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South African Cities Preparing Off Grid Electricity Solutions

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The era of load shedding or limited electricity could soon be a thing of the past in South Africa. At the moment, South Africa’s biggest cities are preparing to generate electricity for their own power needs.

This option is backed by Energy Ministry, Gwede Mantashe who approved allowing major cities to source their energy needs. This will relieve the stress on Eskom, the state power utility that had been the cause of South Africa’s dwindling electricity supply for the past 13year, a factor blamed in the fall of South Africa’s revenue.

Leading this change, are Johannesburg and Cape Town. Between them these two cities have a total population of 10 million people. And will be depending on renewable energy sources like solar and bio gas, mainly from landfill sites.

Cape Town’s executive director for energy and climate change, Kadri Nassiep affirms that 300 megawatts electricity generation is being projected. He adds “If all clarity is obtained and plans forge ahead, we could start seeing greater diversification of our energy resources as a city in about three to five years time.”

But this positive development Cape Town and Johannesburg would further reduce Eskom’s earning and make it harder to pay off its $30 billion debt.

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Turkish Airlines Opens New Cargo Route to Namibia

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Namibia’s Airports Company (NAC) on Wednesday said Turkish Airlines has commenced scheduled cargo operation once a week on Istanbul-Johannesburg-Windhoek route.

The newly commenced cargo route is operational under the Bilateral Air Service Agreements (BASA) between Namibia and Turkey to promote international commercial air transport services and businesses between the two countries.

NAC’s CEO, Bisey Uirab, also welcomed the Turkish Airline at the country’s flagship airport, Airport Hosea Kutako International Airport (HKIA), amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We are excited to have Turkish Airlines onboard during these tough times and the establishment of this new route will add value to the enhancement of promoting Namibia as the logistic hub,” Serkan Sonmez, Turkish Airlines cargo sales director for Africa said.

“The Turkish Airlines is looking forward to strengthening the export trade between Turkey and Namibia and believed that we can support the export market with service and expectation they deserve.’’

Airlines now operating at HKIA since September include Air Namibia, Airlink, FlyWestair, Ethiopian Airways, Euro wings and now Turkish Airlines.

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Eskom Faces R5-Million Fine Over Kendal Power Station Pollution

On Friday, South Africa’s Minister of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries, Barbara Creecy notified Eskom of the decision by the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) to pursue criminal prosecution.

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Eskom could face fines of up to R5-million under South Africa’s air quality legislation for supplying blatantly false and misleading information about its toxic pollution at the Kendal coal-fired power station to authorities.

On 28th January 2021, the state-owned energy utility will appear in the Emalahleni regional court on four counts of environmental transgressions.

On Friday 27th November, South Africa’s Minister of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries, Barbara Creecy notified Eskom of the decision by the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) to pursue criminal prosecution.

The four counts, according to the department, are related to the emission of air pollutants at concentrations exceeding emission limits set in Kendal’s atmospheric emission licence (AEL); failure to comply with the conditions and/or the requirements of the AEL; committing an act likely to cause significant pollution of the environment, and supplying false and/or misleading information to an air quality officer.

Albi Modise, the Chief Director of Communications at the Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries, says the “criminal investigation as well as the compliance notice, read with the minister’s objection decision, is based on the findings of previous site inspections” undertaken at Kendal, which is one of the country’s biggest power stations.

Read also: Electricity blackout to linger till Thursday in SA – Eskom

This is the first criminal investigation where the National Prosecuting Authority has decided to pursue a prosecution for a breach of air quality legislation by Eskom.

Business management consultancy EE Business Intelligence reported this week on the findings of an internal investigation compiled by Eskom’s audit and forensic team into Kendal’s air quality compliance and reporting.

This was instituted by the power utility’s chief executive officer, Andre de Ruyter in May.

The internal investigation found that exceedances of particulate matter atmospheric emissions of up to 10 times the allowable limit of 100mg/Nm3 occurred consistently for extended periods over the past two years at Kendal and that this was having a significant impact on people and the environment.

Between April last year and 31 March this year, EE Business Intelligence reported that the investigation found continuous and almost daily particulate matter emission exceedances by all six generation units at Kendal power station of up to 13 times the statutory particulate matter emission limit.

Related: Eskom’s bid for bigger tariffs rejected by South African court

Modise says that Eskom’s internal report notwithstanding, the department had already instituted both criminal and administrative enforcement action based on evidence that the company was in noncompliance with environmental law.

“Furthermore, and on the face of it, the contents of this report seemingly support the charges, which Eskom is currently facing,” says Modise.

Energy analyst Chris Yelland, the managing director of EE Business Intelligence, believes Eskom itself will have to face the music.

“It’s interesting as to whether people will face these consequences in their personal capacity or in their capacity as employees of Eskom. I will imagine that Eskom may be subject to sanctions. Obviously, that’s a matter for the court to decide. Frankly, there are people who bear responsibility both at the power station and at Eskom Megawatt Park,” Yelland said.

“Eskom uses load-shedding as a threat: ‘If you shut us down because we’re in non-compliance, we could have load-shedding’. But [Minister] Creecy has avoided this through phased-in shutdowns of units at Kendal,” Yelland said.

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Malawi Airlines Staff Strike Disrupts Flights To South Africa

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An industrial action by the members of staff of Malawi Airlines has left dozens of passengers stranded at the Kamuzu International Airport in the capital, Lilongwe.

The workers downed their tools over deductions in their November 2020 salaries.

All Cabin crew and other auxiliary staff converged on their head office at Golden Peacock in Lilongwe to demand answers from the management over the “unarranged” deductions.

The strike affected the only weekly flight from Lilongwe (through Blantyre) to Johannesburg, South Africa, which was scheduled to have taken off by 8.10am.

The airline was grounded in March following the coronavirus outbreak.

It resumed flights in October.

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