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Eskom’s Medupi power plant in Limpopo. Photo: PresidencyZA / TW

South Africa: Today’s latest news and headlines, Tuesday 10 August 2021

In the latest news in South Africa on Tuesday 10 August 2021, a large explosion at Eskom’s Medupi plant threatens the country’s power supply.

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Eskom’s Medupi power plant in Limpopo. Photo: PresidencyZA / TW

We’ve got all the latest news stories and headlines in South Africa you really need to know on Tuesday 10 August 2021.

Something went bang at Eskom’s Medupi plant on Sunday night – and that’s never a good thing. The embattled state-owned enterprise already has plenty to worry about on a daily basis, so it can ill-afford this serious incident. Fortunately, no fatalities or serious injuries were reported. Five employees have been suspended for not following “standard procedures” while an investigation is under way.

The blast, however, means we could face even more load shedding in the weeks and months to come.


Medupi latest: Eskom workers suspended over ‘grid-threatening explosion’

Eskom has confirmed the cause of an explosion at its Medupi plant, which left seven workers needing medical treatment. The blast has taken an entire generational unit offline, placing extra pressure on the electricity grid.

In a statement posted on Monday evening, the power utility confirmed that ‘extensive damage’ was suffered at the plant, after a routine operation to identify a leak went wrong:

“This explosion has resulted in extensive damage to the generator. The incident occurred during the activity to displace hydrogen with carbon dioxide and air, for the purpose of finding an external leak. Fortunately, no injuries were sustained by personnel who were on-site during this unfortunate event.” | Eskom statement

According to Eskom, standard procedures ‘were not followed’ during the operation. That means several workers who were responsible for the procedure have now been suspended, pending an internal investigation.

Power cuts CONFIRMED for five provinces – hours after ‘Eskom explosion’

We knew that there’d be trouble once the news of an explosion at Eskom’s Medupi Plant rolled in this morning, and sure enough, the majority of South Africa will now be forced to battle against the impact of a load reduction schedule on Monday. Intermittent power cuts are scheduled for FIVE different provinces this evening.

As forensic teams investigate the blast site, there is a scramble to establish what exactly sparked this unfortunate incident. It’s understood that a hydrogen explosion caused the damage – and the situation *might* have been avoided:

Jacob Zuma’s preferred strategy of ‘delay, delay, delay’ may encounter a stumbling block on Tuesday. Although the former president is currently hospital-bound with a mysterious illness, the latest stage of his corruption trial could still go ahead tomorrow – thanks to a legal technicality in the small print of the Criminal Procedure Act.

According to Section 159, Paragraph 2 of the legislation, the court CAN proceed in the absence of one of the defendants if they are incapacitated by illness – if ANOTHER defendant is present.

In Zuma’s corruption trial, he has the arms company Thales as his fellow-accused. Section 160 also allows the ‘absent accused’ the chance to re-examine testimony when they return to court:

“Upon the return of an absent accused, that accused is entitled to examine witnesses who testified during their absence, inspect the record or have the record read back to them – unless they are legally represented during his/her absence.”

‘Women in SA might as well live under pass laws’ – Julius Malema

Julius Malema has given a fiery speech to commemorate Women’s Day in South Africa, but according to the EFF leader, there’s not much for females in this country to celebrate – and he went as far as to say many live ‘like they are subject to pass laws’.

Under the apartheid regime, pass laws determined where black citizens were allowed to go. Due to rampant levels of GBV and femicide in Mzansi, Malema believes that many mothers, sisters, and daughters are now subject to the same treatment.

“Women in South Africa may as well be subjected to the pass laws of the Apartheid regime, because they cannot walk freely in taxi-ranks without being harassed. They can’t be out at night without a fear of being kidnapped and they cannot even dress how they want to, because institutions in this country want to dictate their appearance to them.”

Nicholas Ninow: Dros rapist found with cellphone in prison

The Department of Correctional Services has confirmed that convicted rapist Nicholas Ninow was caught with a cellphone at Baviaanspoort prison in Pretoria and now faces charges in that respect.

Ninow is currently serving a life sentence for rape. He was dubbed the ‘Dros rapist’ because he was caught raping a seven-year-old girl in the bathroom of a Dros restaurant in Pretoria in September 2018.

He has now been charged with possession of a cellphone and loses certain privileges as an inmate.

“Such gadgets are classified as contraband and are not permitted inside correctional facilities. And this is a disturbing development as DCS is working to have contraband-free facilities,” the Department of Correctional Services’ spokesperson Singabakho Nxumalo said.

Ninow was caught with the device on Saturday and had reportedly been using a cellphone to access social media.

“Offender Ninow has been charged in terms of section 23 (1) of the Correctional Services Act. He will be reprimanded accordingly, a process which may involve the withdrawal of privileges for a specific period, reclassification, in other words, a downgrade and other punitive measures.”

Farm murder: Town ‘traumatised’ by savage killing of FIVE family members

Police have made three arrests – including another local farmer – in Harrismith, after five members of the same family were brutally slain over the weekend. In this particularly brutal farm murder, the bodies of the deceased were burned.

The bodies of John Twala, Sonto Maloka, and their three children – aged 20, 17, and six – were discovered with stab wounds. The wife endured gunshot wounds to the stomach, and three other children managed to survive. However, the full scale of this sadistic killing has taken a toll on the town of Harrismith, and locals have been left traumatised.

“The Democratic Alliance (DA) condemns in the strongest possible terms, the savage killing of five members of a family living on Toekoms farm outside Harrismith this past weekend. We express our condolences to the family, their colleagues, and the community which has been left traumatised by these events.” | Leona Kleynhans

Leona Kleynhans is a member of the Free State Legislature. She expressed her concerns about the safety of rural families and workers. She has implored SAPS to implement a safety strategy to specifically tackle the scourge of farm murders:

Young cyclist killed in horrific accident remembered for warm personality

The young cyclist in his mid 20’s, who was killed after he was pinned under the car and dragged for several meters on Saturday, was remembered for his warm personality and beautiful smile.

Maxwell du Plooy was cycling with a group when a car struck them on the R102, near Tongaat in KwaZulu-Natal. 

IPSS Medical Rescue spokesperson Paul Herbst said it was reported that a vehicle had allegedly been overtaking several cars on a blind rise, when the vehicle struck a group of cyclists.”

Herbst said a young cyclist in his mid 20’s, was unfortunately pinned under the vehicle and dragged for several meters, where he remained trapped under the car. 

“IPSS advanced life support paramedics and rescue crews worked to free the boy. Unfortunately, he had sustained multiple injuries and was declared dead on the scene.”

Maxwell matriculated in 2016 from Clifton College in Durban. 

The Clifton College said it was devastated to hear of the tragic passing of Max du Plooy, who was part of the Class of 2016. 


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