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Health Dept hopes to vaccinate 3 million 12 to 17-year-olds by mid-January 2022
19 October 2021, 9:57 PM

Children between the ages of twelve and seventeen can receive the COVID-19 vaccine from Wednesday.

Last week, Minister of Health Joe Phaahla announced that this age group will be eligible to get a Pfizer vaccine.

Parents have shown mixed reactions to the announcement and the fact that children do not need their consent to get the vaccine.

However, it is recommended that the minors be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

The Department of  Health intends to vaccinate more than 3 million children aged 12 to 17 by mid-January 2022.

Vaccination of children between the ages of 12 to 17: Prof. Mignon McCulloch:

The Pfizer vaccine is the only vaccine that was approved by the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority for use in this age group.

These teenagers say they are ready to get the vaccine

“I am 14 years old and I want to vaccinate because I don’t want to die. I know that the COVID-19 can infect me, and I don’t want to die and I cannot wait to vaccinate.”

“I am currently 11 years old. I want to vaccinate when I turn 12 because I don’t want to die from coronavirus, my age group should get a vaccine. We are still young. We don’t want to die.”

The debate around parents’ consent has been fierce. According to the Children’s Act 38 of 2005, children older than 12 can get medical attention and treatment without a guardian’s consent.

Some parents have welcomed the fact that their children will be vaccinated.

“I have been impatient because our children have been going to school without any vaccine, mixing with different people, some who did not want to vaccinate. I don’t have a problem. I have a 14-year-old and I will be taking them to get a vaccine tomorrow after school.”

While others have reservations. This is what some parents and had to say

“I have a 17-year-old child and he doesn’t support the idea of getting a vaccine. I won’t even force him now that his age group is vaccinating. It’s his decision. I hope they won’t even force him if they take the vaccine to schools. I don’t want to hear my child saying he was forced to vaccinate because I will take action.”

COSAS welcomes the vaccination of more school-goers

The Congress of South African Students (COSAS) has welcomed the initiative, on the condition that consent will be sought from parents.

The Department of Health says it will work with the Department of Education to ease the process.

Spokesperson for the Department of Health in the North West Tebogo Lekgethwane explains, “The national has indicated that it needs to be adjusted to accommodate consent for the 12 to 17-year-olds.  So the issue of consent is not a big issue, it’s not a problem. We also know that we have a responsibility to work with the Department of Education, who are going to link us with the schools. We have been working with the Department of Education, with the teacher program. So, the learners as well, it won’t be a problem.”

The Department of Health says matriculants will be prioritised as they are heading towards their final exam.

SABC joins the nation in commemorating Black Wednesday
19 October 2021, 9:16 PM

The South African Broadcasting Corporation  (SABC) joined the nation in commemorating Black Wednesday when The World and Weekend World newspapers along with numerous black political organisations were banned in 1977.

The SABC’s Group Executive for Corporate Affairs and Marketing, Gugu Ntuli, says Black Wednesday serves as a constant reminder of the vital role that media plays in society and in a democracy.

Black Wednesday. Yes I am in Black. Not Yet Uhuru. #BlackWednesday ✊✊✊✊✊✊✊✊✊✊✊✊✊✊✊✊✊✊✊✊✊

— Sophie Mokoena (@Sophie_Mokoena) October 19, 2021

She says the SABC has been in existence for 85 years, operating under different regimes and has reinvented itself to serve South African citizens with the kind of journalism that is transformational and impactful.

“As the SABC we have made great strides in achieving media freedom following the repressive measures displayed during the tumultuous time of apartheid. We have successfully reclaimed out rightful place as the primary news provider in our country, following our repositioning with the tag line “Independent and Impartial” in 2018.

We have also been an advocate for freedom of expression and media freedom which are fundamental corner stones of our democracy. It is therefore befitting today to acknowledge all SABC journalists, past and present who have worked tirelessly to advance democracy and promote media freedom.”

[Read] The Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) is joining South Africa’s media industry in commemorating the 44th anniversary of Black Wednesday, a day set aside to reflect on and discuss media freedom

— @SAgovnews (@SAgovnews) October 19, 2021

Jhb needs to reconfigure strategy to deal with overpopulation crisis: COPE
19 October 2021, 8:00 PM

The Congress of the People (COPE) Mayoral candidate, Colleen Makhubele says the City of Johannesburg needs to reconfigure its strategy on dealing with the overpopulation crisis.

The party promises to prioritise issues around spatial planning and economic inclusion for the poor. Makhubele was campaigning in Ivory Park, near Midrand, on Tuesday.

Located north of Johannesburg, Ivory Park is home to more than 100 000 people and basic services are lacking in the densely populated area.

Earlier this year, the late Johannesburg Mayor Geoff Makhubo visited the township as part of the 120-day programme to improve service delivery.

Now as election day edges closer, COPE President Mosiuoa Lekota and some party members visited the area and embarked on a door-to-door campaign ahead of the Local Government Elections.

Improving urban planning will be a priority for COPE’s Mayoral Candidate in the City of Johannesburg.

Makhubele says, “The space may not be as vast as we would need but it needs to be organised properly. There have to be experts that assist us with proper planning, once you can get the planning for housing done, you are able to get the basic services for each and every person.”

Crime in Ivory Park

Earlier this year, Police Minister Bheki Cele said 40 murders had been recorded in Ivory Park in the first quarter of 2021.

An increase from the 21 murders recorded in the area in the same period last year. Leading to it being dubbed the new murder capital of Gauteng.

The area was 9th on the list of the top ten areas in the country where crime was prevalent.

“A reality that residents are all too familiar with. There’s plenty of crime, we’re suffering with streetlights. It’s very dark when you go by the taxi rank in the morning, we’re scared. We need some developments because we are too populated right now,” says a resident.

This is a crisis that Makhubele says COPE hopes to resolve, “We have a society that is violent in its nature in South Africa and hence you find this criminality and all this frustration and GBV also stems from there.

We have a holistic plan to deal with crime so that we’re not only looking at robberies. We want to look at what is it in our society that actually is the root cause of all this crime, all the GBV, all the frustrations of young people to resort to this.”

For some, the promise of a better future has become a far-fetched idea.

They argue that political parties only enter their community to campaign for votes. COPE, however, believes it can change the narrative for the residents, ridding the community of crime and gender-based violence, as well as tackling the housing crisis.

Malema challenges mining companies in Northern Cape to rehabilitate rural areas
19 October 2021, 7:00 PM

Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema has challenged mining companies in the Northern Cape to rehabilitate rural areas by providing water, flushing toilets and electricity.

Malema was campaigning ahead of the November first local government elections at Gamorona village near Kuruman.

EFF leader Julius Malema on the campaign trail in Kuruman:

The rural village has no tarred roads, has unreliable water supply, no electricity in some parts and still relies on Ventilated Improved Pit Latrines.

Malema says things need to change.

“This is what we wanted to expose, a lot of our people are going through the same in the rural areas. They are forgotten, they are rejected a lot by the ANC.

Councillors do not pay attention to the rural areas so we came here deliberately to expose the challenges, which is pure neglect of our people. Our people need water, our people need the roads they need electricity and jobs. We are touched by what’s happening here and we are going to help.”

Last week Thursday Malema said his party will outdo itself in this year’s local government elections.

The EFF took South Africa’s political landscape by surprise with its rather gallant performance in the 2016 local government elections. The party garnered enough votes to be kingmakers and form coalitions with other parties. 

The EFF garnered over 16% of the overall votes in Limpopo during the 2016 local government elections.

The party also won 27 percent of the votes under the Polokwane Local Municipality. Malema says the 2016 local government elections were a learning curve for them.

R1.5 billion approved to support businesses affected by July unrest: Patel
19 October 2021, 5:00 PM

Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (DTIC) Minister Ebrahim Patel says R1.5 billion has been approved to support businesses affected by the looting and unrest in July.

He was briefing the media on the support extended to firms in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal.

Patel says the unrest resulted in damage to hundreds of businesses in the provinces.

“As of today, the DTIC has approved R1.5 billion in direct support in 123 separate transactions.

These transactions would be where a company or association or intermediary put forward an application for support.

So when we count the number of physical sites or buildings that were affected, where we have now rendered support, it amounts to 320 business sites.”

Earlier this month, the National Empowerment Fund (NEF) and the Solidarity Fund established a R450 million SMME Support Programme for businesses that suffered losses in the widespread unrest in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal in July.

ONEF and the Solidarity Fund announce R450 million SMME Support Programme:

The damage to businesses has been estimated at over R30 billion. NEF CEO Philisiwe Mthethwa says the relief will consist of a combination of zero-rated loans and grants.

“A total of R450 million has been allocated to the NEF solidarity funds Humanitarian Crisis Relief . We call it a blended because it is going to be a combination of a loan portion and grant portion. So we are going to blend the loan that we will be providing at zero interest rate and the other portion is going to be coming in as a grant. We are obviously exceedingly grateful to our partners the Solidarity Fund Humanitarian Crisis Relief Funds committing a total of R150 million to allow for the grant portion to go to these businesses,” Mthethwa explained.



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