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COVID-19
‘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:

Crime
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.

Magashule
There must be no rush to boot people out of the ANC: Mashatile
6 April 2021, 5:10 PM

African National Congress (ANC) Treasurer-General, Paul Mashatile, says the party must not rush to boot out leaders charged with corruption.

Mashatile’s comments come when legally and politically embattled Secretary General, Ace Magashule and other party members charged with corruption have until the end of April to step aside.

He says those who have to step aside like Magashule must not feel like the party is abandoning them.

Mashatile was speaking on the sidelines of the party’s commemoration of late freedom fighter, Solomon ‘Kalushi’ Mahlangu.

“There is no rush. We have to do things properly, follow our guidelines. Those who are alleged to be involved in wrongdoings or are charged for particular crimes must also feel that there is fairness in the organisation. There must be no rush to boot people out of the ANC. Comrades must feel they have been heard before any decision is taken.”

Mashatile also says former President Zuma and his successor Cyril Ramaphosa are ironing out their differences since the Top Six meeting with Zuma.

However, the South Africa Communist Party (SACP) has pleaded with the ANC to fully implement the step-aside resolution without fear or favour.

“Those comrades who unfortunately are affected by allegations of corruption before the courts of law must respect that decision of the NEC to step aside in 30 days. It is important for that resolution to be implemented wholeheartedly and in the SACP, those who don’t do so, we will help them to step aside.”

The step-aside resolution has further exacerbated political tensions and divisions in the governing part, making the 54th National Conference resolution of unity a pipe dream.

“I will remain ANC member until I die” 

Meanwhile, last week Magashule said he respected and has accepted the decision of the ANC National Executive Committee (NEC) for him to step aside.

Magashule and 14 others are facing corruption allegations in the Bloemfontein Regional Court relating to the asbestos housing project in the Free State while he was premier.

Speaking to the media, Magashule also dispelled suggestions that he would leave the ANC and form his own party. He said he would remain an ANC member until he dies.

Divisions

The ANC in the Eastern Cape also called on Magashule to immediately stop sowing divisions in the governing party.  

The call came after ANC National Executive Committee member Joel Netshitenzhe had written a newspaper article in which he had launched a scathing attack against Magashule. 

Netshitenzhe had accused Magashule of leading a campaign to undermine ANC structures. 

Netshitenzhe, who had written the opinion piece in his personal capacity, had warned that Magashule’s faction, which is referred to as Radical Economic Transformation (RET) forceswould continue to fight against party structures. 

This in reference to Magashule distancing himself from the party’s step aside guidelines.  

“And so, a trend is emerging where the secretary-general of the ANC is starting to stick out like a sore thumb among his peers and across the movement. This seems to form part of a wider campaign to undermine the structures of the ANC”, says Netshitenzhe.

Weather

 

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