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South Africa: Today’s latest news and headlines

As South Africa experiences a massive surge in coronavirus infections — building to the peak which is projected to hit in August — government is mulling its controversial risk-adjusted, district-based approach. This strategy, which holds fierce logistical problems, aims to localise lockdowns according to hot-spot data.



A hot-spot is defined as a region experiencing a spike in infections with limited healthcare resources to fend off the critical onslaught.

With focus slowly shifting away from the country’s initial epicentre — the Western Cape — to specific districts in Gauteng and the Africa Cryptocurrency News Eastern Cape, which both hold significantly more complex problems, local municipalities have been forced to brace for the impact of tighter restriction.

In the hotspot of Ekurhuleni, Mayor Mzwandile Masina has called for greater adherence to social distancing directives, alluding to tighter restrictions as the answer to stemming the virus’ spread. The National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC) has yet to implement the district-based model which was originally touted as the solution to South Africa’s pandemic.

MORE VBS ARRESTS ON THE HORIZON

Investors and municipal executives implicated in the VBS Mutual Bank collapse — which folded in 2018 as a result of wanton corruption and fraud – are firmly in the crosshairs of the Hawks and National Prosecuting Authority (NPA). The VBS saga, which holds fierce political repercussions, particularly for the African National Congress (ANC), has entered a new era of accountability.

In recent weeks, several high-profile arrests have landed suspected fraudsters before the court system. The most recent in a string of arrests saw the NPA close Africa Stock Market in on former Merafong Municipal CFO Thys Wienekus who faces charges under the Municipal Finance Management Act for an R50 million deposit.

NPA Spokesperson, Sipho Ngwema, warned of further arrests in the near future, some of which may implicate high-profile politicians, saying:

“Of course this is only one official with regards to that transaction so the investigation with regards to the others that may have been involved continues. We are dealing in legs so this is the municipal leg of that investigation, there’s still a lot to be done.”

Regulations ratified by Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma provide more clarity for the long-awaited reopening of the hospitality industry. Africa Press Release Distribution Service Shortly before midnight, Dlamini-Zuma made the gazette public, which include the following regulations:

Cinemas: May only operate at limited capacity (50 people) through a booking system

Theatres: May only operate at limited capacity (50 people in attendance) with further limitations on performers and crew to a maximum of 15 persons.

Casinos: Restriction on the number of persons allowed in the casino to not more than 50% of the available floor space.

While restuarants will be allowed to operate, the government gazette notes:

“… subject to the strict adherence to all health protocols and social distancing measures as provided for in directions that must be issued by the responsible Cabinet Africa Sports News member, after consultation with the Cabinet member responsible for health.”

The Department of Basic Education says while the decision to reopen schools was not taken lightly, as it tries to save what is left of the academic year, it is not going to gamble with human lives.

During the virtual ministerial briefing of the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) on Thursday, Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga said they take their responsibility to manage public schooling very seriously, especially in the face of COVID-19.

“We understand the immediate threat that the COVID-19 pandemic poses to our teachers, learners and broader society,” Motshekga said.



She said the department aims to salvage the academic year but we will not reopen at all costs.

“Nothing is more supreme than human life. Our strategy is guided by the call of the President to protect both lives and livelihoods, of which public schooling plays a strategic role.

“It is now established that disruptions to instructional time in the classroom can have a severe impact on a child’s ability to learn at a later stage. It gets worse for the poor.”

Quoting United Nations’ agencies, Motshekga said the longer marginalized children are out of school, the less likely they are to return. Africa Local News

“Earlier research had confirmed that children from the poorest households are already almost five times more likely to be out of primary school than those from rich families,”.

Source - https://www.thesouthafrican.com/news/south-africa-news-today-friday-26-june-2020/

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