Thursday, July 25 2019

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KZN school halts classes over H1N1 virus

A Pietermaritzburg primary school has suspended lessons to conduct a “deep sanitisation” of its classrooms following confirmed cases of the H1N1 virus. Deccan Road Primary School governing body chair, advocate Rumen Maistry, said on Wednesday three children had tested positive for the virus. A nine-year-old Grade 3 pupil, Giselle Chetty, died last week following flu-like symptoms. Since children cannot be in classrooms because of the chemicals being used to clean, they are being housed in another part of the school. Maistry said that following Giselle’s death only 350 pupils out of 1,097 had attended school since Monday. “We are not telling parents to keep their children at home but we have informed them that teaching cannot go on as most children are at home,” he said. Meanwhile, Merchiston Preparatory School in Pietermaritzburg confirmed one case of H1N1.

SANParks locks horns with 5,000 workers

Three unions representing about 5,000 workers at SANParks have declared a dispute with their employer after failing to reach an agreement on wage increases. The staff include field guides, petrol attendants, receptionists and hut attendants in all of the 21 SANParks-run parks. The Health and Other Services Personnel Trade Union of SA (Hospersa) said it had declared a dispute with SANParks following protracted wage negotiations, which began in May. The National Education, Health and Allied Workers Union and the National Union of Public Service and Allied Workers were joining the dispute. At a meeting last week the unions reduced their increase demand to 11.5% and SANParks made a final offer of 5.5%. “We declared a dispute with the employer,” Hospersa spokesperson Kevin Halama said. A strike was possible, he said.

Downpour injects 89 days’ supply into Cape dams

Cape Town’s dam levels leapt by 8.6% as a result of Tuesday’s downpour. Runoff from catchment areas over the next days and weeks will boost them even further – and a lot more rain is forecast for the next two weeks. On Wednesday, dam levels were measured at 69.6%, with a total of 624,755 megalitres in the city’s six main storage dams. This was almost 50,000 megalitres more than Monday’s measurement. This time last year dams were at 56.3%. Last week, the city used 557 million litres a day. At that rate, the increase in dam levels in the past two days will supply Cape Town for about 89 days.

Judge slams rapist who targeted lesbians

A man who believed in “corrective rape” for lesbians has failed in an appeal against two life sentences. Zabathini Jonas, from Petrusville in the Northern Cape, twice raped a 24-year-old woman, and told a magistrate in Philipstown that he wanted ” to correct homosexual girls”. After being convicted and jailed, the 30-year-old father of two appealed to the High Court in Kimberley. Judge Violet Phatshoane sent him packing last week, saying what he had done was “quite repulsive and unpardonable”. She added: “The so-called corrective rape is evil and cannot be countenanced.” Jonas was 25 when he raped the woman in 2010.

More than 100 vultures poisoned in Kruger Park

SANParks rangers found 119 vulture carcasses next to a poached buffalo last Wednesday in the Vlakteplaas section of Kruger National Park. SANParks spokesperson Ike Phaahla told TimesLIVE the carcasses were probably a week old when rangers discovered them on July 17. The poachers cut out the meat from the buffalo and laced the rest of the carcass with poison. SANParks is investigating. Phaahla said poachers sometimes poisoned carcasses to “conceal their criminality to give themselves enough time to escape”. The carcasses are being investigated to establish the type of poison used. Since Saturday, Kruger rangers have arrested nine alleged poachers with heavy-calibre hunting rifles, ammunition and poaching equipment.

Students set storeroom alight as protests reignite

Chaos again erupted at the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s (UKZN) Westville campus on Wednesday following a spate of protests by students. In a video circulating online, plumes of black smoke can be seen emanating from near the Oval Residence, opposite the Sports Management Centre. It is understood that the students set alight a furniture storeroom that is separate from the student residence. No one was injured in the fire, which is believed to have started at about 2pm and has since been extinguished. The extent of the damage to the building is not yet known. The university said groups of protesting students caused disruptions on the Westville and Howard College campuses on Wednesday. Campus security and SAPS were monitoring the situation.

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