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Red Ants demolish people's homes that have been labelled as illegal structures in Alexandra.
EFF rejects City of Cape Town Mayor’s investigation into naked man incident
3 July 2020, 9:37 PM

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) has rejected Cape Town Mayor Dan Plato’s announcement that an independent investigation will be done into the incident in which a naked Bulelani Qhalani was evicted from his shack on City land. 

Images of the incident have been circulating on social media. Plato, other City officials and officials from the Human Rights Commission have appeared before the Cooperative Governance Committee. 

City of Cape Town Mayor Dan Plato and Human Rights Commission officials brief parliament:  

Four law enforcement officials have been suspended. EFF Member of the Committee Hlengiwe Mkhalipi says they believe the final outcome of the independent investigation into the matter is already pre-determined.

 “When NCA (ENCA) was interviewing you, you were stressing the point, that it was not your people who made Bulelani naked, he was himself naked. So we don’t trust your investigation because it means that you are not neutral. You are already telling us what the outcome of the investigation will look like. We are very concerned about the way you treat our people in Cape Town, Mayor. Let me tell you why I am saying that, when we called you here before this committee we wanted to know how you are doing in terms of COVID-19, but there was already a concern regarding evictions and I think it was also Empolweni where the Minister Sisulu intervened.” 

ANC blames JP Smith 

 The ANC Western Cape has called on the Mayor of Cape Town Dan Plato to immediately fire Cape Town Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security, JP Smith Smith. The ANC says Smith must take political responsibility for the incident. 

 ANC spokesperson Dennis Cruywagen says the Executive Director of Safety as well as the officer in charge of the operation must go. “We want all of them to go. If the mayor refuses to fire them, especially JP Smith, we believe by doing that the mayor will show that he is at the beck and call of the conservative wing of the DA. We call on the mayor to act responsibly and show that he really is the Mayor of Cape Town and not JP Smith.”

 Smith says he had no role in the anti-land invasion operation incident. He says he did not even know the operation was taking place. He says he sought an urgent answer from law enforcement when images of the incident circulated on social media. 

Calls to protect the vulnerable 

 The Socio-Economic Rights Institute (SERI) says the government needs to act and stem the high level of violence metered out by law enforcement on the vulnerable. The institute has since written a letter to the Department of Human Settlements to halt evictions and the demolition of any structure which has been or is being constructed for the purpose of residential occupation during the nationwide lockdown. 

 Senior Attorney at SERI, Zamantungwa Khumalo, says the City could also face a lawsuit over the incident.

“The Legal Resources Centre Lawyers for Human Rights have indicated that they will be taking up this matter and going to court. Lawyers for Human Rights have said that they will also be seeking a damages case against the City of Cape Town for what they did to the man. But on our side, the municipalities always respond with violence and that is what is concerning to us, is that the level of violence is so high for the level of the transgression if it is even a transgression. What this COVID-19 has shown us is that for most of us we are one salary away from finding ourselves homeless and that is what the state also needs to be able to respond to.” 

 

 

 

 

108 more people succumb to COVID-19 as SA reports a record 9 063 new cases
3 July 2020, 9:05 PM

The number of coronavirus cases in South Africa has increased to 177 124, after the country reported 9 063 new cases in the last 24 hours, the Department of Health said on Friday.

In a statement, the Department has also reported a further 108 COVID-19 related deaths, bringing the total deaths to 2 952.

“ Three from Northern Cape, eight from Eastern Cape, 29 from North West, 10 from KwaZulu -Natal and 58 from Western Cape.”

“We wish to express our condolences to the loved ones of the departed and thank the health care workers who treated the deceased.”  The mortality rate in the country is at 1.7%.

The number of recoveries is 86 298, which translates to a recovery rate of 48.7%.  A total number of 1 745 153 tests have been completed of which 39 025 new tests are reported.

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Meanwhile, 11 million people around the world have been diagnosed with the coronavirus, about 6 million have recovered, and more than 525 000 have died.

Lancet Laboratories inundated as testing for COVID-19 increases
3 July 2020, 8:44 PM

Lancet Laboratories say unnecessary testing for coronavirus has resulted in a backlog at their testing sites. They say unnecessary tests have had an impact on the turnaround times for urgent matters that require results at healthcare facilities.

There is currently a backlog of almost 20 000 swaps.

“What the backlog means is that we can’t effectively reach the turnaround times for the tests that are actually needed for the sick people and health care workers. Our turnaround time is up to four days now and that is actually a useless test,” says Lancet Laboratories Clinical Virologist Eftyhia Vardas.

She says that they are getting a lot of requests from people outside the health care sector. “So, a lot of people that are worried that there might have had exposure and I guess that the worry is real. We are entering a community-based epidemic at the moment but the testing has to be kept now directed to health care workers and those people that are actually are sick and in hospitals and have had high-risk contacts.”

In the video below, Lancet Laboratories Clinical Virologist Eftyhia Vardas says other private laboratories are inundated with requests for tests:  

 

South Africa has a total of 168 061 COVID-19 cases. More than one million seven hundred thousand tests have been completed.

 

SANEF welcomes SABC’s editorial policy
3 July 2020, 8:07 PM

The  South African National Editors’ Forum (SANEF) has welcomed the launch of the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC)’s editorial policies, especially clarification that editorial decision making now rests with the Head of News, as this helps limit outside influence at the public broadcaster.

The forum says it is happy that the post is now officially designated as Editor-in-Chief.

SANEF says it notes the rationale behind the amendments being to strengthen editorial controls and accountability.

The public broadcaster on Friday says editorial interference is a thing of the past at the SABC with the launch of its revised Editorial Policies.

The review was commissioned in 2017 after widespread allegations of editorial interference under former Chief Operations Officer, Hlaudi Motsoeneng.

New Editor-in-Chief 

In the new Editorial Policy, the Group Executive of News and Current Affairs is the Editor-In-Chief. Previously the Chief Executive Officer also held this responsibility.

SABC board member, Mary Papaya, says this made upward referral cumbersome, compromising the integrity and sanctity of the editorial process and making it vulnerable to corruption.

“This consistent with the outputs we received from the submissions made in the process of formulating these policies, in essence, the new arrangement is part of a well-considered effort to strengthen editorial control in the newsroom and ensure that journalists take full accountability of all editorial and programming decisions and to do so without hindrance.”

The SABC’s new Editor-in-Chief, Phathiswa Magopeni, meanwhile has called the current SABC funding model a danger to credible public service journalism.

One of the contentious issues at this time is the public broadcaster’s funding model which relies heavily on advertising, while still forcing the SABC to fulfill its public service mandate.

Magopeni says funding plays a role in the provision of credible news. “When the delivery of public mandate content gets determined by market factors due to lack of political and social will to fund it, it puts transparency and accountability required for a resilient and vibrant democracy at great risk. It diminishes the ability to deliver fully on the mandate and reduces the capacity to tell the South African story in its completeness. The consequences of this are dire for those in the fringes of society.”

SABC’s new Editor-in-Chief, Phathiswa Magopeni explains: 

 

The launch comes at a time when SABC employees are facing possible retrenchments, affecting 1 800 permanent staff and freelancers.

After 31 countrywide workshops and the receipt of 250 submissions, the SABC says it has put together Editorial Policies that will protect its editorial integrity, including in programming and other offerings.

‘Systems to strengthen editorial accountability’

SABC Chief Executive Officer, Madoda Mxakwe, says the newly launched Editorial Policies aim to protect editorial processes and journalists at the public broadcaster.

The policy launch follows a three-year consultation process to review policies in the organisation following allegations of editorial and commercial interference.

Mxakwe says the new policies will position the SABC as a premier source of news. “Ethical drifts in editorial decision making and journalistic practices, as well as the abandonment of purpose existence in the public broadcaster can be catastrophic for the organisation. This can erode public trust and diminish its relevance. We cannot afford another experience of such, we have therefore put in place systems to strengthen editorial accountability of public news service and have placed editorial authority where it belongs, in the SABC newsroom.”

The policies will now be submitted to the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa as the final stage of the process.

Red Ants during evictions.
Government must act against violence on vulnerable: SERI
3 July 2020, 7:02 PM

The Socio-Economic Rights Institute (SERI) says the government needs to act and stem the high level of violence metered out by law enforcement on the vulnerable.

This follows an incident in Khayelitsha earlier this week where officers evicted a naked man, 28-year-old Bulelani Qolani, while his shack was broken down during an anti-land invasion operation.

The institute has since written a letter to the Department of Human Settlements to halt evictions and the demolition of any structure which has been or is being constructed for the purpose of residential occupation during the nationwide lockdown. 

Senior Attorney at SERI, Zamantungwa Khumalo says the City could also face a lawsuit over the incident.

The Legal Resources Centre Lawyers for Human Rights have indicated that they will be taking up this matter and going to court. Lawyers for Human Rights have said that they will also be seeking a damages case against the City of Cape Town for what they did to the man. But on our side, the municipalities always respond with violence and that is what is concerning to us, is that the level of violence is so high for the level of the transgression if it is even a transgression. What this COVID-19 has shown us is that for most of us we are one salary away from finding ourselves homeless and that is what the state also needs to be able to respond to.” 

ANC blames JP Smith 

Cape Town Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security, JP Smith, says he had no role in the anti-land invasion operation incident in Khayelitsha. Smith was responding to calls from the African National Congress (ANC) that Mayor Dan Plato must fire Smith. 

The ANC says Smith must take political responsibility for the incident. Smith says he did not even know the operation was taking place. He says he sought an urgent answer from law enforcement when images of the incident circulated on social media. 

 The ANC Western Cape has called on the Mayor of Cape Town Dan Plato to immediately fire Smith. Four law enforcement officers have been suspended pending the outcome of an independent investigation into the incident. 

ANC spokesperson Dennis Cruywagen says the Executive Director of Safety as well as the officer in charge of the operation must go. “We want all of them to go. If the mayor refuses to fire them, especially JP Smith, we believe by doing that the mayor will show that he is at the beck and call of the conservative wing of the DA. We call on the mayor to act responsibly and show that he really is the Mayor of Cape Town and not JP Smith.”

Plato says the officers should have exercised restraint:  

 

 

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