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Sports ministry awaits green light from NCCC on re-introduction of spectators at stadiums
17 June 2021, 9:10 PM

Sports, Arts and Culture Minister, Nathi Mthethwa, says they will be guided by the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC) when it comes to re-introducing spectators at stadiums.

Minister Mthethwa was speaking during a media briefing on the work of a Ministerial Advisory Team established four months ago. Mthethwa says they will be guided by the National Coronavirus Command Council on whether to re-introducing spectators at stadiums.

Four provinces are already on third wave and the Health Department on Thursday told Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Health that the entire country may soon be on third wave. And that the rate at which the infections are going seem to be faster than the first and the second wave.

“People ask all the time, when are you going to open the sporting events and so on. We are guided by the command council and we will do what we are doing based on that guidance. We got to balance the saving of lives and sustaining livelihoods. But we are not going to do anything outside of what government is doing as a whole,” says Mthethwa.

The Ministerial Advisory Team, which was set up by the Department of Sports, Arts and Culture aims to address some of the challenges in the sector. It says it’s in conversation with the Tax Revenue Collector to provide artists who couldn’t earn an income during the lockdown with some relief.

In an effort to resolve some of the challenges in the industry, they have urged organised groups representing artists to meet with the team.

Sharif Baker of the Ministerial Advisory Team says: “There are some of the corporate sectors that are willing to assist us to upskill our creative sector as well. Not to say here is R5 go and do something. They also want to get involved to try to create intervention and stimulus for our sector. So it’s very important to understand that these are very key objectives that we are working on because government cannot do everything by themselves. Government does not have a very deep pocket to say every second, let’s do a first phase relief, a second phase relief.”

Speaking on the concerns raised by artists on how and when concerts will resume, Mthethwa says they rely on the advisory council.

“Currently you would have heard what the president has said two days ago about us being on level 3. We will move and we are well aware that we have to balance the saving of lives and livelihoods. We are not going to do anything outside of what government is doing as a whole,” says Mthethwa.

The Ministerial Advisory Team say it aims to work together with the department to ensure that artists are paid the relief intended for them quickly.

Zambia declares 21 days of mourning for Kaunda
17 June 2021, 7:00 PM

Zambian President, Edgar Lungu, has declared 21 days of national mourning for his country following the death of former President, Kenneth Kaunda. The elderly statesman succumbed to pneumonia while in a hospital in Lusaka.

Kaunda led Zambia into independence from Britain – ruling the country from 1964 until 1991. He was also instrumental in assisting other Southern African countries gain independence from minority rule.

Secretary of Cabinet, Simon Miti, says all funeral and memorial events will be communicated at a later stage.

Kenneth Kaunda photo gallery:

First Deputy Secretary of the SACP, Solly Mapaila, has described the late Kaunda as exemplary to leaders as well as ordinary people. Mapaila says Kaunda was a fount of wisdom for many leaders on the continent.

“He played an extremely critical role and remained a counsellor to many leaders on the continent. He remained a pillar of an example about how he left office, such a hero of our movement. When he was removed through democratic elections in Zambia, he acceded to the demands of the people and continued to provide counsel and the people continued to see him as a father figure of Zambian liberation and a symbol of Zambian liberation. He represented a special generation of our liberation leaders on the African continent,” adds Mapaila.

Kenneth Kaunda’s obituary:


ANC Veteran, Mavuso Msimang, has described the late former Zambian President as a man of principle. He was also instrumental in assisting other Southern African countries gain independence from minority rule including the ANC, which had its headquarters in Lusaka.

“He was principled in the sense that sometimes he took decisions that were unpopular to others such as talking to John Foster who was Prime Minister of this place. Talking to Ian Smith, hated leader of Rhodesia, he even invited him to Zambia. Kaunda would do that but he would only do that on the basis of principle. You knew that at the end of the day any agreement would be based on all parties agreeing that it would be on the basis of majority rule,” explains Msimang.

Mavuso Msimang on the passing of Kenneth Kaunda:

Tributes pouring on social media:


Health committee to investigate if Minister Mkhize can still appear before it
17 June 2021, 6:50 PM

Parliament’s Health Committee will investigate whether it is possible for Health Minister, Zweli Mkhize, to appear before it despite him having been placed on special leave. President Cyril Ramaphosa took the step pending an investigation by the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) into a multi-million-rand tender awarded to communications company, Digital Vibes.

It Is alleged that the owners of the company have links to Mkhize. Before being placed on special leave, Mkhize declined to appear before the committee after seeking legal advice. Parliament’s legal services say there is no reason preventing the institution from fulfilling its oversight mandate.

Opposition MPs say there is no reason why Minister Mkhize should not appear before them to answer questions about Digital Vibes. This follows advise from one of Parliament’s senior legal advisors, Siviwe Njikela, that the institution should not be prevented from doing its work.

ANC MP, Thabo Munayi, says it would be impossible to get a Minister to account when another Minister has been appointed to fulfil those duties.

“The legal advisor at this meeting, in event where Minister is on leave, he said “I’m not sure” if the legal mind is unsure, I will propose the legal advice continue to consult more and come back with conclusive view.”

Mkhize’s briefing on Digital Vibes issue:


Parliament’s Health Committee Chairperson, Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo, says he will seek further legal advice on the matter.

“In terms of this other part you want us to relook legalities to get a Minister on top of another Minister, I will also get an advice on that, outside of this meeting,” he told MPs.

The Digital Vibes scandal comes as the Health Department says it is concerned about the rising COVID-19 infections.

Acting Health Minister, Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane says: “We have entered the 3rd wave as country and it is what is worry us now. Look at last night’s report. GP (Gauteng Province) is our major concern. We can call it that the fires are burning in GP.”

Nursing unions concerned about COVID-19 third wave:

Gqeberha ready to host Cosafa Cup
17 June 2021, 6:00 PM

The 2021 edition of the Cosafa Cup football tournament will take place from 7th to the 18th of July in Gqeberha, Eastern Cape. The teams also know who they will face after the draw was held in the city on Thursday morning.

South Africa, Zambia and Senegal are at the head of the three pools.

Senegal, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Namibia make up Group C.

Group B will see Zambia, Malawi, Madagascar and the Comoros battle it out.

Hosts, South Africa, will clash with Lesotho, Eswatini and Botswana for a place in the play-offs.

The 20th edition of the competition was supposed to take place last year, but the global pandemic forced a postponement to this year.

The Nelson Mandela Bay metro is fully prepared.

The matches will be played in empty stadiums.

Fans will have to follow the action on TV, Radio or online.

Disneyland Paris reopens, but Mickey Mouse won’t give hugs
17 June 2021, 5:30 PM

The Disneyland Paris theme park opened to visitors on Thursday after being shuttered for nearly eight months during the pandemic, but safety measures were in force to stop the virus spreading.

While cast members dressed as favourite Disney characters – among them Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse and Goofy – were on hand as usual for selfies with visitors, they were keeping their distance.

According to the park’s revised rules, “close interactions, including hugs, will be temporarily suspended.” Visitors over the age of six are also required to wear masks.

Nevertheless, visitors streaming through the gates at opening time were ecstatic to be there. Émeline N’Zalakanda, a 22-year-old student, visited several times a week before the COVID-19 lockdown and has been missing the experience.

“I feel like I’ve been waiting for this all my life. It’s been months and months,” she said. “It’s just amazing. There’s so much emotion, seeing all these people again.”

Inside the park, which is about 40 km (25 miles) east of Paris, the twirling teacups ride was in action once again and people were thronging around Sleeping Beauty’s castle.

Natacha Rafalski, CEO of Disneyland Paris, said the reopening was a watershed moment for the whole tourism and hospitality sector in France as it emerges from the pandemic.

“We’ve all waited impatiently for this moment,” she said. “Restaurants, hotels, theme parks, all hospitality venues, are essential to the life of the French people.”



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