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Unity will determine success of congress: Mantashe
4 December 2017, 3:15 PM

African National Congress (ANC) Secretary General Gwede Mantashe says the success of the ruling party’s national congress will rest on the push for unity in the organisation.

He was briefing the media on the outcomes of the last National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting in Johannesburg on Monday afternoon.

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Sassa slams false information on grants
4 December 2017, 2:38 PM

The South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) assured its beneficiaries on Monday that despite false information doing the rounds in public, the payment of social grants would continue as per normal and that their offices will be open for business during December.

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Govt to introduce new HIV/Aids and TB treatment combination
1 December 2017, 9:51 PM

Government intends to introduce a new HIV/Aids and TB treatment combination  in 2018 that will assist in decreasing the spread of the pandemic.

This has been announced by Sanac chairperson and deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa at the World Aids Day commemoration held at the Walter Sisulu University Stadium in Mthatha in the Eastern Cape.

He says the country plans to test and treat at least more than 6 million people living with HIV/AIDS by the year 2020.

Currently, South Africa has 7 million people who are living with the disease, and 4.2 million of those are already on ARV treatment.

Ramaphosa says the efforts of government and other social partners in the fight against HIV/AIDS have yielded good results as the country has implemented the biggest HIV treatment programme in the world.

He says their main objective is to increase the number of people who are getting ARV’s to more than 6.2 million people.

“We want to give up to 7 million of the people who are infected the medication they need. But there’s still some way to go because we still have a lot of work to do. We will be introducing a new treatment combination from April 2018.”

Ramaphosa says new infections are coming down but the rate of coming down is very slow. He has urged society to work harder to prevent new infections by practicing safe sex.

“We had an estimated 270 000 new infections in 2016 and the target is to reduce these to no more than 88 000 by 2020.”

The government is encouraged by many people who are coming forward to get tested for HIV/AIDS.

Health minister Aaron Motsoaledi has encouraged people to get tested for the virus.

“We are in a program called test and treat in South Africa whereby everybody who test immediately they are HIV positive we must not wait we must give them ARV’s.”

Scores of maidens who are part of the virginity testing programme known as Inkciyo came in their numbers to encourage other young girls to abstain to avoid contracting the disease.

A 13 year old girl from Qandu village in Port St Johns Zininzi Ndamase says abstaining is the only option.

“I have been with Inkciyo for three years; it helps me because when we don’t sleep with boys we don’t get HIV/AIDS.”

Motsoaledi says in 2018 his department seeks to  launch a programme that will trace the more than two million people living with HIV who are not yet on the ARV programme.

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Esidimeni witness testifies on the botched transfer
1 December 2017, 9:44 PM

A witness has told the Life Esidimeni arbitration into the botched transfer of mentally ill patients in Gauteng that families of patients were told that their loved ones were being moved to institutions which were comparable to five-star hotels.

At least 143 patients died, largely due to starvation and severe neglect at ill-equipped and often unlicenced NGOs, while a further 59 are still unaccounted for.

Nompilo Nkosi, whose brother survived after the botched relocation of more than 2,000 patients to the NGOs, testified on Friday about how families tried to warn the provincial department of health about the move.

Her brother Sizwe has autism and has been institutionalised since he was 11. He is now 31.

“On May 2016, we were told Sizwe would be moved to Cullinan Care and Rehabilitation Centre (CCRC). We were told that it was like a five-star hotel.”

Nkosi explained that she went to CCRC after ten days and found her brother in an appalling condition.

“He was frail and had an unpleasant smell. He looked as though he hadn’t taken a bath since he arrived there.”

After that, Nkosi sent the national Minister of Health Dr Aaron Motsoaledi an email informing him about the living conditions at CCRC.

“I then received a letter of response from CCRC acknowledging my concerns and said they would try to fix the issues I was complaining about,” she said.

Retired Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke, who is chairing the hearings, asked Nkosi if things got better after that.

“Things never got better. After I received the letter of acknowledgement from CCRC, Sizwe got worse, he deteriorated,” she replied.

Nkosi said she and other families engaged the provincial department of health about their concerns and Dr Makgabo Manamela, the now suspended general of mental health services in Gauteng, knew about their grievances.

“We were told that if we don’t like where our loved ones were being moved to, we are welcome to take them home and look after them,” she said.

She said former Gauteng MEC of Health Cedani Mahlangu had during one of the meetings reassured families that the transfers would go smoothly.

When dealing with the faltering transfer of patients, Nkosi said Mahlangu displayed no remorse to relatives.

Nkosi said she was confronted between choosing between her brother’s life and her own. As a result, she stopped working so that she could attend all meetings with family committees and the department of health.

She went into detail of how they marched three times to the department of health to hand over memoranda. She said Mahlangu already knew by then that people were dying in the NGO facilities.

Moseneke asked Nkosi what they wanted to see happening after the arbitration.

“We are looking for justice, we would like to see those who are responsible for this to be held accountable properly, go to jail,” she replied.

When asked if she does not accept Manamela’s explanation that this was human error, she replied: “No, I don’t, this was pure negligence.”

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Glebelands satellite station means thugs have no place to hide: Mbalula
1 December 2017, 9:12 PM

A long-awaited satellite police station was opened at uMlazi’s crime-ridden Glebelands Hostel on Friday afternoon and Police Minister Fikile Mbalula said thugs at the sprawling complex would now have no place to hide.

Housing an estimated 22,000 residents, Glebelands has been linked to political murders and experiences high rates of violent crime, with community activists telling the Moerane Commission investigating political killings in the province that the squalid complex is a haven for hitmen that operate throughout KwaZulu-Natal.

“We are ready for them, wherever they are and whatever they do, they must know that there is no community in South Africa that will be terrorised by criminals,” said Mbalula.

Arriving over an hour late, Mbalula was greeted by a praise singer before he started speaking. In what has now become his norm, the minister interspersed his speech with expletives and bravado.

“This police station, working with our people, we must squeeze the space for criminals. We must make it unbearable, we must not make it easy for them,” he said.

Some Glebelands residents were seated in the official, shaded area along with a phalanx of police, but many peered curiously from the hill above the station.

The police needed to respect communities, Mbalula bellowed, and when Glebelands residents reported crimes, they should be treated as “genuine complainants and victims”, he said, adding that it was up to a court of law to decide the rest.

“You walk into this station as a victim but walk out as a survivor,” he said.

“Women especially must feel comfortable to speak about their ordeals, abuse, rape and all acts of discrimination,” he said.
It was his intention, said Mbalula, to work with the national commissioner on an already announced turnaround strategy that would see police respond to situations “accordingly” and ensure that tactical response was “up to scratch”.

“We will also be using technology to ensure that in places like Glebelands our policing is actually upgraded,” he said.

Fighting crime was the responsibility of the police and communities, he said.

“But we need you to work with the police. This station reinforces existing stations, but it brings policing resources closer to the people,” he said.

The station is housed in a municipal building on the Glebelands property and is receiving free electricity and water supply from eThekwini.

There were delays in opening the station because it had to be properly secured for staff and have CCTV cameras installed, according to acting provincial police commissioner, major general Bhekinkosi Langa.

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