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Consumers in Northern Cape urged not to buy expired products
13 July 2020, 9:51 PM

National Consumer Protection authorities in the Northern Cape have cautioned consumers against buying expired products. A grocery store in Kimberley was caught selling expired products to its customers. Some bear expiry dates from as far back as three years.

Sauces, biscuits and canned food are some of the products in the store. A bottle of tomato sauce was packaged in 2015 and expired in 2018. The owners say consumers go into their shop knowing what to expect. But the Consumer Protection Council warns consumers not to buy food that has expired.

“We would urge the client not to buy products that are near its sell-by or expiry date. Secondly, if a client finds that the good has expired or it’s not of a sale quality, were first requested the clients to go back to the supplier and ask for a refund or a replacement of that good,” says the Consumer Council’s Alecia Pietersen- Hendricks.

Some consumers like Mosata David say they are taking advantage of the slashed prices, especially on non-edible products.

“I don’t just buy anything but when it comes to things that you can use in the house like sunlight and all other stuff, I buy it.”

However, others say, the goods are harmful to consumers’ health, and shops selling them must be shut down.

“I think these people want to make us sick. My thought is that this shop must be closed,” says one consumer.

Another adds: “It’s wrong to sell people old products. I am also of the view that this shop must be closed.”

Health inspectors will soon visit the shop to assess its compliance.

In the video below, expired food seized from foreign-owned shops in Ekurhuleni:

Former First Lady Marike de Klerk’s killer wants pardon
13 July 2020, 9:27 PM

The killer of former First Lady, Marike de Klerk, claims he is being overlooked for parole as the former President’s family is not interested in meeting with him.

The victim-offender dialogue or VOD is part of the requirements for parole.

Luyanda Mboniswa, who was 21 at the time, was sentenced to life imprisonment for the 2001 killing. He is serving a life sentence for the murder and robbery with aggravating circumstances and has now been in jail for 18 years.

He broke into the former First Lady’s beachfront apartment at Dolphin Beach in Tableview. Mboniswa had been working as a security guard at the premises. The then 64-year-old Mrs de Klerk was stabbed and throttled.

Mboniswa says he has twice applied for parole, but feels the report of the victim-offender dialogue is holding him back. Chairperson of the National Council for Correctional Services, Judge Siraj Desai, says parole is not a right, but a privilege.

“What I do know about this offender, he was dealt with previously by my predecessor. He’s scheduled to be heard by us during the course of this year, we will apply our minds to it and we will make a recommendation, but a final decision is not made by us. That recommendation is referred to the minister who makes the final decision.”

Desai says Mboniswa’s name is on the list for the next National Council meeting, which will be scheduled for later this year. He’s currently doing time at the Drakenstein Correctional Centre near Paarl.

Regional Commissioner for Correctional Services in the Western Cape, Delekile Class, says while the dialogue with the family is necessary, it is not the only criteria for parole.

“The department did meet with the son of Mrs Marike de Klerk, I think it’s Willem de Klerk in October last year. He indicated that he would prefer that we talk to his legal representative and declined to participate in victim-offender dialogue, however, because the offender was due to appear his profile was done and has undergone all necessary programmes that he should have undergone,” he says.

Mboniswa stole a wristwatch, a cellphone and two torches. The former First Lady had lost her right to state protection following her divorce from former President FW de Klerk in 1998, after 39 years of marriage. The De Klerk Foundation has been approached for comment but is yet to respond.

Lindiwe Zulu
Government to ramp up efforts at poverty hotspots
13 July 2020, 9:01 PM

Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu says her department has pinpointed the poverty hotspots in the country and will work with NGOs to assist communities in need as the country battles the coronavirus. Zulu was addressing the media in Pretoria.

She says the R350 Special COVID-19 relief grant will include payments to asylum seekers. In June, the High Court in Pretoria ordered government to include asylum seekers and special permit holders from Angola, Lesotho and Zimbabwe as recipients of the grant.

Stricter regulations have also now been put in place – including the return on the ban of alcohol sales and an evening curfew – from 9pm to 4am.

Minister Zulu says South Africans should come together to work in a sustainable way to ensure that the food is provided for all South Africans.

“Hunger is hunger, we are informed by Stats SA and of course money is not enough for anyone but it is always a negotiation and the bottom line is that for us as the department is the issue of hunger. We need to respond in the same way we have responded to COVID-19. Those people in poor communities they want to improve their situations, they just need us to help them.”


Social Security Agency CEO Busisiwe Memela-Khambula says R1 billion was paid to applicants who applied for the R350 COVID-19 social grant in May. This comes as many unemployed South Africans say they’ve have been wrongly declined the grant, despite meeting the criteria.

The grant forms part of the government’s COVID-19 relief package aimed specifically at assisting citizens who do not have any form of income. Memela- Khambula says people who are without any source of income – and who applied for the grant – should check the SASSA website or use other methods to contact them.

“Anybody who has not received any response the important thing is to either to go to our website and check your status. The other way is to go to the WhatsApp line and once you’ve typed the number 082 046 8553 it will give you two lines then check your status you’ll be able to see whether your application is pending, approved or declined,” she says.

Earlier in July, the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) said some of the R350 COVID-19 social relief grant applicants were likely to get their payments soon.

The agency said after reviewing some of the declined cases, they found that up to 85% of those, who were initially rejected because they had received or qualified for the Unemployment Insurance Fund,  actually qualify.

More than 3 million South Africans have applied for the special grant.

New York City reports zero COVID-19 deaths for first time since March
13 July 2020, 8:16 PM

New York City in the US has for the first time reported zero deaths related to COVID-19 since the main onset of the pandemic in the region in early March.

Preliminary data from the city’s health department showed that zero deaths were reported in the city on Saturday – just as cases were surging in other parts of the country.

The news of no deaths marked the end of a four-month stretch since the city – once the epicentre of the virus in the country – reported its first COVID-19 fatality on March 11 and marks a major improvement since 597 people died in the city on April 7th alone.

City officials have called New Yorkers the heroes of the story who have gone above and beyond to keep each other safe just as states around the country including Florida, Texas, Arizona and California struggle with new infections surging at record proportions. Fifty-eight thousand new cases were recorded nationwide in the last 24 hours.

The Governor of New York State Andrew Cuomo earlier warned that as case numbers rise in other parts of the country, that this may filter back to his state where numbers could again begin to rise.

In the video below, New York City schools to reopen in September:

Russia hopes to enter last phase of COVID-19 vaccine testing next month
13 July 2020, 7:38 PM

A Russian vaccine against COVID-19 could be ready for its final stage of testing as early as August, according to the head of the centre carrying out the trials. Russia’s Sechenov University says the first trials are over and the vaccine has been shown to be safe. But more tests are needed before it can be put to use.

It’s less than a month since Russia’s Sechenov University began the first phase of testing on 38 healthy paid volunteers. It said that some of them suffered headaches and fevers in the first 24 hours after being injected with the potential vaccine, but their symptoms soon resolved. Now, the scientists say that the vaccine has been shown to be safe, and the volunteers are being discharged from hospital. They will continue to be monitored as outpatients.

But this is just the first phase of testing, and one that other vaccines around the world had already achieved. The researchers still have to prove that their vaccine works as protection against COVID-19. They say that preliminary results are positive, but they haven’t released the data yet.

The head of the research centre told Russian media that the next stage of trials has already begun, and if it goes well, the vaccine could be submitted for approval by national health authorities as early as August. He said it could then be offered to people in the general population, which would be equivalent to the usual third phase of testing, as those who receive it would be kept under supervision.

But it’s too early to say if this vaccine is the silver bullet that many people have been waiting for. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), there are 19 different vaccine trials around the world. Just two of them have reached the third and final stages of testing so far – one by China’s Sinopharm and another by AstraZeneca and Oxford University.

In the video below, Russia’s COVID-19 vaccine could be ready for testing in August:




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