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Daily Podcast – May 16, 2024


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Daily Podcast – May 16, 2024

16th May 2024

By: Lumkile Nkomfe
Creamer Media Reporter


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For Creamer Media in Johannesburg, I’m Lumkile Nkomfe.

Making headlines: Threats of legal action after Ramaphosa signs NHI into law; ANC walks political tightrope over coal plant shutdowns; And, Tunisian lawyers go on strike, protest against alleged police abuse



Threats of legal action after Ramaphosa signs NHI into law


Civil society organisations and political parties are threatening legal action following yesterday’s controversial signing of the National Health Insurance Bill.

President Cyril Ramaphosa, who publicly signed the Bill into law amid significant criticism, said the NHI was an opportunity to “break with the prevailing inequality” in South Africa’s health system. He also called on stakeholders to work with government to ensure the NHI operates successfully.

The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse wants Ramaphosa to “return to the drawing board” and work with various industry experts to design a “workable” universal health care model.

Outa said while it fully supported the constitutional right of all South Africans to proper healthcare, it warned that government was creating “false hope” by signing the NHI Bill into law just two weeks before the National Elections and questioned whether it was an election ploy.

Meanwhile, official opposition Democratic Alliance Chief Whip Siviwe Gwarube said that the proposed NHI scheme was nothing more than a “political tool” wielded by the African National Congress to “manipulate” voters in the upcoming election.



ANC walks political tightrope over coal plant shutdowns

South Africa's creaky power sector and the economic fallout from State utility Eskom's struggle to keep the lights on are top issues in a May 29 election that polls predict could see the ANC lose its 30-year parliamentary majority.

But as President Cyril Ramaphosa seeks to balance the need to boost energy output against dwindling funding for coal and global demands for South Africa to decarbonise, the issue is dividing his party.

Nowhere is that more evident than in Komati, where the conversion of a 60-year-old, 1 000-megawatt coal power plant has triggered a local and national backlash.

Eskom is installing 370 megawatts of solar, wind and battery storage at Komati. It is meant to be a blueprint for future coal station closures and create new jobs and training programmes in the renewable energy sector.

But local residents say so far, they've seen nothing but unemployment, poverty and rising crime.

Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe labelled Komati's closure a disaster. Electricity Minister Kgosientsho Ramokgopa called it a mistake and has successfully lobbied cabinet to delay future closures.



And, Tunisian lawyers go on strike, protest against alleged police abuse

Tunisian lawyers began a one-day nationwide strike today, with hundreds taking to the streets of the capital, to protest against the recent arrest of two of their colleagues, one of whom they say was tortured during his detention.

This is the second time this week Tunisian lawyers have staged a strike amid an escalation of the political crisis in the country following the arrest of two lawyers and two journalists last week in separate incidents.

Hundreds of opponents to President Kais Saied protested last week, demanding a date for free and fair elections. Saied, whose term ends this year, took over most state powers and shut down the elected parliament in 2021 in a move the opposition called a coup.

Tunisian police stormed the bar association's headquarters on Monday for the second time in two days and arrested Mahdi Zagrouba, who has criticised the president, after detaining Sonia Dahmani, another lawyer, over the weekend.

Some opposition parties described the storming of the Deanship of Lawyers' building as "a shock and major escalation".

The bar association and human rights groups said that Zagrouba was tortured during his detention and that he was suffering from severe bruises and traces of violence.

The Interior Ministry strongly denied the allegations and said that the lawyer was not subjected to any ill-treatment or torture.


That’s a roundup of news making headlines today

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