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04 October 2021
Cyril Ramaphosa confident SA will soon be off UK’s red lis

Business Day 01 October 2021 – The president says the health department is working on a vaccination certificate, which will be in line with international best practice and WHO guidelines 


President Cyril Ramaphosa has expressed optimism that the UK will soon lift its travel ban on South Africans, saying he had discussed the issue with Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Thursday. SA was placed on the UK's ''red list” due to scientists concerns that travellers would import the Beta variant, but it has long since been displaced by the Delta variant, which is also dominant in the UK. In his address on Thursday night, Ramaphosa said: “We both agreed that decisions of this nature should be informed by science and are hopeful of a positive outcome when the issue comes up for review in the coming days,” he said. 



 Covid-19 vaccine scientists could walk away with Nobel Medicine prize 

Business Day 01 October 2021 - Among those seen by other scientists as potential winners of the prize are Hungary-born Katalin Kariko and American Drew Weissman for their work on mRNA vaccines 


Scientists behind Covid-19 vaccines could be in the running to win the Nobel Prize for Medicine even though the pandemic is far from over. Some scientists say it is just a matter of time: if the work that went into developing the vaccines is not recognised when this year's prize is announced on Monday, it will win the award in years to come. More than 4.7-million people have died from Covid-19 since the first cases of the novel coronavirus were registered in 2019, and many countries still live under severe restrictions intended to curb its spread. Among those seen by other scientists as potential winners of the Nobel Prize for Medicine are Hungary-born Katalin Kariko and American Drew Weissman for their work on what are known as messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) vaccines. The mRNA vaccines developed by Moderna and by Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech have revolutionised the fight against the virus. They are quick to produce and highly effective. 



READ IN FULL: Vaccinations a priority as SA moves to lockdown level 1 

Business Day 01 October 2021- This evening, I would like to talk to you about four matters that are vital to our fight against the COVID-19 pandemic and the recovery of our society and economy. 


 These are, firstly, the intensification of our national vaccination campaign; secondly, the measures we will be taking to further open our economy; thirdly, the introduction of a vaccination certificate; and, fourthly, our engagements with the UK to restore travel, tourism and trade. A few days ago, the SA Covid-19 Modelling Consortium confirmed that SA has emerged from a third wave of Covid-19 infections. This wave, which was driven by the Delta variant, was far more severe than the previous two waves. This third wave lasted more than 130 days, and was about two weeks longer than each of the earlier waves. 



Broken taps, dirty linen, leaking roofs: Mkhwebane’s key findings on Gauteng’s six public hospitals 

The Citizen 01 October 2021 - The investigation entailed inspections and interviews with medical and nursing staff, unions and patients. 


Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane on Friday released a number of investigative reports focusing on service delivery at Gauteng’s six public hospitals. The investigation focused on Jubilee District Hospital in Hammanskraal, Dr George Mukhari Academic Hospital near Ga-Rankuwa, Steve Biko Academic Hospital in Pretoria as well as Soweto’s Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital and Lilian Ngoyi Community Health Centre, including Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital. 



Digital Vibes: six more health officials suspended 

Business Day 30 September 2021 - The new suspensions brings the total number of health department staff that will be out of circulation to seven 


The new suspensions brings the total number of health department staff that will be out of circulation to seven. Six health department officials implicated in the Special Investigating Unit’s (SIU) investigation into the Digital Vibes scandal are to be placed on precautionary suspension, health minister Joe Phaahla said on Thursday. It brings the total number of health department staff who will be out of circulation to seven as director-general Sandile Buthelezi was placed on precautionary suspension on Sunday. A precautionary suspension is imposed by an employer ahead of an investigation that is expected to pave the way for a disciplinary procedure. President Cyril Ramaphosa on Wednesday authorised the release of the SIU’s report on its investigation into communication contracts awarded by the health department to Digital Vibes shortly after Zweli Mkhize was appointed health minister. The company was run by his close associates, Tahera Mather and Naadhira Mitha. The SIU found the circumstances in which the department awarded the R150m contract were irregular and breached procurement rules set out in the Public Finance Management Act. The report recommended that disciplinary action be taken against nine officials, six of whom are employed by the health department. 



Ramaphosa defends Digital Vibes delay after hard-hitting SIU report 

Business Day 30 September 2021 - President defends almost three-month delay in releasing a Special Investigating Unit report into the tendering scandal President Cyril Ramaphosa defended the almost three-month delay in releasing a Special Investigating Unit (SIU) report into the tendering scandal that led to the resignation of former health minister Zweli Mkhize. 


President defends almost three-month delay in releasing a Special Investigating Unit report into the tendering scandal. During a media conference in Johannesburg, he also pushed back against suggestions that he should take immediate action against those implicated in the Digital Vibes scandal, saying the process should be conducted fairly and people given an opportunity to answer accusations against them. “The report says ... the law should take its course, so we need to allow for processes,” he said. A “number of actions have flowed” from the affair, including Mkhize’s stepping down. The president was speaking as the health department initiated disciplinary proceedings against officials implicated in the report by the SIU into the scandal, in which R150m was funnelled to an obscure communications company run by close associates of Mkhize. While many aspects of the SIU’s findings are already in the public domain, the report places deputy director-general Anban Pillay at the centre of the scandal and recommends that he face criminal charges for fraud and financial misconduct for alleged misrepresentations to the National Treasury about the Digital Vibes tender. 


SIU recommends Anban Pillay be prosecuted over Digital Vibes 

Business Day 30 September 2021 - Report finds the director-general grossly misrepresented facts about the contract to the National Treasury 


The Special Investigating Unit (SIU) probe into the health department’s dealings with Digital Vibes includes adverse findings against former health minister Zweli Mkhize, former head of communications Popo Maja, former acting director-general Dr Anban Pillay and former director-general Sandile Buthelezi. SIU head Andy Mothibi said evidence justifies disciplinary action against Pillay, Maja, Buthelezi and four other health department officials. The SIU also justifies banning Digital Vibes from doing business with the government. 


Health department starts disciplinary process against staff named in Digital Vibes scandal 

Business Day 29 September 2021 - It is serious, complicated and multilayered, says acting director-general Nicholas Crisp 


The health department has initiated disciplinary proceedings against officials implicated in the hard-hitting report by the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) into the Digital Vibes corruption scandal, in which R150m was funnelled to an obscure communications company run by close associates of former health minister Zweli Mkhize. With municipal elections less than five weeks away, the government is under pressure to be seen to be taking action against corruption, and its response to the scandal is being scrutinised by opposition parties and voters. 


Discovery is rewarding new members for getting vaccinated 

Business Day 28 September 2021 - Listen to episode 3 of the three-part podcast series by Discovery Health 


Discovery Life’s deputy CEO Gareth Friedlander, says during the first three waves, Discovery has paid out nearly R3bn in Covid-19-related death claims. Vaccinations are a proven clinical method for increasing levels of Covid-19 immunity in populations exposed to the virus. By getting vaccinated, chances of developing severe symptoms resulting in hospitalisation or death can be lowered. “Discovery Life is rewarding new clients for getting fully vaccinated because it is a positive behaviour that creates Shared-value. When clients get vaccinated, it generates value for society, the individual and the insurer,” says Friedlander. “It will mean that we’ll be paying out fewer death claims, and that creates a surplus in the system that can be returned to clients through rewards.”