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Swazi teachers accuse government of stifling voice of the nation
27 June 2021, 3:32 PM

The Swaziland National Association of Teachers (SNAT) in Eswatini has slammed the government for allegedly stifling the voice of the nation by stopping the delivery of petitions at the Tinkhundla centres.

On Thursday, the Eswatini government under the Tinkhundla system announced a decree stopping the delivery of the petitions, which call for democratic reforms.

Thousands of citizens across the country marched to the various constituencies to deliver petitions.

SNAT President, Mbongwa Dlamini, says its about time that the country changes from the Tinkhudla system to a democratic one in order to address challenges faced by the nation.

“The fact that people should not give petitions to members of parliament we view that as suppression to the freedom of expression and freedom of assembling, so if Tinkhundla system is democratic those people who are representing the people in their constituencies they should get their mandate from the constituencies”

Dlamini says they will continue to pressure the government until it gives in to the demands of the people.

Euro knock-outs kick off on Saturday evening
26 June 2021, 6:00 AM

The UEFA European Championship round of 16 matches will kick off on Saturday evening. The last two matches of the group stages produced eight goals in two, two-all games between Portugal and France, as well as Germany and Hungary. Now, it’s do or die for the remaining 16 nations that have advanced to the knock-out round.

Despite fewer rest days than Switzerland ahead for their quarter-final match on Monday, defender Jules Kounde is adamant that the French team will not look for excuses.

Switzerland defeated Turkey 3-1 in Baku on Sunday and finished third in Group A, behind Italy and Wales.

The French-Swiss quarter-final match will be played in the Bucharest National Arena in Romania.

France finished first in Group F after defeating Germany 1-0 and playing to a one-all draw against Hungary and 2-ALL against Portugal.

“It’s a fact. We have fewer rest days, so yes we can consider it as a disadvantage. But, it’s the way the calendar is. We won’t look for excuses. We will rest well because we need it. It was a difficult game against Portugal. Intense, under a very hot weather. So we will need these five days. And I have no doubt that despite these three – few days, the team will be very competitive and very motivated to reach the quarter-finals,” says Defender, Jules Kounde.

The outgoing Germany coach, Joachim Loew, says he was confident his side would power their way back into the match against Hungary after twice going behind in a dramatic European Championship group decider in Munich on Wednesday. Loew said he watched with growing confidence as Germany threw everything at their opponents in the closing stages and equalised six minutes from time to salvage a two-all draw. That secured second place in Group F to set up a June 29 round of 16 match against England at Wembley.

Loew admits that England will be a different prospect in the knock-out stage compared to Hungary.

“In England, it will be a completely different game because the English certainly have to play forward at home. It’s an open game, more open than it was just now and therefore, logically – we have to correct a few things. We have to be absolutely on our guard because crosses into the box standard situations, there’s no more room for error. We really have to do things better now. Absolutely. But it will be a different game, which certainly suits us,” explains Loew.

Loew, who steps down as German coach after the tournament, is looking for a glorious end to an illustrious career that includes winning the 2014 World Cup.

In the first two matches of the knock-out round on Saturday, Wales will take on Denmark, while Italy will play Austria. And on Sunday, the Netherlands will be at the Puskás Arena in Budapest where they will face the Czech Republic at 6pm South African time. That match will be followed by what promises to be a mouth watering affair between Belgium and Portugal in Seville.

SAHPRA says it won’t bow to political pressure
25 June 2021, 10:00 PM

The South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA) says it won’t allow political pressure to cloud its science-based approach to approving health products where the safety of the public could be compromised.

The regulator was responding to the Economic Freedom Fighters’ (EFF) call for it to approve the  the approval of the Sputnik and Sinovac vaccines.

“It will be a sad day in the country when the regulator is undermined or influenced by any party,” says the regulator.

SAHPRA says, like other regulators across the world, it concerns itself with safety, quality and efficacy of health products.

“These essential requirements are consistently applied to all COVID-19 vaccines and therapeutics that SAHPRA has considered for use in the country. SAHPRA cannot allow political pressure to cloud a clear science-based approach to approving health products where the safety of the public could be compromised. It will be a sad day in the country when the regulator is undermined or influenced by any party,” it adds.

The regulator says while it will timeously respond to the EFF’s memorandum to the organisation’s CEO, the public should understand that it does not favour any applicant as alleged by the Economic Freedom Fighters.

“The allegations against the SAHPRA Board Chair, Prof Helen Rees, are totally unfounded
and false.

SAHPRA, as part of its mandate, focuses on the safety and well-being of the public and no
vaccine can be made available until it meets these regulatory requirements. Furthermore,
SAHPRA must take into account the local epidemiology, and specifically which SARS-CoV-2
variants of concern are circulating in the country. In essence, the EFF wants SAHPRA to
approve vaccines without adherence to the critical components of safety, quality and efficacy.
This could compromise public safety,” the regulator says.

The African Transformation Movement supports EFF’s vaccine march:

South Africa is currently administering the J&J and Pfizer vaccines and 2 181 610 citizens have received their shots so far.

ANC slams large gatherings, wishes Mokonyane speedy recovery after contracting COVID-19
25 June 2021, 5:34 PM

The ANC’s Head of Organising and National Executive Committee member, Nomvula Mokonyane, is the latest public figure to contract the coronavirus.

This was revealed in a statement from the governing party on Friday afternoon.

The party says the former Cabinet Minister is now in self-isolation and will continue to execute her party responsibilities from home.

“The ANC wishes her a speedy recovery. Comrade Nomvula’s courage and resolve to beat COVID 19 should inspire all of us to stand together against this pandemic. We also wish many other South Africans who are battling with COVID-19 well. We must continue to defend each other and protect one another. We ask all South Africans to show compassion and solidarity with those who are infected and to offer support to all families who have lost their loved ones due to COVID 19,” it says.

The statement was followed by a rebuke from the governing party over super-spreader events.

The party slammed what it terms, is reckless behaviour of its own members who gathered outside the High Court in Johannesburg in support of the party’s suspended Secretary-General, Ace Magashule, despite the court proceedings being held virtually and the Economic Freedom Fighters’ (EFF) protest to the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA).

The red berets are calling for the approval of the Sputnik and Sinovac vaccines as the country grapples with a surge in COVID-19 infections. South Africa is currently administering the J&J and Pfizer vaccines.

Julius Malema addresses masses gathered for vaccines march:

The ANC is warning against behaviour that contributes further to burdening the health system.

“The gatherings were not only wholly unwarranted they were also a blatant disregard for the lives of our people.  In Gauteng Province, 5 842 people are hospitalised as a result of COVID-19, and a total of 584 458 people have been vaccinated to date.  To gather in large gatherings in the height of the third wave truly undermines the efforts of many health workers who are currently under intense pressure in our healthcare facilities,” says the governing ANC.

Reaction to Gauteng’s COVID-19 crisis:

The ANC is urging all leaders of society to provide “responsible leadership at this challenging time so that we can all save lives.”

“We urge all our people and all leaders to do everything in their power to avoid all super-spreader events,” it adds.

The party believes that South Africa will only be able to reduce the rate of transmissions and defeat the pandemic when all stakeholders worker together.

More than 1.8 million South Africans have tested positive for the coronavirus and 59 258 others have succumbed to it.

It has so far administered 2 312 873 vaccines since it first began its inoculation process in February.

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NUM threatens court action over Eskom’s decision to unilaterally implement 1.5% salary hike
25 June 2021, 4:35 PM

The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) says it’s going to court to seek an urgent interdict to stop Eskom from unilaterally implementing its offer of a 1.5% wage increase.

Eskom took the unions by surprise on Friday morning and announced the decision to implement the offer for all its employees from next month. This, despite the fact that unions have referred the wage dispute to the CCMA for arbitration.

Eskom says its decision to go ahead and implement the offer is aimed at protecting jobs and its financial sustainability. Management at the power utility says it will also unilaterally implement its decision to cut back on overtime payments, travel allowances and transfer benefits.

The NUM, which is the majority union at Eskom, says the move is unlawful.

“As the NUM as view that as unlawful…..because the process is still under way, we are not allowed to go on strike even if we have the certificate of non-resolution. So Eskom for it to decide to implement before the process is completed is unlawful and we have decided as the NUM to interdict the process as we are going to our lawyers and find a way of dealing with the situation,” says NUM’s Spokesperson on Energy, Khangela Baloyi.

NUM is demanding a 10% salary increase, lowered down from its initial 15% demand, while NUMSA also revised its wage demand down from 15% to 12%. Solidarity is demanding an increase of 9.5%.

Discussion over concern on the collapse of Eskom wage talks:

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