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“Corruption allegations against Mkhize a blow to fight against COVID-19”
4 June 2021, 8:02 PM
The Gauteng Health Department says the corruption allegations against Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize are a huge blow to the country’s fight against the coronavirus pandemic.
The allegations related to his department’s awarding of a R150-million contract to communications company Digital Vibes.
Mkhize’s former aides control the company which got the contract to do work related to the National Health Insurance scheme and government’s response to the pandemic.
The Special Investigative Unit is probing the matter.
Last month Mkhize admitted that the deal was irregular and said disciplinary action would be taken against those responsible.
” To have a Health Minister who is leading our pandemic response, somebody whose word is not believed, who cannot engage with the media, having to duck and dive accountability. We’ve got too many big issues at play right now. We have a Health Minister that can’t answer basic questions about what’s happening in his department,” says Chief Director at the Gauteng Health Department, Meisie Lerutle.

Mkhize not appearing before Health Committee puts more clouds over his head: Analyst

Meanwhile, political Analyst Dr Dale McKinley says Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize not appearing before the Health Portfolio Committee just puts more clouds over his head and more people are going to ask questions around his involvement in the Digital Vibes tender.

The analyst says, “Opposition parties are going to make hay of this and generally speaking he is going to come under more pressure.”

McKinley says the ANC must encourage Mkhize to resign as a matter of principle.

“He should say ‘look, there’s clearly something wrong here. I have a case to answer. I’m going to step out of my role right now.’ People would respect that and I think the ANC must allow that and encourage that to happen. Not just with Mkhize, but with the whole range of their members who are dealing with serious allegations because the only way they are going to clean the name of the party and are going to regain the trust of the population, is if they are seen to act. Not simply when and being charged formally, but when there is clear evidence that there’s been wrongdoing. And I think that’s fundamentally important for the President to consider.”

Dr Dale McKinely on Mkhize’s not appearing before the Committee:

 

Activists concerned about scourge of hate crimes against LGBTQI+ community
4 June 2021, 7:32 PM

The LGBTQI+ community says they are under siege in South Africa and activists fear the situation will worsen should the law not change. This as a flight attendant, Aubrey Boshoga, was found outside his Johannesburg home last weekend. His body had multiple stab wounds. Boshoga’s death has sparked an outcry in what is believed to be a hate crime.

Member of the of the LGBTQI+ community, influencer and socialite, Tinyiko “TK Goldfish” Mathebula, says the International Pride Month celebrations have been marred by fear .

“The LGBTQI+ community lives in constant fear. Fear of being discriminated against in communities and in the workplace. Fear being murdered. In recent months we found out of at least 11 members of our community who have been brutally murdered.  Recently, we found out about the death of a dear friend Aubrey Boshogo affectionately known as “Ma Se Kind”. When is it going to stop? Enough is enough. We cannot continue to live our lives in fear. We will continue fighting and plea with the government to help us fight the scourge of death in our community. We are also human, we deserve to be loved and live our truth.”

Hate Crimes Manager at the OUT organisation, Roche Kester, says new strategies have to be put in place as many members of the LGBTQI+ community do not feel safe in South Africa.

“Aubrey is the most recent of 11 public hate crimes in the last months. The death of a LGBTI person calls for a variety of mitigating factors, like obtaining the case number, escalating the case to existing task teams that serve LGBTI persons. It also requires implanting more effective preventative and reactionary strategies for the protection of LGBTI persons in a time when queer people do not feel safe.”

Kester says except for condemning the senseless murders, there is no outrage from government.

“Hate Crimes have always been a fixture in relation to LGBTI lives. These recent brutal attacks are only a fraction of the crimes that are experienced by LGBTI individuals. Due to secondary victimization and the nature of certain cases (specifically sexual assault and discrimination) the true reflection of the extent of hate crimes has not been adequately recorded or reported.  At our legal clinic we receive daily reports of discrimination and violent attacks and these do not often make the news. The truth is LGBTI lives are under siege in South Africa and without the correct legislative and practical implementations of the law, it will remain this way.”

Boshogo is not alone. A 19-year-old woman was gang-raped by three men in Atteridgeville, west of Pretoria in December last year, for being a lesbian.

Two of the accused in the case have pleaded guilty but a third remains at large. Zaheeda Munyai, a legal assistant at Access Chapter 2, says this is what’s known as corrective rape.

“The motive of this incident was that they wanted to change her, they wanted to show that she is a woman. So it is more related to corrective rape. One can say that this is not the first case that we are dealing with in Atteridgeville within the LGBTQI+ community. Therefore it clearly shows that the rate of crime is rising each and every day.”

Munyai says a lot still needs to be done to protect the queer community.

“With all these cases and all the brutal killing in the past couple of months, there is still a lot that needs to be done within the society we are living in. As much as they can accept that there are LGBTQI + people, it clearly shows that they don’t respect them. Because if they do, we were not going to be having these killings that have been happening and all the corrective rape matters. More education is needed within the society that we are living in so that we are able to be safe.”

Meanwhile, activists and allies of the LGBTQI+ community, have lambasted relevant authorities for the slow introduction of the Hate Bill. The Hate Crimes Bill is currently delayed due to a pending Constitutional Court case ruling before Parliament can pass the new law.

LGBTQI+ community in Kimberly demand equality and humane treatment

Nigeria indefinitely suspends Twitter operations: Information minister
4 June 2021, 7:08 PM
Nigeria’s government has indefinitely suspended the operations of US social media giant Twitter, that’s according to Nigeria’s Information Minister Lai Mohammed.
He says in a statement that the reason for the suspension is, “The persistent use of the platform for activities that are capable of undermining Nigeria’s corporate existence.”
Reuters reports that Mohammed did not elaborate on the comment.
Twitter removes Buhari’s tweet

On Wednesday, Twitter removed a post by Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari threatening punishment for regional secessionists blamed for attacks on government buildings. The social media firm said Buhari’s tweet, referring to the 1967-70 civil war in the south-eastern Biafra region that killed 1 million people, violated its “abusive behaviour” policy leading to a 12-hour suspension of his account.

Buhari, who served in the army against the secessionists and was Nigeria’s military ruler in the 1980s, tweeted on Tuesday that many people misbehaving today were too young to remember the deaths and destruction from the civil war.

“Those of us in the fields for 30 months, who went through the war, will treat them in the language they understand,” he warned in the tweet that was taken down.

Nigeria has seen a spate of arson attacks on electoral offices and police stations in recent weeks, especially in the southeast. Officers have also been killed.

Some social media users criticised Buhari’s tweet before it was removed, accusing him of targeting Igbo people from the largest ethnic group in the southeast. The Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) is influential in the region and its efforts to revive sentiments over Biafra have prompted a crackdown from security agencies in recent years.

Nigeria’s Information Minister Lai Mohammed was dismissive of Twitter’s action, saying Buhari had every right to express dismay at violence by a banned organisation.

Eskom extends Stage 2 load shedding to 10pm Sunday
4 June 2021, 3:53 PM

Eskom has extended Stage 2 load shedding till Sunday 10pm starting from 5pm today.

Eskom earlier today said it had suspended load shedding to allow Parliament to pass the Appropriation Bill.

Cost of load shedding to the economy

Load shedding is estimated by some to cost the economy around R700 million per stage per day.

Calls are growing for more companies and individuals to be allowed to generate their own power using solar or wind and sell any excess back into the grid.

Many other countries allow such practices.

Eskom load shedding | Communities taking the strain

Eskom wage negotiations collapse

The crucial Eskom wage negotiations have collapsed after management suspended the talks and declared a formal dispute with the unions at the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA). The move has come as a shock to the unions.

On Tuesday, the  National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), which is the majority union, lowered its wage demand from 15% to 10%, while National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) also revised its wage demand down from 15% to 12%.

Eskom declares dispute as wage negotiations collapse:

COVID-19 cases on the rise in Nelson Mandela Bay
4 June 2021, 3:33 PM

COVID-19 cases are increasing across the country again with some provinces declaring to be in the third wave of the pandemic.

However, the Eastern Cape is not the hotspot or the epicentre of the surge as was the case with the second wave when it originated in Nelson Mandela Bay.

Infections, however, are rising in the province with Nelson Mandela Bay a hotspot in the province. The metro has more than 700 active cases and the alarm bells are ringing.

Eastern Cape officials are now concerned and the sharp rise in infections among the elderly is a red flag.

This trend is emerging despite the implementation of phase two of the vaccination program, targeting the 60-plus age group.

Nelson Mandela Bay Municipal spokesperson, Mamela Ndamase, says the emerging trend of rising infections is alarming.

“We have sadly noted the growing numbers of infections amongst the elderly. The old age homes are seeing infections as a result we have a mandate, the officials will be visiting various old age homes to see where the problem is as those people are isolated. We want to know what is wrong.”

The Department of Health has warned that the vaccination does not prevent possible infections. Eastern Cape Department of Health spokesperson, Sizwe Kupelo, is urging people to adhere to the COVID-19 regulations.

“I wish to emphasise that even those who have been vaccinated are expected to continue adhering. The vaccine does not mean you cannot get infected with the virus, but it guarantees that those who are vaccinated may not experience severe symptoms.”

But there is once again a level of ignorance evident in the streets. Even on social media ” Blue Ticking the Third Wave” is trending, referring to the WhatsApp phenomenon of reading but ignoring messages. Residents had this to say.

“I think that people have become ignorant, when I am at work, I see a lot of people not wearing masks, ignoring simple rules like adhering to social distancing and disregarding the hand sanitiser. It is frustrating that they don’t realise how serious this is,” says a concerned resident.

“As a taxi user, I am very concerned, because I have realised that they now use water instead of a hand sanitiser. You can smell alcohol on a real sanitiser but that one has no smell, I do not trust it. And taxis travel with different people, we are not safe,” adds another resident.

The active cases in the province are nearing the 1 000 mark.

Latest COVID-19 stats in South Africa:

 

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