Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize urged South Africans who are regarded as high-risk groups to take extra precautions and avoid possible exposure to coronavirus.
The call comes as the country prepares to ease the current lockdown to level 3.
The elderly and people living with chronic diseases like HIV, diabetes and hypertension are among those advised to take extra measures to avoid COVID-19 exposure.
Justice and Correctional Services Department faces deep budget cuts: Lamola
18 May 2020, 10:22 PM
Justice and Correctional Services Minister Ronald Lamola says COVID-19 will severely impact his department’s ability to deliver on its mandate. He’s expecting 7% of his budget or at least R1.9 billion to be cut as a result of re-prioritisation by the Finance Minister next month.
“It’s a huge amount of money. Indications are that Justice to not be less than R1.5 billion or Correction Services also it would not be less than R1.5 billion, it will be more than that. So, there will be budget cuts also for other ones in these entities within our space. We have not yet had a plan of how we are going to deal with budget cuts because it has not yet been confirmed exactly how much,” Lamola said while briefing Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services on their department’s plans for the year.
The Justice and Correctional Services Minister also touched on the planned release of petty crime convicts as part of efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19.
He says the vast majority of prisoners qualifying for COVID-19 parole were in any event due to be released in the next two years or less. Over 14 000 of the 19 000 prisoners fall in this category.
In the video below, Lamola speaks about the early release of prisoners:
Lamola reiterated that congestion in prisons and the risks of prisoners being infected with COVID-19 were the main reasons for granting parole to low-risk prisoners.
“Those that are sentenced for less than two years they don’t stay long in our facilities because studies have shown that you would really not be able to do real rehabilitation in that period.”
As the number of infected prisoners continues to rise, the department is devising plans to curb the spread.
“This is working because some of them have recovered. When we record recoveries from time to time – 40 of them have already recovered,” says Minister Lamola.
Below is an infographic on the number of infections in SA prisons:
Call for clarity following violation of lockdown rules during Dr Mini’s funeral service
18 May 2020, 10:11 PM
Clarity is being sought on the protocols to be observed during funerals for COVID-19 patients.
This follows failure to adhere to some regulations during the funeral of the revered struggle icon and health activist, Dr Clarence Mini on Sunday at Fourways Memorial Park in Johannesburg.
Dr Mini succumbed to COVID-19-related complications last week after being in hospital for more than a month.
According to the regulations, the burial has to take place within three days; there should be no memorial service and the funeral service should not be longer than two hours. But the regulations were not followed during Dr Mini’s funeral.
Below is the video of Dr Mini’s funeral service:
Political analyst Lukhona Mnguni says government must explain if there is elite bias in the implementation of the regulations.
“Recently we saw the virtual memorial service for the late stalwart Dennis Goldberg and that was encouraging because it meant that we don’t have an elite bias in the implementation of our regulations and everybody is abiding by the regulations because in the moment of crisis and restlessness in as we are seeing at this point of our lockdown, in particular, you want to gain as much consensus from the public as possible and can only be done if those who are seen as leaders in society are leading from the front and not seeking special treatment and favours,” he says.
Dr Mini was laid to rest on Sunday.
He was hailed as a champion for health in South Africa having worked extensively in support of HIV/Aids initiatives.
Below is an infographic on punishable practices during the current level 4 lockdown:
Desmond Tutu joins world leaders in call for children to be prioritised in the COVID-19 fight
18 May 2020, 9:24 PM
Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu has joined 87 other Nobel Peace Laureates and world leaders to call on governments around the world to prioritise children in their response to the COVID-19 pandemic – or risk losing an entire generation.
The Desmond and Leah Tutu Foundation says, in a statement, that the coronavirus has exposed and worsened global inequalities and children are among those worst affected.
The Foundation says children, often in poor areas, face various forms of exploitation – including sexual.
It has urged the world’s leaders to ensure that a fair share of resources to battle COVID-19 – are directed at assisting marginalised children – and that the results of such an endeavor could transform the world.
Earlier on Monday, President Cyril Ramaphosa called for global solidarity to fight the coronavirus crisis.
Ramaphosa was addressing the 73rd Session of the World Health Assembly, which is the key decision-making body of the World Health Organisation (WHO).
The virtual session was being attended by representatives of the United Nation’s over 190 member states.
Ramaphosa says the coronavirus outbreak is a clear call for the urgent implementation of universal healthcare.
In the video below, Ramaphosa addresses the virtual 73rd World Health Assembly:
Various other world leaders also addressed the Assembly, calling for unity and collaboration in the fight against the pandemic that has infected over 4 million people worldwide.
This is one of the most important assemblies in the history of the WHO. It must be a moment for unity, solidarity, clear thought & action in the face of what is an unprecedented global crisis affecting all of us
–#France🇫🇷 President @EmmanuelMacron#WHA73pic.twitter.com/iRWKggWQ1S
Two Western Cape police sergeants nabbed for alleged corruption
18 May 2020, 9:04 PM
Two police sergeants of the Western Cape Anti-Corruption unit have been arrested for alleged corruption in Manenberg.
Police spokesperson Noloyiso Rwexana says this follows a complaint from an Athlone resident. He alleged that the two policemen visited him in June 2019 and accused him of printing and selling passports.
They seized his laptop and cellular telephones and took him to the Manenberg police station, where they allegedly demanded money to secure his release.
Rwexana says the complainant alleges that he paid the two policemen R5 000 in cash for his release and the return of his laptop and cell phones.
The Anti-Corruption Unit investigated the complaint. The pair’s arrest follows a warrant from the Athlone Magistrate’s Court.