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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.

 

 

ActionSA wants president Ramaphosa to establish a commission of inquiry into recent unrest
27 July 2021, 3:36 PM

ActionSA says it will write to president Cyril Ramaphosa to request him to establish a Judicial Commission of Inquiry into the deaths of over 300 people, looting, and vandalism that took place in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal recently.

Party leader, Herman Mashaba, says it is not enough that government continues to say action will be taken and those who are believed to be the instigators will be prosecuted, but the masterminds behind the unrest must be brought to book.

This is as members of the security cluster, including police and some South African National Defence Force (SANDF) members continue to conduct raids at different areas and confiscating all the stolen goods during the looting.

Mashaba says he is aware that the country is not in a good financial situation, but this inquiry is a must. He spoke during a media briefing in Johannesburg on Tuesday morning.

“We’ll be writing to President Cyril Ramaphosa and giving him 60 dates to initiate a judicial commission of inquiry. We will be asking president Cyril Ramaphosa to request the acting Chief Justice to provide a shortlist of three judges from which the president should choose one to chair the commission of Inquiry. In the likelihood that the president take the steps in the next 60 days, ActionSA will be laying a complaint to the Public Protector to ensure that he is compelled to do so,” he says.

ActionSA’s virtual media briefing following the unrest in SA:

Mashaba has  also described as “high treason” the recent acts of looting and vandalism. He says it is a shame that the country could be gutted into ashes just because of an individual.

“High treason is the most serious crime that can be committed because it is a crime committed against all the citizens of the country. The President’s words arose in the speech in which he describes himself as a commander in chief no less than four times in an effort to combat his amnesia leadership in the prior days. The response of our government has been pathetic much has been written and said about this. I don’t need to tell you that the president was absent in the days leading to Jacob Zuma’s arrest,” he adds.

The party’s KwaZulu-Natal Chairperson, Dr Makhosi Khoza, has claimed she was informed of the events leading to the violent unrest.

“The voice messages we were flooded with in KZN most of which were in isiZulu language were clear of their intentions. They made it clear that they would forcing Cyril Ramaphosa to quit office and the entire cabinet. How can we keep quite when the very head of state is telling us that there’s more than what meets the eye indeed some of us were dismissive of the voice messages circulated. It is devastatingly frightening that this attempted insurgency took place via ANC what’s app groups as is in KZN and today to tangible strides have been made to arrest the alleged perpetrators,” says Khoza.

ActionSA will write to president Cyril Ramaphosa ad give him 60 days to establish this commission of inquiry to establish what led to the recent riots in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng. It remains to be seen whether or not, on receipt of the letter from ActionSA he will act in accordance with their request or not.

Parliament to hold a probe into allegations of an insurrection:

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