SA hospital probed for placing newborns in boxes

The South African authorities are investigating an incident in which newborn babies were placed in cardboard boxes, instead of incubators or cribs in North West province.

The incident in Mahikeng Provincial Hospital’s neonatal section came to light on Saturday after a Facebook post showed babies wrapped in purple hospital blankets with nasogastric tubes, and placed in brown boxes, local media said.

North West health chief Madoda Sambatha said they were investigating the matter to establish how long the babies had stayed in the boxes.

Mr Sambatha apologised and called for calm while the matter is being investigated.

He said, as a matter of urgency, arrangements had been made for additional bed cribs to be sent to the hospital.

The nursing manager of the hospital has reportedly been suspended.

Health Minister Joe Phaahla on Monday described the incident as poor management by those in charge of the facility.

Source: BBC

Minister Khumbudzo Ntshavheni briefs media on progress made in implementation of Operation Vulindlela, 30 May

Minister in the Presidency, Khumbudzo Ntshavheni will host a media briefing to give an update on the progress made in the implementation of Operation Vulindlela.

Operation Vulindlela is a joint initiative of the Presidency and National Treasury to accelerate the implementation of structural reforms and support economic recovery. It aims to modernise and transform network industries, including electricity, water, transport and digital communications. Members of the media are invited to attend and cover the media briefing.

Details are as follows:

Date: Tuesday, 30 May 2022

Time: 14h00

Venue: Ronnie Mamoepa Media Centre, 1035 Tshedimosetso House, Cnr Frances Baard and Festival streets, Hatfield in Pretoria

Live streaming details will be communicated at a later stage.

Media RSVPs should be directed to Ishmael Selemale on email: ishmael@gcis.gov.za

Source: Government of South Africa

MEC Tertius Simmers hands over first 22 houses at George’s Metro Grounds Housing Project and addresses Bitou Supplier Development Open Day, 30 May

Minister Simmers to handover the first 22 houses at George’s Metro Grounds Housing Project and deliver an Address at Bitou Supplier Development open day.

On Tuesday, 30 May, the Provincial Minister of Infrastructure, Tertuis Simmers, will visit the Garden Route District Municipality, where he will hand over keys to brand new homes and address a Supplier Development event.

The Bitou Supplier Development engagement is an Open Day event held over 2 days. Minister Simmers will also be addressing the delegates. The address will highlight the Department of Infrastructure’s key Supplier Development plans and available opportunities for local businesses.

This will be followed by the hand-over of the first 22 brand-new houses at the Metro Grounds Housing Project, in George. Earlier this month the Minister together with the Executive Mayor of George, visited the project to inspect the progress made on site. He also assisted with painting one of the houses, a clear demonstration of a government at work.

Source: Government of South Africa

Premier Alan Winde engages with Swartland K-9 and Rural Safety Units, 30 May

On Tuesday, 30 May 2023, Premier Alan Winde will meet with members of the Swartland municipality’s K-9 and Rural Safety Units. “Safety is a priority of the Western Cape Government. It is always an honour for me to engage with those who are helping to make our province and residents safer,” said the Premier.

Date: Tuesday, 30 May 2023

Time: From 12 pm

Venue: Roosmaryn Street, Abbotsdale, Western Cape

Media wishing to attend can contact Regan Thaw, Media Liaison Officer to the Premier at 083 627 7246 or Regan.Thaw@westerncape.gov.za

Source: Government of South Africa

Saluting excellence

Helping one another in a time of crisis is perhaps one of the world’s most widely understood languages.

In April, the South African Police Service’s K9 search and rescue team was honoured for their courageous work, following a deadly earthquake that rocked Türkiye and neighbouring Syria.

The world responded to the disaster by sending rescue teams to Türkiye and neighbouring Syria. The South African Police Services (SAPS) K9 team, together with the Gift of the Givers Foundation, also joined in on the rescue efforts.

Like other rescue teams, what was top of mind for the team, was finding survivors and recovering the bodies of deceased victims.

Brigadier Vimla Moodley who is the provincial Head for Police Emergency Services (PES) which is responsible for K9, Divers and Mounted Units in the Eastern Cape, was tasked by SAPS management to lead the well-prepared K9 team to Türkiye.

She recalled how the team was in good spirits and eager to depart and commence work to save lives.

The team was made up of herself, five dogs and their handlers. With the exception of Moodley, the handlers hail from Mpumalanga, Gauteng and North West provinces.

The team was deployed to the city of Antakya, located in the province of Hatay.

“The earthquake and disaster was of such a magnitude that a whole city was destroyed. It was more like an apocalypse that hit the city.

“It was our first experience of such a nature and due to the calibre of handlers we have, it’s an experience they will never forget. However, they [handlers] are mentally strong and have appreciated life more now and also the fact that we don’t experience such disasters in our country,” she told SAnews, relating the February disaster.

The SAPS K9 search and rescue dogs are trained and used to search for missing persons and for recovering dead bodies. They also detect human scent and remains and are able to find victims of floods and collapsed buildings.

Asked about what training was put in place prior to their departure, Moodley explained that the K9 search and rescue handlers and dogs are trained for such purposes and assessed, moderated and certified annually.

“[The] only planning is the medical check-up by a veterinarian for the dogs and relevant medication should the need arise.”

Success

Among the successes achieved by the team was the recovery of an 80-year-old woman who was found alive in a collapsed building.

The team’s efforts were rewarded with a medal of supreme sacrifice bestowed by Turkish President Recept Tayyip Erdogan. The mother of three flew back to Türkiye to receive the medal on behalf of the SAPS in April.

“I was totally honoured [to] represent my country, especially the South African Police Service and personally being bestowed by the President of the country with a medal of supreme sacrifice. It was an incredible experience,” she gushes.

The team also received praise from National Police Commissioner, General Fannie Masemola, who described the team as the epitome of pockets of excellence that exist in the organisation. He said the team had displayed commitment and dedication to the cause of serving.

Moodley joined the SAPS in April 1991. After joining the SAPS, Moodley applied to join the K9 unit in Durban. Having met the necessary criteria, Moodley became the first woman of colour to be placed at a K9 unit in the country the following year.

She was trained as a patrol and explosive K9 handler and served as an operational member until she was promoted in 2000 as the provincial coordinator for K9 and Mounted Units in KwaZulu-Natal.

“I further applied for a K9 unit commander post at East London K9 Unit and was successful and promoted to superintendent, [which is] now [known as] lieutenant colonel in 2005.

“In 2015, I was promoted to the Provincial Commander Police Emergency Services in the Eastern Cape which has a larger portfolio of K9 and mounted, diving and search and rescue, hostage negotiations, disaster management, 10111 call centres and Flying Squad.”

The woman who has a passion for working with animals, was promoted to the rank of Brigadier in February 2023 after applying in October 2022. She has served the SAPS for a total of 32 years and is also the first Indian female Brigadier appointed in the Eastern Cape.

“Search and rescue is close to my heart… as their duties requires [one] to be mentally strong due to the horrific things they experience and see,” adding that the handlers are all doing well following the mission.

Following the team’s heroic work, a dinner in honour of the team and the Gift of the Givers was held at the Turkish ambassador’s residence in Pretoria earlier this month.

Asked about the lessons learnt from the experience, Moodley said: “Appreciate life more and the simple things. Life is short and a disaster can take away everything in a second.” – SAnews.gov.za

Source: South African Government News Agency

SARS urges employers to adhere to the deadline of 31 May 2023

The South African Revenue Service (SARS) has urged all employers to comply with their legal obligations regarding the annual Employers Filing Season by the deadline of 31 May to avoid penalties, interest or criminal charges.

“Employers are required to submit their Employer Annual Reconciliation Declarations (EMP501) to SARS, as well as outstanding monthly declarations (EMP201) and previous years’ annual reconciliations (EMP501).

Pay-As-You-Earn (PAYE) payments must be up to date and the IRP5/IT3(a) data provided to SARS must be verified and accurate,” SARS said in a statement on Monday.

SARS said that the correct data is important so that they may pre-populate income tax returns and auto-assess the identified taxpayers correctly.

The revenue services emphasised that the correct data is also important where taxpayers have to file a return, to enable them to do so with the correct information during the filing season for individuals, which starts in July 2023.

SARS has further requested employees to check if their details on the IRP5/IT3(a) are correct.

Third party data suppliers such as medical aid schemes and banks are also required to submit verified and accurate information to SARS and to their clients.

“These are important requirements that enable SARS to offer a streamlined and seamless service to taxpayers in line with our objective to make it easy and simple for taxpayers to comply with their obligations.

“Employers, tax practitioners and payroll administrators need to download the latest version of Employers e@syFile. This online channel allows employers to submit their EMP501 electronically. SARS also encourages small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs) to use this platform and move from manual to automated payroll systems,” SARS said. – SAnews.gov.za

Source: South African Government News Agency

Eskom wage negotiations to resume in June

State power utility, Eskom, says it expects to resume wage increase negotiations with trade unions in June.

This after the power utility and unions, the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) and Solidarity, concluded three rounds of negotiations without reaching agreement.

“As a custom, the negotiations take place over three sessions of three days each. However, this year, all parties agreed to hold a fourth round of negotiations on 13 and 14 June 2023, with the view that there are prospects of reaching a settlement at the Central Bargaining Forum (CBF).

“Eskom is hopeful that it and the labour unions will find each other for the benefit of the company and in the best interest of the country,” Eskom said.

The power utility said negotiations have “progressed relatively well, with some significant movements made” since the beginning of talks in April.

“NUM and NUMSA opened the negotiations with a request for a 15% salary increment, while Solidarity requested 10.1%. Eskom responded with a 3.75% offer, which was later increased to 4.5%. The first and second rounds took place on 19 to 21 April and on 8 to 10 May 2023.

“During this round of negotiations, which began on 23 May 2023, NUM and NUMSA revised their demands to 11% and 12% respectively, whilst Solidarity revised its demand to 9.5%. On Wednesday, 24 May 2023, Eskom revised its offer and made a final offer of 5.25%.

“Eskom’s final offer was rejected by all trade unions. However, all parties reached a settlement on the amendment of the Grievance and Disciplinary Procedures,” Eskom said.

Meanwhile, Eskom will implement Stage 6 load shedding from 4pm until 5am on Tuesday morning.

Following that, Stage 4 load shedding will be implemented until 4pm with the pattern repeating until further notice.

The power utility had announced that it will implement Stage 5 load shedding during evenings but had to ramp up the stage due to “delays in returning ten generating units to service”. – SAnews.gov.za

Source: South African Government News Agency