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HuffPost Weekly Review: Power Failure At Eskom, Sisulu Warns Of Polokwane 2.0 And SAA Seeks Salvation

These are your top South African stories from the first week of October 2017.

06/10/2017 16:43 SAST | Updated 06/10/2017 17:41 SAST
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1. POWER FAILURE AT ESKOM -- Under-fire power utility Eskom announced on Friday that it has stripped acting CEO Johnny Dladla of his position after just four months on the job. Sean Maritz, Eskom's CIO and group executive for information technology, will take his place immediately, while Dladla resumes his role as CEO of Eskom Rotek Industries.

Eskom said it had decided to shuffle its executives in the role of CEO to ensure "exposure", with the ultimate aim of filling the post permanently, "in due course". The day before, Eskom announced it would take action to recover fees "unlawfully paid" to firms McKinsey and Trillian for R1 billion and R564 million respectively.

READ: Chris Yelland: Eskom "an example of the most poor governance I have seen in my life"

Also on Thursday, the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse announced that it had laid criminal charges against its suspended boss, Matshela Koko, in connection with alleged irregularities, corruption and fraud.

Civil society conglomeration Future SA on the same day protested outside McKinsey's offices in Sandton over its alleged role in the Eskom-McKinsey-Trillian state capture saga. Future SA called for the company to come clean and subject itself to an independent inquiry into its alleged role in state capture.

2. SPIRITED SISULU WARNS OF POLOKWANE 2.0 -- The ANC's next president is a foregone conclusion, Mining Minister Mosebenzi Zwane said this week. But emerging challenger for the top spot, Lindiwe Sisulu, suggested that Zwane's preferred candidate is certainly not a definite.

Ramping up her campaign efforts at a 702 Talk Radio town hall interview this week, Sisulu waxed lyrical about her lengthy tenure in government and her desire to revive and restore the ANC. She said the ruling party had reached a crossroads and warned against a "repeat of what we had in Polokwane" when the incumbent Jacob Zuma was elected party president. In May, she even asked for "forgiveness" for the factional battles leading up to the iconic 2007 conference.

READ: Lindiwe Sisulu's Campaign For ANC President Is a Progressive Socialist Movement

The ANC National Executive Committee member and daughter of struggle stalwarts Walter and Albertina joins Jeff Radebe, Zweli Mkhize, Cyril Ramaphosa, Mathews Phosa and Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma in the race for the top spot. Just over two months remain to the party's highly anticipated elective conference.


3. SAA SEEKS SALVATION -- Embattled national carrier South African Airways (SAA) has turned to a restructuring expert as its (hopeful) saving grace, in light of its extremely poor financial position. British industry veteran and former CEO of European carriers including Brussels Airlines and Air Malta, Peter Davies, is reported to have agreed to try and help return the airline to profit.

READ: Slumping SAA Has Much To Learn From Soaring Ethiopian Airlines

On Friday last week, the national treasury granted SAA was granted a R3 billion bailout, primarily so it could meet its debt obligations to Citibank. If its extremely tough financial position wasn't enough, the airline narrowly avoided a nationwide strike this week, called by the South African Transport and Allied Workers Union after it accepted a 6% salary increase.

On Friday, the Independent Regulatory Board for Auditors said its investigations committee will decide whether or not to take action against SAA's auditors -- Mkongi and PricewaterhouseCoopers -- for the 2015-16 financial year. This followed concern, raised in particular by the Democratic Alliance's Alf Lees, that the auditors accepted SAA was a "going concern" in 2015-16 when it "definitely wasn't".

Here are some other stories you cannot miss from the week that was:

1. 'NUDE GROCER' -- A Cape Town grocery store wants customers to ditch the extra layers and bare it all from November. Unfortunately for the excited nudists, it's the items in store and not the customers that will be in their birthday suits. Nude Foods will be foregoing plastic packaging for an environmentally friendly, alternative shopping experience. Read about it here.

2. JACOB 'GOING NOWHERE' ZUMA -- Lame-duck presidents have two options: go quietly or hang on to power and target proxies to create longevity when term limits mean they have to leave office. This is the dilemma facing President Jacob Zuma, who is progressively revealing what kind of lame duck he will be in the face of an inevitable loss of direct power. Read Ferial Haffajee's analysis here.

3. PASTORS WHO PREY? -- Pastor Hamilton Nala says he can cure HIV and Aids with his personal brand of "holy" water and that homosexuality is a "demon" he can exorcise. The ANC LGBTI Forum called on him to stop misleading the masses and revoke his statements as they "seek to undermine our people". Meanwhile, Nala said he was "misquoted and framed", has "gay friends" and doesn't understand why he's under attack. Read here.

4. 'ROGUE UNIT' REVENGE --Johann van Loggerenberg, who was in charge of the South African Revenue Service's High-Risk Investigation Unit when it was gutted by Sars commissioner Tom Moyane, is said to have "had enough" of KPMG's failure to adequately address various shortcomings in its report into the unit, which became known as the "rogue unit". He says there are now solid grounds on which to tackle KPMG and certain employees for alleged fraud, corruption and other offences. Read Pieter Du Doit's analysis here.

5. NOAKES VS SCIENCE? -- Controversial professor and high-fat, low-carb diet pioneer Tim Noakes came under fire this week after arguing that a plant-based diet is a "dangerous trend" for the environment, among other highly controversial arguments about ethics and nutrition. Writer Trevor Sacks said Noakes has used his considerable reputation to promote a radical, dangerous diet based on questionable –- and now downright desperate –- claims. The Noakes Foundation responded, saying a "balanced plant and meat-based diet" is the way to go. Read their response here.