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North West police yet to identify the bodies of 20 illegal miners
16 June 2021, 10:57 AM

Police in the North West is still to determine the identities of the 20 suspected illegal miners who were found dead on the surface of an abandoned mine near Orkney.

This follows unconfirmed reports over the weekend that a number of illegal miners had died in an explosion underground.

Five bodies were found at one site while the others were discovered a few kilometers away. A number of mines have been left abandoned in the area in the past few years.

Police spokesperson, Sabata Mokgwabone, says they are not ruling out the possibility that more bodies might be found.

“They are all male bodies and I can confirm that at this stage they are not yet identified and that they were badly decomposed and they had severe burn wounds. Our investigation is still under way and we hope that as we progress with investigations. We will be able to know who these people are and maybe as to what could have led to this particular incident.”

Update on discovered bodies at an unused Orkney mine:

Denosa disappointed with governments response to third wave
16 June 2021, 10:09 AM

The Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (Denosa) says it feels disappointed by President Cyril Ramaphosa’s address to the nation on Tuesday regarding government’s response to the increase of coronavirus infections in the country.

Denosa says it had hoped the President would announce stricter regulations to curb the spread of the virus.

Denosa’s acting general-secretary, Cassim Lekhoathi, says nurses are overwhelmed by the workload in hospitals because of the increased number of COVID-19 patients, and that more nurses are dying from the virus.

“Patients are increasing and the number of staff are decreasing because there is no replacement as we bury, like this weekend I am going to bury three of our nurses, they are not going to be replaced. And I am not just talking about those that I am going to bury this weekend, I am talking about those who are already infected who are in isolation, and the few that have to remain behind in the wards, they have to carry on with the load.”

Meanwhile, Ramaphosa said there is light at the end of the COVID-19 tunnel with fewer healthcare workers getting the disease at this stage of the third wave when compared to the second wave, mainly because of the vaccination of workers.

Many healthcare workers have received the Johnson and Johnson vaccine.

Ramaphosa was speaking on Tuesday night during an address to the nation where he announced level three of the lockdown.

Ramaphosa said 64 healthcare workers had tested positive for coronavirus in the last seven-day period and this is substantially less than during a similar period of the second wave.

South Africa moves to lockdown alert level 3: 

Nursing unions have called on government to provide them with counselling facilities.

Unions are reported to have said the second wave had a devastating effect on healthcare workers and many had to resign as a result of the trauma of dealing with a high number of deaths.

A total of 339 healthcare workers died of COVID-19 related illness in South Africa between March and November last year, with most deaths occurring in the Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng.

Rich Sicina is a nurse and general secretary of the Young Nurses Indaba Trade Union: 

AfriForum’s application to cross-examine ANC President Ramaphosa dismissed
16 June 2021, 8:57 AM

The State Capture Commission has dismissed AfriForum’s application to cross-examine ANC President Cyril Ramaphosa because it was outside of the commission’s rules.

Justice Raymond Zondo says for a person to apply for leave to cross-examine, that person must be implicated by the witness.

AfriForum told Zondo they wanted to question Ramaphosa about cadre deployment and decisions that were taken when he was chairman of the cadre deployment committee.

AfriForum wants Ramaphosa to answer on ANC’s cadre deployment policy: 

AfriForum legal counsel, Mia du Plessis, failed to convince Zondo.

“It is the ANC view that the cadre deployment is inconsistent with the view of fairness and transparency and merits in the appointments of individuals to public entities. When advocate Pretorious proposed to President Ramaphosa there has been evidence that the deployment policy goes far beyond merit, President Ramaphosa denied this and stated that the deployment commission merely recommends. In this regard chair, we would like to hear from President Ramaphosa.”

The commission will continue to hear more applications on Wednesday.

State Capture Commission hears applications for leave to cross-examine various witnesses: 

COVID-19 vaccinations picking up despite setbacks: Ramaphosa
16 June 2021, 8:00 AM

President Cyril Ramaphosa says despite the setbacks with the COVID-19 vaccine roll out in the country, the pace is picking up with up to 85 000 people now being vaccinated daily.

He says to date 2.4 million Pfizer vaccine doses have arrived in the country which will increase to 3.1 million by the end of the month.

Government has also received an indication from Johnson and Johnson that the 2 million doses that had to be destroyed at Aspen’s plant in Gqeberha will be replaced by the end of the month.

Ramaphosa says a statistic that provides hope is that only 64 healthcare workers have been infected in the last seven days compared to 640 at a similar point in the second wave.

Announcing that South Africa was moving back to lockdown Level 3 on Tuesday night, Ramaphosa said the roll out will be boosted considerably over the next few weeks.

“It is estimated that we have the capacity at present to vaccinate at least 150 000 people a day and we’re planning to increase that to 250 000 a day as soon as possible, I would prefer 300 000 a day, which we shall try and reach.”

South Africa moves to lockdown alert level 3: 

Meanwhile, DA leader John Steenhuisen has criticised the pace of the country’s vaccination programme, saying government’s plans to innoculate a large percentage of the nation are not yet clear.

The president said while the vaccination programme was gaining momentum, South Africa was far from reaching population immunity.

Steenhuisen has raised questions over government’s pace in procuring vaccines.

“I think government has a lot to answer for. The president is very good at throwing out big numbers but never explaining how we are going to get there. We are currently vaccinating 70 000 people per day. What is the path to vaccinating, suddenly in a couple of days, 250 000/300 000 as the president said he would like to do? There is clearly a problem with government’s procurement of the vaccine that has left many South Africans at great risk of contracting the virus. It would not have been if we had a successful vaccination programme.”

Northern Cape skateboarding teen qualifies for Tokyo Olympics
15 June 2021, 2:00 AM

Northern Cape skateboarding teen sensation, 15-year-old Kimberley-born, Boipelo Awuah, has qualified to represent South Africa in the Tokyo Olympic Games. The games are due to start next month.

Awuah could be part of a group of 80 skateboarders from across the world who will be making a debut at the Games as the sport makes its first ever appearance. The code was ultimately given the nod after years of lobbying.

Awuah qualified for the Olympics via the World Skateboarding Championships held in the Italian city of Rome earlier this month. Her love for sports started at the age of five.

At the age of nine, she started winning national competitions.

Going to the Olympics is a dream come true for the diminutive teen.

“It means so much to me because I’m from Northern Cape and the female skates out here aren’t at the level of other countries but I’m very proud to be representing South Africa or Africa as a whole at the Tokyo Olympic games,” she says.

Her family is beaming with pride. Boipelo’s father says he saw potential in her when she started winning national competitions, at nine years old.

“I feel so excited and proud. I’m so proud of my daughter this achievement is the first time in my family I never thought it would be, but I got the confidence when she was nine-years when she achieved a national prize,” he says.

Boipelo’s dream is to help other young people to achieve their dreams.

The South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) will name the bulk of the squad towards the end of the month. If Awuah is included, she could be the youngest South African Olympian.

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