COVID-19 WRAP | Two 'irregular' PPE tender cases referred for prosecution, SA records 174 new Covid-19 deaths

03 September 2020 - 07:36 By TimesLIVE
Police disperse Nehawu members using a water canon and stun grenades in front of parliament during their nationwide strike over public servant’s salaries and providing personal protective equipment for health and frontline workers.
Police disperse Nehawu members using a water canon and stun grenades in front of parliament during their nationwide strike over public servant’s salaries and providing personal protective equipment for health and frontline workers.

September 03 2020 - 21:40

Nearly 2,500 new Covid-19 cases and 174 deaths recorded in past 24 hours

South Africa recorded 2,420 new Covid-19 infections and 174 deaths in the past 24 hours, health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize said on Thursday night.

In a statement, Mkhize said there were now 633,015 confirmed cases of the respiratory illness in the country - and that 14,563 had succumbed across the country.

September 03 2020 - 21:31

First two 'irregular' PPE tender cases referred for prosecution

The Competition Tribunal will hear the first two cases relating to irregular procurement processes of personal protective equipment (PPE) in the public sector.

The cases were referred to the tribunal by the Competition Commission.

The first case is against BlueCollar Occupational Health (Pty) Ltd from Gauteng and KZN-based Ateltico Investments (Pty) Ltd.

September 03 2020 - 16:59

How testing sewage will help detect next wave of Covid-19 infections

Western Cape epidemiologists will start testing sewage for signs of new waves of Covid-19 infections as the province continues to see declines in cases of the virus.

Prof Mary-Ann Davis of the provincial department of health said such testing had been proven in other countries, where Covid-19 was detected in wastewater even before anyone in the local population tested positive.

September 03 2020 - 16:50

Hawks mum on whether officials are implicated in Ters fraud

As more fraud cases related to the Temporary Employer/Employee Relief Scheme (Ters) payments come to light, the Hawks are tight-lipped on whether any officials colluded with those who have been arrested.

“That is still an operational matter,” said Hawks spokesperson Brig Hangwani Mulaudzi.

He said to date 14 people had been arrested in connection with alleged fraud linked to Ters and were out on bail ranging from R200 to R5,000. 

September 03 2020 - 15:04

Nehawu hands over memorandum at Union Buildings as strike looms

National Education, Health and Allied Workers' Union (Nehawu) members handed over a memorandum of demands to government on Thursday at the Union Buildings in Pretoria.

Deputy health minister Dr Joe Phaahla accepted the memorandum.

Nehawu is protesting against the salaries of public servants not being increased and lapses in the provision of personal protective equipment (PPE) for front-line workers during the Covid-19 pandemic.

September 03 2020 - 11:00

NMU to extend academic year, start 2021 classes in March

The 2021 academic year at Nelson Mandela University looks set to begin in March 2021, as the current academic year will be extended to ensure its completion.

The university’s executive committee of Senate approved a revised academic calendar at the end of July, which will see the first semester conclude on September 23. The second semester start on September 28 and most of the teaching will be concluded on December 18.

Experiential learning activities, revision sessions and summer schools will be held in early January to help students to complete aspects of their modules and prepare for assessments.

September 03 2020 - 10:50

Covid-19 survivor discovers baking talent and orders start rolling in

Zanele Ngcoko contracted Covid-19 in May. She was retrenched a few weeks later.

Instead of self-pity, the 35-year-old turned her quandary into valuable dough and kneaded a new opportunity for herself. The Gugulethu, Cape Town, mother of three  became a sought-after baker overnight.

This was after she baked a cake for her son’s birthday which “wowed everyone” and “orders started coming in”.

September 03 2020 - 09:04

Is Virgin Active wrong for ditching mask rule? Nah, it's part of the regulations

Virgin Active SA has caused a buzz with its statement regarding wearing a face mask in their gyms.

According to the health club chain, a mask is no longer compulsory when doing “vigorous” activity.

“Government has released new regulations covering the use of masks in the club. The use of masks is no longer compulsory when members are undertaking a vigorous activity, provided that they maintain a 2m distance from other people,” read the post.

September 03 2020 - 09:03

Inmates, students and the dead among TERS beneficiaries

Inmates serving time, students funded by the National Student Financial Aid Scheme and deceased people were among those who were fraudulently paid by the Unemployment Insurance Fund Covid-19 relief fund.

Labour and employment minister Thulas Nxesi said this on Wednesday when he announced that the entire senior leadership of the fund, including its commissioner, CFO and COO, had been suspended.

The suspensions follow the release of the auditor-general's audit findings, which found serious risks and violations in the payments of the temporary relief funds. The Temporary Employee/Employer Relief Scheme (TERS) was set up to assist workers affected by reduced work time and salaries due to the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown.

September 03 2020 - 08:34

Wine industry enters digital space to boost sales during the lockdown

The wine industry has no doubt been one of the businesses worst hit by the lockdown, but a new digital platform that is aimed at promoting the country’s wine exports globally, brings a glimmer of hope to this battered sector.

The Cape Export Network, a brainchild of Wesgro and Wines of SA, which is soon to be introduced in the country, will help wine buyers and importers who have an interest in local wine to safely select wine of their choice using criteria that include wine type, tasting notes as well as the region where the wine has been produced. Based on their selection, the platform will present wines listed that meet these criteria.

The wine industry, which stopped trading twice during the lockdown after the ban on alcohol sales, was brought to its knees with many people having lost their jobs as businesses struggled to make ends meet. It is estimated that the wine industry lost R200m a week on exports during the five weeks of no exports and R300m in local sales per week, More than 100,000 jobs were lost.

September 03 2020 - 08:06

Parliament to defend 'ill-conceived' Helen Suzman Foundation case over Covid-19 laws

National Assembly speaker Thandi Modise says an application by the Helen Suzman Foundation to force the government to pass “special” legislation to manage Covid-19 is “ill conceived”, “unwarranted” and “inappropriate”.

The Helen Suzman Foundation has gone to court to seek an order declaring that the government has failed to fulfil its constitutional obligation to initiate and pass laws to regulate its response to the threat and harm caused by Covid-19.

Modise, President Cyril Ramaphosa and his cabinet, and co-operative governance and traditional affairs minister Nkosozana Dlamini-Zuma are cited as respondents.

September 03 2020 - 07:00

WATCH | All aboard! Free health-care train stops in Gauteng for first time

The train, which brings free health-care to the doorsteps of vulnerable communities, had previously travelled to every province in SA except Gauteng.

September 03 2020 - 07:00

Prisoner with chronic illnesses loses bid to be released on 'Covid-19 parole'

A man sentenced to 25 years in jail for money laundering has failed in his bid to be released on parole as part of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s proclamation to release offenders to ease overcrowding in prisons during the Covid-19 lockdown.

September 03 2020 - 06:40

WATCH | What you need to know about SA’s official Covid-19 tracing app

Almost six months after SA's first coronavirus case, the department of health has officially launched a Covid-19 contact tracing app.

September 03 2020 - 06:00

Pupils not getting school meals because transport costs too much

Limpopo school says at least 40 learners need scholar transport to collect meals