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South Africa records 6 670 new coronavirus cases, 198 deaths on Sunday
9 August 2020, 9:25 PM

South Africa has continued to see a drop in the daily number of new coronavirus (COVID-19) infections compared to the last few weeks, recording 6 670 new cases on Sunday.  This brings the total cumulative number of confirmed cases to  559 858.

In a statement, the health ministry has also confirmed 198 new COVID-19 related deaths.

“Eighty from Eastern Cape; 32 from Gauteng; 63 from KwaZulu Natal and 23 from Western Cape. This brings the cumulative total of reported COVID-19 related deaths to 10 408.”

The number of recoveries currently stands at 411 147 which translates to a recovery rate of 73%.

The total number of tests conducted to date is 3 250 583 with 30 318 new tests conducted since the last report.

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ACDP opposed to Ramaphosa’s appointment of ministerial committee to investigate PPE corruption
9 August 2020, 9:01 PM

African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) leader Kenneth Meshoe says his party is totally opposed to President Cyril Ramaphosa’s appointment of a ministerial committee to investigate allegations of corruption related to the procurement of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

The President made the announcement on Wednesday following a cabinet decision on how the PPE corruption will be probed.

Meshoe says the hands of some ministers are not clean in the alleged corrupt PPE tenders.

“How does he think that South Africans can believe that he’s serious about fighting corruption when he knows that these ministers are part of the problem? There are allegations also against them. So, if the president is serious about fighting corruption, he must allow the investigation to be done by institutions and units such as the Hawks and Special Investigative Unit (SIU) because they will come to the root of the problem and they will also have the courage to point fingers at ministers, cabinet ministers who are also involved in corruption.”

Role of ministerial team

In its response, the government says the role of the ministerial team is to compile and publish details of all COVID-19 related contracts awarded by all state entities.

“Contrary to some reports, the ministerial team does not have a responsibility to investigate COVID-related contracts. This remains the task of the relevant law enforcement agencies,” the statement reads.

Allegations

Among those accused of corruption is Presidential Spokesperson Khusela Diko, after allegations surfaced claiming that her husband’s company had received R125 million PPE tender through a friendship with Gauteng Health MEC Bandile Masuku.

Masuku and his wife Loyiso, MMC in the City of Johannesburg, have also taken a leave of absence while the matter is being probed by the Special Investigation Unit (SIU).

 

Earlier, the Free State Treasury said that political and friendship ties have no bearing in the awarding of tenders when responding to reports that those close to former Free State Premier and current African National Congress (ANC) Secretary-General, Ace Magashule, have benefitted from PPE tenders worth millions in the province.

At least seven companies with links to those close to Magashule have been awarded PPE tenders in the province.

The provincial treasury maintains the procurement processes were followed in line with the instruction notes of the National Treasury for emergency procurement of COVID-19 PPE.

Gauteng ANC clears Joburg Mayor Geoff Makhubo of corruption allegations
9 August 2020, 8:49 PM

The African National Congress (ANC) in Greater Johannesburg has cleared Johannesburg Mayor Geoff Makhubo of any wrongdoing after allegations of corruption and financial impropriety.

The allegations against Makhubo date back to days before he took over from Herman Mashaba as mayor. The investigation into Makhubo was prompted by the amaBhungane article which accused him of improperly benefitting millions through a company he had shares in.

It’s alleged that his company, Molelwane Consulting, received more than R30 million from Regiments Capital, a company implicated in the state capture saga – while he was heading the city’s finance and treasury division.

“This demonstrated the ANC’s commitment in decisively taking urgent steps to safeguard the core values of the ANC, protect its image and enhance its standing in society,” says ANC in a statement.

The ANC in Johannesburg has commended Makhubo for subjecting himself to a process. It has also appealed to the residents of Johannesburg to accept the decision.

“…and stand by its Executive Mayor who is leading a Government of Local Unity which cares about the plight residents of Johannesburg. We call upon the people of Johannesburg to work with the ANC, their organisation as it reclaims its moral standing in society.”

The political structure says it will never tolerate any form of corruption or nepotism.

“All ANC deployees are mandated to serve all the people with dignity and integrity.”

COVID-19 tenders

The ANC Gauteng Integrity Commission will start its investigation on Monday into allegations against members allegedly involved in impropriety relating to COVID-19 tenders.

Members implicated include Presidential Spokesperson Khusela Diko, Gauteng Health MEC, Bandile Masuku and his wife Loyiso Masuku. They have taken a leave of absence after being linked to a controversial 125 million rand PPE contract.

In the video below, SABC journalist Samkele Maseko explains the alledged fraud allegations: 

The party in the province has also fired Merafong Municipal Executive Mayor, Maphefo Letsie and recalled Boysie Maneli from Parliament.

Letsie and Maneli have been fired for not taking action against municipal officials who were involved in the VBS Bank scandal

Buthelezi doing well after testing positive for COVID-19
9 August 2020, 8:31 PM

Former Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi says he is doing well and is in good spirits after testing positive for the coronavirus. Buthelezi is currently self-isolating at home as he is asymptomatic.

In an exclusive interview with SABC News, Buthelezi said that he had tested five times previously but that all the tests came back negative.

He was advised to test again after coming into contact with someone who tested positive last week. He says he is being inundated with messages wishing him a speedy recovery.

“I didn’t feel any pain anywhere. I have no sign even now. I’m in good fettle. I’m in perfect fettle, so therefore I am abiding by the rule. Doctors said I must isolate. I would like to thank your majesty for the king. He’s been very concerned about me. He has even sent some things which he thought could help me. Even other people have done so. I am very grateful.”

Earlier, National Assembly Speaker Thandi Modise and National Council of Provinces Chairperson Amos Masondo wished veteran Buthelezi, a speedy recovery.

Malls
SMMEs struggling to keep doors open in malls due to COVID-19
9 August 2020, 7:13 PM

Small, Medium and Macro Enterprises (SMMEs) retailers doing business in malls are struggling to keep their businesses open.

Mall owners say they have seen an increase in SMMEs closing shops in major malls across the country as they struggle to pay rent.

SMMEs affected include those in beauty, fashion as well as personal and hospitality industries.

SMME retailers occupy less than 50% of rental space in most shopping malls.

“The economic impact of this virus is having an impact and if you think about it, restaurants, gyms they haven’t been able to open at all under the current regulations. So we are talking about the 15 %  that are small and medium enterprises that occupy these malls. Often they are restaurants and personal service providers. Because of the relief that landlords have provided many of them are surviving and only once the regulations are lifted we will know what the damage has been,” says Chief Executive Officer of Growthpoint properties Estienne de Klerk.

In the video below, small business struggle to deal with challenges posed by the coronavirus:

Debt relief scheme

The Department of Small Business has approved R513 million in SMME Debt Relief Funding.  30 865 small businesses applied for the debt relief scheme and so far 1 497 SMMEs have been approved for funding.

The Scheme, which opened for applications in April, is set to assist SMMEs with working capital as economic activities have been negatively affected by COVID-19.

 

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