way.