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VIDEO | State Capture Inquiry, 19 April 2021
19 April 2021, 2:34 PM

Presiding officers of parliament are appearing in the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture. Speaker of the National Assembly, Thandi Modise has taken the stand and is being questioned on parliament’s oversight role on the executive.

See live proceedings below:

Earlier, Modise says the high turnover of members of parliament every five years allows the executive to wield power over parliament.

Long-distance bus commuters concerned about non-compliance of COVID-19 protocols
1 April 2021, 1:38 PM

Long-distance bus commuters at Park station in Johannesburg are worried about the possibility of contracting COVID-19 due to protocols not being observed.

Busses are being overloaded as thousands of people leave the province for various destinations to be with their families for the Easter holidays.

Long-distance bus commuters say they have been waiting since early this morning for busses, but most are already full. One man who arrived on a bus from Kimberly says the vehicle was overloaded with passengers and no COVID-19 protocols were being observed.

Some commuters are demanding refunds. They’ve been waiting for busses for hours and when they enquire with the staff they are told that there’s a shortage of vehicles.

One group of upset commuters barricaded a ticket office saying that no tickets will be sold until they are sure they will be accommodated on busses.

In KwaZulu-Natal, the N-3 toll concession has reported an increase in traffic volumes as holidaymakers head to the province for the Easter weekend. Over 1 000 vehicles per hour have been recorded in the early hours of the morning.

Operations Manager at the N3TC Thania Dhoogra says they are expecting traffic to increase during the day.

“We had a slight uptake in traffic this morning at approximately 6:00 where we reached traffic volumes of just over 1000 vehicles per hour heading towards the KwaZulu-Natal coast. It started to ease up a bit, but we are expecting that traffic will increase again around lunchtime. We haven’t had any reports of any incidences on the road. Please, we are requesting that motorists should remain vigilant and alert and to please ensure that they share the road responsibly with other drivers.”

State of readiness of Eastern Cape emergency and medical services:

Healthcare workers in Limpopo call for vulnerable groups to be vaccinated
1 April 2021, 12:07 PM

Limpopo province says its vaccination program remains on track. Several vaccination sites are being used in the province, with one private hospital also taking part in the vaccination study. Doctors are, however, calling for the processes to be accelerated.

The Limpopo Department of Health says just above 20 000 healthcare workers have received their Johnson and Johnson vaccine.

The province has registered close to 45 000 healthcare workers in its rollout plan. There are several sites located at the five districts where the vaccines are being administered.

Only three doses of the consignment received had not reached the arms of health workers after they had became expired.

Spokesperson Neil Shikwambana says, “The vaccination program is ongoing in that we received a certain number of batches and we identified some sites within districts and currently we are still administering those vaccinations. By yesterday, I think we had vaccinated over 20 000 healthcare workers so the program is still continuing. You’d know that there is still more healthcare workers who need to be vaccinated as we will be receiving more vaccines from national.”

Nurses union, the Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (DENOSA) says there are still challenges of registering nurses on the national vaccination data system due to technological glitches.

DENOSA says this will delay the vaccination of nurses as many struggle with network signal in rural areas.

In the meantime, the South African Medical Association Trade Union (SAMATU) has called on the government to speed up the rollout plan to include vulnerable groups.

“With the vaccination some of the anxiety is that it is still how should I say part of a study, but we have all been willing to do it because we understand the stages of the study and one has to be taken to the greater population which will use it and that is for us, a lot of us have agreed to be those guinea pigs, and we are happy that the government gave us that opportunities and made sure that it is happening. However, now we need to start the roll out to become a bit further I mean, see a lot of people here who are compromised, our elderly and those with co-morbidities especially in the hospitals. So we need to continue with that, I think the fight against corona is not over,” says SAMATU spokesperson in the province, Dr. Nkateko Mnisi.

The vaccination study in Limpopo is being conducted at the Ndlovu Research Facility in Moutse in the Sekhukhune district. The South African government has received criticism for lagging behind other African countries when it comes to vaccinating a large part of the population.

 

IEC urges registered political parties to sign-up to the Online Party Funding System
1 April 2021, 10:46 AM

The Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) has urged all registered political parties to sign-up to the Online Party Funding System.

This as the Political Party Funding Act comes into force on Thursday. The Act provides for the political parties in national and provincial parliaments to receive public funding and private donations, which must be disclosed.

The system, which has been piloted by parties over the past two months, allows them and their donors to make electronic disclosures to the Electoral Commission via the internet.

In a statement, the IEC has reminded all registered political parties that their first quarterly disclosure of direct donations in cash or kind above R100 000 is due at the end of the first quarter.

To promote transparency donors who make direct donations above that threshold must also declare these to the IEC on the Online Party Funding System within 30 days. The Electoral Commission will make this publicly available quarterly on its website.

Political Party Funding Act comes into effect on April 1:

Concerns about the Act

On Tuesday, the leader of  One South Africa Movement Mmusi Maimane called for the review of the Act.  Maimane said the Political Funding Act in its current form only makes allowance for political parties, which has disadvantaged independents in previous local government elections.

“One of the key limitations about why independents have not done well in the past is because they are financially inhibited not many of them have got money I think the most powerful thing about letting independents stand. I always say to people in a party you buy one, you get the whole party for free whereas with independents even if people look at the issue of corruption you are dealing with an individual which means you can hold them to account at the source and deal with the person.

Political Analyst Somadoda Fikeni speaks on whether the Act will provide for efficient regulation of campaign financing: 

 

 

 

Social Development to recoup grant money issued to government employees
26 March 2021, 2:53 PM

Social Development Minister, Lindiwe Zulu, says over R84 000 needs to be recouped from the 241 government employees who illegally applied for and received the R350 COVID-19 relief grant.

She was speaking the SABC following DA’s claims about government employees stealing from the state coffers.

The opposition party urged for a speedy conclusion of the investigation into the matter. It says while the crime was committed in May last year, no action has yet been taken against the suspected employees.

Zulu says her department needs to follow up on the progress of other government departments, in their legal and disciplinary action against the employees.

“There was 241 out of the 40 000 that applied, which means that we have to get back R84 350. We cannot take action against them as they are not employed under the department of social development or SASSA, they are in other departments.

Treasury then, in asserting that, we wrote letters to the different departments to say these are the people that are supposed to have applied and the action has to be taken by the departments. But of course, we need to follow it up,” explains the Minister.

More on this story in the video below:

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