Let’s wrap up some of the top stories happening in South Africa this week.
SARB HIKES REPO RATE
The SA Reserve Bank’s monetary policy committee hiked interest rates by 50 basis points putting repo rate at 8.25%.
THE CHOLERA DEATH TOLL IN HAMMANSKRAAL GOES UP TO 20
The country waits with bated breath to find out what caused the cholera outbreak in Hammanskraal, Pretoria.
This was after 20 people were confirmed dead after being infected with the disease.
The Gauteng Department of Health says there are 165 patients at Jubilee District Hospital receiving treatment and that 18 have been transferred to other facilities in Tshwane.
For over a decade now, residents of Hammanskraal have had water issues, which have resulted in the government providing them with water tankers.
While investigations are underway, experts have warned that it will be difficult to find the exact source of the contamination.
SOME GOOD NEWS, INFLATION RATE DECREASES TO 6.8 PERCENT
Some good news for a change: Statistics South Africa has released the latest inflation numbers for South Africa.
These show that annual consumer inflation slowed to 6.8% in April from 7.1% in March.
Stats SA says this is the lowest reading since May 2022, when the rate was 6.5%.
It says the decrease in inflation is due to the price of petrol going down.
NEW LAW PERMITS SOUTH AFRICAN POLICE TO EMPLOY CELLPHONE SPYING TOOLS AND TRACKING DEVICES
South African police can now use surveillance devices that were previously illegal, thanks to a recent exemption granted by Justice Minister Ronald Lamola.
The exemption, which lasts for five years, allows the police to purchase and utilize signal interception tools to gather information about any mobile device within a specific location.
This approval was previously denied by past Justice ministers.
BAIL JUDGEMENT TO BE DELIVERED NEXT WEEK MONDAY FOR THE FIVE ACCUSED IN THE THABO BESTER ESCAPE CASE
The five people accused of aiding rapist and murderer Thabo Bester escape from prison are set to hear their fate next Monday, May 29, 2023.
This came after their lawyers wrapped up closing arguments on Wednesday at the Bloemfontein Magistrates Court, calling for their clients to be released on bail.
In May last year, Bester faked his own death to escape from the Mangaung Correctional Centre.
The five allegedly assisted Bester’s partner, Dr. Nandipha Magudumana, to help him escape from prison.
DAVID MAKHURA TESTIFIES IN LIFE ESIDIMENI INQUEST
Former Gauteng Premier David Makhura continues to provide testimony in the ongoing Life Esidimeni Inquest, which investigates the tragic deaths of over 140 mental health patients. Makhura appeared before the Gauteng High Court in Pretoria on Wednesday to offer his account regarding the deaths of 144 patients in question.
During his testimony, Makhura addressed allegations that the premier’s budget committee (PBC) instructed the health department to reduce expenses within the financially strained portfolio. As a result of these cost-cutting measures, patients were relocated to inadequate facilities, leading to numerous deaths caused by starvation and exposure to extreme cold temperatures.
GAUTENG AND MPUMALANGA TO FACE WATER DISRUPTIONS FROM FRIDAY TO MONDAY
Rand Water says it will be cutting off water in some areas in Gauteng and Mpumalanga for 59 hours.
The utility says these municipalities include the City of Ekurhuleni, Lesedi Local Municipality in Gauteng, Govan Mbeki, Victor Khanye municipalities in Mpumalanga, and Winkelhaak Mines.
Rand Water spokesperson Makenosi Maroo says the planned maintenance is aimed at improving the provision of water to the Brakpan Reservoir.
SOUTH AFRICANS URGED TO GET VACCINATED AS FLU SEASON APPROACHES
As flu season approaches, healthcare experts urge people to get vaccinated. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the annual flu outbreak leads to three to five million severe illness cases and up to 650,000 respiratory deaths worldwide. These numbers highlight the seriousness and impact of the flu virus on public health.
Dr. Ayanda Mbuli, General Manager of Health Policy and Clinical Advisory at the AfroCentric Group, explains that getting the yearly flu vaccine is crucial for protecting vulnerable groups such as infants, the elderly, and individuals with pre-existing conditions or weakened immune systems.
She also clarifies that it takes about two to three weeks for the vaccine to become effective and provide immunization. Some people may mistakenly believe that the vaccine made them sick, but that’s not the case as the vaccine is inactive and doesn’t cause illness. It’s important to get vaccinated before the winter season begins to ensure optimal protection.