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Government’s decision to ban sale of alcohol at weekends remains unclear: SALBA
13 September 2021, 9:47 AM

The South African Liquor Brand owners Association (SALBA) says the rationale behind government’s decision to ban the sale of alcohol at weekends remains unclear.

President Cyril Ramaphosa on Sunday night announced that the country would move from Alert Level three lockdown to Level two with effect from Monday.

President Ramaphosa addresses the nation on SA’s COVID-19 response:

Following the change, the sale of alcohol from retail outlets for off-site consumption will be permitted between 10am and 6pm from Monday to Friday.

Alcohol sales for on-site consumption will be permitted as per licence conditions up to 10pm. However, alcohol consumption remains prohibited in public spaces.

Meanwhile, the Restaurant Association of South Africa (Rasa) says it is concerned that despite the changes that President Ramaphosa has announced in his address to the nation, the sector will continue to lose jobs.

Non-essential establishments like restaurants, bars and fitness centres will need to close by 10pm.

The association’s CEO Wendy Alberts has bemoaned government’s lack of consultation when making changes.

Former security branch officer to testify in struggle activist Haffejee’s murder case
13 September 2021, 9:00 AM

A former security branch police officer Mohan Gopal is expected to testify on Monday in the inquest into the death of struggle activist Doctor Hoosen Haffejee in the High Court in Pietermaritzburg.

Haffejee, who was a member of the African National Congress (ANC) military wing Umkhonto we Sizwe, died in police detention in Durban in 1977.

The initial inquest ruled that he had hanged himself in a cell. However, the reopened inquest has heard evidence from two medical experts that Haffejee died from strangulation.

Dr Hoosen Haffejee inquest reopens in the Pietermaritzburg High Court:

He also had numerous injuries all over his body. Mohan Gopal is the only surviving security police officer who was present from the time of Haffejee’s arrest until he was booked into a cell that night.

Early this month, Haffejee’s former girlfriend Madhi Benjamin was grilled in the Pietermaritzburg High Court, about the role she played in the events leading to his arrest and death in police custody in 1977.

The Pietermaritzburg High Court reopened the inquest into Haffejee’s death after an inquest in 1978 ruled that he hanged himself in a police cell.

Benjamin admitted that she was an informer for the security police even before she met Haffejee.

The Pietermaritzburg High Court has heard that Benjamin was a nurse at Durban’s King George the Fifth Hospital when Dr. Haffejee started working there as a dentist in 1977.

When he started working at the hospital, Benjamin told the court that Haffejee organised meetings in his flat to recruit young people for the struggle.

Benjamin testified that she did not love Haffejee and that she started a relationship with him to get more information about his political activities.

Accused in Babita Deokaran’s murder to appear in court
13 September 2021, 8:22 AM

Six men will appear in the Johannesburg Magistrate’s Court on Monday morning to face charges of murder after whistleblower Babita Deokaran was gunned down outside her home in Winchester Hills south of Johannesburg.

Deokaran was a financial officer in the Gauteng Health Department.

She was a key witness in the Special Investigating Unit’s probe into the R300-million Personal Protective Equipment tender fraud in the department.

Babita Deokaran | In August seven murder suspects appeared in court:


The group was arrested last month, days after Deokaran was gunned down. A seventh person was arrested and released for lack of evidence.

The six suspects are facing charges of murder, attempted murder, conspiracy to commit murder as well as possession of unlicensed firearms.  A formal bail application is expected to be heard today.

UN seeks $600 million to avert Afghanistan humanitarian crisis
13 September 2021, 6:50 AM

 The United Nations (UN) is convening an aid conference in Geneva on Monday in an effort to raise more than $600 million for Afghanistan, warning of a humanitarian crisis there following the Taliban takeover.

Even before the Taliban’s seizure of Kabul last month, half the population or 18 million people were dependent on aid. That figure looks set to increase due to drought and shortages of cash and food, UN officials and aid groups warned.

An abrupt end to billions of dollars in foreign donations following the collapse of Afghanistan’s Western-backed government and the ensuing victory of the Taliban has heaped more pressure on UN programmes.

Yet UN Secretary-General António Guterres says his organisation is struggling financially: “At the present moment the UN is not even able to pay its salaries to its own workers,” he told reporters on Friday.

The Geneva conference, due to begin on Monday afternoon, will be attended by top UN officials including Guterres, the head of the International Committee of the Red Cross Peter Maurer, as well as dozens of government representatives including German foreign minister Heiko Maas.

About a third of the $606 million being sought would be used by the UN World Food Programme which found that 93% of the 1 600 Afghans it surveyed in August and September were not consuming sufficient food, mostly because they could not get access to cash to pay for it.

 

SA COVID-19 positivity rate increases slightly
13 September 2021, 6:34 AM

The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) says latest data shows that the test positivity rate has increased slightly to 11% in the latest 24 hour reporting period.

This is more than twice the rate at which the spread of the virus is considered to be under control.

Latest SA stats:

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The NICD says 3 961 more people have tested positive for the coronavirus while 126 have succumbed to COVID-19 related complications.

Meanwhile, KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala says he’s concerned about the low rate of COVID 19 vaccinations among young people in the province.

Currently, just over 30 000 people are being vaccinated daily in KwaZulu-Natal.

KZN provincial government has taken the vaccine rollout to churches and hostels:

Speaking during a vaccination campaign at Wema hostel near Lamontville, Zikalala urged people to vaccinate in large numbers for the country’s economy to stand a chance at recovery.

“The province has to date administered 2.3 million doses. 56% of people who have been vaccinated are those who are above 60. 26% are those at the age of 50-59. 4% are 35-45. 5% are 18-34.”

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