South Africa: Today’s latest news and headlines, Thursday 23 April

All eyes on President Ramaphosa, who is expected to elaborate on the 'gradual' lightening of lockdown regulations.

South Africa: Today’s latest news and headlines, Thursday 23 April

Stay informed and up to date with all the latest news in South Africa; check out the country’s major headlines on Thursday 23 April.

Following on from his announcement regarding extraordinary economic relief measures, President Cyril Ramaphosa is, once again, scheduled to address the nation on the lockdown’s gradual relaxation. At the same time, the president has received criticism for allegedly flouting parliamentary procedures in sanctioning a full-scale SANDF deployment, which is reported to last until June 2020.

Today’s latest news in South Africa, Thursday 23 April

Lockdown announcement: Ramaphosa talks relaxation

Lockdown-fatigued South Africans will turn their attention to President Ramaphosa today, who is due to address the nation on lockdown-related issues. Following the president’s address on Tuesday night — which dealt almost exclusively with economic and social relief measures intended to lessen the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak — directives linked to the lightening of lockdown regulations are expected to be delivered today.

Government has already been clear on the fact that lockdown, despite its calamitous impact on the economy, will not come to an abrupt end on 30 April. Instead, the National Command Council (NCC), tasked with overseeing government’s response to the outbreak and adjusting regulations associated with the Disaster Management Act, revealed that the lockdown will be ‘phased out’ in stages.

President Ramaphosa is expected to elaborate on the vague phased approach, which, amongst other things, will look at which industries will first return to operation and how social distancing will be prioritised.

Full-scale SANDF deployment under fire

A leaked document, penned by President Ramaphosa, ordering the deployment of more than 70 000 South African National Defence Force (SANDF) personnel, has been brought under the microscope. The letter, which first found its way online on Tuesday evening, has raised serious questions about the military’s role in post-lockdown South Africa.

The call, which will place almost every single soldier on the streets, has been supported by Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, who, in turn, has threatened to take action against Democratic Alliance leader, John Steenhuisen. Mapisa-Nqakula says Steenhuisen needs to be held accountable by parliament for leaking the sensitive document.

Matters were made even more complicated when the Co-Chairperson of the Joint Standing Committee on Defence, Cyril Xaba, to whom the letter was addressed, at first denied any knowledge of the document.

Civil rights groups, politicians and members of the public have voiced concerns over South Africa implementing ‘martial law’ after 30 April.

Lockdown unrest on the outskirts of Cape Town

Law enforcement agencies, on Wednesday, clashed with protesters on the R300 highway near Mitchells Plain outside Cape Town. The protests, ostensibly related to the lockdown and ‘failure’ of the food parcel system, follow a severe spate of lootings on the Cape Flats.

Failing to heed the call to disperse, protesters pelted police officers with stones. Law enforcement, in return, opened fire on the crowd with rubber bullets and tear gas.

Western Cape Premier Alan Winde has called for an end to the violence and looting, calling on the military and South African Police Service (SAPS) to monitor hotspots in the province.

NSFAS students urged to open bank accounts

The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) has urged qualifying students to open bank accounts to ensure a more efficient disbursement of funds from institutions.

NSFAS Administrator, Dr Randall Carolissen, said the scheme is working on a banking model that will eliminate all intermediaries in the disbursement value chain.

The model will also facilitate direct deposits from NSFAS into student bank accounts.

“At present NSFAS, through its NSFAS Wallet, is already paying directly to students from 32 of the 50 Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges. During this week, NSFAS will be extending this facility to three additional colleges to ensure improved flow of funds directly to students. Students will be informed accordingly,” Carolissen said.

Following the announcement of the countrywide lockdown by President Cyril Ramaphosa, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, NSFAS activated a business continuity plan.

The plan aims to facilitate uninterrupted funding to students, the resolution of student applications queries, processing of appeals and general assistance to institutions with NSFAS administration. (Source: SAnews)

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Source : The South African More   

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Healthy eyesight: Exercises to keep your peepers in top form

Your eyesight doesn't need to deteriorate with age. Do these exercises to help keep your eyes healthy.

Healthy eyesight: Exercises to keep your peepers in top form

Exercising your eyes can keep your eyesight stronger for longer.

Just like the rest of your body, your face and eyes have muscles. Because of overuse, your eye muscles may become weak and you may be unable to see as clearly. If you regularly exercise your eyes you can keep your eyes safe and healthy.

Exercises to improve your eyesight


Rub your palms vigorously until moist, and then gently place them over your eyelids. Let the palm warmth transfer to the head. You can feel the muscles of the eye relax as your eyes find comfort in the night. Persist until eyes completely absorb the heat from the palms. Repeat two to three times daily.


Sit back on your chair or bed with open eyes. Blink rapidly 10 to 15 times. Close your eyes, and take 20 seconds to relax. Repeat five times.


Another successful eye practice is to zoom in. As you might have inferred from the name, you are zooming in on an object to change your vision’s focus. Sit with your arm extended with your thumb up. Now, slowly bend your wrist, and bring your hand closer to your head, until you thumb is in focus.

Shifting your eyesight

Shifting is about shifting the eyeballs or turning them from one direction to another. Look to the right corner, then slowly turn your attention in the opposite direction. With the spurt of blood pumped in from the move, the tiny eye muscles get more active and healthy.

Incorporating certain foods into your diet

Carrot eating is good for your vision. Carrots are rich in vitamin A, an essential vision nutrient. Vitamin A is not the only vitamin that promotes healthy eye function, however. Make sure your diet contains foods that are rich in vitamin C, vitamin E, copper and zinc.

Resting your eyes

It’s good to close your eyes just for a few minutes. If you’re hard at work, you can do this once an hour, or several times. So if your work includes sitting in front of a computer or reading it can be soothing to close your eyes. This exercise, as basic as it sounds, will protect the eyes from over-exertion or fatigue.

This content has been created as part of our freelancer relief programme. We are supporting journalists and freelance writers impacted by the economic slowdown caused by #lockdownlife.

If you are a freelancer looking to contribute to The South African, read more here.

Source : The South African More   

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