Health Minister Zweli Mkhize has defended the government's call to reopen the economy, while Minister Thulas Nxesi revealed that deceased citizens have somehow benefitted from the UIF TERS fund. Briefly.co.za explores the latest updates on the Covid-19 pandemic in South Africa.
Health Minister Zweli Mkhize is convinced that, with the storm having passed, the government made the right call to reopen the economy.
Meanwhile, Labour Minister Thulas Nxesi has confirmed that the looting at the UIF saw deceased citizens listed at beneficiaries of the TERS fund.
Briefly.co.za explore the latest updates on the crisis in SA:
1. Mkhize defends reopening of economy
Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize is optimistic that the Covid-19 storm has passed in South Africa. Speaking in Parliament, Mkhize responded to an EFF question accusing the state of trading lives by reopening the economy.
However, Mkhize is convinced that the right call was made at the right time by the government:
"What we wanted to save our people from is that they should not have the problem of food security, the problem of income security, unemployment and so on."
The minister explained that black citizens were at greatest risk if the economy had remained closed:
"It's the majority of the black people who lose the jobs because the economy is closed, it's the majority who have the challenge who have access to income, so when we reopen the economy it's not about big business it's about the fact that the black people are the backbone of the economy, they work the economy, but they also depend on that economy, the government can give so much of packages."
2. Deceased citizens among those who benefitted from UIF looting
Prisoners, government employees and even dead citizens were among the thousands who benefited illegally from the UIF's TERS fund established to assist workers during the pandemic.
Labour Minister Thulas Nxesi had revealed this shocking information after Auditor-General Kimi Makwetu released his report into the situation. The minister had announced that the R41.6 billion that had been disbursed by the UIF had been subjected to looting:
“We have now received the AG’s reports which point to numerous gaps, risk and inadequate controls and verification processes. This has resulted in illegal payments, among others, to recipients of state grants, students receiving National Student Financial Aid Scheme payments, public servants, UIF employees, inmates, deceased persons and miners.”
3. Mkhize on latest statistics
Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize has updated South Africa on the latest Covid-19 statistics. In a statement issued by the Health Ministry, Mkhize announced the number of new infections:
"As of today, a cumulative total of 630 595 confirmed Covid-19 cases in South Africa have been recorded with 2 336 new cases identified."
In addition to the spike in cases, Mkhize confirmed the latest number of fatalities linked to the virus:
"Regrettably, we report 126 more Covid-19-related deaths: 12 from KwaZulu-Natal, 49 from Gauteng, 29 from Eastern Cape, 15 from Free State, 16 from Western Cape, 5 from Northern Cape. This brings the total number of Covid-19-related deaths to 14 389."
The minister announced that the recovery rate stands at 87% with 553 456 patients overcoming their personal battles.
In other news, Briefly.co.za had reported that Minister Thulas Nxesi had elected to suspend the management of the Unemployment Insurance Fund.
Nxesi's harsh action followed the Auditor-General's report that Covid-19 relief funding had been severely mismanaged.
The minister is hopeful that the suspension will give the Special Investigating Unit the space it needs to conduct a probe into the matter.
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