Weekend Wrap: SA unites, Easter weekend safety and Uber sees another country-wide ban

2017-04-09 20:51 - Selene Brophy
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Cape Town - It's been a tumultuous weekend as mixed emotions on what it means to be proudly South African were interspersed with downgrades of the SA economy and moving vigils for one of SA's last remaining struggle stalwarts Ahmed Kathrada.

Here's a round-up of the key stories you might have missed but need to know about. 

Monday's Weather Update: Thunderstorm warning for central EC as light showers forecast for most of SA

Zuma served notice as the people of SA unite 

Anti-Zuma marches across SA on Friday might not have seen an immediate removal of President Jacob Zuma - but it has gone a long way in galvanising the country in its call for Zuma to resign.

On Friday South Africans of all creeds and cultures came together to protest against the significantly devastating effects of President Jacob Zuma’s recent cabinet reshuffle, which saw among others the replacement of then Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan - causing a number of ratings agencies to downgrade the SA economy to junk status.

But Proudly South African spirits were high as thousands took to the streets across Gauteng against the current state of affairs and to call for President Jacob Zuma to step down. In Pretoria, more than 20 000 marched down Madiba Street towards the Union Building lawns See News24’s live video here and read News24 Editor Adriaan Basson’s column here.  

This, as the final tributes to anti-Apartheid stalwart and Rivonia trialist Ahmed Kathrada took place on Sunday.

Axed Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan stated in an address at the memorial, "If we can't unite amongst ourselves there's no hope for us in 2019, remember that"  

UN Security Council condemns Egypt church bombings on Palm Sunday

As SA battled its own inner turmoil, two christian churches in Egypt were bombed killing an estimated 45 people. 

The UN Security Council has condemned the Egypt church bombings of two Coptic Christian churches on Sunday, calling the attacks "heinous" and "cowardly."  At least 43 people were killed in the bombings in Tanta and Alexandria which went off as worshipers were gathering to mark Palm Sunday.

Associate Press report the bombings were the deadliest attacks in recent memory on the country's Coptic Christian minority.

A three-month state of emergency has been declared. In a statement, the council urged all member states to cooperate with the Egyptian government in bringing to justice the perpetrators of the attacks, which were claimed by Islamic State.

ALSO SEE: Egypt puts off higher entry visa charges until July 1

"They expressed their deepest sympathy and condolences to the families of the victims and to the government of Egypt and they wished a speedy and full recovery to those who were injured," it said.

"The members of the Security Council reaffirmed that terrorism in all its forms and manifestations constitutes one of the most serious threats to international peace and security."

At least 43 people were killed in the bombings in Tanta and Alexandria which went off as worshipers were gathering to mark Palm Sunday.

They were the deadliest attacks in recent memory on the country's Coptic Christian minority.

SA gearing up for the Easter holidays

The busy Easter Weekend is almost upon us and SA's most popular ports of entry will be upping security and efficiency at its immigration desk to "ensure that with changes in Executive Authority, services to citizens, tourists and travellers are not interrupted" and a smooth Easter travel experience is facilitated for both international and local tourists. 

SA's most popular ports of entry will extend their operating hours, while an additional 200 temporary staff will be deployed at various ports, including senior managers, to enhance service delivery. 

The operational plans for the 2017 Easter holidays were announced by the new Minister of Home Affairs Hlengiwe Mkhize, addressing media at OR Tambo on Thursday, 6 April. 

SEE: Easter safety: Scams, road safety and other travel alerts you need to know about

The DHA says they will be extending operating hours at selected ports between 11 to 19 April 2017, to ease movement for travellers in and out of South Africa over the Easter holidays. "These reinforcements," Mkhize says, "will apply to ten high volume ports of entry in anticipation of increased numbers of travellers." 

The Top 10 ports by volume of arrivals and departures are, OR International Airport, Beit Bridge, Lebombo, Maseru Bridge, Ficksburg, Oshoek, Cape Town International Airport, Kopfontein, Ramatlabama and Golela Port of Entry.

SEE: SA Insider Guide: Easter school holidays events across SA

Added to this visitors to the Kruger National Park are being reminded to book online to avoid being refused entry at the gate.

Italy bans Uber citing unfair competition

An Italian court on Friday banned the use of smartphone apps for the ride-hailing group Uber, saying they contribute to traditional taxis facing unfair competition, local media reported.

In a ruling that is subject to appeal, a court in Rome upheld a complaint filed by taxi unions and gave Uber ten days to end the use of various phone applications on Italian territory, along with the promotion and advertising of them.

If Uber does not comply it could face a fine of 10 000 euros ($10,600) for each day it remains in defiance of the court.

Uber said it was shocked by the ruling and that it would appeal immediately, seeking suspension of the ruling.

Yet this is not the only concern facing the online ride-sharing taxis service, which has recently come under fire for alleged overcharging through its upfront pricing system.

SEE: Tips on how not to be 'overcharged' by Uber

 When you request an Uber, it estimates a price for the ride and when the trip has ended, the driver’s meter will show how much the price amounted to.  However Allison Griswold from Quartz found that these two prices can vary.

After an Uber ride, she saw that her fare reflected on the driver’s meter was 10% less than what Uber's upfront pricing had said it will be so either  the drive got a smaller cut or she overpaid but in both cases, she suggest it is still inefficient.

SEE: Uber SA adds new safety and security measures

According to Fortune, the price indicated on the Uber App is merely an estimate. "The ride could take longer or shorter then in that case the driver’s fare should be the correct one," an Uber spokesperson is quoted as saying.

However, it seems like the problem with it that even if the ride is shorter than expected, the customer still pays the estimated Uber fare,  even if the upfront fare is higher. Read the full story here

Find your Botswana escape  

As we gear up our #AfriTravel focus, this weekend you’ll discover just how easy it is to find your escape in Botswana. Don’t believe it? Check out the Traveller24 Quick Guide, detailing everything from malaria precautions to essential visa info.  

Subscribe to the Traveller24 Sunday newsletter here.

Not only is it possible to have an eco-friendly holiday of note, but this exquisite part of Southern Africa allows you to discover new norms and an interesting rhythm of life that revolves around the extensive Okavango Delta. Take a look at these 10 things we’re loving about Botswana right now.

And as the upcoming dry winter season presents the optimal time to make the most of Botswana's wilder side, Mzansi Girl Meruschka Govender shares a magical dose of her recent Chobe Safari experience - See more here.

We’ll be featuring more #AfriTravel destinations in the coming weeks - and for a lively dose of wanderlust come join our twitter chat on Friday 21 April - see all the details here.   

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