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Kenyans react with a tinge of envy and shock to news of Zuma’s incarceration
8 July 2021, 8:05 PM

News of the incarceration of former president Jacob Zuma has been met with mixed reaction, even some tinge of envy in Kenya.

On the streets of the capital Nairobi, where the SABC News crew sought views, Kenyans were surprised that a former head of state could be thrown behind bars. While some saw it as precedent-setting, others felt it was disrespectful.

“I am very surprised. Zuma is a freedom fighter. Not a good show to our leaders, set him free,” one resident told SABC News.

“I do not know if Kenya can reach that level unless the old people leave politics and we get young people,” said another Kenyan.

“In Kenya, it’s even worse because we support our criminals and we do not allow them to go to prison. Never happened. I believe it is possible, one day when we get mad at all of these idiots,” adds another resident.

International relations expert Professor Macharia Munene says Zuma failed to read the mood of the nation.

“He should have learned from his predecessor Nelson Mandela, alaw-abiding citizen.”

He admits that while there is likely to be a fallout within the ruling party, it is also a lesson to those in positions of power.

“He joins a team of previous presidents…ousted.”

Munene, however, says this week’s events in South Africa will ignite debate on whether former presidents should be granted immunity from prosecution.

Zuma handed himself to begin serving his jail term on Wednesday night.

Kenya reacts to incarceration of Zuma: 

High court to hear Gupta associate Iqbal Sharma’s bail appeal on Friday
8 July 2021, 6:35 PM

Former Transnet board member and Gupta associate, Iqbal Sharma, has approached the high court in Bloemfontein for a bail appeal.

Sharma took the matter to the high court after the Bloemfontein Regional Court denied him bail in early June. He is amongst 17 accused persons and companies who are implicated in defrauding the Free State Department of Agriculture in 2011.

The matter is related to R24.9 million that was meant to conduct a feasibility study.

Four of his co-accused were granted bail last month. They are Peter Thabethe; Limakatso Moorosi; Seipati Dhlamini and Sharma’s brother-in-law, Dinesh Patel.

Sharma is the sole director of Nulane Investment company through which millions of rand were siphoned. From there, the funds were diverted to Island Site Investments, a company owned and controlled by the Gupta family.

In his last bail application, the state opposed bail, citing that Sharma presents an overwhelming flight risk and has the means and incentives to flee the country. It also raised concern that he had failed to disclose R265 million held in his United Arab Emirates Issar Global account.

Gupta family associate, Iqbal Sharma, denied bail: 

First day of SAPS Eastern Cape vaccine drive deemed a success
8 July 2021, 5:45 PM

The Eastern Cape leg of the South African Police Services (SAPS) vaccine drive kicked off in Gqeberha on Thursday.

The aim is to vaccinate 24 000 SAPS personnel, which include police, reservists, administration staff and interns.

Eastern Cape MEC for Safety, Weziwe Tikana-Gxothiwe, was the first to get the shot at the Mount road vaccine site.

Fifteen sites have been set up around the province to ensure no law enforcement agent is left out.

“We want to ensure that all our personal get the vaccine, for a long time they have been asking us to get the jab after being exposed to the virus for so long, so this is a huge relief for many of them. We will be going throughout the province to ensure that all our police officials get the jab. This is really exciting for us that at last, this process has started for our police teams too,” says Tikana-Gxothiwe.

Provincial Commissioner Lieutenant General, Liziwe Ntshinga, was one of the first police officers to be diagnosed with COVID-19 last year.

Today she also got the shot and encouraged other officials to also get vaccinated.

“As someone who knows how badly this virus affects the body, I wanted to make sure that I am one of the first to get the vaccine. I am feeling great, no side effects at all. I want to encourage the public officials to also get the vaccination because we are front-line workers and are so exposed daily, so it’s best we get the vaccination to protect ourselves and our families. People must not fear the vaccine, there is nothing bad it will do to your body,” she says.

Other police officers have also expressed relief and joy after getting vaccinated.

“I am feeling very good after getting the vaccine, I have no complications at all. I want to encourage my fellow colleagues to come out in their numbers and get the vaccine too. Because it’s the best way to protect themselves against this virus,” said one police officer.

“I just got the vaccine and I’m feeling fine. I think other police officials should come out in numbers to get this vaccine, it’s the best thing to do,” added another officer.

The Eastern Cape Safety MEC says there are plans to also vaccinate traffic officers during this period.

Eastern Cape SAPS vaccination drive proceeding well: 

COVAX aims to deliver 520 mln vaccine doses to Africa this year
8 July 2021, 5:35 PM

The global vaccine distribution scheme COVAX aims to deliver 520 million COVID-19 vaccine doses to Africa in 2021, its managing director said, with supplies ramping up from September after delays caused by Indian export restrictions.

Aurelia Nguyen told a news conference on Thursday organised by the World Health Organisation’s Africa region that the scheme had delivered around 25 million doses to 44 African countries so far, but she was not happy with the progress.

In early March, the CEO of vaccine alliance Gavi, one of the organisations co-leading COVAX, had said the aim was to supply Africa – whose total population is 1.3 billion – with 720 million doses in 2021.

But later that month India placed a hold on vaccine exports, deepening problems for COVAX, which was heavily dependent on doses from the Serum Institute of India, which is one of the world’s largest vaccine manufacturers and has been producing AstraZeneca shots.

Nguyen said COVAX had been in talks with the Indian government and Serum Institute and that it was factoring in a resumption of supplies “towards the latter part of the year” although the situation was still fluid.

By the end of the first quarter of 2022, COVAX aims to supply nearly 850 million vaccine doses to the African continent, which has some of the lowest COVID-19 vaccination rates worldwide.

That new target is enough to protect up to 30% of the population of every African country that qualifies for subsidised doses under COVAX’s so-called Advance MarketCommitment, Nguyen added.

African countries will receive doses from COVAX’s portfolio of nine vaccines, which as well as AstraZeneca include shots developed by Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson and Moderna.

Addressing the same conference, South Africa-based Professor Tulio de Oliveira, a genomics expert, said the more infectious Delta coronavirus variant was spreading rapidly throughout Africa, accounting for roughly three-quarters of the genomes sequenced on the continent recently and driving up deaths.

“More than ever it’s time to increase vaccination,” he said. Africa’s top public health official, John Nkengasong, said separately that only 1.2% of the continent’s population had been fully vaccinated.

He said the situation in Senegal and Ghana, which are running low on COVID-19 vaccine supplies, was not unique owing to the COVAX delays, but that a US donation of 15 million doses would soon start to be distributed via the facility.

The African Union’s vaccine task team will also start rolling out 7 million Johnson & Johnson shots next week, Nkengasong said.

Africa CDC says it’s monitoring Delta variant, ramping up vaccine procurement: 

WC government worried public’s reluctance could hamper efforts to reach herd immunity
8 July 2021, 4:45 PM

The Western Cape will need to vaccinate 3.5 million people to reach herd immunity. The province has to date administered just over 500 000 vaccine doses, but says the reluctance in some communities may hamper their efforts.

The province is now firmly in the third wave of infections with some 2000 cases being reported daily.

There are currently 206 active public sector vaccination sites across the Western Cape.

This week, the mass vaccination site, Centre of Hope at the Cape Town International Convention Centre came online, with another, at the Athlone stadium due to be opened next month.

Health authorities, however say their ability to reach their vaccination targets depends on a steady vaccine supply and the ability and willingness of people to register and vaccinate.

Western Cape Head Of Health, Dr Keith Cloete, says the province would like to reach herd immunity by November.

“Our aim in this province is to get that done as quickly as feasibly as possible. There are two determinants, it is people coming forward and wanting to be vaccinated and then we must then work with the ones that are reluctant to convince them to be vaccinated, and a second one is to have the supply and mechanism delivery mechanism to do that, we are bringing both to bear. And what we always aim for is that we want to get to herd immunity by November this year or even before November, so it’s very steep targets and we want to get to that as soon as possible,” says Cloete.

In the Cape Metro, Mitchells Plain and Khayelitsha have been cited as areas of concern with low registrations.

Western Cape Health MEC, Dr Nomafrench Mbombo, says if over 60s do not vaccinate, it will clog the health system.

“When you still have over 200 000 over 60ss who are not vaccinated yet, it means that when they get infected, it means that they will clog the health system as we know that the older you become the more you are highly getting COVID illnesses and also the death.”

Authorities say 67% of public healthcare workers have now been vaccinated, with active cases down from 600 in November and December to 310 currently – an indication that vaccines work.

Western Cape Premier, Alan Winde, says herd immunity is important to start growing the economy again.

“We need to move toward herd immunity so that we can actually start to spend time working on getting the jobs back that we’ve lost, on growing the economy, on getting us out of where we are because of the impact of COVID-19,” he adds.

There are more than 24 000 active cases in the province.

Non-emergency healthcare services have been scaled back, with field hospital beds reactivated as cases surge.

Western Cape department of health ramps up vaccinations amid third wave of COVID-19 infections:

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