Sat, Jul 24, 2021
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Rest in Peace Lollie

Tributes pour in for our late founder and MD at Mapepeza Newspaper, Anatola Lolliepop Mofoka.

His untimely passing came from losing his battle with an illness on Wednesday morning, July 22.


Throughout his life, Lolliepop has been a charismatic and positive character.

He will be remembered for his leading role as a businessman, a friend to many and father.

His unforgettable presence will always live in the minds and hearts of all who have met him and worked with him.

“No words can describe how we feel about his passing. His name is forever cast in my heart as someone who is more than a partner, closer than a brother and loyal to the end. The man defined entrepreneurship without an education, just ideas and courage to make it happen.

Nothing and nobody has stood in his way to success, he just kept pushing when he was met with barriers. Chief, we miss your smile and all that you had to say. The hustle will always live on, even when I’m gone. Go well and rest assured that Mapepeza will stand the test of time…” said Stephen Seakgwe, editor and co-founder of Mapepeza.

We at the Mapepeza Media company and all its subsidiaries, employees and friends hereby send our condolences to the Mofoka family.

#RIPLollie

Cash in transit thieves stopped before the act

Police arrested suspects while allegedly planning to commit a cash-in-transit robbery in Brakpan, Ekurhuleni.

About 19 suspects were detained and police recovered nine vehicles and nine firearms among other exhibits to be used during the heist on Friday morning, July 23.

According to police, intelligence operations yielded information of a safe house in Dalpark (Brakpan) where there are peoole planning a possible cash-in-transit heist.

“Upon arrival at the house, a shootout ensued between the team and the suspects, with some of the suspects fleeing the scene. Two of the suspects were shot fatally,” explains Colonel Brenda Muridili.

One police vehicle with officers pursued a suspect who hijacked a VW Golf to flee the scene to the corner of Jubilee and Snyman Streets.

“Another shootout ensued between the suspect and the police officers where a police constable was shot. He died from his injuries on the scene while the suspect fled on foot,” said SAPS.

The suspect is still at large. The Gauteng Police has instituted the 72-Hour Activation plan to ensure that all the necessary resources needed to investigate this incident are mobilised.

“The team is following leads to track and locate the suspect allegedly responsible for the fatal shooting of the police constable,” said Colonel Muridili.

At the safehouse, police discovered that four of the nine vehicles have been positively identified as stolen or hijacked while seven of the nine firearms were rifles (four AK47s and three R5s) and two were pistols. A bag containing live ammunition and explosives were also confiscated.

Gauteng MEC Faith Mazibuko has hailed the multi disciplinary team. She tweeted,

“Well done team members of Gauteng Serious & Violent Crimes, Johannesburg Crime Intelligence and K9, Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation, Ekurhuleni Trio Task Team as well as Fidelity Specialized Services and Community Active Protection.

This is how it is done. 🙌🙌”

The Community Safety MEC also passed her heartfelt condolences to the family of the deceased officer.

The arrested suspects will face the judge at the Brakpan Magistrate’s Court facing charges that may include murder, conspiracy to commit a robbery, possession of unlicensed firearms and ammunition, possession of explosives and possession of suspected stolen property.

“We are appealing to anyone with information on the whereabouts of the suspects that managed to evade arrest to contact the SAPS Crime Stop number 08600 10111 or send tip-offs on MySAPS App,” said the police.

Ekurhuleni warns of another scam

The City of Ekurhuleni has warned the community to be aware of yet another job scam doing its rounds on social media purporting.

Perpetrators claim to be from the City of Ekurhuleni and send SMS messages which invite the public to a supposed job appointment and medical test in Germiston.

According to the City, this follows similar messages that were inviting the public to take up jobs for cleaning of the looted malls in Ekurhuleni recently.

The City urges the public to exercise vigilance as there are many scams targeting residents who depend on its services.

“The public is warned not to fall for all these scam messages. The City reiterates that, as previously communicated, its job application process is not conducted through social media platforms or social media messaging,” said the City’s Spokesperson Zweli Dlamini.

The City confirms that its positions are strictly advertised on their website: www.ekurhuleni.gov.za/vacancies where both permanent, temporal and fixed term vacancies are advertised.

People who come into contact with such scams are encouraged to report matters to the National fraud and corruption line on 0800 102 201.

Vaccine sites open this weekend in GP

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The Gauteng Department of Health is encouraging all eligible people to go out in their numbers for their vaccine jabs this weekend.

Various sites across Ekurhuleni and Johannesburg will open on Saturday, July 24 from 9am.

Only the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital site will open until Sunday, July 25.

Over 300 people dead in civil unrest

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Acting Minister in the Presidency, Khumbudzo Ntshavheni, says the death toll related to the recent unrest has risen to 337 in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal.

Briefing media in Pretoria on Thursday, July 22, Ntshavheni said the revision of the death toll, which stood at 276 on the previous day comes after people who were injured subsequently succumbed to their injuries.

“The SA Police Service has revised the total number of deaths in Gauteng to 79 and KwaZulu-Natal to 258, as related to the unrest. The revision of the records happens when those who were injured ultimately succumb to their injuries.

“Of the reported deaths in Gauteng to date, 42 cases of murder have been opened and 37 inquest dockets have been opened. In KZN, 171 cases of murder have been opened and 87 inquest dockets have been opened.

“In addition, the SAPS has to date opened 132 cases of arson in KwaZulu-Natal.”

Ntshavheni said law enforcement agencies are continuing with their investigations to ensure that instigators and key participants in the unrest are brought to book.

Ntshavheni said there were no new incidents of destabilisation that have been reported across the two provinces or any other province. She said claims that there have been incidents along the N1 was fake news.

She said law enforcement agencies have verified that both the N2 and the N3 are fully secured and operating smoothly

SASSA revives food relief programme with vouchers

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The South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) says the agency will continue to provide social relief of distress in the form of food vouchers to needy families.

The agency said instead of food parcels, SASSA currently provides vouchers for social relief of distress that are redeemable at selected service providers.

SASSA said, however, that the service has been halted in KwaZulu-Natal, as service providers had their food stock looted and infrastructure vandalised during the past week’s unrest in the province.

“This has worsened the situation of vulnerable and needy families who don’t have a means of income and rely on government interventions,” said SASSA CEO Busisiwe Memela-Khambula.

The relief is provided as part of the standard of social relief of distress programme administered by SASSA, in terms of the Social Assistance Act.

The criteria states that if one is already a grant beneficiary, they do not qualify for social relief of distress. An application supported by documentary evidence is also required for each person requiring support.

“SASSA is calling for calm as it works around the clock to restore this food relief programme countrywide in this hour of need. We also appeal to communities to spare a thought for the vulnerable at all times because they bear the brunt of this unrest,” Memela-Khambula said.

Memela-Khambula warned against a fake poster circulating on social media, claiming that people can apply for social relief of distress electronically.

“This is not true because in order to apply, you have to visit a SASSA office.”

Cash delivery to pay points resumes 

Meanwhile, previously suspended cash-in-transit (CIT) services was set to resume from 19 July 2021 at SASSA cash pay points, except in KwaZulu-Natal.

This after CIT companies suspended cash delivery to pay points last week due to the unrest.

“The situation is now relatively under control and new payment dates have been circulated to affected beneficiaries, especially in rural areas. Gauteng and the Western Cape have already received this service at their pay points,” Memela-Khambula said. 

Ink-stained banknotes are illegal to use

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The South African Reserve Bank (SARB) has warned the public to be cautious of accepting banknotes that have been stained with traces of blue or green ink.

The warning comes in the wake of numerous automated teller machines (ATM) having been damaged and destroyed during the days-long civil unrest in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal, where several businesses were looted and gutted.

In a statement, the SARB warned that stained banknotes are considered “proceeds of crime” and have no value and cannot be exchanged.

“Members of the public are therefore strongly encouraged not to accept such banknotes, and to report such incidents to the nearest police station,” said the central bank.

“ATMs are equipped with technology to stain banknotes in case of attack. This process of protecting the banknotes defaces them so that they carry no monetary value for people who invade ATMs,” it said.

Police warning advertisement against stained notes

For further information, the public was urged engage the SARB Currency Management Team by email at currency@resbank.co.za; by telephone at 012 313 3270; or online at www.resbank.co.za.

To learn more about the country’s currency, members of the public are encouraged to download the recently revamped SARB Currency App, which is available on the App Store and Google Play Store.

Over 2 million people fully vaccinated

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There were 257 492 COVID-19 vaccine doses that were administered on Wednesday (July 21), the highest number of shots administered since the start of the inoculation rollout programme.

This means there is now a total of 5 831 389 administered jabs in South Africa, while 2 028 397 adults have been fully vaccinated.  

According to the Department of Health, 73 225 people have signed up on the Electronic Vaccination Data System (EVDS) in the past 24 hours, pushing the cumulative number to 6 440 450.

Meanwhile, 16 240 new COVID-19 infections have been detected in South Africa, bringing the number of laboratory-confirmed cases to 2 327 472.

According to the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD), the latest peak increase represents a 27.5% positivity rate.

The majority of new cases are from Gauteng (32%), followed by the Western Cape (21%) and KwaZulu-Natal (11%).

“The total number of cases today is higher than yesterday and higher than the average number of new cases per day over the seven preceding days,” the NICD said on Wednesday, adding that the seven-day moving average daily number of cases is still dropping.

In addition, 516 more people lost their lives due to COVID-19 complications, pushing the death toll to 68 192.

“There has been an increase of 831 hospital admissions in the past 24 hours,” the public health institute said.

This means there are 17 286 patients who are currently receiving treatment in hospitals across the country out of the 160 462 active cases.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), as of 21 July, there have been 191 148 056 confirmed cases of COVID-19, including 4 109 303 deaths. 

Former President Zuma gets compassionate leave

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The Department of Correctional Services has granted former President Jacob Zuma permission to attend the funeral of his late younger brother.

In a statement, the department said a sentenced offender who was granted permission to leave a correctional centre remained a sentenced offender even while temporarily outside.

“The permission granted to Mr Zuma is for Thursday, 22 July 2021,” the department said.

When outside a correctional facility, inmates need not wear offender uniform.

“As a short-term, low risk classified inmate, Mr Zuma’s application for compassionate leave was processed and approved following the Correctional Services prescripts.”

He will attend the burial of his younger brother Michael, who died earlier this month after a reportedly long illness. 

The former president is currently serving a 15-month sentence at the Escourt Correctional Centre in KwaZulu-Natal. The former statesman, 79, was sentenced on 29 June for defying an instruction to give evidence at an inquiry into corruption during his nine years in power.

COVID-19 Relief scheme for workers re-opens

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Workers affected by the COVID-19 lockdown regulations since March 2021 will once again be able to claim from the COVID-19 Temporary Employee/Employer Relief Scheme (TERS).

This comes after Employment and Labour Minister Thulas Nxesi on Friday, July 16, signed the direction which makes it possible for the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) to implement the third extension of the TERS benefit.

“This means that the UIF will open the system for applications from 19 July 2021 and commence payments from 26 July 2021.

“However, there is one major condition that payments will in the main be made directly to the bank accounts of workers and not, as has happened before, through their employers but employers would still be expected to claim on their behalf,” the Employment and Labour Ministry said in a statement.

This third phase will bring relief for the following categories of workers:

  • Workers who have not been able to work from 16 March 2021, due to Level 1, 2 and 3 restrictions preventing gatherings of a certain number of people – such as in the entertainment industry;
  • Workers who were and or are still impacted upon by the Level 4 restrictions which commenced on 28 June 2021; and
  • Workers who have not been able to work due to the fact that they are over 60 or have co-morbidities and have not been able to work in the period as well as those who have had to isolate or go into quarantine.

The period the direction covers ends on 25 July 2021.

The direction follows the announcement by Minister Nxesi three weeks ago that the department intended on extending benefits to sectors affected by Adjusted Alert Level 4 restrictions.

President Cyril Ramaphosa had also announced on 11 July 2021 that the UIF had embarked on negotiations with NEDLAC social partners to address the difficulties faced by employees who lost income under level 4 restrictions.

The Ministry said after intense deliberations with social partners at Nedlac, the UIF had agreed to open the window for phase 3 of COVID-19 TERS to cover the period between 16 March 2021 and 25 July 2021.

The application process and the information or documents required are the same as with the previous extensions, except in respect of the processing of payments directly into the employees’ accounts.

“It is therefore crucial for employers to provide valid and accurate details of their employees including identity document numbers and valid bank accounts,” said Advocate Mzie Yawa, acting UIF Commissioner.

While paying directly into employees bank account remains the most preferred payment mode, the UIF said it was mindful of instances where this may be difficult.

“In such instances and upon provision of sufficient proof by the employer, funds may be paid into the employer’s account at the UIF’s discretion. 

“We have learnt the lesson from the previous phases that some unscrupulous employers did not advance the funds to their employees and it is for that reason that we have opted for this mode of payment.

“As a result of the non-payment of workers, the UIF and the entire department were inundated with a lot of complaints as workers could see in the system that funds had been released but had not been paid by their employers who kept the COVID TERS funds for themselves,” said Yawa.

Qualifying sectors for Phase 3 of the COVID TERS are identified in Annexure A of the direction which includes venues hosting auctions, professional sports, where social events are held and venues hosting concerts and live performance.

Annexure B contains all sectors affected by Level 4 lockdown restrictions including restaurants, the liquor industry, hospitality and tourism as well as any industries and business establishments that form part of these value chains.

Other operational details will be contained in a letter to be sent directly to employers and the letter together with directives will be available on both the TERS portal (www.uifecc.labour.gov.za) and the Employment and Labour website (www.labour.gov.za ). 

Social development launches vaccination drive

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As the social development sector kicks off its vaccination rollout plan on Monday July 19, Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu has expressed her satisfaction with the first day of vaccination.

Zulu and Acting Health Minister, Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane, visited the vaccination sites at Tembisa health care centre and Thokoza Progressive (both in Ekurhuleni) to unveil the social development sector vaccination rollout plan, which aims to vaccinate more than 240 000 members of the workforce from 19 July to 23 July 2021.

Zulu said the department has to cater for not only the Early Childhood Development (ECD), but all other social development service professionals because they are also frontline workers.

“We have been working together with the Department of Health from the very beginning. The other issue is about the availability of the vaccines, [as] we needed to make sure that when we start, the vaccine is available. They are now [using the single-dose vaccine]… so they don’t have to come back again,” Zulu said.

The Minister said the process of vaccination is very smooth, from the people who are administering the vaccine, to the process of registration and ensuring that they have the tech tools needed to check the ID number and telephone number of the person vaccinated.

“So far, we haven’t seen any challenges… The ECDs and social service practitioners have their own queue, which is the entire value chain of what they need to do.

“…After having done the vaccination, people sit for 15 minutes just to ensure that they are fine, and if they are not fine, there is an emergency area where they can be taken to,” Zulu said.

Social Development minister Lindiwe Zulu along with acting Health minister Mamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane at one of the vaccine sites dedicated to social development staff in Ekurhuleni

Don’t leave your neighbours behind

Kubayi-Ngubane called on community members not to leave their neighbours behind when they go for vaccination, and for young people to also take along people aged 60 years and above.

“Don’t leave your neighbours behind because sometimes others don’t have information about the vaccine, and others don’t know where to go and what to do. The important thing for us is that we must try to make sure that as we get access to this vaccine, let’s make sure we don’t leave our neighbours and families behind,” the acting minister said.

She called on communities to encourage residents, who are reluctant to receive the vaccine, to go to the vaccination sites and speak to the medical teams, who will explain everything to them.

“This will assist us to be able to vaccinate more people. Those who are afraid because they heard that the vaccine is not good, will find nurses from the Department of Health, who will explain everything to them,” the Minister said.

The vaccination rollout plan will include frontline workers in the following categories:

  • The ECD workforce: This is inclusive of ECD practitioners and staff, who work in the ECD environment. The Department of Social Development has been working with the ECD Inter-Sectoral Forum to ensure that no-one is left behind, given that ECDs remain open while schools are closed and practitioners are equally at risk of the contracting the virus. This includes all ECDs both registered and unregistered with government, including centre and non-centre-based programmes.
  • All social service professionals: This includes all social workers; auxiliary social worker; student social workers, who are currently doing fieldwork; child and youth care workers; child and youth care auxiliary workers and is inclusive of all social service professionals in the public, private and NGO sectors.
  • Community Development Practitioners, employed by the Department of Social Development; and 
  • Frontline staff working in the Department of Social Development across the Republic, including at all Social Development facilities, the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA), the National Development Agency (NDA), and the South African Council for Social Service Professions (SACSSP).
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