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Rasa appeals to government to open restaurants
27 May 2020, 3:03 PM

The Restaurant Association of South Africa (Rasa) has again appealed for the government to allow for the sector to operate, saying millions of employees’ incomes are being negatively affected.

Rasa says it is making a submission to the government to allow restaurants to operate under Level 3 lockdown. Level 3 regulations allow restaurant kitchens to operate but for delivery and not to serve sit-down meals.

Rasa’s Chief Executive Wendy Alberts says they’re requesting for operations to go ahead, with all lockdown protocols to be followed.

Albert says, “This is now becoming ludicrous, is it discrimination against us? It feels unconstitutional – that we haven’t been consulted in the same manner to allow restaurants to open up with 50 people. And we are also appealing to our suppliers, we talk about 800 000 people that are unemployed, I can assure you today that if we call on all our extended suppliers of our business, please tell me how many people are affected, I can assure you it will be up to two million people…”

“The restaurant industry is not a small one, we are the biggest contributor of employment in SA and the tourism sector – so why is nothing being done to get us going? We can practise safe processes in this space,” added Alberts.

PODCAST: Our restaurant industry is dying: Rasa

What to expect under Level 3 lockdown

President Cyril Ramaphosa says all economic activity will be permitted with a few exceptions.

Businesses like hair salons and entertainment areas will remain closed as they pose a high risk of transmission.

Ramaphosa says,“Places such as restaurants, bars, taverns accept for the collection or delivery of food. Accommodation and domestic air travel accept for business travel which will be phased in on dates to be announced at conferences, events, entertainment and sporting facilities, personal care services including hairdressing and beauty services.”

How restaurants are surviving during COVID-19 lockdown:

This is what will be permitted during Level 3 of lockdown:

Some restrictions will be in place at every level of the lockdown:

SAPS confirms 779 COVID-19 cases
27 May 2020, 11:01 AM

The South Africa Police Services (SAPS) says it has 779 cases of police who tested positive for COVID-19 around the country.

National Police Spokesperson Vish Naidoo has also confirmed that an officer working in the Parliaments precinct tested positive.

Naidoo says the police officer who works in the control room was returned before he could even start working after displaying symptoms of COVID-19 during the screening process before starting work.

He says the other police officers, who were on the same shift in Parliament and came into contact with their colleague who tested positive – have been asked to self-isolate and go for screening and testing as a precautionary measure.

Naidoo says 414 of the 779 cases are active, while 359 police officers have recovered fully from the COVID-19. He says the SAPS will continue to implement strict control and precautionary measures to curb the spread of the virus.

There are currently 24 264 cases of COVID-19 in South Africa , with the Western Cape accounting for 65. 2% of the total number of cases and a total of 524 related deaths. The country has conducted over 600 000 tests so far.

The Department of Health says South Africa is currently facing a shortage of testing reagents.

 

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Colder weather and COVID-19

Meanwhile a Durban-based general practitioner Dr Prithi Ramlachan says there are no scientific findings confirming the relation between colder weather and an increased risk of COVID-19 infections.

The first heavy cold front of winter made landfall in the Cape Peninsula this week, bringing with it concerns over cold-related viruses. Ramlachan says there are various viral infections that develop during cold weather.

“The important facet of good health in any outbreak or virus is important for patients. And the reason for that is that if you are healthy,  you are able to mount a good response to any virus that affects you, whether it’s coronavirus, whether it’s the flu virus. Whether it’s the cold or any of those, at least you know your body will be good and healthy to mount a response against it.”

SA positive cases: 24 264 with 524 COVID-19 related deaths

 

Forum to patrol Mpumalanga schools to ensure safety measures
27 May 2020, 9:04 AM

Forum for service delivery in Mpumalanga says they will be visiting all schools to ensure safety of learners and teachers, as Grade 7 and 12 learners return to school on June 1, 2020.

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga announced last week that schools will open in a phased manner from June.

The Forum’s chairperson Joseph Lengwati says they have urged the government to specifically screen all those who will be going back to school on Monday.

He says so far they are not satisfied with the department’s effort to ensure teachers and learners will be safe when they return to work.

Lengwati says, “We want to ensure that our children will be safe from everything and another problem that we have – we are just appealing to the government to send some people to assist to ensure that they will be checking all the children and the teachers…”

“We as a Forum for service delivery will be walking around the schools in Mpumalanga to ensure that everyone is safe and we will assist,” added Lengwati.

Minister Angie Motshekga briefs the nation on schools reopening plan:

 

Last week teachers union Educators Union of South Africa (EUSA) suggested that schools reopen in September as temperatures will be higher and will provide a better climate to stem the spread of the coronavirus.

The union said it served the Basic Education Department with legal papers, saying it intends to interdict the opening of schools on June the first.

EUSA General Secretary, Siphiwe Mpungose, says if Motshekga persists with the reopening of schools, they will push for her to be charged with attempted genocide as two school principals in the Western Cape are alleged to have tested positive for the coronavirus.

“We need to move with the strength of the virus. The higher temperatures, this virus does not spread when there are higher temperatures so we are saying September is the ideal period for schools to reopen. There was in the Western Cape, there were two school principals who have tested positive. Our legal team are busy at work with the interdict papers but if she persists when there are children testing positive, when there are teachers testing positive – we will be charging this Minister with attempted genocide,” he says.

In the video below, EUSA serves Basic Education with legal letter:

Teachers concerned about return to school

South African teachers say while they wish to return to the classrooms to catch up on lost time, they remain apprehensive and fearful for how their safety will be prioritised at school.

Teachers across the country, except for KwaZulu-Natal, are expected to return to work on Monday morning to prepare for the re-opening of schools next month. South Africa will move to lockdown alert level 3 on June 1.

NGOs and teacher unions called for the Department to ensure that learners are not at risk when they return to school.

Equal Education’s Noncedo Madubedube says, “We have concerns or are cautious around the just-in-time delivery proposition that’s been put on the table by the Department of Basic Education. We’re worried that the Department of Basic Education or provincial departments especially the rural provinces may not be ready, in fact, to meet the standard operating procedures or protocols that have been put on the table by the Department of Basic Education.”

 

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Man to appear over death of minor at illegal initiation school
27 May 2020, 7:17 AM

A man accused of murdering a 14 year old boy at an illegal initiation school in Mahikeng is expected to appear in the Molopo Regional Court on Wednesday morning.

Mooketsi Seoposengwe allegedly murdered Tlotlo Sedibe 14, in December 2018 at an illegal initiation school in Setlopo near Mahikeng.

Sedibe was allegedly beaten to death, after trying to escape from the initiation school, it is also alleged that he was denied access to drinking water.

The trial was postponed for the presiding officer who is handling the matter to avail himself, as courts have shortened working hours and changed shifts due to COVID-19.

INITIATION SEASON SUSPENDED DUE TO COVID-19

The Limpopo Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs has suspended initiation schools for the rest of this year. This is part of continued efforts to contain the rapidly spreading COVID-19 pandemic.

The department has also warned against bogus initiation schools.

The traditional practice, which often makes headlines for the wrong reasons such as botched circumcisions, is commonly observed in Limpopo and the Eastern Cape.

In the video below, Limpopo announces the suspension of all initiation schools:

MEC Basikopo Makamu has also urged everyone to join hands in the fight against the spread of COVID-19.

“Looking at how we conduct our initiations in the province. Normally like last year we had almost 50 000 initiates. There will be more people in one initiation school that will not be sure it will continue to spread the virus. That is why we think we are going to suspend or cancel the initiation schools for the 2020/1 year. So, anybody who would want to establish any initiation schools, there will be no ways, we are going to make sure that, that person gets arrested,” says Makamu.

The department will meet with traditional leaders from all the districts on Wednesday, with the hope that they will understand the reasons for the cancellation.

According to the government, only essential services will be allowed during this lockdown.

Chairperson of the House of Traditional Leaders in Limpopo Chief Malesela Dikgale has welcomed the decision, saying the situation is dire and calls for decisive leadership.

“It was a very difficult decision that we have ever taken as the executive, but what could we do because there is no way in which we can do it. It is very serious, especially to most of the traditional leaders who are doing it for the sake of cultural activity so they wait for three years, wait for four years and you find that instead of having it, then we have to postpone. But what can we, we never had something like this before? So we have to follow,” says Chief Dikgale.

Story by: Sylvester Serame

DA lays complaint over irregularities in N West legislature
27 May 2020, 6:54 AM

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in the North West has lodged a complaint with the Public Protector and the Hawks regarding irregular appointments and tender irregularities in the provincial legislature.

Authorities at the North West provincial legislature, say they will fully cooperate with law enforcement agencies, after the DA in the province lodged the complaint.

The complaint relates to alleged irregular appointments and tender irregularities in the provincial legislature. The party alleges that the legislature’s Chief Financial Officer and Manager of Treasury, were appointed with no relevant qualifications.

The DA says it obtained information relating to alleged irregularities, fraud and corruption from a whistleblower in the legislature. Based on their own investigations, they discovered documents that support the allegations.

DA lodges a corruption complaint with Public Protector against North West legislature

 

DA Chief Whip Freddy Sonakile says, “Among things that we discovered here are acts of irregular appointment of the CFO of the legislature, irregular appointment of the Treasury Manager of the legislature. Tender irregularities around the appointments of certain tenders.”

Sonakile says there is also the discovery of irregular tenders, worth over R 2 million.

“Some of the discoveries that we made that there are other tenders that were acquired for about seven years that have been in this legislature operating, that when you check their documents is one company, it has just been changing names. The others you will find that it is companies that are owned by people who are close to the Speaker or any other official who is senior in the legislature…”

“When you look at their terms of reference, some of the things that they were supposed to do, they are not even delivered but are been kept in the system for years,” added Sonakile.

Authorities at the provincial legislature say they are aware of the allegations, and will cooperate fully with all law enforcement agencies.

Legislature’s secretary Oageng Mosiane says, “I want to assure South Africans and the people of the North West, that we will cooperate with all the law enforcement’s and oversight committees as the DA said they are going to take the matters to. But we also want to make sure that South Africans are aware that these are just allegations – wild as they are, we will cooperate and make sure that the truth comes out.”

The Office of the Public Protector, which has acknowledged receipt of the DA complaint, says assessment will be made for possible investigations.

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