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Golf
SA golf industry implores government to relax lockdown rules
6 June 2020, 9:00 PM

The golfing industry and clubs, in particular, are pleading with government to relax restrictions for the sport to resume before possibly closing for good. Officials say almost 50% of golf clubs in South Africa are just weeks away from financial collapse.

The golf industry contributes close to R49 billion per annum to the South African economy and offers employment to approximately 60 000 people of which 85% come from the vulnerable sector.

The Royal Cape Golf Club is the oldest club in the country. It is normally a hive of activity with golfers, staff and caddies. It is almost desolate now and it has been like this since lockdown started two and a half months ago.

“It’s been tough for us from the loss of revenue. It’s been close to 3 months without any income. We not allowed to operate, it really puts a lot of pressure on all the golf clubs, if the lockdown continues – I don’t know how long clubs will survive and from a staffing perspective it influences 44 people who work for this club and that is just one club. It’s probably 40 000 people in the whole industry from tour operators. So the sooner it can open, we can secure those jobs going forward,” says  the Cape Town GC General Manager, Cassie Viljoen.

While it has been tough for people running golf clubs, it is even tougher for staff whose livelihoods depend on golfers playing, paying, creating income and sustaining jobs. But players, both amateur and professional, are also taking a strain.

“Being out on the golf course every week twice a week at least one does miss that, one misses being out with your friends having a beer after the round and obviously everything else that goes with it,” says Rodney Richards, who is a golfer.

“As a professional golfer it’s very hard, we are used to spending everyday out here playing golf and chatting to members, being around people to not have that privilege its difficult, especially it being your job. We need to be out here working and grafting,” says Sunshine Tour Professional, Sean Bradley.

It’s the same for other golf clubs around the country. They have tried to negotiate with government. Now some say, with the High Court order that has declared some of the lockdown restrictions unconstitutional and invalid, they may have to resort to legal action to save the industry, the clubs and the thousands of staff whose livelihoods depend on it.

“It’s massive, it’s devastating. I have no doubt that there will be golf courses that will probably not survive this and another week or two is going to be a yard too far. I’m responsible here for a 1 000 members and about 60 or 70 permanent workers and about 45 caddies. It’s massive – their livelihoods have been turned upside down,” explains Don Ball, who is the King David Mowbray General Manager.

Correctional Services
Correctional Services COVID-19 cases surpass the 1 000 mark
6 June 2020, 8:28 PM

The total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the Department of Correctional Services (DCS) is now at 1 076, with 433 officials and 643 inmates having contracted the disease.

In a statement, the department says the 12 additional cases of officials are from the Western Cape, Eastern Cape and Gauteng. There has been one new case from the Head Office, while five additional infections are from inmates in the Eastern and Western Cape.

The Eastern Cape department of correctional services has the highest number of cases at 654. It is followed by the Western Cape, which has 354 infections.

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So far there have been 289 recoveries after seven more people in the correctional service beat the virus. Active cases are standing at 779.

COVID-19
North West records 273 new COVID-19 cases in a week, raising concerns
6 June 2020, 4:32 PM

The  North West government and some residents have expressed concern over the rise in numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the province.

It emerged during a media briefing in Mahikeng that the province recorded 273 new cases in the past seven days, taking the number of confirmed cases to more than 400. Most of these cases are in the mining sector.

“Things have taken a drastic change since that time, as we have surpassed Mpumalanga, Free State, Limpopo and the Northern Cape with a number of confirmed COVID-19 cases,” says Premier Job Mokgoro.

With Level 3 regulations still stipulating that citizens should stay at home, it remains a challenge for abide by the rules as many people are still flocking to different towns, forming long queues, with social distancing not observed.

Below is a provincial statistics COVID-19 graphic:

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Some are, however, scared for their health. They are calling on government to strengthen the rules and monitor the situation.

“I am very scared now, I don’t want to lie, level 3 is not gonna work for us because even now, even in the taxis we adults, we can’t do social distancing. In taxis they said they must put nine passengers but the taxi drivers always they put 15 passengers.”

“The shop owners they don’t even control us, they just let us to stand and to do whatever we want and I just think that they should just go back to the drawing table.”

“Even as you see now, social distancing is no longer practiced. Even here, there are no signs, showing we should observe social distancing,” say some of the shoppers who flocked to Mahikeng on Saturday.

Below is a graphic of SA COVID-19 statistics:

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Authorities believe the public has the power to turn the COVID-19 tide.

“Let’s blame society and ourselves. Its attitude of South Africans on their health. Go to Mahikeng town today, you will see how they behave. South Africans only stay home when they see a police officer or a soldier. These are the consequences, as I stand here Premier, I think I must review the status of Rusternburg. They are the reason why we are in a crisis like this. It means we will be number three just because of Rusternburg and Matlosana,” says MEC for Health, Madoda Sambatha.

At least 507 new cases for transgression and violations of lockdown regulations were recorded in the previous week. Those who will be going to churches this weekend are urged to abide by the COVID-19 rules, which are aimed at slowing down the spread of the virus.

Below is a graphic of the lockdown regulations:

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Arrests
Vhembe District councillor arrested for allegedly intimidating mayors
6 June 2020, 3:48 PM

A 38-year-old member of the Vhembe District Municipal Council in Thohoyandou, in Limpopo, has been arrested for allegedly intimidating two mayors.

The suspect allegedly sent intimidating video clips to the Executive Mayor of Vhembe District Municipality, Dowelani Nenguda, and to the Mayor of Thulamela Local Municipality, Avhashoni Tshifhango.

The suspects is one of the members of mayoral committee who were reshuffled during the council sitting last Sunday. He was chairperson of the mayoral committee of finance at the Vhembe district municipality. Police say he was arrested at his house in Polokwane on Saturday.

Police Spokesperson Motlafela Mojapelo says the suspect will appear before Thohoyandou Magistrate Court on Monday.

“Members of the provincial investigating unit and the tracking team of the South African Police Service (SAPS) have arrested a member of Thulamela municipal council on Saturday morning following the two cases of intimidation that were opened at Thohoyandou police station. This after the suspect allegedly sent intimidating video clips to the complaints. Suspect aged 38 will appear in Thohoyandou Magistrate’s Court on Monday,” explains Mojapelo.

He faces two counts of intimidation charges.

In a separate case also in the Vhembe District, a 27-year-old man was arrested for alleged murder and intimidation in a case related to the VBS Mutual Bank saga.

Thabo Sibanze allegedly sent threat messages to the leaders of the South African Municipal Workers’ Union (SAMWU), who were critical of the Vhembe District Municipality’s investment in VBS.  He has been charged with the murder of Samwu leader, Ronald Mani.

Food Parcels
Umlazi community frustrated over ‘lack of transparency’ in food parcel distribution
6 June 2020, 3:11 PM

Umlazi residents in Durban, in KwaZulu-Natal, are outraged over the alleged lack of transparency in the distribution of food parcel vouchers by a local councillor. Several families, who are struggling to make ends meet during the lockdown, have been relying on donations to put food on the table.

Community members of ward 80 say their councillor, Mthokozisi Nojiyeza, has undermined them by failing to explain how the process of vouchers distribution works.

Nhlanhla Dube, who is a community leader, says many elderly and child-headed households did not benefit. Dube wants to know how it a decision on who receives help is made.

“At ward 80, we have an issue, our councillor Mthokozisi Nojiyeza. There are food parcels and vouchers showed up in our community yet not all of us who have received these vouchers and food parcels. We heard that one needs to enlist to get a voucher or food parcel yet we discover that the community doesn’t know. We went to the councillor’s office to get some answers concerning this. We found that the councillor is giving out food parcels to his family members and companions,” explains Dube.

Nojiyeza has denied the allegations, calling it character assassination.

“This is not about community, they are individuals within the organisation who are using this so hardship of lockdown to achieve their political agenda against councillors. There are no councillors who are eating food vouchers. The community must be clear that there are individuals who are using this lockdown to achieve their agenda,” says Nojiyeza.

KwaZulu-Natal Social Development MEC Nonhlanhla Khoza is urging councillors to be transparent in working with the communities they serve.

“As social development, we would love to attend our gratitude and our appreciation from all stakeholders especially from service providers, business people and municipalities who contributed during this time of COVID-19. As much as they contribute, we would love to urge our councillors, this COVID-19 has come and arrived, it’s doesn’t have eyes to see who falls under which political party. Let’s us comply with that,” urges Khoza.

Below is a graphic of the lockdown regulations:

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