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DA calls for risk assessment of the impact of Land Expropriation Bill
4 July 2021, 4:51 PM

The DA says it will submit a formal request to the Socio-Economic Impact Assessment Unit in the Presidency asking that it conduct a risk assessment of the impact that expropriation of land without compensation will have on the economy should the Bill be passed.

The party says according to research by the Gordon Institute of Business Science, the economic effects of land expropriation will wipe off R270 billion from the country’s GDP and this will also result in 2.3 million job losses.

The official opposition also says that South Africa may be kicked out of AGOA by the United States as the preferential market access policy permits countries that commit to protecting private property rights.

The DA’s Dr Annelie Lotriet says president Cyril Ramaphosa’s repeated claim that Section 25 can be amended without affecting the economy and food security is very misleading.

The National Assembly has granted the Ad Hoc Committee on the amendment of Section 25 of the Constitution a 30-day extension to complete its work.

The committee, tasked with coming up with legislation to enable amendments that will allow for land expropriation, made the request for the extension in June.

Ad hoc committee on land expropriation without compensation deliberates on report:

Five accused in Free State R24.9 mln corruption scandal return to court on Monday
4 July 2021, 4:00 PM

The five accused in the R24.9 million fraud and corruption scandal case will appear in the Bloemfontein Magistrate’s Court on Monday.

Last month, Gupta business associate, Iqbal Sharma, was denied bail.

His brother-in-law, Dinesh Patel, and three former officials from the Free State Department of Agriculture – Peter Thabethe, Dr Limakatso Moorosi and Seipati Dhlamini – were granted R10 000 bail each.

The accused are facing charges relating to the millions of rand paid by the Free State Department of Agriculture for a feasibility study on potential farming projects in the province.

In opposing bail, the state cited that Sharma presents an overwhelming flight risk and has the means and incentives to flee the country. It also contends that he failed to disclose R265 million held in his United Arab Emirates Issar Global account.

Sharma is also implicated in a range of other fraud and corrupt acts, which allegedly enabled the Gupta family to extract payments of more than R7 billion from Transnet.

His brother-in-law, Dinesh Patel, was the representative of the Nulane Investment when the R24.9-million was allegedly paid to the company.

Bloemfontein Magistrate’s Court grants Dinesh Patel R10 000 bail: 

During the appointments of companies, no competitive bidding was conducted.

NPA Investigating Directorate Spokesperson, Sindisiwe Seboka, says the matter will proceed in court as planned.

“In line with level four lockdown regulations, the investigating directorate in consultation with the defence have decided that the accused or the matter be postponed without the accused visibly being in court. However, the matter will proceed as planned and the docket will be handed over to them in order for them to best prepare.”

The NPA’s Investigating Directorate alleges that Sharma, Thabethe, Moorosi and Dhlamini colluded to divert funds earmarked to alleviate poverty. The funds were then allegedly placed at the disposal of the Gupta family.

The NPA is applying to Interpol to assist with the execution of arrest warrants for the Gupta family and others. In total, there are 17 accused, including companies, in this matter.

SAMA gives government an ultimatum to place 288 medical students
3 July 2021, 10:00 PM

The South African Medical Association (SAMA) has given the Department of Health almost two weeks to place all 288 eligible medical students on internship, or face court action.

This after, the department claimed to only being able to place 135 students, while negotiations to place the remaining students continue with the National Treasury.

It would be for the first time in South African history that student doctors are not placed on practical learning programmes or internships, says SAMA.

SAMA’s Dr Akhtor Hussain says it is mandatory for the department to train the interns.

“288 Qualified interns, those who qualified from South African medical schools didn’t get placed, only 133 interns have been placed. We don’t know what was the criteria to choose them and place them. So this is the first time in South African history, interns are not placed for training. That is mandatory by the Department of Health government to give them training for two years then they can qualify to practice but this is not happening. As SAMA for our members, we are preparing a court case to take the Department of Health to court,” says Hussain.

The Health Department says there are only 135 available posts at which students have been placed. The department has reiterated its stance that there would be two groups of interns this year.

The department’s Victor Khanyile says the interns were selected through an algorithm system to ensure fairness.

“The first batch obviously would be the 135 into those funded posts. The allocations have already happened and the priority of how these people were chosen. It is applicants who were eligibly certified by their institutions of higher learning between the period February and March. Those have already been allocated through an algorithm system to ensure good governance fairness and justification.”

The department says the remaining batch will be allocated internships in the next coming weeks.

CUT students frustrated over unpaid NSFAS allowances
3 July 2021, 10:00 PM

Late payments of financial allowances continue to frustrate some students at the Central University of Technology in Bloemfontein. They have not received their allowances for July from the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS).

Some say they have been evicted by their landlords due to the late payments from the previous months. Others have resorted to going back home.

The students are worried that they could face academic exclusion if the situation persists.

The NSFAS beneficiaries say they struggle to get their food, transport, and accommodation allowances.

“I don’t have money to pay rent so I think today my landlord will knock on my door, they gonna kick me out, they will turn off lights and water. So I might have no place to sleep tonight that’s how I’m affected,” one student told SABC News.

“My question is now that Fundi does not recognise me as a student how am I gonna survive because there are issues of transport, there’s rent money there’s a lot of things not all of us are Bloem children,” adds another.

“We’re frustrated, we don’t have money to pay rent, no money for food and now we are going towards exams we’re really frustrated so we need clarity.”

Students are calling for the university management to sort out all their challenges.

“Some students have not been able to register because of incorrect marks, that are not fixed on time so that’s our issue,” one student says.

“We request the management to allocate data to every student not only NSFAS but all of us.”

The student representative council says it will fight tooth and nail for all deserving students to be funded.

“The issue of the student governance in this institution is not in a right condition for students because now students are exploited in this campus, we as the SRC have communicated with the management in various meetings, the council, but yet they are trying to oppress us because they are taking us for granted,” says EFF Student Command president, Bongani Bolawa.

University management has released a statement, promising that all outstanding payments will be processed.

Insurance companies report increase in claims of COVID-hit South Africans stuck abroad
3 July 2021, 9:30 PM

Local travel insurance companies say they processing more claims from South Africans who are sick from COVID-19 in various foreign countries. Some are facing huge medical bills due to exclusions in their travel insurance policies.

The cost of hospitalisation or quarantine in a foreign country can easily run into a million rand. Travel insurance during COVID-19 is a must-have policy to avoid incurring excessive costs while travelling abroad.

Travellers are only covered for emergency medical expenses, quarantine, hospitalisation costs and even repatriation back to South Africa.

TLC is a division of Santam insurance. It says it is registering about two travel claims per week due to COVID-19.

Travel Insurance Consultants Manager, Simmy Micheli, says travel insurance covers your international medical costs when you are abroad.

“And our very first one happened in March last year, it was a 71-year-old travelling to Germany and his claim was R4million so, travel insurance covers your international medical costs when you are in a journey,” Micheli explains.

Most travel insurance does not cover mandatory testing and quarantine in a foreign country, which is often a requirement. This means travellers will be forced to dig deep into their pockets to pay for this expense. And travel insurance will not cover holidaymakers if they decide to cancel or postpone their trips due to COVID-19.

Micheli says: “Most travellers are not aware that the cancellation cover lists the events that you are covered for and any event not listed is not insured so cancelling as a result of COVID is not covered.”

Travellers are required to test for COVID-19 at their own costs within 72 days before their trip outside the country. And if the test is positive, they will be forced to postpone their travel arrangements as they are required to self-isolate.

Local insurance companies getting more COVID-related claims:



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