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Lamola mum on alleged early release of petty criminals
4 May 2020, 5:50 PM

Justice and Correctional Services Minister Ronald Lamola has declined to confirm or deny reports that government intends to release thousands of prisoners incarcerated for petty crimes as part of efforts to fight COVID-19 and ease overcrowding in prisons.

Lamola was briefing Parliament’s justice oversight committee virtually. Asked by some MPs about the matter, he said the matter was receiving attention.

There have been calls for prisoners who have been jailed for petty crimes to be freed to ease overcrowding in prisons. This, as more and more inmates and officials continue to test positive for COVID-19.

There are over 150 cases of COVID-19 in Correctional Services involving both inmates and officials.

In the video below, Johannesburg prison warder allegedly tests positive for COVID-19:

In April, the Department of Correctional Services slammed attempts of a nationwide jail hunger strike.

The South African Prisoners Organisation for Human Rights (SAPOHR) had said prisoners were planning to go on strike, demanding an early release of some inmates to deal with overcrowding amid the growing fears over the spread of COVID-19 in jails.

But the Correctional Services Department has rejected this as irresponsible and reckless mobilisation efforts to instigate inmates to revolt against the state.

Only one inmate at Baviaanspoort Medium Correctional Centre, in Gauteng, was then reported to have “become disruptive” following the threat of a strike. He was said to have laid on his back, refusing to move into his cell.

Legal battle brewing between SAFA and SAFOCA
4 May 2020, 2:24 PM

The South African Football Clubs Association (SAFOCA) says it is compelled to take legal action to force the football mother body, SAFA,  to pay prizes and allowances to all the clubs that play in the ABC Motsepe League.

The 144 second division clubs have not yet received their R30 000 allowances and prizes for four years in a row, despite the league being sponsored. The clubs have also not yet received other benefits, including allowances for the payment of match officials and the buying of soccer kits.

SAFOCA president Lucas Molefe says they want the court to force the payments urgently.

“Non-payment of clubs, we are talking about 144 clubs. one has been forced to be excluded from the league is Tornado FC from Eastern Cape because they been running the league and winning league for three seasons in a row.  But the intention is to make a petition of all clubs but the issue of the petition is a process as well. The court will be the easiest way, it is costly but we will engage with our members,” he says.

A general manager of ABC Motsepe side in Limpopo, Dolphins FC, says they won the provincial league twice in succession but have not yet received their prize money.

“There’s nothing that we are getting from our sponsor they don’t provide us with those jerseys. We are buying our own jerseys we have never receive any prize for winning the league, is too much,” says Erick Lehong.

Meanwhile, a soccer player at one of the ABC Motsepe League sides, who spoke on condition of anonymity, says they were expecting a good financial boost when the sponsorship was announced.

“I always heard that it was tough back then when it was still called Vodacom before it was sponsored by Motsepe. I believe even the chairman of the teams believed that things are going to be better. Things are not as expected, so it becomes a challenge.”

Some chairpersons of the ABC Motsepe clubs have written a letter to the Sports Minister, requesting the appointment of a commission of inquiry to investigate alleged maladministration within SAFA.

Attempts to get a comment from SAFA were unsuccessful at the time of publishing.

Artists finding inspiration from COVID-19
26 April 2020, 8:23 PM

Some artists are swapping gallery exhibitions and showcases for virtual ones, as most of the world remains on lockdown. And there’s no lack of creativity and innovation as some have found inspiration from the global pandemic.

Artist Philiswa Lila has been productive during this time, completing sculptures and paintings for upcoming projects. After previously shying away from social media, she is now frequently online, engaging with clients and peers.

“Now it has meant checking in and posting something and even seeing what your fellow artists are doing out there and how everyone else is coping and as much as we might now know each other personally – professionally it matters that we know what is happening in our industry,” Lila says.

She was scheduled to showcase her solo-exhibition titled “Skin, Bone and Fire: The First Album” earlier in April. Following the cancellation of the show due to COVID-19, a 3D exhibition was launched by the North-West University gallery, which gives the public a virtual tour.

Below is a television report on this story:

“They did a 3D tour of the exhibition which was curated by Amogelang Mohadjane and I have to commend her for the initiative because it was done at a time when everyone was confused,” says Lila, adding “so pushed just in time for it to be documented by the videographers for it to be seen digitally. The Melrose Gallery has also documented the work very well and then generating sales – collectors are also looking at digital work now.”

Another artist who is popularly known for his colourful murals around Soweto says being confined to his studio is nothing new to him.

“I have been quarantined since the beginning of my career because I spend a lot of my time in my studio. I have been travelling a lot so I have a lot of pictures in my head hence when I am in my studio I am able to reflect what I witness every day. I really have a lot of stories to tell in my mind,” says Senzo Nhlapo, a seasoned street artist.

Like Lila, he is turning to the web during this time. “Now I am starting to explore other materials like animation and editing videos that I have been documenting for the past 20 years and polishing my profile digitally because I am in the digital space now.”

 

Jackson Mthembu
National State of Disaster still in place, Minister Mthembu reminds South Africans
26 April 2020, 4:51 PM

Minister in the Presidency Jackson Mthembu says the national state of disaster remains in place and South Africans are to adhere to the lockdown restrictions. From the first of May the country moves from level 5 to level 4 of the lockdown, which will see some industries reopen such as agriculture and food.

Government has put out a request for public comment on the Risk Adjusted-Strategy before midday on Monday. South Africans will still have to remain at home except to go out for food or medicine and it will be mandatory to wear a mask when you leave your residence.

Mthembu says even the industries that will reopen will not operate at 100% of staff capacity.

“Companies as they open they will not open with 100% employees some will be 50% some will be 20%. The most hurdles to our lives remain. Those that are not going at work are those that are going to buy food get medicine so we are not consulting on those restrictions we are in particular requesting South Africans to focus on level 4 that we will be getting to on the first of May what is their take on the proposals by government,” he says.

In the video below, Minister Mthembu reiterates call for adherence to lockdown rules:

Call for public comments

Mthembu has urged all South Africans to submit their comments on government’s Risk Adjusted-Strategy to relax some parts of the coronavirus lockdown before Monday’s deadline.

The draft framework can be accessed on the website sacoronavirus.co.za. All comments must be submitted via email to lockdowncomments@cogta.gov.za.

Mthembu says the lockdown will also enable the health sector to mobilise for the coronavirus peak in a few months.

“Look at the other levels level three what are we bringing in level two, level one. Our health facilities might not be at that level that we require it to be so these lockdowns also gives us an opportunity as a country to improve the capacity in our health institutions. At some stage whether in July whether in September or October the infections will peak in or country this is the reality.”

Protective gear
COVID-19 infections rise to 31 168 in Africa with over 1 300 deaths recorded
26 April 2020, 4:30 PM

Africa now has 31 168 confirmed cases of COVID-19. The latest statistics from the Africa Centre for Disease Control and Prevention also reveal that more than 1 300 people have succumbed to the illness.

More than 9 100 people have, however, recovered.

Africa’s COVID-19 confirmed cases account for only 1% of the global numbers. There are nearly 3 million positive cases recorded across the world. The continent’s fatality rate stands at 4.5%. Thirty percent of patients who have contracted the viral infection have recovered.

In the video below, China’s CDC says it will continue to support Africa in fighting COVID-19:

North Africa has the highest number of cases at 12 500 with Egypt, Algeria and Morocco carrying the bulk of the numbers.

West African cases are now at more than 7 400, while Southern Africa has reported nearly 5 000 cases. South Africa counts for more than 75% of the region’s cases.

Weather

 

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