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Metrobus strike continues with no end insight
11 May 2021, 9:55 PM

There’s still no end in sight to the Metrobus strike in Johannesburg. All three Metrobus terminals are still closed as a result of deadlocked salary negotiations.

Workers are demanding an 18% salary increase. The Democratic Municipal and Allied Workers Union of South Africa (Demusa) says it’s not backing down.

Spokesperson, Deon Makhura, says the strike will continue until their demands are met.

“For now we are deadlocked because last week we went to Metrobus and they told us, for us to speak to them, we must withdraw the strike. We are demanding an increase of 18% and we are demanding that employees who have been dismissed must be reinstated. It is an indefinite strike and it is not going to stop if the employer doesn’t come to the table,” says Makhura.

Video: Metrobus strike continues

Demawusa stands firm on its demands:

Democratic Municipal and Allied Workers Union of South Africa (Demawusa) says the value of the salary of workers has diminished over the years.

“That’s our opening figure. It encapsulates the loss that has been incurred by workers from 4-5 years, but all these matters are negotiable,” says Demawusa’s Secretary-General, Stephen Faulkner, who maintains that their demands are reasonable.

Faulkner also calls on Metrobus to reimburse commuters who had already bought their tickets.

“It’s not as if  Metrobus was not alerted to the strike, they were well in advance but they allowed commuters to buy future tickets. They have to fully reimburse commuters.

Video: SABC News speaks to Demawusa Secretary-General Stephen Faulkner

Pitso family receives government support following death of five family members
11 May 2021, 9:43 PM

The North West Social Development Department has deployed officials to conduct trauma counselling for the Pitso family in Vaalbank in Coligny.

They lost five family members in an alleged poisoning incident at the weekend.

The department says it will also assist with preparations for a mass funeral.

“Currently the MEC for social development Boitumelo Moiloa has deployed a team of social workers to provide traumatising lessons and counselling to the family members and also ensure that we provide them with social relief of distress in a form of food parcels,” says Department spokesperson Petrus Siko.

Video: Coligny residents in shock after five family members die an alleged poisoning incident:


City of Tshwane plans to convert all households to prepaid electricity within three years
11 May 2021, 9:05 PM

The City of Tshwane says it plans to convert all households from postpaid to prepaid electricity within the next three years.

This is a result of defaulting and slow-paying customers, impacting revenue collection. The city’s finances are dire as a result of defaulting customers, among other issues.

The City of Tshwane’s finances remain under strain. This has been attributed to slow revenue collection as a result of the COVID-19 lockdown, and the alleged  R4 billion deficit inherited from administrators who were in charge for eight months last year.

Mayor Randall Williams says the city is now embarking on a revenue collection drive and is prioritising the conversion to prepaid electricity.

There are about 700 000 electricity connections in the metro municipality. The city has already started converting defaulting businesses –  with defaulting residential households next in line.

MMC for utility services, Phillip Nel, says they will also be targeting complexes that are difficult to access.

“You can understand that for metre readings to get access to gated complexes is a challenge, but we will target a suburb or area. We hope that in three years time, we would have converted most of the consumers within the city.”

Out of 700 000 households, about 170 000 are yet to be converted to prepaid metres.

“The requirement from Nersa is critical in this instance. It was already promulgated a number of years ago that municipalities must convert from postpaid to prepaid. So we’ve just said now we need to comply,” says Finance MMC, Mare-Lisa Fourie.

Mayor Williams says these revenue collection efforts will assist the city to restore core service delivery.

Cele apologises to GBV victims for DNA evidence sample backlog
11 May 2021, 8:10 PM

Police Minister Bheki Cele has apologised to all gender-based violence (GBV) victims for the delays in the processing of DNA samples at forensic laboratories.

Cele was speaking in Parliament during a debate on the backlog of DNA samples at forensic laboratories.

He says government admits that the delays are not acceptable.

“As the minister of police, I would like to take this opportunity and apologise sincerely to all victim for the pains and anguish these delays have caused. We owe it to all of you to be transparent about how we got here and how we will improve the situation in going forward,”says Cele.


SAPS urgently addressing DNA evidence sample backlogs:

Last month Police Minister, Bheki Cele, said the problem of DNA evidence sample backlogs at the National Forensic Science Laboratory was being urgently addressed. Cele said a government IT company had been appointed to track and trace samples.

He said the samples were traced manually in the past, but the new digital system is able to trace seven to 8 000 samples a week.

Police management told Parliament’s portfolio committee recently that backlogs at the National Forensic Science Laboratory stood at over 173 000 cases.

However, Cele said the matter has been given an urgent attention.

GRAPHIC WARNING] DNA Test backlogs | Delays in DNA testing deny victims justice

Pop stars, key workers gather for BRIT Awards in London live music return
11 May 2021, 7:17 PM

Britain’s pop music honours, for which the audience will not have to wear masks or socially distance, are taking place at The O2 Arena on the River Thames as the country emerges from COVID-19 lockdown.


Singers Dua Lipa and Arlo Parkswill perform in front of 4,000 people at the BRIT Awards on Tuesday, in the first major indoor music event with a live audience held in London in over a year.



The ceremony is part of the British government’s Events Research Programme aimed at establishing whether big events can be held in closed environments without social distancing.

“It’s a really important stepping stone on the way back to recovery for the whole of the live music industry,” Steve Sayer, general manager of the O2, told Reuters, adding that it had been14 months since the venue last hosted a gig.

Ticket holders, of which 2,500 are key workers and their guests, have to show proof of a negative lateral flow test result to enter the venue, which has a capacity of around 20,000.

They will also need to take a test afterwards and provide contact details as part of the UK’s COVID test and trace system.
“It feels surreal because it’s been so long,” Zunaira Faiz, who works at a north London hospital, said upon arriving at theO2. “It almost feels like I’m experiencing something nostalgic because we haven’t been able to do this for so long.”

Like elsewhere, the COVID-19 pandemic shut down music events with live audiences in Britain. Under Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s phased roadmap out of lockdown, entertainment venues can re-open their doors next week.

Wanting to embrace the community spirit and kindness seen during COVID-19 lockdown, organisers have said this year’s winners will be given two awards and encouraged to share one.

“Even if we could have had tables with people clinking glasses, it did not feel right to do that,” show runner Selina Webb told publication Music Week.

“There won’t be tables, the focus will be very much on that audience of fans and key workers — what they’ve done and the bravery of them.”
Among those awarded two statuettes will be American songstress Taylor Swift, the first female artist to be honoured with the Global Icon award. David Bowie, Elton John and Robbie Williams were past recipients.
In the main categories, Lipa, Parks and Celeste lead the nominations with three nods each.



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