The City of Johannesburg has reiterated its call for residents to stop spreading conspiracy theories about the COVID-19 vaccine.
The office of the speaker of Joburg held a webinar called Truth on COVID-19 and 5G Connectivity, on Wednesday night.
The aim of the webinar was to debunk myth surrounding coronavirus and the celluar network.
Speaker Nonceba Molwele has urged residents to rely on government information on the COVID-19 vaccine.
“There is also another issue around the lack of confidence around the vaccine itself and that some do not trust the vaccine based on the view or belief that the vaccine on itself is man-made, with the objective of wanting to control the new world order.
“This is where the issue of 5G comes in and there have been so many theories and conspiracies about how the rollout of 5G technology is to blame for coronavirus.”
University of Johannesburg Vice Chancellor Professor Tshilidzi Marwala was one of the speakers.
He says there is no link between COVID-19 and 5G.
“COVID-19 is a virus, a virus is a biological organism, it is alive and it dies if it doesn’t find a host and that is why we are told that on a hard surface, COVID-19 dies after three days.
“There is absolutely no link between 5G and COVID-19,” adds Marwala.
Marwala says people are making this link because the COVID-19 outbreak coincided with the launch of 5G in 2019.
“So, people are thinking because 5G was launched in 2019 and COVID-19 came to the world in 2019 that there is a causal relationship. There is no causal relationship between the two, it is correlational and in statistics when we study, we are told that correlation does not mean position,” Professor Marwala says.
South Africa received its first batch of vaccine doses this week. The AstraZeneca vaccine arrived at the OR Tambo International Airport, in Ekurhuleni, from Serum Institute in India on Monday.
Frontline healthcare workers are first in line to receive the shots, which are due to be administered after two weeks as they are currently undergoing quality checks.
The Special Investigating Unit is investigating the R431 million spent by the Gauteng Education department on deep cleaning and saniters, among other things.
Gauteng premier David Makhura revealed this during a provincial command council briefing on Friday.
The move follows an internal report that shows that the department spent R431 million on sanitation and other COVID-19-related services to schools.
Makhura has rejected insinuations that MEC Panyaza Lesufi might have been involved in the misappropriation of the COVID-19 funds.
“What happened here was there value for money in Education, you can’t just tell without thorough investigation. Who is doing that investigation is the Special Investigating Unit and I know that in addition, MEC Lesufi has said to me that we should task he Auditor General office, and as far as I am concerned, the office of the Auditor General have been working closely with the SIU,” adds Makhura.
“At the moment, there is no allegations that the MEC for Education has a deal in this R400 million and he brought his people there.”
Lesufi has also expressed shock at the exorbitant spending and called for a probe.
Meanwhile, Premier Makhura has denied allegations that he influenced the awarding of COVID-19 PPE contracts to six companies to the former Chief Financial Officer, Katlego Lehloenya.
The Premier says he noted an error in a SIU report that implicates him and has asked the unit to investigate the matter.
On the ANC Youth League’s call that he be probed for fitness to hold office, the Premier says he avail himself to the ANC’s Provincial Integrity Committee should he be required to will do so.
The youth league has welcomed the move, while at the same time reiterating its call that the Premier step aside until he has is cleared of any wrongdoing.
The ANC Youth League in Gauteng is calling for an investigation into David Makhura’s fitness to hold office as Gauteng premier.
The youth league says several scandals happened under his watch since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The young lions have called on the governing party’s Provincial Executive Committee (PEC) to probe the premier.
“It is for this reason that the ANCYL calls on Premier David Makhura to avail himself to appear before the ANC Provincial Integrity Committee and account for his failure to facilitate oversight and prevent this outrageous looting of state resources.
“The ANCYL further calls on the ANC in the Province to investigate the involvement of our deployed Cadres in this COVID-19-related corruption scandal throughout Gauteng Provincial Government,” Says ANCYL in a statement.
“Finally the ANCYL in Gauteng calls on the ANC PEC to initiate a process that will investigate the Premier’s fitness to hold office given the mortifying scandals taking place under his watch.”
Dr Bandile Masuku was axed in October last year after been implicated in the PPE scandal.
An interim report by the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) concluded that Masuku failed to exercise his executive powers into the compliance of the contracts.
‘Lesufi must also account’
The Youth league says Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi must also be held accountable for his department’s R431 million spending on COVID-19 services.
“The ANCYL in Gauteng appreciates the call made by MEC Panyaza Lesufi to investigate the expenditure of R430 million on ‘deep cleaning’ and ‘decontamination’ of public schools.
“We simply cannot accept his “shock” on this matter and therefore call upon Premier David Makhura to hold MEC Panyaza Lesufi accountable for the alleged wasteful and exorbitant spending at the Department.”
Teacher unions have slammed the department’s spending, saying the money should have been spent on money could have been used towards the securing of vaccines for teachers, and procurement of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for learners.
The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng has submitted a letter to the Hawks to begin investigation into Gauteng Premier, David Makhura.
The opposition submitted the letter to the Hawks in Pretoria on Thursday.
The party says the former Chief Financial Officer Kabelo Lehloenya implicated Makhura in the province’s COVID-19 Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) scandal.
DA Gauteng leader, Solly Msimanga, says the crime-fighting body must investigate the entire Gauteng government.
“We are here outside the offices of the Hawks here in Pretoria where we have come to give in a letter and also request investigation to be done into the office of the premier and to request that government of Gauteng really be investigated in terms of what has been happening since the pandemic has started,” he says.
Msimanga adds, “Right now we are talking about close to R2.8 billion that has really gone towards corruption and fruitless expenditure.”
The Gauteng DA leader says Lehloenya alleged that the premier gave her six companies to be awarded the contracts.
He says his party will table a motion of no confidence if investigations take time.
“We don’t have the confidence that the Gauteng departments will be able to investigate themselves within the province.
“We are asking for the Hawks and we also writing a letter to the Auditor General, the Special Investigating Unit, and the President of the country to look into this matter and really investigate what is happening and give us answers before we take steps further in terms of tabling a motion of no confidence into the premier in the legislature, even before the state of the province address is to take place.”
The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) and the ANC Youth League have called for Makhura to vacate office.
The Gauteng Education Department has expressed shock over a report of R431 million having been spent on COVID-19 services.
In a media statement, MEC Panyaza Lesufi says he is taken aback by the report, compiled by the Head of Department (HOD) and Chief Financial Officer (CFO), that the department spent millions on decontamination, disinfection, deep cleaning and sanitation of schools.
Lesufi has reaffirmed his commitment to leave no stone unturned on this matter and hold those who procured these services to account.
The department says it is engaging law enforcement agencies and Auditor General to investigate.
South Africa’s official opposition, the Democratic Alliance, has urged Gauteng Premier David Makhura to launch an investigation into the matter.
The news comes amid a Special Investigating Unit’s investigation into the procurement of Personal Protective Equipment in the province, which led to the sacking of the province’s health MEC, Dr Bandile Masuku.Karabo Tebele is a producer and newsreader for Voice of Wits.
The calls comes after news emerged that former Gauteng Health Department chief financial officer, Kabelo Lehloenya, had implicated Makhura in the scandal.
In her affidavit at the special tribunal, Lehloenya stated that Premier Makhura gave her the names of the companies to appoint to supply and deliver PPEs in the province.
“The DA is not surprised to learn that Premier Makhura has been implicated in the awarding of the multi-million personal protective equipment (PPEs) tenders. This PPE corruption scandal happened under Makhura’s watch and he did not do anything to prevent it. The DA calls on President Cyril Ramaphosa to ask the SIU to urgently investigate these allegations levelled against the Gauteng Premier,” says the DA’s Gauteng leader, Solly Msimanga.
The Economic Freedom Fighters in the province has on the other hand called for Mkhura to resign over the matter, while the Cosatu affiliated nurses’ union, DENOSA, has urged him to take special leave.
In October, DENOSA Gauteng chairperson, Simphiwe Gada, said the union would work with Makhura once the SIU’s investigation is complete and his name is cleared.
The union says the Premier has a tendency of escaping accountability.
It has cited the Life Esidimeni tragedy, which claimed the lives of 143 psychiatric patients after the Gauteng health department moved at least 1 700 patients from Life Esidimeni facilities to ill-equipped NGOs and state facilities in 2016.