Daily news update: Covid-19 stats, Ramaphosa gets vaccine jab and Kolisi unveiled at Sharks

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa is inoculated with a Covid-19 vaccine shot at the Khayelitsha Hospital in Cape Town on February 17, 2021. (GIANLUIGI GUERCIA / POOL / AFP)

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Daily Covid-19 update: 2,320 new cases confirmed as SA kicks off vaccine rollout

Healthcare worker Dr Jared Tulloch is given a jab of the first batch of Johnson and Johnson vaccines at Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital in Soweto, 17 February 2021, in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic. Picture: Michel Bega

As of Wednesday, 17 February 2021, the cumulative number of detected Covid-19 cases is 1,496,439 with 2,320 new cases identified, Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize has confirmed.

165 more Covid-19 related deaths were reported. This brings the total number of Covid-19 related deaths to 48,478.

WATCH: ‘I really did not feel much pain’ – Squirmish Ramaphosa gets vaccinated for Covid-19

President Cyril Ramaphosa gets vaccinated for Covid-19 using Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine at Khayelitsha District Hospital on 17 February 2021. Picture: @GovernmentZA/Twitter

President Cyril Ramaphosa on Wednesday joined the first group of healthcare workers in Cape Town to be vaccinated for Covid-19 using the recently landed Johnson & Johnson (J&J) vaccine.

Ramaphosa was joined by Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize at Khayelitsha District Hospital to receive their jabs. This followed the arrival of the first consignment of 80,000 shots of the J&J vaccine on Tuesday evening at OR Tambo International Airport.

Nehawu, Denosa hail vaccine rollout, calls on govt to acquire more doses

Healthcare workers are given the jab of the first batch of Johnson and Johnson vaccines at Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital in Soweto, 17 February 2021, in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic. Picture: Michel Bega

The National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) has called upon government to acquire more Covid-19 vaccine doses after South Africa’s inoculation rollout kicked off on Wednesday.

This is after the arrival of the first consignment of 80,000 shots of the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) vaccine on Tuesday evening at OR Tambo International Airport. The vaccine doses have been distributed around the country’s provinces to vaccinate healthcare workers.

Ramaphosa, you are incompetent – 6 stinging Malema quotes from Sona debate

EFF Leader Julius Malema. Picture: Jacques Nelles

Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema on Tuesday delivered a fiery speech during the debate on the State of the Nation Address (Sona) in the National Assembly.

In his lengthy speech that lasted almost 30 minutes, the EFF commander-in-chief criticised President Cyril Ramaphosa’s leadership and repeatedly referred to him as “incompetent”, “incapacitated” and “unreliable”.

Was Brian Molefe’s testimony at Zondo inquiry interrupted to protect Ramphosa?

Former Eskom CEO, Brian Molefe at the State Capture Commission, 15 January 2021. Picture: Neil McCartney

Former Eskom chief executive officer (CEO) Brian Molefe’s lawyers have written a letter to the Commission of Inquiry Into Allegations of State Capture requesting it to allow him to finish his testimony on Eskom-related matters, before giving evidence on his tenure as Transnet CEO.

This after Molefe’s testimony was disrupted in January when a staff member on the commission tested positive for Covid-19. The commission had since sent him a summons to appear before Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo from 8 to 12 March 2021 to answer questions about Transnet.

‘Justice must prevail, no matter who is involved’, says Lamola on corruption

Minister of Justice and Correctional Services Ronald Lamola. Picture: Jacques Nelles

Justice Minister Ronald Lamola opened the second day of the debate on President Cyril Ramaphosa’s State of the Nation Address (SONA), touching on corruption claiming that “justice must prevail, no matter who is involved.”

Corruption, against the backdrop of the ANC’s internecine machinations, and corruption-accused former president Jacob Zuma’s refusal to heed an order of the Constitutional Court to appear before the Zondo commission, formed much of the opposition parties’ criticism of Ramaphosa on Tuesday.

Farm attacks significantly down while murders rise in 2020 – AfriForum

AfriForum’s head of policy and action Ernst Roets and legal representative Daniël Eloff. PICTURE: AfriForum

Farm attacks decreased in the 2020 calendar year to 382 as compared to 511 in the previous year, while murders saw a significant increase from 45 to 63, AfriForum announced on Wednesday.

The lobby group gathered their statistics from various resources including various security networks, media and social media and information received directly from affected families. While general crimes, including farm attacks, decreased due to the lockdown and high police visibility, attacks on farms remained violent, said AfriForum researcher Andrea Muller.

Motshekga’s rape statements ‘classist’ and ‘anti-black’

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga.

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga should properly apologise and submit herself to a gender-sensitivity programme following her statements about rape culture on Monday.

This according to Equal Education Law Centre (EELC), which said it was deeply troubled after she told school children that educated men did not rape in a bid to encourage learners to stay in school.

Farmer organisations explain opposition to new minimum wage

Picture: iStock

The new R21,69/hour national minimum wage (NMW) for farmworkers, which will come into effect on 1 March, has been met with concern by major organised agriculture bodies in South Africa.

TAU SA’s president, Henry Geldenhuys, said in a statement that the Department of Labour and Employment (DLE) had “pushed through” the 16% increase despite various stakeholders in the agriculture sector having submitted motivations for why the new rate for farmworkers should not be equal to the minimum wage for all other business sectors.

‘Daily Maverick’ gives Jacques Pauw the boot

Jacques Pauw talks about his book at Brooklyn Mall during the launch of his book, The President’s Keepers, 11 November 2017, Pretoria. Picture: Jacques Nelles

Jacques Pauw will no longer be part of Daily Maverick’s team of contributors, according to Branko Brkic, founder and editor-in-chief of the online publication.

This is following a now-depublished column penned by Pauw, in which he disparages police officers for allegedly ill-treating him and stealing his belongings during his arrest at the V&A Waterfront last week. Pauw alleged in the column that police officers who responded to a call from a restaurant accusing him of theft, roughed him up and stole a R1000 from him.

‘I was cleared of any wrongdoing’ – Senzo Mchunu on sexual harassment allegations

Public Service and Administration Minister Senzo Mchunu. Picture: Twitter

Public Service and Administration Minister Senzo Mchunu says he will be pursuing “avenues in pursuit of redress” following allegations he made sexual advances towards a former ANC employee in 2019.

Mchunu said in a statement to The Citizen that a grievance containing the allegations levelled against him was formally communicated to him by the Luthuli House Administration in August 2019 and he was afforded an opportunity to make his own representations.

Vaal River polluted ‘beyond acceptable standards’, says SAHRC

Raw sewage flowing into the river from pump stations in the Emfuleni municipality on the Vaal River‚ posing environmental and health risks. Communities affected by the pollution include Vereeniging‚ Sebokeng‚ Boipatong and Sharpeville. Picture: Nigel Sibanda

The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) has recommended that the Emfuleni Local Municipality be put under national administration, following damning findings against municipal officials in their report into the Vaal River sewerage crisis.

In its findings, the SAHRC noted that the Vaal River was polluted “beyond acceptable standards”. This was due to kilolitres of untreated sewage entering the Vaal River because of inoperative and dilapidated wastewater treatment plants, which have been unable to properly process the sewage and other wastewater.

3 ArcelorMittal workers missing after explosion at Vanderbijlpark plant

About 900 workers are expected to be affected by the shutdown of operations at ArcelorMittal, Saldanha. Image: iStock

A search and rescue operation has been launched for three employees who are missing after a portion of a 90-metre stack collapsed at a coke battery of ArcelorMittal’s plant in Vanderbijlpark.

The steel production company confirmed in a statement on Wednesday that the incident occurred in the early hours of Wednesday morning. The portion of the stack that collapsed fell onto the coke battery control room in which the three employees were working.

Load shedding risk to reduce by April, says Eskom

File Image: iStock

Eskom says the risk of load shedding might reduce after April as the power utility looks to deal with its backlog of maintenance. This is after Eskom predicted that load shedding was likely to occur until December this year.

Appearing before Parliament’s public enterprises committee alongside minister Pravin Gordhan on Wednesday, Eskom CEO Andre de Ruyter revealed that the risk of load shedding would increase during the first quarter as a result of the maintenance on its units.

Zinhle Mabena bemoans ‘unlawful’ arrest after murder conspiracy case thrown out

Actress Zinhle Mabena. Picture: Instagram

Actress Zinhle Mabena has hit back at authorities in the handling and lead-up to her arrest on a charge of conspiracy to commit murder.

Gauteng police confirmed that the Isibaya actress was arrested on Tuesday and released on Wednesday. Her appearance at the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court did not occur and the case against her was thrown out of court due to lack of evidence.

Rampant Sundowns sink Baroka

Peter Shalulile celebrates after netting Sundowns’ second goal against Baroka. Picture: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

Gaston Sirino and Peter Shalulile struck in the second half as Mamelodi Sundowns extended their lead at the top of the table to five points yesterday, with a 2-0 victory at home to Baroka FC at Loftus Stadium.

Bakgaga were left to rue a couple of first half missed opportunities, with Evidence Makgopa drawing a save from Denis Onyango, and Thamsanqa Masiya putting the ball wide with the goal gaping, as Onyango rushed off his line.

Kolisi’s transition to the Sharks will be ‘quick and effortless’, says Kempson

Siya Kolisi

Siya Kolisi has completed his transfer from Western Province to the Sharks. Picture: Steve Haag/Gallo Images

Springbok captain Siya Kolisi will take to the way of life in Durban like a fish to water, former Bok prop Robbi Kempson believes.

Kolisi officially signed with the Sharks yesterday after he was unveiled as a new recruit and welcomed into the Sharks camp.

“We have seen down the years how various players have made the move from Province to the Sharks and vice versa without any hiccups,” said Kempson, who played for the Sharks between 1994 and 1998 and Province between 1999 and 2003.

Graeme Smith on Faf’s retirement from Test cricket: It’s going to leave a big gap

Faf du Plessis

Veteran batsman Faf du Plessis will from now on focus only on T20 cricket. Picture: Getty Images

Cricket South Africa’s director of cricket, former national captain Graeme Smith, on Wednesday called Faf du Plessis “a prolific cricketer” following the latter’s announcement that he was retiring from Test cricket with immediate effect.

Du Plessis bows out after playing 69 Tests for his country and scoring 4,163 runs at an average of 40.02. His best Test score of 199 was achieved last December in the Centurion Test against Sri Lanka.

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