South Africa: Today’s latest news and headlines, Tuesday 28 April
Minister of Basic Education, Angie Motshekga, still mum on the reopening of schools.
Stay informed and up to date with the latest news in South Africa by reviewing all major headlines on Tuesday 28 April.
Following Freedom Day, the irony of which, during a time of lockdown, was not lost on politicians nor the public, South Africans look ahead to the relaxation of regulations in line with government’s staggered ‘level’ approach. After five weeks of a gruelling ‘hard lockdown’, most of the country is expected to enter Level 4 on Friday 1 May.
Today’s latest news in South Africa, Tuesday 28 April
Two-week wait before Cuban doctors begin their work
A team of more than 200 Cuban doctors, who arrived in the country on Sunday night, will need to endure two weeks of quarantine before joining the South African fight against COVID-19. The group of healthcare professionals, experts in epidemiology and biostatistics, will be deployed to public hospitals in high-risk areas.
While the reinforcements, intended to bolster South Africa’s healthcare system ahead of the looming peak of infection in September, have been welcomed with open arms, not everybody is happy with the foreign assistance.
The Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa slammed government as ‘unpatriotic’ for praising the arrival of Cuban doctors while failing to recognise the sacrifice of local healthcare professionals.
The Western Cape government, which has, in the past, refused assistance from Cuban medical professionals, has been forced to accommodate the recent arrivals in line with the national directive.
Still no clarity on the reopening of schools
Unanswered questions still dominate the discussion over schooling and the 2020 curriculum. While most schools, in conjunction with local governments, have implemented digital learning initiatives, no clarity regarding physical teaching or exams has been provided.
Both the Minister of Basic Education, Angie Motshekga, and the Minister of Higher Education and Training, Blade Nzimande, were due to update the nation on the reopening of learning facilities on Monday. The briefing was, however, cancelled at the last minute.
The official reasoning for the postponement was ‘the need to align with directives issues by the National Command Council’.
The SA Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu) noted that while the extended lockdown has placed the entire school year at risk, reopening facilities, without proper protection and preventative measures, put both pupils and teachers at risk of infection.
Cele on Mosque raid: ‘There will never be an apology about the arrest…’
Police Minister Bheki Cele has reiterated his position on the arrest of Muslim worshippers who defied lockdown regulations to attend Mosque amid Ramadan. A total of 24 congregants were arrested by police officers in Mpumalanga over the weekend.
Video footage of the raid drew criticism, particularly from the Muslim community and the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC), for ‘blasphemous’ remarks made by one of the arresting officers. Cele said that while the words uttered by the officer could not be condoned, law enforcement was instructed to deal swiftly with lockdown defaulters, without fear or favour. A statement issued by the South African Police Service (SAPS), noted:
“If they, or any other religious group, host another gathering, police will arrest them again but without being blasphemous in executing their duties. This cuts across all gatherings be they religious, cultural or otherwise.”
More water tankers to quench Gauteng’s thirst
The Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) has delivered a further 141 water tanks across needy areas of Gauteng to push back against the rising tide of the novel Coronavirus pandemic.
So far, 1 926 water tanks have been distributed in the Cities of Joburg, Tshwane and Ekurhuleni and the Sedibeng and West Rand District Municipalities.
Until recently, Gauteng was the epicentre of the virus before the Western Cape saw a spike in the number of cases related to the virus.
Following President Cyril Ramaphosa’s announcement for government to devise and implement extraordinary measures to slow the spread of the virus, the department has deployed officials who are at the forefront of delivering water tanks to different areas in the country in a bid to cushion the impact of the virus on the most vulnerable.
The water tanks will assist communities in water-stressed and densely populated informal settlements to wash their hands to ward off the virus. (Source: SAnews)
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