Eskom pollution battle; Lights on for Tito; O’Sullivan summons Myeni; CT’s ‘rainless day strategy’; Shoprite

Written on 02/26/2020
Linda van Tilburg

Eskom is battling to keep all units of its power plant at Kendal open after being served with a compliance notice because of its high levels of air pollution.

By Linda van Tilburg

  • Eskom is battling to keep all units of its biggest operational power plant at Kendal open after being served with a compliance notice by the environment ministry because of its high levels of air pollution. The indebted power utility has failed to fully repair pollution-abatement equipment at the 4,116 megawatt Kendal power plant that began malfunctioning in early 2018 and was damaged further in a strike later that year.  The Ministry issued the notice in December saying the plant needed to close two of its six generating units, 1 and 5 if action wasn’t taken to bring them back into compliance. It demanded maintenance plans for the rest. Eskom said the utility had put a plan in place to ensure Kendal is brought back into compliance as soon as possible but has objected to the notice because of the impact it would have on electricity generation and said the Ministry was considering the objection.
  • Eskom has indicated that the lights would be on for Finance Minister Tito Mboweni’s budget vote today as no loadshedding is planned Eskom said emergency reserves were at adequate levels, with additional generating units expected to return to service. It will further increase generation capacity and help to avoid loadshedding, Eskom said. Law enforcement agencies have indicated they are also ready for planned protests in Soweto and other parts of Gauteng over electricity and other service delivery issues. The Soweto Electricity Crisis Committee is holding the shutdown to challenge a R18bn electricity bill from Eskom with members accusing Eskom of bullying tactics aimed at Soweto and other poor areas. Their demands include free and quality electricity and decent housing and jobs.
  • Forensic investigator Paul O’Sullivan has served the former chairperson of South African Airways, Dudu Myeni with a combined summons. It is unrelated to the delinquency case brought against her by the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse and the Pilots Association. O’Sullivan said he had been trying to serve the summons on Myeni since December 2018 but that she had been ‘ducking and diving’. The summons is what O’Sullivan calls a wrongful and malicious investigation against him for which he was charged and prosecuted.” O’Sullivan has told Biznews how he was wrongfully arrested and tortured and was told that he had “upset Myeni”. He said he suffered R1.2m in damages for defending charges against him that were eventually withdrawn in January 2018. Myeni’s lawyer, Daniel Mantsha told Fin24 that Myeni had refused to accept the summons, but O’Sullivan said there was photographic proof that she was served.
  • Shoprite Holdings has announced that it would transfer its distribution centres and undeveloped land valued at R2bn to a new joint venture it is putting in place with Equities Property Fund. The retailer said it wanted to divest some real estate to help its balance sheet. Equities Properties will in exchange for a 50.1% stake in the joint venture inject R2.1bn in cash. Chief Executive Officer Pieter Engelbrecht told analysts at Shoprite’s half-year results that it was reviewing its long-term options in Africa including an “alternative operating model” which could include a franchise model and joint ventures. Engelbrecht said the retailer was committed to Africa but not at all cost. Shoprite shares on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange dropped by 2.17% yesterday.
  • Cape Town plans to spend R5.8bn over the next decade to cushion its 4 million residents against another dry spell. It follows after the city was hit by the worst drought on record between 2015 and 2018 with municipalities repeatedly warning of “Day Zero”. It includes plans to cut down alien trees and to establish a “rainless day fund”. The City also plans to spend R1.65bn on desalination plants and R1.36bn to boost water reuse and aquifers on Table Mountain. Cape Town consumers have adapted drier conditions and have managed to cut its water use from 1 billion litres a day in 2015 to the present 743 litres. Showers are shorter, gardens are populated with plants suited to arid conditions and low-flow shower heads have been fitted.