The Citizen
10 minute read
25 Feb 2021
5:31 am

Daily news update: Budget 2021, SIU probe Mkhize aides and new name for Port Elizabeth

The Citizen

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Finance Minister Tito Mboweni. Picture: Michel Bega

Finance minister Tito Mboweni set himself and government a massive challenge with his plan to both support the economy and public health services, and ensuring the sustainability of the country’s public finances and achieve a primary budget surplus by 2024/25.

Mboweni announced intentions to stabilise government debt at 88.9% of GDP in 2025/26 and see it decline thereafter.

Mboweni seemed optimistic, saying this optimism stems from “a much-improved economic outlook”.

Alcohol, tobacco industries slam new ‘punishing’ taxes

Chris Lotze smoking and drinking at Springbok bar in Hatfield on August 18, 2020 in Pretoria, South Africa. It is reported that South Africa entered the first day of Level 2 of the national lockdown as new regulations come into effect. South Africans can now legally have 10 visitors at home and buy alcohol and cigarettes. (Photo by Gallo Images/Alet Pretorius)

The South African alcohol and tobacco industry has slammed the 8% increase in excise tax, announced by Finance Minister, Tito Mboweni during Wednesday’s 2021 Budget Speech, saying it will further strain the both industries and drive people towards the illicit market.

South African liquor Brandowners Association (SALBA) CEO Kurt Moore emphasised that tax adjustments did not take into consideration a significant increase in the size and efficiency of the illicit market that has grown during the sales bans under the Covid-19 lockdown.

Budget 2021: Here’s how social grants will change

Picture: Moneyweb

Good news for the unemployed as the R350 social relief grant and the Temporary Employer/Employee Scheme (Ters) are set to continue for the next three months. However, social grant recipients will only see a small increase, just below inflation.

An additional R2.1 billion has been allocated to the Covid-19 social relief of distress grant in the 2021 budget to continue to temporarily support low-income earning households. Both the relief fund and the Ters benefit have been extended to the end of April 2021.

SIU probing tender irregularities involving Zweli Mkhize’s aides

Minister of Health Dr Zweli Mkhize. Picture: Nigel Sibanda

The Special Investigating Unit (SIU) on Wednesday confirmed it was investigating allegations that Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize’s close associates benefited from Covid-19 tenders issued by the Department of Health valued at more than R82 million.

“We got the allegations from anonymous sources and we are clear that it falls within the proclamation that deals with Covid [procurement] and we have started the process of investigating,” SIU spokesperson Kaizer Kganyango told The Citizen.

Daily Covid-19 update: SA records 1,862 new cases, 110 more deaths

A nurse adjusts an oxygen bottle at Lenasia South Hospital in Johannesburg during a visit by MEC Bandile Masuku and Minister Zweli Mkize’s visit to the facility, 20 July 2020. Picture: Nigel Sibanda

As of Wednesday, 24 February 2021, the cumulative number of detected Covid-19 cases is 1,507,448 with 1,862 new cases identified, Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize has confirmed.

110 more Covid-19 related deaths were reported. This brings the total number of Covid-19 related deaths to 49,523.

Meanwhile, the total number of vaccines that have been administered to date stands at 41,809.

Bathabile Dlamini’s pension not withheld for political reasons – state attorney

Ex-Minister of Women in the Presidency Bathabile Dlamini. Picture: Gallo Images

The Department of Justice and Constitutional Development says claims that former minister of social development Bathabile Dlamini’s pension is being withheld for political reasons are false.

Dlamini reportedly said she could not abide by a Constitutional Court (ConCourt) order to pay part of the legal costs two NGOs won in a social grants case against her in 2018, saying her ministerial pension was being blocked, reported the Sunday Times. This after the ConCourt found in 2018 that Dlamini was “unreasonable” and “negligent” in the manner she handled the social grants debacle.

Who paid Ramaphosa to buy ANC presidency? – EFF’s Shivambu

EFF deputy leader Floyd Shivambu. Picture: Jacques Nellis

EFF deputy president Floyd Shivambu says South Africans have a right to know who funded Ramaphosa’s ANC presidential campaign and whether his donors are benefiting from state contracts.

The EFF will head to court next month in a bid to unseal the financial records of Ramaphosa’s presidential campaign.

Mpumalanga premier reshuffles cabinet, fires 4 MECs

Premier Refilwe Mtsweni-Tsipane. Picture: Twitter/@GovernmentZA

Mpumalanga Premier Refilwe Mtsweni-Tsipane has reshuffled her provincial cabinet in the process firing four of her cabinet members.

Earlier this month there were media reports that Mtsweni-Tsipane was likely to reshuffle her cabinet to send a stern warning to those calling for a vote of no confidence against her.

Govt gazettes new names for Port Elizabeth, King Williams Town

Port Elizabeth International Airport. Photo: Facebook

Minister of Sport, Arts and Culture Nathi Mthethwa has gazetted new names for Port Elizabeth and two airports in the Eastern Cape.

The Port Elizabeth Airport has been renamed to Chief Dawid Stuurman International Airport, and Port Elizabeth will now be known as Gqeberha. Uitenhage has been renamed to Kariega, while the East London Airport is now known as the King Phalo Airport. King Williams Town is now known as Qonce.

Swifambo boss follows Zuma’s example, refuses to appear before Zondo

Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo Picture: Refilwe Modise

Director of Swifambo Rail, Auswell Mashaba, will not be appearing for the Commission of Inquiry into Allegations of State Capture.

This was revealed by commission evidence leader Vas Soni on Wednesday morning. Mashaba’s lawyers, in a letter to the commission, said the summons sent to Mashaba “doesn’t constitute a lawful and legally binding document”.

EFF attorney demands unbanning of political gatherings

EFF members in support of Julius Malema at the Randburg magistrates court as EFF leader Julius Malema and Mbuyiseni Ndlozi face charges of Assault against a police officer, 13 October 2020. Picture: Neil McCartney

A prohibition on political gatherings could have detrimental results on political parties as the local government elections approach, says EFF attorney Ian Levitt.

Levitt has written to President Cyril Ramaphosa on behalf of the EFF demanding the reopening of political spaces, including physically attending political gatherings. His statement says lockdown regulations prohibit a political party from engaging in programmes and activities to hold the government accountable for its actions.

Saftu leaders arrested as they try to force way into Parliament

South African Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu) and affiliated unions take part in a strike, 24 February 2021, outside Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital due to the government’s failure to stem unemployment and increase the salaries of public servants as per the agreement reached with the unions three years ago. Picture: Michel Bega

Two officials belonging to the South African Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu) were arrested in Cape Town for contravening the Disaster Management Act, Western Cape police have confirmed.

Saftu secretary-general Zwelinzima Vavi told The Citizen that provincial secretary for Western Cape Andre Adams and Demawusa Western Cape chairperson Nadine Simons were arrested on Wednesday.

SA sells the soon-to-expire 1 million AstraZeneca jabs to the AU

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

The second batch of 80,000 Covid-19 vaccines will touchdown on Saturday while the country looks to ship the one million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine to the African Union (AU). This was confirmed on Tuesday Minister of Health Dr Zweli Mkhize.

While there were reports that South Africa was rushing against time as to what to do with the soon-to-expire vaccines that were ordered earlier this month from the Serum Institute of India (SII), Mkhize has assured that the doses would be sold to the African Union.

Rape charges against ANC councillor provisionally withdrawn

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

The rape charges against an African National Congress (ANC) Johannesburg councillor have been provisional withdrawn by the Wynberg Magistrate’s Court in Cape Town.

According to the ANC in Johannesburg, the charges were withdrawn due to “the state not being able to present a case that could stand the scrutiny of a court of law”. Last month, the councillor voluntarily step down from his duties with immediate effect after he was released on R2,000 bail following an appearance in court.

Mom slits baby’s throat as she tries to ‘end her children’s suffering

Image for illustration: iStock

A security guard from Wildlife Investigations and Protections Services (WIPS) was patrolling along a line wire on a large farm on the N11 Schoeman Road, outside Groblersdal, in Limpopo when he heard a child screaming at around 3am.

The security guard, Amos Mambuza, went to investigate, and saw a woman throw a knife into the bushes. He noticed an eight-year-old child on the ground, and a 14-month-old bloodied baby screaming hysterically.

694 Gauteng pupils still not placed in schools – Lesufi

Gauteng education MEC Panyaza Lesufi Picture: Nigel Sibanda

There are 694 pupils who have not yet been placed in Gauteng primary and high schools.

Provincial Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi said the delay in the allocation of space for pupils was caused by some parents who chose schools that were already full. Lesufi urged parents, especially those in townships, to consider seeking placement in nearby schools.

Another one for the cancel culture – Studio88 drops MacG

‘Podcast and Chill’ host MacGyver Mukwevho. Picture: YouTube

Recent celebrations by fans of “Podcast and Chill” were short lived after a new sponsor cut ties with the show just as quickly as it came on board.

An episode of the show on 22 February 2021 opened with an advert announcing that the episode was “proudly sponsored” by apparel store Studio 88.

This was quickly followed by an announcement by entertainment blogger Phil Mphela claiming the podcast had been receiving a daily average of 600 new subscribers which led to a new record of close to 20 000 new subscribers in the space of 30 days.

Is it time to cancel your DStv subscription? Here are your options

Picture: iStock

Death and taxes are two of life’s certainties. The third though, is that stuff gets more expensive. The most not-so-new but recent rationale to drill deeper into consumer pockets cite the devalued Rand, a weakened economy and so on and so forth as justification.

Multichoice is pushing up the price of all its products from 1 April, and while the company notes that majority of its increases are below inflation, is there still bang for buck? This in a new age where South Africans have access to most premium international streaming services.

SuperSport United and Orlando Pirates share the spoils

Jean-Marc Makusu scored his first goal for Orlando Pirates in a 3-0 win over Jwaneng Galaxy (Pic Twitter)

It was another entertaining clash with goal scoring chances, but unfortunately it ended 1-1 as SuperSport United and Orlando Pirates shared the spoils at Lucas Moripe Stadium on Wednesday.

However, the clash was full of entertainment and a number of goal scoring opportunities from both ends. But, it was Pirates who probably had the better of the chances, particularly in the second half.

Stormers are ‘excited’ to start new era, says captain Chris van Zyl

Chris van Zyl

Chris van Zyl looks on during a recent Stormers training session. Picture: Gallo Images

Reinstated as Stormers captain, seasoned lock Chris van Zyl is preparing for a big moment on Saturday when he becomes the first skipper to lead the team out at their new Cape Town Stadium venue.

Van Zyl, a former Currie Cup-winning captain, takes over from the departed Siya Kolisi, and with Springbok prop Steven Kitshoff being managed, Van Zyl has been tasked with leading the team into a new era.

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