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Protests
Protests in Nelson Mandela Bay continue
27 May 2021, 7:54 AM

Protests disrupting traffic have erupted in two areas of the Nelson Mandela Bay metro in the Eastern Cape on Thursday morning.

Police spokesperson Andre Beetge says two roads are blocked in Kamesh and on the Rocklands road at the Elands road turnoff.

He says police are on the scene. Protest action since Monday has caused havoc in Nelson Mandela Bay.

Beetge also says the fire at the Algoa Bus depot in Motherwell on Wednesday evening destroyed eight buses with an estimated value of R12-million.

“At this point, the police and the fire department are looking for the cause of the fire. We cannot say if it is a taxi-related protest at this point as there was no witness seeing perpetrators at the scene.”

Nelson Mandela Bay municipality condemns taxi-related protest in the metro

Impact on port operations

Meanwhile, the taxi strike has had a negative impact on port operations. Transnet has indicated that they have activated business continuity plans.

Port Manager Rajesh Dana says they will continue to engage with relevant stakeholders to avoid any potential port delays.

“The taxi strike and associated protest started yesterday in Gqeberha, it did have an impact on both terminal operations as well as marine operation in the port of Port Elizabeth. With the start of the incident, we immediately activated business continuity plans as result. We were able to contain the negative impact on port operations. We had been working closely with all stakeholders in order to normalise port operations in the port of Port Elizabeth,” says Dana.

Indian Police
Fugitive jeweller Choksi held in Dominica, faces repatriation to India
27 May 2021, 7:19 AM

Fugitive Indian-born jeweller Mehul Choksi has been captured in Dominica and will likely be repatriated to India, Gaston Brown, Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, told Reuters partner ANI, days after he went missing from the Caribbean nation.

Police in Antigua and Barbuda had been questioning relatives and associates of Choksi, the main defendant in India’s largest bank fraud case, and had requested international police coordination agency Interpol to issue a global alert after he went missing on Sunday.

“We will not accept him back,” Browne told ANI. “He made a monumental error by skipping the island.”

Browne said it was likely Choksi entered Dominica illegally by boat.

Browne said the Dominican government and law enforcement agencies were co-operating and that Antigua was in talks with the Indian government for his repatriation.

Browne’s office did not respond to a request from comment and Reuters was not able to immediately contact Dominican authorities for comment.

Choksi’s lawyer in India did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Indian federal police have filed fraud charges against Choksi, his nephew, Nirav Modi, and others in connection with their suspected involvement in fraudulent transactions that led to losses of about $2 billion for India’s Punjab National Bank (PNB).

PNB in 2018 alleged that a few rogue employees had issued fake bank guarantees over several years to help jewellery groups controlled by Modi and Choksi raise funds in foreign credit.

Modi and Choksi left India before the fraud came to light but have denied any wrongdoing. Modi was arrested in London in2019 and is fighting extradition to India. Choksi has been living in Antigua and Barbuda.

An Indian official told Reuters in 2019 that Choksi had secured a passport from that country, where wealthy foreigners can become citizens in exchange for investing there.

But the official said India still considered Choksi to be an Indian citizen and the Indian government was pushing for his extradition.

It was not immediately clear why Choksi went to Dominica but Browne had told Antigua’s Parliament on Tuesday that Choksi was fighting two cases in the country relating to his extradition and his citizenship.

Hospitals
Prof. Abdool Karim calls on medical sector to prepare for potential COVID-19 3rd wave
27 May 2021, 6:25 AM

Renowned epidemiologist, Professor Salim Abdool Karim, has called on the medical sector to prepare hospitals and healthcare workers for a potential third wave of the coronavirus.

This as South Africa records an increase in new daily cases with the Health Department having reported 4 623 new infections in the past 24 hours, taking the total number of cases to over 1 million-645 000.

Another 102 people have died from COVID-19-related illnesses, taking the death toll to over 56 000.

Prof Karim has advised against complacency on health protocols.

“The first is that people have become complacent and we need to raise the alert level for people to understand the situation is no longer Level one but we are now in a situation that is different. And I think that is important to send that signal. Second, is that we have to do something about reducing the size of gatherings because that can speed up the transmission by creating super spreading events and the third, is we need to go and prepare our hospitals for the coming surge.”

Reaction to increasing COVID-19 infections: Prof. Abdool Karim

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Babies
Mpumalanga family seeks answers after allegedly not receiving the bodies of their dead babies
27 May 2021, 6:04 AM

A family from Nkomazi east of Mbombela in Mpumalanga is demanding answers from the Health Department after the Shongwe hospital allegedly failed to hand over to them the two bodies of their newborn babies.

Angel Nyavotso gave birth to triplets but only one survived.

The 33-year-old mother of four says she gave birth through a cesarean section earlier this month. She alleges that after giving birth the nurses told her only one of her babies survived and two had died.

She says the family has since been sent from pillar to post regarding the remains of the two babies. Nyavotso says she has suffered sleepless nights.

“The whole incident has left me ill, it’s traumatic because I carried three babies until 8 months when the operation. I now suffer from headache and back pains”

Learners
Learning disrupted at Siphokuhle Secondary School in Mkhondo
24 May 2021, 7:04 PM

Learners of Siphokuhle Secondary School at KwaNgema near Piet Retief in Mpumalanga are concerned about the disruption of learning at the school. Schooling at Siphokuhle was brought to a halt following a dispute between the learners, parents and management of the school last month.

The learners and parents are demanding that one of three temporary teachers be permanently employed at the school.

Some learners of the Siphokuhle Secondary School are crying foul as teaching and learning continues to be at halt in their school. They say this will have a negative impact on their studies.

School was brought to a halt after the principal allegedly said the school would only hire teachers who went to study through the Education Department’s bursary.

Some learners and parents are demanding that one of three temporary teachers be permanently employed at the school.

SGB Chairperson, Bhekumuzi Shabalala says, “It’s started with the temporary teachers that are paid by the SGB. The principal called them to her office and told them that they cannot be permanently employed at the school because the department has a contract with the teachers that were trained by the bursary which is Fundza Lushaka. We plead with the department to hire one teacher who is from KwaNgema, this because ever since we do not have a teacher who comes from the area in this school. But we have many residents who are qualified teachers. I cannot say when is the school going to resume.”

It is reported that this issue led to a conflict between the learners, parents and the deputy principal of Siphokuhle.

Teachers affiliated to the South African Democratic Teachers Union allegedly downed tools in solidarity with the deputy principal.

One of the Grade 12 learners, Simphiwe Shabalala has called on the education department to urgently intervene and resolve this matter.

“It is really affecting us because ever since it started we are struggling to learn. We have tried to learn online, but it is hard to do so because some of us don’t have smartphones or data. We are now about to write June exams, but we learnt nothing. Some of us wanted to use these marks to apply, but we cannot because we have learnt nothing for this term. We have not finished writing first term examinations.”

The Department of Education has denied that schools were instructed to only hire teachers who studied through its bursaries.

Spokesperson for the Education Department, Gerald Sambo says, “When there are vacancies at schools they are advertised and the qualifying candidates are shortlisted. They are then invited for interviews and then the SGB makes recommendations to the (delegated) official for approval.”

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