A lot can change overnight, or over the course of one weekend, but weâ€™ll keep you in the know with the latest news stories and headlines in South Africa on Monday 29 November.
The family meeting was not as bad as we anticipated. President Cyril Ramaphosa chose a more measured response to the Omicron outbreak. New restrictions are few and far between as it stands, but make no mistake, things are definitely changing in the days and weeks ahead â€“ and the president is looking to clampdown on â€˜anti-vaccineâ€™ sentiment.
This decision will be reviewed after one week, when further changes may be announced.
TODAYâ€™S LATEST NEWS IN SOUTH AFRICA, Monday 29 November
Ramaphosa has spoken: Hereâ€™s the new lockdown guidance for SA
Cyril Ramaphosa returned to give us a family meeting that came with an ultimatum. With over 60% of South Africans still not fully vaccinated, the president made it clear that more citizens need to get their jabs â€“ warning of catastrophic consequences if immunisation rates remain lowÂ while the Omicron variant is spreading.
There wasnâ€™t much in the way of change this evening. It was more of a stern talking-to, rather than a seismic family meeting. In terms of new restrictions, there was actually very little to write home about. But Ramaphosa did make it clear there was only one way out of this Omicron-fuelled mess.
He threw the gauntlet down to the vaccine-hesitant, the skeptics, and those who are simply unable to get off the fence. South Africa is going to miss its target of having 70% of the population fully vaccinated by the end of 2021, even if rates pick up between now and New Yearâ€™s Eve. South Africa does have a vaccine problem, but itâ€™s demand â€“ not supply.
Will vaccines become MANDATORY in SA? Cyril hints at big policy change
Not enough people in South Africa have had their COVID-19 jabs, and this needs to change if we are to keep the Omicron variant at bay. Thatâ€™s the message delivered by President Ramaphosa on Sunday, following his address to the nation. However,Â Cyril also raised eyebrows when he turned his attention to mandatory vaccines.
Previously, the idea of vaccine passports and mandates for certain jobs, locations, and events had failed to get out of the â€˜proposal stageâ€™. But, within the last few days, it has become a serious tool in Ramaphosaâ€™s armoury.
Itâ€™s hoped that South Africa can replace lockdowns with vaccines, emulating a UK-style exit from restrictions. However, that isnâ€™t going to happen while over 60% of adults are still not fully vaccinated. Going back to the extremes of Level 4 or Level 5 restrictions is simply unthinkable for South Africa, even if Omicron replicates Deltaâ€™s deadly wave.
COVID-19 latest: SA reports 2 858 new confirmed cases, six more deaths
South Africa recorded 2 858 new cases of COVID-19 in the last 24 hours,Â the National Institute for Communicable DiseasesÂ (NICD) has said on Sunday.Â
This brings the total number of laboratory-confirmed cases to 2 961 406.Â The increase of 2 858 new COVID-19 cases represents a 9.8 % positivity rate.Â A further six COVID-19 related deaths have been reported, bringing total fatalities to 89 797 to date.
â€œThe cumulative number of recoveries is 2 847 771.â€
The majority of new cases is in Gauteng: 2 308, followed by the Western Cape with 148 new cases and KwaZulu-Natal with 102 new cases, North West with 91, and Mpumalanga with 89 new cases provinces.Â
Oscar Pistorius LATEST: Has he been moved to another prison?
There is still no confirmation of reports thatÂ disgraced paralympian Oscar PistoriusÂ having apparently been moved from the Kgosi Mampuru Correctional Facility in Pretoria, where he had been since being incarcerated. According to theÂ HeraldLive, Pistorius has been transferred to a prison in Gqeberha (formerly Port Elizabeth) in the Eastern Cape.
Pistorius shot his then-girlfriend, model Reeva Steenkamp several times while she was in the bathroom behind a locked door at his Pretoria home on the night of Valentineâ€™s Day in 2013. He maintains that he thought he was shooting at an intruder who had climbed in through the bathroom window.
Pistorius was first convicted of culpable homicide in 2014. He initially received a five-year prison sentence as a result. The matter was then taken to the Supreme Court of Appeal. The court then overturned the High Courtâ€™s verdict and convicted him of murder.
Omicron variant: Here are the â€˜early symptomsâ€™ to look out for
With COVID-19 cases on the march in South Africa,Â those who get infected in the next few weeks will be wondering if theyâ€™ve been hit by the Delta or Omicron variant. The new kid on the block is allegedly driving a fresh wave of the virus, particularly in Gauteng â€“ but what symptoms does this new strain present?
Dr. Angelique Coetzee is the chair of the SA Medical Association. According to her, the early signs arenâ€™t that bad: A collective of younger to middle-aged patients, all confirmed to have the Omicron variant, have reported mild symptoms so far. What is more, a loss of taste or smell DOES NOT seem to be associated with the new strain so far.
Coetzee, propelled into the international spotlight this week, is urging calm across the planet, as more cases of the new variant appear in Europe, Australia, and parts of Asia.
Two kidnapped men in JHB rescued in Heidelberg, one kidnapper arrested
Police spokespersonÂ Colonel Athlenda MatheÂ said Jahyr Abdula and his friend were kidnapped on 15 October 2021.
â€œThe pair had just entered Johannesburg from Mozambique in a three-vehicle motorcade when they were pulled over by their captors who were driving a blue BMW sedan fitted with blue lights and sirens. The pair were taken from their motorcade and held captive,â€ Mathe said.
Mathe said the friend was rescued by various officials from law enforcement agencies and private security companies on the same day.
â€œDuring this operation, one suspect was apprehended and is still in police custody,â€ she said.
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