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Cabinet gives go ahead for single state-owned petroleum entity
11 June 2020, 4:45 PM

South Africa’s Cabinet on Thursday approved the merger of three state-owned oil and gas firms to form a single national oil company, as it tries to cut debt by reducing the number and increase the competitiveness of state-owned firms.

South Africa’s state-owned enterprises (SOEs) are a major drain on public finances with almost all of them either heavily loss-making, bankrupt or stuck in a debt spiral.

President Cyril Ramaphosa has in the past stressed the need to fix the country’s SOEs, including power utility Eskom and South African Airways (SAA).

PetroSA, which runs the Mossel Bay gas-to-liquid refinery and explores for petroleum reserves, gas development company iGas and the Strategic Fuel Fund (SFF) which manages fuel reserves, will be merged to form the National Oil Company, the Cabinet note said.

PetroSA, which had once been a money-spinner, is struggling with dwindling domestic gas stock at its Mossel Bay refinery is counting on a new Total oil and gas discovery offshore.

PetroSA reported a net loss of R2.08 billion and debt of R1.917 billion for the financial year 2018/2019.

A restructuring company will be appointed to investigate the most viable model of the new National Petroleum Company, government said in a statement.

Calls for justice reverberates at Tshegofatso Pule’s emotional send-off
11 June 2020, 4:02 PM

Men were being called out to end the abuse and murder of women as Tshegofatso Pule was laid to rest.

Pule was found murdered and hanging from a tree in a veld in Roodepoort, west of Johannesburg, on Monday.

She was buried at the Roodepoort Cemetery on Thursday.

Wreaths and a multi-coloured traditional Ndebele blanket lay on the wooden coffin carrying the lifeless body of Pule.

Pule’s funeral service is in the video below:

 

The 28-year-old, who was eight months pregnant at the time, was found with a stab wound to the chest.

“You plant a seed in a womb; you determine the sex of the child. Why kill her, why kill a woman? God will take over. She was looking forward to seeing that child, but she was denied that by a cruel person,” Pule’s Aunt Pricilla Tyiwa said at the funeral service.

An emotional Tyiwa went down on her knees, begging men for forgiveness.

“I don’t know where I went wrong as a parent. What have I done, to deserve this? Tshego was a pint-size, a defenceless child.  She said spare my life because I’m carrying a baby. Guys, what have we done? To my son, to my brothers, if my presence is not satisfying you, please be gentle. We are asking for forgiveness. Please treat us with courtesy when we are in pain, empathise with us, we ask for peace.”

Pule’s little sister, Mimi, broke down while trying to share some memories of her sister.

“She came to me when I was in hospital; she said I am going to pray for you. She said I will be there for you through thick and thin.”

Pule’s uncle Tumisang Katake, who was part of the defence team that represented Sandile Mantsoe who murdered Karabo Mokoena, has vowed that he would never again take up cases of men accused of committing crimes against women.

“Last week Friday I was burying my cousin. On the 26th of May she was shot with four bullets by her husband. On Monday morning, at 3:30 you get a call, your niece is no more.”

“I have represented different types of criminals who have done horrendous crimes. I now know what the family of Karabo went through.  And from this moment on, you come to me to say you have raped, go to hell. You come to me to say you have killed your girlfriend, go to hell.”

The Economic Freedom Fighter’s Mbuyiseni Ndlozi has labelled the killers of Pule as cowards and called for their immediate arrest.

“This is not an ordinary death, this is a tragic death. What have women done in this country? What have our mothers, what have our sisters done to men? Men have declared war on our women. These people who are killing our sisters are cowards. Only a coward would beat a woman. Only a coward kills a woman, only a coward rapes a woman.”

The #SANDF and @SAPoliceService arrive at #TshegofatsoPule Funeral to enforce #level3lockdown regulations of 50 people at a Funeral. #SABCNews pic.twitter.com/v6Qd9QrV1T

— Thabo Tebogo Madilola (@tbotouch67) June 11, 2020

The Gender-Based Violence Command Centre has reiterated the call for men to join the movement to help end the violent scourge, directed at women and children.

“From how it was done and looks, it seems it was just to dehumanise and degrade women to a point where they cannot make free choices about their own bodies. It is very very sad. If we address men, especially older men, to include the boys in talking to them on the facts of life, I think that, in a way, would assist us greatly,” says Manager at the GBV Command Centre, Nomathemba Malvern.

Pule’s death has caused outrage in South Africa with many calling for justice. A candlelight memorial was held in her honour in Soweto on Wednesday.

Libya Army
‘Numerous’ reports of looting in retaken Libyan towns:UN
8 June 2020, 5:00 AM

The United Nations has received “numerous” reports of looting and destruction in two towns outside Tripoli retaken by the forces of Libya’s internationally recognised government, it said on Sunday.

Forces of the Turkish-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) on Thursday recaptured Tarhouna as part of an advance ending a 14-month offensive on the capital by the eastern-based Libyan National Army (LNA) of Khalifa Haftar.

Since the LNA — backed by Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Russia — retreated, videos have been posted online purportedly showing looting of shops and torching of homes of families associated with the LNA and its local backers.

The UN Libya mission (UNSMIL) said more than 16 000 people had been displaced in Tarhouna and southern Tripoli.

“Reports of the discovery of a number of corpses at the hospital in Tarhouna are deeply disturbing,” UNSMIL said in a statement, urging the GNA to investigate impartially.

“We have also received numerous reports of the looting and destruction of public and private property in Tarhouna and Alasabaa, which in some cases appear to be acts of retribution and revenge that risk further fraying Libya’s social fabric.”

Alasabaa is another town south of Tripoli that was retaken by the GNA after changing hands several times. Tarhouna was a forward base for the LNA’s Tripoli offensive.

A spokesperson for the GNA interior ministry sent Reuters a statement warning its forces that reprisals in recaptured areas would be punished.

The Tripoli-based justice ministry said the GNA forces that entered Tarhouna had discovered more than 100 bodies in a morgue.

South Africa government, private hospitals agree deal on COVID-19 patients
8 June 2020, 4:00 AM

The South African government has agreed how much it will pay private hospitals and medical practitioners to treat severely ill COVID-19 patients if public hospitals run out of space, a senior health official told Reuters.

The government has been in talks for months with private firms and medical associations ahead of a probable scenario where public hospitals run out of critical care beds.

Agreement has been reached on a daily fee of up to 16 000 rand ($950) for COVID-19 patients that get treated in critical care beds in private hospitals, said Anban Pillay, the health ministry’s deputy director-general for national health insurance.

The fee includes the cost of using the bed, paying a team of specialists to treat the patient and additional services including pathology and radiology.

Now that high-level terms have been agreed with the private sector, health departments in the country’s nine provinces will sign “service-level” agreements, Pillay said.

Estimates vary widely as to how many critical care beds there are in the country.

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A ministry presentation in April put the total at around 3 300, with two-thirds of those in the private sector. Healthcare provider Netcare estimates there are some 6000 beds, with around 3 800 in private hospitals.

South Africa had recorded 48 285 cases of the new coronavirus as of Saturday, the most in Africa, with the number rising more steeply in recent weeks.

As of late May, around 1 100 COVID-19 patients were hospitalized, but it is not clear how many were in critical care.

Pillay said he expected the Western Cape provincial health department would use critical care beds in private hospitals soon, followed by the Eastern Cape.

The Western Cape accounts for 66% of the country’s cases and the Eastern Cape 12%.As of today, the cumulative number of confirmed #COVID19 cases is 48 285, the total number of deaths is 998 and the recoveries to date are 24 364 pic.twitter.com/TkRfOMP2jM

— Dr Zweli Mkhize (@DrZweliMkhize) June 7, 2020

AIU says suspended Naser missed four tests as she pleads innocence
8 June 2020, 3:00 AM

World 400 meters champion Salwa Eid Naser was provisionally suspended for registering four “whereabouts failures”, the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) said on Sunday.

The Bahrain athlete, who won gold at the World Championships in Doha last year, pleaded her innocence despite being suspended by the AIU on Friday for failing to make herself available for anti-doping tests.

In an Instagram video, Naser had said she had “only missed three drug tests” and that the missed tests came before the September event in Doha.

“The investigation into Ms Naser’s three whereabouts failures in 2019 was ongoing at the time of the Doha World Championships and she was not provisionally suspended at that time,” the AIU said in a statement.

“Following conclusion of the investigation and a fourth whereabouts failure in January 2020, a Notice of Charge was issued and Ms Naser subject to an immediate provisional suspension.”

According to World Athletics Anti-Doping Rules, any combination of three whereabouts failures — filing failures or missed tests — within a 12-month period by an athlete constitutes an anti-doping violation.

Athletes guilty of whereabouts failures could face two-year bans or a minimum of one year depending on the degree of fault.

The AIU added it would not comment any further as the disciplinary process was still ongoing.

The 22-year-old Naser, who had said she had not been tested this year, hoped she could soon put the issue behind her.

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