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News

  • Cape Town’s dams are now healthier than they were in June 2016

    There's some more good news this week for thirsty Cape Town. As of 11 June 2018, the city's total dam storage levels stood at 31.8%, marking an increase of 2% over the previous week. Overall dam levels have seen a 10.9% increase since 7 May. At the same point in 2017, the city had just 20.9% stored within its six largest dams. In 2016, that figure stood at 29.6%. So currently, Cape Town has a larger amount of water stored than it did at the same point in June 2016. Individual dams continue their positive trend, albeit see smaller gains this...

  • South Africa sees 12.4% growth in smartphones sales in Q1 2018

    South Africans might be pinching their pockets in other sectors of their financial lives (not to mention the upcoming petrol price hike), but they're not shy to splurge in others. One particular sector of interest is smartphones. According to research firm GfK South Africa, the country's smartphone sales grew by 12.4% over the previous year's first quarter, with 3.2-million devices sold within the first three months of 2018. Telecoms retail saw a 22.4% spike in revenue over Q1 2017, while the value of the smartphone market in South Africa grew by 22.8% over last year's first quarter too. GfK suggests that...

  • Week of rain leaves Cape Town’s dams just shy of 30% mark

    How quickly things can change, Cape Town. According to the City's latest dam report, Cape Town's six largest dams' total storage now stands at 29.8%. That's a gain of 5.8% in a single week. To put that into perspective: At the current rate of consumption, that's enough water to last Cape Town 98 days The city's six largest dams now hold more than 52 000 additional megalitres, that's 52-billion litres. In essence, just less than an entire Wemmershoek Dam's worth of rainfall fell within the dams' catchment areas last week Dam levels in the first week of June 2016 also stood...

  • Upcoming petrol price hike sends South Africans into mild Twitter panic

    From midnight on Wednesday 6 June 2018, the price of a litre of petrol will jump by 82 cents. This will push the total damage per litre to just below R16. Last month, a litre of petrol cost motorists R14.72. But it's not just petrol facing a price spike. Its dirtier cousin diesel is set for an 86 cents/litre increase, and those who rely on paraffin for cooking and warmth will also require more than 80 cents/litre more. At this point, it might be cheaper to fill your tank with soft drink. Understandably, South Africans are keen to vent, mildly panic and offer...

  • Cape Town’s dams slowly fill to 24% after May’s rainfall

    At the end of the fifth month of 2018, Cape Town finally has some positive water-related news. As of 28 May 2018, total dam levels stand at 24% full. That's still low, sure, but its marks an increase of 2.9% over the previous week. In terms of raw volume, that's more than 26 000 megalitres or slightly less than the Steenbras Upper dam's total capacity when full. At the current consumption rate of 505-million litres per day, that's enough water to last the city for more than seven weeks. This week, all six of Cape Town's major dams and all eight of...

  • 211 000 Cape Town households use less than 6000L per month

    Although Cape Town is set to enjoy one of the wettest weeks of the year thus far, the city's still in the middle of a drought. As of 25 May, the City of Cape Town suggests that dam levels remains at 23.1%. Granted, that's a gain of 2.8% over the year's lowest point, but it remains a dire situation. Still, the city's residents are seemingly continuing to reduce their consumption. The City today revealed that 211 000 households in April 2018 used less than 6000 litres per month. "211 000 households are living the #50LitreLife, using less than 6000 litres per month. Thank...

  • Africa Check’s Promise Tracker reveals how little your government has done

    Governments, like potential Bumble matches, will say anything to get you to swipe right on that election ballot paper. And often, those promises made during the campaign trail are never kept. Fact-checking website Africa Check today unveiled a tool to help voters keep track of their ruling parties' promises. It's aptly dubbed the Promises Tracker. "They campaigned and promised to change your life for the better. You voted for them. But have they kept their word?" asks Africa Check. "We have picked out 10 key promises made by governments in Nigeria, South Africa and Kenya and are tracking progress on them." "Our tracker...

  • Two US teens kill opossum mother and babies on Snapchat

    Snapchat is seemingly the new social network to join if you're into watching people brutally murdering animals. Two US teenagers were charged with animal cruelty after filming their killing of an opossum mother and her babies on Snapchat. The teenagers from Kennesaw, Georgia, reportedly used a baseball bat to kill the opossum mother, and then "allegedly used a chemical mixture that included bleach and ammonia to kill three other babies", a local news report gruesomely read. While the incident occurred early April, the adult assailant appeared in court last week. The story's this week trending across the internet, with users on Reddit...

  • FNB launches eWallet eXtra mobile bank accounts in South Africa

    First National Bank has today announced eWallet eXtra, a digital bank account that can be opened from a mobile device for unbanked South Africans. According to FNB, the mobile bank account is intended to plug the gap between its eWallet offering and traditional bank accounts that "do not meet the unique needs of irregular income earners such as seasonal workers." FNB suggests that this target market consists of some 11-million South Africans. The eWallet eXtra offering does attempt to plug this gap. "If you are above the age of 16 and own a cellphone, you’ll be able to get a mobile bank...

  • Cape Town dam levels drop below 21% for the first time in 2018

    Sure, those Day Zero plans may have been shelved in the "2019's going to totally suck" folder but it doesn't mean Cape Town's completely drought-free just yet. According to the City's latest dam level report, total surface storage has dipped below 21% for the first time this year. Remarkably, this means that the City has used only slightly more than 10% in total between 1 January 2018 and 16 April 2018. Still, at present, both the Theewaterskloof and the Voëlvlei dams remain below 15%. The former is just 0.4% above its 10% threshold, while the Voelvlei meekly stands at 13.9%. The City's four...

  • 3 wounded, shooter kills herself after YouTube HQ shootout

    Three people were wounded on Tuesday after a shooting broke out at YouTube's California headquarters. The shooter later committed suicide. According to a statement, the San Bruno Police Department received 911 calls "reporting gun fire at the YouTube campus located at 901 Cherry Avenue in San Bruno". Officers then arrived at the headquarters minutes later. "Arriving officers encountered numerous employees fleeing the building. Officers encountered one victim with an apparent gunshot wound to a lower extremity at the front of the building," the statement continued. A "deceased female inside with a possible self-inflicted gunshot wound" was then found. She was...

  • Zando’s apps, mobile site traffic is now zero-rated on Vodacom

    African fashion retailer Zando's apps and mobile site is now zero-rated on Vodacom's networks, the company announced on Wednesday. The agreement means that prepaid or contract users browsing or transacting on the retailer's mobile apps or mobile website won't be charged airtime or data fees if accessed through Vodacom. The retailer explains that the move is keeping in tune with South Africa's greater move towards mobile. "South Africa is fast catching up on the international trend of adopting a Mobile First attitude, with 61% of smartphone usage attributed to accessing internet and applications," it claims in a press release. Zando's head of mobile...

  • Cape Town dam report: surface storage dips below 200 000 ML

    Cape Town has just reached another notable #DayZero milestone: total surface storage within its six largest dams has now dipped below the 200 000 ML mark for the first time this year. As of Tuesday 27 March 2018, the combined dam level stood at 22.2%, down by 0.5% the previous week. In raw numbers, the City suggests that just 199 095 ML (or 199-billion litres) remain. Theoretically, Cape Town's six largest dams can store slightly less than 900 000 ML when full. Dams lose storage as March remains dry The Theewaterskloof Dam edges ever close to the 10% mark, and is now just...

  • Floods, Facebook and Floyd: what was hot in South Africa this past week

    Social media was last week awash by the #GautengFloods, according to analytics firm ROI Africa's latest report. According to stats siphoned from the web from the previous seven days, the rainfall in the country's smallest province became social media's most talked about event of the past week. Ironically, #DayZero also trended as Cape Town received minimal rainfall. Politics constituted the other share of the chatter, with Julius Malema and his EFF thrust firmly into the spotlight due to Floyd Shivambu's handling of a journalist outside Parliament. "#Malema told the media he is in charge of South Africa and he made several comments about...

  • Cape Town water usage jumps, dam levels drop to 22.7%

    So Cape Town... Do you want the good news or bad news first? It's a Monday, so let's start with the good news. The good news is that dam levels decreased by just 0.3% over the previous week. The bad news is that water consumption has spiked by more than 50-million litres per day compared to last Monday's figure. Last week Friday, deputy mayor Ian Neilson praised the City of Cape Town and its residents for its globally-recognised water saving efforts. "Our commendable water usage is increasingly recognised as a phenomenal achievement across the world. Thanks to this effort our dam levels are...