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11 Jan 2021
10:54 pm

Daily news update: Covid-19 stats, SA kept on Level 3 and Ndlozi to open case against Cele

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President Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: GCIS

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Daily Covid-19 update: Another 15,046 cases take total to 1,246,643

Source: Department of Health

As of Monday, 11 January 2021, the cumulative number of detected Covid-19 cases is 1,246,643 with 15,046 new cases identified, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize has confirmed.

416 more Covid-19 related deaths were reported, with 163 from Eastern Cape, 30 from Free State, 38 from Kwa-Zulu Natal (KZN), 4 from Mpumalanga, 4 from North West, 1 from Northern Cape and 176 from Western Cape.

This brings the total number of Covid-19 related deaths to 33,579. Recoveries now stand at 973,265 with a recovery rate of 78,1%.

 

No booze, no beaches: Ramaphosa keeps SA on adjusted Level 3 Lockdown

President Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: @PresidencyZA

President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced that the country will remain on an adjusted Level 3 Lockdown in a bid to flatten the curve of the Covid-19 pandemic.

This includes a slightly amended curfew, a ban on alcohol sales, continued beach closures and a ban on public gatherings.

Ramaphosa was addressing the nation on Monday night on developments in relation to the country’s response to the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic.

His so-called “family meeting” came at a time that Covid-19 cases are surging and hospitals are taking strain. The President gave no indication of when adjusted Level 3 Lockdown might be reviewed again.

No load shedding imminent, says Eskom

An Eskom sign at the entrance of the power utility’s Megawatt Park offices in Sunninghill on 25 August 2020. Picture: Michel Bega

Eskom said on Monday morning that it did not foresee a need to implement load shedding yet, and that its emergency fuel reserves were sufficient.

The power utility implemented stage 2 load shedding last week and experts have warned that with most industries resuming on Monday, the likelihood of load shedding was increased.

Eskom spokesperson Sikonathi Mantshantsha said: “We have all the diesel that is required. And deliveries scheduled as required.”

According to Eskom’s latest energy updates, total demand on Monday stood at 26,879MW, with Eskom’s availability standing at 27,855MW.

IEC seeks postponement of by-elections due to lockdown restriction

Picture for illustration. Sealed IEC ballot boxes at a voting tent in Brackenfell, Western Cape, 8 May 2019. Picture: Henk Kruger / African News Agency (ANA)

The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) has moved for the postponement of by-elections amid level 3 lockdown restrictions that have curtailed political activities.

The commission has sought the Electoral Court’s approval to postpone by-elections scheduled for 20 January, 3 February and 17 February, arguing that the level 3 regulations will affect the freeness and fairness of the elections.

“The electoral commission noted that even though many of the preparations for the by-elections have been concluded, and protocols are in place for the safe conducting of elections as piloted in November and December, the regulations prohibiting political activities will seriously hamper campaigning by candidates and political parties.”

The court application seeks to extend the 90-day period within which by-elections of councillor vacancies must take place in six provinces, 10 municipalities and 14 wards.

The move to postpone followed consultations with political parties, during which all parties expressed support for the postponement.

Icasa urges public to disregard conspiracy theories linking 5G to Covid-19

Picture supplied.

The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) has urged the public to ignore conspiracy theories linking the placement of 5G infrastructure to the spread of the coronavirus.

This came after community members of in Umlazi, KwaMashu and Ntuzuma set fire to the recently installed 5G masts in these areas, resulting in costly damages to telecommunication infrastructure and massive disruption of communication services.

Icasa chairperson Keabetswe Modimoeng said in a statement: “This narrative should be ignored as it was aimed at bringing instability and fear. The public should only rely on scientifically-based evidence and refrain from baseless theories.”

EFF’s Ndlozi to open case against Police Minister Bheki Cele

EFF MP Mbuyiseni Ndlozi. Picture: Screenshot.

Economic Freedom Fighter (EFF) MP Mbuyiseni Ndlozi says he will open a case of “political interference and defeating the ends of justice” against Police Minister Bheki Cele.

In a statement on Sunday, the EFF said this follows a North Gauteng High Court ruling which cited Cele as having attempted to stop the suspension of the head of police crime intelligence, Lieutenant-General Peter Jacobs over the allegedly fraudulent acquisition of personal protective equipment (PPE).

Ndlozi will open the case at the Sunnyside police station in Tshwane.

WATCH: Makhura visits Steve Biko Hospital as Covid-19 second wave grips Gauteng

Gauteng Premiere addresses the media outside a field hospital by the entrance to Steve Biko Academic Hospital where Gauteng Premiere David Makhura visited, 11 January 2020, Pretoria. Picture: Jacques Nelles

Disturbing images and videos doing the rounds on social media of the state of Covid-19 infections at Steve Biko Academic Hospital in Tshwane have put into sharp focus the effect the second wave is having on Gauteng’s healthcare system

A sharp increase in Covid-19 patients has been observed at the hospital since December last year. 

In a statement released by the Gauteng health department on Sunday, patients being admitted are reported to be more ill and require critical care.

Patients are also arriving in groups, and others are being referred to the hospital from private and public healthcare faculties in Gauteng, the North West, Mpumalanga and Limpopo, putting additional strain on a facility already struggling due to the pandemic.

Basic Education confirms matric marking will be completed on time

Matric Exams

Image: iStockDenosa slams use of Limpopo as nursing ‘training agent for other provinces’

The Department of Basic Education has confirmed that it is still on track to wrap up the marking of matric papers before the end of the month.

According to the department, marking got off to a bad start as some markers pulled out following 238 markers testing positive for the coronavirus across the country, with one death reported.

“There has been anxiety and fear among markers and their families to the extent that some of the marking personnel opted to withdraw from the process and while some withdrew due to the fear, others withdrew because they themselves tested positive for Covid-19 or somebody in the family had tested positive,” said the department’s director-general, Mathanzima Mweli, in a statement.

Mweli said, however, that he was happy with the marking progress made after a meeting over the weekend with key stakeholders, including school governing bodies, principal associations, civil society and teacher unions.

Sassa explains suspension of temporary disability grants

Picture: Moneyweb

The South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) says the suspension of 210,778 disability grants nationally, and 40,875 temporary disability and 2986 care dependency grants in KwaZulu-Natal, is a result of compliance to legislation and the cost implications.

This was in response to DA shadow minister of social development Bridget Masango, who has criticised the Department of Social Development for not extending the deadline for disability grant reassessments to March 2021.

The party said it would write to the chair of the parliamentary portfolio committee on social development, Mondli Gungubele, to urgently request a meeting in which Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu must provide a guarantee that the grant reassessment deadlines would be extended at least until March 2021.

According to Sassa, temporary disability grants that were supposed to lapse from February 2020 were extended to 31 December, costing government at least R1.5 billion.

To continue payment of the grants until March 2021 would have cost an additional R1.2 billion, which is not available, explained Sassa on Monday.

Molefe’s lawyers slam Zondo commission over ‘prejudicial’ conduct

Brian Molefe breaks down while talking about his relationship with the Guptas during a media conference where Eskom released its interim financial results on November 03, 2016 in Johannesburg, South Africa. Picture: Gallo Images

Former Eskom CEO Brian Molefe’s legal representatives, Molaba Attorneys, have accused the Zondo commission of inquiry into state capture of prejudice after the “commission failed to respond to inquiries relating to their client’s scheduled appearance in January 2020”.

In a statement on Monday, Molaba Attorneys said that they had written letters – dated 15 September and 21 December 2020 – in an effort to know what information the commission wants from Molefe, so they could prepare for his appearance. The commission, however, has reportedly failed to respond.

“We conveyed to the commission our client’s request to be informed in relation to his scheduled appearance on which role the commission intends to question him, and to be afforded access to any documents relevant to his appearance.

“The commission has not responded to any of our inquiries.

“On its own, not responding to legitimate inquiries is inconsistent with fairness and our client is seriously prejudiced that until now, he does not appreciate the scope of preparation that he needs in order to be of any use to the commission.”

SA actress Lindiwe Thembekani Ndlovu passes on

Actress Lindiwe Ndlovu – Picture: Twitter / @TvMzansi

The South African film and television industry has suffered a blow after Actress Lindiwe Thembekani Ndlovu died at her home on Monday morning, Gaenor Artiste Management confirmed.

“It is with heavy hearts and unimaginable sadness that we bring you the news of Lindiwe Thembekani Ndlovu passing in her home this morning 11th January. Her bright, large burning light has gone out and we are devastated to bring you this sad news,” the media agency said in a statement.

The cause of her death remains unknown at this stage.

Gaenor Artiste Management, who represented Ndlovu, hailed the multi-award winning actress, saying her passing would leave a “huge space in the creative world of acting”.

Former PSL CEO Trevor Phillips passes away

Trevor Phillips (Photo by Duif du Toit / Gallo Images)

The Premier Soccer League (PSL) has confirmed the death of the League’s first Chief Executive Officer Trevor Phillips.

The League confirmed Phillips’ passing through a statement on Monday.

“It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Mr. Trevor “British Bulldog” Phillips, the first Chief Executive Officer of the Premier Soccer League,” read the PSL statement.

“The NSL Executive Committee conveys its heartfelt condolences to Mr. Phillips’ family, more particularly, his wife Stella and his children Mark and Sharon.

“We supplicate that GOD gives them fortitude at this moment of their extreme grief and pain.”

“The PSL will observe a moment of silence ahead of this week’s DStv Premiership and GladAfrica Championship fixtures. May his soul repose peacefully,” the statement concluded.

White unconcerned with Pumas result; it’s the knockout games that matter

Jake White

Bulls boss Jake White has revealed he had Covid over the festive season. Picture: Getty Images

“This just reaffirms what I’ve been saying about having a team together for a long time and being able to prepare properly – then you have a chance to win,” was coach Jake White’s response to his makeshift Bulls side being hammered 44-14 by the Pumas in their Currie Cup match in Nelspruit on Sunday.

Given the thoroughly unusual week they had, it was always going to be an uphill task for the youthful Bulls outfit to beat a fired-up Pumas side.

Having emerged from their Covid outbreak, the Bulls had to play the Lions in a crucial clash in midweek with a weakened team, but they managed to sneak a win over their Gauteng neighbours, thereby ensuring they would finish top of the log.

They then had to wait 48 hours before they could do Covid testing again, leaving precious little time before Sunday’s match with the Pumas.

White was always going to wrap his first-choice players in cotton-wool before their semi-final against the Lions on January 23, but he would have liked more time to prepare the largely U21 side he threw into action at the Mbombela Stadium.

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