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FITA granted permission to appeal tobacco sales ban
9 July 2020, 7:28 PM

The High Court in Pretoria has granted the Fair Trade Independent Tobacco Association (FITA) permission to appeal government’s ban on the sale of cigarettes during lockdown.

The application will be heard on July 15.

In June, the court dismissed with costs, the association’s application to have the ban overturned.

The court had ruled that FITA’s argument that cigarettes should be regarded as essential because tobacco is addictive, had no merit.

Government is yet to respond to the news.

FITA’s bid is one of two to have the ban on the sale of cigarettes lifted.

The British American Tobacco South Africa’s (BATSA) case will be heard on 5 August.

In the video below, Yusuf Abramjee speaks on ban on sale of tobacco products:

Founder of Tax Justice SA, Yusuf Abramjee, has previously called on President Cyril Ramaphosa to intervene in the matter and overturn the ban.

“Every day that the ban continues, the crooks are becoming more firmly entrenched and enriched. During the three months or so of the lockdown, decent South Africans have lost more than R3 billion in excise duties alone that money is desperately needed to fight the crisis crippling our country,” says Abramjee.

City of Johannesburg tables budget for 2020/2021
9 July 2020, 6:45 PM

The City of Johannesburg‘s Finance MMC Jolidee Matongo has welcomed proposals that councillors should not get salary increases this year.

Residents were outraged by a proposal that councillors could see their salaries increase by 6% in 2020, while municipalities are predicting billions of rand in revenue shortfall.

Matongo was presenting his Medium Term Budget Speech, which dropped the proposed R200 tariff increase for pre-paid electricity and put water and electricity increases at 6.6% and 6.2% respectively.

“Madam Speaker we will as a matter of urgency set up a triple unit to expand our own resources within the pressures of economy and the fiscus, we welcome the challenge on the 0% increase for councillors. I am sure each party will have a discussion about this particular matter.”

Matongo says the budget has taken to account the current economic climate.

“We have taken a decision to reduce the property rates tariff from the proposed 4.9% to 4%, we have taken a decision to drop water tariff from proposed 8.6% to 6.6% inline with the rand water increase. “

“Equally we have taken a decision to reduce the proposed electricity tariff from the proposed 8.10 % to 6.23%.”

Mining company
Foreign mineworkers return to South African mines after lockdown
9 July 2020, 5:56 PM

Foreign mineworkers have begun returning to South African mines – though at a slower rate than hope – as the industry rebuilds output after the easing of the coronavirus lockdown, the Minerals Council said on Thursday.

Mines in South Africa, the world’s biggest producer of platinum and chrome and a major gold and diamond producer, have been raising output after the virus restrictions, which caused some migrant mineworkers return to their home countries.

The Minerals Council said 698 foreign mine workers had returned on Tuesday, lower than the 1 150 workers they had planned to bring back.

The return of the migrant workers has been delayed due to technical challenges at border posts and limitations on police staffing, with officers required to escort returning workers from the borders to quarantine facilities.

The 10-day plan to return the foreign workers, who make up about 10% of South Africa’s mining workforce, will now take double the about of time, said Senior Executive for Safety and Health at the Minerals Council, Niks Lesufi.

The industry had so far identified 12 500 foreign mineworkers from neighbouring country’s such as Mozambique, Lesotho and e-Swatini who are needed to return to South Africa.

The industry, which has around 75% of its workforce back following the lockdown, has recorded 28 deaths and 3 519 confirmed COVID-19 cases so far.

South Africa has recorded 224 664 cases of COVID-19 and 3 602 deaths, according to the latest health ministry update on Wednesday.

 

Woods ready to return, commits to Memorial
9 July 2020, 5:06 PM

Tiger Woods announced on Thursday that he will compete at next week’s Memorial Tournament in Dublin, Ohio, the 15-times major champion’s first PGA Tour event in five months.

“I am looking forward to playing in the @MemorialGolf next week,” Woods said on his Twitter account. “I’ve missed going out and competing with the guys and can’t wait to get back out there.”

Woods last competed on the PGA Tour in mid-February when he laboured through a final-round 77 at the Genesis Invitational where he finished last among players who made the cut.

The 44-year-old reigning Masters champion then skipped a number of events with back issues prior to the PGA Tour’s three-month COVID-19 hiatus that began in mid-March and opted to sit out the circuit’s first five events since the break.

Woods, who is one win shy of a record-breaking 83 PGA Tour victories, did play a May 24 charity match with Phil Mickelson and Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks Tom Brady and Peyton Manning.

The Memorial Tournament at Muirfield Village is one of the most high-profile, non-major events on the PGA Tour and Woods has triumphed there a record five times, most recently in 2012.

Woods will be part of a loaded field that also includes world number one Rory McIlroy, five-times major champion Phil Mickelson, 2018 Memorial champion Bryson DeChambeau and major winners Dustin Johnson and Sergio Garcia.

The July 16-19 tournament was originally supposed to have a limited number of spectators but earlier this week the PGA Tour scrapped plans to let fans attend due to COVID-19.

SABC should explore all avenues before deciding on retrenchments: Minister
9 July 2020, 3:57 PM

Minister of Communications and Digital Technology Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams says the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) should ensure that it has explored all avenues before reaching a decision on Section 189.

Ndabeni-Abrahams was addressing the media during the official launch of the JL Dube Free Broadband, which is an internet connection in Mpumuza area outside Pietermaritzburg, in the KwaZulu-Natal midlands.

“For SABC to say they are looking at whatever staff components in order to reduce their costs they have to convince us that they followed all those steps that were highlighted, the kind of SABC that we want to see in the future and therefore for the skills that must respond to that to SABC.”

“I want to see and therefore introduce a programme that must up skills of those already internal including saying as we will be rolling out digital migration and introducing more channels how many people are we going to need in the channel that we are going to introduce.”

In the video below, unions are concerned about planned SABC retrenchments:

The African National Congress and the Economic Freedom Fighters have also rejected the SABC’s decision to cut jobs.

Last week, ANC Secretary General Ace Magashule urged the public broadcaster and other state enterprises to reconsider laying off workers.

“We don’t want people to lose their jobs that is our bottom line and I think we are encouraging all our state entities, we are encouraging including the public sector, we are encouraging SABC. Imagine the SABC retrenching 600 people during this COVID, what is going to happen to the lives of these people, what is going to happen to their houses, what is going to happen to their cars, what is going to happen to their children, these are people who are breadwinners, you might be a journalist but you are part of society and that is the position we are actually pushing,” says Magashule.

The EFF also condemned the decision, saying it will only lead to the demise of the public broadcaster.

EFF Spokesperson Delisile Ngwenya said the SABC should look at other ways of revenue generation, such as selling television content to the overseas market, to become financially viable and retain jobs.

The SABC issued employees with a Section 189 notice with the possibility of cutting 600 permanent jobs and 1 200 freelance posts.

The organisation cited a dire financial situation as the main reason.

In 2019, the public broadcaster was granted a R3.2 billion bailout by government.

 

 

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