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Africa not liberated until all women of Africa enjoy equality, human rights: Zikalala
31 July 2020, 2:38 PM

KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala has urged leaders to ensure that women’s rights are respected by all. Speaking at the virtual launch of Women’s Month in the province, the Premier paid tribute to women leaders, including the late Victoria Mxenge, who was killed in 1985 in Umlazi, south of Durban.

“We want to affirm that Africa is not yet liberated up until all women of Africa enjoy full equality and enjoy human rights like all over the world.”

This year’s theme is “Generation Equality: Realising Women’s Rights for an Equal Future”.

The launch of Women’s Month in South Africa this year comes under the dark cloud of fighting the coronavirus pandemic.  Zikalala urged all men to ensure that women’s rights are respected.

“Those of us who are in the struggle should make it their daily commitment to educate everyone about the need to respect the rights of women, about women emancipation in our homes, at work,  in sports fraternity,  in the church in traditional leadership institutions, in government,  in the economic sphere. We should ensure that women are liberated and women’s rights are respected.”

He also encouraged men to stand up to put a stop to gender-based violence in their communities.

“South African women face the added threat and experience of being abused and murdered by men and often men that they know and are their intimate partners and sadly so COVID-19 has also compounded the problem faced by women, as research indicates a rise in domestic violence, sexual abuse, and depression among women and therefore it is us who must fight and uproot this very bad tendency which is a threat to our lives and the society.”

The video below gives the breakdown of gender-based violence stats since lockdown: 

National launch of Women’s Month

Speaking at the national launch of Women’s Month on Thursday, Minister Bheki Cele urged all South Africans to unite against gender-based violence:

He says the provincial government has allocated a certain percentage of business to women-owned and led enterprises.

“Our provincial government continues to ensure that we view the issue of gender equality in totality. We are implementing all of these programs as our commitment to ensure that we realise equality in South Africa. We have targeted 30% set aside for women-owned enterprises in all departments when it comes to the allocation of contracts and tenders, we are saying in that we should also cater for young women and women entrepreneurs.”

The month of August will carry a series of campaigns putting the spotlight on the daily struggles and victories women from all walks of life face and overcome.

 

CWU accuses SABC of being disingenuous in its approach to retrenchments
30 July 2020, 9:59 PM

Communications Workers Union (CWU) has accused the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) of being disingenuous in its approach to the looming retrenchments at the public broadcaster.

On Wednesday, unions met with the public broadcaster under the auspices of the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation, and Arbitration (CCMA).

Unions gave the SABC until Thursday to abandon the Section 189 process or for it to start the process from scratch. The SABC had allegedly made new appointments which would be included in the new structure after retrenchments.

The public broadcaster, however, responded to unions saying this was an error.

The SABC plans to retrench 600 staff and terminate the contracts of more than 1 000 freelancers.

“It’s either deliberately trying to play ignorant of the issues that we’ve raised in yesterday’s meeting. In their response, they’re responding on particular positions that we’ve raised to say these are new positions in the structure and the structure has not been discussed. They just said it was a typo and therefore, they sent a letter to change those titles. Basically, they have done nothing. They are just telling us that they are forging ahead. So, it is our plan now to decide what we need to do,” says CWU General-Secretary, Aubrey Tshabalala.

SABC unions threaten court action over consultation: 

Executive appears before Parliament 

Appearing before Parliament’s Communications Committee a week after issuing the notice, Chief Financial Officer Yolande van Biljon said that the corporation’s salary bill needs to be tackled. Van Biljon has told the committee that the public broadcaster has to do what is necessary, even if it is very painful.

In the video below Biljon gives reasons behind issuing of Section 189: 

Last week, the board and management appeared before the committee where they were sent packing by Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Communications after being accused of lying and failing to answer questions put before it by lawmakers.

The committee accused the board of lying on issues such as skills audits, consultations with the unions, and other stakeholders.

Other committee members called for Section 189 to be dropped.

In the video below, SABC board and management appear before the Communications Committee: 

COVID-19 tender ‘bonanza saga’ rages on as trio accused in PPE scandal removed pending investigation
30 July 2020, 9:36 PM

The trio at the centre of a R125 million Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) contract in Gauteng has been removed from their positions pending an investigation.

Gauteng MEC of Health Dr. Bandile Masuku and Johannesburg MMC of Cooperate Services Loyiso Masuku have joined Khusela Diko in what is described as leave of absence with immediate by the African National Congress (ANC) in Gauteng.

While the three will be subjected to other internal processes, the party says it is now time law enforcers probe if there was a tender bonanza in the province.

The trio’s problems stem from their alleged involvement in a scandal in which a multi-million rand contract was awarded to a company belonging to Khusela Diko’s husband to supply PPEs in Gauteng.

ANC Provincial Secretary Jacob Khawe says the party is continuously losing the support of residents due to alleged corruption and so, the governing party must act.

“These comrades, comrade Khusela and comrade Loyiso and Bandile be on a temporary leave of absence for the duration of two to four weeks, while the processes of SIU together with the internal process of the pictures is taking place. We took these decisions with the incline of clean governance. We equally took this decision not as an admission of guilt but a due process,” says ANC Gauteng Secretary, Jacob Khawe.

In the video below, ANC Gauteng announces the removal of the trio:

Integrity committee

The special PEC meeting also resolved that both Masuku’s and Khusela Diko appear before the party’s provincial Integrity Commission.

“The PEC has resolved that comrade Khusela and comrade Bandile be subjected to the provincial Integrity Committee and we are doing this guided by the request that both these comrades made. So, both comrade Khusela and Bandile would have written a process that would clear. They are going to the Integrity with immediate effect. Integrity must finish its work within two to four weeks,” says Khawe.

King Diko responds

Khusela Diko’s husband King Thandisizwe Diko has described the decision to take the trio to the provincial Integrity Committee as irrational.

“I have noted that the ANC has taken their decision. Unfortunately, Mrs. Diko has nothing to do with my business as Royal Bhaca. It’s very unfortunate. But I also understand the South Africans in what seems as anger and painted as an act of corruption,” says AmaBhaca King, Thandisizwe Diko.

‘No proper procurement systems’

However, the ANC says their decision is justified. The party also says the Health Department had no proper procurement systems and tenders were not advertised.

It says the SIU report points out that, some official was just calling companies to dish out tenders.

“Companies did not apply for tenders or contracts as normal. There was a special arrangement and this arrangement it is like as such, there was an official in the department who would call companies and say they can provide (services). It was an abnormal situation and the state was at risk of being manipulated and the government must investigate if there was a tender bonanza,” says ANC Gauteng Secretary, Jacob Khawe.

Premier David Makhura has also been tasked to take the residents of Gauteng into confidence on why there were no tender procurement systems in place in the Department of Health.

As  SABC’s Chriselda Lewis reports 102 companies, which received purchase orders for personal protective equipment, are currently under investigation: 

Health workers in Mpumalanga allegedly forced to return to work while awaiting COVID-19 results
30 July 2020, 8:41 PM

Heath authorities in Mpumalanga are accused of forcing workers to report on duty while awaiting coronavirus test results.

It is alleged that two nurses at the Boschfontein Clinic in Nkomazi were forced to return to work before they got their COVID-19 test results, after a colleague tested positive for COVID-19.

The nurses who had contact with her also got tested. They quarantined pending their test results. However, they were allegedly ordered to return to work or face consequences.

The clinic has since been closed for decontamination.

Call for action against managers

Health officials should be custodians of the COVID-19 regulations, but in Mpumalanga, they are accused of exposing workers and patients to the deadly coronavirus.

National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) has called for action against managers who bully workers.

Mpumalanga Nehawu Secretary, Welcome Mnisi has accused the provincial Health Department of delivering services at the expense of workers.

“We have already indicated to the department to correct that. It is happening in the entire province. There are certain managers that do not understand the regulations and the guidelines. As, Nehawu, we are not going to tolerate that. That’s why we have now embarked on a programme of action which is going to start as from August until September.”

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in the province wants action to be taken against those who recalled the nurses from isolation. DA provincial leader, Jane Sithole, says the manager responsible should be disciplined.

“The manager must be disciplined so that we do not deal with the repetition of such situations. We are dealing with human beings here. That manager must be disciplined and to carry on with a behaviour like this, it shows that she is not even fit to hold that position because she should understand the ethics around COVID-19. You can’t just flout the protocol as you wish. That is a clear cut that you don’t understand your role as the manager of people that are working with the community.”

Investigation under way

Provincial Health Department Spokesperson, Dumisani Malamule, says an investigation is under way. He says the clinic was closed for decontamination.

“We have already started to institute an investigation and the outcome of that investigation will determine what the next course of action is. But in the meantime, we have already moved with speed. We have closed the clinic and we have started the tracing process to check the people who came in contact with the two officials who have tested positive. With regard to the public, we are going to also trace because, in terms of the COVID-19 regulations, every person who enters our facility must be screened, the temperature must be taken and their ID numbers and their names, contact number, and their physical address.”

To date, more than 11 500 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in the province and over 600 of the cases are health workers.

Below is the breakdown of COVID-19 statistics in South Africa: 

 

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Restaurants allowed to operate until 10pm, guided tours allowed under COVID-19 Risk Adjusted Level 3
30 July 2020, 6:27 PM

Cabinet has eased lockdown restrictions around travel which will allow individuals to leave their homes for leisure travel within the province they currently live in.

It has also moved the curfew to an hour later at night to allow restaurants more time to serve dinner to their customers. This means that the curfew will now start at 10pm. However, the sale of alcohol remains banned.

The new regulations were announced by Tourism Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane, a short while ago.

“Let me emphasise, it is only intra-provincial travel, not inter-provincial travel. Individuals are still not permitted to travel between provinces for leisure purposes.”

The change has implications for accommodation facilities that are permitted to operate under Level 3.

Accommodation establishments are now permitted to operate for leisure intra-provincially subject to some conditions:

  • No more than two people per room except for a nuclear family (parents and their children).
  • Establishments are already legally obliged to require and keep a copy of proof of identity.
  • Short-term home rental/sharing remains closed.

Kubayi-Ngubane says the 9pm curfew was having a crippling effect on the industry.

“We believe that this change will go a long way towards increasing their revenue generation. The sale of alcohol remains prohibited. Individuals are still not permitted to travel to provinces for leisure purposes.”

In the video below, Minister Kubayi-Ngubane announces changes to Level 3 restrictions affecting the tourism industry: 

Tourism Director-General, Victor Tharage says the decision to change the hours of the national curfew follows intense deliberations with the restaurant industry.

“Dinner is normally served at around 8 o’clock. So, by around 9pm people have already eaten and people will then be leaving to go home and so on. That’s why they actually specifically requested for this one hour and that one hour was then granted. So, we don’t foresee that people are going to come and extend that hour for yet another hour or yet two hours more and so on.”

Tour operators

The department says tour operators, will also be allowed to conduct Guided Tours in Open Safari Vehicles subject to directions. These include provisions for both social distancing and maximum ventilation. These changes will come into effect as soon as the new regulations are gazetted.

Relief Fund

 The department has spent R200 million to mitigate the effect of coronavirus through the Tourism Relief Fund (TRF). Four thousand businesses in tourism and hospitality have benefited from the fund. 7 284 valid applications were submitted.

Weather

 

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