South Africa: Today’s latest news and headlines, Wednesday 17 June

Stay informed and up to date with the latest news in South Africa by checking out the day’s major headlines on Wednesday 17 June.

As South Africa prepares to learn more about the much-anticipated ‘Advanced Level 3’ lockdown, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize has warned of a staggering rise in coronavirus infections in the days and weeks to come. In Gauteng, Eskom struggles to ease strain placed on an embattled power grid.

TODAY’S LATEST NEWS IN SOUTH AFRICA, Wednesday 17 JUNE

Hairdressers, beauticians and tattooers await word from government

A number of industries which have been stifled by continued lockdown restrictions are hoping for good news from government today. Following an outcry from various sectors which had been excluded from regulatory reprieves afforded to most trades under Level 3 lockdown, Minister of Small Business and Development, Khumbudzo Ntshavheni, revealed that government and ‘advanced’ strategy was being devised in consultation with the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC).

Earlier this week, Ntshavheni confirmed that engagements with numerous stakeholders had proved fruitful and that final touches were being added to a framework which would be published later today. This ‘Advanced Level 3’ – which has been described as a midway point to Level 2 lockdown – is expected to provide the following industries with long-awaited regulatory reprieves:

  • Restaurants, cafes and eateries
  • Hairdressers, salons and beauty centres
  • Tattoo studios

Mkhize on sacrifices and the approaching peak

Health Minister Mkhize has warned of a rapidly rising coronavirus infection rate which, in the coming weeks, will lead to more hospitalisations and deaths. Speaking to the reopening of the economy — and the inherent dangers to health that coincide with relaxed regulations – Mkhize said that social behavioural changes remained the only tangible solution to limiting the coronavirus’ propensity for death and destruction in South Africa.

In this way, Mkhize launched the Multi-sectoral Ministerial Advisory Committee (MAC) on Social Behavioural Change which would work closely with government and the private sector to ensure greater adherence to better hygiene standards. Mkhize explained:

“It is not about whether there is a curfew or there is a policeman watching your movements. This is now about every South African taking the fight on.”

Eskom implements ‘load reduction’ strategy in Gauteng

The national power utility is dealing with severe supply and demand issues in Gauteng. On Tuesday, Eskom revealed that several densely-populated areas in the province would be subjected to ‘load reduction’ schedules which would effectively lighten the load on Gauteng’s power grid.

Eskom blamed the disruptions on ‘extreme network overloading and illegal connections’. In addition to dispatching technicians to various embattled regions, the power utility urged residents to immediately reduce their electricy usage. The following areas have been impacted by overloading and network faults:

  • Cosmo City
  • Diepsloot
  • Ivory Park
  • Orange Farm
  • Sebokeng
  • Soweto
  • Marlboro
  • Katlehong
  • Natalspruit
  • Vosloorus

Government intensifies water delivery services

Since the establishment of the National Command Centre at Rand Water, an agency of the Department of Water and Sanitation, almost 19 000 water storage tanks and 1299 water delivery tankers have been delivered.

This is according to the progress reports on water provision across the country and in schools as well as human settlements interventions as a response to COVID-19.

“This translates to almost 90% delivery since the project started over the past few weeks,” the Ministry of Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation said on Monday.

The Ministry has also been given the task of ensuring that 2 634 schools have access to water by the end of the month.

As of last week, more than1500 tanks have been delivered to the affected provinces with over 600 water tanks already installed.

“While we have made some strides over the past few weeks, there is still much more that needs to be done. The Departments of Water and Sanitation and Basic Education as well as Rand Water which is the implementing agent are fully committed to putting all measures in place to ensure safety of all learners is not compromised,” the Minister said.

The Minister noted challenges of the tanks which have not been filled regularly.

“We are in discussion with our local municipalities to ensure these incidents are attended to,” she said. (Source: SAnews)

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