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Lancet workers accuse employer of flouting COVID-19 regulations
25 June 2020, 7:55 PM

With the rising number of infections in Gauteng, some workers have accused their employers of flouting COVID-19 health regulations.

It is alleged they’re forcing staff to come to work even after there have been positive cases of COVID-19 in their work area.

Lancet Laboratories is one of the companies that is being accused of violating COVID-19 protocols.

“We are really frustrated and angry because we don’t know what we will end up with, at the end of the day we still have to go to work to provide for our families,” says an anonymous Lancet laboratory worker.

“The problem is that we are an essential service, but we don’t get proper PPEs. We are not screened at work and we are told that we must check our own temperature – how am I going to do that because when I leave home I don’t even have a thermometer with me,” says the worker.

In the video below, report on Lancet’s alleged flouting of COVID-19 protocols:

Two weeks ago one of the staff members allegedly tested positive for COVID-19.

The rest of the staffers claim that the offices were not sanitised and they were not tested yet they were forced to continue to work.

They further alleged that the company has forbidden them from talking about this issue and were instructed to come to work as if it was business as usual.

They say they were not provided with counselling to assist them during this highly stressful time.

The staffer is also angry that they are being forced to pay for the COVID-19 tests from their own pockets.

“Day in and out I am working with COVID-19 samples,  the company says if I suspect I have corona then I must get tested but I must pay for the test myself. This is really unfair because we are also under a lot of stress and depression because we are vulnerable and we don’t know where to run,” says the Lancet worker.

They also claim that an email was sent out by management, at the beginning of the month, telling staff to rather monitor their own temperature daily before coming to work.

They say employees have been threatened with disciplinary action if they fail to disclose any COVID-19 related symptoms to their managers.

With job security threatened, many are afraid to disclose their symptoms and are forced to stay at home not knowing whether they will be paid or not at the end of the month.

SABC reporter Nozintombi Miya tried to get comment from Lancet regarding allegations made by staff members.

The company replied with the message below:

Since the start of level 3 of lockdown, the number of infections in the province has steadily climbed.

Gauteng has recorded more than 26 000 cases, over 6 600 recoveries and 147 deaths.

Currently,  1 927 patients are admitted with COVID-19 in both public and private facilities in the province.

Health MEC Dr Bandile Masuku revealed this during a media briefing of the province’s Command Council on Thursday.

The Health MEC has also come out strongly against companies flouting COVID-19 protocols.

The MEC says, “This is essentially a criminal case, it’s criminality because it’s managed by the act in the Labour Act that companies must have occupational health in companies and we are following up as the command centre that we will establish a hotline that gives members of the public a chance to report such companies. We are also working with the Department of Labour to help us enforce some of the measures because the outbreaks come from companies.”

The Netflix logo is seen on their office in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California.
With Eurovision cancelled, Netflix offers fans a Will Ferrell comedy
25 June 2020, 7:21 PM

With the coronavirus pandemic forcing cancellation of this year’s Eurovision Song Contest, actors Will Ferrell and Rachel McAdams hope fans can get their fix by watching their madcap Netflix comedy about a duo from Iceland who compete in the event.

“Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga” is a “zany, unexpected, musical extravaganza,” McAdams told Reuters.

She and Ferrell play Sigrit Ericksdottir and Lars Erickssong, blond Scandinavian soulmates who bumble their way into being Iceland’s contest entrants, and find unlikely ways to keep advancing.

The Eurovision Song Contest is one of the world’s biggest annual television events, featuring colorful and often tongue-in-cheek and over-the-top performances.

It was due to take place in Rotterdam in May after the Netherlands won the 2019 contest, but was canceled as the pandemic spread.

Pierce Brosnan said he only needed a quick look at the script to sign on for the role of Ferrell’s father and harshest critic, Erick Erickssong.

“I read it one morning and said yes to it by lunchtime,” Brosnan said, adding he “grew up with Eurovision living in London” and watched ABBA win in 1974.

Ferrell said Eurovision officials “totally got” his idea of a movie lampooning the contest.

“I said, ‘You know, we’re going to have some fun with it.’ And they’re like: ‘Oh, you should.”

Ferrell said real past Eurovision performances were a key inspiration and gave them the idea, for instance, for a scene in which Ferrell sings while running on a giant hamster wheel.

UK beach town raises alarm as huge crowds ignore COVID-19 advice and flock to the coast
25 June 2020, 6:47 PM

Authorities in Bournemouth, a popular beach town in southern England, declared a “major incident” on Thursday over what they called the irresponsible behaviour of crowds who had ignored public health guidance on coronavirus and badly overstretched local services.

The declaration came after visitors arrived in very large numbers in a spell of hot weather, resulting in gridlock on the roads, illegal overnight camping, excessive waste, anti-social behaviour and alcohol-fuelled fights.

“We are absolutely appalled at the scenes witnessed on our beaches, particularly at Bournemouth and Sandbanks, in the last 24-48 hours,” said Council Leader Vikki Slade in a statement.

“The irresponsible behaviour and actions of so many people is just shocking and our services are stretched to the absolute hilt trying to keep everyone safe.”

Social distancing measures have been in place in Britain since March to slow the spread of the new coronavirus, although the rules are due to be significantly relaxed from July 4.

With pubs still closed, many people have been heading to parks and beaches to meet friends and drink alcohol, in some cases ignoring advice to keep two metres apart.

In Bournemouth, roads were obstructed by illegal parking, crews were abused as they attempted to empty overflowing bins and 33 tonnes of waste had to be removed from the stretch of coastline in and around the town on Thursday morning.

The emergency response will involve extra police patrols, security to protect rubbish collectors, additional parking enforcement, evictions of unauthorised campers and signage on approach roads warning people not to come.

“We strongly advise members of the public to think twice before heading to the area,” said Sam de Reya of the local police force. “Clearly we are still in a public health crisis and such a significant volume of people heading to one area places a further strain on emergency service resources.”

Global coronavirus update: 

 

Bridgette Motsepe hires international law firm to defend her in Botswana case
25 June 2020, 5:34 PM

South African businesswoman Bridgette Motsepe has hired an international law firm to defend her against allegations of money laundering and fraud.

Botswana’s government accuses her of the illicit flow of money as well as laundering relating to the 2019 national election.

In the video below, Motsepe denies money laundering accusations:

The Pan African Parliament Ambassador denies the allegations. She claims the Botswana government hasn’t reached out to her as yet.

A fall out between President Mokgweetsi Masisi and the former President Ian Khama has somehow led to Motsepe being accused in alleged international criminal activity.

Botswana has also secured legal assistance from AfriForum’s private prosecuting unit in South Africa, after previously accusing the country of failure to assist with the probe.

Political observers say the fallout will likely affect relations between the two countries.

The matter against Motsepe will be before the High Court of Botswana next week Tuesday.

In 2019, the woman accused alongside  the mining tycoon for money-laundering was granted bail by a High Court in Gaborone.

Welheminah Maswabi is accused of being a co-signatory with Motsepe to bank accounts that fraudulently moved money across borders.

Motsepe regards Botswana as her second home. She studied at the University of Botswana while that country’s current President Mokgweetsi Masisi was also a student at the same institution.

 

David Mabuza
Municipalities’ rising debt to Eskom poses serious threat to its liquidity: Mabuza
25 June 2020, 4:23 PM

Deputy President David Mabuza says the rising debt owed to Eskom by municipalities continues to pose a serious risk to the power utility’s liquidity.

Mabuza said this when he was answering virtual Parliamentary questions on a plethora of challenges facing the power utility.

In this video below, Deputy President David Mabuza answers questions in Parliament:


The debt owed by municipalities has risen to a whopping R28 billion.

The bulk of this amount is monies owed by the national and provincial governments to various municipalities.

But Mabuza also indicated that the debt owed by these spheres of government, pales in comparison to the amount owed by communities.

“The difficulties we are experiencing now is the non-payment by our people, we must insist that people must pay for the services they receive.”

According to some lawmakers, in some parts of the country, the situation has become so dire to an extent that municipalities are switching off electricity to clinics and hospitals.

In this video below, former President Kgalema Motlanthe says Eskom is the biggest crisis facing South Africa:

“In a situation like this I don’t expect municipalities to switch off electricity from hospitals.”

Mabuza gave an undertaking that by the time he returned to Parliament to answer further questions, Eskom’s debt will have been paid.

He also reassured lawmakers that the situation at Eskom is gradually stabilising.

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