Communications Minister Gungubele Fires Postbank Board After Scandals
Communications Minister Mondli Gungubele has removed the remaining board members of the Postbank, reports EWN. This decision came after most of the board members resigned in protest, citing alleged interference by the minister. The removal of the board is in response to a KPMG forensic investigation report that revealed that Postbank had been engaging illegally contracted service providers and paying them substantial amounts without proper contracts or procurement processes. The report recommended action against the Board of Directors. Prior to this, the Postbank had faced several governance-related scandals, which had hindered its ability to obtain a full banking license as a developmental state bank. In the meantime, Khayalethu Ngema has been appointed as the Postbank administrator until a new board is appointed.
South Africa Quadruples Solar Panel Imports from China
South Africa's solar panel imports from China quadrupled in the first half of 2023, reaching nearly the generation capacity of Eskom's Duvha or Matla power stations, reports News24. This is the fastest growth in solar panel imports in Africa and the Middle East and is being driven by frequent load shedding and short-term tax incentives by the government. Households can qualify for a tax credit of up to 25% of the cost of solar panels, and businesses can deduct 125% of the cost of any renewable energy project from their taxes. The government has also introduced a loan scheme for solar and feed-in tariffs in cities like Cape Town and Johannesburg .
Stellenbosch University Leads African-Led Consortium with R101 Million Grant to Tackle Future Epidemics
A Stellenbosch University-led international consortium has been awarded a R101-million grant to develop genomic surveillance systems to control pathogen infections in Southern and Eastern Africa, reports News24. The grant is from the European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP3), which funded five international awards, and this project is the only one led by Africa. The project, called Genomic Surveillance to Control Pathogen Infections in Africa (GenPath Africa), aims to enhance genomic surveillance capacity, strengthen genomic sequencing, and provide advanced analysis and interpretation training. Renowned scientist Tulio de Oliveira said that the consortium would include epidemiologists, clinicians, bioinformaticians, immunologists, and virologists to increase the use of genomic epidemiology to address important public health issues, such as HIV-1, tuberculosis, and antimicrobial resistance in South Africa, Kenya, and Mozambique. GenPath Africa will also employ a one-health approach, involving wastewater and animal surveillance to detect emerging pathogens, and help prepare for future pandemics.