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Resignation of Mangaung Metro City Manager Tankiso Mea does not absolve him from alleged corruption: Parties
1 August 2021, 6:54 AM

Opposition parties in the Mangaung Metro say the resignation of City Manager Tankiso Mea does not absolve him from the alleged corruption and maladministration.

This after the Mangaung Metro Municipality confirmed the resignation of the City Manager.

Mea’s resigned after calls from opposition parties for him to be held accountable for alleged maladministration and corruption at the municipality.

The Metro was placed under administration in December 2019 and has been downgraded twice by rating agencies.

Democratic Alliance (DA) councillor David Masoeu says Mea resigned to escape responsibility.

“The council has decided that they’re going to release him. Even though the disciplinary proceedings have not been finalized. So on one hand we are happy that the allegations of misconduct were actually found to be true by the private investigator. On the other hand, we know what the ANC does normally. They will just deploy him somewhere else. We wanted him to account for his actions his failures in the municipality.”

Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) councillor Paulnita Marais says Mea resigned just before his disciplinary hearing.

“The city manager just resigned two days before his disciplinary hearings and we as the EFF say he must be held accountable for what happened in Mangaung. Mangaung is in a mess because of him. There is no service delivery everywhere there is water crisis sewerage everywhere. People are suffering because of Mea.”

The Mangaung Community Concern group says Mea’s sudden resignation is an indication of guilt.

Spokesperson Motlatsi Mokgatla says, “This is an indication of admission of guilty from his side and the council. However we want to emphasize that  gone are the days where people will just mess up with issues of governance and finances of taxpayers money and they just go home – without facing any consequences.”

Allegations against Mea include financial mismanagement, unauthorised and wasteful expenditure, as outlined in the video below:

A spokesperson for the Mangaung Metro Municipality, Qondile Khedama, says an acting municipal manager has been appointed following Mea’s resignation.

“The city manager has resigned. The council has appointed Mr. Sello More to act as the City Manager so that the operations are not interrupted whilst other processes are unfolding. Yes, the investigations were instituted against him earlier and we obviously got legal advice as to the council that he has resigned, any other thing outside his resignation will be dealt with by relevant institutions.”

The instability at the municipality continues even after former Mayor Olly Mlamleli was axed via a motion of no confidence last year.

Over 34 000 COVID vaccines administered on Saturday
1 August 2021, 6:28 AM

The Health Department says 34 422 coronavirus vaccinations were administered on Saturday as government seeks to increase the number of shots given over weekends.

The Gauteng health department is among those that are expanding the number of sites. It now has 16 sites operating over weekends up from four. More than 7.5 million vaccinations have been administered in total with almost 3 million people now fully vaccinated with either two doses of the Pfizer shot, or one of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine.

Meanwhile, the Western Cape government has raised concerns about vaccine hesitancy in some parts of the province. Premier Alan Winde visited Mitchells Plain Community Healthcare Centre in Beacon Valley to receive his first Pfizer vaccine jab. This is in a bid to encourage people to get vaccinated.

The province reached a milestone this week of 1 million vaccines administered. Winde says government is working around the clock to reach community or herd immunity. 

In the video below is the report on the Western Cape:

Pfizer vaccines arrive

Acting Health Minister Mamoloko Kubayi says the donation of 5.6 million doses of Pfizer vaccines from the US will go a long way in ramping up the vaccination programme in the country.

The first batch of the donation arrived on Saturday night at the OR Tambo International Airport.

The donation is part of the first 25 million doses the US will donate to Africa and comes after a bilateral meeting between US President Joe Biden and President Cyril Ramaphosa on the sidelines of the G7 meeting in June.

This is the largest donation of COVID-19 vaccines to a single country by the US, with Nigeria following with 4 million.

Kubayi says, “This contribution comes in very handy and comes timely for us as we roll out. It contributes towards our supplies in terms of security supply to meet the demands that we have so we really appreciate this donation and we want to say thank you very much for this. And as we know that as part of the contribution towards the African continent, we’ve been interacting with the African presidents convey whose working very hard to ensure the vaccine for the continent.”

Haiti police say former Supreme Court judge is a suspect in the president’s killing
31 July 2021, 9:46 AM

Haitian police on Friday outlined fresh accusations against a former Supreme Court judge over her links to the assassination of President Jovenel Moise earlier this month, saying she had met with some Colombian mercenaries accused of killing him.

The assassination of Moise has plunged the Western hemisphere’s poorest nation deeper into chaos and launched an international manhunt for mercenaries and the murder masterminds across the Americas.

Haitian police had earlier this week issued an arrest warrant for Wendelle Coq-Thelot, a former Supreme Court judge who was ousted with two other judges earlier in February when Moise alleged a coup was being planned against him.

Coq-Thelot’s whereabouts are unknown and she could not be reached for comment.

Colombian mercenaries and Haitian-Americans arrested in the wake of Moise’s murder said they had met Coq-Thelot, according to Inspector General Marie Michelle Verrier, the spokesperson for the National Police of Haiti.

“Several of them have indicated that they have been to Mrs.Coq’s home twice,” Verrier told reporters. “These people gave to (police) details of documents signed during the meetings at Mrs.Coq’s home.”

Police have raided Coq-Thelot’s main home as well as other residences in the countryside, Verrier said.

A wanted poster for Coq Wandelle has also been launched. Many questions remain over who was behind the assassination this month and how the killers gained access to the president’s home.

Haitian officials blamed a squad of mostly Colombian mercenaries, three of whom were killed by police.

A top Moise security official was arrested on suspicion of involvement on Tuesday.

Earlier in the day, Colombia called on Haiti to guarantee the legal and medical rights of 18 Colombians detained on the Caribbean island for alleged participation in Moise’s assassination

Tourism sectors get boost from Sho’t Left campaign
31 July 2021, 7:50 AM

The struggling tourism sector received a much-needed boost this week as it launched its Sho’t Left campaign.

Businesses in the industry have been invited to partner with SA Tourism. They’re offering discounted deals and packages of up to 5% off, to promote domestic travel.

Sho’t Left was launched in 2004 by the South African Tourism Board to create affordable travel for specific targeted segments in the domestic tourism market.

Bheki Dube, founder of Curiocity, a tourism company that provides accommodation and tour packages in Johannesburg, Cape Town, and Durban has partnered and registered SA Tourism Sho’t Left this year to promote his business.

He says government needs to do more for the sector as the grant money they received to keep their businesses afloat was not sustainable.

However, he is excited about the opportunities this year more so in September which is usually a busy month for the tourism sector.

“When we went into Level 5 last year in March we saw occupancy drop from 80% to 50 to 30 to 0% overnight. As a young brand that’s something I thought I would never experience in my lifetime. Accommodation spaces that could not pay for their rentals have shut down. Last year, there was no meaningful engagement from SA Tourism in terms of how can we boost tours during this time. We hope travel week is able to boost the existing businesses.”

Sho’t Left Travel Week which starts from the 6th to the 12th of September offers all South Africans a chance to buy discounted local travel deals up to 50% off from businesses like Curiocity. The campaign could not have come at the right time as the sector has lost billions of rand and lost more than 300 000 jobs.

Acting CEO for SA tourism Sthembiso Dlamini says businesses who partner with them will enjoy a variety of benefits including extensive marketing and promotion. She says Sho’t Left is a great opportunity to showcase what the sector is offering and is encouraging those in the industry to register and upload their discounted local travel deals

“We want them to register and upload their discounted deals on our Sho’t Left website. We are very appreciative that South Africans do want to travel and we have seen that during our Easter holidays South Africans really travelled. We know that we are coming out of the third wave and by September government is opening up the vaccination for those under 35 and that is important for the domestic market and I think it’s going to go a long way in ensuring that the sector recovers.”

Dlamini says they have also advised businesses and consumers to adhere to COVID-19 regulations at their premises.

“We are saying we have to make sure that people travelling need to travel wisely and make sure that they do the social distancing, they still wear their masks and sanitize. Products are also communicating what they are doing to make sure that travellers are safe when they are visiting their products and attractions.”

SA Tourism says they saw a decrease in the number of trading partners who registered with them last year. They hope this year they will be able to attract more travellers and boost the local tourism economy.

“Domestic tourism is one of the key levers that will drive the sector recovery. We have been on a drive to engage even the consumers to understand the importance of domestic tourism. Gone are the days where domestic travel or domestic tourism will be just an alternative, we want to create it as a base of the tourism economy.”

Meanwhile, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) has noted that little gains have been made in international air travel. In its latest report, IATA shows a drop in passenger kilometres by 60.1% compared to pre-COVID-crisis in June 2019.

IATA further noted that passenger willingness to travel remains strong but elevated international travel restrictions and rising COVID cases in some regions represent a risk to further air travel.

Further- worsened by this is that some tourist destinations are only allowing vaccinated travellers or those with negative COVID results to stay in their premises.

The video insert below looks at the impact of lockdown on tourism:

Parliament’s Joint Committee calls for serious debate on the role and funding of the SANDF
31 July 2021, 6:36 AM

Parliament’s Joint Standing Committee on Defence has called for a serious debate on the role and funding of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF).

The committee has commended the role the Defence Force has played in its support of the police following the recent unrest in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng.

President Cyril Ramaphosa informed Parliament that the cost of the deployment of 25 000 SANDF members is over R600-million.

The deployment is from July 12 to August 12.

President Ramaphosa deploys army after looting sprees in KZN and Gauteng:

Following their visit to the areas of deployment, members said they have noted the poor state of the equipment of the defence force due to budget cuts. Members were also unhappy with the lack of strategic airlift capability of the Airforce and its impact on the movement of troops and equipment in support of the police.

The committee has also raised concerns about the level of strategic intelligence provided to the SANDF and SA Police Service (SAPS).

Committee researcher Willem Janse van Rensburg who read the report that was adopted by the committee following the oversight visit says, “The negative impact of budget constraints on the status of the SANDF’s equipment and the resultant impact thereof was clearly visible during the most recent oversight visit.”

“In line with the committee’s constitutional mandate to make recommendations on the defence budget and armaments, the committee will request a joint report from the SANDF and the National Treasury on critical equipment requirements and the funding thereof,” he adds.

 

 

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