Daily news update: Bad news for vaccine rollout, tea party drama continues, and Eskom suspends load shedding
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South Africa received its first batch of one million doses of Covid-19 vaccine from India last Monday. Picture: GCIS
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The rollout of the AstraZeneca vaccine, of which South Africa received a million doses last week, appears to be on hold for the moment, following the vaccine’s less than stellar performance against the currently dominant strain of Covid-19 in clinical trials.
And, not only are the vaccines largely ineffective, but it appears they are also due to expire by April, meaning thousands of doses would be expired by the time healthcare workers are supposed to get their shots.
Health Minister Zweli Mkhize, along with members of the country’s Ministerial Advisory Committee and leading scientists, Prof. Shabir Madhi, Prof Glenda Gray, Prof Barry Schoub, and Prof Salim Abdool Karim, updated the country on the latest regarding the vaccines on Sunday evening.
Following the fanfare around the delivery of the Covid-19 vaccines from India last week, the latest news may have let the air out of government’s vaccine rollout plans.
There is, however some good news, as it appears that the Johnson & Johnson Janssen AD26 vaccine is highly efficient in preventing severe cases of the virus, and this vaccine, as well as a number of doses of the Pfizer vaccine is expected to be rolled out in phases across the country soon.
The DA has written a letter to National Assembly Speaker Thandi Modise seeking answers on who paid for EFF leader Julius Malema and his entourage’s trip on Friday to former president Jacob Zuma’s Nkandla homestead in KwaZulu-Natal.
In a statement on Sunday, DA chief whip Natasha Mazzone said the party wanted an investigation by “the various parliamentary staff members who oversee the payment of entitlements to members of parliament, as well as the Registrar of Member’s interests who oversees all gifts, hospitality and travel benefits.”
Malema arrived by helicopter for the much-anticipated “tea meeting” on Friday accompanied by EFF MP and national spokesperson, Vuyani Pambo, and the party’s former chairperson, advocate Dali Mpofu.
One SA Movement leader Mmusi Maimane says he is disappointed in President Cyril Ramaphosa following his remarks on Friday that former president Jacob Zuma should be given more time to reflect on his decision to defy the Constitutional Court (ConCourt) and the State Capture Commission.
Maimane said on Sunday Ramaphosa had the responsibility to ensure that the rule of law is upheld. He believes that the president is dodging his responsibility as the country’s first citizen.
“The remarks by the president are most disappointing. Citizens at this time want to know that any person who becomes the head of State will defend the Constitution and all its related laws. That’s the oath of office,” Maimane said in an interview with Newzroom Afrika.
An eNCA reporter has taken to social media to share her dreadful experience at Fish Hoek beach, in the Western Cape after an anti-lockdown protester on Saturday allegedly assaulted her for wearing a face mask.
Monique Mortlock was at the beach to cover the anti-mask and lockdown protest organised by a group calling itself #WeAreMore. The protesters have called for an end to the government’s lockdown regulation on the mandatory wearing of masks in public.
It’s also understood the same group took part in last weekend’s protest at Muizenberg beach against the closure of beaches.
Would it come as any surprise if I told you that the new car battle you see on the road between Ford’s Ranger and Toyota’s Hilux, rages just as fiercely in the pre-owned segment and via online search reporting? No? That’s what I thought. But there are a few interesting surprises along the way. Allow me to tell more about how these manufacturers continue to swap blows.
New car sales in South Africa reached record lows during 2020, according to the latest NAAMSA data. A market decline of 29.1% resulted in a total of 156 163 fewer units sold compared to the previous year – the lowest figure to be recorded in 18 years. The Covid-19 pandemic, which has caused an economic recession, is widely regarded as the main contributor to the decline in sales as vehicle sales are closely linked to the strength of the economy.
Eskom announced on Sunday morning that it will be suspending load shedding from 8am.
The power utility on Friday implemented stage 2 load shedding from 12pm and the rolling blackouts were expected to last until Sunday evening.
Eskom said generation capacity has sufficiently recovered since then.
“Eskom is pleased to inform the public that load shedding will be suspended from 08:00 this morning as generation capacity has sufficiently recovered. Since Friday evening, Eskom teams returned four generation units to service at the Medupi Power Station as the coal constraints improved,” Eskom said in a statement.