South Africa: Today’s latest news and headlines, Friday 8 May
Public Service and Administration Minister Senzo Mchunu briefs South Africa on the department's COVID-19 response.
Stay up to date with the latest news in South Africa; review the biggest headlines making waves across the country on Friday 8 May.
As South Africa completes its first week of Level 4 lockdown, questions around government’s Constitutional competency are being challenged by some of the country’s best legal minds. Meanwhile the window of opportunity for interprovincial under lockdown comes to an end, with the Department of Transport warning citizens to stay firmly put.
TODAY’S LATEST NEWS IN SOUTH AFRICA, Friday 8 MAY
Private schools warned to remain closed
Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga has issued a stern warning to independent schools which have planned to defy government regulations and reopen to teaching prematurely. Motshekga, who recently announced that schools would only be opened once deemed fit to operate by the department, noted, with serious concern, reports of institutions’ intended defiance.
The minister added that any official change to the school calendar, which has proposed the reopening of classes to Grade 7 and 12 pupils on 1 June, will be subject to finalisation by the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCC).
Motshekga reiterated the call for pupil safety as a priority, noting that non-cooperation with regulations under the Disaster Management Act, 2002 (Act No. 57 of 2002), would be dealt with harshly.
Minister Mchunu talks public service operations
Public Service and Administration Minister Senzo Mchunu will today reveal his assessment on the department’s state of readiness, as South Africa prepares for the inevitable peak of infections expected to hit in September.
Mchunu, who shares responsibility with Health Minister Zweli Mkhize in ensuring that South Africa’s response to the pandemic is well-considered, has recently found himself at loggerheads with trade unions. This emanates from Mchunu’s decision to backtrack on a proposed pay increase in the public sector. In return, unions have threatened to strike should their demands not be met.
In late April, Mchunu met with union leaders in an attempt to avert industrial action.
Latest COVID-19 updates
On Thursday night, Health Minister Mkhize confirmed that South Africa had recorded a total of 8 232 COVID-19 cases; a relatively large surge of 424 new cases since Wednesday. The coronavirus’ death toll in the country also increased be eight to 161.
Mkhize was quick to point out that the caseload’s spike was directly related to government’s increased testing capacity and competency, noting that almost 300 000 COVID-19 tests had been completed.
You can view the latest statistical breakdown, here.
Quarterly Labour Force data to be collected telephonically
Statistician General, Risenga Maluleke, has announced that Statistics South Africa will conduct data collection for key labour statistics using telephone interviews.
Maluleke said the statistical body will use telephonic interviews instead of having fieldworkers visiting sampled dwelling units (households).
Stats SA is changing its collection method for the second quarter of the Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS) due to restrictions on face-to-face collections imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Continuous measuring of the economy is an important and necessary undertaking. Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, Statistics South Africa will continue providing the salient labour statistics for policy and evidence based decision making,” Maluleke said.
Telephonic data collection for quarter two will commence on Monday 11 May 2020. (Source: SAnews)
Employers urged to pay relief funds to workers
Employers have been urged to ensure that money paid over by the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) for the COVID-19 Temporary Employer/Employee Relief Scheme (TERS) is disbursed to the workers.
Employment and Labour Minister Thulas Nxesi made the call to employers following numerous complaints received from workers who allege that their employers have not paid them the money the UIF has disbursed as part of COVID-19 TERS.
The money is meant to provide temporary relief for workers who are at home or to at least meet some of their salary demands.
“To date we have paid close to R9 billion in COVID-19 relief. This is the amount that we are paying for relief for workers and we appeal to the employers to ensure that it is paid to the workers without any further delay,” said the Minister. (Source: SAnews)
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