Citizen Reporter
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1 Dec 2021
5:30 am

Daily news update: Unemployment, J&J deal, Mahumapelo cleared of wrongdoing

Citizen Reporter

Here’s your morning news update: An easy-to-read selection of our top stories. Stay up to date with The Citizen – More News, Your Way.

A sign on a factory gate in Anderbolt, Boksburg. 12 November 2020. Picture: Neil McCartney

Click on the links below for the full story or visit our home page for the latest news.

Unemployment rate: Joblessness among SA youth hits record high

South Africa’s unemployment rate now sits at 34.9% in the third quarter of 2021, compared to 34.4% in the second quarter.

This is according to Statistics South Africa (Stats SA), who released the figures on Tuesday, 30 November.

At 34.9%, the unemployment rate is at its highest level since the start of the Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS) in 2008.

The number of employed people decreased by 660,000 in the third quarter to 14.3 million, while 7.6 million people who are actively looking for employment are without a job.

SA’s Aspen inks deal with Johnson & Johnson for Covid vaccines

SA's Aspen inks deal with Johnson & Johnson for Covid vaccines
Gqeberha, South Africa August 20 2021 Aspen Pharmacare largest drug manufacturer in Africa and official partner of Johnson and Johnson in production of covid-19 vaccine.

South African pharma giant Aspen said Tuesday it has reached an agreement in principle with US-based Johnson & Johnson paving the way for an anti-Covid vaccine “made in Africa for Africa”. 

“Today we are pleased to announce the intention for Johnson & Johnson to grant Aspen the rights to manufacture and sell Aspen’s own brand of the vaccine in Africa,” Aspen CEO Stephen Saad said in a statement.

The preliminary deal will “form the basis for negotiation of a definitive agreement on the manufacture and sale of an Aspen-branded Covid-19 vaccine throughout Africa,” the statement said.

Fikile Mbalula, the lottery boss and the luxury R5.6 million home

Bryanston house Lottery boss Fikile Mbalula
Mandeville Road in Bryanston, Johannesburg. Photo: Raymond Joseph/GroundUp

Suspended National Lotteries Commission chief operating officer Phillemon Letwaba has been accused of conflicts of interest involving lottery funding. At the centre of this is a company called Upbrand Properties, which is linked to Letwaba and members of his family. It’s a conflict of interest that Letwaba and the NLC have repeatedly denied.

But the seemingly innocent purchase of a luxury home in an upmarket Johannesburg suburb sheds new light on this and paints an intriguing picture of linked transactions.

Mkhwebane clears Mahumapelo of wrongdoing in R1.5m ‘gift’ to Zuma

Supra Mahumapelo
Former North West premier Supra Mahumapelo during a media briefing to announce his resignation at Luthuli House on May 23, 2018 in Johannesburg, South Africa. Mahumapelo announced that he is taking “early retirement” as premier of the North West. (Photo by Gallo Images / Sowetan / Alaister Russell)

Public Protector (PP) Busisiwe Mkhwebane has cleared former North West premier Supra Mahumapelo of any wrongdoing after giving former president Jacob Zuma cattle worth R1.5 million back in 2016.

This was confirmed by Mkhwebane on Tuesday during a media briefing on the latest report on investigations.The complaint was filed by former EFF secretary-general Godrich Gardee, based on a Sunday Times report.

Digital Vibes: Health DG Sandile Buthelezi cleared of wrongdoing at disciplinary hearing

Health dept DG Sandile Buthelezi back at work
Picture File: Health department director-general Sandile Buthelezi during an oversight visit to the Western Cape last year. Picture: Twitter/@DrZweliMkhize

The director-general (DG) of the Department of Health, Dr Sandile Buthelezi, has been reinstated to his job after he was suspended for being implicated in the Digital Vibes saga.

The department on Tuesday announced that Buthelezi, who returned to work on Monday, was cleared of all charges levelled against him at an internal disciplinary hearing that was chaired by a retired judge.

Dr Nicholas Crisp, who is the deputy DG responsible for National Health Insurance (NHI), was acting in Buthelezi’s role while he was on suspension.

Patients moved after ICU flooded at fire-damaged Charlotte Maxeke hospital

Charlotte Maxeke hospital
Patients were transferred from the main ICU ward at Charlotte Maxeke Hospital after a burst pipe resulted in flooding. Picture: Gallo Images/The Times/Sydney Seshibedi

Ventilated patients had to be moved out of wards, including the main intensive care unit (ICU), at the Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital after a flooding incident on Monday.

The flooding is suspected to have been caused by a burst pipe on level 16 of the hospital.

Dr Peter Belasyse-Smith, an anaesthetist, tweeted about the flooding at the health facility on Monday, saying “first fires, and now flooding”. He said many of the patients that had to be relocated were “ventilated and unstable”.

Ex-Durban mayor Zandile Gumede’s corruption case postponed

Durban Solid Waste corruption case
Zandile Gumede appears at Durban Magistrates Court on 23 March 2021 in Durban, South Africa. Picture: Gallo Images/Darren Stewart

The corruption case against former eThekwini mayor Zandile Gumede and her co-accused has been postponed to 2022.

Gumede and her 21 co-accused briefly appeared at the Durban High Court in KwaZulu-Natal for pre-trial proceedings on Tuesday.

National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) regional spokesperson Natasha Kara said the matter had been postponed to March next year.

Kara said the state was ready for trial, however, some of the legal representatives advised that they would be making additional requests for further particulars.

R47 million World Cup corruption case set to resume in Durban

R47 million World Cup corruption case set to resume in Durban
Picture File: Former KwaZulu-Natal police commissioner Lieutenant-General Mmamonnye Ngobeni. Picture: Gallo Images/The Times/Tebogo Letsie

The R47 million corruption and racketeering case against controversial Durban businessman Thoshan Panday and former KwaZulu-Natal police commissioner Mmamonnye Ngobeni is set to resume at the Durban High Court on Tuesday.

The case against the pair and their seven co-accused was postponed in August due to a request for information relating to the case from the accused.

Panday and Ngobeni, as well as South African Police Service (Saps) Colonel Navin Madhoe, former police captain Aswin Narainpershad and Panday’s mother Arevenda Panday; his wife Privisha Panday; his sister Kajal Ishwarkumar; Panday’s brother-in-law, Seveesh Maharaj Ishwarkumar, and Thoshan’s personal assistant, Tasleem Rahiman – face charges of racketeering, fraud, corruption and money laundering.

Bedfordview residents could be without power until Friday

Bedfordview power outage

Bedfordview’s power outage could last up to four days after an attempted cable theft incident.

Eskom said the power supply to Bedfordview substation has been affected.

“Due to the extent of the damages caused by the attempted cable theft and vandalism of the electricity infrastructure, it is estimated that supply could be restored within four to five days,” said Eskom in a statement.

The power utility says its technical team is working around the clock to locate the point where the cable theft occurred.