For Creamer Media in Johannesburg, I’m Thabi Madiba.
Making headlines: Godongwana urges Eskom to sell assets as he confirms R88bn in new support; Covid vaccine supply for global programme outstrips demand for first time; And, Zondo Commission secures extension until 30 April
Godongwana urges Eskom to sell assets as he confirms R88bn in new support
Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana confirmed that Eskom will receive a further R88-billion in government support until 2025/26 and that a comprehensive debt solution was still being explored for the financially unsustainable State-owned electricity producer.
The support comes in addition to the R136-billion already provided or committed to enable the utility to pay back its debt, which currently stands at close to R400-billion.
The utility has argued on several occasions that its debt position would be sustainable only if it was halved to about R200-billion.
Godongwana acknowledged that a portion of Eskom’s debt was “distressed” but said that further support would be contingent on the utility demonstrating turnaround progress and taking self-help measures.
Covid vaccine supply for global programme outstrips demand for first time
The global project to share Covid-19 vaccines is struggling to place more than 300-million doses in the latest sign the problem with vaccinating the world is now more about demand than supply.
Last year, wealthy nations snapped most of the available shots to inoculate their own citizens first, meaning less than a third of people in low-income countries have been vaccinated so far compared with more than 70% in richer nations.
As supply and donations have ramped up, however, poorer nations are facing hurdles such as gaps in cold-chain shortage, vaccine hesitancy and a lack of money to support distribution networks, public health organisations say.
In January, COVAX, the global vaccine programme run by Gavi and the World Health Organization, had 436-million vaccines to allocate, according to a document published in mid-February.
But low-income nations only asked for 100-million doses for distribution by the end of May - the first time in 14 allocation rounds that supply has outstripped demand, the document from the COVAX Independent Allocation of Vaccines Group said.
And, Zondo Commission secures extension until 30 April
The Gauteng High Court in Pretoria has granted the State Capture Inquiry another two months to complete its work – and President Cyril Ramaphosa will have four months to respond to the final part of the inquiry's report.
In court papers, Acting Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, who chairs the inquiry, said he expected to hand over the final part of the report, including findings relating to Eskom, Bosasa and the State Security Agency, to Ramaphosa at the end of February.
The estimated 1 500-page document was likely to contain reports on the Free State, the "attempted capture of National Treasury" and the Passenger Rail Agency of SA.
But, he made it clear that the final volume of the commission's report, which was to have been delivered to Ramaphosa on 28 February, "will not make the report complete" - a reality that he took full responsibility for.
According to a list of topics provided by Zondo, the final part of the report would address "the closure of the Gupta bank accounts and the Cabinet response", the Estina Dairy Project, "parliamentary oversight", the SABC and ANN7, EOH and the City of Johannesburg and "The Big Picture".
The final part of the report will be released on 30 April.
That’s a roundup of news making headlines today
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