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Zikalala worried about rise in COVID-19 cases in KZN
5 July 2020, 3:28 PM

KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala says he is concerned about the drastic increase of confirmed coronavirus cases in the province. There is currently over 13 000 confirmed cases in the province with 162 deaths.

Below is a provincial breakdown of COVID-19 infections in SA:

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Zikalala was addressing members of the media on the province’s approach in dealing with the surge in cases.

He says demand for beds in private and public hospitals is overwhelming.

“These figures have over the past week alone have grown exponentially. This presents the biggest jump to date, which once again bares testimony to the fact that we are on our way towards reaching our peak on COVID-19 in the province.”

Zikalala has spoken out against the reckless behaviour of those who believe that the virus does not exist, saying this fallacy will increase infection rates even further.

“This is merely on the basis that they do not know anyone who has died because of this disease. We want to strongly denounce this kind of thinking because it causes the risk of increasing the rate of transmission due to reckless behaviour. COVID-19 is here and we all need to be vigilante. It’s deadly and it will cause unprecedented devastation if we do not change the way we behave.”

In the video below, Zikalala warns those that violate COVID-19 lockdown regulations:

KwaZulu-Natal has the fourth highest numbers of COVID-19 infections in South Africa.

R170 mln fraud and corruption claims rock OR Tambo Municipality
5 July 2020, 3:12 PM

The OR Tambo District Municipality in the Eastern Cape is facing fraud and corruption allegations amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown. R170 million was allegedly paid to a Bulk Water Service provider without any work having been done in exchange.

More than R4 million worth of invoices were allegedly submitted to the office of the municipal manager for signing off for work related to COVID-19 door-to-door awareness campaigns.

The municipal manager refused to sign the invoices and is said to have been suspended as a result.

The United Democratic Movement (UDM) and the Democratic Alliance (DA) have opened fraud and corruption charges against the municipality. DA’s regional chairperson Sithembiso Mabasa says there is no evidence of a door-to-door campaign.

“Not a single report that we can find that there has been a door-to-door that was conducted, so we suspect that there is an element of fraud and corruption. That is why we have opened this case today that these millions that we suspect that there is something fishy here; there must be an investigation and the investigation must get to the bottom of this.”

O R Tambo District Municipality Council Speaker, Xolile Nkompela, has admitted the municipality has problems with corruption.  Nkompela has confirmed the case has been reported.

“It’s plus-minus R168 million that we are busy dealing with and the matter has already been reported to the police and Hawks and I am told that they were already in our institution doing their work. We really appreciate their quick response and the council itself is not going to sit; it’s going to accelerate this process of rooting out the corruption.”

In the video below, the SIU explains efforts to ensure corruption-free tender processes amid COVID-19:

Fear, pain and exhaustion engulf doctors as they race to save lives
5 July 2020, 3:04 PM

It’s been months since the lockdown kicked in as a result of COVID-19. Mortality numbers are increasing daily and medical staff are feeling the strain both physically and emotionally.

The physical and emotional stress of health care professionals often goes unrecognised and is therefore not addressed.

A third of South African doctors surveyed by the Medical Practitioners Society and the International Medical Defense Organisation have experienced a decline in mental well-being as the COVID-19 pandemic progresses. Many will need specialist support to avoid huge bands of doctors either leaving the profession or suffering in silence.

In the video below, doctors say they are afraid of contracting COVID-19 from patients: 

Three doctors working in COVID-19 wards at some of the busiest hospitals in Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape, share their stories of exhaustion, fatigue, depression and anxiety during these trying times.

It has been a draining couple of months for Dr Tobisa Fodo, a specialist physician. Working in the ICU ward means she is at the forefront of the fight.

She has to decide who gets a ventilator and who doesn’t.

She has been a medical doctor for five years, but no amount of studying, research or on the job experience prepared her for this. Usually, when patients in the ICU have other illnesses, there are happy endings.

Fodo says with this virus – what affects her most is that she gets to know her patient well and then they lose the fight and die.

“I’m sure a lot of people who are aware of the studies that were done previously that showed used to affect the older population; it used to be the older persons in the community. But now in our care, in caring for these patients, we are actually seeing young people came in very ill with COVID-19 pneumonia and we have seen people die from COVID-19 pneumonia. So it’s very true for us, where in the past, when it started where we were like ‘no, it’s all the older people who are succumbing from the disease. Now you realise the amount of risk that you are at every single time you interact with a COVID-19 patient.

You wear the PPE and sometimes you wonder if you are wearing it; if the PPE is going to protect you from contracting the virus. I mean you went into medicine knowing that some of these things may happen, but now when it gets real, you see your colleagues getting the virus, you see people around you getting the virus then you realise that the threat is real. One day I may get a cough, the next day I may need a ventilator and it may not be available.”

Clinical Physician Kevin Passora calls his COVID-19 ward the dungeon. It is the place where only the fittest survive.

He says it pains him to see people suffer so much.

“I definitely feel it; it is not nice to see people suffering. Very short of breath and unable to get oxygen or you are struggling to get oxygen for them and also knowing that a lot of the patients that are coming in are older. The reality is that they are not going qualify for any escalation of care, and that is hard to accept.”

A doctor from Dora Nginza Hospital, which has been plagued by protests by doctors, nurses and staff over the difficult conditions at the hospital; says he has lost hope and is leaving to work in another province.

“The situation here is really bad and people are dying inside this hospital; it’s worse now with this pandemic. We are working long hours and we are always over-worked and tired. The X-ray box is not working, so people have to wait for a long time to use the one that is. There is a shortage of nurses and doctors. It’s a mess with dead bodies lying on the ground, causing the hospital to stink.”

There is also a call from doctors to government to improve working conditions in hospitals by employing more nurses and cleaning staff. In addition, there is a need for more resources such as ventilators, which doctors say will lessen the burden on them both physically and emotionally.

In the video below, PE doctors share some of the strains they are experiencing: 

Political parties pay tribute to Twala-Mhlongo
4 July 2020, 10:09 PM

Political parties have paid tribute the late actress, Mary Twala-Mhlongo. Twala-Mhlongo passed on at Parklane Hospital in Johannesburg at the age of 80.

She was awarded The Order of Ikhamanga in silver by President Cyril Ramaphosa in 2019.

In the video below, veteran actress Mary Twala-Mhlongo has died:

In a statement, the governing African National Congress (ANC) describes Twala as “a legendary star of stage and screen and leaves behind a proud legacy of a long career and inspiration.”

The party has conveyed its condolences and support to the family, friends and colleagues of the icon.

” We thank UMama Mary for her lifelong dedication to the creative industry,” the party said.

In the video below, actor and author John Kani pays tribute to Twala-Mhlongo:

The EFF also paid tribute to the late TV veteran. In a statement, the party describes Twala as an activist, who used her platform as an actress to raise awareness on issues affecting South African women.

“She was a versatile actress who was able to depict the social and cultural realities of the African society in their purest form; both in film and television and has been a pioneer and benchmark in the performance industry…her contribution to the performing arts has inspired many up and coming young perfomers,” the party says.

The EFF has sent its “revolutionary condolences” to the Twala and Mhlongo families.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) says that it is saddened by Twala’s passing. In a statement, the party has described her as not only a legend, but a trailblazing artist whose talents were unmatched.

“From local television dramas to the silver screen, Mam’Twala was a constant and unforgettable presence on our screens. She has made immense contributions to the South African television and film industry and we will never see a talent like her again.”

In the video below, actress Lillian Dube pays tribute to her late friend:

AfriForum lays incitement to violence charge against the PAC
4 July 2020, 9:32 PM

A tug of war has erupted between AfriForum and the Pan Africanist Congress (PAC) over the decades-old One Settler, One Bullet slogan of the Pan Africanists. AfriForum has laid a criminal charge of incitement to violence, arguing that the slogan is a call for violence against the minorities.

The PAC, however, says this is the heritage of its armed-wing, APLA.

“How on earth will the PAC begin to explain the shooting of people…we can ill-afford such violence to minorities or anybody else to be shot at?,” AfriForum’s Ernst van Zyl asks.

The PAC is digging on its heels. It says ‘One Settler, One Bullet’ is going nowhere.

“If Afriforum wants to contest this slogan in court, it must know that…if they still regard themselves as settlers, then we will meet at the battle field,” says the PAC’s Mzwanele Nyhontsho.

Now the matter is in the hands of the police and it still unclear whether they will refer the issue to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) or not.

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