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Condolences pour in for struggle icon and education specialist Graeme Bloch
9 April 2021, 10:06 PM

Messages of condolences are being sent to struggle stalwart Cheryl Carolus, whose husband Graeme Bloch, died at Constantiaberg Hospital in Cape Town today. The 65-year-old Bloch died following a long illness.

His brother, Lance, broke the news of his passing on social media.

Bloch was actively involved in the struggle for liberation, especially in the 80s.

He was part of the End Conscription Campaign against military deployment under apartheid.

“Comrade Graeme Bloch was one of the outstanding activists and member of the ANC, a committed revolutionary democrat in the struggle against racism in this country especially fighting against apartheid. He was one of those actively involved in the End Conscription Campaign,” says Western Cape ANC Convenor, Lerumo Kalako.

Bloch was married to former ANC Deputy Secretary-General, Cheryl Carolus, for 31 years.

Family spokesperson and former Finance Minister, Trevor Manuel, says Bloch will be remembered for his self-sacrifice.

“Graeme was an activist already at high school, at UCT he was the part of the group of students arrested and tortured after a march in solidarity in 1976 soon thereafter and this was at the age of 20 Graeme was banned for five years,” says Manuel.

Veteran journalist, Dennis Cruywagen, says he has fond memories of Bloch.

“He was prepared to put aside his White privilege and to join us in the struggle and to fight for liberty and equality and freedom for all, he was a prominent member of the UDF, he was a prominent member of the National Education Crisis Committee and he was a prominent member of the end conscription campaign,” says Cruywagen.

In a statement, President Cyril Ramaphosa says South Africa will always remember with admiration his contribution to the liberation struggle. He also praised Bloch’s contribution in the education sector towards adopting policies that opened the doors to millions of historically excluded people.

‘COVID-19 vaccination rollout in Mpumalanga proceeding smoothly’
9 April 2021, 6:20 PM

Deputy Minister in the Presidency, Thembi Siweya, says she is satisfied with the rolling out of the COVID-19 vaccination programme in Mpumalanga.

Siweya visited the Shongwe Hospital to monitor the state of readiness for Phase 2 of the province’s vaccination programme.

She was accompanied by the MEC for Health, Sasekani Manzini.

Shongwe Hospital is one of the COVID-19 vaccination sites in Mpumalanga. Currently, the programme is focusing on frontline workers. About 16 000 of the more than 51 000 healthcare workers in the province have been vaccinated so far.

The province is waiting for more vaccines so it can continue with the first phase of the programme.

Most of the frontline workers have welcomed the programme and they say the vaccination will ease their anxiety of contracting COVID-19.

Mpumalanga has so far recorded more than 64 000 COVID -19 cases with more than 1 300 fatalities.

“I am very much delighted although sometimes there is that fear about the side effects. I have seen some of my colleagues. They have (been) vaccinated and there are no side effects. I am willing to take that risk. We are very grateful for the vaccination, because we work in very difficult conditions. Sometimes, patients arrives in critical conditions. This thing is good, because we can protect ourselves and family as well,” the healthcare workers say.

The province has so far received more than 17 000 vaccines.

Manzini says more sites are being opened in preparation for Phase 2 of the programme.

“We managed to vaccinate 16 624. We are planning to put more sites in the province because so far, we are left with 941 vaccines, that we are busy with. The sites that are left include Evander, and Kwamhlanga. We are also opening other sites at Embuleni and Themba Hospital,” says the MEC.

While expressing satisfaction with how the programme is proceeding so far, Deputy Minister Siweya also acknowledged that more resources are needed.

“I am very much impressed (with) the fact that they were able to designate a site and say this is going to be the vaccination site.  If you are coming to the vaccination there is a different entrance; there is a separation between your normal patients and these ones. We are really impressed,” she says.

The presidency is monitoring the COVID-19 vaccination programme across the country.

Below the national Health Minister outlines COVID-19 vaccine rollout plan:

Motorists in North West urged to be vigilant when driving on deserted roads
8 April 2021, 4:15 PM

Police have warned motorists in the North West to be extra vigilant when travelling on deserted roads as armed robberies in the Brits area have picked up again.

Fifty-eight-year-old taxi driver, Sello Kgasu, was killed on Good Friday while driving in the De Wildt area when his taxi drove over spikes that were placed on the road. The two attackers shot and killed Kgasu and robbed his two passengers during the ambush.

Samuel Letlape, member of the Letlhabile/Brits United Local and Long Distance Taxi Association, says some roads have become increasingly dangerous to drive on.

Police Spokesperson, Captain Sam Tselenyane, says armed gangs have in the past used the same modus operandi to rob motorists. However, this is the first incident of its kind in recent times.

“These criminals stopped from these modus operandi, but as we can see now, it is again mushrooming in the province whereby the spikes are just spread along the road so that the cars can get puncture and the motorists are being attacked,” says Tselenyane.

The police’s 72-hour activation plan was put in operation after the attack.

“Until now, no one has been arrested and our police in Mmakau are following any lead that can assist in arresting the suspects. We are appealing  to community members, especially the road users to be very vigilant when they are driving on that road, especially in the night or in the area of de Wildt,” says the police spokesperson.

Brits community lives in fear after man shot and killed on R556:


Somalia’s election deadlock continues
8 April 2021, 3:30 PM

Another round of talks to resolve Somalia’s election deadlock has ended without a deal in the capital Mogadishu. The negotiations collapsed as the international community pressed Somali President Mohammed Abdullahi Farmaajo and leaders of federal states to reach a deal.

Contentious issues include the formation of the electoral commission, the selection of commission members for the breakaway region of Somaliland, and the crisis in the Somalia-Kenya border region of Gedo.

Critics have accused Farmaajo, who is seeking a second term, of delaying the election to extend his current mandate.

“The first thing to say is that there is huge disappointment all across Somalia because of the collapse of the talks, but I think clearly anybody (who) has been following this crisis for some time would probably not be surprised by this turn of events. The writing was on the wall and it was clearly these talks were headed nowhere,” says Horn of Africa researcher at the International Crisis Group, Rashid Abdi.

Fundamental change in governance needed to achieve peace, says Prof Abdi Ismail Samatar:

The parliamentary and presidential election was due to be held in February.

On Saturday, at least 10 people were killed when a suicide bomber struck makeshift kiosks in the Somali capital, hitting hours after al Shabaab militants attacked two National Army bases outside the city.

The attacks come amid heightened fears that the group could seek to exploit vulnerabilities created by failure to the election. – Additional reporting by Reuters

Previously retrenched poultry workers spread their wings to create employment
6 April 2021, 8:03 PM

A poultry farm in Durban is spreading its wings and creating employment. Previously retrenched poultry workers started the new agricultural co-operative last year.

Isukile Agricultural Co-operative is the brain-child of 129 employees who pulled together after losing their jobs.

The chicken farm started off with a few chicks but grew into a fully-fledged business.

With a capacity to house 34 000 chickens and in their first cycle the business has generated over R230 000.

One employee, Nonhle Ndunge, says the project has not only been a lifeline but has taught them vital business skills.

“We have 7 500 chickens and we want to grow our capacity so that we can sell our chickens to a bigger audience and export them. We have approached Nando’s but they eat in bulk and we are still working on a small scale, but hopefully, we will grow our capacity.”

The success of this co-op farm has seen the eThekwini municipality come on board. The project has also received land with a suitable farm and additional support.

“So far, we have invested about R18 million, including the R4 million we allocated in buying the farm. We are working together in collaboration with the Department of Economic Development which is also assisting. We are also responding to the call of food security and ensuring the export and import markets are thriving. We don’t want to be the dumping site for countries. We want to become a productive nation that can feed itself,” says Mayor of eThekwini, Mxolisi Kaunda.

The intention is that they reinvest into the farm to fix additional infrastructure and increase space for more birds.

“We are thinking of expanding the farm to be able to sell the chicken eggs”, says on e of the employees, Muduza Maphulo.

“We don’t have enough ventilation. We have to use normal light but it was doable. We loaded 7 500 chickens just to test and see if it goes well and it went very well because the people that are here are more than willing to work,” adds another worker, Thando Magane.

There is also a bigger plan for the Cato Ridge farm which will see the site upgraded into an Agri-Park Incubator and eventually create additional jobs.



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