Hazard has recovered well from surgery: Belgium coach
19 April 2020, 8:22 PM
Eden Hazard has recovered well from ankle surgery, Belgium’s coach Robert Martinez said on Sunday but without offering a time frame for a return to action for the Real Madrid forward. Hazard had the operation in Dallas last month after fracturing his ankle.
The 29-year-old had looked set for another lengthy spell on the side lines because of the injury but the suspension of football due to the coronavirus pandemic means that he could still feature this season depending on when action in La Liga resumes.
Hazard was hurt in late February in Real Madrid’s loss to Levante, having only just returned weeks earlier after a three-month layoff.
“I know he is recovering well. He is not far from running again and there are no complications,” Martinez said in an interview with several Belgian media outlets.
“Everything went well with the operation, but you also hope that everything goes well in the four to five weeks afterwards without complications, and there were none,” Martinez said.
“We know he will return stronger. We were also fortunate, of course, to have his surgery take place just before the coronavirus outbreak. Otherwise he would not be able to travel or be treated outside of Madrid. I have a positive feeling that Eden will be back soon, he added.
Hazard moved to Real Madrid from Chelsea at the start of the season but scored just once in 15 outings for the Spanish giants.
Zimbabwe extends lockdown by two weeks
19 April 2020, 7:10 PM
Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa has extended the country’s national lockdown for an additional two weeks. Mnangagwa made the announcement in Harare and confirmed that the lockdown will end on the 3rd of May.
Zimbabwe has 25 COVID-19 cases, with three fatalities.
Addressing the nation, President Emmerson Mnangagwa says that the extension is to allow for the country to be better prepared for the tough times ahead.
Sunday was supposed to be the last day of lockdown.
The President acknowledged the blow the lockdown has on an economy that is already in dire straits. But he says the mining sector will continue to operate during lockdown and some manufacturing will be allowed to operate.
The Health Department will screen workers in the two sectors before being allowed to return to work.
Mnangagwa says the country is yet to meet the World Health Organisations (WHO) requirements needed for the lifting of lockdown.
Below is a graphic of coronavirus in Africa:
Political parties concerned about reported looming SAA retrenchments
The Democratic Alliance (DA) has expressed concerns about the future of staff at SAA, if retrenchments do take place.
DA MP, Alf Lees, says the company’s financial distress hasn’t been a secret.
“We are very worried about the employees of the SAA who are sitting at the edge of their seats, not knowing what their future is, and the fact that they need to get what is due to them in terms of retrenchments. But not only that because of the problems of cash flow at SAA. SAA management, like at SAA Express, might not have paid the unemployment contributions to the unemployment commissioner,” says Lees.
The UDM says it would be unfortunate if the allegations of retrenchments at South African Airways are true, whilst Parliament is still waiting for the entity’s business rescue plan.
UDM Chief Whip, Nqabayomzi Nkwankwa says there is no way that there can be discussions about workers being laid off, if it’s not presented to Parliament beforehand.
Nkwankwa is calling on the Public Enterprises committee to urgently meet and discuss the financial woes of the national carrier.
“The Portfolio Committee on Public Enterprises and the Standing Committee on Finance … in February a resolution was taken that the business rescue practitioners would have to table their business rescue plan before these committees for considerations and adoptions. As far as we are concerned, that has not happened. And because that has not happened, under no circumstances that we can then begin discussion, talks about retrenchments before we have seen and considered and probably amended the business rescue plan.”
In this video below, aviation specialist Phuthego Mojapele talks about leaked SAA documents:
Parliament’s Standing Committee on Public Accounts says the latest development at SAA are a manifestation of a more profound crisis.
Unconfirmed media reports have revealed that SAA, through its business rescue practitioners, has offered severance packages to its entire workforce of around 5 000.
In this video below, government declines SAA’s funding:
Scopa Chairperson Mkhuleko Hlengwa says they welcome government’s decision to turn down the financial request, because SAA’s problems are more complex than just money issues.
“The issues are far more deeper than just cash injections, and money alone would not solve SAA’s problem. Tough decisions lie ahead for the executive. And we think that within the necessary framework of oversight, we will be able to interact with the executive so that we are able to asses the way forward. But what is clear is that SAA is in trouble, and what is clear is that there will be job looses and what is clear is that restructuring can’t be avoided,” says Hlengwa.
In this video below MPs call for those responsible for looting SAA to be brought to book:
Earlier Congress of the People (COPE) called for the prosecution of executives who, the party says, have looted the SAA. The party has lamented the possible retrenchment of thousands of workers from SAA after a leaked document of the airline’s rescue practitioners emerged.
In it, the practitioners are proposing to give severance packages to the entire workforce.
The move comes after government said it wouldn’t provide more funds for the airline’s rescue efforts.
The proposal has been described as the latest sign that state-owned SAA is on the brink of collapse.
Cabinet is expected to deliberate on the future of the national carrier on Monday.
COPE Spokesperson Dennis Bloem says those involved in bringing the airline on its knees should be held to account.
“So sad that those who have looted SAA are roaming the streets. Not a single one are behind bars for stealing millions of rands from SAA. Very painful that more than 4 000 workers must lose their jobs. All these criminals that have looted SAA must face the full might of the law.”
In the video below, Ian Cruikshank weighs in on SAA:
Below is a graphic on SAA fact sheet:
KZN to intensify lockdown measures from Monday
19 April 2020, 6:33 PM
KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala has announced that the province will intensify lockdown measures from Monday. Zikalala has been briefing the media in Durban saying that all is not well in the province, which has the highest number of COVID-19 related deaths at 21.
He says screening and testing, as well as stricter law enforcement operations will be implemented, to limit people’s movements.
“Provincial Command Council decided on Friday to implement an intensified lockdown in the eThekwini district. We’ve issued a directive to our law enforcement authorities to apply the law in it’s strictest form and to make sure that there are no compromises. We want them to make sure that the violation of the breakdown by the people who are supposed to be at home is met with comportment punishment,” says Zikalala.
Below is a graph of coronavirus statistics of South Africa:
KwaZulu-Natal is exploring the option of housing all positive COVID-19 patients in a government healthcare facility, and not allowing anyone to self-isolate at home. The announcement has been made by premier Zikalala at a media briefing in Durban, where he called for stricter adherence to lockdown regulations.
In this video below KZN Premier Sihle Zikalala addresses the media:
The proposal comes after the provincial Command Council has noted with concern the high number of COVID-19 deaths in the province, presently at 21. Zikalala says many who have been instructed to self-isolate, may not be practicing it optimally.
“Those who are self-isolating far from strict supervision may interact with others and infect them. We are moving in a direction where all people who test positive will be placed in isolation in facilities demarcated by government and only return home when they are showing signs of improvement and are testing negative,” says Zikalala.
SA agriculture hit hard by lockdown
19 April 2020, 5:01 PM
Organised agriculture in the country say they have also been hardest hit by the national lockdown. Farmers unions say although their members have lost a fortune during the national lockdown, they anticipate to complete harvesting on time, despite the challenges they are facing.
Grain SA says there should be no panic, as there is sufficient food for the country.
Agriculture is one of the country’s key economic pillars. However, since the announcement of the national lockdown, the sector was declared an essential service. Now, the harvesting season in the sector, particularly for maize, sunflower and peanuts, amongst others, is fast approaching.
However, farmers are concerned on how to implement social distancing regulations on seasonal workers, during harvesting.
Pierre Vercueil, President for Agriculture SA says, “We have a very good maize crop coming. I think it will start by the end May. So, there is a big preparation at the moment for the harvesting season and everybody is talking to each other (about) how are we going to keep everybody safe this harvesting season when we deliver the product to the markets,” questions Vercueil.
Grain SA says the national lockdown has impacted negatively on farmers.
Derick Matthews, Chairman for Grain SA, says the lockdown will also adversely affect seasonal workers in the agricultural sector.
“I think grain farmers uses seasonal labour to clean up the fields after the harvesting season. They will think twice about what the risks are of having somebody get sick on the farm. So, it is a risk to the farmer because he cannot get the work done and more risk to the community that they won’t have that income,” says Matthews.
Meanwhile, African Farmers Association of South Africa (Afasa) is worried that their members cannot access critical service providers during harvesting season, under national lockdown conditions.
Gideon Morule, Chairsperso of Afasa in the North West, says, “The problem is that not everywhere it is open. Some of the places where we need help, so that we can continue with our farming operations, are also closed. If I give you a typical example, is that I had a problem with hydraulic pipe of a tractor. When I approached people who work with it (sic), they were closed.”
Some of the seasonal farm workers say they will face a bleak winter season as they will not be able to earn an income during this period.
The unions say despite challenges faced by farmers, they are optimistic that they will complete their harvesting season on time.
Below is a graph of the lockdown economic measures: