The Citizen
8 minute read
11 Feb 2021
5:05 am

Daily news update: Covid-19 stats, Sona 2021 guide and SA to rollout J&J vaccine

The Citizen

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Johnson & Johnson announced a $3.4 billion acquisition of robotics company Auris Health.. AFP/File/CHARLY TRIBALLEAU

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

New cases up to 3,159 with 276 more deaths

Source: Department of Health

As of Wednesday, 10 February 2021, the cumulative number of detected Covid-19 cases is 1,482,412 with 3,159 new cases identified, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize has confirmed.

276 more Covid-19 related deaths were reported. This brings the total number of Covid-19 related deaths to 47,145.

Recoveries now stand at 1,374,368 representing a recovery rate of 92,7%

Sona 2021 guide: R100k budget, EFF attending virtually and all you need to know

Preparations are under way outside the Parliament of South Africa in Cape Town ahead of the State of the Nation address, 12 February 2020. Picture: Jacques Nelles

President Cyril Ramaphosa is set to deliver the State of the Nation Address (Sona) on Thursday evening at 7pm, in person, from the National Assembly.

The address by the president comes at a critical time for the country amid corruption scandals, load shedding, and a weak economy decimated by the Covid-19 pandemic. And unlike the pomp and ceremony of previous years, the Sona this time will have a limited number of dignitaries and guests attending the event in person due to virus concerns.

Eskom upgrades load shedding to stage 3 from Wednesday

File Image: iStock

Eskom has announced it will implement stage 3 load shedding from 1pm on Wednesday until 6am on Thursday morning, following the loss of generation units and to replenish emergency generation reserves

“This load shedding is necessary as the power generation system is still severely constrained due to high generation unit breakdowns during the past three days, as well as the need to replenish diminishing emergency generation reserves.

SA switches gear on Covid-19 vaccine strategy – Mkhize

South Africa received its first batch of one million doses of Covid-19 vaccine from India on Monday. Picture: GCIS

Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize says the Department of Health will continue with the planned phase-one vaccine rollout using the Johnson & Johnson vaccine instead of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

This after the government on Sunday said it was temporarily halting the rollout of AstraZeneca’s vaccine to healthcare workers after preliminary data from a clinical trial found it gave minimal protection against mild-to-moderate infection caused by the dominant 501Y.V2 variant discovered in South Africa.

ANC eThekwini comes out guns blazing for Zuma, Magashule ahead of NEC meeting

ANC Secretary General, Ace Magashule briefs media about the details of the ANCs recall of President Jacob Zuma at Luthuli House in the Johannesburg CBD, 13 February 2018. Picture: Neil McCartney

The ANC’s eThekwini region in KwaZulu-Natal on Wednesday expressed its unwavering support for ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule and former president Jacob Zuma, ahead of the governing party’s national executive committee (NEC) meeting this weekend.

“We believe that the persecution of these leaders is motivated by politics, working with those who want to polarise, destabilise, and burn down South Africa into ashes,” the regional leaders said in a statement on behalf of the branches it represents.

Motshekga set to address nation over schools’ state of readiness this weekend

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga is expected to brief the nation on Sunday about schools’ state of readiness to reopen.

On Monday 15 February, schools were expected to reopen after closing in December, following what was an eventful year for the sector in the wake of Covid-19 in South Africa. On Wednesday, department spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga said more details around Motshekga’s address would be released on Friday.

‘We’ll buy the real stuff’ – Mkhize allays fears over fake Covid-19 vaccines

Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize. Picture: GCIS

Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize has assured South Africans that government will only procure Covid-19 vaccines from reputable vaccine manufacturers globally.

Mkhize, speaking during a media briefing on Wednesday morning, said government’s priority was to ensure that citizens were protected from getting infected with the virus.

New school calendar too long for learners, says Sadtu

Picture for illustration. Picture: iStock

Teachers and unions have expressed frustration over the new school calendar, released by the Department of Basic Education on Tuesday.

Teachers say they are concerned by the length of the schooling calendar, which has about 10 weeks of learning. School terms are usually much shorter, and teachers’ concerns are that 10 weeks is a long time for learners to concentrate without a break.

SIU to spend R120m to recover looted funds, Scopa hears

SIU head advocate Andy Mothibi briefed the media on Friday on 5 February 2021, on the unit’s finalised investigations into the procurement of PPE and other goods by state institutions. Picture: @RSASIU/Twitter

The Special Investigating Unit (SIU) is expected to spend around R120 million on recovering funds looted from the state.

Briefing Parliament’s Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa), SIU head Andy Mothibi said his unit was not spared from the cuts to government’s expenditure. The SIU’s chief financial officer (CFO) Andre Gernandt said the cost incurred on investigations at the end of December topped R70 million.

City of Ekurhuleni is running out of money, claims DA

Ekurhuleni mayor Mzwandile Masina. Picture: Gallo Images/Frennie Shivambu

According to Clr Ivan Naidoo, DA deputy shadow MMC for the Finance Oversight in Ekurhuleni, the City of Ekurhuleni is in dire financial crisis, with mere 13 days of cash left in its coffers.

The statement has been shared on social media platforms and judging from people’s comments, this has caused a great deal of uncertainty for residents who said City’s financial problems result from dwindling service delivery over the years.

Public protector clears department in lease deal for Zondo commission

Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo. Picture: Karen Sandison/African News Agency

The Department of Public Works and Infrastructure on Wednesday welcomed the report by the public protector, which cleared the department of wrongdoing relating to the awarding of a lease agreement/tender to media company, Tiso Blackstar Group.

The lease was for the premises located at Hillside House in Parktown, Johannesburg, that initially housed the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture.

Tshwane ANC to lay criminal charges against ‘fake’ DA councillors

General views of the African National Congress (ANC) headquarters Luthuli House in Johannesburg, 9 December 2020. Picture: Michel Bega

The ANC Tshwane caucus is on Wednesday expected to lay criminal complaints against two DA municipal councillors it claims are working from Cape Town and New Zealand.

Tshwane ANC regional chairperson, Kgosi Maepa, on Tuesday said the party had received evidence indicating that the DA had two fraudulent and illegal ward councillors who have been receiving salaries for council work, but no longer stayed in Tshwane and Gauteng.

SA Express liquidation: R183 million owed to workers

SA Express an entity that has “‘clearly failed”. Image: Moneyweb

The SA Express has revealed that it still has to pay its workers R183 million as the airline seeks to finalise its provisional liquidation.

SA Express been in financial distress, leaving the airline unable to pay its staff and creditors even prior to the Covid-19 pandemic. The airline had a debt burden of R11.3 million and was placed under business rescue on 6 February 2020. It was further placed under provisional liquidation on 28 April 2020.

Heineken to cut 8,000 jobs as virus takes toll on sales

According to well placed sources, Heineken is in negotiations with municipal officials from Ethekwini and KwaDukuza, who foresee the beer-giant’s choice of location providing a massive financial boost for the region. Image: iStock

Dutch brewing giant Heineken said on Wednesday it would cut around 8,000 jobs worldwide as the coronavirus pandemic pushed it into the red.

The world’s number two brewer after Belgian-Brazilian AB InBev will slash nearly 10 percent of its workforce as Covid restrictions keep bars and restaurants closed.

SAMA entries hit new record high despite devastating effects of Covid-19 pandemic

Picture: SA Music Awards website

Despite a devastating year for the entertainment industry as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, the number of entries received for the upcoming 27th annual South African Music Awards (SAMAs) has set a new record in the history of the event.

According to SAMA organisers The Recording Industry of South Africa (RiSA), they had received a total of 1163 entries between November 2020 and January 2021.

Comrades Marathon cancelled again due to Covid concerns


Road runners, as seen here at the start line of the Comrades Marathon, will have to wait a little longer before they can participate in big mass participation events again. Picture: Gallo Images

The annual Comrades Marathon has been called off for the second year in succession, due to the coronavirus pandemic. The race, celebrating its centenary this year, was scheduled to be held on June 13.

Playing in a bubble is ‘restricting’, says Miller, but Proteas are ready to let loose

David Miller. (Photo by Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images)

David Miller is an outdoor kind of guy, so being confined to his Lahore hotel room is taking a bit of getting used to, and on the field of play the 31-year-old says the lack of bounce on the Gaddafi Stadium pitch is going to be the main thing the Proteas have to adapt to in their T20 series against Pakistan.

South Africa take on Pakistan in the first T20 at 3pm on Thursday with only three members of the Test squad involved, so there has needed to be a period of acclimatisation, which Miller said had gone very well.

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