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Southern Africa Politics

President Ramaphosa Gets Vaccinated as South Africa Begins COVID-19 Vaccine Roll-out

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South Africa on Wednesday began a rollout of the coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine with President Cyril Ramaphosa receiving his jab on national television.

Ramaphosa was injected with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in Khayelitsha District Hospital in Cape Town.

Zweli Mkhize, South Africa’s Ministry of Health, and other healthcare workers were also vaccinated with the first batch of 80,000 of the Johnson & Johnson doses which arrived in the country on Tuesday evening.

Ramaphosa said he wanted to allay any fears that people might have about the injection.

The Johnson vaccine would be able to treat patients with the 501Y.V2 variant which has become dominant in a number of provinces.

Mkhize said the AstraZeneca vaccine which arrived in January would be offered to the African Union (AU) due to its limited efficacy against the dominant variant.

He said South Africa would receive 9 million doses from Johnson & Johnson in total.

“This day represents a real milestone for us as South Africans, that finally the vaccines are here, and they are being administered,” Ramaphosa said after vaccination.

“And I was rather pleased that there were five people who were vaccinated before me, and they are health workers, and it was a joy to watch them to see whether anything had happened to them, and gladly nothing had happened to them.

“And it means that being vaccinated is a fairly straightforward process.”

Africa’s worst-hit country had been due to start its vaccine rollout last week but it was delayed because of concerns over the effectiveness of the AstraZeneca vaccine, which it had intended to use, against a fast-spreading coronavirus variant discovered in South Africa in November.

As the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is single-dose shot it is also considerably easier to administer.

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Zimbabwe Swears In Frederick Shava as Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade

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Frederick Shava, Zimbabwe’s former Minister of State for Political Affairs, who was implicated in the Willowgate scandal, has been sworn in as the country’s new Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade.

The swearing-in held at the State House in Harare, the Zimbabwean capital on Tuesday.

Shava, who has held various portfolios in government since Zimbabwe’s independence in 1980, was appointed by President Emmerson Mnangagwa in February, following the death of Sibusiso Moyo, who succumbed to COVID-19 related complications in January.

He previously served as Zimbabwe’s ambassador to China before he was appointed as permanent representative to the United Nations.

His appointment is one of several key cabinet appointments made last month by Mnangagwa, following the deaths of three cabinet ministers from COVID-19.

Last month, Tapiwa Mhona was sworn in as Transport Minister and Infrastructure Development, replacing late Biggie Matiza, while Nokhuthula Matsikenyeri was sworn in as Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution for Manicaland Province, replacing Ellen Gwaradzimba.

Shava’s appointment has been criticised in Zimbabwe over his implication and subsequent conviction, in the early 1980s, for corruptly buying vehicles from the state-owned Willowvale Motor Industries before reselling them at double the market value in a scandal named Willowgate.

He was sentenced to nine months in prison but was acquitted by the then-President, Robert Mugabe, after spending only one night in jail.

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Zimbabwe Relocates Victims of Cyclone Idai

Over 200 families whose livelihoods were disrupted when the by Cyclone Idai,
struck on March 15, 2019 are set for relocation

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As part of measures to accelerate recovery and finalise the relocation of people displaced by Cyclone Idai, the Zimbabwean government is set to commence the allocation of housing stands at West End Farm in Bumba.

Local Government and Public Works Minister July Moyo last week said every family due for relocation should be allotted a stand before March 17, the second anniversary of the date most of them moved into makeshift tents.

Moyo sought speedy distribution during the launch for the provision of temporary shelters for internally displaced persons by the International Organisation for Migration at Bumba Primary school. 

Local Government and Public Works Minister July Moyo

Six hundred and seventy-four prefabricated structures are being provided by IOM to benefit all the persons displaced by the cyclone. 

He said the initiative by IOM marks a major milestone in the recovery programme for internally displaced persons and was a show of the commitment by the Government and its partners to help the victims find closure.

Read also: https://newscentral.africa/cyclone-idai-the-extent-the-aid-and-the-future/

Last year, the Department of Public Works started construction of an initial batch of 20 permanent houses now nearing completion at West End farm.  After Treasury released $44 million in December, immediate work commenced on another set of 55 permanent houses.   

IOM national officer for capacity building and advocacy Mr Gideon Madera, who was representing the chief of Mission Mr Mario Lito Malanca, commended Government for taking giant strides in assisting the recovery and reconstruction in communities affected by cyclone Idai.

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Southern Africa Politics

Zuma Snubs State Capture Inquiry

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South Africa’s former president, Jacob Zuma, on Monday, failed to attend an inquiry probing allegations of high-level corruption during his nine years in office.

News Central reports that Constitutional Court of South Africa had ordered Zuma, who walked out of the Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo-led inquiry in November, to appear at the hearing.

Zondo said he would announce steps the inquiry would take against Zuma, who denies any wrongdoing but has not cooperated with the so-called “state capture” inquiry, later today.

Zuma was removed from office by his governing African National Congress (ANC) in February 2018, in a move orchestrated by allies of his successor Cyril Ramaphosa.

His lawyers confirmed in a letter to the inquiry that the former president, who is now 78, would not attend this week, when he had been due to give evidence.

“The summons issued for our client to appear on Feb. 15-19 2021 is irregular,” the letter said, justifying his no-show.

President Cyril Ramaphosa has been trying to clean up the ANC’s image and restore investor confidence in Africa’s most industrialised nation since Zuma’s departure.

However, he has faced opposition from a faction in the ANC that remains loyal to his predecessor.

The allegations against Zuma include that he allowed businessmen close to him – three brothers Atul, Ajay and Rajesh Gupta – to plunder state resources and influence policy.

The Guptas deny any wrongdoing. They left South Africa after Zuma was ousted.

Zuma walked out of the inquiry in November without permission. Its officials then approached the constitutional court to make him re-appear and testify.

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