News in South Africa 7th May:

1. Comprehensive vaccine plan:

President Cyril Ramaphosa said that nearly 3,500 vaccination sites had already been accredited and that the logistics for a comprehensive roll-out campaign were in place.

Comprehensive vaccine plan
Image taken by: Nataliya Vaitkevich

The government aims to vaccinate 67% of the population – more than 40 million adults – by the end of the year.

Ramaphosa said that South Africa has secured enough vaccines to dose 41.5 million people, but he cautioned that there could be delivery issues that were beyond the government’s control.

To date, vaccinations have been slow, with the Sisonke programme averaging 6,000 healthcare workers a day. However, in recent days the pace has picked up, with more than 10,000 vaccines being administered a day.

Ramaphosa said that the 3,357 vaccination sites so far accredited include clinics, pharmacies, general practitioners, public and private hospitals and travel clinics.

“A comprehensive logistics and supply-chain plan is in place,” he said.

There will be mobile teams as well as mass vaccination sites at conference centres and other facilities, including government departments, mines, factories and other workplaces.

Ramaphosa said that South Africa was paying US$10 a dose for the Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer vaccines it was contracted for.

2. SAB empowerment scheme:

Beer maker South African Breweries (SAB) is set to launch its second broad-based black empowerment (B-BBE) scheme, Zenzele Kabili, on the JSE’s B-BBEE segment on on 28 May.

Its first empowerment scheme, SAB Zenzele, launched in 2010. It has reached a total maturation value of R9.7 billion. When the scheme fully unwinds by the end of the month, shareholders who invested R100 will receive a total payout of R77,518 before tax.

SAB, which is owned by AB InBev the world’s largest beer maker, says the scheme allows tavern and bottle store owners, retailer customers, and employees to own shares in the company.

SAB had planned to unwind Zenzele in March last year, and launch launch Zenzele Kabili shortly after, but delays brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic prevented shareholders from meeting to vote on payouts and reinvestment options.

For existing SAB Zenzele shareholders, the company is allowing shareholders to reinvest a portion, (a minimum of 63.5%) or all of of their remaining entitlements into the Zenzele Kabili scheme when it lists on 28 May. They will get an exposure around three times the cash they put in, thanks to vendor funding and loan funding backing their purchases.

Post the 28 May listing on the JSE, any qualifying person in terms of the B-BBEE Act will be able to buy shares in SAB Zenzele Kabili.

3. Post office 1kg package law:

The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) has reiterated that South Africa’s postal laws determined that only the South African Post Office (SAPO) may deliver packages weighing 1kg and less, although this does not include food.

Its comment came in a letter denying a report that it was backing the Post Office in its fight against courier companies over the rendering of these services.

The state-owned postal service has developed a reputation for late and non-delivery of packages, which has resulted in the loss of much of its mail-carrying business to private couriers. Defending its business, the Post Office argued it has the exclusive right to carry and deliver all postal items weighing 1kg or less – and said it is capable of doing so.

To address couriers taking a bite out of its business, it lodged a complaint with ICASA over PostNet delivering these types of items. This resulted in ICASA sending PostNet a cease-and-desist order in October 2019 for violating the Postal Services Act 124 of 1998.

According to the Act, the Post Office is the country’s only licenced postal services operator which may render services defined as reserved postal services. This includes all letters, postcards, printed matter, small parcels, and other postal articles up to and including 1kg.

4. More spikes of avian flu:

The Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development warned farmers and producers to treat any increase in poultry deaths as potential avian flu – until proven otherwise.

An outbreak in avian influenza was recorded at a commercial chicken farm in Randfontein, Gauteng.

It comes after four outbreaks were detected on other commercial chicken properties.

There is a total of five HPAI H5N1 (Asian highly pathogenic avian influenza) outbreaks – four in Gauteng and one outbreak in North West.

Department spokesperson Reggie Ngcobo said in a statement: All affected farms have been quarantined, with control measures being implemented.

Western Cape agriculture MEC Ivan Meyer said, following these outbreaks, a broiler breeder farm in the Worcester area also tested positive for avian flu. “The affected farm is under quarantine, and the process of humanely culling the affected chickens is underway,” Meyer said.

The department said genetic evaluation had confirmed that the outbreak, reported in commercial layers on 13 April 2021 in Gauteng, and on commercial broiler-breeders in the North West, seem to have been caused by non-identical AI strains.

Ngcobo added that these two outbreaks were more likely to have been caused by separate introductions.

5. Outa takes Sanral to court:

The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) has taken the South African National Roads Agency (Sanral) to court over a request for access to information using the Promotion of Access to Information Act (Paia).

The original request was submitted to Sanral in July 2019, asking how much the agency’s toll road operators were collecting and how much they hand over to Sanral.

But Sanral failed to provide a formal response. Outa then filed an internal appeal against Sanral’s refusal to grant these records after which Outa approached the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria in July last year to compel the agency to disclose the records requested.

After a setback because of Covid-19, the matter was to be heard on Wednesday on an unopposed roll. But, according to a statement by Outa on Wednesday afternoon, Sanral’s lawyers indicated very late on Tuesday that they had decided to oppose the request.

The court granted an order against Sanral for wasted costs. The agency was ordered to file their answering affidavit and condonation application within 15 days.

Sanral spokesperson Vusi Mona said the matter was sub judice and thus he was unable to speak about the case. He said in court Sanral would ventilate the reasons why the Paia request was denied.

All information sourced from articles posted by: BusinessTech, Business Insider, EWN, MyBroadband, News24, and TimesLive.

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