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South Africa’s Greyhound Shuts Down After 37 years of Service

Greyhound was the first luxury coach operator to start an intercity operations covering major cities in South Africa as well as Bulawayo and Harare in Zimbabwe.

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Following almost a year of disrupted services, Greyhound has confirmed that they will close their operations in few days.

Greyhound/Citiliner will be shutting down after nearly 40 years of service in South Africa.

The transportation company announced on Wednesday that the last trips will be on 14 February this year.
Commuters who have booked for trips after the said date will have it cancelled and refunded.

Greyhound did not say what led to it having to make the decision to shut down.

Several bus companies in South Africa have initiated plans which will see about 600 employees laid off.

Over the years, Greyhound has built a reputation as one of the premium long-distance coach services in Southern Africa offering affordable cross-border and domestic transportation to thousands of commuters.

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Fire Guts Southern Strand Library in Cape Town

The Southern Strand library in Cape Town has been gutted by a morning fire destroying rows of books leaving oddments of burnt shelves, shattered glass and charred remains of the library.

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The Southern Strand library in Cape Town has been gutted by a morning fire destroying rows of books, leaving oddments of burnt shelves, shattered glass and the charred remains of the library.

Cape Town Councillor Zahid Badroodien on inspecting the site stated that the cause of the fire is yet to be established but investigations are still ongoing.

He urged individuals with valuable information on the fire should avail law enforcement authorities with it.

He noted that the damage to the facility is devastating and will leave hundreds of regular users of the facility stranded, while they urgently look to initiate the process of having services restored.

Fire crews from Strand, Somerset West and Sir Lowry’s Pass arrived in hours to contain the blaze.

The South African Police Service was also present for an on-site assessment.

The City of Cape Town has over 100 Library and Information service points, including dozens of libraries, one satellite library, and a mobile library service.

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African News

African Countries Seek Debt Restructuring from G-20 Countries

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The economic damage wrought by the coronavirus pandemic will probably make many African countries seek debt restructuring from G-20 countries, according to the head of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, (UNECA) Vera Songwe.

Last month, Chad became the first country in the African continent to request relief under a Group of 20 initiative to help African countries cope with the economic fallout from the pandemic. Days later, Ethiopia applied, followed by Zambia, which last year became the first African country to default on its debt since the beginning of the pandemic.

Songwe said with government revenue taking strain because of the slowdown in economic growth, some countries are less equipped to meet the demands of their citizens.

She further said: “African countries don’t have the resilience buffers that we had in 2020.” “There probably will be more countries that will opt for the G-20 debt framework, because they need additional fiscal space to purchase vaccines.”

Keep Reading:

Debt Repayment for Kenya Put on Six Months Hold

Debt Default Haunts East Africa as Covid-19 Shrinks Exports, Taxes

‘Not all African countries deserve blanket debt relief over Covid-19’ – private creditors

Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo are particularly vulnerable to distress because they have high debt levels, severe economic declines and borrowed significant amounts from China using resource-backed loans, Verisk Maplecroft said in a research note last week.

The G-20 framework aims to bring creditors including China into an agreement to rework the debt of countries in danger of defaulting. China is Ethiopia’s biggest bilateral creditor, accounting for 23% of its total public debt burden of $27.8 billion, according to World Bank data.

Under the G-20 program, debtors are committed to seek similar terms of the resulting bilateral restructuring with private creditors. It’s unclear what that will mean for Eurobond-holders, said Songwe, who spent more than a decade at the World Bank before being appointed head of the UN body in 2017.

Last year, Ecuador restructured its debt with bondholders and China after updating its International Monetary Fund loan program.

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Africa CDC Approves AstraZeneca Vaccine in Countries Without South African Variant

With controversies surrounding the potency of the AstraZeneca vaccine, the Africa CDC has asked countries without the South African strain to use the vaccine.

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Director of the Africa Centre for Disease Control (CDC), John Nkengasong says countries who have not found the South African variant of the COVID-19 virus can use the AstraZeneca vaccine.

The South African government had put inoculation with AstraZeneca vaccine on hold following results of a small clinical trial which showed that the vaccine was not potent against the mild to moderate cases of the disease caused by the more dominant variant in the country.

South Africa already has 1 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine, with another 500,000 expected in the coming days.

Also Read: South Africa To Receive 1.5 Million Doses of AstraZeneca Vaccine From India

Nigeria and Kenya, who haven’t been hard-hit by the South African variant 501Y.V2 have reiterated that they will inoculate their populace with the AstraZeneca vaccine.

Nkengasong said countries that have found the South African variant should test other vaccines and settle for the most effective.

Nkengasong remarked that consideration should be given to the effectiveness of the vaccine against the 501Y.V2variant.

South Africa is expected to receive the me Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which has shown 89% potency against mild cases of coronavirus. The vaccines will be used to inoculate the frontline health workers in the country.

Africa currently has 3,703,913 cases with 96,732 deaths recorded so far. Many African countries are expected to receive vaccines through the COVAX facility of the WHO and the African Union.

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