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R503 road reopens following community protest in North West
24 May 2021, 2:12 PM

Police in the North West have had their hands full since Monday morning, dispersing residents who had blockaded some roads leading into Mafikeng.

The R503 road linking Mahikeng and Lichtenburg and N18 linking Mahikeng and Vryburg were earlier barricaded with various objects.

The residents are protesting against lack of service delivery, unemployment, poverty, the neglect of tourism attractions in Mahikeng, and the selling of properties built during the Bophuthatswana governance which include residential and commercial properties.

They say the selling of Bop properties is stripping the province of the Bophuthatswana government legacy, instead of uplifting the economy of the province

Police Spokesperson Sabata Mokgwaabone says they have now opened the R503, while Vryburg road is still closed at Makhubung village.

‘The police have since managed to disperse protestors at Dihatshwane village and opened the road where traffic is now flowing. In the Mahikeng / Vryburg road near Kedirile inn, the road has also been opened. However, in Makhubung village, the road is still closed. As a result, we are urging motorists to exercise caution and to cooperate with the law enforcement officials who are controlling traffic.”

Local roads in Mahikeng blockaded:

Zweli Mkhize
VIDEO: Mkhize launches Phase 2 of COVID-19 vaccination campaign
16 May 2021, 8:06 PM

The National Health Council, led by the Minister of Health Dr Zweli Mkhize, is launching Phase 2 of the mass COVID-19 vaccination campaign.

Phase two will run concurrently with phase 1B for health workers who haven’t been inoculated under the Sisonke Study.

Link to the stream below:

SABC
SABC expects to stabilise over the next three financial years: Communications Dept
12 May 2021, 9:12 PM

The SABC’s finances are expected to stabilise over the next three financial years. This is according to the Communications Department that briefed Parliament about the expected financial performances of some of the entities that report to it.

The briefing focused on the 2021/22 annual performance plan and budgets for the entities.

Communications Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams told the Portfolio Committee on Communications that most of the public broadcaster’s revenue will be generated through advertising.

” We are urging the SABC to consider utilising financial ratios as a measure for liquidity and financial position. From a financial point of view, the total revenue is expected to increase by 28 %, 17 % and 13%  respectively for each of the financial years over the medium term. In the indication of the documents submitted this growth will be driven by advertising revenue that is expected to increase by 21 % between 2021 and 2022. Of course chairperson, in the documents they have detailed we are expecting to see an expenditure from R7 billion in 2021/2022 to R8,1 billion in 2023 to 2024. ”

SABC briefs parliament on its 2021/22 performance plan, budget:

Reduced salary bill

The salary bill of permanent employees at the SABC is expected to decrease by R317 million over the 2021 and 2022 financial year. The public broadcaster has completed its Section 189 process in the past two months, with 621 permanent employees leaving the corporation. Ndabeni-Abrahams says this envisaged decline in costs includes other relevant expenses.

“Permanent employee costs are expected to decline by  R317  million in the 2021/2022 financial year. They are again making reference to signal distribution costs which are expected to decrease by four percent over the medium term and of course the review of signal costs with Sentech including the impact of switched off has not been factored into the budget process.”

SABC reports R511 million net loss for 2019/2020 financial year

Last year,  the corporation reported a net loss of R511 million, a 6% decline compared to the previous year, but a 20% better performance against budget.

“In a challenging economic environment, total revenue declined by 12% year-on-year to R5.7 billion. The decline can be attributed primarily to a decrease in advertising spend across the industry and the delay in finalising commercial partnerships on digital platforms. TV licence revenue has also come under pressure under difficult economic conditions for our audiences,” read a statement issued at the time.

The SABC also reported that the “total expenses were under budget” which they have attributed to cash flow constraints that led to a significant decline of investment in content, infrastructure, repairs and maintenance and marketing.

“There was a resultant 28% decline in content investment and a 16% decline in other operational expenditure,” said the SABC in the statement, although they were quick to caution that, “despite this, the Cost-to-Income ratio of 110%, remains completely unsustainable.”

 

Uganda army to join Congo in offensive against rebels: Kinshasa government
12 May 2021, 8:39 PM
The Ugandan and Congo armies are setting up an operations centre in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo for a joint offensive against rebels who have killed hundreds of people in the last year, Congo’s government said.
On Sunday a delegation from the Ugandan Peoples Defence  Force (UPDF) including the commander of Uganda’s ground forces arrived in Beni in Congo’s North Kivu province to establish a coordination centre for the two armies, Kinshasa’s communications ministry said on Wednesday.
A Congo army spokesman was not immediately available for comment. A Ugandan army spokesman said he could not confirm the information given by Congo’s government.
On May 3 Congo introduced martial law in North Kivu and Ituri provinces in the hope of addressing worsening bloodshed in a swathe of territory along its border with Uganda.
The countries were enemies during Congo’s civil wars, which officially ended in 2003. Relations between the two have at times been strained since then.
A militia with roots in Uganda, the Allied Democratic Forces(ADF), is believed to be responsible for much of the recent violence, killing around 850 people last year, according to UN figures.
“The (Congolese army) and the UPDF are determined to fight the ADF,” Congo’s ministry of information said in a statement, without giving further details.
The ADF has carried out a spate of reprisal attacks on civilians since Congo’s army began operations against it in late 2019.
In March, the United States labelled the group a foreign terrorist organisation because of alleged links to the Islamic State group, although the United Nations has consistently played down the strength and nature of IS influence in Congo.
In April, Congo said it was seeking over $4 billion in reparations from Uganda for its role in the conflicts between 1998-2003 that included supporting rebel groups.
Film
‘Maverick is still a maverick’ :Top Gun producer on highly anticipated sequel
12 May 2021, 8:24 PM

For millions of movie fans, the ‘need for speed’ is just as thrilling now as it was when ‘Top Gun’ premiered 35 years ago. Producer Jerry Bruckheimer said he doesn’t know why the film instantly became a classic, but actor Rick Rossovich likened it to the movie’s complexity.

“There’s a lot of emotional layers. A lot of, you know, things happen in the film that are kind of heavy. And then it’s all of a sudden it’s action and all of a sudden it’s romance and all of a sudden it’s the music,” said Rossovich who played Slider.

Bruckheimer is hoping to capture that same spirit again when the film’s sequel is released in November.

“Maverick is still a Maverick, that’s all I’m going to tell you. He’s still a Maverick. He’s still an engaging, fun character. And we take him on a really nice ride. He goes through a really nice character arc in this movie.”

Rossovich wouldn’t reveal if he is in the new film: ” I’m sworn to secrecy. I might show up, I don’t know, maybe I got cut out, I don’t know. Maybe I’m in there, maybe I’m not. I might just, like, be a ghost.”

In the 1986 film, Tom Cruise played the cocky pilot Maverick, one of the top students in an US training camp for elite military fighter pilots and engaged in a bitter rivalry with a fellow pilot played by Val Kilmer.

The film launched Cruise’s career as a global action star and grossed more than $350 million (USD) globally, according to film tracker BoxOfficeMojo.com.

The sequel picks up decades after the box-office hit and features actor Miles Teller as the son of Anthony Edwards’ pilot Goose, who is killed during a training exercise in the first movie.

“Top Gun: Maverick” also stars Jon Hamm, Ed Harris and Val Kilmer, who reprises his rule as Maverick’s rival Iceman.

While fans wait for the release they can celebrate Top Gun Day on May 13th by viewing the movie in Dolby Cinemas at AMC in the US or on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-Ray or Digital.

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