Covid-19 parole for prisoners; Phumelela collapses; Zuma accuses CR of hanging him out to dry

By Jackie Cameron

  • Thousands of low-risk prisoners are to be granted parole to help curb the spread of the coronavirus in correctional facilities. Around 19,000 people would be freed in response to a UN call on all countries to reduce their prison populations so that social distancing and self-isolation conditions can be observed, President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced, says Reuters.
  • African countries require a two-year debt standstill to provide governments with the fiscal space to fight the coronavirus pandemic, according to President Ramaphosa. “While the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund have supported a debt standstill for nine months, we believe that – given the extent of the anticipated damage – we will need a debt standstill for two years,” said Ramaphosa (source: Bloomberg).
  • Phumelela Gaming and Leisure on Friday joined a slew of distressed firms to file for business rescue as horse-racing industry players urged government to rethink Covid-19 shutdown measures. The horse racing industry, which employs about 60,000 people and contributes an estimated R3bn a year to the economy, is collapsing, with industry players urging a government rethink on Covid-19 lockdown rules as people are laid off and horses culled. For more on that, read horse-racing industry leader John Freeman’s in-depth analysis on BizNews.com.
  • South Africa-born global tech entrepreneur Elon Musk has threatened legal acton against California after it blocked Tesla from reopening its only US car plant, threatening to immediately relocate operations to other states and cease manufacturing at the factory, reports Bloomberg. Musk, who has called coronavirus-related shutdown orders fascist, said Tesla will decide whether to keep producing cars in Fremont, California, based on how it’s treated.
  • Former president Jacob Zuma has slammed President Ramaphosa, accusing his successor of hanging him out to dry by forcing him to pay his own legal bills to fight corruption-related cases. Zuma denies getting rich while he was president. In a YouTube interview with his son Duduzane, who has been linked to the industrial scale corruption and money laundering that left state utility Eskom dependent on government bailouts for survival and led to the collapse of SAA, Zuma accuses Ramaphosa and the current crop of political leaders as being very “un-ANC”, as he puts it. He also denies having made any personal wealth in his nine years as president and is also clearly wounded by references to the nine wasted years while he was at the helm.
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