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KZN in third wave of COVID-19: Premier
15 August 2021, 3:43 PM

KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala has confirmed that the province is now in the third wave of Covid-19 with KZN having recorded more than 3000 cases daily.

Zikalala was briefing the media on Sunday afternoon on the latest developments concerning the pandemic as the province is experiencing an exponential increase.

He has urged community members to adhere to the regulations.

The province currently has over 40 000 active COVID-19 cases surpassing Gauteng at 18 000 and has registered 12 535 deaths overall due to the pandemic.

Zikalala has attributed the increase of infections to the recent large gatherings by people engaging in looting and destruction of property. Over 300 people were killed in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal following the unrest.

“The province has for the past three consecutive days recorded more than 3000 new cases and is reporting the second-highest number of daily confirmed cases. Our third wave appears to be due to the sustained increase in the rate of new infections. The surge in cases appears to be have been driven in the main by the recent large gathering by people engaging in looting and destruction of property.”

Increasing hospitalisations

Zikalala also addressed the number of hospitalisations that are increasing steadily in both public and private health facilities. The Department of Health says it is looking at alternatives in expanding ICU bed capacity.

Residents have been encouraged to continue to vaccinate as Zikalala emphasised the announcement by President Cyril Ramaphosa, that those between the ages of 18 and 34 will be able to vaccinate from the 1st of September 2021.

Investor confidence

Zikalala has provided feedback following his meeting last week, with members of the diplomatic corps and trade representatives from 40 countries following last month’s violence and looting.

Zikalala and a delegation of key provincial MECs met with trade delegations from countries such as Japan, Mauritius, the United Kingdom, Australia, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. He says discussions focused on restoring investor confidence to KwaZulu-Natal.

“All of them have committed to retain investments in the province and even pledged for new investments in the future. This is a welcomed boost in KZN and an overwhelming ray of confidence in the economic fundamentals which defines the province as a conducive and preferred investment destination.”

Shutdown refuted

Zikalala also refuted claims of a possible shutdown of the province on August the 23rd. He says there will be no illegal shutdown taking place.

This was after posts and posters were circulated on social media alleging a total shutdown.

“We have received and some people have reported also about posters that are in social media saying that on the 23rd there will be a shutdown and we have reported this to law enforcement agencies and we believe they are ready for that and we want to assure all people pf KwaZulu-Natal that there is no such shutdown and we will want to ensure them and guarantee their safety that the police and other law enforcement agencies will be all over to protect them.”

Premier Sihle Zikalala brief the media on the latest developments concerning the pandemic: 15 August

Seven private security companies under investigation for conduct during Phoenix violence: Cele
15 August 2021, 3:08 PM

Police Minister Bheki Cele says the number of private security companies being investigated for their conduct during the looting and violence in Phoenix, north of Durban, in KwaZulu-Natal last month, has increased to seven.

Police Minister Bheki Cele has been visiting settlements in the Phoenix area. He says initially they were investigating four companies. Cele also says the number of firearms seized from the companies now stands at 162.

“The main private security company that people complained about is VIP KZN. It is very notorious. There are others as well. There were four now there are seven being investigated. We have seized 162 firearms from these companies for the ballistic tests. there is a lot of investigation that is underway.”

Community members of Amaoti and Bhambayi say they have been subjected to abuse by private security companies for years.

“Minister could you please make sure that you address this issue of these private security companies in Phoenix. These security companies such as VIP and reaction really need to be investigated. We have been abused by these companies for too long. We are also not happy with the police station.”

Over 30 people have been arrested in relation to the Phoenix attacks. Many of those arrested have already appeared in court.

36 people killed in the Phoenix unrest: Cele | 3 August 2021

On Saturday, the African United Activists Movement marched to the Phoenix Police Station to hand over a memorandum. The movement is demanding that a commission of inquiry be established into the death of about 36 people in Phoenix during the unrest.

In the video below activist hand over a memorandum at Phoenix police station:

Several other organisations and political parties including the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) have also embarked on a similar march to Phoenix.

EFF supporters gathered to march against racism in Phoenix | 5 August 2021

Afghan delegation to meet Taliban in Qatar on Sunday, govt negotiator says
15 August 2021, 2:35 PM

An Afghanistan government delegation, including senior official Abdullah Abdullah, will travel to Qatar on Sunday to meet with representatives of the Taliban, an Afghanistan negotiator said.

Fawzi Koofi, a member of the Kabul negotiating team, confirmed to Reuters the delegation would meet with the Taliban in the Gulf state after the militant group earlier entered Kabul.

A source familiar with the matter told Reuters the Afghan delegation and Taliban representatives would discuss a transition of power, adding that U.S. officials would also be involved.

Peaceful transition

Meanwhile, the Taliban expects a peaceful transition of power in the next few days, a spokesperson said on Sunday, as the insurgents reached Afghanistan’s capital Kabul with little resistance.

Suhail Shaheen added that the militant Islamist group would protect the rights of women, as well as freedoms for media workers and diplomats.

“We assure the people, particularly in the city of Kabul, that their properties, their lives are safe,” the spokesperson said in an interview with the BBC.

“Our leadership had instructed our forces to remain at the gates of Kabul, not to enter the city.

“We are awaiting a peaceful transfer of power,” he said, adding the Taliban expected that to happen in a matter of days.

Mabrur Ahmed from the U.K’s international grassroots human rights charity group, Restless Being discusses events unfolding in Afghanistan

SA records 13 021 new COVID-19 cases and 238 related deaths
14 August 2021, 8:38 PM

The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) says 238 people died from COVID-19 in the latest 24 hour reporting period and the death toll is now approaching 77 000.

More than 13 000 people tested positive for the coronavirus in the latest reporting period with over 60 000 tests being conducted. The test positivity rate remains above 21% – more than four times the rate at which the spread of the virus is said to be under control.

People who are eligible are urged to get the vaccine as this is the best way to ensure that someone does not get very sick – or even die – from COVID.

Administered vaccines

The Health Ministry says just 29 177 coronavirus vaccines were administered in the latest reporting period – amid concerns about the slowing vaccination rate in South Africa.

More women than men are getting the vaccine. Some observers say people between the ages of 35 and 49 are also not turning out as expected to get the jab.

Just over 10% of the adult population is now fully vaccinated. Vaccinations are the best way to protect yourself from severe illness or even death from COVID 19.

The vaccines offered in South Africa have been through proper medical testing and are considered safe.

Activists hand over memorandum demanding Commission of Inquiry over Phoenix killings
14 August 2021, 3:58 PM

The African United Activists Movement, who earlier marched to the Phoenix police station north of Durban, has handed a memorandum over to acting eThekwini Commissioner Major General Mandlenkosi Chirwa who has promised to forward it through proper channels.

The movement is demanding that a commission of inquiry be established into the death of about 36 people in Phoenix during the unrest. 

There was a heavy police presence as a handful of people made their way to the Phoenix police station.

A special police task team investigating deaths in the Phoenix area during the widespread unrest has opened at least 32 murder dockets.

The marchers held placards written “African Lives Matters” calling for justice. More than 30 people have since been arrested – a number of them have already appeared in court.

Name and shame

Last week the Verulam Magistrate’s Court granted bail to three men accused of attempted murder and malicious damage to property. These men who are Seelan Chetty, Owen Chinnasamy, and Keillen Pillay were allegedly part of groups of people who shot at two cars on the 12th of July when the motorists were looking for petrol in Phoenix.

However, the movement’s national convenor – Sifiso Manyala – says communities want those charged to be named and shamed.

“We have been told about the people that have been arrested but those suspects are not known yet do people say we use to see people once they appear in court. But we don’t know them. People want to see the face of the suspect. This task team that has been elected must give a report back to the community. Communities are frustrated we don’t know what is happening now.”

Manyala says the movement believes that the commission of inquiry into the Phoenix killings will address several issues especially in relation to inequality.

“People are angry, people are also hungry. So we staged this march because we believe that with the commission of inquiry that we ask it to be established we believe that commission will make a report and recommendations as to why the people are always reliant and dependent on the Phoenix community. We want that commission of inquiry to recommend that People must have access to mobile police station and health facilities.”

But chairperson of the peace committee Chris Biyela says they are satisfied with the ongoing police investigations into the killings.

“Because we were working together with the police enforcement we are on the ground collectively and we get the updates whenever we are seeking for the information of what is happening we get informed and we see the results because our objective is that we want those who were identified as criminals to be arrested with proper chargers.

The plan was that tomorrow on the 15th of August (Sunday) we will do a community drive with the minister where we will be giving feedback of everything that has taken place everything that has been established.” Reporting by Nonhlakanipho Magwaza

In the video below activist hand over a memorandum at Phoenix police station:



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