For Creamer Media in Johannesburg, I’m Thabi Madiba.
Making headlines: Godongwana to navigate cost and debt wildcards in budget; You can now receive a Pfizer or J&J booster shot if you are vaccinated with Pfizer; And, Bheki Cele says he was shut out of intelligence briefings before looting and violence
Godongwana to navigate cost and debt wildcards in budget
Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana is under pressure in this week’s budget to show efforts to reduce the country’s fiscal deficits and rein in debt won’t be compromised by new spending measures.
Godongwana will present the government’s spending framework for the next three years on Wednesday, as the economy struggles to recover from the damage wrought by the coronavirus pandemic, including South Africa’s discovery of the omicron variant that sparked a flurry of international travel restrictions. It’s also been hobbled by deadly riots and ongoing electricity supply constraints.
High commodity prices have given him some leeway. The windfall means revenue is on course to exceed estimates and the budget deficit will probably narrow faster than previously expected. Still, investors will look to the head of economic transformation in the ruling African National Congress to minimize long-term risks linked to the expansion of the social welfare net, highly contested public-sector pay negotiations and debt-laden power utility, Eskom.
You can now receive a Pfizer or J&J booster shot if you are vaccinated with Pfizer
The Department of Health has announced that individuals vaccinated with Pfizer shots can, from this week, receive a Pfizer or Johnson & Johnson booster shot.
Those older than 18 years and who have received one dose of the Covid-19 J&J vaccine will, from today be eligible to receive a booster dose of the same vaccine or a booster dose of Pfizer vaccine after an interval of two months or 60 days.
Those over the age of 18 and who have received two doses of the Pfizer vaccine will, from Wednesday, be eligible to receive a booster dose of the same vaccine or a booster dose of the J&J vaccine at least 90 days, or three months, after the second dose.
People who are fully vaccinated with two Pfizer jabs are now eligible for booster doses 90 days, or three months, after the second dose instead of the initially reported 180 days, or six months, interval.
The interval between first and second doses of Pfizer has also been reduced from 42 days to 21 days, effective from Wednesday.
And, Bheki Cele says he was shut out of intelligence briefings before looting and violence
Police Minister Bheki Cele claimed that he was shut out of police intelligence briefings and didn't receive any information ahead of last year's July unrest.
The unrest left more than 340 people dead in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng. The South African Human Rights Commission is holding hearings on the unrest.
Cele has resumed his testimony. He first gave testimony in December.
Cele said he last received intelligence briefings in November 2020 before the head of intelligence Lieutenant General Peter Jacobs was suspended.
Jacobs and five other divisional heads were suspended following a preliminary report by Inspector-General of Intelligence, Setlhomamaru Dintwe, into alleged personal protective equipment procurement irregularities regarding the Secret Service account.
That’s a roundup of news making headlines today
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