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One person killed, 80 others homeless after shack fire in Duncan Village
3 July 2021, 9:15 PM

Residents of Duncan Village in the Eastern Cape are picking up the pieces after a fire claimed a life of a 25-year-old male and destroyed 30 shacks.

The cause of the blaze, which left 80 people homeless, is unknown at this stage.

However, investigations are continuing.

Nonqaba Sindondi, whose son died in this fire, is reeling with shock. As someone who is struggling to make ends meet, she now faces the daunting task of having to arrange a funeral.

She has called on any good Samaritan to lend a helping hand.

“I feel so helpless l don’t know what to do my heart is sore after seeing my son burning to ashes, no parent should witness that,” says Sindondi.

Residents in the area believe, if they had decent shelter, this wouldn’t have happened.

“Look how old I am, I have been waiting for a house for a long time,” says one resident.

“We lost everything from ID documents, certificates even today we don’t know where we will sleep,” adds another community member.

Authorities from the Buffalo City Municipality say they’re doing all they can to ensure affected families have shelter.

Buffalo City Metro Spokesperson, Samkelo Ngwenya, says: “We are preparing means to ensure that they can have a place to sleep tonight. We have sent our disaster management teams to take down the numbers so that we linked with the social development department as well as the home affairs department. We are working with other structures to find any sort of relief.”

An appeal has been made to residents of informal settlements to be cautious, as shack fires are common during the winter season.

Shack fire in Duncan village claims one life: 

NICD reports 26 485 new COVID-19 cases, 175 deaths
3 July 2021, 8:30 PM

The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) has reported 26 485 new COVID-19 cases, which brings the total number of laboratory-confirmed infections in South Africa to 2 046 311. This has increased the country’s positivity rate to 27.3%.

The Gauteng province accounts for the majority of new cases (61%), followed by the Western Cape (11%), and Limpopo (7%) provinces.

The NICD says there have been 175 COVID-19 related deaths overnight, bringing total number of fatalities to 61 507.

Hospital admissions 

An increase of 557 hospital admissions has been also been reported.

Latest COVID-19 stats in SA: 

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Mahikeng police urged to be more visible to ensure compliance with COVID-19 rules
3 July 2021, 6:45 PM

Residents of Mahikeng in the North West have urged law enforcement agencies to be more visible to ensure that people comply with COVID-19 regulations. They say many do not wear masks or keep social distancing.

The provincial government has made an undertaking to increase its law enforcement operations.

On Saturday, the law enforcement officials took to the streets to check compliance with the COVID-19 regulations. Some residents were ordered to wear their masks. While social distancing remains a challenge and residents say no one seems to make sure that regulations are adhered to.

“We see it as a good thing but it should not be the police but everybody should be involved,” says one resident.

“If they do it thoroughly everybody will see that COVID-19 is real and the people are dying. They must do it almost every day,” adds another resident.

“These people are not doing their job, it seems like they do the job only when the is MEC is here. When he is not around they do not bother,” another community member alleges.

Deputy Provincial Police Commissioner, Patrick Asaneng, says: “We will ensure that people, in so far as super spreader events are concerned, are not allowed to continue including sale and consumption of alcohol.”

With interprovincial travelling to Gauteng prohibited under alert level 4 regulations, the Department of Community Safety in the North West will maintain its presence on roads leading to Gauteng.

North West Community Safety MEC, Sello Lehari, says they will ensure regulations are adhered to.

“Together with other provinces we are making sure that we deal with this thing of people moving up and down, curfews are observed. We are very clear and on the ground, nobody will travel beyond restricted time. Nobody will come in and out not doing anything,” says Lehari.

Lehari says law enforcers will be deployed across the province to make sure that residents do comply with COVID-19 regulations.

COVID-19 Level 4 lockdown | Ban on leisure travel in and out of Gauteng:

E Cape health says it’s begun addressing challenges at crumbling hospitals
3 July 2021, 6:00 PM

The Eastern Cape Health Department says it has already started implementing the remedial actions in the Deputy Public Protector, advocate Kholeka Gcaleka’s report. The report detailed appalling conditions and maladministration in four hospitals in the Eastern Cape.

The four hospitals visited were the Uitenhage and Livingstone Hospitals, both in the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro, as well as the Mthatha and Nessie Knight Hospitals in the OR Tambo District.

The report painted a grim picture of a collapsing health system in the province, exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Staff shortages, lack of medical equipment, a shortage of PPE, vehicles, and poor infrastructure are some of the findings of the Deputy Public Protector.

Workers’ union, Nehawu, says it’s vindicated by the report, but believes the status quo will remain in these health facilities unless management changes.

Nehawu Provincial Secretary, Mlu Ncapayi, says the burden lies with ordinary workers on the ground.

“If you are having the same managers that created the problems at the helm, there’s no way that they can then turn around the situation. That’s why we are very clear as Nehawu that the MEC must implement consequence management. So, is to ensure that those people that have failed over the years are held accountable. Because from where we are situated, we are clear as Nehawu, all these failures of the health system. The burden now is lying on the shoulders of the ordinary workers on the ground,” adds Ncapayi.

In her remedial actions, the provincial Health Department was given 30 days to provide PPE and vehicles to hospitals with a shortage, and to fill all critical posts within 60 days. The department was also instructed to work with the Public Works Department to finish and upgrade all infrastructure projects in these facilities.

Provincial health spokesperson, Sizwe Kupelo, says accommodation and vacancy challenges are being addressed.

“At Nessie Knight, we are finalising the accommodation for nurses and doctors. It’s an investment of over R70 million and we’ve got other phases that are in multiple in that hospital. At Livingstone hospital, there were challenges at the time but those challenges were addressed last year and we are finalizing the appointment processes,” he explains.

Although the department refused to comment on whether it will meet these deadlines, it says it will compile a report which will then be submitted to the Deputy Public Protector.

The report will detail the work done to implement the remedial actions.

Office of the Public Protector on a fact-finding mission in the Eastern Cape: 

Artists urge Samro to do away with “black box” system
3 July 2021, 4:30 PM

Various artists are calling on the royalty collecting company, South African Music Rights Organisation (Samro), to do away with the so-called black box. The black box is a folder where the royalties for all unidentified songs are collected.

Artists say the system is cheating them of their due. But Samro says it has introduced cutting edge technology to ensure that royalties are paid out accurately and accordingly.

According to Samro, inadequately labelled songs are deemed undocumented and go into a designated folder. The royalties are then kept in the company’s accounts, waiting to be claimed by the rightful publisher and composer.

The organisation says it has hired two media monitoring companies to monitor broadcasters.

Samro Chairperson, Nicholas Maweni, says there are many inaccuracies that need solving.

“It’s again part of these manual processes. Sometimes you’ll have an advert for any luxury car and they will write on the car sheet that they played the lullaby song. But when you do a search of the song you find there are many lullaby songs. So these are the inaccuracies that we have. And that’s why we always ask members to please make sure you check and we’re now trying to implement a system in terms of automation,” he says.

While many artists have welcomed the introduction of an automated system, some say artists will continue to feel cheated if Samro doesn’t do away with its black box system.

Kwaito musician, Eugene Mthethwa, says their livelihood is dependent on a producer or compiler to document their song correctly.

“They are saying, we have been dependent on cue sheets that say this is how many times your song was played. This is dependent on the radio announcer and compiler who would then say I compiled your song this number of times on this day. And when a presenter writes the name of a song incorrectly on a cue sheet that causes a challenge,” he says.

Samro has called on artists to check their website for undocumented songs and to collect unclaimed royalties. But artists say it’s difficult to search when they don’t know what they are looking for.

Opera musician, Sibongile Mngoma, says she has not been paid royalties since 2015 and may forfeit some of them.

“The idea is not to self-correct but to be self-correcting. We will keep having these conversations. They even have in place a new rule that says that those who have not collected in five years forfeit those royalties. So when you forfeit what is your, who does it go to?”

Musicians are calling on Samro to do away with the clause that stipulates they forfeit unclaimed royalties after a certain period.

Maskandi artist, Dr. Buselaphi Gxowa, has also called for better communication.

“I want to see them making an effort to identify songs instead of throwing them into the black box. There are maskandi songs that were played in the past and the artist didn’t get a cent for their music. They should also get a stakeholder relations office that will work towards finding artists and ensuring that they get their royalties. I feel the latest developments are nothing if they still can’t get that right,” Gxowa says.

The family of the late “We are Growing” hitmaker, Margaret Mcingana, also known as Margret Singana, wants to know how her song was reproduced without their knowledge.

Mcingana’s song became the popular theme song for the Shaka Zulu series and her other songs include “Mama Temba’s Wedding”, which the family says was also reproduced.

Capasso is a mechanical rights licensing agency. It monitors music and pays out to members when a song is reproduced.

Capasso CEO, Jatom Matariro, says the owner of the copyright is supposed to have authorised the synching of that song.

“For the synching to be done into an advert, the owner of the copyright is supposed to have authorised the synching of that song. So for the song to end up on an advert, it must have already been paid for. If it ended up in an advert and it was not paid for then that is infringement,” Matariro explains.

The Mcingana family is calling for accountability from agencies collecting royalties for musicians. They also want answers about the calculation of the royalties paid to them.

Artists call on Samro to do away with “black box”: 

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