Flash Briefing: Mbeki slams ANC land grab plans; DA blames govt for ‘unfolding tragedy’; Karpowership rejected

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  • Former South African president Thabo Mbeki has joined the debate on land expropriation without compensation, slamming plans by President Cyril Ramaphosa to push forward the controversial legislation. In a 15-page document handed to the ANC, Thabo Mbeki has set out why he thinks the constitutional amendment the party is drawing up over land expropriation is a disaster, reports Business Live. Plans to expropriate land without compensation will drive away investment and reinforce tribalism, he says, and the policy proposal is a shift away from the Freedom Charter, as the deadline looms to table a report to the National Assembly.
  • The Democratic Alliance says the South African government should be held responsible for the unfolding tragedy of thousands dying from Covid-19. In a hard hitting statement, which comes as Gauteng fights a massive spike in Covid cases, DA leader John Steenhuisen notes that a full 15 months into the pandemic less than 1% of South Africans have been fully vaccinated. That’s fewer than 500,000 people out of a population of 60 million who are fully protected. A further 2.7% have received a first dose and await a second. He says: “We are lagging far behind not just our upper-middle-income peer countries but also lower-middle-income and many poor countries including Zimbabwe and Namibia.” Thousands of South Africans are dying avoidable deaths and yet our vaccination programme is only running five days a week because we “can’t afford to pay overtime”. The DA leaders says every South African should be outraged at government’s approach to vaccines, which has been secretive, slow, disorganised and deadly. “Thousands of mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, grannies and grandpas are gone today who should still be alive. Thousands of high-risk patients who should have been vaccinated in March with the AstraZeneca vaccines we had are instead fighting for their lives, some of them in chairs while they wait for hospital beds to come available. Thousands more will die avoidable deaths in the coming weeks as the third wave crisis gathers fatal momentum.”
  • South African-born former labour MP, Lord Peter Hain, has written to Rishi Sunak, UK Chancellor of the Exchequer, after a blistering attack on Thursday during a House of Lords debate, urging the prosecution of UK-based firms implicated in South African state capture, reports Daily Maverick. Earlier, during the debate, Hain said he had asked the UK government already in September 2017 to take action against multinationals including HSBC, Standard Chartered and Baroda, all global banks based in London, functioning under UK laws and regulations.
  • South Africa’s environmental authorities rejected an application by Karpowership to generate electricity at three of the nation’s ports, dealing a setback to the government’s plans to reduce outages that are stifling economic growth. The Department of Forestry, Fisheries & the Environment blocked the request “after due consideration of all relevant information presented as part of the environmental-impact assessment process,” it said Thursday in a statement. The Turkish company applied for projects at the Richards Bay, Ngqura and Saldanha harbours. South Africa’s government in March picked Karpowership as a preferred bidder to supply 1,220 megawatts of electricity to offset a shortage. Eskom, the state-owned power company and a near monopoly, has subjected the country to intermittent outages for more than a decade, partly because of poor maintenance at its plants.
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