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Today’s big news: South Africa strikes oil

The big news of the day was of course State of the Nation Address this evening, and President Cyril Ramaphosa delivered a relaxed, confident performance. He even seemed to have tamed the EFF, who didn’t disrupt his speech – the first time in ages.

There were a few big announcements as expected.

But even if Ramaphosa announced that South Africa would henceforth be known as the Republic of Telly Tubbies and that our national anthem was Baby Shark, it would not eclipse this news: gas giant Total has struck oil off the coast of Mossel Bay. Total is said to be drilling at a depth of over 3600 metres, and over 170 kilometres offshore. The find is potentially “huge”, Business Day reported. Ramaphosa gave the news plenty of airtime in his speech, saying this could be the game-changer South Africa’s so desperately needs.

Reuters is reporting that there could be over 1 billion barrels of oil down there.

Reportedly, this could be a massive boon for SA which imports most of its oil. SA has also reportedly had little success drilling for oil offshore before, and only in shallow waters.

There are fears, however, that an oil boom is on the horizon, with multinationals clawing at our hapless energy department for licenses to exploit the area. Clearly, someone is going to get very, very rich. The question, however, is what will happen to the environment, and who is really going to benefit.

In other news

It’s been a terrible day for SA education, News24 reported.

In yet another case of violence in our schools, a teacher and a pupil involved in a physical altercation at the Sans Souci school in Cape Town were suspended on Thursday. Also in Cape Town, the Holy Cross Primary School was evacuated when a fire broke out.

Higher education institutions are also heaving with instability again. Wits University in Johannesburg is in chaos, with the Student Representative Council vowing to shut down the campus over issues like student debt and housing. This follows the death of a student at the Durban University of Technology earlier this week. It means that 2019 will probably be another year full of disruptions at many higher education institutions.