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PTA taxi operations back in full swing
23 June 2020, 9:05 AM

Taxi operations are back in full swing on Tuesday morning in Soshanguve, Erasmus, Mabopane and other parts of Pretoria.

Disgruntled taxi operators suspended services on Monday in Gauteng.

They didn’t agree with the government’s R1.1 billion COVID-19 relief fund.

They say it’s too little to cover for the losses they’ve incurred since the country went into lockdown in March.

The police and the army had to intervene after protesting taxi drivers blockaded roads with burning tyres and rocks:

In the video below, a disgruntled taxi driver shares his frustrations:

Negotiations still welcomed

Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula told scores of taxi owners and drivers in Soshanguve, north of Pretoria on Monday, that government doesn’t have any funds left, but further negotiations are still welcomed.

Mbalula also pleaded with taxi drivers and owners to protest in a peaceful manner and to refrain from blocking roads.

A spokesperson for the Erasmus Akasia Taxi Association Petrus Sibiya says, “The taxis are running, but we are still busy negotiating with the Minister of Transport with our problems. But we are busy and we are working today while negotiations are continuing to resolve our issues.”

Sibiya says taxis have been running since 05:00 and will continue until midnight.

Commuters left stranded

Commuters across the north of Pretoria in the townships and other parts of the province were left stranded and were seen hitch-hiking in an attempt to access other means of transport to get to their destinations.

Taxi commuters in Alexandra township, north of Johannesburg, said the taxi strike will have dire consequences for their jobs.

Commuters said their bosses and companies will never understand that they didn’t have the means of transport to report for duty.

In the video below, commuters in Soshanguve share their frustrations over the unavailability of transport:

-Additional reporting by SABC News. 

Over 180 learners test positive for COVID-19 in Eastern Cape school
23 June 2020, 7:51 AM

More than 180 learners at the Makaula Senior Secondary School in Mount Frere in the Eastern Cape have tested positive for coronavirus.

Health officials and social workers have been deployed to the school to start counselling learners, who will be informed of their test results on Wednesday morning.

Social workers believe that non-compliance with the COVID-19 regulations is at the root of the cluster infection at the school and its hostel.

Cases prompt closure of schools

Earlier this month, over 30 schools mostly in Buffalo City, had to close down as over 20 people tested positive for COVID-19.

Fifteen teachers, three learners and two non-teaching staff had tested positive.

Schools subsequently closed for deep cleaning and tracing.

Grade 7 and 12 learners returned to schools on the 8th of June and have since to comply with strict social distancing measures, sanitization, screening and the wearing of masks.

The Infographic below highlights South Africa’s back to school plan:

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-Additional reporting by SABC News. 

KZN fishermen granted sardine run permits under strict COVID-19 regulations
22 June 2020, 1:07 PM

The Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries has issued guidelines to be followed by fishermen in KwaZulu-Natal with the sardine season in full swing.

Thirty individual and commercial right holders as well as 45 small-scale fishing cooperatives have been granted permits to catch sardines.

Department spokesperson Albi Modise says the guidelines are geared to ensure adherence to COVID-19 regulations, while allowing fishermen to earn a living.

“One of the measures is risk assessment. It is important that right holders regularly conduct risk assessment to update their operational procedures, also preventative measures by ensuring that there is temperature screening. Sanitizing of hands should also be part of the protocol for all crews before they enter the vessel and any crew member with temperatures above the 38 degrees or more should not be allowed in the vessel. In as far as personal protective clothing is concerned; right holders should provide all crew members with masks and sanitizers during the fishing operation.”

Public banned from sardine run

Meanwhile, members of the public have been banned from participating in the expected sardine run as COVID-19 regulations still prohibit people from swimming.

The Department of Environmental Affairs also warned that the shark safety gear has been lifted in preparation for the shoal.

Department spokesperson Ndabezinhle Sibiya has requested fishermen to ensure that they have a valid permit at all times.

 

 

 

 

Morocco to resume domestic flights starting on Thursday
22 June 2020, 12:04 PM

Morocco will resume domestic flights starting on June 25, the state news agency said on Sunday, citing the ministry of tourism, air transport, handicrafts and social economy.

On Sunday, the government said it would further loosen lockdown measures for the services sector and domestic transport starting June 24, adding domestic travel would resume including flights and railways.

Cafes, restaurants, sports clubs, and other services and entertainment businesses will be able to resume activity at half capacity except in the provinces of Tangier, Larache, Marrakech and Kenitra, where infections remain higher, it said.

Domestic travel will resume including flights and railways, it said. International passenger traffic remains suspended.

Mosques have been closed since the lockdown started on March 20 and the state of emergency has been extended to July 10. Schools will only reopen in September.

Current COVID-19 cases

Morocco currently has 9 977 confirmed coronavirus cases, with 8 284 recoveries and 214 deaths.

Most coronavirus cases registered recently were in industrial or among extended families, with 457 cases on Friday, the largest single-day rise in cases, in a cluster linked to fruit packaging plants north of Rabat, where a field hospital was set up.

Morocco has grouped COVID-19 patients in two hospitals near Casablanca and near Marrakech to free capacity at other hospitals.

The country has been in lockdown since March 20, and has made wearing masks in public mandatory, with those failing to do being jailed or fined.

The country’s economy is forecast to contract by 3.7% in 2020, according to International Monetary Fund estimates.

In the video below, Economist at Rand Merchant Bank Daniel Kavishe says the African continent is learning from other countries on how to combat COVID-19:

 

Concerns over rising COVID-19 cases in North West mining towns
18 June 2020, 12:04 PM

There is growing concern about coronavirus infections in mining areas in the North West.

The two hotspots, the Rustenburg based Bojanala District Municipality and the Klerksdorp based Dr Kenneth Kaunda District Municipality, have recorded 1137 of the 1402 infections in the province.

The bustling mining town of Rustenburg whose platinum riches have attracted a plethora of job seekers has now become a hotspot for coronavirus infections.

A recent case led to the temporary closure of a local police station.

In the video below, Deputy President David Mabuza expresses concerns about rising infections in mines:

 

Residents living in fear

As infections surpass the 1 000 mark, residents say they are afraid especially since regulations around social distancing and the wearing of masks are not adhered to.

“The situation here in Rustenburg is very bad. There is no physical distancing at all,” says one resident.

Another resident says, “I am really worried about school children because they are now going to school and this virus is everywhere.”

Business owners struggling to keep afloat

Local businesses are worried as many of them might be forced to close their doors.

Chairperson of the Rustenburg Chamber of Commerce Pieter Malan says the situation can only get worse.

“It is yet uncertain to what extent businesses will close down and how many will continue to be in operation. Some are still under lockdown. There is a lot of uncertainty, we just don’t know. We hear the medical projections that infections are not going to stop because the lockdowns are stopping. It’s the rate of increase that is being managed and we still expect to see a lot of that in the coming months. So the crisis is definitely not over.”

Closure of shops

In Klerksdorp in the Dr Kenneth Kaunda District, some local stores were closed after employees reportedly contracted the virus, leaving many customers worried.

Others blame the mines for the spread of the virus.

National Union of Mineworkers Secretary in the Matlosana region Masibulele Naki says regulations in the mines should be enforced better, while Health MEC Madoda Sambatha says they will recommend that mines be closed if the spread cannot be contained.

Medical expert from the North West University Professor Andrew Robinson believes that the Health Department should improve its wellness programmes.

With infections in the province steadily climbing, residents are urged to practice social distancing, wear a mask in public places and adhere to lockdown regulations.

-Additional reporting by Sentleeng Lehihi

 

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