South Africa: Today’s latest news and headlines, Thursday 7 May
Health Minister Zweli Mkhize assesses the country's medical response and state of readiness.
Stay informed and up to date with the all the latest news in South Africa by checking out the biggest headlines on Thursday 7 May.
As the coronavirus outbreak continues to spread throughout South Africa, questions regarding the prolonged lockdown and the readiness of the country’s healthcare response come to the fore. Meanwhile, the threat of infection creeps ever-closer to the country’s highest office.
TODAY’S LATEST NEWS IN SOUTH AFRICA, Thursday 7 MAY
Minister Mkhize assesses provincial healthcare preparedness
Health Minister Zweli Mkhize continues to assess the readiness of provincial healthcare responses. On Wednesday, the minister visited the North West province, paying special attention to Job Shimakana Tabane Hospital in Rustenburg. Mkhize was joined by Mineral Resources and Energy Gwede Mantashe, who conducted oversight visits to various mining operations in the region.
Mkhize’s visit to the North West forms part of readiness assessments which has already been conducted in Gauteng and KawZulu-Natal. These visits come at a critical time as South Africa prepares for a surge in infections.
Importantly, Mkhize reiterated that the national lockdown had provided the country’s healthcare services with enough time to prepare for the inevitable peak. The health minister added that prolonging the lockdown would have little impact on furthering the peak’s delay, which is expected to hit South Africa in September.
Union Buildings records first COVID-19 case
The Presidency has confirmed its first positive COVID-19 case at the Union Buildings in Pretoria. In a statement issued on Wednesday, it was revealed that the Presidency’s Pandemic Task Team worked swiftly to identify and isolate the employee.
As a result of the positive case, access to the Union Buildings has been restricted. President Cyril Ramaphosa, who has been working remotely since the start of the lockdown, has not come into contact with Union Building staffers.
Government to test COVID Organics ‘remedy’
Minister Mkhize has confirmed South Africa’s assistance in clinical trials of a rumoured ‘miracle cure’ form Madagascar. The herbal tea, produced and bottled under the name COVID Organics (CVO), has been touted by Madagascan President, Andry Rajoelina, as natural antidote.
In addition to supplying other African countries with the herbal supplement, Madagascar has asked South Africa to assist with scientific research related to the efficacy of CVO. Mkhize revealed:
“Our scientists would be able to assist with this research. We will only get involved in a scientific analysis of the herb.”
Fines for those caught without masks
Government has issued a stern warning to citizens, who choose to ignore the compulsory face mask rule which forms part of the regulations of the Disaster Management Act. Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula has noted that only commuters wearing facial masks would be allowed to access public transport and that, in addition, anybody found outside without a mask would be liable to a fine.
This fine is in line with recourse for contravening the Disaster Management Act regulations.
Mantashe urges mines to comply with regulations
Mineral Resources and Energy Minister, Gwede Mantashe, has warned that government will shut down any mining operation found not complying with Level 4 regulations.
“At the heart of our programmes is the protection of people’s lives and livelihoods. When we agreed that mines should operate at reduced capacity, we highlighted the importance of protecting and saving the economic infrastructure beyond the lockdown period.
“It is in the interest of mining operations to comply with the lockdown regulations. We are not going to put people at risk for production,” Mantashe said on Wednesday.
He was speaking at Sibanye-Stillwater’s Bathopele Platinum Mine in Rustenburg, where he monitored compliance with the lockdown Level 4 regulations.
The visit to Rustenburg follows a number of unannounced visits to mining operations to monitor compliance with lockdown regulations. (Source: SAnews)
LATEST WEATHER FORECAST, Thursday 7 MAY
Take a look at weather forecasts for all nine provinces here.
LIVE TRAFFIC UPDATES FOR CAPE TOWN, JOHANNESBURG AND DURBAN
Stay one step ahead of the traffic by viewing our live traffic updates here.
Free daily horoscope, celeb gossip and lucky numbers for Thursday 7 May.