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Zimbabwean professor emphasises need for SA to safeguard its democracy
24 September 2020, 9:40 PM

Zimbabwean Professor Ibbo Mandaza has emphasised the need for South Africa to safeguard its democracy, the independence of institutions and to ensure that the military conforms to the constitution. Mandaza was speaking at the ANC’s OR Tambo political school on the lessons that South Africa can learn from Zimbabwe’s post-colonial history.

Mandaza outlined the status quo in his country.  “In Zimbabwe sadly the executive is unaccountable and is pervaded by the military.  The legislature is not vibrant at all, it is largely an outcome of rigged elections since 2000, has been a major feature in which the military has been involved in all the elections ever since. You have a judiciary that is hardly independent when it should be the soul of the nation is a captured judiciary the commissions the gender commissions the peace and security commission all these are pervaded by the military, we have a mess in effect. ”

ANC Veteran Pallo Jordan says the ruling party’s recent visit to Zimbabwe should be seen as good neighborliness. Jordan says one of the lessons that should be learnt by the two countries post-democracy is that there are certain matters that should be treated as regional rather than national ones.

He says Zimbabwe’s challenges have been exacerbated by the fact that it was left to its own devices even though it was already in crisis in 1994.

“You don’t have to be asked to help when your neighbour’s house is on fire. Your neighbour may well say no, I can handle this,  no need to come and help me but your neighbour should never interpret the offer for help as an attempt to interfere and I think unfortunately that is the spirit that the comrades have received the interventions on the part of the ANC.  The ANC delegation came to Zimbabwe not to interfere in Zimbabwean affairs but seeing the house on fire.”

The world has failed the international cooperation test during COVID-19: UNSG
24 September 2020, 7:44 PM

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres has told the Security Council that the coronavirus pandemic is a clear test of international cooperation that the world has essentially failed.

Guterres was joined by some heads of state and governments including President Cyril Ramaphosa in a virtual meeting of the council to discuss global governance in a post- COVID-19 world.

He said it was international communities’ expectation that the Security Council would continue to play a key role in ensuring that the pandemic did not undermine international peace and security.

“We must coordinate our efforts and strengthen multilateralism if we are to contain the damage that this pandemic could cause. South Africa and the African Union supports the call by the UN Secretary-General for a global ceasefire and the scaling up of humanitarian assistance to vulnerable societies. South Africa calls on all parties to armed conflict to use this opportunity to work towards a peaceful resolution, all the while addressing the humanitarian needs of their populations. We further support the call for the waiving of unilateral punitive measures, such as sanctions, during the pandemic to enable affected countries to secure much-needed supplies and support,” said President Ramaphosa

 United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres’ address: 

Also speaking at the debate, African Union Commission Chair, Moussa Faki Mahamat,  told the United Nations Security Council that insurgents have been exploiting the coronavirus pandemic to make advances in various vulnerable African nations.

“Additional troops that were supposed to be deployed to the Sahal for example have been held up, armed groups and terrorist organisations have exploited the situation to continue to push their tactical advantage to intensify their criminal activities.  The region of the Sahal, the lake basin Somalia and the Cabo Delgado province in the north of Mozambique are stark illustrations of what I’m speaking of.”

 

Nehawu in North West demands permanent employment of community health workers
24 September 2020, 6:31 PM

The National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) is demanding the permanent appointment of more than 6 000 community health workers currently employed by the North West Health Department. Some of the workers have been with the department for more than 10 years assisting in its community outreach programme.

Since the outbreak of the coronavirus, they have been tracing contacts and undertaking screening at various community health centres.  Nehawu’s demand for the provincial health department to permanently appoint community health workers is gaining momentum.

The union says the matter had been raised some years back, but there appeared to be no commitment from authorities.

Treatment of workers 

Lorato Sampisi is a community health worker, based at the Montshiwa town clinic. She has been working as a community health worker for eight years. Sampisi is among those demanding to be employed permanently.

“We are counsellors who are earning a stipend and we cannot afford as parents back at home to maintain our kids. We cannot also focus fully on our jobs because we are demoralised by the treatment that we are given by the department, by giving lesser payment to community health workers and  by not recognising us in terms of skills development.”

Nehawu Provincial Secretary, Patrick Makhafane, accuses the provincial health department of exploiting the community health workers.

“They are treated as slaves and we think that must come to an end. They are the heartbeat of the Department of Health in so many aspects, not just primary health. The recent example is COVID-19, they have excelled in delivering the services risking their lives saving the communities in the North West province. Now, why do you keep them in a slavery entrapment of the temporary employment? We think that any human being who is in their right frame of mind will not use people for more than 15 years in temporary employment without absorbing them permanently.”

Provincial government’s response 

MEC for Health Madoda Sambatha has admitted that they are in need of the services provided by these workers. But he says they do not currently have funds to absorb them all.

“ We are now doing calculations of where are we going to get the money from. But the principle of us absorbing them, we agree. We are working on the issue of funding the absorption, and the principle that we have is that even if we had to absorb them, we will have to absorb all of them.”

Sambatha says it will cost them more than R1.2 billion a year to permanently employ all the health workers.

Nationwide protest

Nehawu members earlier this week embarked on a nationwide protest calling for adequate Personal Protective Equipment for frontline workers.

They also want a wage increase: 

Second wave of COVID-19 in SA might not be as bad as other countries: Experts
24 September 2020, 5:27 PM

Experts say while the second surge of coronavirus infections is expected in South Africa, it might not be as bad as what other countries are experiencing. Wits University’s Francesca Conradie says South Africans seem to have a better than expected herd immunity and this might help weather the impact of a possible resurgence.

Yesterday, the country recorded 1 906 new coronavirus infections bringing the cumulative number to 665 188.

The COVID-19 death toll rose to 16 206 after a further 88 fatalities were recorded since the last report.

“Quite a high number of South Africans have been exposed to the coronavirus and have antibodies evidence of an infection. So, they’ve already had it and if we look at data that’s coming out, say Khayelitsha, 40% of people are showing immunity towards the coronavirus. So, we have slightly higher immunity than we thought we were going to and in addition to that if you kind of make an estimate of how many South Africans have been infected it looks like 15 million.”

Lesufi concerned about the second wave 

Meanwhile, Gauteng Education MEC, Panyaza Lesufi has expressed concern that people are letting their guard down which could lead to a resurgence in infections.

Lesufi was in Diepkloof in Soweto where a spot check was done to determine if people were adhering to protection measures such as wearing masks and social distancing.

“All the MECs and the mayors are all over the province because we want to pre-empt and act if we get a second wave and that’s our fear as a province, to say there is a likelihood of a second wave because people are losing their guards, they can go to church, travel, go to events and party. If we don’t monitor, we will have a sudden surge of new cases.”

Below are the latest coronavirus stats: 

 

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Addressing the nation a week ago, President Cyril Ramaphosa urged South Africans to continue taking preventative measures as advised by the Department of Health. He warned South Africans of the second wave of infections.

As he announced South Africa’s move to Level 1 one, more regulations were eased to allow South Africans to further start adjusting to the ‘new normal.’

Mine Workers
ILO calls on governments to mitigate effects of coronavirus on labour
24 September 2020, 4:28 PM

The International Labour Organization (ILO) has called on governments around the world to act urgently to overcome the devastating impact of the coronavirus pandemic on employment. In its latest assessment of the effects of the pandemic on the world of work, the ILO has found that there has been a massive drop in income for workers around the world.

According to the ILO, workplace closures have resulted in a big drop in labour income, especially in lower-middle-income countries. It estimates that a total of 3.5 trillion US dollars has been lost by the global workforce thus far.

Workers in Latin America are the worst affected, with Africa doing better than expected.

“The prophets of doom that had predicted that COVID-19 would wreak incredible havoc on Africans and African economies and that we’d probably literally have dead bodies on the streets everywhere has not come to fruition. Africa has shown itself to be resilient. Africans have shown themselves to be resilient in the face of this disease,” says Africa Director of the ILO, Joni Musabayana

While stringent lockdowns have been relaxed in many countries, 32% of the global workforce is in countries where there are still closures of all workplaces except essential services. Against this background, the ILO says support measures for jobs, businesses, and incomes must be sustained.

It has praised South Africa’s UIF TERS benefit scheme as a good example of what is required.

UIF has been paying out money to those unemployed since April: 

“The UIF is really a very good example of how many other African countries can ameliorate the impact of a crisis such as COVID on workers, and to this regard, the disbursement by the UIF to more than 9 million workers have managed to limit the impact of COVID of what would have been a catastrophic scale.”

The ILO has called on world governments to come up with a global economic recovery plan as a matter of urgency.

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