Daily News Brief

Daily News Brief
Walker Park Golf Course, Evander, Mpumalanga. photo credits: sa-venues.com

National Health Insurance Bill Approved By Cabinet Now Heads To Parliament

Cabinet has approved the National Health Insurance Bill, which will be tabled in Parliament shortly. Minister in the Presidency Jackson Mthembu said the Bill would give effect to the government’s plan for universal healthcare services for all South Africans, regardless of their socio-economic circumstances. The NHI Bill is expected to introduce sweeping reforms aimed at achieving the government’s goal for universal health coverage.

Home Affairs Accused Of Undermining Goal For United Africa

Two of the main opposition parties have criticised Home Affairs Department for its handling of refugees and asylum seekers. Minister Aaron Motsoaledi delivered his speech in support of his department’s R8.3 billion budget in Parliament on Wednesday. The EFF’s Vuyani Pambo accused the department’s policies related to foreign nationals as being anti-African. DA MP Harold McGluwa said Motsoaledi needed to look at fixing the systemic challenges within the department to reduce long lines and other administrative problems.

Durban Police Clash With Zandile Gumede Supporters

Supporters of suspended eThekwini Mayor Zandile Gumede clashed with police in the streets of Durban on Thursday morning. The group is demanding the reinstatement of Gumede, whose special leave has been extended while she faces corruption charges. She was suspended soon after her arrest last month and is out on R50,000 bail.

Opposition Urges SABC To Recoup Lost Funds From Former Executives

Opposition parties have called on the SABC to go after former executives to recoup lost funds. They made the call during debate on the Communications Department’s budget vote on Wednesday. Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams said that the Broadcasting Agency would be receiving some form of financial relief from Treasury in the next 10 days. This follows an initial decision by Treasury to decline the public broadcaster’s application for a R3.2 billion guarantee. Opposition parties want the SABC to not just ask for bailouts, but to also recoup monies lost due to the decisions of former employees.

Gordhan Accused Of Diverting Attention From Sars Rogue Unit Report

Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane said on Thursday she had not been served with court papers related to Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan’s High Court review application. On Wednesday, Gordhan’s lawyers issued a statement to explain that he had applied to the High Court to have the South African Revenue Service’s (Sars) “rogue” unit report, which made adverse findings against him interdicted and set aside. Although Gordhan did not hold back in the statement issued which described Mkhwebane as inept and malicious, she has taken the high road.

Heads Must Roll Over Municipal Audit Outcomes – Jackson Mthembu

Minister in the Presidency Jackson Mthembu said Cabinet discussed Auditor-General Kimi Makwetu’s latest report on municipal audit outcomes at its meeting on Wednesday.  Cabinet said that levels of poor governance and financial mismanagement in municipalities were unacceptably high and that heads must roll. The report revealed that only 18 out of 257 municipalities achieved clean audits and that 63 municipalities fared worse than in the previous year, with only 22 municipalities showing any improvement in the way they manage their finances. Mthembu said Cabinet was worried about municipal audit outcomes.

Jackson Mthembu: Measures Being Put In Place To Deal With WC High Murder Rate

Minister in the Presidency Jackson Mthembu said that Cabinet had been briefed on extraordinary measures to curb the high rate of murders in the Western Cape.  Cabinet has expressed shock and dismay at the recent killings of 13 people in Philippi, Cape Town, including six women, who were aged between 18 and 26-years-old.  Mthembu said that Police Minister Bheki Cele briefed Cabinet at its meeting on Wednesday on plans to address the situation.

Gun Free SA: Crimes Could Be Prevented If Cops Destroyed Firearms More Often

Gun Free South Africa said that many crimes could be prevented if police destroyed firearms more often.  Although the most recent demolition took place in April, Police Minister Bheki Cele noted that there were still 60,000 firearms in SAPS possession that could be destroyed.  According to the NGO, 2,000 people across South Africa have died as a result of gun violence since the start of this year. Just last weekend, 11 people were shot dead in Philippi East.

SAPS Considered Most Corrupt Institution In South Africa: Survey

The Global Corruption Barometer (GCB) Africa on Thursday revealed that the South African Police Service (SAPS) is considered the most corrupt institution in the country. The GCB is the largest, most detailed survey of citizens’ views on corruption and bribery in Africa. The survey was conducted between the end of July and September last year. Of the 47,000 citizens surveyed in 35 African countries, more than half believed corruption was getting worse in their country.

EFF MPs Thrown Out Of Gordhan’s Budget Vote After Disrupting Speech

Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) members of Parliament were kicked out of Minister Pravin Gordhan’s Public Enterprises budget vote in Parliament by security officials on Thursday afternoon.  A commotion broke out when EFF MPs disrupted Gordhan saying he should not be allowed to address MPs as he is a ‘constitutional delinquent’. “We see no need to be addressed by a constitutional delinquent and we cannot listen to him,” one of the EFF MPs said.

What To Look Out For

Reserve Bank Expected To Cut Interest Rates Next Week

The South African Reserve Bank is likely to cut interest rates by a quarter of a percent next week as a slowdown in the economy during the first three months of the year could turn worse if left unchecked, a Reuters poll showed on Thursday. Twenty-four of 30 economists in the survey taken over the past three days said the repo rate woul d be cut by 25 basis points to 6.50% on July 18. Two expected a cut of 50 basis points. The other four said rates would be left unchanged. “Conditions in South Africa have been shifting in favour of a rate cut for some time,” said Razia Khan, chief economist for Africa and Middle East at Standard Chartered Bank.