Daily news update: New Covid variant in SA, State of Disaster extended and Sanral’s R7bn ‘Brics bank’ loan

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Health Minister Dr Joe Phaahla on Thursday confirmed the emergence of a new Covid-19 variant, which has been detected in three countries, including South Africa.

Twenty-two cases of the new SARS-CoV-2 virus variant have been identified in South Africa, according to the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD).

During a media briefing on Thursday, Phaahla said the new variant, known as the B.1.1.529, has been driving the surge in Covid-19 cases across the country, especially in Gauteng.

“Members of the public may have noticed Covid-19 cases have been rising [in the past week or so]. The cases started gradually, but over the last four or five days there has been more of an exponential rise, particularly in Gauteng,” he said.

Health Minister Dr Joe Phaahla. Picture: Gallo Images/Volksblad/Mlungisi Louw

Health Minister Joe Phaahla says Cabinet and the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC) will meet this weekend, following the discovery of a new Covid-19 variant in South Africa.

The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) confirmed on Thursday that 22 positive cases of a new SARS-CoV-2 virus variant has been detected in the country, as well as in Botswana and Hong Kong.

Shortly after the announcement, Phaahla revealed during a media briefing that the new variant, known as the B.1.1.529, identified has been driving the surge in Covid-19 cases across the country, especially in Gauteng.

Cabinet meeting
Minister in The Presidency, Mondli Gungubele, briefs media on the outcomes of the Cabinet meeting held on 3 November 2021. Picture: GCIS

Cabinet has approved the extension of the national State of Disaster by one month, in terms of section 27(5) (c) of the Disaster Management Act, 2002 (57 of 2002).

This was announced by Minister in the Presidency Mondli Gungubele during a media briefing on Thursday after Cabinet met the day before.

“These measures continue to assist in the country’s fight to stop the spread of Covid-19,” the minister said.

Zim Exemption Permit holders want to be declared permanent residents
Zimbabweans say they have a legitimate expectation of being granted permanent residence once their exemption permits expire next month. Image for illustration: iStock

Minister in the Presidency, Mondli Gungubele on Thursday confirmed that Cabinet has taken a decision not to renew the Zimbabwean Special Dispensation Permits (ZSPs).

During a media briefing on the outcomes of Wednesday’s Cabinet meeting, Gungubele said Cabinet decided to no longer issue extensions with the Special Zimbabwean Exemption Permit (ZEP) set to end on 31 December this year.

“Cabinet considered the much talked about ZEP and also noted the fake news being spread on these permits. The first Zimbabwean special dispensation started in 2009 and was called the Dispensation for Zimbabwe Permit.”

EFF CIC, Julius Malema briefs media about their stance on coalitions at Winnie Mandela House in Marshalltown, Johannesburg, 16 November 2021. Picture: Neil McCartney
EFF CIC, Julius Malema briefs media about their stance on coalitions at Winnie Mandela House in Marshalltown, Johannesburg, 16 November 2021. Picture: Neil McCartney

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) has asked its mayor in Metsimaholo Local Municipality in the Free State to resign with immediate effect, EFF leader Julius Malema confirmed on Thursday.

Addressing the media in Johannesburg, Malema said they requested their mayor-elect, councillor Selloane Motjoane, to step down from the post because the ANC voted for her.

“We had a meeting this morning with the mayor of Metsimaholo and councillors. We’ve asked the mayor of Metsimaholo to resign with immediate effect because she became a mayor through the vote of the ANC.

Sanral’s R7bn ‘Brics bank’ loan stopped by National Treasury
One condition for the issuance of the loan was that it would be guaranteed by the government. Image: Moneyweb

Concerns about low e-toll collection rates on the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project (GFIP) were a major reason for National Treasury rejecting a request for a government guarantee of R7 billion to cover a loan to the South African National Roads Agency (Sanral) by the New Development Bank (NDB) of the Brics (Brazil, Russia, India, China, SA) economic bloc.

The request to National Treasury was made by Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula in October 2019.

This has emerged after Sanral chief financial officer Inge Mulder disputed allegations made by the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) in an article published by Moneyweb last Tuesday (November 16).

Source: citizen