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Sassa receives over 750 000 social grant applications a day
12 May 2020, 10:07 AM

The South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) says it has already received more than 750 000 applications for the R350 unemployment grant since the process was implemented on Monday.

Applications for the grant can be sent via the new Sassa Whatsapp number 082 046 8553, email or sms to the number *134*7737#.

Applicants must be over 18 and not be receiving any of the government’s grants, they are also required to produce their ID number, banking details, cellphone number and residential address for the application process.

The application process takes roughly three days for Sassa to respond.

Sassa CEO Busisiwe Memela says people should not upload documents when applying.

Memela says, “People are loading copies of their ID,  we’re linked already to Home Affairs so there is no need to send copies of your ID and others are loading copies of their bank statements which we don’t need until such time we know that you qualify or not. Besides that we wouldn’t need your bank statement in any case because all we will need is your bank account but not your statement.”

“People are also loading proof of address which is not necessary, as long as in your application process you indicate what your address is,” added Memela.

In the video below, the Sassa spokesperson unpacks government’s social relief grant:

The grant was announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa amid the nationwide lockdown as part of the R500 billion economic and social relief measures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sassa spokesperson Paseka Letsatsi outlined the process to receive the grant.

Letsatsi says, “When they make an application, we do take them through a particular process to give us an outcome and demonstrate whether the person is receiving any source of income and so on.”

“When you make an application, there are certain questions that we ask you and as you fill up the information, you [we] are able to determine whether you qualify or not. It is a very tight process and we focus on those who are in need,” explained Letsatsi.

 

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Cape Town is finalising the closure of a homeless shelter
12 May 2020, 8:43 AM

The City of Cape Town says it is finalising the closure of the Strandfontein temporary shelter for homeless people near Muizenberg.

The city says extending existing shelters by creating additional bed spaces is being considered, including the long-term development of safe spaces across Cape Town.

It says the needs of people who have requested ongoing assistance are being finalised.

More than 350 people have indicated that they would prefer remaining in a safe space, instead of returning to the streets and their needs are being finalised.

About 1 000 bed spaces were made available in the Cape Town CBD to accommodate homeless people as part of the city’s measures to adhere to COVID-19 lockdown regulations.

City officials say similar measures were taken in other parts of the Western Cape in areas such as Bellville, Somerset West and Muizenberg and the aim is to extend the initiative beyond the COVID-19 pandemic as a more permanent solution to offer shelter to the homeless.

Government’s COVID-19 efforts for the homeless slammed as shameful

Political analyst Tinyiko Maluleke in April said it is shameful that it took COVID-19  for the government to remember that there are homeless people, as well as those without water.

Maluleke made these comments while responding to the government’s lockdown measures, which has seen people placed in temporary shelters across the country in a bid to curb the spread of the COVID-19.

Government has also been providing water tanks for people without water, especially in rural areas and informal settlements.

Maluleke said it is worrying that government was being re-active in providing the basic services it should have provided on a regular basis.

He said, “I suppose if we stretch our minds, we could see these government interventions for the homeless, the rural and the poor as positive, but actually it’s a shame. It’s a shame that we had to wait for coronavirus before our government could think of buying Jojo tanks for the poor people without water in rural areas. It’s a shame that we had to wait for coronavirus for government to begin to think about the homeless people in our city and try to do something about their situation. I think it’s a crying shame,” says Maluleke.

He also warns those who are suddenly under government’s care, not to get too comfortable.

 

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KwaDukuza traffic officers face formal hearing after scuffle with resident
12 May 2020, 8:02 AM

The KwaDukuza Municipality will hold a formal hearing with its traffic officers who were involved in a scuffle with a father and his young child at a residential complex at Shaka’s Rock on the KwaZulu-Natal north coast.

On Monday, a video showing a screaming child being pulled away from his father went viral. The father is then seen grabbing the child from the officers and asking his wife to call the police.

The video went viral on social media sparking outrage among members of the public.

It is believed that officers may have been acting in terms of enforcing lockdown regulations.

KwaDukuza municipal spokesperson Sipho Mkhize says, “We do not condone any action that was taken in that video. The council has said a formal hearing must be held with the officers who were at the scene to ascertain from them what is their recollection of events in all of this, because we have to treat these officers in accordance with labour relations.”

WARNING: Visuals maybe be offensive to some viewers 

The video is of the confrontation between traffic police and a resident of Shaka’s Rock:

 

 

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Western Cape government is pushing to re-open e-commerce
12 May 2020, 6:24 AM

The Western Cape government has called on the national government to allow e-commerce to go into full swing again, as part of a concerted effort to save jobs.

One of South Africa’s leading online shopping companies employs close to 8000 people and says while no jobs have been shed, it would be unsustainable should the situation persist.

Takealot is where many online purchases occur in South Africa. It’s 40 000 square meter warehouse is where the merchandise is shipped from and over 400 people are employed there.

During the first 30 days of lockdown the facility only traded at 15% of its normal revenue.

Takealot CEO and founder Kim Read says even e-commerce has nearly ground to a complete halt as a result of the lockdown and believes that this was a decision that was not well thought through.

Read says, “When you look at it, it’s trading world wide, it’s trading without restrictions, it promotes social distancing, what more can you ask for at this time. But our biggest impact is really on the sellers who are on our platform.  The guys who are unable to sell products on our platform – we went from 2500 sellers to roughly 500 overnight, though it’s starting to come back again slowly.  But those are businesses that are impacted by these kinds of decisions.”

Western Cape Minister for Finance and Economic Opportunity David Maynier says he’s written to the Ministry of Trade and Industry for the opening up of e-commerce.

Maynier says, “I think e-commerce allows businesses to trade in a way that’s safe, to trade virtually but also to deliver thousands of parcels across the country in a way that’s contactless and safe. We think that the national government needs to give serious consideration to re-opening e-commerce across South Africa.”

Discussing the impact of COVID-19 lockdown on e-commerce:

Western Cape Premier Alan Winde says more and more businesses, big and small, have an online footprint and more-over, he says e-commerce minimises contact between customers and retailers.

Winde says, “We’ve been talking about the 4th industrial revolution for the last few years and we’ve been talking specifically about how we innovate in South Africa and how we move to the next level and this is exactly what should be happening because you’re minimising that kind of contact and we know that the contacts in our retail spaces is where we’re actually spreading the virus and here we’re minimising it.”

He says the economy has to get up and running as soon as possible in a safe way, and e-commerce is one such industry to facilitate this.

On Monday, President Cyril Ramaphosa said the country should be prepared for a new reality in which the fight against COVID-19 becomes part of citizens’ daily existence, for the coming year or more.

He said, “The next challenge is the economic challenge, COVID-19 has brought about a total destruction of our economy. Our economy, as we speak now, is under a great deal of stress and challenge. We now need to collectively respond to how we are going to rebuild and reposition this economy.”

Ramaphosa in his weekly letter said as many more people are gradually going to work during the Level 4 lockdown, there will be an inevitable increase in infection numbers as well as demands on the health care sector.

 

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A Durban mother stuck in Fiji desperate to return home
11 May 2020, 12:19 PM

A Durban mother, who has been left stranded in Fiji due to the COVID-19 lockdown, says she desperately needs to get back home to her three young children.

Patricia Govender, her husband and two other family members travelled to the island country in early March to celebrate her birthday, however, their return trip was cancelled when South Africa went into lockdown.

Govender says the situation is taking an emotional, mental and financial toll on her family.

She says, “My husband’s uncle and aunt are with us and his uncle has diabetes. He ran out of insulin which was impossible to get here and is currently very ill. We are incurring a whole lot of costs and our finances are depleting because we are taking care of three kids back home and with all these extra costs and medical costs, it’s really taking a toll on us emotionally and becoming mentally exhausting. We desperately tried every means possible to try and get back home.”

Patricia Govender discusses the financial burden of living abroad:

On Saturday, the Department of International Relations organised flights departed from Washington DC for South Africa repatriating some 275 citizens who were stuck in the United States since the COVID-19 restrictions were implemented.

The flight was one of three flights that will return citizens to the country this month.

In April, International Relations Minister Naledi Pandor said her department was facing serious challenges in its efforts to facilitate the return of South Africans stranded in other countries in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

At the time Home Away from Home, an organisation formed by a group of South African volunteer, said the situation for more South Africans in over 130 countries, remained dire.

At least 1 000 South Africans to be repatriated from USA

 

Story by: Taliesha Naidoo

Weather

 

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