January 2016

#Dalori: Borno bleeds, Borno burns and the government is silent

Just three days after the Chibok attack, Boko Haram extremists launched a deadlier assault on another town in Borno state, Nigeria, on Saturday night killing about 86 people, leaving over 60 injured.

According to reports, the Islamic extremists entered the town of Dalori in cars and motorcycles opening fire on fleeing residents, torching houses and detonating bombs using suicide bombers, leaving the charred remains of people and livestock behind.

A survivor told the Associated Press that he hid behind a tree and watched the atrocities unleashed by the terrorists; bombed huts and screaming children burning to death. Two nearby camps housing about 25,000 internally displaced persons were also attacked.

Saturday night’s attack is the third and the deadliest attack in a week following Friday’s attack in Adamawa which left 10 dead and Wednesday’s bomb blasts in Chibok which killed 16. Survivors say the militants spent nearly 4 uninterrupted hours wreaking havoc on the community and even when the military arrived, they were underarmed, having to go back for reinforcement.

But amidst this carnage, what is worse is the silence of the government.; nothing has been heard from the Office of the President since the first attack in Chibok on Wednesday this past week. Nigerians are heartbroken, but more than anything, they express anger over the silence of the government.

NetOne is offering its subscribers free calls on Valentine’s Day

By Nigel Gambanga

Local mobile network operator, NetOne, is on that Valentine’s Day tip this year. It is offering its prepaid subscribers a full day of free calls made to NetOne numbers on the 14th of February.

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NetOne offers subscribers free calls on Valentine’s Day

By Nigel Gambanga

Local mobile network operator, NetOne, is on that Valentine’s Day tip this year. It is offering its prepaid subscribers a full day of free calls made to NetOne numbers on the 14th of February.

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TelOne launches public WiFi promo, offers 1GB for $1

By Nigel Gambanga

TelOne, the local fixed telecoms and internet company has kicked off a new promotion for its public WiFi service, offering significant increases in data on its 3 packages.

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NetOne’s $600 million wish, free education for STEM students, USF increases – Weekly Podcast

By Nigel Gambanga

In this episode which was recorded “On The Go”, we discussed NetOne’s $600 million wish, the increase in the USF contributions, unlimited internet from Powertel and the well-received offer for free education extended to STEM students.

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“We live by faith … “: Survivors of Chibok attack speak out

Wednesday, the 27th of January, was like any other day in the town of Chibok, a small town in the north-eastern state of Borno, Nigeria. People went about their daily businesses like they had done every other day, hopeful, that it would be better than the last and that there would be no sudden alarm of impending danger. But there was danger as an explosion erupted in the heart of the Chibok market. Sudden panic. Then another explosion.

Almost two years ago, in April 2014, Chibok witnessed an unimaginable incident where over 200 female students were abducted from a secondary school by Boko Haram, a sect that has terrorised northern Nigeria for about six years now.

Two months ago, I had the privilege of meeting Grace, a young woman from Chibok. She was there on the night of the abduction. She and her husband had joined the rest of the town in fleeing to the top of the mountains where they laid low and watched from afar as the Government Girls Secondary School was set ablaze by Boko Haram after they must have loaded the girls into trucks to be taken away.

A good number of people have left the town since then, but Grace is one of many others who decided to stay back. “Where do we go to? This is our home,” she said. And the fact that these terrorists are still at large, “We live by faith,” she told me. “But we are always alert, always vigilant.”

The Plunder of West Africa Ebola Funds

In early 2014, when the Ebola virus began ravaging three West African countries, it came with an all-shattering venom.

Although Nigeria, Senegal, Mali and the Congo were all affected, the real devastation occurred in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone.

In these three countries, humans were crushed by the virus. Dozens died long before medics reached an understanding of the intruder they were dealing with. Medical facilities were overwhelmed at an alarming rate, already-lean government purses were stretched to the limits, the courage of health workers was tested to the brim, and normal human life was ruined.

A cry for help

Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, the Liberian president, called on the world for help in October 2014. Her country had spent the previous 11 years recovering from its civil war, and she feared that Ebola was threatening to "erase all the hard work".

"This fight requires a commitment from every nation that has the capacity to help - whether that is with emergency funds, medical supplies or clinical expertise" she wrote in a widely publicised open letter.

By that time, 9,191 people across West Africa were suspected to have been infected and 4,546 had died. In Sirleaf's Liberia, 4,262 people had been confirmed found to infected by the virus, while 2,484 had died. Guinea and Sierra Leone had the bulk of the deficit of 2,062 deaths.

And so the funds started coming in. Within a month of Sirleaf's plea, money pledged from outside Africa to the Ebola-hit countries was building up. By July 2015, the United Nations announced that donors had promised $5.2bn, which far outweighed the $3.2bn the three countries said they needed to "return to the progress of [their] pre-Ebola trauma".

STS joins African Utility Week as industry partner

“Event’s 16 year history has its roots in the metering sector”

The global prepaid meter standards industry organisation, STS (Standard Transfer Specification), has joined the leading power and water conference and trade expo African Utility Week as an industry partner. STS will hold its AGM during the event in Cape Town in May and also run a free technical workshop on its improved KMC (Key Management Centre) features.

Franco Pucci, technical advisor for the STS Association says “the interest in the STS specification in and beyond South Africa continues to increase as the industry pursues electrifying many millions of home. Our innovative edge has been the cornerstone of the success of prepayment in South Africa over the past 20 years, and, since its inception in this country, all over the world. Our working groups have been working on the requirements for the new KMC (Key Management Centre), which will be launched at African Utility Week 2016.”

He adds: “the new KMC has many advanced features from high vending key security using state of art algorithms, to easier coding of security modules and it also supports key rollover. The new KMC has reduced risk when it comes to key validity period, which will assist in reducing the occurrence of ghost vendors.”

Metering a vital component of event
“African Utility Week’s 16 year history has its roots in the metering sector” says event director Evan Schiff, “and it is still a very vital component to our conference and trade expo. We are therefore delighted to welcome prepayment pioneers STS as official industry partners to our event. We look forward to a long and fruitful relationship and invite all metering professionals to take advantage of the opportunity to learn from the best during the free workshops on the expo floor from 17-19 May.”

NERSA hearings have been “bitterly disappointing” and “have not worked” – energy expert

“Eskom should ask itself is whether their business model is sustainable”

“I have reviewed the outcomes of the NERSA hearings that I have testified at since 2009, and if we are going to be honest, the results have been bitterly disappointing as will be gauged when one examines the records of decision that have blessed Eskom with over 700% price increases since 2007.” This is according to Ted Blom, energy analyst and advisor to the energy and mining industries and spokesperson for the new OUTA (Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse).

He adds: “against that backdrop, it is clear that the NERSA hearings have not worked and that people have not been heard.“ Ted Blom will testify again at the NERSA (National Energy Regulator of South Africa) hearing next week in Johannesburg as part of the regulator’s current series of public hearings into Eskom’s application for electricity tariff hikes.

He says OUTA’s message to NERSA next week “will highlight how we have pleaded in the past, and NERSA has chosen to ignore our pleadings and has, in our humble opinion, not acted properly and diligently in the execution of its duties. We will endeavour to hold NERSA to book, and act where we believe NERSA has failed”.

Is Eskom’s business model sustainable?

“The energy sector is currently undergoing a transformation, led by climate change and the need to become more energy efficient,” says Nicolette Pombo-van Zyl, editor of ESI Africa, leading power journal and online portal on the continent. She adds: “the traditional customer base are becoming prosumers by installing rooftop PV systems and the debut game-changing technologies, such as smart metering and electric vehicles (which will require charging stations).”

Life Hack 107 – Want your clothes to last ‘forever’ while they keep looking ‘new’? Try these seven tips

Not everyone can afford to go shopping for clothes every other year. And frankly, why should you have to, when you can cut your costs by simply applying tips that make your current ones last for as long as they can? These easy tips below (or rules, if you must) will keep your wardrobe looking fresh for a while.

Do not wash clothes after one wear

It may sound a bit bizarre to some, but the basic truth remains that clothes do not need frequent washing. Frequent washing damages the fibres of your clothes’ fabric over time, thereby significantly shortening the lifespan of an otherwise ‘nearly immortal’ piece. So, try to avoid getting stained on the first wear. If you can’t, apply baby powder on oil and grease stains, rub in and leave overnight. Repeat as necessary.

Lemonstain-Ventures-Africa

To keep the underarm area of your clothes from exposing your ‘little secret’:

  1. Spray lemon juice on the area before washing light-coloured shirts and blouses and generally clothes that tend to show sweat patches.
  2. For after-wear-odours, put vodka (unflavoured, cheap) in a spray bottle, and go to work on the affected areas. Leave to dry.

Do not hang all the clothes in your wardrobe

Know when to fold. Literally. Not all clothes are made for hanging. Clothes that are stretchy by nature, such as wool or lycra for instance, tend to overly do just that when left on hangers for long periods of time. Fold vulnerable clothes, also to keep them from losing shape and form.

Meningitis outbreak hits Ghana, 32 dead, 100 infected

Kumasi – Health authorities in central Ghana have denied that there is a meningitis outbreak in the country's Ashanti region, a report says.

The Ashanti regional health directorate claimed that they were only nine people who had tested positive after critical tests were done, according to Citi News.

In a press conference, the Ashanti Regional Health Director, Dr Alexis Nang Beifugbah said that six of the nine people had died, but, he was quick to say that the disease was under control.

"It is not an outbreak because the total number that we've seen are few in the districts. There are many districts that did not even report any. Out of that, only three of them belong to the group that caused the outbreak in the Brong Ahafo Region. The rest belong to another group...,” Beifugbah was quoted saying.
Reports, however, indicate that at least 32 people have died in the west African country since the outbreak of the disease four weeks ago.

According to Ghana web, more than 100 cases of Pneumococcal Meningitis have been reported in the country's southern region of Brong-Ahafo region.

Deputy Minister of Health Victor Asare Bampoe was quoted as saying that the disease "is not the normal one which the country is used to, but it is being caused by a bacteria known as streptococcal pneumonia".

Meningitis is a serious and potentially fatal disease caused by bacteria. It kills one out of 10 patients, even if they receive effective antibiotics.

It is an inflammation of the lining around the brain and spinal cord and normally occurs during the dry season.

Ghana's worst outbreak of meningitis, Cerebro Spinal Meningitis (CSM), occurred in 1994 and 1996. It affected 17 000 people, leaving 1 000 people dead.

News 24
Source http://www.news24.com/Africa/News/32-dead-100-infected-in-ghana-meningit...

KZN construction worker seriously injured in fall

Amanda Khoza, News24

Durban - A construction worker survived a fall of nearly 4m onto a concrete fall in Port Edward on Friday, KwaZulu-Natal paramedics said.

He fell through a roof while doing maintenance on a building, EMS spokesperson Robert McKenzie said.

Paramedics stabilised him before taking him to hospital. The circumstances of the man’s plunge would be investigated.

News24
Source http://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/News/kzn-construction-worker-seriously...

“Ineffectual Buffoon”: Why the Economist may have taken crude tactics too far

The Economist, a forefront London-based magazine published an article on Nigeria’s economy titled “Crude Tactics.” The article provided an argument explaining why the Nigerian president, Muhammadu Buhari, is making a mistake by refusing to devalue the nation’s currency, in order to battle the fall in global oil prices. Instead, most people were captivated by the side jab the article threw at the country’s former president, Goodluck Jonathan, using derogatory words. The article called him an “ineffectual buffoon”, who allowed “politicians and their cronies fill their pockets with impunity.” As a result of this, many Nigerians felt offended.

President Buhari’s statement on devaluation suggests that the CBN is not independent

The president of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, during his visit to Kenya on Wednesday, said he was not going to devalue the Naira amongst other measures put in place to save the economy. This announcement is rather shocking to many Nigerians and economic experts who see the statement as a clueless drive for the economy.

Since the fall of the Naira in 2014, Nigeria has struggled to save its economy. The country is faced with a constantly depleting foreign reserve and, as the value of the Naira falls to an all time low in 43 years, banks in the country struggle due to stringent restrictions placed on the currency market. Bureau de Change operators were also instructed to look for dollars through autonomous sources, a move which has pushed several businesses to the brink of folding up. Business owners are also complaining of the increased cost of buying goods and customers’ unwillingness to pay extra for particular products.

While speaking at an interactive session with Nigerians living in Kenya, President Buhari reiterated his stand on the devaluation of the Naira and strong currency restrictions saying he requires more convincing before agreeing to devalue the Naira. He said a devaluation of the Naira would “kill the Naira, cause higher inflation and hardship for the poor and middle class in Nigeria.”

In an interview with Ventures Africa, Alan Cameron, economist at Exotix said, “It shows that there is not a lot of actual central bank independence when it comes to monetary and foreign exchange rate policies for a president to come out and make such statement.”

Snap Africa: January 24-29, 2016

See what happened this week in pictures:

5 reasons why the Zika virus is commanding worldwide attention now

The Zika virus is a flavivirus that is related to the yellow fever, the west nile virus, dengue, and Japanese encephalitis with mild symptoms like low fever, rash and a headache, or none at all. However following a brief appearance in 2007, the Zika virus presently has worldwide attention leaving global health body, the World Health Organization, under pressure after an increased spread in 2015.

Here are some reasons why the virus is commanding worldwide attention:

The carrier is a common type of fly

The Zika virus disease is a mosquito-borne disease primarily transmitted by the aedes aegypti mosquito. However, recent reports by Brazilian scientists indicates that the virus may have crossed over to the common mosquitoes, which will dramatically increase the risk of its spread, globally.

Sky News reports that scientists from the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation, Brazil, said that in about a month, they will be able to confirm whether or not the Zika virus is also being carried and transmitted by the much more common culex mosquito which is 20 times more than the aedes aegypti and are significantly more widespread – breeding throughout most of the Americas and parts of Africa and Asia, hence increasing the chances of its spread worldwide.

“Moreover, conditions associated with this year’s El-Nino weather pattern are expected to increase mosquito populations greatly in many areas,” said Dr. Margaret Chan, director general of WHO, at a briefing in Geneva yesterday.

Documented exponential spread and potential global spread

Invitation to attend Corobrik SAIA Awards Lecture & Exhibition : 10 February 2016

The winning entries from SAIA’s Regional Awards have now been entered into the Corobrik SAIA National Awards programme. All posters are on display from 10am, 10 February – 12 February (midday) at the John Moffat Building, University of the Witwatersrand. Additionally the adjudicators of the Corobrik SAIA Award will now be giving lectures on various topics of great interest to architects and enthusiasts of architecture.

Details Regarding the Lecture:

Date: 10 February 2016
Time: 3:30 pm (arrival). Presentations from 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm
Venue: University of the Witwatersrand, John Moffat Building/ Dorothy Susskind Auditorium (A1, P).

Agenda

3:30pm:- 4:00pm

Reserve Bank raises interest rates, citing inflation concerns

The South African Reserve Bank Governor, Lesetja Kganyago on Thursday announced a 50 basis-point increase in the repo rate to 6.75%, meaning the prime lending rate is now at 10.25%.

How poo helps keep the lights on

Jenni Evans, News24

Cape Town - Next time someone nags you about hogging the loo, just tell them you're helping to keep the national power grid stable.

This is because at least two power stations in the country are using treated effluent for cooling.

This emerged after a written parliamentary question to Water and Sanitation Minister Nomvula Mokonyane from DA MP Nosimo Balindlela.

The Pretoria Power Station in Baviaanspoort and the Rooiwal Power Station are using the effluent generated by Tshwane residents for cooling and for processing water.

As one of six metropolitan municipalities treating effluent, Tshwane also supplies treated waste for agricultural irrigation in the area.

It has to be treated to a certain standard before it can be used.

The treated effluent from Zeekoegat is also being used by the Dry Beans Test Centre and the Agricultural Research Council.

Mokonyane said her department encouraged recycling effluent, especially in water stressed areas of the country.

Recently, the Lephalale local municipality signed a contract with Resource Generation, which planned to open the Boikarabelo Mine in Limpopo.

Under the terms of the agreement, Resource Generation would build, operate and maintain a wastewater treatment facility at Marapong for the Boikarabelo mine site.

The treated water would be pumped to the firm's planned Boikarabelo mine site through a new pipeline. Resource Generation would pay for the Marapong wastewater treatment plant upgrade works and expansion works to extend capacity to four million litres a day, increasing to a daily 16 million litres by January 2017.

The department has said this would help minimise extraction of water from a natural source and protect aquatic systems.

News24
Source http://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/News/how-poo-helps-keep-the-lights-on-...

Municipalities, provinces called to pay contractors’ invoices

Pretoria - Minister of Human Settlements Lindiwe Sisulu has ordered provinces and municipalities to settle the undisputed invoices for work done by contractors within seven days.

Minister Sisulu and provincial MECs of Human Settlements met with more than 500 contractors and developers on Thursday to discuss how to immediately resolve and pay all due and payable invoices that are outstanding for 30 days, as required by law and a Cabinet decision.

The urgent meeting was called following a national analysis of all unpaid projects and invoices as reflected in the payment systems.

More than R1 billion has not been paid to contractors by the provinces in respect of invoices submitted by contractors for payment.

“As government we cannot sit with millions worth of work done by mainly black small contractors in the housing sector and not paid for. I want those undisputed invoices to be settled with seven days by provinces and municipalities,” said Minister Sisulu.

She further told the Human Settlements Consultative Conference that she will be meeting the Minister of Finance, Pravin Gordhan, to request relevant measures in order to ensure that the national department is able to facilitate payment of backlogs, due and payable to contractors within seven days.

“The legislation stipulates that anybody or company that does business with government should be paid within 30 days, “she said.

The Minister also indicated that her department will after the State of the Nation Address on 11 February establish an Ombudsman Office to deal with issues of conflicts between the contractors, provinces and municipalities.

“With the Ombuds Office, we are setting up a structure that will mediate, work with all stakeholders to resolve disputes and cut through red tape for the best interests of the human settlements sector as a whole,” the Minister explained.

Quick facts about the ongoing fire at a Local MRS Filling Station in Surulere,Lagos

There is an ongoing fire at the MRS Filling Station located in the Lawanson Area of Surulere Lagos.

The fire was caused by the explosion of an oil tanker off loading at the filling station.

An eyewitness who wishes to remain anonymous stated that many may be injured as the fire spiraled out of control.

The Lagos fire department is currently at the scene of the fire, trying to contain it.

image
Fire at the Lawanson MRS Filling station. Photo Credit: Felicia Ochelle

Is Sudan’s President Omar Al-Bashir on his way to redemption?

President of Sudan, Omar Al-Bashir, has ordered that the borders between Sudan and South-Sudan be opened again, nearly 5 years after South Sudan seceded from his country. The president of South Sudan, Salva Kiir, ordered his soldiers to withdraw from the border between both countries earlier this week, raising speculations that a renewal of bilateral relations between these countries was underway.

However these speculations may have been put to rest  with reports that an agreement would “boost economic ties” between the two countries. This follows President Al-Bashir’s sudden turnaround barely a week after he agreed to reduce the levy Sudan imposes on South Sudan for using its oil pipelines.

Nigerian Stock Exchange to acquire NASDAQ price monitoring system: Here’s what you didn’t know

The Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), yesterday, announced that it plans to buy a price monitoring system from NASDAQ in order to protect the bourse against market manipulation. This announcement came after market stocks fell by 17 percent in the first month of 2016.

There have been several reforms in the Nigerian Stock Exchange after the 2008 crash. However, the bourse has been able to increase the participation of foreign investors using technology. In addition to this, a former American Stock Exchange senior vice president, Oscar Onyema, has been appointed as the Chief Executive Officer of the NSE. In spite of these changes, the country’s benchmark index has fallen more than 30 percent due to the drop in oil prices globally and this has affected the economy severely.

Ventures Africa spoke with Tinuade Awe, the Nigerian Stock Exchange’s Head of Regulation to find out more about the acquisition and what this means for the bourse. Before the interview, here is what you need to know about the proposed NASDAQ price-monitoring system:

Is the ‘African’ mentality about weight enabling child obesity on the continent?

Presently, Africa has almost twice the number of obese children under five years old than it did in 1990, according to a report by the World Health Organisation (WHO) through the Commission on Ending Childhood Obesity (ECHO). The report, which took two years to compile, reveals that one quarter (28 percent) of overweight and obese children are found in Africa and urges governments to implement and intensify measures in combatting the consequent health risks.

Unhealthy environmental practices in countries across the globe – with more cases in developing countries – have been identified as the driving force behind the prevalence of obesity in children, as economies tend to encourage the consumption of unhealthy foods and beverages, especially through the marketing of these class of products.

Additionally, ECHO notes that being obese or overweight is negatively impactful on the quality of lives of children physically and psychologically. In the long run, these children end up as adults with obesity who are at risk of a range of illnesses brought on by their condition and then present social and economic burdens to their environments.

ECHO thus recommends six measures that governments should consider in order to end child obesity. These include taxing the markets of unhealthy foods as a means to restrict their sales and promote healthy eating and promoting physical activity among children. The commission equally calls on non-governmental organisations and the private sector to lend their support to the cause of contributing to a healthy global environment.

Obasanjo vs NASS: Will Obasanjo’s letter lead to change or is this just another tirade?

Former president of Nigeria, Olusegun Obasanjo, wrote a rather unpleasant letter to the National Assembly (NASS), accusing the Nigerian legislature of corruption and failure to support the government, especially at a time when the country is faced with many economic challenges. In the letter, which was dated January 13, Obasanjo implored the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, to adopt transparency as this will promote a new dawn for democracy in Nigeria.

While Saraki has said he will reply the former president soon, Dogara, on his own part, reportedly refuses to “join issues” with the former president. According to the Speaker, the 2016 budget is what they are committed to working on right now. This sort of response from the Senate President and Speaker could suggest that they are simply not interested. It is also an exchange which can quickly degenerate into a war of words.

Below are some excerpts from the former president’s letter to NASS:

Secrecy in NASS

“Not least, I have reflected and expressed, outspokenly at times, my views on the practice in the National Assembly which detracts from honourability because it is shrouded in opaqueness and absolute lack of transparency and could not be regarded as normal, good and decent practice in a democracy that is supposed to be exemplary. I am, of course, referring to the issue of budgets and finances of the National Assembly.”

Self-serving interests

Experts predict a tough 2016 for SA's property sector

Experts are predicting a difficult year for listed property. Many forecasters have said that the sector won't get near double digit total returns this year unlike many years in the past where double digit returns were commonplace.

Opera jumps onto “…best for Netflix in Africa” bandwagon with Opera Max

By L.S.M Kabweza

So the latest way to sell your internet service or app in these post #NetflixEverywhere launch days, is to claim that it’s best for Netflix. Lots of free advertising it’s getting this video streaming service. The latest on that bandwagon is Opera, who most of us know for the much loved Opera Mini. Opera Mini is ofcourse just not enough […]

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Opera jumps onto “…best for Netflix in Africa” bandwagon with Opera Max

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Typhoid fever spreads to Cape Town, 3 cases reported

Naledi Shange, News24

Cape Town - Three cases of typhoid fever have been reported in the Western Cape, the provincial health department said on Thursday.

Two of the patients were children, both girls aged 9 and 10, in the Cape Town area.

The third patient was a 52-year-old man from the Cape Winelands, said department spokesperson Mark van den Heever. Some of them had travelled to affected areas including Zimbabwe. The first case was identified on 10 January and the latest one on 20 January.

Typhoid fever is a severe illness caused by the bacterium Salmonella typhi, according to Health24.

It is acquired by swallowing the organism in contaminated food or water. Typical symptoms include fever, headache, abdominal pain, rash, diarrhoea and an enlarged spleen. It can be cured with antibiotics.

More cases expected in Gauteng

The Gauteng health department confirmed over the weekend that four cases of typhoid fever had been identified in Johannesburg, and that one person had died, News24 reported on Monday.

The department said in a statement on Sunday that the cases were identified in Hillbrow and Yeoville in Johannesburg, Edenvale in Ekurhuleni, and Palm Springs in Vereeniging. Two of the patients were admitted to the Charlotte Maxeke Academic Hospital and the other two patients to the Edenvale District Hospital.
The 27-year-old female Malawian patient died at Charlotte Maxeke Academic Hospital on January 17.

She had travelled to Malawi for the festive season and returned to Johannesburg via Mozambique on January 12.

News24
Source http://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/News/typhoid-fever-spreads-to-cape-3-c...

Health officials dispatched to Mossel Bay after meningitis outbreak

Cape Town - The Western Cape Department of Health has urged Mossel Bay residents not to panic after a reported outbreak of viral meningitis in the Garden Route town.

Meningitis is an inflammation of the meninges, the membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord, and is caused by either a bacterial or viral infection.

Department spokesperson Marika Champion told News24 on Thursday that the disease is contained to the Mossel Bay area and is being monitored daily.

"I can confirm that a number of cases have been reported, but we can't give the number of cases as they are not all reported at our healthcare facilities."

Eyewitness News reported that at least nine children and an adult are believed to have contracted the disease.

The cases were reported between December 1 and January 24. All have been treated successfully and no deaths have been reported.

"It's viral meningitis, not the lethal meningitis, the majority of cases are not even hospitalised. There is no cause for panic at the moment," Champion said.

According to Health24, bacterial meningitis is a life-threatening condition while viral meningitis, which is more common, is generally less serious.

A local response team was activated to monitor and contain the spread of the disease. Patients and their close contacts are screened and monitored daily.

Symptoms

The Western Cape Department of Health says symptoms can be varied, overlapping with various other illnesses. The common signs and symptoms to look out for are:

- Fever, headache, stiff neck, tiredness, sensitivity to light

- Rash, sore throat and vomiting can also occur

- Consult a doctor, clinic, or hospital immediately if a person shows any of the below mentioned danger signs:

- loss of consciousness,

- fits (seizures),

- muscle weakness, or

- a rash consisting of dark, red discolorations all over the body.

How can you prevent getting infected?

eThekwini cracking down on derelict buildings

Amanda Khoza, News24

Durban – One of Durban’s most dilapidated buildings, home to more than 500 people, has been raided and closed, the eThekwini Municipality said on Thursday.

The city was cracking down on landlords who continued to contravene health and safety regulations and building by-laws.

The building, near Joseph Nduli (Russell Street), was closed on Wednesday. It had broken windows, rotting floorboards, and was filled with an unbearable stench.

Senior manager of the Inner City Thekwini Regeneration and Urban Management Programme, Hoosen Moolla, said it was severely run down and being used for illegal accommodation.

Tenants were packed into small cubicles made from wooden planks and paying rent of between R800 to R1 200 per month.
The building’s owner had been served several contravention notices.

Moolla said the closure was intended as a warning to other unscrupulous landlords who were contravening city regulations.

The city had over 120 buildings it was intending to close. It was tackling the problem, using the recently-gazetted Problem Building By-law, which was intended to help identify, control, and rehabilitate problem buildings.

Should owners fail to comply with orders to make their buildings safe and habitable, the city would seek eviction notices.

News24
Source http://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/News/ethekwini-cracking-down-on-dereli...