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Vaccine passports system may soon exclude those who aren’t vaccinated
13 September 2021, 7:52 PM

Vaccination is still not mandatory in South Africa although not having a vaccination certificate or passport could leave those who are not inoculated unable to attend major events and travel.

President Cyril Ramaphosa announced on Sunday that government is looking at introducing the vaccine passport system, to provide evidence of vaccination.

The announcement has been met with mixed reactions from the public.

“We will also be providing further information, on an approach for vaccine passports which can be used as evidence of vaccination for various purposes and events. So that as people go around, they are able to demonstrate that yes they have been vaccinated,” says Ramaphosa.

Currently, after getting vaccinated, residents are given a vaccination card and a text message as proof of vaccination.

Reaction to Ramaphosa address | The idea of vaccine passports is reckless: Cosatu

Dr Lesley Bamford from the Department of Health says while the certificate is sufficient for domestic use, the documentation might not be enough for international travel.

“This is an area that is still evolving and it’s still work in process and there are still lots of decisions that still need to be made. Anyone who is vaccinated received a vaccination card and an SMS and in many instances, those are considered sufficient as proof of vaccination. However, for international travel, some countries are not satisfied with that level of documentation. We are involved in a process together with Dirco, talking to different countries on the issue of what they will accept on the purpose of entry into those countries,” says Bamford.

Vaccines for access control

The passport could also be a ticket to large sporting events and festivals, as is already the case in some countries.

Bamford says South Africa needs to look into the same model to encourage more people to vaccinate. He says they are looking at a variety of mechanisms to either provide a certificate electronically, through cellphones or other means.

“We do have some ideas and it is likely that there will be a digital certificate available in coming weeks. But many of the details around the exact format are still being discussed. From the government side, vaccination is still not mandatory. We are strongly encouraging people to vaccinate because is it safe and effective. We are now starting to think about the possibility of stadiums and other events provided that people are vaccinated,” says Bamford.

Meanwhile, Lucky Ntimane from the Liquor Traders Association, says it is premature for government to introduce vaccine passports, while the process of getting more people to take the jab is still ongoing.

SA will struggle to protect citizens from mandatory vaccines: Expert

‘Scare tactics won’t yield results’

Ntimane says scare tactics and bullying from government will not yield positive results.

“It’s quite premature to try and implement and it sends the wrong message when you are going to use a negative approach when you are trying to get people to vaccinate by instilling fear. We feel that the best approach is to talk to people that are hesitant and show the positive reasons as to why it is important to vaccinate,” says Ntimane.

Liqour Traders support vaccinations, but say the certificate will once again impact on the alcohol industry.

“Liquor traders are the worst hit when it comes to the pandemic, so we feel that there are better ways to try and get liquor traders, our patrons, our customers to vaccinate and more especially men, through pushing the right message. But pushing the vaccination certificates and passports is quite premature for this country,” says Ntimane.

There are mixed views from some Joburg residents.

“No, I’m not happy because they haven’t found the HIV cure and in a short time they find the vaccine. The president was talking; at first, he said that it is not compulsory. Now, they are forcing us to take the vaccine. In the UK they already have that passport. I think it’s a good idea but a waste of time,” says one resident.

The Department of Health says currently seven million people have been fully vaccinated. However, more needs to be done to convince those still skeptical about the vaccine.

How vaccine passports can also result in greater inequality in Africa and other low-income regions

 

 

Mpumalanga rape, robbery suspect abandons bail application
13 September 2021, 7:46 PM

A rape and robbery suspect from eSwatini has abandoned his bail application at a Mpumalanga court. 23-year-old Mxolisi Mthombeni appeared before the Matsulu periodical court earlier on Monday.

Mthombeni’s legal representative told the court his client fears for his life.

The community of Matsulu gathered outside the local periodical court where demonstrators demanded that the suspect be denied bail. Mthombeni was arrested a week ago for being in the country illegally.

Upon further investigation, police found that he is also a suspect in multiple rape and robbery cases. He was charged with three counts of rape and robbery. He allegedly lured women into South Africa by promising them employment. It is alleged that he raped and robbed them of their belongings.

“We are protesting because now they found the criminal that was busy raping our sisters in the community. So, now we are here to show that we don’t want mercy for this criminal. We have been trying to make investigations, assisting the police. Now, at last they found the perpetrator,” says a resident.

“We are here facing another pandemic whereby a criminal has been torturing and raping our community and we heard that this guy is from Swaziland by nationality. So, we are here to barricade and tell the court that it must not grant him bail. If it grants him bail we will take the law into our own hands,” says another resident.

Police allege that Mthombeni befriended his victims on social media and offered them employment opportunities between April and August this year. He allegedly invited the victims to come visit him in Matsulu or Kaapmuiden near Malalane where the women were raped and robbed of their belongings.

Mpumalanga Police Spokesperson Donald Mdhuli says they welcome the suspect’s decision to abandon bail.

“As the SAPS, we are very happy with what has turned out today where the suspect decided to abandoned bail. This will give us ample time to further our investigations making sure that when that day comes we are ready with everything,” says Mdhuli.

Gheberha residents lament living conditions as election date looms
13 September 2021, 6:02 PM

Residents of KwaZakhele in Gqeberha in the Eastern Cape are again lamenting their living conditions as the date for the local government elections approaches.

They say they cannot be expected to vote in the elections when they still have no jobs and houses among other things.

A resident of the area, Abongile Ndukumbana, shares a one-bedroom shack with six people. His family came to the area in 1990 but their circumstances have only worsened.

“Nothing has changed. I am not happy with the situation that we are living in. As a people, we are supposed to benefit from this democratic state. We were promised a better life for all. But where? It’s only a few that benefit. What about the majority of us? No employment. So, proper shelter, no proper healthcare. What do we have to do? We have to keep on voting for what? For the rich to become rich (and) for us to become poorer? So, I won’t vote,” says Ndukumbana.

How SA can achieve free and fair electoral process: Thembelani Mazibuko

Trial of two men accused of R25 million fraud in Limpopo postponed
13 September 2021, 3:37 PM

The Specialised Commercial Crimes Court in Giyani has again postponed the trial of Fhatuwani Mudzanani and Walter Mashau.  The two allegedly stole R25 million from Limpopo government departments.

The trial has been postponed for a second time for Mudzanani to get a new legal representative.

Mashau allegedly connived with bank employee, Mudzanani, to transfer money from the bank accounts of two departments into accounts they had created.

The trial has been postponed to the 14th of October for Fhatuwani Mudzanani to get a lawyer from the Legal Aid Board.

Prosecutor Dalton Tshinyani made an application that the trial be postponed because Mudzanani cannot be represented by the same Legal Aid Board lawyer who is currently representing his co-accused, Walter Mashau.

Tshinyani said Mudzanani must be allocated his own lawyer from the board. He further said the two have different testimonies, and this would make it difficult for the same lawyer to represent them. They face six charges of theft and six of fraud.

Bank employee accused of stealing money from Limpopo government granted bail:

Mudzanani’s previous lawyer withdrew from the case, citing lack of communication with his client.

Mudzanani also withdrew his intention to plead guilty during his previous appearance. He had previously intended to plead guilty so he could get a lenient sentence.

Mudzanani and Mashau are out on bail of R2 000 and R10 000, respectively.

Meanwhile, a traffic officer, Takalani Sigebe and a driving school instructor, Ntsieni Savhuli are being tried for alleged corruption at the same Specialised Commercial Crimes Court in Giyani.

The two were arrested two years ago for allegedly accepting bribes from people who were scheduled for driver’s license tests.

The bribes were allegedly paid to enable people to get driver’s licences without passing the test.

SAHPRA encourages those experiencing adverse effects of COVID-19 vaccination to report on Med Safety app
13 September 2021, 2:28 PM

The South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA) says the reporting of adverse effects after COVID-19 vaccination has been at its lowest in South Africa compared to other countries around the world.

The regulator together with the Department of Health hosted a webinar on self-reporting of suspected adverse reactions after vaccination.

With an increasing number of vaccinations, there has been growing concern about its side effects.

Webinar on self-reporting suspected adverse reactions to medicines and vaccines:

Mafora Matlala, SAHPRA Pharma-Covigilance Manager, says she is encouraging any person who experiences adverse effects after receiving the jab to report it on the Med Safety app.

“We have the Med Safety app, e-reporting and paper-based system. This mobile app was developed by the medicines and health products regulatory authority that is based in the UK together with WHO in the reporting of adverse drug reactions and adverse effects following immunisation. According to international statistics, it is reported that less that 2% of adverse drug reactions or events are being reported. So in South Africa, reporting has been at it’s lowest,” says Matlala.

SAHPRA finds no evidence linking the Covid-19 vaccine to 32 deaths investigated

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