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Cyclone Eloise downgraded to tropical depression
24 January 2021, 12:42 PM

The South African Weather Service says Cyclone Eloise has been downgraded to a depression that is currently over the extreme northern parts of Limpopo causing heavy rain in some areas of Limpopo and Mpumalanga. The Tropical Cyclone was downgraded to a tropical depression last night. Depression Eloise made landfall in Beira in Mozambique on Saturday. The downgrade means that heavy rains are still expected but that the impact of strong winds has decreased.

“With a tropical cyclone, you get maximum wind speeds between 34 and 63 knots, whereas with a tropical depression you get up to a maximum level of 83 knots, 66km p/hour. So, the weakening of the wind strength is due to the friction of the land, because the tropical cyclone no longer has the warm ocean water fuelling it. So, as it moves overland it encounters friction such as buildings, trees –  that weakens the strength of the wind and it becomes a tropical depression,” says Forecaster Ayanda Nsele.

Disaster teams deployed in Limpopo

Disaster management teams had been deployed in Limpopo ahead of the arrival of cyclone Eloise that was expected to hit the province as well as Mpumalanga.

The South African Weather Service issued an alert nine for Limpopo and Mpumalanga, warning of heavy rain and flooding.

Limpopo’s Cooperative Governance MEC Basikopo Makamu said the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) will be on stand-by to rescue people who might be trapped or cut off.

South African Weather Service warns residents of tropical cyclone Eloise:

Jackson Mthembu
President Cyril Ramaphosa to deliver eulogy at Mthembu’s funeral
23 January 2021, 11:18 AM

President Cyril Ramaphosa will deliver the eulogy at the funeral of Minister in the Presidency Jackson Mthembu in eMalahleni, Mpumalanga tomorrow.

Ramaphosa has accorded Mthembu an Official Category One funeral. Ramaphosa has also ordered that the flags be flown at half-mast from this morning until tomorrow. Mthembu died on Thursday from COVID-19 related complications.

Deputy President David Mabuza will pay tribute to him at his memorial service at the Government Communication and Information System Auditorium in Hatfield, Pretoria on Monday.

The memorial was originally scheduled to take place today but has since been postponed to Monday following consultations between the Presidency and the late Minister’s family.

“The memorial service for the late Minister in the Presidency, Jackson Mthembu will now take place on Monday the 25th of January, with the Deputy President David Mabuza delivering the keynote tribute.  The Official Funeral Category 1 will proceed as previously announced, on Sunday, 24 January at the Minister’s home town of Emalahleni, Mpumalanga. President Cyril Ramaphosa will deliver the eulogy at the funeral which will take place with strict adherence to COVID-19 regulations pertaining to funerals and the prohibition on public gatherings, ” the Presidency said in a statement.

Meanwhile, politicians have been visiting Mthembu’s home in Emalahleni to pay their respects. Most of Mthembu’s colleagues battled to hold back tears as they conveyed messages of condolences to his family. Mpumalanga acting ANC secretary Lindiwe Ntshalintshali has fond memories of Mthembu.

What we have learned from him is to stand by the principle and to stand by the things that he believes in and it was not possible that you would change his mind if it’s not what he believes in. Positions never changed comrade Jackson, we’ve lost a lot as Emalahleni and as the ANC in Mpumalanga. We’ve lost a servant of the people, a humble servant that was serving at all levels with or without any deployment.

Tributes continue to pour in for the late minister:

Special broadcast on Mthembu’s passing:

Restaurant Association requests meeting with President Ramaphosa
23 January 2021, 9:14 AM

The Restaurant Association of South Africa (RASA) has sent a letter to President Cyril Ramaphosa requesting to meet with him on Monday.

RASA says it will camp out at the Union Buildings until discussions on lifting the ban on alcohol and the 9pm to 6am curfew are concluded.

RASA earlier announced its intention to take government to court over its decision to ban the sale of alcohol.

In December, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that under the current restrictions the sale and transportation of alcohol are banned.

The move was due to the increasing number of alcohol-trauma-related cases that hospitals were facing last year, amid having to attend to an influx of COVID-19 patients.

The country is currently under alert adjusted Level 3 lockdown regulations. RASA CEO, Wendy Alberts, says the industry has been negatively affected.

The industry has been the most hard-hit by the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent lockdown levels, which include shortened operating hours and a ban on the sale of alcohol.  

Alberts says there was no consultation before these measures were implemented 

She says it seems government does not care about the sustainability of the industry. 

“It is a very, very emotional, very devastating time for our industry as many of these restaurants will never ever be able to open and if we don’t do something immediately, we’re going to stand the chance of losing more and more restaurants every day. We need to have conversations with government. We need to let them hear the voice of the restaurants, of the industry, of the restauranteers and find a viable, workable solution that we can collaborate in both supporting government, in slowing down the curve, in being responsible, in executing all the protocols, in adhering to the regulations and finding ways that have the least impact on our industry.”

RASA intends to take the government to court:

SA’s latest COVID-19 stats:

575 more people have succumbed to COVID-19 related complications in South Africa in the past 24 hours. This brings the national death toll to 40 076. The cumulative number of coronavirus stands at 1 392 568.



NAPTOSA says teachers should also be part of first groups to get COVID-19 vaccine
10 January 2021, 9:23 AM

The National Professional Teachers’ Association of South Africa (NAPTOSA) says it is unfortunate that government has not included teachers in the first groups that will receive the coronavirus vaccine.

Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize says healthcare workers will be the first group to be vaccinated when the vaccine is delivered from India to South Africa this month and next month.

NAPTOSA executive director Basil Manuel says teachers are also frontline workers.

“We didn’t see the word teachers specifically mentioned but you’ve got to look at teachers because like it or not, teachers are also the caregivers of millions of children and they’ve got to look after those children so the economically active population can get on with the job. I’m saying we’ve got to judge everything by its merits.”

Teachers’ union SAOU calls for educators to be prioritised for vaccinations:

Research shows vaccines have significant impact on new COVID-19 variant

Public health specialist Dr Kerrin Begg says research conducted so far has shown that the vaccines to combat the coronavirus still have a significant impact on the new variant that is fuelling new infections in South Africa. Research is continuing to determine if the vaccines developed would be effective against the new variant and so far there is no evidence to suggest otherwise.

Begg says even though the variant may be slightly more resistant to antibodies, this is not enough to mitigate the efficacy of the vaccines.

“From what scientists are looking at, the receptor-binding protein still appears to be the same and so while there are mutations on some of the spike proteins, it does appear that the antibodies produced by the vaccine would still have some significant impact on the virus. Remember that even if we get a slight reduction in the impact of the vaccine on the virus, it still will have a dramatic impact on the transmission of the virus and therefore the number of cases that we have and therefore the number of severe cases that we have. It will still be a significant impact to have the vaccine available.”



Long queues on Zimbabwean side of Beitbridge border cleared: Officials
9 January 2021, 8:26 AM

Officials in Zimbabwe say they have cleared the majority of the long queues on the Zimbabwean side of the Beitbridge border post. In the past days, there have been scenes of long queues forming on both sides of the border with most Zimbabweans coming back to work in South Africa after the holiday season.

Even though Zimbabwe is under a hard lockdown, people are risking travel to South Africa because of the difficult economic situation in that country.

Coronavirus infections in Zimbabwe are said to be increasing at an alarming rate.

On Friday night, the Zimbabwean health ministry released statistics for the day with a third of tests done showing positive results for the coronavirus. Many people are already fleeing saying even if they contract COVID-19 they are better off in South Africa.

Earlier in the week, scores of Zimbabweans, including those that are considered to be economic immigrants, continued to form long queues on the Zimbabwean side of the Beitbridge post, waiting to cross into South Africa.

On Tuesday, Zimbabwe implemented a hard lockdown due to a rise in coronavirus infections. Videos of queues at the port of entry went viral on social media.

Many of the travellers work and live in South Africa with their families.

Long queues seen on the Zimbabwean side of the border:



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