Daily news update: Covid-19 stats, Hawks probe Zuma, Niehaus suspended and Mkhwebane goes on leave

Former president Jacob Zuma. Picture: Themba Hadebe/AFP

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Daily Covid-19 update: SA records 9,780 new cases, 839 deaths

Picture: Department of Health

As of Tuesday, 19 January 2021, the cumulative number of detected Covid-19 cases is 1,356,716 with 9,780 new cases identified, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize has confirmed.

839 more Covid-19 related deaths were reported.  This brings the total number of Covid-19 related deaths to 38,288.

Recoveries now stand at 1,144,857 representing a recovery rate of 84%.

Deputy president David Mabuza to chair inter ministerial committee on Covid-19 vaccines

Deputy President David Mabuza. Picture: Motshwari Mofokeng/African News Agency (ANA)

President Cyril Ramaphosa announced on Tuesday that an inter-ministerial committee on Covid-19 vaccines has been established, which will be chaired by Deputy President David Mabuza.

Ramaphosa said he would chair the first meeting of the inter-ministerial committee on vaccines and that the committee is meant to make government cooperate more effectively in implementing the already developed strategy on vaccines.

Hawks investigating Zuma’s Zondo commission walkout

Former president Jacob Zuma is pictured at the Commission of Inquiry State Capture in Johannesburg, 19 July 2019. Picture: Refilwe Modise

The Hawks are now investigating the matter of former president Jacob Zuma’s bolt from the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture.

In November last year, after the chairperson of the commission, Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, delivered his ruling dismissing Zuma’s application for the commission’s chair to recuse himself from the proceedings, the former president’s legal counsel, advocate Muzi Sikhakhane, said they would excuse themselves from the proceedings to consider Zondo’s judgment.

Besieged Mkhwebane has ‘right’ to go on leave, as public protector takes 2 months off

Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane during an outreach programme at the Rabasotho Community Center in Tembisa, 21 August 2019. Picture: Neil McCartney

Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane has a legal right to take a sabbatical leave like any other employee and public servant, according to political analyst Professor Lesiba Teffo.

This after Mkhwebane’s office, in a surprise move on Monday, announced that she had taken a sabbatical until the end of March this year in order to get some rest.

Load shedding hours reduced for (only some) Gauteng residents

Image: iStock

Eskom will be reducing their load shedding periods in Gauteng by two hours, but the bad news is that those customers getting their power from Johannesburg’s City Power will remain on the four-hour load shedding schedule.

Damning allegations of racism by medical schemes released

Picture: iStock.

A much-anticipated Section 59 investigation into racial discrimination from medical schemes has been made public.

The report released on Tuesday cited that there was no deliberate unfair treatment nor evidence of that by the schemes but the outcomes of the schemes’ actions showed clear evidence of discrimination.

Carl Niehaus set to be suspended from ANC for ‘misconduct’

Carl Niehaus on day 2 of former President Jacob Zuma’s testimony at the State Capture Commission in Parktown, 16 July 2019. Picture Neil McCartney

Embattled Umkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans (MKMVA) spokesperson Carl Niehaus on Tuesday morning received a notice of intention to suspend him from the ANC, pending disciplinary action. 

The letter read that Niehaus had been advised more than once that “your public statements and social media posts are unbecoming of someone in this high office”. 

Lungisa defends Magashule after latest calls for him to step aside

APRIL 11, 2019. ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule, is seen in Kliptown, Johannesburg. He walked through the streets speaking to members of the community. PHOTOGRAPH: ALON SKUY

Embattled former ANC Youth League deputy president and former councillor Andile Lungisa has hit back at national executive committee (NEC) members,  and Mondli Gungubele, following their calls for ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule to step aside.

The public utterances come before the NEC’s scheduled meeting this weekend, where it is expected to discuss a resolution that those implicated in wrongdoing should step aside.

Health professionals, SANDF to assist in Covid-19 vaccine rollout

Nurse Ruth Seikaneng (64) sits for a portrait at the Reivilo Health Centre in Reivilo, a town an hour away from Taung, North West Province, South Africa, on September 4, 2020. Seikaneng is one of two nurses on shift at any given time servicing the town of 4,000 people. When her colleague died from COVID-19 she had to work even longer hours to support the town. Thomson Reuters Foundation/Gulshan Khan

Health professionals will be on standby at Covid-19 vaccination sites to tend to anyone who might have an adverse reaction to the vaccines, while the military is set to be deployed to safeguard distribution.

Those who agree to be vaccinated will be issued with a vaccine registration card and they will be allocated a site where they should go to get their jab.

A new mayor to be elected in Nelson Mandela Bay (again)

Nqaba Bhanga – Picture: Twitter / @NadineTheron

The Eastern Cape department of cooperative governance and traditional affairs has welcomed the Port Elizabeth High Court order declaring that the election of the DA’s Nqaba Bhanga as mayor and the Patriotic Alliance’s Marlon Daniels as speaker was inconsistent with the Constitution and invalid.

The court ordered the Speaker, Buyelwa Mafaya, to convene a council meeting within seven days to elect the new mayor.

Mashaba vows to take Covid-19 vaccine jab, raises concern over misinformation

ActionSA leader Herman Mashaba. Picture: Neil McCartney

ActionSA’s Herman Mashaba says he will be taking the Covid-19 vaccine the moment it is his turn to do so.

“My decision to communicate this arises from a senate meeting of ActionSA which has resolved on a number of policy matters relating to Covid-19. This includes our commitment to playing a leading role in the South African society’s fight against this pandemic,” Mashaba said in a statement on Tuesday.

DA says it will not retract or apologise for Covid-19 vaccine statement

John Steenhuisen and Ivan Meyer address the media, 17 November 2019. Democratic Alliance (DA) members voted for John Steenhuisen to become their new interim leader and voted for Ivan Meyer to be the party’s interim federal chairperson at Nkukuleko House in Johannesburg. Picture: Tracy Lee Stark

The Democratic Alliance says it will not retract or apologise for a statement in which it accused the Department of Health of having suggested that National Treasury caused delays in Covid-19 vaccine procurement.

In a statement, DA MP Geordin Hill-Lewis told the department to stop the “back-pedalling” and “blame shifting” and immediately deliver the vaccine.

Retrenched Macsteel workers will not be reinstated, says steel giant

Volumes have declined annually for the past five years, which resulted in Macsteel selling and moving 40% less steel last year than it did in 2015. Picture for illustration: iStock

A nationwide protected protest against steel manufacturing company Macsteel, which started on Monday, was sparked by the retrenchment of 99 workers.

The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) said protests at all of Macsteel’s branches across the country were in an effort to have the workers reinstated – a commitment Macsteel says it cannot fulfil.

SA Uber Eats drivers embark on national protest for fee increase

Picture: iStock

Uber Eats drivers are planning a nationwide protest to demand an increase in their delivery fees on Friday.

This came after drivers in some parts of Gauteng halted deliveries and brought them to a standstill for two days, protesting against low pay and poor working conditions.

Somizi won’t apologise – says ‘don’t call Mohale a cheat’

Somizi Mhlongo. Picture Instagram

As the backlash of Somizi Mhlongo’s comments towards a journalist continues, the Dinner at Somizi’s host has dug in his heels and doubled down on his doxxing of a journalist over the weekend.

On Tuesday, the South African National Editors’ Forum (Sanef) called for action against the media personality after he publicly shared two journalists’ details and messages, after they had tried to get a comment from him on the continuous rumours that his marriage to Mohale Motaung-Mhlongo was on the rocks.

Swallows duo scoop PSL monthly awards

Brandon Truter coach of Swallows FC during the DStv Premiership match between Orlando Pirates and Swallows FC at Orlando Stadium (Pic Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix)

Swallows FC coach Brandon Truter and forward Ruzaigh Gamildien have been named the DStv Premiership Coach and Player of the Month for December/January respectively.

Truter, who guided Swallows FC to promotion to the top division, has continued his impressive start to the 2020/21 DStv Premiership with the high-flying Birds, winning his second individual monthly award for two months in succession.

Bulls veteran Steyn looking forward to a ‘lekker’ challenge against Jantjies

Morne Steyn of the Bulls scores during the Super Rugby match between Vodacom Bulls and Blues at Loftus Versfeld on February 22, 2020 in Pretoria, South Africa. (Photo by Lee Warren/Gallo Images)

Veteran flyhalf Morne Steyn says the circle is now complete as he contemplates leading the Bulls into another Currie Cup final as they prepare to take on the Lions in the semi-finals at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.

The 36-year-old returned to the Bulls last year, having appeared in four previous Currie Cup finals for them and winning in 2006 and 2009, before joining Stade Francais in 2013.

De Kock ‘settled’ at No 5 as debate about best position continues

Quinton de Kock (captain) of South Africa celebrates after scoring a century during the 1st ODI match between South Africa and England at Newlands Cricket Stadium on February 04, 2020 in Cape Town, South Africa. (Photo by Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images)

Proteas captain Quinton de Kock looks set to continue at No 5 in the batting order for the two upcoming Test matches against Pakistan.

That is where he has batted in each of South Africa’s last three Tests, with head coach Mark Boucher having explained at the start of the festive season series against Sri Lanka that De Kock was best suited to the middle-order.

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