South Africa

CABINET MEETS

Ministers issue plea as Covid cases soar, slam ‘senseless killing’ of Hillary Gardee

Hillary Gardee. (Facebook)

Wednesday’s meeting resulted in a call to get jabbed and a stern reminder about the fight against gender-based violence.

Minister in the Presidency Mondli Gungubele said on Thursday Cabinet had implored people to take precautionary measures to protect themselves against Covid-19, amid a rapid rise in infections. 

He was briefing the media on the outcomes of the Cabinet meeting on Wednesday.

Noting the increase in infections, Cabinet had called on “those who have not yet been vaccinated to do so to protect themselves and their loved ones”. 

The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) recorded 10,017 new Covid-19 infections in South Africa on Wednesday. The increase represents a 25.3% positivity rate, it said. 

“Cabinet noted with concern the recent spike in Covid-19 infections in some parts of the country, and urged all people to take precautionary measures to protect themselves against the deadly virus, especially during winter,” said Gungubele. 

Read in the Daily Maverick: “More than 10,000 new cases registered in South Africa on Wednesday

“The virus is still a constant threat and vaccination remains the most effective weapon to protect ourselves,” he added.

“We should also all continue to adhere to all Covid-19 prevention protocols, including the wearing of a mask that covers both the nose and mouth, washing hands with water and soap, or using a 70% alcohol-based hand sanitiser, and keeping a safe social distance of at least 1m.”

Read in the Daily Maverick: “A guide to South Africa’s latest Covid-19 health regulations

Despite the increase in infections, Gungubele said Cabinet was “pleased” after recent statistics indicated South Africa had reached the milestone of more than 50% of adults vaccinated in five provinces. 

Crime

Cabinet had condemned the “senseless killing of women and has welcomed the swift response by law-enforcement officers in arresting suspects” in connection with the murder of Hillary Gardee in Mbombela, Mpumalanga. 

Gardee – the daughter of former EFF secretary-general Godrich Gardee – was abducted from the Nelspruit Plaza Spar last month, and was found dead on Tuesday, 3 May at the edge of a plantation near the R532 road connecting Mbombela and Sabie.

Three men appeared in the Nelspruit Magistrates’ Court on 9 May in connection with Gardee’s kidnapping and murder.

Gungubele said Cabinet further condemned the killing of six men in Khayelitsha, Cape Town on 8 May: “These senseless murders are a reminder that we must do more as a society to end violence and gender-based violence and femicide.” 

Social Relief of Distress grant

Cabinet encouraged people receiving the monthly R350 Social Relief of Distress (SRD) grant to reapply, following the introduction of new regulations governing applications and eligibility for the grant, according to Gungubele. 

In terms of the new regulations under the Social Assistance Act, those needing assistance must apply for the grant, or reapply if they were previously beneficiaries of it. The new regulations exclude those earning R350 or more a month. This amount had been lowered from R625.

Read in Daily Maverick: “Seven million already signed up for R350 grant, budget caters for 10.5 million applicants only

The online application system opened on 23 April and applications can be lodged on the South African Social Security Agency website

“The relief grant is an important safety net for needy families who would otherwise be devastated by the scourge of poverty and unemployment. Government is committed to providing social assistance to the most vulnerable so that they can meet their basic needs,” Gungubele added. DM

 

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