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IPHC pleads with courts to intervene to resolve church leadership issues
11 July 2020, 9:41 PM

Leadership of the International Pentecostal Holiness Church (IPHC) in Zuurbekom, west of Johannesburg, has called on courts to play their part in ensuring that the leadership battle in the church is resolved.

Five people were killed at the church earlier on Saturday when about 50 people stormed the building and held church members hostage.

More than 40 people have been arrested, among them members of law enforcement agencies who are members of the church.

The church, one of the biggest in Southern Africa, has about three million members.

It is alleged that the gunmen are from a faction led by Michael Sandlana, who has been in disputes with the current church leadership since 2016.

Blood stains could be seen at the main entrance of the church. A large white sign indicating that guns and other weapons are restricted from the church premises is clearly visible at the gate. The church gate was vandalised and its iconic star is hanging.

A church member, who also serves as a security marshall and witnessed the incident, says, “Around after 12, we heard gunshots from the outside. We were inside. I’m a security marshal. I ran towards the gate. When I got to the gate I saw cars parked. In my mind, I thought of alerting others that we were under siege. I ran with the siren speaker to the Whitehouse to alert security. Within seconds, I saw over 10 gunmen. I ran and never looked back.”

Five people died following the shooting incident.

Spokesperson of the church, Abie Wesie says the leadership battle is out of control of the church.

“All we want is that the law must take its cause and bring these perpetrators to book. But over and above that is that leadership battle that is before the court … the court must speed up the process so that this leadership battle can be finalised. Because in that way, there will be a court order that will prevent such things from happening.”

In the video below, the SABC News reports on the kidnapping and shooting incident at the International Pentecostal Church that claimed five lives:

Leadership battle

Six of those arrested are under police guard in hospital, where they are being treated for gunshot wounds. The church has been going through a leadership battle since 2016 over who should replace the church’s late founder, Fredrick Modise.

The church has three factions. Wessie says those arrested were church members.

“It’s dismaying to see that these people have law enforcement members inside. The people that we saw who came in are church members. And they are the members of the splinter group that after the comfort of the church passed on thy broke away and occupied one of our buildings. So they came in and wanted to capture our headquarters. So that they take complete control.”

Cars were also set alight. Over 34 firearms, including five rifles, and 13 pistols have been recovered. Police spokesperson, Vish Naidoo explains, “At this stage, the National Police Commissioner has ordered the provincial management to activate or mobilise to 72-hour activation plan which entails mobilisation of crime intelligence, forensic experts, the Hawks and other investigators to investigate this case thoroughly and to bring those responsible to book. We are still awaiting a report on the exact injuries they sustained. But it may have appeared that they sustain gunshots wounds and other related injuries. But they are in the hospital under police guard because they are considered to be suspects as well.”

Senior Limpopo official tests positive for COVID-19
11 July 2020, 9:07 PM

A senior official in the Limpopo Office of the Premier has tested positive for the coronavirus (COVID-19). Premier Spokesperson Kenny Mathivha says the official is in self-isolation and all people who had contact with him have been traced and are in quarantine.

This is the second person to test positive in the Office of the Premier after a police officer manning a guard room tested positive three months ago.

In the past week, three Premiers – Alan Winde from the Western Cape, Job Mokgoro from North West and David Makhura from Gauteng – tested positive for the virus.

The 72-year-old Mokgoro is making good progress after deciding to admit himself to hospital while the other two premiers are in self-isolation at home.

No COVID-19 field hospital for Limpopo

Limpopo Health MEC Phophi Ramathuba said on Friday that there will be no field hospital built at stadia to accommodate COVID-19 patients in Limpopo, in anticipation of a surge in infections.

She said that the department is instead increasing capacity at existing hospitals using available land.

Ramathuba said this is much more affordable and sustainable in light of available funds and resources.

“The beds are ready at all our hospital facilities. We are not going to build any field hospital in a stadium which after COVID-19, we will not be able to utilise. We have agreed with Treasury. With the resources they have given us, we are expanding our capacity in the existing hospitals that are currently there because maybe because we are a rural province, our hospitals have got enough land and enough space. So, we just need to expand within the existing infrastructure, which is quite cheaper and also quite sustainable because we are a resourceful strained province.”

Limpopo Health Department says health facilities will not cope with the rates of COVID-19 cases if 10% of the province’s population is infected with the virus:

COVID-19 cases at Correctional Service centres rise to 3 557
11 July 2020, 9:05 PM

The Department of Correctional Services (DCS) has recorded 133 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total number of confirmed cases at their centres to 3 557.

78 of the new cases are of officials while 55 are those of inmates.

2 080 of the total confirmed cases are officials while 1 477 are of inmates.

DCS says active cases are standing at 1 369.

44 people have died from the virus while 2 144 have recovered.

Below are the full COVID-19 statistics in SA Correctional Centres. 

Western Cape Finance MEC accuses Ramaphosa of flip-flopping
11 July 2020, 8:24 PM

Western Cape Finance Minister, David Maynier, has accused President Cyril Ramaphosa of flip-flopping on the issue of allowing leisure accommodation within provinces.

In a statement earlier, Maynier said the Presidency deleted a tweet which listed such accommodation as being allowed under Alert Level 3 and then a few hours later retweeted a new graphic with accommodation for leisure removed.

In the new tweet, the Presidency said it picked up the error in its graphic and corrected it.

Maynier says at a time when many South Africans’ livelihoods are on the line, such confusion is devastating. He says clarity by the national government is now imperative.

“This kind of flip-flopping is completely unacceptable at a time when many South African’s livelihoods are on the line and many businesses have done everything necessary to put in place health and safety measures and have already begun to open,” Maynier said in the statement.

He has called for clarity from the national government.

Two families demand answers from Gauteng Health after hospital deaths
11 July 2020, 7:30 PM

Two Johannesburg families are demanding answers from Gauteng Health as one family claims their mother died after contracting COVID-19 at the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital. She was admitted for an unrelated health problem early in June.

The other family alleges negligence at the Tembisa Hospital.

Shelly’s mother was admitted for mental confusion at the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital in early June. She says she wanted the hospital to help her mother with that.

After a brain scan, she tried to enquire about her mother’s condition.

“I kept on calling asking for a doctor. Three weeks passed, I hadn’t received any call from a doctor,” says Shelly.

Suspicious and worried sick, Shelly went to the hospital early this week. She waited for over four hours while a staffer tried to locate her mother.

“She came back with a book and told me, ‘I’m sorry, your mother died on Saturday at 12pm.’ I celebrated my birthday on Sunday without knowing that my mom was no more.”

But what pains her more is the presumed cause of death. “She told me that if she were to conclude, she’d say that my mother died of COVID-19 because she was only confused.”

The family was told to go to the hospital with an undertaker. To their shock, the cause of death changed.

“Now, they have changed their statement. They are saying that my mother has died of high blood pressure. She did have high blood. It was under control and I still don’t believe it’s high blood. I went there myself on Monday. They told me it’s COVID-19.”

Gauteng Health MEC Dr Bandile Masuku says that, at the moment, there are uncertainties.

“There would be some uncertainties to understand at the moment or actually explain. But it might be helpful to deal with the matter as per case. But COVID-19 as a disease entity has a lot of manifestations that some of them we discover as we go.”

In the video below, families demand answers from Gauteng Health following hospital deaths. 

Another family wants answers. Nomalanga Mnguni’s father was admitted to Tembisa Hospital last Saturday. She says he had complained of breathing difficulties.

The family says they were told his condition was improving, but on Tuesday, they called in vain and could not get an update on their father’s health and COVID-19 test result.

“And then at 9:22 I get a call; ‘Is it possible that you can rush to the hospital?’ when I got there, the doors were open. I got inside because there was no one there, I saw patients who were not dressed, they were crying, no blankets,” says Mnguni.

She says a nurse broke the news to them. “We were not even allowed to see the actual results. One came and told me that my dad passed on at 9pm.”

The family is still unsure if he succumbed to the virus.

Dr Masuku says the MEC’s office has sent a team to Tembisa Hospital to investigate.

“We have sent our team from the MEC’s office and we also learnt that health ombudsman has been to Tembisa to investigate in that regard. The most important aspect that we have to deal with is also how we communicate with the families.”

Investigations are under way and the aggrieved families hope for justice and closure.

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