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COVID-19 WRAP | Will Bandile Masuku fall on his sword amidst Covid-19 tender scandal?

29 July 2020 - 07:29 By TimesLIVE
It remains to be seen whether Gauteng health MEC Dr Bandile Masuku will fall on his sword after being implicated in a Covid-19 tender scandal.
It remains to be seen whether Gauteng health MEC Dr Bandile Masuku will fall on his sword after being implicated in a Covid-19 tender scandal.
Image: Thapelo Morebudi/Sunday Times

July 29 2020 - 22:16

More than 11,000 new Covid-19 cases in SA, deaths rise by 240

After two consecutive days of slightly more than 7,000 new infections, SA's health ministry reported 11,384 new Covid-19 cases on Wednesday.

There are now 471,123 cases across the country.

The ministry also reported 240 deaths recorded in the past 24 hours, taking the national total to 7,497 fatalities.

July 29 2020 - 20:16

NDZ doesn't have power to prohibit, British American Tobacco tells court

The lockdown regulation prohibiting the sale of tobacco products violates the rights of every participant in the supply chain for tobacco and vaping products — from smokers, tobacconists and tobacco farmers to manufacturers and retailers.

And the minister who promulgated the regulation does not have the power under the law to prohibit the sale and distribution of the products.

These submissions were made by British American Tobacco and nine other applicants in a court application before the high court in Cape Town.

July 29 2020 - 20:09

Excess deaths soar to 22,279 - more than four times official death toll

Excess deaths from natural causes reached an estimated 22,279 by July 21, according to the latest weekly report by the Medical Research Council (SAMRC).

This is more than four times the number of deaths directly attributed to Covid-19 on the same date.

A co-author of the weekly reports, Prof Debbie Bradshaw, said last week that "the timing and geographic pattern leaves no room to question whether this is associated with the Covid-19 epidemic".

July 29 2020 - 19:24

IN QUOTES | Alan Winde on the Western Cape's Covid-19 response

Western Cape premier Alan Winde answered questions on the province's response to Covid-19 on Wednesday.

He addressed key issues such as poverty alleviation efforts and the need to reopen the economy to prevent long-term economic collapse. 

There are 92,983 confirmed Covid-19 cases in the Western Cape, 1,545 deaths and 76,835 recoveries.

July 29 2020 - 19:18

Andile Ramaphosa defends R6m Covid taxi project: 'We'll save countless lives'

President Cyril Ramaphosa's son Andile says his company will save lives after it received R6m in funding to modify thousands of Gauteng taxis.

The modifications would allow the vehicles to comply with Covid-19 regulations.

The non-profit company SDI Force is fitting screens that will create a “driver-separation” capsule, window ventilators, sanitiser dispensers and changeable messaging boards in taxis. All these are aimed at preventing the spread of the coronavirus inside taxis, which are now allowed to carry passengers at 100% capacity for short-distance trips.

July 29 2020 - 18:31

Police investigating contravention of lockdown rules at Mlangeni house

Gauteng police said on Wednesday they were investigating whether a gathering at the home of struggle stalwart and Rivonia trialist Andrew Mlangeni breached lockdown laws.

Saps confirmed that a case had been opened into whether the gathering outside Mlangeni's Soweto home on Tuesday had breached the Disaster Management Act, which prohibits large public gatherings and limits to 50 the number of people allowed at funerals.

Police spokesperson Brig Vish Naidoo said the investigation came after the police were inundated with complaints about Tuesday’s gathering, in which Mlangeni’s body was brought back home ahead of his funeral on Wednesday.

July 29 2020 - 17:03

LISTEN | Something must be done to save 2020 school year, say experts

President Cyril Ramaphosa announced the closure of schools and the extension of the school year last week, but at what cost to South African students and the larger economy?

Prof Nic Spaull, a senior researcher at Stellenbosch University, and associate professor Maximus Sefotho at the University of Johannesburg outline the dire consequences for the future of SA and its students should more of the 2020 academic year be lost.

Both agree that urgent steps need to be taken to get learning back on track.

July 29 2020 - 16:30

Khusela Diko says husband's company did nothing wrong but shouldn't have applied for tender

President Cyril Ramaphosa’s spokesperson Khusela Diko said on Wednesday that she “regretted” her husband’s company seeking to do business with the Gauteng health department.

In a joint statement with her husband, King Madzikane II, she admitted that there was public anger over reports that Madzikane’s company Royal Bhaca Projects was awarded R125m in tenders for personal protective equipment (PPE).

“Over the last week, as individuals, a couple and a family, we have found ourselves at the centre of a media and public storm over a Gauteng health department PPE supply contract that was awarded to Royal Bhaca Projects and subsequently cancelled,” she said.

July 29 2020 - 16:13

Winde condemns land invasions as R50m housing development is 'lost'

Western Cape premier Alan Winde has doubled down on his condemnation of violence and destruction of property committed by service delivery protesters and land invaders.

In several districts across the province and in poor neighbourhoods in the Cape Town metro, large-scale land grabs have taken place for several weeks, leading to clashes with authorities.

By last week, Cape Town mayor Dan Plato said at least eight land grabs were taking place daily, meaning law-enforcement authorities were stretched beyond their limits.

July 29 2020 - 16:05

Treasury considers centralised buying of PPE to curb graft: Mboweni

The government may centralise procurement of Covid-19 personal protection equipment as a measure to curb fraud and corruption.

Finance minister Tito Mboweni told parliament on Wednesday that in light of reports of tender fraud, particularly related to PPE, he instructed National Treasury officials to find ways to curb graft.

“We've been reading reports about possible acts of corruption in some of the contracts awarded with respect to Covid-19 equipment.

July 29 2020 - 13:37

Residents of 'hotspot' Chatsworth to hold vigil as Covid-19 infections surge

Amid growing concern about Chatsworth being declared a Covid-19 hotspot, residents will hold a vigil on Friday night to highlight the need to fight the pandemic by following stipulated rules.

On Sunday KwaZulu-Natal premier Sihle Zikalala named Chatsworth as one of many areas in the province that the government was anxious about.

Since then a notice has been circulating on social medical platforms calling for residents in the area of Montford to light candles and stand at their driveways between 7 and 7.30pm.

July 29 2020 - 11:19

Zimbabwe lands minister dies days after driver succumbs to Covid-19

Zimbabwe’s minister of lands, agriculture and rural resettlement, retired air marshal Perrance Shiri, died in the early hours on Wednesday after his personal driver succumbed to Covid-19.

Shiri, 65, was rushed to a private hospital in Harare. Presidential spokesperson George Charamba said Shiri didn’t attend cabinet on Tuesday because he had gone into self-isolation after the death of his driver.

July 29 2020 - 10:45

Disbelief as 88-year-old dies after explaining how he survived Covid-19

Shortly after he inspired thousands of people when he went on video explaining how he had beaten Covid-19, 88-year-old New Brighton resident Kolekile “KK” Kwatsha has died.

July 29 2020 - 10:00

Hong Kong implements tough coronavirus restrictions

Hong Kong is on the verge of a "large-scale" coronavirus outbreak that could overwhelm hospitals, its leader warned Wednesday, as authorities implemented their toughest social distancing measures yet.

From Wednesday all residents in the densely packed city of 7.5 million must wear masks when they leave their homes while restaurants can only serve takeaway meals.

No more than two people from different households can gather in public with fines of up to HK$5,000 ($625) for those who breach the new emergency rules.

July 29 2020 - 09:24

Should I be sanitising my groceries to protect myself against Covid-19?

When it comes to navigating life in the new normal, we take so many precautions to safeguard ourselves and our loved ones against Covid-19 that it's sometimes hard to tell if we've being pragmatic or paranoid.

Case in point: should we should be sanitising or wiping down our groceries before packing them away — or is this overkill?

July 29 2020 - 09:08

'ANC would not gather people during time of coronavirus' - Mbalula on large crowd outside Mlangeni's home

Transport minister Fikile Mbalula said the people who surrounded late struggle stalwart Andrew Mlangeni's coffin on Tuesday "erupted spontaneously".

"The reality is that we were less than 10 [from the ANC]. The ANC would not gather people and address them in the environment of the coronavirus," Mbalula said outside Mlangeni's home in Dube, Soweto, on Wednesday morning.

"They [people]  spontaneously erupted and joined the line. When the coffin arrived, people moved forward. The marshalls tried to push them back," Mbalula said.

July 29 2020 - 08:42

China records highest new-case count in three months

China reported 101 new coronavirus cases Wednesday, its highest single-day figure in three months, as gyms, bars and museums closed in infection hotspots.

Of the new cases, 98 were domestic infections, mostly in the northwestern region of Xinjiang, where a growing cluster first discovered earlier this month has prompted mass testing and restrictions.

China -- where the global outbreak first emerged -- had largely brought domestic transmission under control through targeted lockdowns, travel restrictions and testing. But sporadic regional outbreaks have illustrated the difficulty of keeping the virus at bay.

July 29 2020 - 08:40

Pupil's heartfelt story leads to silver lining for her school

Etaine Wilson was told to report to the teachers' boardroom by Kasselsvlei Comprehensive High School acting principal Brett Dyers.

The 18-year-old may be one of the Cape Town school’s star pupils, but the year has stripped nearly everything she held dear from her life. In 2020, surprises have seldom been pleasant.

But last week there was finally something to celebrate. She and two of her peers, chosen for their academic excellence, walked in and were handed boxes containing laptops given to the school by Mark Young, CEO of fintech company Finclusion.

July 29 2020 - 08:37

Returning from abroad? Here's how to apply for self-quarantine at home

It is now possible for repatriated South Africans to apply to self-quarantine for 10-14 days in their home or at a facility of their choice.

Those who wish to isolate in the comfort of their home and not in a state-assigned quarantine facility must submit a written application at least 72 hours before the intended date of travel to the heath director-general to obtain approval.

If the application of a person arriving in the country is approved, he or she will be allowed to self-quarantine or isolate on arrival and will be subjected to health reporting protocols and regular follow-ups by the department of health

July 29 2020 - 07:45

Overcrowding, infected staff & shortages: Nehawu details its hospital 'fact-finding' results

The National Education, Health and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu) on Tuesday briefed the media on what it said was a fact-finding mission on the state's readiness to confront Covid-19 in hospitals.

Nehawu general secretary Zola Saphetha said the site visits were done in response to complaints from union members about their working conditions.

Saphetha explained the findings and detailed recommendations which would help improve conditions.

July 29 2020 - 07:23

Will GP health MEC Bandile Masuku step down amidst Covid-19 tender scandal?