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Gift of the Givers drills borehole for Helen Joseph Hospital
11 June 2021, 8:33 PM

The CEO of the Helen Joseph Hospital in Johannesburg, Relebohile Ncha, has expressed relief that the hospital’s water problems may soon be over thanks to a borehole being drilled on the premises by Gift of the Givers.

Gift of the Givers says the borehole will help alleviate the water crisis at the Helen Joseph Hospital.

The hospital has been battling with water shortages since last month because the Hurst Hill Reservoir has been running low. It also affected the water supply to the Rahima Moosa Hospital and surrounding areas.

Ncha says patients and staff have been frustrated with water shortages they’ve had to endure in recent weeks. She says those on dialysis and those needing surgery have been the most affected.

She says despite pre-scheduled surgery, they had to prioritise emergency operations as very little water supply was coming into the hospital.

Despite the availability of water tanks and various donations, Ncha says the borehole will give the hospital much-needed relief so they can deliver services to patients in the best possible way.

Humanitarian aid organisation, Gift of the Givers founder, Dr Imtiaz Sooliman, says they were approached by the Helen Joseph Hospital and the Rahima Moosa Mother and Child Hospital to assist in providing water security to these two facilities.

“At 8 o’clock this morning we started drilling to start finding water. Before that geologist, Dr Groenewald gave us 8 points where we should start looking for water. We drilled for 28 metres, we went through some clay … and then some that’s too soft. When you have soft sand it’s difficult to drill and the borehole will collapse. So then we have to stop drilling and put steel casing and then continue drilling until we find the first amount of water.”

Meanwhile, Sooliman says they have successfully found water at the Rahima Moosa Mother and Child Hospital.

About 18 000 litres of water per hour is being pumped from the borehole directly to the hospital.

Sooliman says they are elated at the good news. “Whilst we started to drill at Helen Joseph this morning we connected the borehole directly to the hospital infrastructure. Now if from the municipality the water doesn’t come we are providing 130-thousand litres of water per day uninterrupted supply for the total needs of the hospital every single day. ”


Struggling steel industry gets boost from government
11 June 2021, 8:26 PM

The Department of Trade, Industry and Competition has signed the steel metal Master Plan on Friday. The plan aims to implement the re-imagined industry strategy, reconstruction and recovery plan launched by President Cyril Ramaphosa in October last year.

With the country’s renewed focus on infrastructure investment, the Steel Master Plan aims to broaden business opportunity in the steel industry.

The industry is reeling from the unreliable power supply, high Eskom winter tariffs and lack of demand. These challenges threaten investor and business confidence.

Trade and Industry Minister Ebrahim Patel says state capture and corruption have also added more woes to the sector. Patel has expressed confidence in the future of the steel industry despite some of the current challenges that it’s facing.

“State capture and corruption deeply damage industries and economies. It leads to loss of jobs and lower GDP and the steel industry saw that if we divert the money to boost the industry the demand drops which means fewer jobs and less output.”

The steel industry contributes 1.2% to GDP from the 12% that the manufacturing sector adds to the economy.

Over 200 000 people are employed in the steel sector.

The Master Plan aims to boost job creation. The National Union of Metalworkers (Numsa) has welcomed the newly signed Steel master plan. Numsa General Secretary Irvin Jim says, “This is a platform in our view to play a critical role to stop the current job loss, blood bath and in the same breath create the most desperately needed jobs in our country today.”

The steel Master Plan will focus on localising the industry and promote export.

And to lay a strong foundation for the development and growth of the Metals and Engineering sector.

Recovery plan programme

The new agreement will see steel manufacturers benefit from government procurements through its reindustrialisation and recovery plan programme.

Manufacturers will also benefit from the Africa Free Trade Agreement and exposure to international markets.

The industry now contributes less than 3% to the GDP. Steel and metal fabrication is one of the industries that has been identified by the Government’s economic recovery plan.

Jim says, “We think it’s a platform where we should basically engage robustly amongst each other as business and labour, and also engage with government on the kinds of measures that are critical to ensure that we take forward manufacturing and industrialisation of our country.”

Numsa warns that the current load shedding crisis facing the country will be a huge challenge for the sector to fully recover despite the boost it’s getting.

“Blackouts called load shedding are disruptive. They must be stopped. They should have been stopped a long time ago. Workers at Eskom if they are to be consulted they know how to stop the current load shedding.”

Under the steel master plan, SARS will prioritise and include the steel industry in the interagency working group to address under-invoicing.

Trade and Industry has also collaborated with Eskom and industry to ensure localisation of High Voltage Composite Insulators.

Steel manufacturers can now work with other State-Owned entities like Transnet to build local supply chains for large-scale projects and consumables. -Additional reporting by Nothando Magudulela


Natasha Mazonne
DA says it is finalising Private Members Bill to amend the Referendums Act
11 June 2021, 6:11 PM

The Democratic Alliance (DA) says it is finalising a Private Members Bill to amend the Referendums Act to enable Premiers to call a provincial referendum on crucial service delivery issues.

Party Chief Whip Natasha Mazzone says in its current form, the Referendums Act only allows for the President to call a referendum. She says the draft Bill seeks to address this omission.

Mazzone says an amendment will enable Premiers to ensure that their residents can make their voices heard on important issues.

The DA says the government has failed in addressing issues such as rail transport, police deployment and electricity generation.

Highlanders, Hurricanes advance to Super Rugby Trans-Tasman finals
11 June 2021, 4:46 PM

The Highlanders and Hurricanes have played themselves into finals contention in the Super Rugby Trans-Tasman tournament with comprehensive bonus-point victories.

The Highlanders trounced the Brumbies 33-12, while the Hurricanes swept aside the Reds 43-14.

The Highlanders surged to the top of the standings, with the Hurricanes second. However, the Blues and Crusaders are still to play this weekend.

The outcome of their matches on Saturday will determine next weekend’s two finalists.

N Cape elderly feel neglected in COVID-19 vaccination drive
11 June 2021, 4:05 PM

Elderly people who live in rural areas, outside Kuruman in the Northern Cape, might have to wait longer before they get their COVID-19 vaccine. Unlike their urban counterparts, the provincial Department of Health says villages are harder to access due to bad roads.

The elderly from villages including Galothlare, Gadibowe and Tjowe are wondering how and when they will receive the COVID-19 jab.

Most of them with comorbidities say they only hear about the vaccine rollout on the radio. They say they are yet to see health workers coming to register them to be inoculated.

One of the elderly people says, “We have not heard anything. Are we forgotten or what? All of us here have not received help.”

“We haven’t received the vaccine, how are we going to survive? They only know us when they need votes,” adds another one.

Provincial Health MEC Maruping Lekwene says they have plans to include far-flung rural areas as part of their rollout.

“It is vast and unfortunately with bad roads so we are hoping to try and bring some of these elderly to a central point where we can really assist them. The best intervention will be through outreach teams where we will get those bakkies. With the Johnson and Johnson, it will help us cover our far-flung areas,” says Lekwene.

The elderly say rural areas are always an after-thought when it comes to receiving services and a case in point is the COVID-19 vaccine rollout.

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