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Bheki Mlangeni Hospital shut down until further notice after fire breaks out

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Soweto – Bheki Mlangeni Hospital has been shut down until further notice after a fire broke out in the Human Resource office of the facility, resulting in 86 patients being evacuated.

No one was injured and all the patients were successfully sent to other health facilities in the area when the fire broke out around 8.30am on Monday morning.

Chris Hani Baragwanath received 23 high care patients and neonates. Twelve surgical patients were taken to South Rand Hospital, eight patients to Rahima Moosa, 30 medical patients to Lenasia South while 13 psychiatric patients were taken to Sterkfontein.

Gauteng Department of Health’s Lesemang Matuka said they employed a company that will guide them as to when the hospital may open its doors again.

“Bheki Mlangeni hospital is currently on divert and we would like to appeal to the healthcare users to utilise surrounding healthcare facilities until further notice,” Matuka said.

“The hospital has paused all duties and the building can’t be occupied by the patients and staff members until the smoke has completely cleared,” he added.

Matuka said the cause of the fire was not yet known and full investigations and assessment of the damage will  be done by the relevant authorities.

The hospital is one of the ‘state of the art’ healthcare facilities that was opened in 2014 with capacity of 3900 beds catering for the catchment population of about 2 million from western and northern Soweto.

The City of Johannesburg’s Emergency Management Services spokesperson Robert Mulaudzi said no injuries were reported during the incident.  

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Tuna Mina! Ramaphosa grabs fish and chips ahead of SONA

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President Cyril Ramaphosa surprised Capetonians on Tuesday when he stopped in at a local takeaway spot for some humble fish and chips.

Taking a break from his busy schedule, Ramaphosa leaned against the counter at the Palace Fisheries in Salt River and said to delighted staff: “I am told you are the best fish and chips shop in town.”

He beamed as he grabbed his lunch parcel, a quick stop in between meetings and preparations ahead of the State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Thursday.

Citizens mostly welcomed his visit on social media, commenting that it was good to see he was a people’s president.

Heritage activist Patric Tariq Mellet shared on Facebook that Ramaphosa’s visit touched him.

“[He] did not hold himself sturvey but spoke lekker to the the ladies behind the counter enquiring about their wellbeing and their wares and also went out to chat with the people gathering outside while he waited for his parcel. Two ouens came along and reciprocated respectful of his presence and gave him two fish,” Mellet shared.

“This is how it should be…. a President in constant communion with his people. The days of politicians becoming an elite class of untouchable nobility must be put behind us. CR needs to get all of his ministers doing the same. Most [of] the ministers are strangers to ordinary folks and need to come down from [a] high.”

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PICS: Firefighters save two-week-old baby – and then spoil her with clothes, gifts

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As if saving a two-week-old baby was not heroic enough, a group of firefighters in Belhar, Cape Town, followed up their life-saving act with a heart-warming act of kindness last week.

On June 1, firefighters were called on to resuscitate Bronlyn-Lee Jansen.

The baby’s mother, Chantel Jansen, had rushed her to the fire station after she had stopped breathing.

The firefighters sprang into action, clearing mucus from her airways and administering oxygen. After several tense minutes, Bronlyn-Lee started crying and regained her natural colour after she had initially turned blue.

“Usually, we don’t have good results with babies. We try our utmost and give our utmost support and expertise to the patient, and this time we were lucky to revive this baby. So there’s a good ending to this story,” said firefighter Alroy Pieterse.

Belhar firefighters

Bronlyn-Lee Jansen was saved by these fire officers. (City of Cape Town)                       

Pieterse’s colleague, Liesl George, then initiated the follow-up visit.

“I just had to see her, alive and kicking, because when they left the station, we never heard from them again, and I just had to see her. I went to their house and then the mom came out and she was all pink and dressed up and she looked so cute,” said George.

On June 14, Jansen and her now four-week-old daughter visited the Belhar fire station to thank the staff for their heroics, but little did she know that she was in for a surprise.

Belhar firefighters

Mum Chantel Jansenand baby Bronlyn-Lee Jansenwith the Belhar firefighters. (City of Cape Town)

George had rallied her colleagues and contacts to collect an assortment of baby clothes and products to hand over to their young patient.

“These selfless acts where staff members go above and beyond the call of duty fill me with immense pride, because it embodies the spirit of safety and security, which is to serve and protect our residents. I applaud the actions of the staff members, not only in saving the life of little Bronlyn-Lee, but also the added joy they’ve brought to her and her family through their kind-heartedness,” said the City’s mayoral committee member for safety and security, JP Smith.

Belhar firefighters

The group of Belhar firefighters also donated baby clothing and products. (City of Cape Town)

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Tunisia approves law excluding presidential candidate leading in polls

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TUNIS (Reuters) – Tunisia’s parliament passed an amendment to its electoral law on Tuesday that would bar businessman Nabil Karoui, owner of a private TV station critical of the government, from running for president in a vote expected later this year.

The amendment says that Tunisia’s elections commission must reject candidates who benefit from “charitable associations” or foreign funding during the year before an election.

In April, police stormed the offices of Karoui’s Nesma television station and took it off the air over accusations it had breached broadcasting rules, which Nesma called a move to silence its voice criticizing the government.

Karoui, who polls show to be in the lead in the presidential campaign, ahead of the prime minister and incumbent president, described parliament’s action on Tuesday as “a strong setback to nascent democracy”.

“It is a law dedicated to my exclusion from the race after polls revealed that millions of Tunisians intend to vote for me,” Karoui told Reuters.

Karoui founded the Khalil Tounes Foundation in 2017 to provide aid to the needy in the economically troubled North African country and the charity garnered widespread publicity thanks to coverage by Nesma.

The police raid in April followed the revocation of the Nesma channel’s licence last year by broadcasting regulator HAICA. It fined Nesma for broadcasts the body described as exploiting poor people and promoting Karoui’s political agenda.

Nesma rejected the fines and said it did not recognize the rulings by HAICA, which it said were motivated by the broadcaster’s criticism of the government.

The government, a coalition of the secular Tahya Tounes party and the moderate Islamist Ennahda party, has denied any responsibility for rulings by the HAICA.

Nesma has since resumed broadcasting without a license and police to date have taken no further action.

Government spokesman Iyad Dahmani said political parties had been banned from receiving support from charities or foreign funds since 2014, and Tuesday’s decision had extended the measure to independents like Karoui “to protect democracy”.

Parliamentary elections are expected to be held on Oct. 6 with a presidential vote following on Nov. 17.

Among the declared presidential candidates are Hamadi Jbeli, the former Islamist prime minister, and Karoui.

Tunisia has been hailed as the only democratic success of the Arab Spring uprisings against dictatorship, with a new constitution and free elections in 2011 and 2014.

But political progress has not been matched by economic advances. Unemployment stands at about 15 percent, up from 12 percent in 2010, due to weak growth and low investment.

Reporting by Tarek Amara; Editing by Mark Heinrich

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