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PODCAST | COVID-19 Frontline Workers Part XVI: A pest control operator shares his story
3 August 2020, 9:26 AM

Tens of thousands of workers are on the frontline of the global war against COVID-19.

Many are in the unenviable position of fighting the pandemic, at the risk of their own lives and those of their families.

SABC News captures their voices in this weekly feature, COVID-19 Frontline Workers. This week, Digital News producer Lebo Tshangela speaks to a pest control company owner Moke Simon Buang in the Free State about his experience with the coronavirus during the nationwide lockdown.

Here is his story:

Related: Part I :COVID-19 Frontline Workers I : A doctor shares his story 

Related: Part II: COVID-19 Frontline Workers II : Nurses share their stories

Related: Part III: COVID-19 Frontline Workers III : A Private clinic owner shares her story

Related: Part IV: COVID-19 Frontline Workers IV: A police officer shares her story

Related: Part V: COVID-19 Frontline Workers Part V: A neurosurgeon shares his story

Related: Part VI: PODCAST|COVID-19 Frontline Workers Part VI: A cashier shares her story

Related: Part VII: PODCAST: COVID-19 Frontline Workers Part VII: A journalist shares her story

Related: Part VIII: PODCAST | COVID-19 Frontline Workers Part VIII: A taxi driver shares his story

Related: Part XI: PODCAST | COVID-19 Frontline Workers Part IX: A petrol attendant shares his story

Related: Part X: PODCAST | COVID-19 Frontline Workers Part X: A teacher shares his story

Related : Part XI: PODCAST | COVID-19 Frontline Workers Part XI: A security guard shares his story

Related: Part XII: PODCAST | COVID-19 Frontline Workers Part XII: A mine worker shares his story

Related: Part XIII: PODCAST | COVID-19 Frontline Workers Part XIII: A delivery driver shares his story

Related: Part XIV: PODCAST | COVID-19 Frontline Workers Part XIV: An IT specialist shares his story

Related: Part XV: PODCAST | COVID-19 Frontline Workers Part XV: A senior manager at a mobile communications company shares her story

WHO praises SA for participating in COVID-19 vaccine trials
31 July 2020, 11:42 AM

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has commended South Africa for participating in vaccine trials against the coronavirus.

Scientists across the globe are racing to find a vaccine, to combat a virus that has infected over 17 million people worldwide.

South Africa remains among the top five countries with the most infections in the world, having recorded over 482 000 cases and 7812 COVID019-related deaths.

The Head of the WHO, Tedros Ghebreyesus speaking at a South African-hosted virtual National Summit on Science and Innovation’s response to COVID-19 says, “One of the most active areas of innovation is vaccines. Less than eight months into the pandemic, more than 200 vaccine candidates are in development and more than 20 have started human trials. We commend SA for participating in one of those trials in collaboration with the University of Oxford. We must make sure that vaccines diagnostics and therapeutics for COVID-19 are global public goods, not another reason that more people are left behind.”

In the video below, Dr Ghebreyesus addresses a virtual national conference on COVID-19:

Pharmaceutical-manufacturing technologies

Speaking at the same summit, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize says South Africa needs to work towards building strong pharmaceutical-manufacturing technologies to help produce a vaccine against the coronavirus.

Mkhize says, “We need to build a strong base for pharmaceutical manufacturing capabilities and new technologies for vaccine production, diagnostic kits for various medical equipment including ventilators, PPEs and others and embracing various new innovations. South African Health Regulatory Authority stands ready to fast-track all applicants to promote the development of local capabilities.”

SA benefits from various international partnerships

Earlier, reading President Cyril Ramaphosa’s speech at the summit, Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation, Blade Nzimande, said the work of the African Union Commission in response to COVID-19 has been impressive, especially its support for the African Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.

“South Africa continues to benefit from various international partnerships in the fight against COVID-19, including the BRICS alliance, the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, and the European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership.”

In the video below, Nzimande addresses the Summit:

Makhubo receives Masuku’s request for leave of absence
31 July 2020, 10:45 AM

City of Johannesburg Mayor Geoff Makhubo has confirmed receipt of a request for a leave of absence by Corporate and Shared Services MMC Loyiso Masuku.

This comes after Masuku along with her husband Health MEC Bandile Masuku were requested by the African National Congress (ANC) to take a leave of absence following allegations of tender impropriety.

The outrage around the R125 million tender for personal protective equipment has also resulted in the President’s spokesperson Khusela Diko taking a leave of absence.

Her husband Thandisizwe Diko and Loyiso Masuku are directors in a company that won the tender in Gauteng.

This has stirred allegations of nepotism and corruption which resulted in the ANC calling for the three to take a leave of absence while investigations are underway.

Biggest financial scandal

Gauteng Premier David Makhura says the R125 million tender for the COVID-19 personal protective equipment is the biggest financial scandal his government has faced since he became Premier in 2014.

In the video below, Makhura appointed Jacob Mamabolo as acting Gauteng Health MEC:

Step aside

The ANC in Gauteng requested its Provincial Executive Committee members, Masuku and Diko, to step aside pending an investigation into allegations of corruption in the awarding of the PPE tenders.

In the video below, Provincial Secretary Jacob Khawe briefed the media following a special PEC meeting:

COVID-19 infections in Africa will exceed one million cases in coming days: WHO African Region
31 July 2020, 9:48 AM

World Health Organisation African Region says COVID-19 infections in Africa will exceed one million cases in the coming days as the pandemic surges in several hotspot countries.

In a statement, WHO African Region says in a little more than three weeks, the number of cases on the continent almost doubled to 889 457, with 18 806 deaths.

“Overall, the pandemic is accelerating with the number of new cases increasing by 50% during the last 14 days compared with the previous fortnight. However, only five countries account for about 75% of the cumulative COVID-19 cases, they are Algeria, Egypt, Ghana, Nigeria and South Africa. South Africa alone accounts for around half of the continent’s total cases. Deaths are also increasing. A total of 4376 new deaths were recorded during the last 14 days, representing a 22% increase from the previous two weeks.”

Seven countries in sub-Saharan Africa which had imposed lockdowns and have now started easing them have experienced a 20% jump in cases over the past two weeks.

Some countries such as the Republic of the Congo and Morocco have had to re-implement partial restrictions because of an increase in cases.

Below is the full statement:

WHO concerned about high number of COVID-19 cases in SA

The World Health Organisation has warned that the high number of COVID-19 cases in South Africa must be taken seriously because it is an indication of a looming crisis in the Sub Saharan region.

In the video below, WHO Director Dr. Tedros Gebreyesus has called for leadership during this crisis:

Unlawfully appointed law enforcement officials must be removed: O’Sullivan
31 July 2020, 9:04 AM

Forensic investigator Paul O’Sullivan has called for all law enforcement officials who have been unlawfully appointed to be removed from their current positions.

This comes after former Acting National Police Commissioner Khomotso Phahlane was fired from the South African Police Service.

Phahlane was placed on suspension in 2017 on misconduct charges.

He is also facing fraud and forgery charges relating to an R 86 million blue lights tender.

O’Sullivan says the police service needs to remove corrupt officials.

“The wheels have slowly turned, but the sad part is that it has taken 4.5 years to rid the police service of a crooked cop, when it should have taken less than 4.5 months. I am saying that this is evidence that the criminal justice system is still captured and we have to rid the police, not only of Phahlane and his accomplices but of all these generals which have been unlawfully appointed to their current positions because what they have in fact done is infested the police with corrupt criminal cops and we need to get rid of them all.”

In the video below, Phahlane says that state institutions are being misused:

 In the video below, March 2019: Phahlane is arrested after an Independent Police Investigative Directorate investigation into an R 86 Million blue lights tender.

In the video below, Ipid raid Phahlane’s home in 2017:

In the video below, Phahlane was appointed Acting National Police Commissioner in 2015 after Riah Phiyega was suspended:

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