Tuesday, August 25, 2020
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has
urged countries to desist from the nationalisation of COVID-19 vaccines and has
requested that they join a vaccine pact.
The call from WHO comes as countries across
the world race to find a vaccine for COVID-19.
Following a letter to all member states
requesting them to join the vaccine arm of the Act-Accelerator, WHO Director
General Tedros Ghebreyesus announced that 172 countries have signed up to COVAX
Global Vaccines Facility.
The facility is a critical mechanism for
joint procurement and pooling risk across multiple vaccines so that whatever
vaccine is proven to be safe and effective – all countries within the facility
will be able to access them.
The facility has both the largest and most
diverse COVID-19 vaccine portfolio in the world.
“New research outlines that global
competition for vaccine doses could lead to prices spiking exponentially in
comparison to a collaborative effort such as the COVAX Facility.
“It would also lead to a prolonged pandemic
as only a small number of countries would get most of the supply. Vaccine
nationalism only helps the virus,” said Ghebreyesus.
Presently, there are nine vaccines that are
part of this dynamic portfolio; which is constantly being reviewed and
optimised to ensure access to the best possible range of products.
“Even now discussions are ongoing with four
more producers and a further nine vaccines are currently under evaluation for
the longer term,” said Ghebreyesus.
The success of the COVAX Facility hinges
not only on countries signing up to it, but also filling key funding gaps for
both the research and development work and to support lower-income economies
within the facility.
“Investing in the COVAX Facility is the
fastest way to end this pandemic and ensure a sustainable economic recovery,”
said the WHO DG.
Through the allocation framework, COVAX
will ensure that low-, middle- and high-income countries all receive the
vaccine in a timely way as soon as there is supply of a safe and effective
Initially, when there will be limited
supply, WHO said those at highest risk around the world will receive the
This includes health workers, as they are
on the frontlines in this pandemic and critical to saving lives and stabilising
the overall health system.
It also includes people over 65 years old
and those with certain diseases that put them at higher risk of dying from
As supply increases, the next stage of the vaccine
rollout would be expanded based on an assessment of each country’s
vulnerability to the virus.
“A number of vaccines are now in the final
stage of clinical trials and we all hope we will have multiple successful
candidates that are both safe and effective.
“In order to be able to secure enough doses
to rollout the vaccines, the next step for the partnership is for countries to
make binding commitments in support of the COVAX Facility,” said Ghebreyesus.
While funds have already been committed towards
the COVAX Facility, WHO said more is urgently needed to continue to move the
The goal of the mechanism is to deliver at
least two billion doses of safe, effective vaccines by the end of 2021. –
Woza Matrics provides free TV based support
Tuesday, August 25, 2020
Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga
has launched Woza Matrics, a free-to-air television initiative aimed at
supporting the matric learners of 2020 following disruptions caused by COVID-19.
The 12-week Woza Matrics campaign will
start on 1 September 2020 and will support Grade 12 learners in the build-up to
their final matric exams by providing quality educational content.
Subjects covered by Woza Matrics include
Maths, Life Sciences, Geography, Physical Science, Accounting, Economics, Maths
Literacy, English First Additional Language, History and Business Studies.
Woza Matrics will be broadcast on SABC 3,
on all DStv packages and on Openview (Channel 122) from 8:00 - 10:00 and 13:00
- 15:00, seven days a week. It will also be available for free on the DStv Now
Catch up app.
A wide-reaching communications campaign
will ensure learners, parents and teachers across the country know exactly
where to find the subject and content they need each week. A link to support
materials will also be made available on 1 September 2020.
While all learners have lost school time,
this is most acutely felt by Grade 12s, where marks are important for career
and university choices and where the content to be covered is fixed and
Woza Matrics is led by the DBE, assisted by
the National Education Collaboration Trust and developed in collaboration with
the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC), Multichoice and eMedia
Investments, as well as with a number of educational content providers
including Digicampus, Mindset and Monyetla Trust, the Programme for Improved
Learning Outcomes (PILO), and other educationalists.
“This initiative has come at the right time
when we are working to get schooling back on track. Matric is always stressful
but 2020 has been filled with unusual stresses. I want to congratulate all our
Grade 12 learners and their families for the perseverance and determination.
“It is abundantly clear that additional
support is required for learners and we will continue to provide this. There
are a few months left before the end of the year and Woza Matrics will give
learners the support they need to prepare for the final exams,” said the
Motshekga conveyed a message of gratitude
to all the partners and sponsors for the role they have played in the
development of the programme and availing their platforms for education
purposes, particularly for Grade 12 learners.
“I am most grateful to SABC, Multichoice
and eMedia Investments, who have so generously made their broadcast networks
and expertise available to Woza Matrics; and to the content providers including
DigiCampus, Mindset and Monyetla Trust, who have shared all their excellent
content with Woza Matrics,” Motshekga said.
As partner of the Woza Matrics campaign,
the SABC said their role is not only a social responsibility but a commitment
to fulfil a constitutional mandate of delivering content that is intended to
restore the dignity of the South African citizens.
“As the SABC, we are pleased to be one of
the key role players in saving the 2020 matric year through the Woza matric
campaign. Education forms an integral part of our mandate, and it is for this
reason that we have availed our platforms to advance the education agenda in
“As a public service broadcaster, we are
duty-bound to ensure that our content includes a significant amount of
educational programmes, particularly during a period when it is most needed,”
said SABC GCEO Madoda Mxakwe.
Of their involvement in the campaign,
MultiChoice Group CEO for General Entertainment and Connected Video, Yolisa
Phahle, said they are committed to ensure that they minimise the impact on
youth by empowering them through knowledge and skills.
eMedia Investments CEO Khalik Sherrif said
the positive impact of Woza Matrics 2020 will be realised when the matriculants
of this year receive their National Senior Certificates timeously.
“Congratulations to all stakeholders
involved in Woza Matrics 2020, an initiative that is sorely needed in a year in
which normal or expected behaviour and activity have been altered by COVID-19,”
said Sheriff. – SAnews.gov.za
Change your SASSA grant payment method next
Tuesday, August 25, 2020
SASSA will reopen its system for approved
applicants to change their preferred method of payment for the special COVID-19
Social Relief of Distress Grant (SRD).
SASSA CEO Totsie Memela announced that the
window period for preferred method of payment is scheduled for Monday, 31
August 2020 to Sunday, 06 September 2020, 24 hours a day.
“During this period, beneficiaries can
change from receiving their grants at the post office to receiving them through
their personal bank accounts. They may also change from one bank to another if
they prefer to,” Memela said on Tuesday.
Approved beneficiaries of the grant can
change their payment method by visiting https://srd.sassa.gov.za during this
This development is an effort to address
challenges some beneficiaries have experienced in trying to access their
special relief grant from the Post Offices.
She said it is important for beneficiaries
to understand that they should not go to the Post Office before they have
received the SMS notification that says funds are available.
“The SMS notification is used to limit the
numbers of people reporting to a Post Office on a particular day and also to
ensure that sufficient cash is available,” Memela said.
When choosing a bank account, Memela said
beneficiaries should ensure the account is in their name. SASSA cannot pay
money for one person into an account held by another or if the bank account is
“The payment process is delayed if money is
sent to a closed account, as SASSA has to wait for the funds to be returned
before sending it to the Post Office for collection. Clients who update their
details are advised to ensure that their information is captured correctly to
avoid any further delays,” Memela explained.
The payment of the COVID-19 grant is
quicker if paid into a bank account, and applicants without bank accounts are
encouraged therefore to open accounts.
“There are many entry level, inexpensive
options on the market – some of which can be opened online. Clients who have
just been approved for the relief grant by SASSA and have received an SMS to
upload and verify their bank details can do so at any time and need not wait
for the window period.
“The sooner the details are uploaded, the
quicker the payments can be made,” Memela said.
The CEO announced that clients who opted to
receive their special COVID-19 SRD grant through cash transfer will get their
August 2020 payment through this preferred method.
“They must ensure that the cell phone
numbers they provided to SASSA to receive payments, are registered in their own
names and not names of other people like relatives or neighbours. It is
mandatory that the cell phone number should have gone through the RICA
(Communication-Related Information Act) process in order for payment to be done
“Any citizen who does not update their
information during this window period, or who provides incorrect banking
details will have the payments for the remaining months sent through to the
Post Office,” Memela explained.
Responses to frequently asked questions
about the COVID-19 SRD grant can be found on the WhatsApp platform on 082 046
8553. – SAnews.gov.za