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Latest Industry News & Events
You are here: Home News & Events "SA on High Alert: The Latest Developments in Politics, Corruption, and Protests"

"SA on High Alert: The Latest Developments in Politics, Corruption, and Protests"

South Africa is currently on high alert as security forces have assigned the Economic Freedom Fighters' (EFF) planned national shutdown a high-risk status. This comes after the July 2021 unrest, which saw violence and looting in several parts of the country. Security chiefs have deployed a large police force, with the military and the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) on standby.

The national shutdown, scheduled for Monday, 20 March, will be spearheaded by the EFF, with the African Transformation Movement and the South African Federation of Trade Unions also joining. The EFF's demands include an end to the electricity crisis and the resignation of President Cyril Ramaphosa.

In other news, the former chief financial officer of Crime Intelligence's secret services account, Tiyani Hlungwani, has filed an affidavit implicating Police Minister Bheki Cele in an allegedly corrupt deal involving the purchase of surveillance equipment without the relevant exemption. Hlungwani said that Cele tried obtaining an exemption after the purchase of the grabbers, which was too late as the initial purchase was a crime.

On the labor front, the National Education, Health and Allied Workers' Union (Nehawu) strike has concluded, and healthcare workers are expected to return to work. The strike was aimed at forcing the government to negotiate wage increases for the 2022/23 financial year, despite the government implementing a 3% increase six months ago. The government has agreed to review some of the 2022 demands during the 2023/24 wage negotiations.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) has announced its candidates for the party's leadership positions at its congress next month. Lungile Phenyane, a member of the party in Tshwane, is contesting all of the party's leadership positions, including party leader and federal council chairperson.

On the economic front, South African shares and the rand plummeted on Wednesday as the US banking crisis spread to Europe, wreaking havoc on global markets. The country's blue-chip Top 40 and its broader all-share indexes fell around 3% to the lowest this year. On Thursday (16 March), the rand was trading at R18.43/$, R19.55/€, and R22.27/£. Brent crude is trading at $74.61 a barrel.

Meanwhile, the Road Freight Association (RFA) has urged transporters to minimize operations on the roads and in staging yards during the EFF's planned national shutdown on Monday. The RFA has outlined contingency plans for general freight, including minimizing freight operations, as few trucks as possible active on roads or parked in areas easily accessible to groups that wish to cause damage/loot, and where vehicles/facilities/infrastructure have camera capabilities, any relevant footage of incidents should be given to the SAPS for investigation and prosecution.

Fuel deliveries will be secured as best possible, and a centralized control center will be created at SAPS to allocate escorts or relevant support. However, where possible, fuel deliveries should be delayed until after 20 March, and dangerous goods should also be kept off the roads. The towing companies are requested to spread their capacity along the key routes to allow for fast clearing of blockages/incidents, and transport companies are requested to allow the closest/fastest responding recovery company to remove vehicles to safety.

In conclusion, South Africa finds itself in a precarious position with the EFF's planned national shutdown scheduled for next Monday. Security forces have assigned the protest a high-risk status and are deploying a large police force, with the military and the NPA on standby. This is to prevent a repeat of the July 2021 unrest, which caused widespread damage and resulted in the loss of many lives.

The strike by public servants in the healthcare sector has also concluded, with the government agreeing to review some of the demands during the 2023/24 wage negotiations. However, this is unlikely to appease everyone, and tensions in the country may continue to escalate.

The markets have been affected by the US banking crisis, which has spread to Europe, causing the country's blue-chip Top 40 and its broader all-share indexes to fall around 3% to the lowest this year. The rand has also plummeted, trading at R18.43/$, R19.55/€, and R22.27/£ on Thursday.

The RFA has urged transporters to minimise operations on the roads and in staging yards during the EFF's planned national shutdown on Monday. The SAPS has proposed contingency plans for the logistics sector, and the RFA has outlined these plans in a circular, calling on transporters to delay fuel deliveries and keep dangerous goods off the roads where possible. The RFA has also requested that firms make keys to vehicles accessible, where trucks have been used to blockade roads and protestors have removed the keys.

In summary, South Africa is facing several challenges, including political unrest, economic instability, and security concerns. It remains to be seen how the situation will unfold, but it is clear that the government, security forces, and private sector need to work together to find a solution. The EFF and other protest groups have the right to voice their concerns, but it is crucial that they do so peacefully and without causing harm to others or damage to property. Ultimately, the welfare and safety of all South Africans should be the top priority.

Transport & Logistics News
Written by Andre Klynsmith
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