South Africa: Today’s latest news and headlines, Wednesday 23 December

It’s the eve of Christmas eve, and all around the country, there are people being naughty and nice. Let’s take a closer look at the stories that are making headlines on Wednesday 23 December.

Authorities have warned that long queues at social services venues like post offices are potential super spreader locations, and have urged people to limit their movement. That will do little to discourage the throngs of people heading for the beaches.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) failed in its bid to open the Garden Route beaches, but won a moral victory in extending the hours beaches can remain open for. Beaches in the Western Cape will now be open from 6am until 7pm.


Long queues at these venues ‘may become super-spreader events’

Eastern Cape Premier Oscar Mabuyane has revealed that the province has engaged with relevant national departments on how to deal with public service offices that are potentially becoming COVID-19 super-spreaders due to snaking long queues –  and the province was engaging with the relevant Ministers on how these could be addressed.

Speaking on Tuesday, Mabuyane revealed that three major institutions are struggling to handle the build-up of queuing customers outside of their offices – all of which handle essential administrative tasks.

  • Post Office
  • Home Affairs
  • Departments of Employment and Labour

Ace Magashule: PP report represents ‘height of irrationality’

ANC Secretary General and former Free State Premier Ace Magashule attributes Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s findings in the second Vrede dairy farm report to “irrationality of the highest proportions”. Mkhwebane chastises the incumbent Public Protector for linking him to the project.

Magashule, on the other hand, argues that he was not aware of the project despite his position as Free State Premier at the time. On Monday 21 December, the Public Protector released a group of much anticipated reports, which included Vrede dairy findings.

His continuous denial of having no direct responsibility and knowledge, as the political head of the Free State Province, of the Vrede Dairy Project is alarming.

Public Protector, Busisiwe Mkhwebane


The DA has recorded a partial victory in court on Tuesday afternoon – after the opposition managed to secure an extension for beach opening hours in the Western Cape. The seaside spots can now stay open for four hours longer, but the party was unsuccessful in trying to lift measures imposed against the Garden Route.

The ruling was handed down earlier on Tuesday 22 December. The DA were hoping to challenge the ‘draconian’ rules that are keeping beaches on the Garden Route closed down, but ultimately, they had to settle for the following terms:

  • The Garden Route still has to keep its beaches closed until 3 January.
  • However, all other beaches in the Western Cape can now stay open for four hours longer…
  • The previous 9:00 – 18:00 limit has been replaced – by a 13-hour allowance, which now allows beaches to operate from 6:00 – 19:00.
  • The DA was also awarded 50% of the court costs, as per the verdict.

John Steenhuisen, the DA leader, gave his reaction to the news shortly after the ruling was handed down. Though he expressed his concern for the Garden Route, he welcomed the leeway that was shown to other beaches in the province.


A Zimbabwean woman passed away at the Beitbridge border post while waiting on a bus. As reported by eNCA, emergency services are at the scene, but they were unable to revive the woman.

Passengers travelling with the woman told reporters she “complained of fatigue and asked fellow passengers to pray for her”. She was reportedly also “feeling dizzy” and passed away soon after.

According to the bus driver, the Zimbabwean the woman approached him to ask if the could exit the bus because it was hot and she needed fresh air. She collapsed while exiting the bus, and passengers rushed to assist her.

The bus driver explained that they “held her and gave her water”. Her condition improved as she exited the bus.

Former Bok manager Arthob Petersen dies, SA Rugby pays tribute

Former Springbok manager Arthob Petersen has died due to the effects of Covid-19SA Rugby has announced.

Petersen held the post of Springbok manager on three separate occasions and was a powerhouse on the Boland rugby scene.

He also served rugby in various capacities for four decades, most notably as Springbok manager under Carel du Plessis and Nick Mallett (1997 to 1999), with Jake White (2004 to 2006) and again in 2008 and 2009 with Peter de Villiers.

Hailing from Paarl in the Western Cape, Petersen was a stalwart of the old South African Rugby Union serving as coach and chairman of the Lower Paarl Rugby Club after beginning his administrative career as chairman of the South Cape Teachers’ Training College club. From 1978 he began a 10-year tenure as chairperson of the Paarl Rugby Union, which was affiliated to SARU.

He became vice-chairperson of the Boland Rugby Union in 1986 until the unification of the sport in 1992 when Mr Petersen was elected as a member of the executive committee of the South African Rugby Football Union, the forerunner to today’s SA Rugby.

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