100 pupils in hospital after mystery gas leak
A teacher is in critical condition and as many as 100 pupils have been taken to hospital after they inhaled an unknown gas at Vukuzakhe High School in Umlazi, south of Durban. Paramedics were called to the school on Monday where, according to teachers and pupils, a small unknown substance exploded and was inhaled by a number of pupils. Three pupils were first transported to a nearby clinic. When paramedics got to the school they found teachers and pupils complaining about itchy throats, burning eyes and shortness of breath. There were reports of “multiple patients collapsing", said Rescue Care paramedic spokesperson Garrith Jamieson. He said later about 100 people were taken to hospital. KwaZulu-Natal education spokesperson Kwazi Mthethwa said they weren’t sure what caused the incident but “we will be investigating”.
Water cuts in Bloem as council fails to pay
Bloem Water imposed restrictions on the Mangaung metro municipality on Monday due to non-payment of bills. The decision comes after the municipality failed to honour several resolutions made to settle its outstanding accounts, and also follows two mediation processes on February 21 and July 4. "The mediation processes … ruled that the Mangaung metro municipality should pay the outstanding accounts. Unfortunately, that has not been happening,” said Bloem Water. It had been resolved that the municipality settle its outstanding debt and that interest on it would be written off. However, this did not happen. “Even under the continuous non-payment, Bloem Water has always been supplying full capacity of bulk water services to the metro. This situation has put Bloem Water in an untenable situation which left it with no option but to reduce the bulk water supply,” it said.
SA Aids scientist inducted into Royal Society
SA’s leading Aids researcher and scientist, Prof Salim Abdool Karim, has been inducted as a fellow of the prestigious science academy, the Royal Society. The London-based society was established in 1660 by royal charter and has included many of the world’s leading scientists over the past four centuries, from Isaac Newton and Charles Darwin to Albert Einstein and Stephen Hawking. Fellowship is awarded to an individual who has made a “substantial contribution to the improvement of natural knowledge, including mathematics, engineering science and medical science". Abdool Karim joined about 40 leading scientists globally who were inducted as fellows of the oldest academy at a ceremony in London. He is the director of the Centre for the Aids Programme of Research in SA (Caprisa), and Caprisa professor of global health at the Maliman School of Public Health at Columbia University in New York.
AA expects petrol hike, but drop in diesel
While the rand won ground against the US dollar in July, international oil prices have increased, offsetting the gains. This is according to the Automobile Association (AA), which was commenting on unaudited monthly fuel price data released by the Central Energy Fund. "The rand has progressively appreciated against the US dollar since July 1, dipping below the R14/$ mark," the AA said. "However, international oil prices, which pulled back further in the first week of July, have raced upwards again on concerns over international inventories and ongoing political instability in the Middle East." The increase in the refined cost of fuel was higher for petrol than for diesel, setting up the unusual situation where diesel users were set for a price reduction while petrol seemed likely to increase. The data show a 7c/litre increase for petrol, with a 20c decrease for diesel. Illuminating paraffin should be 14c a litre cheaper.
Troops in Cape played peacekeepers in DRC, Sudan
SA National Defence Force troops who arrived in Cape Town on Monday have performed peacekeeping duties in countries including Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo. SANDF spokesperson Brig-Gen Mafi Mgobozi said on Monday the troops were already in Cape Town. The troops, comprising soldiers from different parts of the country, were undergoing "mission-ready" before official deployment, which aims to help police curb gang violence and killings, particularly on the Cape Flats. The troops were reportedly from 8 South African Infantry Battalion. During a walkabout in Philippi East on Sunday, police minister Bheki Cele said the army would be deployed within days. The soldiers would be expected to support and help the police. It was reported that there were 43 murders at the weekend in Cape Town.
New Robben Island ferry to boost visitor numbers
Robben Island is set to increase its passenger-carrying capacity by more than 270 people with the introduction of a new catamaran ferry in Cape Town. The ferry, which arrived on Friday, has been named Krotoa, after the first female political prisoner on the island. “This will enhance our carrying capacity as a key component to ensuring high visitor numbers and a seamless visitor experience,” said Ellerick Olckers, visitor operations specialist at the Robben Island Museum. Krotoa has a passenger capacity of 285. She is expected to make her maiden journey after being given the all-clear by the SA Maritime Safety Authority. The museum has said numerous tours had to be cancelled in 2018 due to a lack of ferries able to operate in rough seas. As a result, visitor numbers declined. A ferry named Thandi sank in 2017 with 70 people on board.