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J&J vaccine safe: MEC

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Staff Reporter

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine currently being used in South Africa against COVID-19 is very safe as it underwent rigorous tests before being approved for use in the country, Free State Health MEC Montseng Tsiu said.

“For vaccines to be used in South Africa, they go through a rigorous process and have to be registered by SAHPRA (South African Health Products Regulatory Authority) to prove that they are safe,” she told journalists during the official launch of the COVID-19 vaccination programme for Department of Correctional Services (DCS) officials and inmates for the central region at the Grootvlei Correctional Centre in Bloemfontein on Wednesday.

The MEC, who also got the single-dose J&J vaccine a few months ago said she has not experienced any complications and encouraged people to get vaccinated.

There have been concerns from some people on the efficacy of the J&J vaccine against the Delta variant currently dominant in the country.

People have also questioned the vaccine’s safety after several batches were destroyed in South Africa following an instruction from the US manufacturer due to fears of possible contamination.

“The contaminated vaccines were destroyed. You remember there was a time when we suspended our roll-out programme in the country. We were checking for even the slightest fault. The vaccines we are using now are very safe,” Tsiu explained.

The offenders are receiving the J&J vaccine while DCS officials are getting the two-dose Pfizer vaccine.

“We aim to vaccinate 90 percent of the offenders and 67 percent of the staff to achieve herd immunity,” she said.

“The J&J is more ideal for the inmates because it is a single-dose vaccine and therefore easy to administer as there is no need for follow-ups because some of them may be released and move to another place.”

There are 13 720 inmates at correctional facilities in the province as well as 4 068 officials.

DCS Regional Commissioner Subashini Moodley said the Free State and the Northern Cape have the second lowest number among inmates in the country.

She said at least 2 318 inmates were released when the pandemic hit the country last year in order to ease congestion in prisons.

“We don’t have a problem of overcrowding in the Free State and Northern Cape,” said Moodley.

“We work very closely with the courts . . . We are not overcrowded and we are able to manage and contain the virus . . . We are vaccinating both sentenced and remand detainees.”

The central region has a cumulative total of 1 349 COVID-19 cases and 1 247 recoveries.

There have been 26 deaths and there are currently 76 active cases.

The Free State alone accounts for 970 cumulative cases with 898 recoveries.

A total of 16 officials have succumbed to the disease and there are 56 active cases.

Four inmates in the province have died following complications from the disease.

One inmate, Kamogelo Kambule, said the outbreak of the disease made life behind bars very difficult and he was glad inmates had been prioritised for vaccination.

“Following the outbreak of the coronavirus, it was very difficult for us as offenders. We are in one place . . . we do not have much movement. So, we had to follow the protocols.

“We had presentations on screening for COVID-19 and what to do if you suspect you are infected with the coronavirus. It was tough but we had to adjust to the situation,” said Kambule.

Another inmate, Lebohang Michell, said he was excited to get the jab and is in good health.

“I was anxious before getting the vaccine. I couldn’t sleep but after getting it, I feel very good,” said an excited Michell.

FIGHTING THE PANDEMIC . . . An inmate at Grootvlei Correctional Centre receives the J&J vaccine

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Two Free State women allegedly killed by ‘druggie’ sons

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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

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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

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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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