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Foreign nationals
City of Cape Town ‘finalising arrangements’ to relocate foreign nationals
6 April 2020, 6:14 PM

The City of Cape Town says it is finalising arrangements to relocate foreign nationals living in the CBD and homeless people to new temporary sites.

The foreigners are currently living on the streets near the police station and the District Six Museum after being removed from around the Central Methodist Church more than a month ago.

The City said earlier that the group will be relocated to a temporary site in Maitland, while the homeless will be moved to the Strandfontein Sports Grounds.

“Mayor Plato says in this time of crisis we all need to work together to stop the spread of the coronavirus. Mayor Plato says we have observed and carried out our services 100% in line with the COVID-19 regulations and regularly monitor the changes provided by the national government an update our approach accordingly,” says Mayoral spokesperson Greg Wagner.

Some of the African foreign nationals have been pleading with the authorities to take them to a safe and humane space during the lockdown. They are currently sheltering in makeshift plastic tents.

“Where is Ubuntu to leave children like this in a virus everything like this. Where is Ubuntu?”

“President Ramaphosa said the lockdown is for everyone. It’s not just for people in the House and us refugees outside. We don’t have food; we don’t have anything and there are children also. Can you imagine those children are yours, will you be happy about that? No,” some foreign nationals say.

One foreign national says promises were made that they would be relocated, but these were not kept.

“They keep saying today, tomorrow. The Human Rights says they will come to take us out of here, like three days ago. We are still waiting until now, but people are. I think they really need to do something to put us somewhere where we can be hidden because we are also scared of the sickness, the same way you are scared.”

While the refugees are still living in the precinct, social distancing remains a challenge where some families are covering themselves with makeshift tents, which accommodate as many as five people.

Parliament’s Home Affairs Committee Chairperson Bongani Bongo is, on the other hand, calling on the National Home Affairs Department and the City of Cape Town to resolve the issue around the relocation of the group of refugees who have been relocated to Bellville.

Bongo explains his concerns, “The judges in the Western Cape,- they have given judgments and made quite very clearly how Home Affairs and all other stakeholders that are involved must dispense this thing. So, we are calling upon the City and the Department to resolve the impasse before even Parliament comes because the judges have already made important judgments that we must follow in resolving this matter going forward.”

International Monetary Fund
Nigeria asking multilateral lenders to fund coronavirus fight
6 April 2020, 5:20 PM

Nigeria has requested a total of $6.9 billion from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank and African Development Bank (AfDB) to combat the impact of the novel coronavirus pandemic, the finance minister said on Monday. Zainab Ahmed said at a news conference in the capital, Abuja, that Nigeria requested $3.4 billion from the IMF, $2.5 billion from the World Bank and $1 billion from the AfDB.

Ahmed said Nigeria was one of several African countries seeking the suspension of debt-servicing obligations for 2020 and 2021 from multilateral lenders. She said the IMF support would not be tied to a formal programme and would not come with conditions attached since it was money Nigeria had already contributed to the Fund.

The IMF is making $50 billion available from its emergency financing facilities and some 80 countries have already asked for help, including about 20 from Africa. The World Bank has also approved a $14 billion COVID-19 response package. Nigeria, which is Africa’s most populous country and has the continent’s largest economy, has 232 confirmed cases of coronavirus and five deaths.

Lagos state, neighbouring Ogunstate and the capital territory of Abuja, entered a two-week lockdown last Monday aimed at stemming the spread of the virus. Ahmed said the outbreak poses “significant threats to the Nigerian economy, the Nigerian healthcare system and even to national security”, adding that “extraordinary measures are required as the situation evolves to address these challenges”. On Saturday the government said it planned to create a coronavirus fund to strengthen its healthcare infrastructure.

Ahmed at Monday’s news conference, said the president had approved the fund, and approval was being sought from lawmakers to borrow the money from special accounts.

Panyaza Lesufi
Government’s COVID-19 efforts for the homeless slammed as shameful
6 April 2020, 5:00 PM

Political analyst Tinyiko Maluleke says it is shameful that it took the coronavirus for government to remember that there are homeless people, as well as those without water.

He was responding to government’s lockdown measures, which has seen homeless people placed in temporary shelters across the country in a bid to curb the spread of the coronavirus. Government has also been providing tanks for people without water, especially in rural areas and informal settlements.

Political analyst Tinyiko Maluleke says it is worrying that government has been re-active in providing the basic services it should have provided on a regular basis.

“I suppose if we stretch our minds we could see these government interventions for the homeless, the rural and the poor as positive, but actually it’s a shame. It’s a shame that we had to wait for coronavirus before our government could think of buying Jojo tanks for the poor people without water in rural areas. It’s a shame that we had to wait for coronavirus for government to begin to think about the homeless people in our city and try to do something about their situation. I think it’s a crying shame,” says Maluleke.

The political fundi also warns those who are suddenly under government’s care, not to get too comfortable.

Happy to be off the streets

Despite the warning however, some of the 125 homeless people being housed at a Community Hall in Kempton Park, in Ekurhuleni, are just happy to be off the streets for now, even if their new-found comfort may be short-lived.

In Gatueng, Acting Social Development MEC, Panyaza Lesufi, has been heading the project of housing and feeding the homeless. Lesufi says government is working on a number of options such as reconnecting them with their families, doing a skills audit, helping them find jobs and rehabilitating those with a drugs problem.

Some of the homeless people say they’ve already been engaged by social workers on the kind of assistance they require. However, if these efforts do not yield results, they are facing a strong possibility of again having to fend for themselves on the streets.

“It’s given, it’s obvious, there’s no other, we’ll have to go back to the streets.”

“I don’t want to go back to the streets because it’s dangerous, so we need help to get a better place to stay.”

“They should make a plan because once we leave this place we’re going back to suffering,” say some of the homeless people.

Concern over withdrawals

The Department of Social Development in North West says while it’s pulled out all the stops to accommodate over 110 homeless people across the province, it remains concerned about withdrawals among people who are suffering from substance abuse.

The department has sheltered homeless people in three district municipalities to avert the spread of COVID-19.

The department says the Dr Ruth Segomotsi Mompati is the only district without homeless people.

Meanwhile, some of the homeless people seeking jobs are losing hope as their attempts have been shuttered by the coronavirus pandemic.

Timeline graph of South Africa’s COVID-19 confirmed cases:

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Morne Green
Mbombela runner breaks record for running on his balcony
6 April 2020, 4:00 PM

The 21 days lockdown have been a frustrating experience to runners, who are used to physical activity. Most are finding it hard to temporary withdraw from the sport they are passionate about. Some are coming up with innovative ways and use the little space they have to run.

Others opt to do different exercises to keep in shape without violating the lockdown regulations.

36-year-old Morne Green has been a runner since his schooling days. The lockdown has also deeply affected him. However recently, he managed to complete a grueling 45 kilometres ultra-marathon in the 13 metre balcony of his house.

Morne Green clocked 49 902 steps in less than 6 hours during this grueling ultra-marathon. According to Green, it was more strenuous compared to road running. He says his body is still yet to recover. His knees and back took a heavy pounding.

“Your TV is next to you, the couch mentally, running pass through that, to give up, to  sit down is easy, when running on the road is not easy you get motivated by the other runners, but here is nothing, your couch is next to you, that what the hardest tough and running up and down in the same stretch, its starts playing with your mind,” explains Green.

In the video below, are fitness at home tips from businesswoman and author Connie Bhebhe:

Green says he was inspired by a French man who completed 42 kilometres in his backyard. Green is now challenging other runners, through the Community Can Challenge, to do the same and donate cans of food items for the homeless.

He feels it is one of the ways where everyone can lend a helping hand during this difficult time.

In the video below, is a full report on Green’s feat:

“When you buy a can we motivate you to basically, take a selfie with the can and slip and post on the community challenge can step that basically counts as a step of the 49 902 steps, so we wanna see if we can collect 49 902 before lockdown and we will sponsor these cans on daily basis,” says Green.

According to Green, people can place their cans of food items at Spar Crossing and the Grove shopping Centre in Mbombela. He can also be reached on the Community Can Challenge Facebook page.

Football
Nicaragua football seeing surge in popularity as country’s league continues despite COVID-19
6 April 2020, 1:57 PM

Football in Nicaragua is enjoying a surge in popularity. It is one of only a few national leagues still ongoing, but players there are concerned about the spread of the coronavirus and say fear has changed the way they play.

The Primera Liga de Nicaragua is one of only four leagues believed to have survived the coronavirus lockdown, along with those in Belarus, Burundi and Tajikistan.

Football matches in Nicaragua are being played behind closed doors. The action is being broadcast on the country’s local television station or live on Facebook.

The refusal to shut down the league, has drawn global attention to football in the Central America nation, where baseball is the sport of choice and a sport that has also resisted a lockdown.

The Secretary General of the Nicaraguan Football Federation Jose Maria Bermudez says fans from around the world are now tuning in to watch their matches and bet on them.

“What we received and it was a request from a broadcast company in Sweden, who showed interest, in showing logically live league games, for the same thing. I think here, nationwide, we won’t achieve the same thing because it’s accessible but soccer has been halted all over the world. Soccer is the number 1 sport around the world, so people who are fans want to watch football. I think that’s part of the reasons why people have turned their attention over here,” says Bermudez.

Bermudez stresses that the 10-team league has not decided to complete their season, but merely to keep playing for as long as the situation permits.

No consultation

Players say they were not consulted about the decision to keep playing, which was taken after a meeting between the league and club owners. Some players lined up for matches the past week wearing masks and gloves. The fans are not pleased about the arrangements at all.

”I think it’s a bad decision on behalf of the directors and the league because they are risking the health of the players and their families because we have seen in other countries in Italy, Spain famous players who have tested positive for coronavirus,” says a fan.

In Belarus, football fans decided to boycott matches amid the coronavirus outbreak. They are urging the Belarusian Football Federation to halt all competitions.

“It’s a very worrying situation. There are more and more rumours that this is the last football match, that everything will stop soon for months. So I basically came for the last time to watch a football match before isolating.”

Current figures estimate that Belarus has had 562 confirmed coronavirus cases, a jump of 122 from Saturday, with eight deaths.

Meanwhile, football’s governing body FIFA has formed a working group to deal with the financial issues and concerns due to the pandemic.

With the coronavirus pandemic having forced almost all football related activities to be suspended across the globe, some clubs are cutting the wages of players and staff members.

FIFA has formed a coronavirus working group to deal with the financial fallout from the pandemic. It has produced guidelines for clubs and football bodies looking to cut costs during the stoppage caused by the pandemic.

Virtual race

In other sports news, Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc was a dominant winner on his Formula One e-sports debut on Sunday, while World Cup-winning England cricketer, Ben Stokes, brought up the rear in a virtual Vietnam Formula One Grand Prix.

The inaugural Vietnam Grand Prix was scheduled for Sunday, but the virtual race, with the 20 drivers joining remotely from their homes, was staged on a version of Melbourne’s Albert Park.

 

 

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