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No walk-ins will be allowed at vaccination sites on Monday: Mkhize
16 May 2021, 9:49 PM

The Health Minister, Dr Zweli Mkhize, has officially launched Phase 2 of the the country’s vaccination campaign.

Government is prioritising citizens who are 60 years and older. “Five million senior citizens are targeted to be completed by the end of June, provided that the supply of vaccines flow as anticipated,” says Mkhize.

Over 80 vaccination sites will open on Monday morning. Mkhize says there will be no walk-ins allowed.

The Minister says healthcare workers and the elderly who have registered to be vaccinated will get invited to a vaccination site via an SMMes.

So far more than 2.1 million South Africans have registered for the shots. Out of these are over 1 227 million senior citizens and more than 914 000 healthcare workers.

“We recommend that as many people as possible register beforehand. For tomorrow (Monday) we will not be able to accommodate walk-ins, however we will, going forward, be able to do so. The programme has been designed to avoid long queues. This is why it is important that as many people as possible register beforehand, and follow the instructions which they receive by SMS,” Minister Mkhize advises.

Live stream of the Minister’s briefing:

Qualifying citizens will receive Pfizer shots.

“Tomorrow (Monday) Phase 2 will start as planned with Pfizer vaccines at 87 sites across the country, that will be 83 in public sector and four in the private sector, then we want to increase the site to just over 200 by the end of the week. As we speak, SMSes are being dispatched with invitations to vaccinate. Tomorrow 7 707 SMSes are being dispatched to healthcare workers and then 4 288 SMSes are sent to senior citizens above 60 years of age,” he adds.

Mkhize says 325 260 more doses of the Pfizer vaccine will arrive in the country at midnight, bringing the total of the doses in the country to 975 780.

The vaccination of healthcare workers will also continue using the Pfizer vaccine. Government hopes to reach its target of 1.2 million vaccinations by the end of this week.

“By end June we expect to have received 4.5 million doses of Pfizer and, 2 million doses of J&J once released. The J&J vaccine is still awaiting release from the Food and Drug Administration of America and we are constantly being updated by the J&J global head office on progress in this regard,” says the Minister.

The country’s health MECs have confirmed that their provinces are ready for the second phase of the mass vaccinations.

The Health Minister says 478 733 South Africans were vaccinated with the J&J vaccine under the Sisonke Programme, which was aimed at healthcare workers.

Leftover J&J doses won’t be used for the next two phases of the vaccination drive.

“But will be used by the Medical research Council to conduct important studies and programmes that will help us to understand how the vaccines work for population groups such as persons living with HIV and other co-morbidities, elite athletes, pregnant and lactating women and other special groups,” says Minister Mkhize.

 Ways to register on EVDS:

  1. online at www.vaccine.enroll.gov.za
  2. using the whatsapp line 0600 123456
  3. by sms- dial *134*832#
  4. call the COVID-19 hotline 0800 029 999
  5. You can use the new QR- simply scan and follow the prompts. The QR code will be published widely and can be found on sacoronavirus website or the National Department of Health Website.

All services are zero rated, meaning no airtime, data or money is needed to use the services.

Vaalbank family members suspected to have died of poisoning laid to rest
16 May 2021, 9:48 PM

A mother and her four children who died in an alleged poisoning incident in Vaalbank farm near Coligny, in the North West, have been laid to rest.

Nelly Pitso allegedly poisoned herself, her partner and her six children, following an alleged altercation. The family reportedly ingested poison which is used to kill rodents. Her partner, Paul Mere and two of their children survived.

Emotions ran high as dozens of mourners came out to pay their last respects. With cause of this tragic incident still unclear, family and friends are left with more questions than answers.
But for now, relatives of the victims are pleading with government to assist the two surviving children.

“As the family we requested that the children must be taken further and they must take care of them until they complete their degree so that these children complete their degrees and come back to take care of the family. The family as it is in the present moment – is heartbroken because of this,” says family spokesperson, Seaketso Segopolo.

Classmates of one of the deceased children are also finding it difficult to accept that they will never see their friend again.

“We feel so lost because we lost a best friend of mine and we used to eat together when it’s break time,” says one of the learners.

“When I heard that Omphile has died – we were so sad and we were so disappointed. He was a good learner,” added another pupil.

While the provincial Department of Social Development had committed to assist the bereaved family, a concerned community leader lambasted the provincial government for not doing enough to assist the family.

“I am disappointed with government because you can’t bring two hampers in this family and say those hampers will cater for the multitude of people that you see here,” says Coligny Community Leader, Stanny Mnyakama.

“I was with the councillor here; we were asking for donations from outside. I would have expected a leader from government to be here,” adds Mnyakama.

The provincial Social Development Department says the surviving children are receiving trauma counseling.

Government tables new wage offer
16 May 2021, 7:28 PM

Trade union federation, Cosatu, has confirmed that government has come back with a revised wage offer to government employees.

There are no details so far as unions and government are still locked in a meeting, engaging on the new proposed wage agreement.

Last week, government requested time out to go and consider a number of proposals that had been made by independent economists.

Mugwena Maluleke is the convener for all Cosatu-affiliated public service unions in the Public Service Coordinating Bargaining Council.

He says: “The employer has tabled a revised offer to the council. However, the process of engagement is ongoing and therefore the details shall only be made available once the council General Secretary has released a draft of a formal offer, at the moment we are still engaging.”

Government began the negotiations with a zero percent increase offer, while the unions have been demanding a 7% wage hike. They dismissed the zero percent increase as a slap in the face, especially to healthcare workers who have been at the fore front of the battle against COVID-19.

More on the revised offer in the video below:

Trade union, Public Servants Association of South Africa, had declared a dispute at the CCMA.

While other unions also affiliated to its umbrella body, Fedusa, had resolved to wait for a 10-day facilitation period to run its course before charting the way forward.

Pirates looking at daunting trip to Casablanca after stalemate at home
16 May 2021, 6:54 PM

Orlando Pirates have all to play for in the second leg of their CAF Confederations Cup tie against Raja Casablanca of Morocco on Saturday. This after the two sides settled for a share of the spoils in a one-all draw at the Orlando stadium in Soweto on Sunday afternoon.

Pirates opened the scoring before halftime, only for the visitors to capitalise on sloppy defending early in the second half and scored a vital away goal.

The Buccaneers looked like they were in a defensive mood from the onset in this match. The coach continued with his strategy of starting a match without a recognisable striker on the field.

Vincent Pule, a winger, was playing as a false number nine. He managed to open the scoring for the men in black just before half time.

Pirates survived a scare in the penalty area.

Casablanca players and officials wanted the referee to point to the penalty spot, but he stood his ground. The man in charge had his hands full as the players were keen to bully him at any given chance.

After that, Casablanca restored parity following a long ball that was launched forward, to the frustration of Pirates coach Josef Zinnbauer.

Pirates players were counting on the referee to protect them from the more physical Casablanca players, but in vain. In the dying minutes of the match, the visitors had a glorious chance to grab the winner.

Pirates also had a chance but the keeper, Anas Zniti, was quick off his line. The visitors have an upper hand now in the tie as they take an away goal into the second leg in Casablanca.

The high-flying team won all their group stage matches and didn’t even concede a single goal in the process. Pirates, on the other hand, were found wanting at some point during their group stage encounters.

KZN elderly looking forward to get COVID-19 shots
16 May 2021, 6:15 PM

The elderly in KwaZulu-Natal are looking forward to the second phase of the COVID-19 vaccination rollout set to commence on Monday.

Phase 2 is separated in two stages. The first stage will run from Monday until the end of July, with the second stage expected to run from August to the end of October.

Clicks and Dis-Chem to support government with Phase 2 vaccine rollout:

The country’s first phase of the vaccination drive was marred by delays and suspension of vaccines, leaving South Africa lagging behind compared to the global rollout.

So far, government has managed to inoculated more than 10% of the country’s healthcare workers through the Sisonke Study.

In KwaZulu-Natal 70 000 health workers have received their shots. Phase 2 is expected to target people who are 60 and above as well as those with underlying illnesses.

“I have high blood pressure. Sometimes my blood pressure gets uncontrollable. I have diabetes and I also have arthritis, which is why I’m walking with crutches,” says Ncanyana Sibeko, a Lamontville resident.

The 71-year-old has been using home remedies to protect herself from the virus. She says rumours of possible side-effects after getting the vaccine made her hesitant to get the jab. But despite her concerns, gogo Sibeko says she is now ready to be vaccinated.

“I want to protect myself while I have a chance because if I contract the virus and get sick I may not have a chance to get the vaccine because I’d be sick already. If I get sick – I might also die but if I get the vaccine now that might save my life,” she adds.

Online registration for people who wish to receive vaccines is open. Senior citizens who have applied online say the process is efficient.

“I registered online it was very easy. I did everything that was needed and I was also able to register on behalf of my parents and received SMS notifications confirming that I have registered,” says another resident, Nomagugu Ntshingila.

Deli Luthuli, also a resident, says: “I used the address of the Thokoza Hostel. When I was registering they said I might be called to get vaccinated at the Addington Hospital,” says Deli Luthuli, also a resident.

Infographic on the registration system:

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Vaccines will be administered at public and private vaccination centres. Phase 2 is aimed at reaching 16.5 million South Africans. – Report by Bongani Gema

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