SAA crashes: blame ANC graft, says O’Sullivan; Covid-19 – 7 more SA deaths, global toll 2m, another Netcare shuts

By Jackie Cameron

  • The new coronavirus marked another grim milestone with the number of people infected with Covid-19 reaching 2 million people worldwide, and just over 2,500 in SA. Another seven deaths have been reported, mostly in KwaZulu-Natal where a second Netcare facility has been shut following a Covid-19 outbreak, says the Minister of Health, Dr Zweli Mkhize. Meanwhile, Netcare has closed its emergency department and stopped all new patient admissions at its Kingsway Hospital in Amanzimtoti, KwaZulu-Natal, reports Radio 702. Netcare said that it had traced the outbreak to a patient who was admitted at the facility on 4 April. The group last week, instituted a similar move at its St Augustine’s Hospital, before deciding to shut down the facility completely after 48 staffers tested positive for Covid-19.
  • SAA looks like it will be grounded forever, with politicians noting that the Covid-19 pandemic has added financial strain. But Forensics for Justice founder Paul O’Sullivan reminds us that the real reason for the crooked mess at SAA is ANC corruption. He goes as far as suggesting that Minister of Public Enterprises Pravin Gordhan should face the music for state capture along with former President Jacob Zuma and others. South African Airways, which has been at the centre of corruption allegations for a decade and has sucked in billions of taxpayers’ funds, appears to be in its death throes. It has been denied any further funding by the government. The airline’s administrators, who were put in charge in December, were told by the state to instead source cash from available resources, according to a letter they sent to affected parties and to Bloomberg. SAA, which began operations in 1934, has racked up R26bn in losses over the last six years and has depended on a series of state bailouts to keep operating, says the news agency. The grounding of all of its passenger flights, aside from charters to repatriate stranded citizens, due to the coronavirus lockdown have further decimated its revenue stream. But Covid-19 is not to blame for SAA’s problems. In a hard hitting article published on BizNews, Paul O’Sullivan sets out the reasons Gordhan should be held to account along with former president Jacob Zuma and others.
  • Top executives at South Africa’s MTN Group have pledged nearly a third of their salaries and fees for the next three months to finance a R40m emergency fund for staff affected by the coronavirus crisis, reports Reuters. The donations by the telecoms group’s chairman, chief executive, chief financial officer and other directors announced on Wednesday are part of a broader R250m relief effort to tackle the coronavirus outbreak across its 21 markets. Last week, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that he and his fellow ministers were diverting a third of their pay for at least three months to a fund dedicated to fighting the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • Petrol prices are plunging, which is a small bonus if you have to use your car to get out and about for essential items. “Globally destructive economic instability has pushed fuel prices into drastic retreat, leading to some very rare good news for South African motorists,” says the Automobile Association (AA), which was commenting on unaudited mid-month fuel price data released by the Central Energy Fund. “Coming in the wake of March’s record fuel price reductions, South Africa is probably set for a second month of record fuel price drops for some fuel types,” the AA comments. “The irony is that this has come at a time where motorists and businesses are severely limited as to how they can use their vehicles.” The mid-month data showed petrol down by a massive R1.89 a litre, with illuminating paraffin dropping by R1.88 and diesel by R1.17, it says.
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