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Chiawelo residents threaten not to vote after being without electricity for a year
25 July 2021, 1:10 PM

As Gauteng experiences chilly weather conditions, Chiawelo residents in Soweto, south of Johannesburg, have been without electricity for a year. This is a result of a damaged transformer that is yet to be repaired. They have vowed to stay away from voting stations, should their electricity issues not be resolved.

Stella Maluleka runs a daycare centre on Vele Street. Rinsing her vegetables in a tap outside to be cooked on a gas stove, Maluleka says she cooks three meals a day on a gas stove now –  a costly exercise.

“It’s nearly a year now, from last year June. Just imagine I have a crèche, I have to cook for the kids. I’m struggling every week; I have to buy gas and paraffin. I’m spending a week about R1000.”

The cold front has creeped in, Maluleka says she’s struggling to keep warm. However, her main concern is the little children that come to the daycare centre.

“It’s affecting the kids because it’s winter now and we have heaters inside the classrooms, but we can’t use them because there is no electricity. We can’t even type letters to the parents. In the morning when we have to switch on the geyser, we can’t. We have to boil water using gas or just bath with cold water. As an elderly person, we are struggling. We have to sit there in the dining room with blankets around us and the para stove heater. It’s not even safe because it’s paraffin. Sometimes it’s the curtains, so this electricity thing is just a mess. We don’t know when it’s going to come back.”

Her neighbour has already fallen ill. Sipping on tea, he just made from a small enamel tea pot on the paraffin stove, Isaac Mkhumishe says he has been sick as a result of the paraffin fumes he has been inhaling.

“It’s been tough without electricity. The fridges don’t work and we have to use paraffin and candles. I used the paraffin inside the house, I was not aware that the fumes were dangerous.  Now my chest is blocked I’m still not 100% fine. So I think we need to go to megawatt park and protest there.”

Salon owner Madoda has had to shut down his salon due to lack of electricity.

“I don’t work anymore, unless it’s house calls. It’s just poverty; a 9kg gas cylinder only lasts two weeks. We have to buy food every day because we don’t have any fridges to store the food.”

Meanwhile, the residents have threatened to stay away from the polls should the electricity issue not be resolved.

“I don’t even think I’m going to vote, what are we voting for?”

Eskom is yet to respond on the matter.

Awards
Royalty Soapie Awards celebrates five-year milestone with new categories
25 July 2021, 12:20 PM

Royalty Soapie Awards are calling on creatives and technical workers to submit entries for this year’s award ceremony, which will be taking place in October.

This will be a momentous 5th-year milestone celebration of the awards, showcasing and emphasizing the importance of storytelling in our lives.

As the Awards celebrate a five-year milestone,  they will also be introducing five new categories for the awards.

The founder of the Royalty Soapie Awards, Winnie Ntshabe, has pleaded with the government to acknowledge the industry’s role in society.

“I think if our President can could just really recognise us and see the role that we are playing in shaping our society,” says Ntshabe.

She says the Royalty Soapie Awards introduced a social cohesion award last year to honour shows that have been tackling issues that affect South Africa, including gender-based violence.

Video | The Royalty Soapie Awards call for all creatives, technicals and actors to submit entries

Church leaders call for relaxed COVID-19 lockdown regulations
25 July 2021, 11:08 AM

Gauteng church leaders have gathered in Pretoria on Sunday morning calling on President Cyril Ramaphosa to allow religious gatherings to be permitted. This is ahead of the President’s address to the nation on Sunday evening.

Church leaders are calling for religious gatherings, with a limited number of people of up to 50% venue capacity, to be permitted.

Currently, under level four of the national lockdown, religious gatherings are prohibited in an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19.

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Church leaders in Gauteng say looting and violence, that were experienced in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) and Gauteng recently were as a result of a lack of guidance from religious leaders,

Pastor At Boshoff of the Christian Revival Church says the country desperately needs the guidance of religious leaders.

“Do we even see what is happening?  36 000 businesses closed down in KZN  because of a week of violence. Hundreds of thousands have lost their jobs on a scale like we have never seen. How many of those young people used to be in a church 2 years ago? Faithful church members, on fire for God. Now they have lost the plot. Why? Because they no longer have a house. They no longer have a place of safety. Don’t we get it? The decay and rot start spiritually. You remove spirituality from society and decay is the result,” says Boshoff.

National Convenor for Pastors Against Church Closure, Apostle Moafrika Wa Maila, says South Africans are in need of prayer and support from their religious leaders.

“It’s a fair and reasonable way to open churches in this pandemic. Remember that during Easter, we were told that the third wave will have after. We managed to curb the spread as the church by being compliant and following regulations. Spiritual support from the church plays a major role in the lives of people when they are going through a difficult time. They need spiritual support so that they don’t get to lose more lives.”

 

UNICEF calls on government to reopen schools on Monday
25 July 2021, 10:15 AM

The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) in South Africa has advised the government to reopen schools on Monday. UNICEF says failure to reopen schools will continue to disadvantage the poorest of the poor.

On Saturday, Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga told the media that her department was ready to reopen schools on Monday.

However, she says President Cyril Ramaphosa, who will address the country on Sunday evening, has the final say. Ramaphosa will address the nation on  South Africa’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Reopen the schools, taking into account that the most vulnerable who are the poorest will be the hardest hit by continued school closures. Let them get the children back to school because they also know how to protect themselves,” says UNICEF South Africa’s chief of education, Wycliff Otieno.

UNICEF says thousands of learners have dropped out of school over the last 16-months.

“UNICEF calls on all stakeholders to ‘Reimagine Education’ to help regain the ground lost, by taking advantage of emerging technologies to accelerate education service delivery, while focusing on equity and broader partnerships for greater impact,” notes UNICEF in a statement.

 

 

Video | Minister Angie Motshekga briefs media on state of readiness for the reopening of schools

Events Council appeals to government to consider reopening the industry
25 July 2021, 9:00 AM

The South African Events Council and the Association of African Exhibition Organisers have forecast a bleak future for the events and entertainment industry amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The South African Events Council Spokesperson and Chairperson, Projeni Pather, says dozens of small businesses face closure because of the continuing COVID-19 lockdown.

She says many enterprises have already collapsed and thousands of jobs have been lost.

Pather says smaller operators have no chance of survival if the large Sasol Pension Fund could not even sustain the Ticketpro Dome in Northgate that closed earlier this week.

Pather has appealed to the government to take heed of their phased re-opening proposal to save the sector.

South African Events Council and the Association of African Exhibition Organisers

 

President Cyril Ramaphosa will address the nation on Sunday evening on developments in South Africa’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ramaphosa is expected to provide an update on the vaccination roll-out and the relaxation of the lockdown regulations to allow more businesses to operate.

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