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N Cape SAOU concerned over unvaccinated teachers and support staff
31 July 2021, 5:33 PM

The Suid-Afrikaanse Onderwysersunie ( SAOU) in the Northern Cape has raised concerns about the number of teachers and educational support staff who have not been vaccinated.

More than 3 000 workers in the provincial education system did not get inoculated during the three-week vaccine rollout programme.

The education department has only vaccinated about 11 000 teachers and support staff, out of the anticipated number of more than 14 000.

The Northern Cape Department of Education was hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.

In May – the department recorded at least 41  fatalities due to COVID-19 related complications.

Some 300 schools were also affected.

SAOU believes this alone should be motivation to take the COVID-19 shot.

“We have to respect those who do not want to vaccinate for valid reasons. If the reasons for not being vaccinate are a bit suspicious, we cannot support that. We think it is necessary, we think it is your duty as a teacher to get vaccinated and at least set an example for the society at large,” says SAOU  provincial secretary, Henk Brand.

The union says the glitches during the vaccine rollout programme should not be overlooked.

However, the Provincial Department of Education has given explanations for the more than 3 000 teachers and staff who were not vaccinated.

“In the 3000 plus who were not vaccinated, most of them are those who were on special leave, medical leave, maternity leave etc.  There are those who tested positive for COVID-19 as a result they could not get vaccinated,” says Northern Cape Education Department spokesperson, Lehuma Ntuane.

The department says taking the jab will minimise the closure of schools due to COVID-19 infections and assist in teaching and learning returning to normal.

In the video below, the Northern Cape government outlines its vaccination plans:

SIU disputes claims of bias, lack of impartiality made by Mkhize’s son
31 July 2021, 5:11 PM

The Special Investigating Unit (SIU) has rejected Dedani Mkhize’s allegations of bias and lack of impartiality after the health minister’s son shared a statement to this effect on his Facebook page.

In the statement, Mkhize junior also denies receiving R3.8 million from communications firm, Digital Vibes.

His father, minister Zweli Mkhize, was placed on special leave by president Cyril Ramaphosa as the SIU probed the R150 million tender awarded to the firm.

Mkhize claims he approached the SIU offering to co-operate with the investigation process, but the unit hasn’t contacted him for an interview.

He says had through the media that court papers in this matter were filed and that neither he nor his lawyers have been served.

SIU spokesperson, Kaizer Kganyago, says Dedani Mkhize will be offered another opportunity to file responding papers in court.

“We reject that really with the contempt it deserves because he want to come to the public and say he was not offered and opportunity to be heard and for him what that means is he wanted us to call him and sit face to face with him and talk to him. It was not necessary us to do that because he has signed an affidavit and submitted to us we then considered when we were looking at the investigation and therefore that is being heard.”

Kganyago elaborates on the SIU’s view in the video below:

The SIU says, in court papers, the money must be recuperated and the case be referred to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA).

SIU plans to conclude investigation on the Digital Vibes:

 

Mpumalanga schools ready to resume academic year
25 July 2021, 6:12 PM

The Mpumalanga Department of Education says it is ready to resume the third quarter of the academic year in all the public schools in the province.

The department says that all teaching staff began with preparations last week, ahead of tomorrow’s reopening of schools.

Mpumalanga Education spokesperson, Jasper Zwane, says they are optimistic that teaching and learning will proceed without challenges tomorrow in adherence with COVID- 19 health protocols.

“We are pretty optimistic as the Department of Education in Mpumalanga that it would be all systems go. We have made all the necessary provisions to ensure that upon their return all our learners and our teachers should be able to ensure the safety of everyone, at the same time to try to save the academic year,” says Zwane.

Members ready to go back to classrooms: SADTU

Meanwhile, teachers union SADTU’s general secretary Mgwena Maluleke says their members are ready to go back to classrooms tomorrow.

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga said on Saturday that her department was ready to welcome learners back at schools.

Maluleke says school management teams went back to work last Thursday.

“Education is an enabler and there is no economic recovery unless education is prioritised and our learners have already lost so much time and that we should be able to support our teachers to be safe at their schools and the other working people. We feel strongly as SADTU that the question of whether ready or not ready is really not fair because other people are working,” says Maluleke.

Meanwhile, KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) residents say they believe that the reopening of schools will help children cope mentally especially after the recent unrest in the province and in Gauteng.

“May they open and may there be a peaceful transaction. I have two children at home they are going crazy. We need life to go back to normal. Things need to happen and we need to be preventative and take precautions. We can’t kill our economy and starve millions as we have seen in the unrest. I feel it will just get worse,” says a parent.

UNICEF calls for schools to reopen

The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) in South Africa has advised the government to reopen schools on Monday. UNICEF says failure to reopen schools will continue to disadvantage the poorest of the poor.

UNICEF says SA schools have lost a year of learning:

On Saturday Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga told the media that her department was ready to reopen schools on Monday.

However, she says President Cyril Ramaphosa, who will address the country on Sunday evening, has the final say.

“Reopen the schools, taking into account that the most vulnerable who are the poorest will be the hardest hit by continued school closures. Let them get the children back to school because they also know how to protect themselves,” says UNICEF South Africa’s chief of education, Wycliff Otieno.

UNICEF says thousands of learners have dropped out of school over the last 16-months.

“UNICEF calls on all stakeholders to ‘Reimagine Education’ to help regain the ground lost, by taking advantage of emerging technologies to accelerate education service delivery, while focusing on equity and broader partnerships for greater impact,” notes UNICEF in a statement.

Cyril Ramaphosa
Northern Cape residents call for lockdown relaxations 
25 July 2021, 4:33 PM

In anticipation of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s address tonight, Northern Cape residents have called for lockdown relaxations to allow for more economic activity.

Some believe that the country will be moved to alert level 3 as the country’s COVID-19 vaccination programme gains momentum.

The president will be speaking at 8:30 pm tonight.

Residents in the Northern Cape say they are concerned about the growing unemployment rate due to the pandemic.

Level 4 has caused a lot of job losses. But as people now we are taking the vaccines. I took the vaccine. I believe that government is on the right track to help us as South Africans and see to it that they save as many lives as they can,” says one resident.

” We can go to a lower level, but if people don’t adhere to COVID-19 protocols then we might just stay where we are currently because even now people are not adhering to what is requested from us,” adds another resident.

 “If the president moves us back to another level we would like him to permit alcohol sales in restaurants and establishments,” says a concerned resident.

Businesses hope for relaxed lockdown relaxation

Some sectors of South Africa’s economy, including the alcohol industry, are hoping that President Ramaphosa will relax the regulations in a move aimed at boosting the country’s ailing economy.

The National Liquor Council has called for the President to lift the ban on the sale of alcohol when he addresses the nation.

Council spokesperson Lucky Ntimane says the latest ban on the sale of alcohol has been the harshest yet. He says they haven’t had any direct engagement with the government, despite numerous requests.

The South African Events Council and the Association of African Exhibition Organisers have forecast a bleak future for the events and entertainment industry after its forced closure 19 months ago. Spokesperson and Chairperson, Projeni Pather, says dozens of smaller businesses face closure because of the continuing lockdown.

Alcohol industry expectations from President Ramaphosa’s address:

 

At least six Cameroonian soldiers killed in raid by insurgents
24 July 2021, 9:15 PM

At least six Cameroonian soldiers were killed and four wounded during an attack by militants on an army outpost in the far north of the country, state broadcaster CRTV said on Saturday.

The attack is the deadliest in recent months in northern Cameroon, which alongside neighbouring Nigeria and Chad, has been battling the Boko Haram group for years and, more recently, militants linked to Islamic State.

“Our outpost in Sagme was attacked this morning around 4 a.m. local time (0300 GMT) by a horde of assailants. There were six to seven vehicles and motorcycles and some were on foot. It was a massive attack,” Lazare Ndongo Ndongo, administrative head of the district in the Far North Region, told Reuters.

State television reported the death toll on Twitter, but gave no further details about the attack.

Two military sources who requested anonymity had told Reuters that at least eight soldiers had been killed and several others were wounded.

Local authorities said there has been a steady increase in attacks on the military in the region since the death of Abubakar Shekau, the former leader of Boko Haram.

“Since Shekau’s death there has been an increase in attacks, as the Islamic State West African

Province (ISWAP) move to conquer territories previously held by Boko Haram,” Ndongo said.

“They are gaining momentum. They look more structured, better organised and attack in full force,” he said.

Weather

 

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