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UPDATE: SA reaches milestone of over a million COVID-19 tests
11 June 2020, 10:00 PM

Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize says the number of COVID-19 cases in South Africa has increased by 3 147 to 58 568. That’s an increase of almost 6%. A total of 33 252 recoveries have been reported. The number of fatalities is expected to be released later on Thursday.

The death toll from the virus now stands at 1284, with 74 new deaths confirmed in the last 24 hours.

The Western Cape still has the most cases with 37 422 positive tests reported.

The Health Department says they have reached a milestone of over 0ne million tests.

“Today we have reached the landmark of one million tests that have been done in the whole country both in private and public facilities. There have been increases in the numbers of people who are positive and in the whole country. And you’ll notice that in some provinces there are increases like the Western Cape has well over 1 000 and now we have others increasing by larger numbers so the total number that is reported today is 58 568,” says the Health Minister.

The department paid tribute to all the technicians and pathologists in the NHLS and private laboratories and all the staff who work in the riskiest environment, 24 hours a day, to churn out the results.

South Africa was one of the first countries to do community screening and testing.

“I would also like to thank the drivers from NHLS, who have been responsible for getting all 67 mobile units to all the districts and who continue to move vehicles between provinces to areas of greatest need,” says  Mkhize.

“I would also like to thank the labs for the hard work that is being done now to clear the backlog and improve turnaround times for processing of specimens.”

1 028 399 tests have been done cumulatively of which 29 999 were conducted since the last report.

In the video below, Minister Mkhize monitors Eastern Cape’s response to COVID-19:

As of today, the cumulative number of confirmed #COVID19 cases is 58 568, the total number of recoveries to date are 33 252 and we have reached a milestone in testing,1 028 399 tests have been conducted cumulatively. pic.twitter.com/u5M65lyHea

Minister Mkhize has also called for the protection of the elderly and people with comorbidities.

Mossel Bay family seeks justice after daughter hacked to death
11 June 2020, 9:22 PM

Gender-based violence has once again reared its ugly head amid the national lockdown. A Mossel Bay family says it has been shattered following the death of its youngest daughter. The family says it wants justice for the young mother’s death.

The 25-year-old mother of three Naledi Phangindawo was hacked to death by her former lover last weekend.

In this video, Mossel Bay residents protests as the murder suspect appears in court:

The accused returned to court for a second day on Thursday and the case was postponed to next week.

A former model and beauty queen, Phangindawo, was once crowned Miss KwaNonqaba. Her family say she had a bubbly personality and she lived life to the fullest.

They also say she loved her three children and had big dreams for them.

The victim’s mother Nomelikhaya Phangindawo says: “She used to say ‘mom I am going to fly you overseas with dad’, we would laugh about that. She had big dreams. She would say ‘mom you see this house you live in I don’t like it, I am going to buy land and build you a palace.’ those were her dreams for us.”

After years of abuse, Phangindawo finally had the courage to end her relationship.

An Imbizo called by men in Mossel Bay is under way at KwaNonqaba following the brutal killing of Naledi Phangindawo over the weekend. The 25-year-old was hacked to death allegedly by her boyfriend. The key message is “men should be leaders, not bosses at home”#sabcnews pic.twitter.com/xS7P4VqnSq

— Sphiwe Hobasi (@MrCow_man) June 9, 2020

She found a new job and regained her independence.

“She told me that she wanted to break up with the guy and finally she really did and she also got a job in Knysna. So that was a good opportunity for her to leave Mossel Bay and be far away from that guy. She got a protection order for him so that she can distance herself from him,” says her friend, Nobuzwe Masala.

Naledi’s ex lured her to his home under false pretenses.

He allegedly attacked her with a knife and an axe before fleeing to Cape Town.

“We are devastated because when Naledi got a job she would make sure she provides for her family,” says Phangindawo’s mother.

The 34-year-old accused, Mlondolozi Ntangulela, is expected to apply for bail next week. But the community is adamant that they will protest against the scourge. They’ve already started dialogues around ending the scourge of gender-based violence.

Phangindawo will be buried next Tuesday. This as the country reels from the death of another young woman in Gauteng. Tshegofatso Pule was laid to rest on Thursday after being found stabbed and hanging from a tree in a veld in Roodepoort, west of Johannesburg, on Monday. She was eight months pregnant at the time of the tragedy.

Randburg taxi boss gunned down
11 June 2020, 7:43 PM

A man has been killed in an apparent hit in Randburg in the north of Johannesburg.

The man, believed to be the Chairperson of a taxi association in the area, was gunned down by unknown suspects.

Apparently happened earlier and suspected taxi violence related involving Randburg taxis pic.twitter.com/osWMFrqEmK

— Sure Kamhunga (@SKamhunga) June 11, 2020

Police have opened a case of murder. Gauteng police spokesperson, Kay Makhubele has appealed to those with information to contact the South African Police Service.

“Police were called in Randburg where the bakkie, a Toyota Hilux was at the robots, when the Audi A3 approached the bakkie and started shooting at the bakkie. The owner of the bakkie tried to drive off and he lost control.”

“He was shot several times. He was certified dead at the scene. It was established that he was the Chairperson of one of the taxi associations in Randburg. We’re calling for anyone with information to call the nearest police station. Use 08600 10111.”

The police are investigating the assassination of the 63-year-old man.

South African Police say the motive behind the murder cannot be confirmed as yet.

No arrests have been made.

Voting
Political parties widely welcome ruling nullifying parts of the Electoral Act
11 June 2020, 5:25 PM

The Constitutional Court judgment, which declared that independent candidates can contest the national elections, has been widely welcomed. Independent candidates were only allowed to contest local government elections previously.

The Apex Court ruling, declaring parts of the Electoral Act unconstitutional, was made earlier on Thursday.

The case was brought by civil society organisation the New Nation Movement and others. Parliament has 24 months to rectify the relevant Act.

In this video below, court declares parts of the Electoral Act unconstitutional:

The governing African National Congress (ANC) says it will study the ruling before commenting on it.

“The ANC will need to study the judgment and understand all of the issues that are stated so that when it files commentary out in the public it has fully appreciated all of the issues. There are interesting times ahead and it is important to study the judgment and understand the facts and be fully informed,” says ANC spokesperson, Pule Mabe.

The Democratic Alliance’s Interim leader, John Steenhuisen, says the ruling should trigger a debate on electoral reforms.

One South Africa Movement leader Mmusi Maimane has described the court’s decision as historic, saying it is a victory for democracy and the nation.

“It is a historic moment indeed because it gives effect to what democracy is. It defeats state capture that is born out of party capture, because people capture a party, the state and corruption is the natural outcome from that. It is an opportunity for South Africans to be able to say we will bring change to our nation. It is democracy by the people, for the people – not democracy for the parties. It is a victory for the constitution, future generations and our nation,” says Maimane.

The Economic Freedom Fighters says the ruling means the country will have true reflective participation in elections.

“As the EFF we welcome it. We think that this is essentially a part of what democracy should look like. We do not think that it is a threat in any way because what is wrong with independent candidates contesting? It is part of democracy. We think it means that we will have a true reflective participation in both voting and contestation,” says the party’s National Spokesperson, Vuyani Pambo.

The Congress of the People (COPE) has also welcomed the new chapter in South Africa’s democracy. Party leader Mosioua Lekota says it gives South Africans full power to correct the wrongs that have been committed since the dawn of democracy.

The Freedom Front Plus is calling for the amendment to the electoral system to be approached with caution.

“In the accommodation of independent candidates, the governing party can misuse its majority to amend the electoral system in such a way that they will get more seats in Parliament with less voters. We must also remember that it is not the electoral system that ensures accountability from representatives towards the electorate. That must be ensured by the political parties. It will also not be easy for independent candidates to be elected; they will need a lot of money and infrastructure to obtain enough votes to get a seat in Parliament and that will not be that easy,” says the party’s Dr Pieter Groenewald.

Various party reactions in the video below:

The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) is also pleased with the ruling. It says it will require extra cash from National Treasury to fund an electoral system that includes independent candidates contesting for national and provincial elections. Chief Electoral Officer, Sy Mamabolo, says they will work with Parliament to implement the new rules.

“As an Electoral Commission, we have a huge role to play because we have the technical expertise relating to elections and electoral systems. So we stand ready to support Parliament in its endeavour to grapple with the implications of this judgment. Our internal systems have always been predicated on delivering an electoral system, which is based on party lists. So a new wave of investment, which will have to be made by National Treasury,” says  Mamabolo.

National and Provincial Elections–Quick facts

  • South Africa’s national and provincial elections take place every five years.
  • Voters vote for a political party, not individuals. The political party then gets a share of seats in Parliament in direct proportion to the number of votes it got in the election.
  • Each party then decides on members to fill the seats it has won. This is called a proportional representation (PR) voting system.

 

Ten Ivory Coast soldiers killed in attack near Burkina border
11 June 2020, 5:23 PM

Ten soldiers were killed and six wounded in an attack on an Ivory Coast military post on the northern border near Burkina Faso on Thursday, the army said.

It was not yet clear who carried out the pre-dawn attack, which was the deadliest in Ivory Coast since gunmen from al Qaeda’s North African branch stormed the beach resort of Grand Bassam in March 2016, killing 19 people.

The head of the armed forces, Lassina Doumbia, said in a statement that 10 soldiers were killed and six wounded. He added that one of the assailants was killed.

Earlier, a senior officer at the army chief of staff’s office said 12 soldiers had been killed and seven wounded and added that two other military gendarmes were reported missing.

The assailants were believed to have come from Burkina Faso, said the officer, speaking to Reuters by phone.

Doumbia said that all troops in the region were on alert and that a search operation was under way to find the assailants.

Ivory Coast and Burkina Faso launched a joint military operation last month to tackle the expanding threat from jihadists linked to al Qaeda and Islamic State in the Sahel region.

A week ago, the US Embassy in Ivory Coast banned its staff from traveling to the country’s northern areas bordering Burkina Faso and Mali because of the risk of attacks.

Groups with links to Islamic State and al Qaeda have sought to widen their influence in West Africa in recent years, regularly carrying out deadly attacks.

The landlocked nations of Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso have been worst hit, in part because their unpoliced desert expanses have allowed fighters to cross borders undetected.

Weather

 

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