South African ruling party to cancel anniversary celebrations due to COVID-19.

JOHANNESBURG, Dec. 22-- South Africa's ruling party African National Congress (ANC) canceled its 109th anniversary celebrations due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the party said on Monday.
   The party decided to cancel the ceremony, which was scheduled for Jan. 8, after getting a briefing from Health Minister Zweli Mkhize about the second phase of the pandemic.
   "The prognosis paints a worrying picture and all indications are that the virus will escalate in terms of the rate of infections in all provinces," said the party's spokesperson Pule Mabe, adding that the officials agreed unanimously that it was untimely to go ahead with the celebration in view of the aggressive nature of the pandemic.
   South Africa has been experiencing a surge in COVID-19 as Mkhize reported 9,445 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday.
   "As the leader of society, ANC believes it would not be responsible to continue with any celebrations where people gather, albeit in smaller groups and small numbers," said Mabe.
   He said that the celebrations would be addressed by President Cyril Ramaphosa and beamed on all ANC digital platforms.  Endite