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Mob kills suspected arsonist in South Africa

A man who was attacked by people who suspected him of starting a fire in South Africa has died of his injuries in hospital.

Reports say police have still not ascertained the cause of the fire in Alexandra township, north of Johannesburg.

But, as News 24 reports, residents believed it was arson and attacked a man who they thought was responsible.

The fire, which broke out on Thursday afternoon, destroyed at least 500 shacks, leaving hundreds homeless.

Pictures of the fire have been shared on social media:

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EWN tweets that the clean up has begun:

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South Africa hit by blackouts

Pumza Fihlani

BBC News, Johannesburg

Eskom power plant
Eskom insist they have not run out of coal

South Africa is experiencing a return of blackouts, prompting fears here of a repeat of widespread outages in 2008 which crippled the country’s economy.

The rotational cuts known here as "load-shedding", resumed in recent weeks.

The power utility Eskom switches off power in certain areas for some hours, this is done to prevent the grid from collapsing when demand is greater than can be met.

While some have blamed the power cuts on a shortage of coal at the Eskom plants and mismanagement, the company says the disruptions are due to repair work at its generating units.

"Eskom would like to sincerely apologise for the inconvenience caused," it said in a statement today.

"We continue to appeal to residents and businesses to use electricity sparingly during this period. Please switch off geysers as well as all non-essential lighting and electricity appliances to assist in reducing demand," it added.

Eskom has also refuted claims that it does not have enough coal reserves to meet the country’s electricity needs.

Since the beginning of the year the company has signed nearly 30 contracts to get coal to their power stations, local media report.

It’s not clear how long the planned outages will last this time. With businesses and major industries shutting down for the year over the next few weeks, some are hopeful this will take off some pressure off the grid and prevent further cuts in the country.

Tutu tribute to South Africa's TRC pioneer

Alex Boraine (R), Hillary Clinton (C) and Desmond Tutu (L) in 1999 in New York
Alex Boraine (R) pictured here with Desmond Tutu (R) and Hillary Clinton, when she was US first lady, during a ceremony honouring their work in 1999

South African Nobel Peace Laureate Archbishop Desmond has paid tribute to anti-apartheid activist Alex Boraine, who has died aged 87, saying he could not have managed the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) without him.

Mr Boraine was one of the architects of the TRC, set up in the 1990s after the end of white-minority rule, and served as its vice-chair under Archbishop Tutu.

It held public hearings across the country and anybody who felt they had been a victim or perpetrator of violence could come forward. The panel would then recommend whether the perpetrators could receive amnesty from prosecution.

The archbishop said he and his wife were sad to bid farewell to a “true gentleman who loved his country, an admired colleague and dear friend”.

As deputy chairperson of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Alex was measured, reassuring, organised and efficient.

He made sure things ran in the appropriate order, and on time. He was more than a right-hand man; I could not have managed the commission without him.

We send our deepest condolences to the family as we thank God for Alex, a fellow traveller in the journey for a better South Africa."

The BBC’s Vauldi Carelse in Johannesburg says Mr Boraine committed his life to seeking justice for victims of human rights abuses.

He was the founder of the International Centre for Transitional Justice, which was set up in 2001. It works in more than 40 countries troubled with conflict to seeking redress for victims. He sat on its board of advisers until his death on Wednesday.

During apartheid he served as an MP from 1974 to 1986, representing parties opposed to the racist system. He later went on to work for two non-profit organisations concerned with ending white-minority rule and addressing its legacy.

In 2014, he received the Order of the Baobab – one of South Africa’s highest civilian honours.

TRC pioneer dies in South Africa

Alex Boraine (L) and Desmond Tutu (C) at a TRC hearing in 1997
Gallo Images
Alex Boraine (L) was Desmond Tutu's (C) deputy during the TRC hearings

Anti-apartheid activist Alex Boraine, one of the main proponents of South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), has died aged 87.

After the end of white-minority rule in 1994, Nelson Mandela, South Africa's first democratically elected president, appointed Archbishop Desmond Tutu to chair the TRC with Mr Boraine as his deputy.

The TRC was set up to investigate the crimes committed by all sides during the apartheid regime - and to recommend whether people confessing their involvement should receive amnesty.