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COVID-19 vaccine expected to bring stability to social work



Staff Reporter

The number of social workers and other staff in the Free State Department of Social Development coming down with COVID-19 could be drastically reduced in the near future as they have started receiving the vaccine for the deadly disease.

Social Development MEC Mamiki Qabathe said this in an interview with The Free Stater during the launch of the vaccination programme in Bloemfontein on Monday.

She said her department should start enjoying significant stability as those who may contract the coronavirus are expected to recover faster and spend more time at work.

“So, now that they are getting vaccinated and will not suffer severely even if they catch the virus, it brings stability to the workplace,” said Qabathe.

Since the outbreak of the disease in March last year, the provincial department has recorded 366 cases with at least eight fatalities.

The South Africa Social Security Agency (SASSA), which also falls under the department, recorded a further five deaths due to complications from COVID-19.

According to the MEC, most of those who contracted the virus often interacted with outsiders.

“Many of them are our social workers, child and youth care workers and security officers, which means it’s people who are working with others,” she said.

“. . . if you look at the numbers, we have a small workforce, but for us to have 366 people infected by the virus, it’s a lot.

“It means at each and every interval when a staff member gets infected, it affects the flow of work.

“The vaccines should help reduce the number of times the offices are closed.”

The vaccination programme will run over a period of five days and it will target frontline workers in the department, including: all social service professionals; all early childhood development practitioners; community development practitioners; SASSA employees; National Development Agency staff; as well as child and youth care workers.

A total of 23 vaccination sites across the province have been identified for this.

At least 250 staff were expected to be vaccinated at the launch.

The overall target is just over 15 270, including other stakeholders.

Health MEC Montseng Tsiu said during an earlier media briefing at the launch that the Free State has to date vaccinated over 262 000 people.

The province should vaccinate at least 1.9 million people to achieve herd immunity.

She urged those aged 35 years and above to register and get vaccinated.

“The infections in the province have now stabilised but the number is still high. We should do more,” said Tsiu.

“The province is also battling the highly infectious Delta variant just like other parts of the country.

“It might not be at a large scale but the variant is here and people should exercise caution and implement the non-pharmaceutical measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus.”

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Two Free State women allegedly killed by ‘druggie’ sons



SHOCKING MURDER . . . A 65-year-old woman was allegedly stabbed with a sharp object by her 28-year-old son after she failed to give him money to buy drugs

Two women from Mangaung have allegedly been attacked and killed in two separate incidents by their own sons believed to be using drugs.

In the latest incident which happened in Kagisanong along Masike Street at the weekend, a 65-year-old woman was allegedly stabbed with a sharp object by her 28-year-old son after she failed to give him money to buy drugs.

Police spokesperson for Mangaung Metro Lieutenant Colonel Thabo Covane said in the woman died on the scene from the stab wounds.

“The victim had visible multiple stab wounds on the head and body,” he said, adding the matter was reported by the brother to the deceased, who was also attacked by the suspect who is now in police custody.

Covane said the complainant informed the police that the suspect is believed to be using drugs and had asked his now deceased mother for money to buy drugs but she told him that she didn’t have money.

“The suspect got angry, went out of the house, came back with a piece of iron and stabbed the deceased with it several times,” he explained.

“When he was done, he turned to the complainant and also stabbed him on the chest.”

Covane said the uncle survived the attack but the daring suspect locked them inside the house and had to wait until Friday morning to get help.

The suspect was later traced and arrested by the police.
He is expected to appear in the Bloemfontein Magistrates Court this Monday facing charges of murder and attempted murder.

In a similar case, a 42-year-old man will be applying for bail at the Botshabelo Magistrates Court on the same day after allegedly strangling to death his 71-year-old mother last Sunday, August 7, 2022 in the E-Section, Botshabelo.

The suspect is also said to history of substance abuse.

Free State acting provincial police commissioner, Major General Modise, condemned the killing of the two elderly women. – Staff Reporter

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Magashule loses ConCourt bid to reverse ANC suspension



APPLICATION DISMISSED . . . The Constitutional Court says Ace Magashule has no prospects of successfully appealing his suspension as ANC secretary-general

Former Free State premier Ace Magashule has lost his latest court bid to have his suspension as ANC secretary-general lifted.

He had approached the Constitutional Court seeking to have his temporary ousting from Luthuli House reversed.

In a judgment handed down on Wednesday, the apex court said Magashule had no prospects of successfully appealing his suspension.

“The Constitutional Court has considered the application for condonation and the application for leave to appeal. It has concluded that, although there are no reasonable prospects of success on the merits of the application for leave to appeal, the delay in bringing the application for leave to appeal is minimal,” the court said.

Magashule first approached the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg to challenge his suspension, but the matter was dismissed with costs.

He subsequently approached the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA), which dismissed the application in January 2022, prompting him to take up his case with the Constitutional Court.

Magashule was suspended from the ANC in May 2021 because of the party’s step-aside rule.

The rule requires ANC members facing criminal charges to step aside while their court cases are under way.

Magashule is facing corruption charges linked to the Free State asbestos corruption scandal. – Staff Reporter

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Municipal manager facing tender fraud charges granted bail



THE ACCUSED . . . Maluti-a-Phofung municipal manager Futhuli Patrick Mothamaha is out on bail

Maluti-a-Phofung municipal manager Futhuli Patrick Mothamaha, 49, was on Friday released on a bail of R500 000 by the Phuthaditjhaba Magistrates Court after he was arrested by The Hawks for fraud, corruption and Contravention of the Municipal Finance Management Act.

The state alleges that he allegedly awarded a contract of R58 million to Kill Crime Security Company in 2020 without following proper procurement processes.

National Prosecuting Authority regional spokesperson Phaladi Shuping said Mothamaha allegedly signed a service level agreement on May 19, 2020, appointing the company to render security services to the municipality for a period of three months without following procurement processes.

“The municipality continued to pay Kill Crime Security Company for almost two years without a contract,” said Shuping.

He said Mothamaha was supposed to appear with his co-accused, father and daughter who are the owners of Kill Crime Security, Thabiso, 55, and Dimakatso Sekhosana, 29, on Monday after they were instructed by The Hawks to hand themselves over on Sunday, but he failed to do so.

The Sekhosanas appeared on Monday facing similar charges and were released on bail of R150 000 each.

Part of Mothamaha’s bail conditions are that he must not enter the offices of the municipality, not interfere with the investigations nor intimidate witnesses.

The case was postponed to September 30 for further investigations. – Staff Reporter

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