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SANBS calls for blood donations in KwaZulu-Natal
23 December 2019, 7:07 PM

The South Africa National Blood Service (SANBS) says for the first time in several years during this busy holiday time, KwaZulu-Natal has seven days of blood stocks.

SANBS in the province is calling on donors to remain committed to ensure optimum stock levels.

A KwaZulu-Natal blood donor, who has donated blood 54 times, is encouraging people who have never donated, to come forward to make a difference.

According to SANBS statistics, only 30% of the black population are active blood donors.

SANBS says it is working hard to encourage members from this community to donate blood.

Lamontville resident Nhlanhla Jiyane visited the uMlazi Donor Centre, one of the many sites for blood donation in the province.

“I will encourage people to come forward and donate because we save lives, especially during this festive time. That’s where people get injured and involved in accidents. So, the more we donate the more we save lives. Please come forward. Don’t be scared. It’s just a second. You won’t feel any pain. It’s just a prick of the needle and after that you’re done,” says Jiyane.

Jiyane was sadly among the few who stopped at the Umlazi activation point. Many shoppers simply passed by, not even taking the time to consider the option.

Lead Consultant for Medical Affairs at SANBS in the province, Doctor Solomuzi Ngcobo says this does not mean that people should stop donating.

“We are very grateful for our donors who have come forward to donate but at the same time we will urge our donors to continue donating blood so that we are able to maintain the levels,” says Ngcobo.

Ngcobo says from November 2018, SANBS increased its staffing capacity which has assisted in holding more blood drives at shopping centres.

Meanwhile, SANBS is especially calling on first-time donors and lapsed donors, who know that their blood type is Group O, which is the universal blood type and can be given to patients of any blood group.

Smuggling of counterfeit goods, stolen cars a concern at Kopfontein border
23 December 2019, 6:39 PM

Cross border crimes that include smuggling of counterfeit products and stolen cars, remain a huge challenge at the Kopfontein Border Post between South Africa and Botswana.

This emerged during a visit by the Minister of Home Affairs, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi. His visit is part of the Department’s plans to monitor the smooth movement of travelers over the festive season.

The Kopfontein Border Post, which is about 60 kilometres from Zeerust in the North West, is expected to experience increased numbers of travellers as well as delivery vehicles over the festive season. Some of those crossing from Botswana to South Africa have expressed mixed feelings about the service.

Mlungizi Mkhize from Kwazulu-Natal says crossing to Botswana with kids for the first time, he experienced a huge challenge. He was forced to return to ensure he had the proper documents to take the children out of the country.

“We went to Home Affairs. They didn’t tell us anything about having to apply for the unabridged birth certificate. We went to the police station to make the affidavit. Now, we are told to drive back to South Africa to get other documents,” says Mkhize.

The department has deployed at least 400 additional immigration staff in all ports across the country.

“There are always challenges at the border, from correct documentation or people trying to smuggle things through. A truck which has been detained here smuggling cigarettes and the other is suspected to be smuggling goods. This office is usually run by 30 people. We have send 12 extra people for this festive season,” says Motsoaledi.

The minister says they are also in negotiations with his counterparts in Botswana to upgrade the border post soon.

Watch the video below for more on the story:

Black Christmas for some Dobsonville residents
23 December 2019, 5:32 PM

Dobsonville residents in Soweto have been without electricity for over three weeks now. Residents say this blackout is a result of a faulty transformer, which has been giving problems since 2015.

The substation also exploded recently, leaving almost 20 houses without electricity.

The residents say they have asked Eskom to fix the problem and were promised that technicians would be dispatched.

The residents say life has been difficult, as everyday they have to buy food which has to be cooked immediately. Refrigerators, stoves and other electrical appliances are not working.

Resident Matselane Mongkgae says now they have to spend more to make it through these dark times.

“We have to buy food everyday and get gas cylinders. Some people don’t have the money, so they have to get wood to make fire outside. We are back now in the villages where we don’t have electric stoves. We don’t have a kitchen, we cook outside,” says Mongkgae.

One resident says she has to beg help from her neighbours a few meters from her house, who have electricity.

“I have two kids, first born has sinus and asthma. The second one still uses a bottle. So, it’s very difficult. We ask people from the other side. We are bothering people. At times, you knock and they do not open and you can’t be angry at these people. We survive by knocking at the people with electricity asking for help with water, cooking. At times, the children survive on bread,” says the resident.

A community leader, David Senatle, says they have tried asking Eskom for help, with no luck.

“It’s been three weeks without electricity and we tried to engage with Eskom and our councillor and they promised to bring their technicians to come and check the transformer. After Eskom came the electricity came for few hours until it went off again. We called them several times and they promised to come, but until today they haven’t shown up,” says Senatle.

Eskom says it is not aware of the situation, but promised to attend to the residents’ complaints.

Remains of Mpumalanga woman who died in Greece finally home
23 December 2019, 3:06 PM

The family of Sarah Masango, who passed away in Greece in November, will finally be able to bury their loved one after a pharmaceutical company lent a helping hand.

Masango from Kwa-Ndebele in Mpumalanga passed away on 14 November at a Greece hospital after a short illness. Her family battled to bring back Masango’s remains home due to the exorbitant fees required for repatriation.

The family has now finally received her mortal remains at OR Tambo International Airport on Monday after the company paid the R71 000 required for repatriation.

The 32-year-old left South Africa to become a seasonal worker in Greece six years ago.

Masango’s family says despite the difficult circumstances they find themselves in, being granted the opportunity to bury their loved one on the eve of Christmas, is the best gift they could have ever asked for.

Her brother Gilbert Maenetja says the family is relieved.

“What I can say is thanks to Mr Jackie Tau, who played a big role for our family to pay the R71 000. Finally, we are happy as a family. We are going to bury my sister on Tuesday at Kwa-Ndebele,” says Maenetja.

Waiting at the airport to receive her remains were Masango’s family and some members of the community. One of them is Sarah Senyane who has been assisting the family since learning of Sarah’s passing.

“I found that I should stand up, and assist Gilbert to make sure that her sister comes home. I feel that it’s her right to come home and it is our duty to make sure that if a member of the community is having a problem. We help each other,” says Senyane.

The pharmaceutical company that assisted the family says due to its large global footprint, it has a social responsibility to assist where it can.

“The spirit of Ubuntu has to prevail here. So, if you look at the predicament of the late Sarah and her family. She was a young lady, and her remains could not be returned to the country, now that’s a very sad situation for any family to be involved in. This really appealed to us, but more importantly it is in the spirit of Ubuntu and nation-building. These are the types of things we have to do as South Africans,” says Senior Executive, Stavros Nicolaou.

The International Relations and Co-operation Department is appealing to those travelling or working outside the country to ensure they have travel insurance.

Watch the video for more on the story:

Nearly 600 deaths on SA roads since start of festive season
23 December 2019, 2:45 PM

A total 489 fatal crashes have claimed nearly 600 lives on the country’s roads so far this festive season.

Transport Minister, Fikile Mbalula released the mid festive season road death toll at the Beit Bridge border post in Musina, in Limpopo on Monday.

KwaZulu-Natal recorded the highest death toll with 135. It’s followed by:
• Gauteng with 95 deaths,
• Eastern Cape with 81,
• Limpopo with 73,
• Free State with 56,
• Western Cape with 54,
• Mpumalanga had 40,
• North West 36 and
• Northern Cape with the lowest at 16.

Mbalula says he is concerned about the high number of drunken drivers. 1397 drivers have been arrested for drunk driving.

2915 have been arrested since the start of the festive road safety campaign, that’s 137 less than last year. He says over 200 000 traffic fines have been issued thus far.

“The success we have recorded so far should not lead us to complacency. Our job is not yet done. We must continue to implement our intervention with greater intensity. A busy period lies ahead as holidaymakers continue to make their way to holiday destinations and festivities during Christmas and new year long weekends,” says Mbalula.

Mbalula says the law enforcement officers must not allow lawlessness.

“It is a worrying factor that we have been saying to the authority all the time. As you can see the vehicles that come from Zim to SA empty … there is no problem with Zimbabweans coming to boom our economy in the country, but we must maintain the rule of our law and stamp our authority in relation to our borders. The most important thing is the safety of our people and at the same time, ensuring that our roads are safe. Unroadworthy vehicles, we take them out.”

Watch the video below for more on the story:

 

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