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Women, children evacuated from Saartjie Baartman Centre
11 May 2020, 11:30 AM

Women and children have had to be evacuated from the Saartjie Baartman Centre for Women and Children in Manenberg after a fire broke out in a dormitory on the first floor of the building.

City of Cape Town’s Fire & Rescue spokesperson Jermaine Carelse says the cause of the blaze is unknown at this stage and no fatalities have been reported.

Carelse says, “It took about two hours to extinguish the fire. It’s not known at this stage how other parts of the building complex, that accommodates historic artifacts, have been affected by the fire.”

The city’s fire and rescue service was alerted to the fire at the shelter for vulnerable women and children in Klipfontein road, just after seven this morning, fire crews from Epping, Gugulethu and Ottery responded to the fire.

The Saartjie Baartman Centre for Women and Children (SBCWC) was opened in 1999 as the first multi-disciplinary service centre for abused women and children in the country.

The centre provides services for abused women & their children which include; safe accommodation, counselling, legal assistance, economic empowerment and is based on the Cape Flats, Cape Town.

 

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City Cape Town in the High Court over electricity procurement
11 May 2020, 10:01 AM

The City of Cape Town will be at the High Court in Pretoria on Monday for an online hearing on the local government’s right to procure electricity.

The City will determine municipalities’ legal power to procure electricity under the Electricity Regulation Act, current regulations require local governments to get electricity from Eskom.

If the City of Cape Town wins the case, it will set a precedent for other municipalities and large power consumers to procure power directly from independent power producers (IPP’s).

The Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, Gwede Mantashe and the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa) are the respondents.

City Power speaks on studies conducted on technology needed to provide electricity:

 

In February, Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema criticised President Cyril Ramaphosa’s announcement that financially viable municipalities can procure their own electricity from independent power producers.

Speaking at a media briefing in Cape Town, Malema said: “Ramaphosa’s SONA was a repetition of ideas that he shows no ability to implement. The most concrete commitment is the one to privatise Eskom and our SOEs. It is sealed and dusted. The state will now allow municipalities to enter into exploitative contracts with IPPs, a strategic entity that is supposed to drive development is going into the hands of greedy capitalists who have no obligation to provide affordable electricity to our people, even in the most remote areas.”

EFF calls on Eskom to ditch the use of IPPs:

Cab driver shoots robbers
11 May 2020, 8:39 AM

An e-hailing taxi driver in Port Elizabeth, in the Eastern Cape, has shot and wounded two alleged robbers.

The suspects aged 20 and 21 allegedly tried to rob the 47-year-old e-hail taxi driver while he was picking up a client in Newton Park.

Police spokesperson Priscilla Naidu says the driver was picking up a client when the suspects got into the back of his taxi. One of the men allegedly tried to strangle him with a piece of rope.

The suspects who are said to be from Shauderville suffered gunshot wounds to the chest and arms and were rushed to hospital, where they were later arrested.

They are expected to appear in court soon on charges of attempted robbery and attempted murder.

 

In March metered taxi and e-hailing drivers in Port Elizabeth appealed to the Minister of Transport Fikile Mbalula to relax the transport curfews put in place during the COVID-19 lockdown.

Many drivers raised concerns, saying commuters who are essential workers were left stranded after 9am, since public transport only operated between 5am and 9am in the morning and 4pm and 8pm in the evenings.

 

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Poor adherence to regulations driving Eastern Cape COVID-19 cases
11 May 2020, 6:36 AM

Poor adherence to the COVID-19 lockdown regulations in rural towns of the Eastern Cape continues to put lives at risk. The Provincial Health Department’s Superintendent General, Dr Thobile Mbengashe, says there are three contributing factors to the poor adherence to lockdown regulations in the province.

“One, this has been a very rapid transition to achieve high compact social behavior, and I think the stress in communities has also created its own dynamic… The second problem is really the social grants, where rural communities have to come to towns to collect their grants and buy their groceries… and the third area is people have just not been as responsive.”

Small towns such as Butterworth, Lusikisiki and Cacadu are often congested with people shopping.

The province now has 1 218 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and locals say they have no option but to risk their lives to get essentials.

Co-operative Governance MEC Xolile Nqatha says, “There’s been a growing shared understanding of what should be the approach and there’s been a growing cooperation across our province, but with challenges here and there; and those challenges are not insurmountable…”

Nqatha says, “For those who don’t comply, we have ensured that there are processes to ensure that there are consequences for non-compliance.”

Last week, health authorities in the province reported that 34 people who travelled from the Western Cape at the start of Level 4 tested positive for COVID-19.

Meanwhile, nurses at Komga Hospital allegedly refused to treat a positive patient, claiming that they were scared.

The patient had been transferred to Komga from King Williams Town.

The Department of Health in the Eastern Cape condemned health care practitioners saying it is constitutionally a fundamental right that every South African should have access to health care services regardless of their residential area.

It also says every practitioner signed an oath to look after patients.

 

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DA appeals for Free State government to be transparent about COVID-19 expenditure
11 May 2020, 5:57 AM

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in the Free State has appealed for transparency on COVID-19 expenditure after the provincial Finance Department announced that it spent R49 million rand in the fight against the virus.

DA Chief Whip David van Vuuren says there should be accountability on spending.

Van Vuuren says, “We are very concerned as the Democratic Alliance, we want to see what expenditure has been taking place in the province. We had a briefing by the MEC of finance this week, where they indicated how the money is going to be spent. We want to see that there is regular reporting in these, to the public account also…”

He adds: “What we do welcome is the fact that the MEC of Finance did say that they want to spend money on local businesses and that they want to stimulate businesses in the Free State,” added Van Vuuren.

Last week, the DA also accused the Free State government of selectively disseminating information on COVID-19 outcomes.

The party accused the government of drawing a veil of secrecy on the screening and testing of the coronavirus in the province.

However, the Free State Health Department has dismissed the DA’s accusations as baseless.

“It’s our surprise, the whole country is congratulating the department on the good work that has been done. Firstly, for the swift reaction toward containment of the virus from its beginning. Even before we were first announced as a province that is going to host an isolation centre in the country, we took media there to show our state of readiness. We informed everybody in the legislature, the committee on the social cluster, we have been transparent as we could be.”

The DA submitted a Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA) application, to compel the provincial health department to release detailed COVID-19 statistics.

The total number of confirmed cases in the Free State are 135 with only six deaths.

 

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