Daily news update: Covid-19 stats, farmers’ Union Buildings protest and EC plagiarism saga

Farm murder protestors on the lawns of the Union Building during a protest against farm murders, 10 October 2020, Pretoria. Picture: Jacques Nelles

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Covid-19 update: 2,364 new cases confirmed in SA, nearly 37 million cases globally

Source: Department of Health

As of Saturday, 10 October, the cumulative number of detected Covid-19 cases is 690,896, with 2,364 new cases identified, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize has confirmed.

126 more Covid-19 related deaths were reported: 39 from Eastern Cape, 35 from the Free State, 10 from KwaZulu-Natal, 30 from Gauteng, 4 from Mpumalanga and 8 from Western Cape.

Thus bringing the total number of Covid-19 related deaths to 17,673.

“Of the 126 deaths reported today, 11 occurred in the past 24 hours: 2 in the Free State, 1 in Gauteng, 4 in KwaZulu Natal and 4 from Mpumalanga.

“The provinces continue to refine their processes of identifying Covid-19 related deaths as outlined in the statement of 8 October 2020.

“We extend our condolences to the loved ones of the departed and thank the healthcare workers that treated the deceased patients,” the Minister added.

Recoveries now stand at 622,153 which translates to a recovery rate of 90%.

4,388,171 tests have been conducted with 28,066 new tests confirmed since the last report.

Kataza ‘not in immediate danger’, says SPCA after the baboon was ‘mauled’

Kataza or SK11, a baboon causing frustration in Kommetjie. Photo: Facebook/Baboons of Cape Town.

Having been relocated to Tokai by the City of Cape Town’s baboon management team, Human and Wildlife Solutions (HWS) last month, Kataza the baboon is back in the spotlight after the animal was reportedly mauled by an alpha male on Saturday.

The exact details around the incident remains unclear, however, the animal is not in immediate danger as a result of the injuries he sustained according to the Cape of Good Hope Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA).

The Cape of Good Hope said in a Facebook post that the baboon, also known as SK11, was treated by a private veterinarian, who assessed the injuries he sustained.

“The Cape of Good Hope’s Wildlife Department worked with the City in order to get a veterinarian to assess the extent of Kataza’s injuries.

“The private veterinarian that visually assessed Kataza made the conclusion that he is not in immediate danger as a result of the injuries he sustained.

“The veterinarian also concluded that it is unsafe to dart Kataza at this time. The veterinarian will return tomorrow morning to re-evaluate Kataza and a decision will then be made on the way forward,” the organisation said.

Eskom to appeal ruling over Maluti a Phofung bank account

Men play soccer beneath Eskoms elecricity pylons, amid a nationwide coronavirus disease (Covid-19) lockdown in Soweto, south-west of Johannesburg, South Africa August 20, 2020. PiREUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko

Embattled power utility Eskom says it has filed an application for to appeal Friday’s ruling which saw the utility’s attachment of the Maluti a Phofung’s bank accounts lifted.

Eskom managed to successfully attach the municipality’s bank account on 21 July, after the latter failed to honour a payment arrangement which would see it cover a portion of its more than R5 billion debt to Eskom.

This ground-breaking judgement meant Maluti a Phofung was the first municipality to have it bank account attached, after Eskom had previously attached assets from it and other municipalities for failure to pay their power bills.

The utility in July even released some funds from the account, in order to assist the municipality in paying its salaries and other bills.

A judgment on Friday, however, returned the account to the power of the municipality, ordering that the attachment be immediately lifted.

In a statement released early on Saturday morning, Eskom said “The Municipality’s continuous non-payment of their current account is resulting in further escalation of their overdue debt and poses a serious threat to Eskom’s financial viability and the survival of the utility. The increasing debt owed by Maluti a Phofung forces Eskom to take drastic steps to address this undeniable risk.”

PICS: Protesters engage in prayer at Union Buildings over farm attacks, murders

Farm murder protestors on the lawns of the Union Building during a protest against farm murders, 10 October 2020, Pretoria. Picture: Jacques Nelles

Thousand of people including farmers, community members and bikers marched to the Union Buildings in Pretoria following an intense week of protests to highlight farm attacks and murders in the country.

The brutal murder of Free State farm manager Brendin Horner has caused outrage amongst the farming community, which finds itself under siege by criminal attackers.

Horner’s body was discovered tied to a pole, with several stab wounds and head injuries last weekend.

On Saturday, 10 October, vehicles, trucks and motorcycles gathered at the Union Buildings where the protesters engaged in prayers for farmers.

Kallie Roux, one of the organisers of Unite Against Farm Murders/Attacks, had confirmed to The Citizen earlier this week that another protest was set to take place during weekend.

“These awareness marches will continue in courts as well as peaceful marches in the cities against farm murders/attacks,” Roux said.

Jane Sithole re-elected as Mpumalanga DA leader following virtual political congress

The DA’s Jane Sithole.

Mpumalanga DA leader Jane Sithole and provincial chairperson Bosman Grobler have been re-elected unopposed during the party’s first virtual political congress.

According to the party, the congress concluded on Saturday with Trudie Grovè-Morgan also being elected unopposed to the position of provincial deputy leader.

“Annerie Weber and Palesa Mobango were also elected unopposed respectively to the following positions: DA Women’s Network [DAWN] provincial chairperson and Democratic Alliance Youth (DAY) provincial chairperson,” it said in a statement.

Highly contested positions were that of deputy provincial chairperson and provincial finance chairperson.

Councillor Ciska Jordaan was elected deputy chairperson and Farhat Essack was re-elected as the provincial finance chairperson.

“The DA would like to congratulate the incoming leadership and all the newly elected individuals.

“We wish them all the best and we will offer our best support to all of them as they serve the party for the next three years.”

Eastern Cape govt hit by plagiarism scandal, disciplinary action looms for staff

Eastern Cape Premier Oscar Mabuyane speaks to the media at the annual ANC national policy conference at Nasrec on 3 July 2017. Picture: Yeshiel Panchia

The Eastern Cape government is facing a plagiarism scandal after it was found some content from an ICT strategy was copied and pasted from another document.

And now disciplinary action looms for all those who were involved in the lifting of the content in the document.

As a result, the approval of the strategy by the executive council had since been withdrawn after confirmation that parts of it were plagiarised, the province said in a statement.

The Daily Dispatch reported on Saturday that the 33-page “Provincial Digital Transformation Framework and Strategy Plan 2020-2025” was almost a copy and paste of that which was signed by the former leader of Australia’s Labor Party, Brendan Howlin, five years ago.

The newspaper also reported the document had been signed by provincial cabinet director-general Mbulelo Sogoni and Premier Oscar Mabuyane.

According to the provincial government, the only part that was not plagiarised was the implementation plan, projects to be implemented and location of the projects that were meant to be implemented as part of the strategy.

It said when the information about the plagiarised document came to Mabuyane’s attention, he ordered an investigation to look into the matter.

Gautrain to return with limited service on Sunday

The Gautrain has confirmed that its operations are set to resume on Sunday, but with a limited train service.

This comes after train services were suspended on Saturday due to deadlocks in wage negotiations between its operator Bombela Operating Company and the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa).

“Discussions with Numsa resumed yesterday [Thursday], and continued late this evening [Friday] with no agreement being reached between the parties.”

Numsa members went on a strike on Monday to highlight their demands. The union demands an 8% increase, which was met with an offer of a 4.1% increase by Gautrain.

Gautrain had initially announced the suspension of its service for the whole weekend, which are now set to continue.

“As such, on Sunday, a limited Gautrain service will operate from 9am until 6pm on both the East-West and North-South lines. Trains will be available every hour from both directions,” the railway operator said in a statement.

The railway operator, however, noted that only five stations would be open including Hatfield , Pretoria, Sandton, Park and OR Tambo.

“These stations will open at 8:45am and close again at 6pm. On Monday and Tuesday, trains will operate during the standard morning and afternoon peak periods at 15-minute intervals.

“We will confirm the operational plan for the off-peak period for these two days. ”

Terrorism charges against Senekal farmer show NPA’s bias – FF+

Peter Marais, the Freedom Front Plus’ candidate for Western Cape premier, left, and party leader, Pieter Groenewald.Brendan Magaar/African News Agency(ANA).

The Freedom Front asks why no charges of terrorism or attempted murder were brought against members of the EFF during the recent protests at Clicks stores countrywide, nor against anyone responsible for destruction during service delivery protests.

The charges of, among other things, terrorism, attempted murder, incitement to violence and public violence brought against one of the farmers in this week’s Senekal protest, serves as proof of double standards when it comes to farmers, according to the Freedom Front Plus.

In a statement, the party’s Pieter Groenewald said the charges against the farmer, who is currently still in custody pending the completion of his bail application, prove that “the prosecuting authority wants to make an example” of the accused, “and in so doing send a message to farmers and the agricultural community.”

He argues that the charges of terrorism and attempted murder are “serious and unreasonable”, pointing to bias on the part of the prosecuting authority.

Namibian anti-femicide protesters met with teargas

Demonstrators take part in a march against gender-based violence, 29 August 2020, at Constitution Hill in Johannesburg. Demonstrations also took place around South Africa including Cape Town, Pretoria and Durban. South African femicide rates are five times the global average according to statistics South Africa. Picture: Michel Bega

Namibian police on Saturday fired teargas, rubber bullets and arrested dozens of protesters in the capital, Windhoek, during the third day of nationwide demonstrations against gender based violence.

The nearly 400 protesters, predominantly Namibian young women, were marching to one of the main shopping centres in the capital city to shut it down, in order to send a message that corporate Namibia also has a duty in the fight against GBV.

The unprecedented youth-led protest that began on social media, was quickly dispersed by police and the Special Reserve Force using teargas, rubber bullets and batons.

Nigerian #Endsars protests against police brutality intensifies

Picture: Twitter / @auntyadaa

Anger has been brewing on social media after the video of the alleged killing in the southern Delta state, which authorities denied was real.

The man who filmed the video was arrested, provoking even more anger.

Hundreds of youths gathered in Ikeja in central Lagos on Friday, holding banners reading “respect for human rights” and “a more equal society”.

In Abuja, dozens of protesters also gathered and police forces used tear gas to disperse protesters, according to witness accounts.

“Our members were close to 200 in the protest. We were teargassed,” human rights activist Deji Adeyanju told the AFP news agency.

“It’s just sad that they are clamping down on peaceful civil protest.”

Protester Anita Izato posted on Twitter: “They poured tear gas on each and every one of us, it’s so hot I had to put water on my face. This is what Nigeria has turned into.”

‘We all risk being tortured’

The protest movement was initially aimed at the federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), widely accused of unlawful arrests, torture and even murder, but has since broadened to include all police forces.

While the SARS unit was suspended on Sunday, groups such as Amnesty International said the government had not gone far enough, pointing to previous unsuccessful attempts to ban the force.

The #EndSARS hashtag is thought to have been first used in 2018.

‘I’m medication-free’ says Trump of Covid-19 battle

US President Donald Trump holds a face mask as he speaks during the first presidential debate at the Case Western Reserve University and Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio recently. Picture: AFP

The president appeared on Fox’s Tucker Carlson Tonight for what the White House described as an on-air “medical evaluation” conducted remotely by Fox contributor doctor Marc Siegel.

“Right now I’m medication-free, I’m not taking any medications as of, you know, probably eight hours ago,” Trump told Siegel.

It was unclear when the interview, which Carlson said was filmed by a White House camera crew, was taped.

Trump’s doctors had previously said they have given him an aggressive cocktail of therapeutic drugs including the steroid dexamethasone, usually associated with serious Covid-19 cases.

Trump also said he had been tested again for the virus.

“I have been retested and I haven’t even found out numbers or anything yet but I’ve been retested, and I know I’m at either the bottom of the scale or free,” he said.

He said he did not know when his next test would be, adding that it was “probably tomorrow… they test every couple of days.”

Trump said the virus had sapped his energy levels, adding he “didn’t feel very vital.”

Teen one step away from being first millenial saint

Carlo Acutis

A British-born Italian teenager who dedicated his short life to spreading the faith online and helping the poor will be beatified by the Catholic Church Saturday.

That leaves him just one miracle away from becoming the world’s first millennial saint.

Internet and computer-mad youngster Carlo Acutis, who died of leukaemia in 2006 aged 15, was placed on the path to sainthood after the Vatican ruled he had miraculously saved another boy’s life.

The Vatican claims he interceded from heaven in 2013 to cure a Brazilian boy suffering from a rare pancreatic disease.

He will be beatified in Assisi, the home of his idol Saint Francis, who dedicated his life to the poor. Some 3,000 people are expected to follow the ceremony on giant screens set up in five squares in the central Italian city.

Right-wing UK pundit probed for historian’s ‘racist’ interview

British right-wing commentator Darren Grimes. Image: Twitter / @zelo_street

British right-wing commentator Darren Grimes is under investigation by police after hosting an interview with a historian that ignited a firestorm of controversy for airing racist views.

In the interview, David Starkey had said: “Slavery was not genocide. Otherwise, there wouldn’t be so many damn blacks in Africa or in Britain, would there? An awful lot of them survived.”

In a video message posted on Twitter Friday, Grimes said he was told by London’s Metropolitan Police to attend a voluntary interview this week or face arrest for “stirring up racial hatred”.

While conceding he “should have been more robust in questioning Dr Starkey and more professional”, Grimes called the probe “an outrageous abuse of taxpayer cash” and vowed “to fight this all the way”.

Investigating interviewers for their subjects’ views “will have a real chilling effect actually on free speech and debate in this country”, he added.

In a statement, the Metropolitan Police said it was looking into an alleged “public order offence relating to a social media video posted online on 30 June”, the date of Starkey’s interview on Grimes’ YouTube channel.

Five things to look out for when Bafana play Zambia

Luther Singh scored Bafana’s goal against Namibia. Pic: Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix

Molefi Ntseki has done well to bring in some of Bafana’s Under-23 players for these friendlies, with South Africa set to compete in the Olympic Games in Tokyo in 2021.

The likes of Teboho Mokoena, Lyle Foster and Singh are only likely to benefit from this kind of international experience, and it remains to be seen which of the youngsters gets another chance to shine against Zambia.

Singh certainly did his chances no harm with the goal against Namibia, while Mokoena should get a chance to stake his claim for a permanent central midfield role with the senior side.

Swiatek stuns Kenin to become Poland’s first Grand Slam champion

Iga Swiatek

Iga Swiatek of Poland celebrates after winning her 4th round match against Simona Halep of Romania at the French Open tennis tournament at Roland Garros in Paris on Sunday. Picture: EPA

Polish teenager Iga Swiatek won her country’s first ever Grand Slam singles title on Saturday as she defeated American fourth seed Sofia Kenin 6-4, 6-1 to become the youngest women’s French Open champion since 1992.

The 19-year-old Swiatek, at 54 the lowest-ranked woman to capture the Roland Garros title in the modern era, is the ninth first-time major champion in the past 14 Grand Slams.

“Maybe it just had to be like that, another underdog had to win a Grand Slam. In women’s tennis right now it’s crazy,” said Swiatek, who will rise to 17th in the world after her victory.

“I don’t know what’s going on. It’s overwhelming for me, it’s crazy.”

“Two years ago I won a junior Grand Slam (at Wimbledon) and now I’m here,” she added. “It feels like such a short time.”

Swiatek is the youngest women’s French Open winner since Monica Seles 28 years ago.

Cheetahs make a big statement in eight-try hammering of the Pumas

Ruan Pienaar

Cheetahs captain Ruan Pienaar has said his players now have to focus on the job at hand. Picture: Getty Images

Left wing – and hat trick hero – Malcolm Jaer together with fellow wing Rosko Specman were in sublime form to steer the Cheetahs to a runaway 53-31 win over the hapless Pumas in Bloemfontein on Saturday afternoon in their first outing of the Super Rugby Unlocked series

Especially in the first half it was at times one-way traffic with Specman and Jaer helping themselves to a brace each before the break and with a halftime lead of 41-3 for the Cheetahs the Pumas could never quite recover.

Specman even had a chance to complete his own hat trick before halftime but decided to give his captain Ruan Pienaar a chance to dot down himself.

Scoring eight tries to four, the Cheetahs attack lost a bit of shape after clearing their bench in the second half, but for squad rotation purposes it was a worthwhile exercise.

The yellow card to replacement hooker Louis van der Westhuizen for dangerous play also wouldn’t have gone down well with coach Hawies Fourie after dangerous play.

The Cheetahs said beforehand they didn’t want to prove anything after losing their ProRugby status but they definitely made a strong statement and won’t easily relinquish their Currie Cup title.

The Cheetahs came off the defensive line strongly to put pressure on the Pumas ball-receivers where centre Frans Steyn stood tall organising the Cheetahs defensive structures.

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