Stay informed and up to date with the latest news in South Africa by reviewing all major headlines on Tuesday 15 September.
While South Africa looks for official word on the move to Level 1 lockdown, the ruling African National Congress (ANC) is expected to deliver feedback on controversial personal protective equipment (PPE) tenders which have enveloped Gauteng in recent months.
TODAY'S LATEST NEWS IN SOUTH AFRICA, Tuesday 15 SEPTEMBER
Gauteng PPE scandal: Integrity Commission's report and recommendations
The ANC in Gauteng is busy finalising a report by its Integrity Commission into allegations of corruption and nepotism involving party leaders. On Monday afternoon, the party confirmed that the Provincial Integrity Committee had met with Presidential Spokesperson, Khusela Diko, Health MEC, Bandile Masuku and his wife, Loyiso.
All three ANC cadres have been implicated in a damning PPE scandal involving irregular procurement protocols. Diko's husband, Thandisizwe, has made no excuses for his company's dealings with government — which included a R125 million supply contract — but it's the close relationships and improper conduct which have raised serious red flags.
Diko and Masuku were both placed on special leave pending the outcomes on an inquiry spearheaded by the Special Investigating Unit (SIU). The SIU has been tasked with uncovering the rot of corruption within the context of COVID-19 relief funds.
The looting of resources amid the disruptive pandemic has been labelled as 'murder' by the World Health Organisation.
A detailed briefing concerning the outcomes of the Integrity Commission's investigation is expected to be revealed today.
Grave concerns over ongoing funeral sector strike
A nationwide protest led by the African Funeral Practitioners Organisation (Afpo) has been marred by elements of violence and intimidation. The strike, which began on Monday, is expected to continue until Wednesday, with Afpo citing numerous demands, including the outsourcing of mortuary facilities.
Afpo warned that, in addition to the suspension of funerals, no bodies would be removed from government hospitals, private hospitals or homes. The Health Department noted, with serious concern, the health hazards such a strike would pose and called for engagement while services resumed.
Striking workers have, however, resorted to intimidation after a number of funeral parlours defied the call for industrial action and remained open on Monday. Afpo, joined by the Unification Task Team (UTT) and the National Funeral Practitioners of South Africa (Nafupa), clashed with working undertakers in KwaZulu-Natal.
DA says De Lille should be hung out to dry on Beitbridge 'washing line'
The Minister of Public Works and Infrastructure, Patricia De Lille, does not understand the function of her office and should be recalled as a matter of urgency. This is according to the Democratic Alliance (DA), which has taken direct aim at former colleague De Lille, amid a growing corruption scandal involving the procurement and construction of the Beitbridge border fence.
The Special Investigating Unit (SIU) and National Treasury have penned damning reports of procurement irregularities and exorbitant overspend associated with the Beitbridge border fence. The fence — which has been slammed for its poor construction quality — is estimated to have cost South African taxpayers in excess of R37 million; a price which is estimated to have been overinflated by more than 100%.
Samantha Graham-Maré, the DA's Shadow Deputy Minister of Public Works and Infrastructure, has, once again, called on President Ramaphosa to act against corruption in the Beitbridge border fence scandal, saying:
"Despite her protestations to the contrary, Minister De Lille is guilty of ongoing interference in her Department and shows absolutely no remorse or any sign of stopping.
She must be stopped."
SASSA launches online grant application portal
Social grant applicants can now skip long queues thanks to the new South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) online portal launched on Monday.
According to SASSA, for now, the pilot project will cover Child Support, Older Persons and Foster Child grants.
The government entity said the move will provide much-needed relief to grant applicants as it will save them the inconvenience of standing in queues at SASSA offices.
"The added advantage is that the convenience of online applications eliminates the risk of being infected with the COVID-19 virus because there will be no need to gather at public places to apply," SASSA added.
The self-service portal can be used from the computer and mobile phones.
According to SASSA, the turnaround time is 10 days, provided the candidate supplies all the stipulated documents linked to the application such as identity documents of applicant and spouse's as well as banking details, among others.
The agency may require documents supporting a change of circumstances such as payment method, banking details and address.
The portal also provides updates on the status of the application. "To access this service, applicants need to have an email address to sign up and to be able to log in for further services," SASSA explained. (Source: SAnews)
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