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N Cape residents warned to be vigilant in a wake of increased shack fires
10 June 2021, 8:59 PM

The Sol Plaatje Fire department and the Northern Cape police have issued a warning to residents of informal settlements to be more vigilant in the wake of an apparent increase in shack fires in the province.

At least eight people have died in shack fires in the Northern Cape since the beginning of this year. Seven family members lost their lives in two separate shack fires in Kimberley.

The fire department is on high alert as fire incidents occur almost every day in the Northern Cape.

In March, a mother and her two children died in a shack fire in Snake Park. Two weeks later, 4 family members also perished in a shack fire in the White City informal settlement.

The deaths have left relatives distraught. Erika Malate, the aunt of Patricia Sekgolo who died in the fire with her two children aged 6 and 4 years old – Kitso and Bokhutlo, says the incident left a painful void in their hearts.

“I’m very sad because we were traumatised every day you see. But God knows alone what’s going to happen.”

The Fire Department says major causes of shack fires are the use of candles, gas and paraffin. The Sol Plaatje Municipality Fire Department’s Cameron Andrews says there are pre-cautions informal settlements residents can follow to avoid fires.

“The recommendation for the owner or the dweller in this shack would be to have a bucket or two buckets of sand inside his shanty for the immediate attack on his behalf, while we are responding to the scene. Preferably to have another bucket outside so they can use it to rapidly attack to extinguish the fire.”

The Northern Cape police spokesperson, Captain Sergio Kock, has confirmed that investigations into the shack fires are still ongoing and has urged shack dwellers to take precautions.

“The Northern Cape police are investigating three separate incidents where people lost their lives during shack fires. Therefore the police are humbly requesting the community please adhere to the following fire safety tips especially as we are experiencing extremely cold weather. Please do not make fires inside your shanty, be careful not to fall asleep with gas or electric heaters. we ask people to rather dress warmer during this cold winter months and use extra blankets.”

Residents have been cautioned to be more vigilant especially now during winter.

This week, a 50-year-old male in Pabalelo in Upington, also lost his life in a shack fire.

In the video below SABC speaks to officials

Hostage situation defuse in Durban CBD: Police
10 June 2021, 5:16 PM

The KwaZulu-Natal police have managed to defuse the hostage situation in Anton Lembede Street in the Durban CBD.

It’s alleged that a male suspect was armed with a firearm and an explosive device in one of the buildings.

Emer-G-med paramedic spokesperson Kyle van Reenen says, “To report back from the scene on Anton Lembede Street a short while ago a male suspect was escorted out of the building by members of the South African police services. Emer-G-med paramedics can confirm that there were no injuries and no fatalities were sustained. And the South African Police Services are to be commended for their swift action.”

In the video below is SABC reporter Jayed-Leigh Paulse giving an update on the story

VIDEO: SASCOC unveils Team SA’s kit for Tokyo Games
10 June 2021, 4:02 PM

The South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) is unveiling the kit Team South Africa will be wearing at the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal.

Tokyo 2020 is due to kick off next month with the opening ceremony at Japan’s Olympic Stadium in Tokyo.

Zimbabwe court upholds chief justice’s right to resume work despite age
10 June 2021, 2:48 PM

Zimbabwe’s High Court on Thursday backed Chief Justice Luke Malaba’s right to resume work despite a previous ruling that the president’s decision to extend Malaba’s tenure breached the constitution because he has turned 70.

The Malaba case has become the focus of a tussle between the High Court and President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who introduced a constitutional amendment that raised the retirement of Constitutional and Supreme Court judges to 75 from 70.

Lawyers have challenged the amendment but Malaba has resumed his work, prompting one of the lawyers to file contempt of court charges against the chief justice.

However, three High Court judges rejected the contempt of court charges on Thursday without immediately giving a reason for their verdict.

The High Court ruled last month that Mnangagwa’s decision to extend Malaba’s tenure by five years was invalid. The government has appealed that verdict and the Supreme Court is yet to set a date for a hearing.

Critics accuse Mnangagwa of seeking to influence the judiciary, a charge he denies.

Tokyo vaccination centre to offer shots to younger people as Olympics loom
10 June 2021, 1:51 PM

The main coronavirus vaccination centre in the Japanese capital of Tokyo will begin booking shots for people under 65 from Saturday, media reported on Thursday, as it ramps up inoculation efforts before the 2020 Olympics open next month.

Japan began vaccinating frontline health workers and elderly people in February, but the slow pace compared with other major industrialised nations has spurred calls for the Tokyo Games to be delayed again or cancelled.

Opening up vaccinations to most citizens may help government ease concern the country is unprepared to host tens of thousands of foreign athletes and Olympic officials as its healthcare system struggles with the fourth wave of infections.

Vaccinations have mostly been left to local health authorities to carry out with some cities and towns vaccinating residents faster than others.

The Tokyo vaccination centre will also begin taking appointments by telephone for the first time from Saturday, in addition to online bookings in a bid to encourage more people to get shots, the Sankei newspaper reported.

A spokesperson at the Ministry of Defence, which operates the site, declined to comment on the telephone and did not immediately respond to an email.

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said on Wednesday Japan aims to finish vaccinating everyone who wants a shot by October-November. That may require about 1 million injections a day.

“I want to explain to the G7 about our measures to tackle infections and our intention to hold a safe and secure game and win their understanding,” Suga told reporters as he left his residence in Tokyo for a G7 meeting in Britain.

POLITICS AND MONEY

With less than 50 days before the Olympics open, Japan has vaccinated just over a 10th of its population with at least one dose.

Organisers will this month decide whether to allow people in Japan to attend events. Spectators from abroad are not allowed.

The Games have become a big political issue for the government given widespread public opposition to holding them during the pandemic.

The financial stakes are also huge.

The organiser estimates that the cost of the Olympics, including $3 billion resulting from last year’s delay, will be more than $15 billion.

In a sign of continued concern about the risk of more infections during the Games, however, the governor of Chiba prefecture on Thursday cancelled plans for an outdoor Olympic viewing site in a park that would have drawn thousands of people.

“We have decided to cancel plans for the live site,” Toshihito Kumagai told a press briefing.

Near Tokyo, Chiba is due to host four Olympic events – surfing, fencing, wrestling and taekwondo – and four Paralympic events. On Wednesday, the prefecture recorded 106 new COVID-19 cases compared with 440 in Tokyo.

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