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Several ANC branches in Mahikeng pledge support for Magashule
5 May 2021, 9:18 PM

African National Congress (ANC) members from 35 branches of the Mahikeng sub-region in the North West have condemned the immediate temporary suspension of Secretary-General Ace Magashule from the party.

His suspension is effective from 3 May. Magashule is currently out on bail charged with corruption, fraud, and money laundering related to the Free State asbestos tender that was issued during his tenure as the province’s premier.

ANC members in the Mahikeng sub-region converged just after the news that Magashule had been suspended. Members have vowed to support Magashule through thick and thin. A youth league leader in the Ngaka Modiri Molema region, Koketso Moiloa, has blamed the ANC President for Magashule’s suspension.

” We are very happy of the leadership of comrade Ace Magashule, a sitting Secretary-General of the ANC. The ANC constitution can not be above the constitution of the country. It can’t be. Now you can’t suspend a person on the basis of allegations. Comrade Cyril Ramaphosa that is leading the NEC and the ANC, you are not ANC. You are leading the NEC of the ANC elected by us, and it clearly shows that in order for us to respond to the national question of what needs to be done, Cyril [Ramaphosa] must be out.”

Another ANC member, Thedous Nebe, has called on the NEC to convene a physical meeting this coming weekend, as they intend to demonstrate in a show of support to both Magashule and former ANC chairperson in the North West Supra Mahumapelo.

“The NEC must convene its meeting physically because we want to be there where they will be convening so that we can demonstrate as the entire country our support to comrade Ace Magashule, our support to comrade Supra Mahumapelo there.”

ANC’s Veteran’s League Snuki Zikalala says Magashule’s suspension is a milestone for the ruling party:

SANCO  in Free State also condemns Magashule’s suspension

SANCO in the Free State has also condemned the temporary suspension of Magashule’s membership. SANCO says the decision will be challenged in courts. It has referred to the step aside rule as the DA clause and acts of white monopoly capital. Magashule has been prohibited from mobilising party structures, any other organisations or individuals.

Free State SANCO spokesperson Gift Poli says they are making a call for an early national conference to remove what they call counter-revolutionaries.

“The implementation of this DA clause is so unfortunate. It is the instruction by the Ruperts of this world, it is an instruction by the monopoly capital to ensure that all those people who are fighting for radical economic transformation that are eliminated and they are removed out of the ANC. So we are going to make sure that we encourage all the people affected by this DA clause to go to court and challenge it, but we are not going to tire. We will make sure that we emerge very strong is just a temporary setback.”

Biden urged not to support proposal to temporarily waive IP rules amid COVID-19 pandemic
5 May 2021, 8:42 PM

Twelve Republican lawmakers have written to United States President Joe Biden urging him not to support a proposal by South Africa and India to temporarily waive from Intellectual Property (IP) rules amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The two BRICS countries with the support of more than 90 others have since October last year sought to lead negotiations at the World Trade Organisation to waive certain IP rights in order to ramp up production and distribution of vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics in order to save lives.

But richer countries led by the United States and Europe continue to argue that such a move would harm research and development.

In the letter to US Trade Representative Katherine Tai, the 12 Republican members of Congress led by Rep. Jim Jordan made their case for not allowing the waivers, calling it extraordinarily broad and unnecessary to accomplish wider access to COVID-19 vaccines and treatments.

“The justification for the waiver rests on an incorrect assumption that IP rights are a significant bottleneck to the widespread availability of COVID-19 vaccines and treatments. The waiver’s sponsors have presented no convincing evidence to support this assertion,” their letter reads.

But South Africa has a different view.

The scope of the waiver has been carefully thought through and the aim is to target specific and certain provisions of the IP regime in the WTO that are vital to the production of vaccine, therapeutics, and diagnostics and we have targeted it when we were looking at the specific targets that you would need – you need PPE, you need vaccines, you need therapeutics to be able to effectively respond and we identified those specific IP rights and IP provisions within the TRIPS agreement that is necessary to enable the production of those products,” says the country’s Ambassador to the World Trade Organisation, Xolelwa Mlumbi-Peter.

Mlumbi-Peter pointed to the fact that more than two million people had died globally since their proposal was initiated at the WTO in October last year and said the time had come for the WTO TRIPS Council to move to text-based negotiations on the proposed waivers.

“The current production capacity that exists is around 3.5 billion doses per annum. And what is effectively required to respond to the pandemic is 14 billion. So, the current manufacturers do not have enough capacity to respond to the 14 billion, they can’t meet the global demand and what is important to meet the global demand is to address the barriers to production and we also agree that IP is not the only barrier but IP is one of the significant barriers that will unlock production.”

The WHO has also called on pharmaceutical companies to waiver patent rights on COVID-19 vaccines: 

The White House was asked directly in late April whether it would support the South Africa-India proposal.

“Our focus is on maximizing production and supply at the – in – for the world at the lowest possible cost.  And there are a lot of different ways to do that. Right now, that’s one of the ways, but we have to assess what makes the most sense.  So, for example, we produce a lot of vaccines here in the United States.  Right?  Vaccines, you know, manufactured here.  We have manufacturing facilities that have been through – a number of them, have been through FDA approval or going through FDA approval.  We have to evaluate whether it’s more effective to manufacture here and provide supply to the world or the IP waiver is an option.  There has not been a recommendation made from USTR, nor has the President made a decision,” said Press Secretary Jen Psaki.

At the root of global concerns is the current disparity around vaccine access and distribution – with 1 in 4 people on average receiving vaccines in richer countries while in lower-income countries it is 1 in more than 500.

Magashule’s temporary suspension will strengthen President Ramaphosa’s position in the ANC: Analyst
5 May 2021, 7:36 PM

Political analyst Dirk Kotze says Secretary-General Ace Magashule’s temporary suspension from the African National Congress (ANC) will strengthen President Cyril Ramaphosa’s position in the party.

The ANC has officially temporarily suspended the membership of Magashule until the finalisation of his court case. Magashule’s suspension comes as he refused,  several times, to step aside as the Secretary-General of the party. Magashule is facing fraud, corruption, and money laundering charges related to a failed multi-million-rand asbestos project when he was Free State premier.

According to the party’s constitution, “Where a public representative, office bearer or member has been indicted to appear in the court of law, the Secretary-General or Provincial Secretary, acting on the authority of the NEC, the NWC, the PEC or the PWC, if satisfied that the temporary suspension of such a public representative office bearer or member would be in the best interest of the organisation, may suspend such public representative, elected office bearer or member and impose terms and conditions to regulate their participation and conduct during the suspension.”

Kotze says the timing of the suspension is also significant.

“I think there is some timing involved in this, it is before the National General Council (NGC), I think he (President Ramaphosa) wanted to make sure that there is sufficient time between this decision and the NGC so that they cannot mobilise support of resistance at the NGC meeting.”

During the suspension, Magashule is not allowed to carry out the duties and responsibilities of his office as Secretary-General, to represent the party publicly or in any other forum, make pronouncements on matters relating to the organisation,  and engage in the mobilisation of ANC structures.

SABC politics reporter Samkele Maseko unpacks the latest developments in the ANC: 

Magashule will still receive his remuneration and benefits during his suspension.  He will have to update the office of the Secretary-General on a monthly basis on the progress of his case.  The decision to temporarily suspend him will be reviewed every six months by the National Executive Council or at his request.

Milestone for the ANC

Head of the ANC’s Veteran’s League Snuki Zikalala says Magashule’s suspension is indeed a milestone for the ruling party.

Zikalala says, “The issue of step aside was decided in August last year and those who found wanting and facing criminal charges must step aside and of course we have been kicking the can down the road. The pivotal moment came out in February when the NEC decided to give those who are criminally charged 30-days to step aside voluntarily,”

Zikalala says those who do not step aside voluntarily, the ANC NEC has full powers to suspend them:

Simulation and Clinical Skills Unit opened at Stellenbosch University
5 May 2021, 6:37 PM

A state-of-the-art new Simulation and Clinical Skills Unit has been opened at the Stellenbosch University’s Tygerberg Campus in Cape Town. The unit boasts among others hi-tech medical models as well as a simulated hospital ward and consultation rooms.

The university says the ultramodern facility is aimed at supporting and training world-class healthcare practitioners.  A clinical setting depicting a possible life and death situation.

Medical students will learn critical skills which will ultimately save lives at the facility.

“What we were simulating is a patient that went into cardiac arrest so, in other words, they had a heart attack, as the laypeople talk about it and the students managed that and that’s a skill that you obviously cannot go and practice in the clinical area because they don’t always have heart attacks. But should it happen, the students need to know exactly what to do and how to manage it,” says Simulation Designer and Clinical Educator Sister Bronwen Espen

The simulation and clinical skills unit allow for students to hone their skills in a safe environment. Final year medical student, Azhar Nadkar, says the lab prepares students like him for face-to-face patient care by allowing them to practice as much as they would like to, with expert assistance.

“As we progress into the further years, the more complex procedures such as resuscitation, cardioversion, lumbar punctures, are all types of skills that we are taught in the skills lab so that when we are entering the clinical platform, we can rest assured that the patients that we will find ourselves taking care of will receive the best possible opportunity of holistic patient-centered care.”

This venue is part of the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences’ existing Clinical Skills Lab. According to the unit’s head, it allows for realistic simulations of medical emergencies and circumstances using high-tech equipment and models and helps develop not just clinical, but also communication skills among healthcare students.

“This skills lab is part of the curriculum. It gives students the opportunity to come right from their junior years up until the senior years and we stagger the skills in terms of difficulty so that by the time they graduate they will be able to have confidence in doing some of the skills even if they didn’t do it on a real patient, they will still have had the opportunity to have practiced that on a mannequin,” says Head of Simulation and Clinical Skills Unit, D. Elize Archer.

From drawing blood to resuscitation, and CPR the ultimate goal is equipping students with a certain level of competency in order to ensure patient safety.

Miguel Louw’s family says he can now rest in peace after his murderer was sentenced to 25 years
5 May 2021, 5:50 PM

The family of nine-year-old Miguel Louw says he can now rest in peace since the man who took his life will be serving a 25 years prison sentence.  Judge Jacqueline Henriques sentenced Mohammed Ebrahim for the kidnapping and murder of  Louw. Handing down her sentence in the Durban High Court, the judge noted that Ebrahim had shown no remorse.

She referred to the killing as a crime of passion since Ebrahim had a relationship with Miguel’s mother.

A handful of family members were in court, clad in white T-shirts bearing Miguel’s face. His mother was not there.

In July 2018, Ebrahim lured Miguel to go with him one afternoon after school. That was the last time the nine-year-old was seen alive.

For six weeks the community searched for the boy in Sydenham. But by fluke, his decomposed body was found in a shallow grave near Ebrahim’s home, in Phoenix.

It was a policeman in pursuit of two suspects who stumbled upon Miguel.

File video: Miguel Louw laid to rest:

Since then his family wanted justice.

Louw’s aunt, Thashnim Dos Santos, says the sentence is fair.

“We are just so grateful to God that finally justice has been served and our baby can rest in peace and I think the judgment was fair and we are just so grateful to the community and everyone.  This is an example to someone that doing what Vahed did to us and robbed an innocent child of his life and finally after so many years of running up and down at least, his father and he can rest in peace.  We as the family are trying to move on even though it will never be the same, as the day he died he took a part of all of us.  It is going to be a journey going forward. ”

Meanwhile, Dos Santos says the family still has many unanswered questions because Ebrahim did not testify during the trial.

“It is so frustrating knowing that he is a human and he claimed that he loved Miguel so much. And the fact that he showed absolutely no remorse; it is heartbreaking knowing that there are people out there, there are monsters out there that can still walk around and act like they are innocent after taking an innocent person’s life and even not standing up and telling us giving the family closure, what transpired and why he did what he did it is emotionally much more heartbreaking knowing that we will never know what happened.”

In handing down the sentence, Judge Jacqueline Henriques weighed up arguments by both the state and defence.  Ebrahim killed the 9-year old boy after his mother broke up with him. During sentencing, Ebrahim sat still in the dock.

“In respect of count one, the theft, the accused is sentenced to 18 months imprisonment, in respect of count two the kidnapping, the accused is sentenced to eight years imprisonment, in respect of count three murder, the accused is sentenced to 25 years imprisonment. In light of the accumulative sentence imposed, it is ordered that the sentences imposed on counts one and two are to run concurrently with the sentence imposed on count three, thus the accused is sentenced to an effective 25 years imprisonment,” read the judge.

Judge Henriques also declared Ebrahim unfit to own a firearm.

 

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