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Former Life Esidimeni project leader testifies that families were unhappy with transfer of patients
15 September 2021, 1:55 PM

Former leader for the Life Esidimeni Transfer Project, Levy Mosenogi says engagements between former Gauteng Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu and families of Life Esidimeni health care users were at times characterised by anger and dissolution.

He was testifying at the inquest into deaths of 144 Life Esidimeni psychiatric patients that is under way in the Pretoria High Court.

Mosenogi is the fourth witness to testify on the transfer of mentally challenged patients from Life Esidimeni centers to other facilities.

The facilities were ultimately shut down by Mahlangu.

Mosenogi says families and employees at Life Esidimeni were unhappy with the relocations.

“It was tough even for me,  so when the MEC came in she decided to take over the chair, she could see that I wasn’t coping. The people were not satisfied with the closure of Waverly. They raised issues and the MEC responded but they were not happy with the response. They didn’t like the responses. There were so many issues raised. They were not happy about the closure of the facility. It was very tough. People were complaining and raising their voices.”

Deputy Director-General of Clinical Services in the Gauteng Health Department, Doctor Richard Lebethe testified before the inquest on Tuesday: 

Finance minister expects a decline in GDP as result of recent looting and violence
8 September 2021, 8:11 PM

The recent unrest in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng was again under the spotlight in the National Assembly. Ministers in government’s economic cluster fielded various questions during an oral session on the short and medium-term effects, as well as the interventions put in place to assist those affected.

Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana says while it is too early to accurately determine the short and medium-term economic impact of the recent violence in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng, the country is likely to see a reduction in the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

The damage caused has been estimated to be around R50 billion. Godongwana says more concrete information would be available soon.

“We are expecting a one percentage point less even decline in GDP figures in the third quarter. Obviously, any decline in growth output is likely to have a negative impact on unemployment as well.”

Business owners were negatively affected by the looting:

Minister of Employment and Labour Thulas Nxesi has called on those affected by the recent unrest to apply for relief from a fund set up specifically for this purpose.

“There is funding set aside in the form of relief scheme, to assist workers affected by the unrest, gazetted as the destroyed, affected or looted workplaces, temporary financial relief scheme. All affected employers are encouraged to apply.”

Some branches of the Post Office were also affected.

Minister of Communications and Digital Technologies Khumbudzo Ntshavheni says alternative arrangements such as mobile ATMs were made to ensure grant recipients could still receive their money.

“Where there was minimum damage, services continued. In some instances, manual processes were put in place. In worst-case scenarios, clients were advised to go to the nearest point, in some instances additional pay points were arranged.”

7 338 new coronavirus cases identified in SA
8 September 2021, 8:01 PM

South Africa has recorded 7 338 new coronavirus cases, bringing the total number of laboratory-confirmed cases to 2 836 773 This increase represents a 13.3% positivity rate.

The National Institute for Communicable Diseases says infections seem to be showing signs of a sustained downward trend.

“Although the total number of cases today is higher than yesterday and higher than the average number of new cases per day over the previous seven days, the number of new cases and positivity rate have decreased nationally compared to last week,” says NICD acting Executive Director Prof Adrian Puren.

A further 253 COVID-19 related deaths have been reported, bringing total fatalities to 84 152 to date.

Latest coronavirus stats:

 

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Government launches campaign to get more South Africans vaccinated
8 September 2021, 7:35 PM

The government is determined to get more people vaccinated against COVID-19. It has launched a campaign titled “Return to Play- It’s in Your Hands.”

The initiative seeks to get more people to come forward to vaccinate, helping the country reach herd immunity. Deputy President David Mabuza and Sports, Arts, and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa introduced the campaign in Johannesburg.

Sports personalities and musicians united and lamented the COVID-19 pandemic and its crippling impact on their industries.

It has been over 500 days since the country has been under lockdown and no one has been able to attend a soccer match apart from players and their support team.

Gauteng Premier David Makhura says that has to change.

“Today marks the return to FNB stadium. We have been forced to make major readjustments in our lives.”

However, Makhura says this can only happen if herd immunity is reached.

“We can only fully return to some new normality when we have vaccinated almost 80 % of our population.”

It has not been an easy task, with many people choosing not to vaccinate. SAFA President Danny Jordaan says they plan to give free tickets to people who have been vaccinated to attend matches at stadiums.

However, they will be guided by the Coronavirus Command Council.

“When you look at what happens in Europe, why is it that Euro finals can have over 60 000 people in the stadium? Can have fans celebrating before, during, and after the match? In the match against Ethiopia, we are going to give 50% of the tickets to fans which we will distribute freely. Provided you are vaccinated.”

Since last month, all South Africans over the age of 18 were encouraged to vaccinate. However, many are reluctant. Mabuza believes communication is a key factor.

“We have no doubt that, with the active participation of leaders and practitioners in the creative sectors and sport, we will reach every village, every suburb, and every street corner to get South Africans vaccinated.”

Deputy President David Mabuza’s address at the launch of the vaccination drive: 


Former Bafana Bafana and Kaizer Chiefs player Siphiwe Tshabalala has called on the public to get the vaccine.

“I for one I will be honest. I was very skeptical and very hesitant to take it. Then I conducted my own research and spoke to different doctors and I realised that it’s the right thing to do. Not so long ago I took my jab on live tv and I’m here. I’m alive.”

Springbok Captain Siya Kolisi agrees.

“I would like to encourage every single person to try to register to get vaccinated as we want to get back to as much normality as possible.”

Among those who attended the launch were musicians Yvonne Chaka Chaka, Big Zulu and DJ Tira.

Lowering inflation target point could benefit SA’s economy: Kganyago
8 September 2021, 6:42 PM

Reserve Bank Governor Lesetja Kganyago says lowering the inflation target point could benefit the country’s economy by keeping interest rates low. Kganyago says, however, lowering rates is not the answer to the country’s unemployment problem.

He says implementing structural reforms is the only way to reduce unemployment. Kganyago was delivering a virtual public lecture hosted by Stellenbosch University.

He says a clear target of 3% would be more useful than the current inflation target range of 3 to 6 %. He says lowering the county’s inflation target range was always part of the plan until policymakers lost their nerve when the rand depreciated during the Argentine crisis in 2001.

“Naturally, a step like this would involve some work. Part of this would be coordination with the government. The task of locking in a lower target will be fundamentally easier and cheaper if we get buy-in from administered price setters. Stats SA reports a measure of inflation excluding administered prices, and this is already in the region of 3%, it has averaged 3.5% so far this year.”

Kganyago says the easiest way to destroy price stability in South Africa would be to insist on lowering interest rates because of unemployment. He says a move like that would result in higher inflation as well as higher unemployment.

“I am even more painfully aware of a South African disease. We are scared of reform; we make every excuse to avoid it; we emphasise any short-term pain and discount any long-term benefits, and then we sit around wondering why our economy is stagnating, why our young people can’t find jobs, and why we are getting steadily poorer relative to the rest of the world.”

Kganyago says despite the country’s challenges, prices for export commodities have improved this year, while the pace of economic recovery from the COVID-19 shock is promising.

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