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More than 10 000 registered for this year’s virtual Comrades Marathon
9 June 2021, 2:32 PM

More than 10 000 athletes have registered for this year’s virtual Comrades Marathon due to take place on Sunday. This will be the second virtual race after last year’s Comrades Legend race.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, people ran remotely and shared their experiences online.

This year people can enter to run distances of 5 kilometres, 10 kilometres, a half-marathon, 45 kilometres and the full Comrades distance of 90 kilometres.

Comrades Marathon Association Vice-Chairperson, Mqondisi Ngcobo, says entries are still open until race day for the centenary anniversary of the event.

“At this point, we have about 10 720 entrants all over the world and we’re still expecting more entries as we are going to be taking entries until the day of the race which is Sunday, the 13th of June 2021. Because they are expected to run from their locations or location of their choice from midnight on the 13th of June until just before midnight on the 14th of June which is Monday, they can run the whole day and they can choose the distance of their choice.”

Last week the Comrades Marathon Association hosted an event at the Comrades House in Pietermaritzburg to mark the centenary of the race.  The first marathon was run on 24 May 1921 by 34 runners.

Race Director, Rowyn James says it would have been great to celebrate the 100th year mark through the normal race, however, COVID-19 changed things:

 

KwaZulu-Natal on verge of entering a third wave of pandemic: KZN officials meet amid potential coronavirus third wave
6 June 2021, 6:06 PM

KwaZulu-Natal government officials say there are worrying signs that the province is on the verge of entering a third wave of COVID-19, with infections rising sharply.

They’ve urged the public to be extra-vigilant and observe COVID-19 protocols. This was announced by Premier Sihle Zikalala while addressing the media on COVID-19 status in the province.

Zikalala urges South Africans to behave responsibly as some provinces are already battling the third wave of the coronavirus pandemic: 

 

Red flag

KwaZulu-Natal has not yet reached weekly increases in COVID-19 infections that trigger an alert level of the third wave. Only one district, Amajuba is slowly reaching the alert level line.

However, officials have raised the red flag, cautioning people not to organise super-spreader events and to observe safety protocols to protect themselves from the life-threatening disease.

The province has recorded over 340 000 infections. It has the second-highest number of deaths in the country with over 10 500.

COVID-19 vaccination

Premier Zikalala has stressed the importance of accelerating the COVID-19 vaccination programme in the province, as South Africa faces a potential third wave.

He has outlined some plans to curb any third wave in KwaZulu-Natal. “In terms of emergency early warnings, a 10% increase in cases over a 7-day and a 20% increase in cases will trigger a resurgence which may indicate that we are entering the third wave of  COVID-19 infections. Our strategy to deal with a potential third wave stands on the following pillars, testing all COVID- 19 suspected pillars, isolation of confirmed cases, monitoring of those who are self-isolating, tracing all contacts, dedicating beds for quarantine as well as ICU, ensuring oxygen availability, accelerating vaccination, so this is the totality of the plan to curb the third wave.”

The government recently announced the move to an adjusted Alert Level 2 lockdown amidst fears of a potential third wave in the coming weeks.

Zikalala says he is concerned about the rate of increase of coronavirus cases in the province. He says the rise in infections in the Amajuba district is of great concern.

“The province of KwaZulu-Natal continues to observe an increase in the number of new cases recorded weekly and that is very concerning. The overall percentage change in the number of new cases between week 21 and week 22 was 24%. The actual number of new cases was 726 for week 21 and 900 for week 22 respectively. Amajuba District is the only district that has reached the alert line.”

He adds that they are also concerned about the increase in the number of COVID-19 cases at some schools in the province, encouraging people to wear masks, social distancing, and regular handwashing to combat the rise in infections at schools.

“We are also concerned by a few schools which have reported a high number of infections within a space of a few days. For example, on Friday, the 4th of June one school under uMzinyathi reported 16 positive cases of learners, another school under the uThukela District reported 15 positive cases of learners. The Department of Education will continue to implement COVID-19 protocols and to provide necessary PPE’s.” -Additional reporting by Nonhlakanipho Magwaza 

 

The Musical of 1976 Soweto uprisings attracts Durban art lovers
6 June 2021, 4:32 PM

The launch of the theatre production “Harken Lalela 1976 -The Musical” at Durban’s Playhouse has attracted art lovers from all walks of life.

The story centres around a millennial, Nkululeko who initially does not want to vote and then gets to know about the history of the struggle and the killing of young people in 1976.

The youth uprising of 16 June 1976 marked a turning point in the country’s socio-political landscape. In commemoration of the Soweto uprising, renowned theatre producer, Jerry Pooe says the play aims to teach the youth that the future is in their hands.

“The message I am trying to get through to the young people is that the future is in their hands. They mustn’t always blame the politics of the day, they must do something about it.

“So, that is why I always remind them that destiny is in their hands. We are doing it through a boy that is refusing to go to the mountain. But that is a metaphor for actually getting involved in what is happening in your life, your society, in your community so that you can have a purpose. And then it is you who can bring change from what is happening,” explains Pooe.

The play tells the story of SA’s struggle before democracy:

‘Seek knowledge about history’ 

Aspirant actor Mthobisi Khanyile, who plays lead character Nkululeko, says there are many lessons the youth can take from the play. This includes learning to seek knowledge about the history of their country.

“I’m representing the anger of every single person who is a youth in South Africa in each and every corner. I think each and every problem has a solution, it depends on how you decide to look at the problems. For example, Nkululeko is facing the problem of being negative about everything, about the system. It took him just to give it time and look at the other side of the situation, so that he can find something good about voting, about the state, about government, about everything. It taught me not to look at anything from one side.”

Youth of 1976

The family of Hector Pieterson attended the premiere of the play. The play centres around what happened to the youth of 1976 with a touch of how today’s young people view life around them.

Pieterson’s sister, Antoinette Sithole, who was also at the 1976 march where her 10-year old brother was shot dead, says young people back then wanted to be heard and that there was no need for police brutality. Sithole says she still remembers vividly what happened.

“I still feel like it happened yesterday and I am recalling what was happening during the 1976 era. Actually, I was very angry because we were just conveying the message, we never thought things will turn out the way they did and besides we were youngsters. We were not fighting anyone, we were just conveying our message so that we can be heard. Yes, we knew that we were oppressed but when police fired at us then I was very angry and devastated. We were young, we just needed to be heard, not for them to kill us. They should have resorted to something better.”

Struggle songs

The music in the play also evoked memories for the older generations through struggle songs. The musical features household names such as Melusi Yeni, popularly known for his roles in TV soapies Generations and Imbewu: The Seed.

“I think what excited me now is that we are telling the story to the young ones. More so your 2000s, the young guys who know very little about where we come from in this country with the struggle; to be able to take the day and introduce it to these people the way we are able to do it. For me, it just spoke exactly what I needed.

“Also what I like is that Bra Jerry, who wrote and directed the piece, went as far as to research people who were actually part and parcel of June 16, who were there, people who got shot at, so it just gave the story substance that we took actual cases of people who had issues around that same day.  It is quite a powerful story. Every year, we are reminded as young people to be responsible and patriotic South Africans.”

Seventy percent of the production cast and staff are female and almost the entire cast is made up of young people. The musical is expected to tour South African theatres later in the year.

Motlanthe urges ANC members to raise concerns within party structures
6 June 2021, 3:18 PM

Former President Kgalema Motlanthe has called on African National Congress (ANC) members and leaders to refrain from voicing their concerns about the party, outside party structures.

He says this will have detrimental effects on the lifeblood of the ANC. Motlanthe delivered the keynote address at a wreath-laying ceremony of the late struggle icon, Andrew Mlangeni and his wife June,  at the Roodepoort Cemetery, in Johannesburg, on Sunday.

The ANC leadership honoured an icon Ntate Andrew Mlangeni. The ANC and the June and Andrew Mlangeni Foundation remembered the fallen icon alongside his wife through a wreath-laying ceremony at the Roodepoort Cemetery in Johannesburg, where Mlangeni was laid to rest last year.

If he was still alive he would be celebrating his 96th birthday.

Motlanthe leads the wreath-laying ceremony for late struggle icon:

Motlanthe had this to say to ANC members and leaders, whom he says, are airing the organisation’s challenges in the public.

“You can’t be selective about it. You can’t live values when you are in formal meetings. And when you leave formal meetings, you become a free agent because wherever you are, you are the embodiment of the ANC. Whatever you say and do has consequences. That is why it’s a measure of one’s consciousness.”

‘Renewal and self-correction’ 

The ANC NEC says in honour of the late Mlangeni, renewal and self-correction will continue to take place in the ANC.

“On behalf of the National Executive Committee, we want to thank and appreciate the Mlangeni and Ledwaba family for coming forward to work in partnership with the ANC in celebrating the legacy of Mlangeni under the theme: “Morality, ethics, and renewal”. It actually fits well in this period of 2021 where we have our national team of unity, renewal, and rebuilding in the year of Charlotte Maxeke. What is most important is that here lies a person who has been very selfless and protective of the ANC, who passed on being concerned about the state of the organisation, and in his memory, we do believe that as the NEC we owe it to people like him in ensuring that we bring the NEC together and we self-correct,” says NEC member  Nomvula Mokonyane.

June and Andrew Mlangeni Foundation Chairperson, Professor Hlengiwe Mkhize says they are delighted. “We were committed to taking forward his last struggle of dealing with moral issues and especially within his own organisation and also ethical issues and we thought, look we are all in it now, he’s gone, let’s talk openly about these things and difficult topics. And so we are really grateful that Ntate Mlangeni set a tone.”

Mkhize says Mlangeni was against corruption and how it is costing the poor:

The University of South Africa hosted an Inaugural Memorial Lecture for the freedom fighter. It was delivered by Justice and Correctional Services Minister, Ronald Lamola:

 

Mabuza urges South Africains to wait for SIU’s investigation on Digital Vibes
5 June 2021, 9:51 PM

Deputy President David Mabuza has weighed in regarding the R150 million Digital Vibes scandal allegedly linked to Health Minister Zweli Mkhize. He was addressing a group of military veterans in Limpopo on Saturday.

The Special Investigative Unit (SIU) is probing allegations that the minister benefited from the money paid to Digital Vibes to do public relations work for the department.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) is among those calling for the resignation of Mkhize.

Mabuza says people should wait for the outcome of the investigation.

“Of course if there are allegations they will always disrupt the thinking of government but I think we should take from what the President has said that this is being attended to. We will wait for the final version of the investigations by the SIU and then the President will then take the matter forward.”

The Deputy President speaks about Digital Vibes scandal towards the end of this video clip: 

Earlier the Special Investigation Unit’s Kaizer Kganyago says they’re still investigating and plan to conclude the probe soon: 

Mabuza addresses concerns of military veterans

Deputy President David Mabuza says about R654 million meant to assist military veterans is lying idle in the Department of Defence and is not being used because the department has not been working properly.

Mabuza was addressing a group of military veterans in Limpopo on Saturday. He’s urged military veterans to form one single group – instead of fighting one another.

“Well, the money has not been used, it lies in the department because there is a number of problems but the military veterans are complaining.  The biggest problem that we are facing is the verification program which affects the none statutory forces.”

Mabuza says he hopes that now that a Director-General of the department has been appointed,  military veterans will get the assistance they want.

He has urged military veterans across all the political spectrum to organise themselves and to enable the government to adequately support them.

Military veterans often complain about a lack of decent housing, health services, and jobs.

‘Disunity among veterans’

Mabuza says disunity and groupings among military veterans and ex-combatants are undermining the government’s efforts to address their challenges. He says military veterans from former liberations parties are also battling with verification of struggle credentials.

“You must try and organise yourselves, we don’t want these groupings amongst yourselves because we don’t understand why you are fighting amongst yourselves. You are a community that is getting smaller and smaller, you are a community that is aging so why would old people fight among themselves, MKVA, and the military council you must go and solve your issues with immediate effect. It’s not good for this community.”

Mabuza interacts with veterans from the South African Defence Force, Mkhonto we Sizwe, Azanian Peoples’ Liberation Army, and the Venda Defence Force in Polokwane, Limpopo.

Deputy President David Mabuza engaged with veterans from the South African Defence Force, Mkhonto we Sizwe, Azanian Peoples’ Liberation Army and the Venda Defence Force: 

Although they are still disgruntled, veterans believe there is now a glimmer of hope. “I am from Azanla MVA, hopefully, our problems will be attended to once the partnership can be forged between us and the national government. ”

MK National Council’s Emmanuel Maake says, “We have had all the sorts of problems including health, housing, pensions school fees for children, we are basically struggling.”

Some military veterans were not happy that they were denied entry to the venue where Mabuza was addressing them. They were not on the list of those who were expected to enter the rugby stadium.

 

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