News in South Africa 6th October:

1. Uniting to vaccinate everyone:

South Africa’s first ‘Vooma Vaccination’ weekend set an ambitious target of vaccinating 500,000 people, and while it only achieved around 350,000 jabs, it represented a significant increase for weekend figures and included an encouraging number of first jabs, says Martin Kingston, chair of Business for South Africa’s steering committee.

Uniting to vaccinate everyone
Image taken by: Karolina Grabowska

However, Kingston said that businesses will need to take further steps in the coming months to meet its lofty goal of vaccinating 70% of the adult population by December.

“In the coming weeks and months, every business, in concert with unions and other stakeholders, will need to continue working on getting people the information they need to vaccinate and lower any remaining barriers to vaccination.

“These include time off to vaccinate and offering support with travel challenges. In addition to communication and mobilisation, additional mechanisms that South Africa will need to consider will include mandatory vaccination where appropriate and even incentives for vaccination.”

Kingston said that there is a clear need for all of society to partner at a local, regional and national level to reach unvaccinated people wherever they are. He said that the strides made and lessons learnt this weekend would make similar drives even more successful in the future.

“What is clear is that it’s going to take ordinary people – all of us, in our capacity as family members, friends, colleagues and broader community members – to play an active role in informing and convincing the unvaccinated to go and get their jabs.”

2. Vaccination certification not complete:

The department of health says its digital vaccination certificates system for Covid-19 is still being tested, despite it quietly launching its site earlier today.

To the surprise of many, the department without making any announcement seemingly opened the digital vaccination certificates system on its website on Tuesday.

These certificates are seen as as way to relax Covid-19 lockdown restrictions and to establish proof of vaccination.

In a statement, the department’s spokesperson, Foster Mohale says it was not meant to go live.

“The department is currently at the testing phase of the system to troubleshoot all possible glitches ahead of the official launch later this week.”

He adds: “Thus, the system is not yet officially functional in a live environment which will enable vaccinated individuals to access and download certificates.”

Mohale says the department was taking care to build in security into the system to protect individuals` personal data as much as possible.

The launch of the digital vaccination certificate was expected to be announced later this week but it appears that will opened up in a staggered approach.

“The development and release of fully-fledged Covid-19 vaccination certificates will be phased-in over time.”

It’s not yet know whether this new digital vaccine certificate will be approved by the UK if – or when – South Africa is removed from the red list.

3. Over 2.5m backlog of subsidised housing:

Human Settlements Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi said that the country’s subsidised housing backlog could be much higher than the estimated 2.5 million houses, explaining that the data used was not reliable.

In an interview with Eyewitness News, the minister detailed how the database for the housing programme, also commonly referred to as RDP houses, was flawed to a degree where they could not tell who had exited the programme or not been allocated homes.

Minister Kubayi said that the greatest issue with the rollout of the RDP housing subsidy was that the data at the department’s disposal was not reliable.

She said that people who were allocated housing in unfinished projects were not categorised as such on their system, with the assumption being that the houses had been delivered.

“So you have projects which are outstanding, say maybe from 2010, beneficiaries which are linked to the projects and the main part is to be able to unlock that,” the minister said.

South Africans over the age of 18 who earn less than R3,500 a month qualify for the subsidy, which affords beneficiaries to acquire a house that is built and provided by the government.

Kubayi said that another challenge was that even people who fell off the qualifying list for a variety of reasons were never removed.

“Those who have registered as beneficiaries and who have moved out of that bracket because they have found a job, the system should be able to link with Home Affairs or link to other databases, the system should be able to remove them for our needs.”

She said that the data had to be cleaned to reflect reality, adding that even MECs in the different provinces had requested that she reopened the system so that those who were allocated to unfinished projects could reapply.

4. Manufacturing lower than 2005 figures:

We need an honest discussion about South Africa’s economic policy and the disaster that is taking place in much of our manufacturing industry.

Manufacturing production levels over the three months to July were lower than at the start of 2005.

After 16 years of the Industrial Policy Action Plan (Ipap) and as many versions, South African manufacturing has gone nowhere. In the second quarter the result was that fewer people were employed in the formal manufacturing industry than in 1969.

Some would say that SA is just feeling the impact of China and we must get used to it.

But many other economies have more people employed in manufacturing than two decades ago, many of which are African.

We cannot ‘get used to it’.

I think we are feeling the impact of high costs of power, labour, water, and regulations such as black economic empowerment (BEE).

We are also impacted by people who should not intervene in the economy but do so due to the power given to them at so many levels, from municipal to national government level.

Officialdom and incompetence have resulted in trains that do not bring workers close to the factories in Wadeville, and in water not flowing in Standerton. Corruption has resulted in higher power prices and inconsistent supply, while the thieves are rich and free.

Moreover, the fast-growing manufacturing countries no longer just include China.

Outside of China, Ireland, Nigeria and Georgia are the top three fastest-growing manufacturing countries in the 10 years to mid-2021.

5. City Power – Eskom takeover challenges:

The City of Johannesburg’s plan to take over distribution from Eskom faces two multibillion-rand hurdles to jump if it is to take over the electricity distribution network from Eskom: it will have to pay the power utility R7.5bn to cover outstanding consumer debt and R4bn to take ownership of distribution infrastructure.

Newly installed executive mayor Mpho Moerane said in his inaugural remarks that the city planned to take over distribution from Eskom, which has run into deep conflict with township communities due to unpaid bills and illegal connections.

Electricity supply has turned into a critical election issue in Gauteng, where communities have borne the brunt of ‘load reduction’ by Eskom.

All information sourced from articles posted by: BusinessTech, Business Insider, EWN, Moneyweb, and Business Day.

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