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Wed 5th Jan 2022
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NEWSFLASH NEWS AGENCY 5 January 9 am

Good morning,

In this bulletin:

# The axing of the GCIS head is described as one of the first steps of state capture by the Guptas
# The DA is deeply concerned that Gauteng still has unplaced learners
# And the US reaches a new record of one million new Covid cases per day

# Former president Jacob Zuma’s axing of Themba Maseko as head of the Government Communications and Information System, is described as one of the first acts of state capture by the Guptas. The Zondo commission writes in its first report the controversial family had to have facilitators in state-owned enterprises and government departments such as GCIS, to divert funds to The New Age newspaper, which they owned. News24 reports it was also found contracts between the publication and Transnet, Eskom and South Africa Airways were irregular and wasteful.

# The DA in Gauteng is deeply concerned that the provincial Department of Education still have unplaced learners. The party believes online admissions must be done as early as the first term of the previous year so the department can allocate necessary resources to high pressure schools. The DA’s Khume Ramulifho says parents are not sure what to do now as they can’t buy uniforms because their children haven’t been placed as yet:

Play sound: ENGKhumeRamulifho

# South Africa’s Covid-19 test positivity rate has again increased to above 20-percent in the latest reporting period after it was down to under 19-percent the previous day. Over eight-thousand new cases were reported, most of them in KwaZulu-Natal with a total of two-thousand-281. This is followed by the Western Cape with one-thousand-765, and Gauteng with one-thousand-549. The Eastern Cape reported just more than a thousand new cases, and the other five provinces less than 500 each. The death toll now stands at about 91-thousand-400 after another 139 people died of the virus.

# The United States reported a record number of over a million new Covid-19 cases on Monday – the most for a single day in a country since the pandemic started early last year. The latest figure compiled by Johns Hopkins University almost doubled the previous highest daily infection toll and increased the average over the past week to more than 480-thousand. But Sky News reports the new record could in part be contributed to reporting delays over the festive season, as well as more people being tested before they went on holiday.

# Canoeing: Experienced Danish marathon paddler Søren Maretti will return to the Dusi Marathon with young South African ace Hamish Lovemore for next month’s race in KwaZulu-Natal. Maretti and Emil Kramer were forced to withdraw from 2020’s race after two days when Kramer became ill. The organisers say Maretti is the current Danish senior K2 champion and did well at the recent Fish River Marathon where he paired up with Alex Masina. Maretti says preparing for the Dusi has been difficult during the Danish winter, but he knows what to expect.

# And the financial indicators: The dollar is trading at 16-rand-4-cents and the euro at 18-rand-12-cents. One British pound costs 21-rand-70-cents and Bitcoin trades at 46-thousand-265-dollar-7-cents. Gold is selling at one thousand-814-dollars-44-cents a fine ounce and Brent crude oil is quoted at 79-dollars-93-cents a barrel.

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