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S.Africa arrests 9 poachers in 3 days

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South African National Parks, (SANParks) officials  said on Wednesday that rangers and the police on July 20 arrested nine poaching suspects in Kruger National Park and recovered some ammunition.

The SANParks officials said the arrests were made in three different sections of Kruger National Park (KNP) with the support from the police dog and air-wing teams.

The poachers were found with heavy caliber hunting rifle, ammunition and poaching equipment.

Also in another incident, Glenn Phillips, the KNP managing executive, said the rangers had found 119 vultures died after eating a buffalo suspected to be poisoned.

“Initial indications was that meat was taken from the buffalo by the poachers, who then laced the remains with poison which killed 117 white backed vultures, one hooded vulture and a white headed vulture,’’ said Phillips.

Health

Africa’s COVID-19 cases over 144,700 – WHO

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The World Health Organisation (WHO) on Monday, reported that COVID-19 cases in Africa as at June 1 had risen to over 144, 700.

The WHO Regional Office for Africa in Brazzaville, Congo, gave the update on its official twitter handle @WHOAFRO.

“There are over 144,700 confirmed COVID-19 cases on the African continent – with more than 61,100 recoveries and 4,100 deaths,” it said.

The figures show that South Africa, Nigeria and Algeria have the highest reported cases on the continent.

According to the report, South Africa has 32,683 cases and 683 deaths, followed by Nigeria with 10, 162 confirmed cases and 287 deaths, while Algeria has 9, 394 confirmed cases and 653 deaths.

It said Ghana had 7,881 reported cases and 36 deaths, while Cameroon recorded 5, 904 confirmed cases and 191 deaths.

The report said Lesotho, Seychelles and Namibia were countries currently with the lowest confirmed cases in the region.

It said Lesotho had only two confirmed cases with zero death. Seychelles had 11 reported cases and zero death, while Namibia recorded 24 confirmed cases with no death.


Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Salif Atojoko (NAN)

 

 

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Foreign

S.Africa schools to re-open on June 8

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After more than two months of a national lockdown, South Africa’s schools are set to re-open on June 8, the Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga announced on Monday.

Motshekga briefed the media after the reopening of schools which was initially scheduled on June 1 was postponed.

She said the opening of schools on June 1 had to be postponed as some schools were not fully prepared, citing delays in the delivery of protective equipment for learners and other equipment.

The decision to reschedule the re-opening was taken after meetings with teacher unions and school governing bodies.

She said the re-opening of schools was crucial particularly for poor learners with no access to online education.

“My view is that further delays pose a very serious threat to the system and the future that learners are yearning for,” she said.

The largest teacher union, the South African Democratic Teachers Union (SADTU), and other teacher unions last month warned that schools were not ready to open on June 1.

Speaking to Xinhua about the issue, SADTU General Secretary Mugwena Maluleke welcomed the delay of the opening.

President Cyril Ramaphosa on Monday said that some within the education system expressed concerns about unreadiness in some schools which is why the re-opening was delayed.

“Now, in the last few days, several of these stakeholders – including teachers and parents – have expressed concern about the state of readiness in many schools. We have heard them, we welcome their contributions and are taking steps to address their concerns as well as proposals,” he said.

“We are continuing with the process of delivering personal protective equipment and ensuring the availability of water and sanitation services. Learning, once it commences, will take place under strict conditions with a correctly limited number of learners and students,” said the president.

(XINHUA)

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Foreign

S.Africa tourism sector welcomes opening up of domestic market from lockdown

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While the recovery of the tourism sector in South Africa might take a while to happen, the Tourism Business Council of South Africa (TBCSA) said the opening up of the domestic sector was welcomed.

“It’s good news that there will be some economic activities in our sector, initially tourism was supposed to be coming back on level 2 or 1,” TBCSA chief executive officer Tshifhiwa Tshivhengwa told Xinhua on Monday.

The tourism department said under lockdown level three which started on June 1, tourist guides, tour operators, travel agents, tourism information officers are allowed to come back to operations. Game farms would also operate for self-drive excursions and hiking. Domestic flights for business travel are also open.

When lockdown measures were imposed in March, it was anticipated that the local tourism would only return in September.

Tshivhengwa said the industry was negatively impacted by the pandemic.

“We are concerned because being opened doesn’t mean that there will be a demand. COVID-19 left the industry on its knees because there was no income. There is still some uncertainty as to when the international inbound will return,” he said.

Tshivhengwa said that they were hoping for domestic tourism to fully recover.

“We are anticipating tough times ahead, we don’t know when there will be recovery. Everyone wants to recover soon but it will depend on the spread of the virus.”

Tourism Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane also agreed the sector had been one of the hardest hit by the pandemic.

The past two months of lockdown have been difficult for the tourism sector which was anticipating the loss of thousands of jobs.

“We continued to see many businesses in the sector fighting for survival and our projections showed that almost 600,000 jobs were at risk if the sector doesn’t come into operation by September 2020,” she said.

(XINHUA)

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Sport

Speedster Rabada committed to playing for South Africa

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Fast bowler Kagiso Rabada says he is fully committed to playing for South Africa after a difficult 2019/20 season in which he felt “out of place” and incurred a one-test ban for overzealous celebration against England.

The 25-year-old topped the International Cricket Council’s test bowler rankings in 2018 but was, by his own admission, below par in the last South African summer.

“I am 150 per cent fully committed to playing for South Africa,” he said in an interview released by Cricket South Africa on Monday.

“The past season was a disappointment, even though my stats were OK. I just felt really rusty and out of place. I am taking it day by day to achieve my new set of goals.”

Rabada missed the crucial fourth test against England after collecting a fourth demerit point in a 24-month period for celebrating too close to visiting captain Joe Root after claiming his wicket.

He has had several run-ins with authority around what is deemed over-aggression on the pitch, leaving some to question his attitude.

“It’s passion,” he says. “Everybody has their opinion and they are entitled to that. I have identified things I needed to and will address them with the people who are closest to me and who I feel should be helping me.”

Rabada has featured in 142 international matches across all three formats since making his debut in November 2014 and he says his heavy workload has not helped.

However, the rest he has had due to the COVID-19 pandemic has been welcome, even if the circumstances are troubling.

“The five years has gone by really quickly, but there has been a huge amount of volume in my cricket,” he added.

“I am just glad that I can get a rest, though not in the way that it has come.”


Edited By: Emmanuel Okara/Maharazu Ahmed (NAN)

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Foreign

Africa’s anti-COVID-19 war hampered by misinformation, stigma – Charity

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The war against COVID-19 in Africa is being derailed by widespread misinformation and stigma targeting victims and their families, Save the Children, an international charity said on Monday.

Assessments carried out by Save the Children in several African countries in April have revealed rampant myths and misinformation regarding the viral respiratory disease, which placed bottlenecks towards its containment in the continent.

“Misinformation and myths about COVID-19 could delay the introduction and uptake of measures designed to slow and mitigate the spread of the disease, which could see it spread faster, moving silently and hidden in communities,” said Eric Hazard, Save the Children’s Pan-African Campaign and Policy Director.

The assessments that were conducted in Somalia, Zambia, and Tanzania indicated widespread prejudice against people infected by coronavirus alongside frontline healthcare workers and diaspora communities.

Nearly 42 per cent of 3,000 people surveyed in Somalia said they believed COVID-19 was generated by the government while 27 per cent felt it was fuelling hostility against specific minority groups.

An assessment of 121 people in Tanzania revealed that nearly 86 per cent of them were of the view that the disease generated stigma against particular ethnic or racial groups.

The rapid survey on 400 people in Zambia found that while 57 per cent had an accurate understanding of how COVID-19 is contracted, 69 per cent wrongly believed that brushing teeth prevented the disease while an additional 43 per cent were of the view that drinking alcohol could keep the virus at bay.

“When communities receive the wrong information about an illness, it creates fear, in this case of others, and fear can lead to stigma, isolation, poorer health outcomes on individual and societal levels, and in some cases, violence,” said Hazard.

He said that children whose relatives contracted and recovered from COVID-19 and those from minority groups were more vulnerable to stigma and discrimination.


Edited By: Emmanuel Yashim (NAN)

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Foreign

Africa’s anti-COVID-19 war hampered by misinformation, stigma, NGO

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The war against COVID-19 in Africa is being derailed by widespread misinformation and stigma targeting victims and their families, Save the Children, an international charity said on Monday.

Assessments carried out by Save the Children in several African countries in April have revealed rampant myths and misinformation regarding the viral respiratory disease, which placed bottlenecks towards its containment in the continent.

“Misinformation and myths about COVID-19 could delay the introduction, uptake of measures designed to slow and mitigate the spread of the disease,’’ said Eric Hazard, Save the Children’s Pan-African Campaign and Policy Director .

Hazard added that it could spread faster, moving silently and hidden in communities.

The assessments that were conducted in Somalia, Zambia and Tanzania indicated widespread prejudice against people infected by COVID-19 alongside frontline healthcare workers and Diaspora communities.

Almost 42 per cent of 3,000 people surveyed in Somalia said they believed COVID-19 was generated by the government while 27 per cent felt it was fuelling hostility against specific minority groups.

An assessment of 121 people in Tanzania revealed that almost 86 per cent of them were of the view that the disease generated stigma against particular ethnic or racial groups.

The rapid survey on 400 people in Zambia found that while 57 per cent had an accurate understanding of how COVID-19 is contracted, 69 per cent wrongly believed that brushing teeth prevented the disease.

Meanwhile, an additional 43 per cent were of the view that drinking alcohol could keep the virus at bay.

“When communities receive the wrong information about an illness, it creates fear, in this case of others, and fear can lead to stigma, isolation, poorer health outcomes on individual and societal levels, and in some cases, violence,’’ Hazard said.

He said that children whose relatives contracted and recovered from COVID-19 and those from minority groups were more vulnerable to stigma and discrimination.


Edited By: Abiodun Oluleye/Sadiya Hamza (NAN)

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Foreign

Africa’s anti-COVID-19 war hampered by misinformation, stigma: charity

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The war against COVID-19 in Africa is being derailed by widespread misinformation and stigma targeting victims and their families, Save the Children, an international charity said on Monday.

Assessments carried out by Save the Children in several African countries in April have revealed rampant myths and misinformation regarding the viral respiratory disease, which placed bottlenecks towards its containment in the continent.

“Misinformation and myths about COVID-19 could delay the introduction and uptake of measures designed to slow and mitigate the spread of the disease, which could see it spread faster, moving silently and hidden in communities,” said Eric Hazard, Save the Children’s Pan-African Campaign and Policy Director.

The assessments that were conducted in Somalia, Zambia and Tanzania indicated widespread prejudice against people infected by coronavirus alongside frontline healthcare workers and diaspora communities.

Nearly 42 percent of 3,000 people surveyed in Somalia said they believed COVID-19 was generated by the government while 27 percent felt it was fuelling hostility against specific minority groups.

An assessment of 121 people in Tanzania revealed that nearly 86 percent of them were of the view that the disease generated stigma against particular ethnic or racial groups.

The rapid survey on 400 people in Zambia found that while 57 percent had an accurate understanding of how COVID-19 is contracted, 69 percent wrongly believed that brushing teeth prevented the disease while an additional 43 percent were of the view that drinking alcohol could keep the virus at bay.

“When communities receive the wrong information about an illness, it creates fear, in this case of others, and fear can lead to stigma, isolation, poorer health outcomes on individual and societal levels, and in some cases, violence,” said Hazard.

He said that children whose relatives contracted and recovered from COVID-19 and those from minority groups were more vulnerable to stigma and discrimination.

(XINHUA)

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General news

S/Africa loosens lockdown in economic recovery effort

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South Africa sought to revive its stuttering economy on Monday with the partial lifting of a Coronavirus  (COVID-19) lockdown, letting people out for work, worship or shopping, and allowing mines and factories to run at full capacity.

President Cyril Ramaphosa was widely praised when he ordered a strict lockdown at the end of March, but the measures have battered the economy of Africa’s most industrialised nation, which was already in recession before the coronavirus.

South Africa’s central bank expects the economy, which has been hard hit by the impact of power cuts at crisis-hit state energy firm Eskom, to contract by seven per cent this year.

But moving to “level 3” lockdown so soon has been questioned by some who say it will inevitably increase the number of coronavirus cases, which jumped above 30,000 over the weekend.

“We are taking a gradual approach, guided by the advice of our scientists and led by the realities on the ground,” Ramaphosa said in a statement.

The Rand was trading 0.7 per cent up against the dollar at 0750 GMT after the easing of restrictions in South Africa, which has so far had fewer than 700 coronavirus deaths.

Many more people, half of whom live below the official poverty line, are at risk from hunger because of the shutdown and industry officials said the outlook remained bleak.

Philippa Rodseth, executive director of the Manufacturing Circle, said she expected demand “first and foremost in medical textiles and equipment and PPE (Personal Protective Equipment)”, although this would not contribute to overall aggregate demand.

And Standard Bank, Africa’s largest by assets, said it expected half year earnings to fall 20 per cent on the same period a year ago.

Although schools were ordered to open on Monday for the last years of primary and secondary, unions urged teachers and other staff to stay away, saying they are not equipped to keep employees and pupils safe.

The education ministry backed down on Sunday, saying pupils will now return the week after next. Teachers will report this week for training and to receive protective gear.

“We have heard them (the teachers’ unions) … and are taking steps to address their concerns,” Ramaphosa said.

However, Western Cape province, which is run by the opposition Democratic Alliance, said that its schools would re-open as planned on Monday, because they were well-equipped.

The province is the main coronavirus hotspot, with two thirds of confirmed cases.

The Marxist opposition Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) have accused authorities of sacrificing poor and vulnerable workers to the interests of the elite.

The EFF and others have also criticised the re-opening of churches and other places of worship, if they limit to 50 people.


Edited By: Emmanuel Okara/Muhammad Suleiman Tola (NAN)

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Foreign

COVID-19 hotspots in South Africa may be placed on higher alert level: president

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Some COVID-19 hotspots in South Africa may be placed on a higher alert if special interventions fail to contain the pandemic, President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Sunday.

Different approaches have been introduced to deal with high-infection areas, known as hotspots, and low-infection areas, which require vigilance and surveillance, Ramaphosa said during a virtual engagement with the South African National Editors Forum.

The remarks came a day before the country is set to lower the alert level from four to three, under which 8 million people will be allowed to return to work as most economic sectors in the country reopen.

“We are re-opening most areas of the economy so that people can earn a living, and so that this immediate health crisis does not result in a permanent economic crisis,” Ramaphosa said.

But hotspots where confirmed cases rise at a fast rate remain a concern, particularly after the further easing of restrictions, the president said.

Special interventions will be made in hotspot areas by deploying dedicated, multidisciplinary teams to contain the outbreak, including epidemiologists, doctors, nurses and community health workers, he added.

As of Sunday, the country reported 32,683 cases of COVID-19 with 683 deaths. The Western Cape, the hardest-hit province, recorded 21,382 cases with 503 deaths.

“It is of utmost importance that we reduce the rate of spread in the Western Cape and we do everything possible to prevent other parts of the country from following a similar trajectory,” Ramaphosa said.

Each hotspot will be linked to testing and quarantine facilities, and additional hospital beds when necessary, with a close focus on tracing contacts and isolating them so as to prevent further transmission, Ramaphosa said.

(XINHUA)

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