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SA records a 9.8% COVID-19 positivity rate in the past 24-hours
28 November 2021, 7:36 PM

South Africa has identified 2 858 new COVID-19 cases, which brings the total number of infections to 2 961 406. Gauteng accounted for 2 308 of all new cases.

This increase represents a 9.8% positivity rate. A further six COVID-19 related deaths have been reported, bringing total fatalities to 89 797 to date.

Latest stats:

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According to the NICD, “The majority of new cases today are from Gauteng (81%), followed Western Cape accounting for 5%. KwaZulu-Natal accounted for 4%; Mpumalanga and North West each accounted for 3% respectively; Limpopo accounted for 2%; and Eastern Cape, Free State and Northern Cape each accounted for 1% respectively.”

 

Travel bans have a huge impact on local economy: Western Cape tourism
28 November 2021, 7:01 PM

Western Cape tourism authorities say the travel bans imposed on South Africa will have a huge impact on the local economy.

Thousands of overseas tourists flock to the Mother City yearly but numbers have declined by almost 73 percent in 2020 compared to the previous year. The City of Cape Town says prior to the COVID-19 pandemic the sector contributed over seven percent to the provincial GDP and created 113 000 direct jobs.

Western Cape tourism laments travel bans:

Mayoral Committee Member for Economic Growth James Vos says, “Intensify vaccines rather than stricter restrictions that would cripple the economy. Our immediate concern is the damage that these restrictions are causing to families in the travel and tourism industry and tourism. Government should avoid the damage caused by these travel restrictions and instead, take steps to raise vaccination rates that’s precisely why we will be turning our focus on domestic market because this is our main pillar of support.”

KZN tourism

KwaZulu-Natal Tourism MEC Ravi Pillay said that they’re concerned about the newly detected coronavirus variant, Omicron, in South Africa ahead of the festive season.

The new variant has triggered a travel ban on the country by some European nations including the UK.

KwaZulu-Natal is a popular festive season holiday destination among local and international travellers.

Meanwhile, the Tourism Business Council of South Africa says that the announcement of the detection of the new COVID-19 variant, Omicron, has not helped the already battered tourism industry.

The council’s CEO Tshifhiwa Tshivhengwa says that no context has been given to what will happen following the discovery of this variant.

The World Health Organisation has officially classified Omicron as a variant of concern. Several countries have already imposed travel bans on South Africa and other southern African countries.

Tshivhengwa says this is extremely worrying.

“Every country in the world is announcing that they don’t desire anyone who is coming from the southern African region, and especially South Africa, being the hub of the region. So we are in a situation where it’s a freefall. The only thing we need to do is to protect the domestic market. We do have healthy bookings that are coming through to December and January, we need to protect those, and you know I’ve heard of the talks, possible bans that may be imposed here at home and we need to avoid those at all cost.”

Stricter lockdown restrictions may mark end to many restaurants: RASA
28 November 2021, 5:46 PM

The Restaurant Association of South Africa (RASA) fears that stricter lockdown restrictions may mark the end of many establishments.

This comes as the country awaits President Cyril Ramaphosa’s address to the nation this evening to outline the way forward, following the discovery of the new Omicron variant of the coronavirus. The variant is believed to be highly transmissible and driving the rise in infection rates.

The association’s CEO Wendy Alberts says a harder lockdown would lead to complete economic sabotage for the industry. She says South Africa needs to do everything possible to keep the economy open.

“We need to take the pressure of small businesses like restaurants, and we need to ensure that we continue not to go into any other restrictions and we do everything we can to use this time to build the economy, to build morale, to keep people employed, and to ensure that as we move through the stage of lockdown we continue to show that we are compliant and that have done everything we can as an industry to follow through with protocols, as well as the regulations. Threats of a further lockdown will be fatal on the industry.”

Liquor industry also against harsher lockdowns

The National Liquor Traders’ Council is also calling on government not to impose another harsh lockdown, saying that it would have a detrimental impact on the industry.

The council’s national convenor Lucky Ntimane says no scientific analysis or common sense that would justify another hard lockdown.

Ntimane elaborates on the industry being against harder lockdowns:

“We have every confidence to believe that we will not be banned and we’re saying this because there’s no scientific basis or even common sense that will justify another lockdown or another ban on alcohol, or even further restrictions. We would like to believe that the president understands fully, what this will do to our economy, to the jobs that are dependent on the alcohol industry. We have about 250 000 jobs for example that are dependant on taverns and about 1 million jobs that are dependent on the alcohol industry and its value chain.”

Leaders of ATM and Al Jama-ah write to President to give input on Chief Justice nominees
28 November 2021, 5:00 PM

The  African Transformation Movement (ATM) and Al Jama-ah have written to President Cyril Ramaphosa to give their input on the nominees for the position of Chief Justice.

In his letter to Ramaphosa, ATM Leader Vuyo Zungula recommends that Supreme Court of Appeal President Justice Mandisa Maya should be appointed as the next Chief Justice, while Al Jama-ah Leader Ganief Hendricks says the Chief Justice who will be appointed should be strongly committed towards African Jurisprudence.

The letters from Zungula and Al Jama-ah to the President come after Ramaphosa recently submitted the names of four candidates to be considered by the Judicial Service Commission(JSC) and leaders of political parties represented in the National Assembly.

This came after a shortlisting panel headed by Judge Navi Pillay submitted its final report to Ramaphosa on 28 October. The panel, which was appointed by President Ramaphosa in September also scrutinised 564 public submissions made on the eight candidates who met the criteria.

Two of the eight nominees who met the criteria,  Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane and Dr Wallace Mgoqi withdrew their nominations. The remaining six nominees were Western Cape Judge President John Hlophe, Advocate Alan Nelson, Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, Constitutional Court Justice Mbuyiseli Madlanga, Supreme Court of Appeal President Justice Mandisa Maya and Gauteng Judge President Dunstan Mlambo.

After considering the Pillay report, the President selected and submitted the four names of Maya, Zondo, Madlanga and Mlambo to the JSC and party leaders in the Assembly.

ATM Spokesperson Sibusiso Mncwabe gives various reasons why Maya is the best person for the top job:

” We are doing this on mostly three important grounds. One Judge Mandisa Maya has been a judge for more than 20 years now including that of being the President of the Appeals Court. But most importantly, she also has the age on her side. When we look at her age, she will be able to serve the ConCourt for the full twelve years as required by the constitution. Being 57 years old she is fit for serving the ConCourt for the full term, but again we have noted that she is the only female candidate shortlisted. Now if the President is serious about women empowerment, Black women in particular, then Maya is the relevant candidate.”

VIDEO: Mncwabe on Maya’s candidacy: 

Hendricks has described South Africa as a strong, believing, and diverse community in terms of culture, traditions, and religion. He says it is for these reasons that Al Jama-ah recommends that African jurisprudence for judges should strongly be considered. In the letter, Hendricks calls on the President to engage with the chief justice nominees about their stance on African jurisprudence before making the appointment.

AL-Jama-ah’s letter to Ramaphosa and the party’s opinion on African Jurisprudence below:

The race for the position of Chief Justice comes as  Judge Mogoeng Mogoeng’s 12-year non-renewable term as a Constitutional Court Justice came to an end on 11 October.

It remains unclear as to when the interviewing process by the JSC will start to search for the best candidate to lead the highest court in the land.

 

Gauteng ready for fourth wave of COVID-19 infections: Dr Kgongwana
28 November 2021, 4:20 PM

The Gauteng Health Department says it’s ready for the fourth wave of COVID-19 infections in the province.

Doctor Freddy Kgongwana, the department’s acting deputy director-general for hospital services, says the province has adequate beds and oxygen supply to deal with an influx of patients.

Gauteng has become the epicenter of the virus in the country, with the highly transmissible new COVID-19 variant, Omicron, raging through parts of the province.

Almost seven-million vaccines have been administered in Gauteng.

Dr Kgongwana says Tshwane is huge a concern

“We have 4407 designated COVID-19 beds in Gauteng, out of the 18 344 beds that Gauteng health has always been having. Out of the 4407 beds, we’ve got 1078 patients admitted and we have a total of 3 329 beds available. Where we stand, we are ready for the fourth wave, since the end of the third wave we have been preparing ourselves. We have the security of oxygen in Gauteng, It’s sub-districts 3 and 4 in Tshwane that we are worried about. We are seeing an increase in those areas. We cannot afford to be complacent, we are monitoring the entire province.

President to address the nation

President Cyril Ramaphosa will address the nation at 20h00 on Sunday on developments in the country’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

President’s address at 20h00, LIVE BELOW:

Minister in the Presidency Mondli Gungubele says now that the National Coronvirus Command Council meeting has been concluded, President Ramaphosa is ready to address the nation tonight.

The council met yesterday and today to discuss the detection of the new variant in the country.

The Omicron variant is believed to be driving a sharp rise in new coronavirus infections. Several countries have imposed travel bans on at least nine countries in southern Africa including South Africa following the detection of the new variant. Gungubele says President Ramaphosa will communicate the council’s recommendations related to scientific evidence as well as submissions by different economic and social sectors.

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