COVID-19 LIVE UPDATES | 142 new Covid-19 cases in SA

20 April 2020 - 08:00 By TimesLIVE
Police and the SANDF patrolled Setjwetla informal settlement in Alexandra on April 20 where residents gathered to protest about the distribution of food parcels.
Police and the SANDF patrolled Setjwetla informal settlement in Alexandra on April 20 where residents gathered to protest about the distribution of food parcels.
Image: Alon Skuy

April 20 2020 - 21:45

Ramaphosa tells ANC that SA needs R1-trillion for Covid-19 relief: insiders

President Cyril Ramaphosa is said to have told an extended meeting of the ANC’s National Working Committee on Monday that he needed to raise R1-trillion immediately to cushion the impact of Covid-19.

This is as the ANC instructed the government to consider a minimum-income support grant that covers those currently falling outside of social grants — particularly informal workers and the unemployed.

Ramaphosa addressed the virtual meeting just after 10am, where he clarified to party leaders that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has guaranteed that loans it has offered to SA “do not come with strings attached”.

April 20 2020 - 21:01

Mkhize reports four more deaths as cases climb to 3,300.

Four more people have died from Covid-19 in SA, taking the death toll to 58.

There were also an additional 142 confirmed cases of the respiratory illness, meaning that the country had officially had 3,300 cases to date.

April 20 2020 - 20:36

Coronavirus infections continue to climb in SA prisons

The department of correctional services on Monday reported 11 new coronavirus infections, bringing the total number of infections in the department to 111.

This number was for both prisoners and those working in prisons.

April 20 2020 - 20:19

WATCH | Food trucks looted as lockdown enters its fourth week

Four trucks were looted in Bishop Lavis, Cape Town police said on Monday.

“Four trucks doing deliveries in the area were pelted with stones and robbed of cargo. Two of these trucks were transporting food parcels to bring relief to the community of Bishop Lavis,” said Sgt Noloyiso Rwexana.

April 20 2020 - 20:12

ANC wants stimulus plan and basic income grant to mitigate Covid-19 impact

The ANC has called for an effective stimulus package that will enable the government to effectively respond to the Covid-19 crisis.

It also wants the government to consider a minimum-income support grant that covers those currently falling outside of social grants — particularly informal workers and the unemployed.

April 20 2020 - 19:43

Shopkeeper arrested for selling cigarettes after cyclist blows his cover

A cyclist caught with three boxes of cigarettes on Monday led police to his cigarette “dealer” on Monday.

Officers stopped him in Parow and he quickly came clean.

April 20 2020 - 19:37

ANC slams members who looted food parcels and defied lockdown laws

The ANC on Monday came out strongly against members who have defied lockdown regulations, looted food parcels and corrupted government procurement processes during the nationwide shutdown.

It has also condemned the partisan use of food parcels and slammed public representatives for politicking.

April 20 2020 - 19:09

Man who peddled 'fake news' about Zim lockdown faces 20 years in jail

A Zimbabwean man who allegedly created and peddled fake Covid-19 news — and who was sternly warned last week by President Emmerson Mnangagwa — was arrested and has appeared in court.

Officials want him to face as many as 20 years behind bars.

April 20 2020 - 18:53

Covid criminals meet justice as Western Cape cops pounce

Covid-19 hasn’t stopped criminals from preying on society — but alleged hijackers stalking the locked-down streets of Browns Farm, in Cape Town, met their match when Nyanga police hunted them down.

Two hijackers were arrested in dramatic fashion on Sunday after they failed to outrun members of Nyanga police’s Browns Farm sector team, who had been deployed in the area in an effort to clamp down on an escalation in hijackings.

April 20 2020 - 18:37

Hout Bay community unites to tackle hunger

Two shrivelled onions and a wilted cabbage leaf were the only food in the fridge at house Z195, off an alley in Imizamo Yethu, in Hout Bay, Cape Town, over the weekend.

“We have been eating pap,” said 16-year-old Thembakazi, who lives there with her grandmother Novusile Matshata and three other children.

April 20 2020 - 18:12

Soldiers snitch on colleagues behaving badly during lockdown deployment

Soldiers deployed across the country are not shielding colleagues breaking the law while on lockdown deployment, says the military ombud.

“To date, we have received 33 complaints [against SANDF members] — 20 of these are from members of the public and 13 are from members of the SANDF members and former members of the SANDF,” Lt-Gen Vusumuzi Masondo told Power 98.7.

April 20 2020 - 17:31

Western Cape Covid-19 cases fast approaching 1,000

There are now more than 900 cases of Covid-19 in the Western Cape, with 17 people in intensive care.

The majority of the cases remain in the Cape Town metro, which accounts for 755 of the 905 cases, according to figures provided by the provincial government on Monday afternoon.

April 20 2020 - 17:28

April 20 2020 - 17:13

Tobacco and alcohol associations demand answers over lockdown bans

The Fair Trade Independent Tobacco Association (Fita) has written to the presidency seeking clarity on how the ban on the sale of cigarettes limits or curbs the spread of Covid-19.

The letter, written on Monday, was addressed to President Cyril Ramaphosa and the ministers of health, police, justice, trade and industry, and co-operative governance and traditional affairs.

In it, Fita seeks clarity on a number of issues, including an explanation on what basis the government contends that the lockdown regulations prohibit the sale of cigarettes.

April 20 2020 - 16:54

Government bans lawyer consultations with prisoners

Lawyers are not allowed to consult clients who are inmates in SA's prisons during the Covid-19 lockdown.

Only those lawyers who apply to the department and whose request meets the “exceptional cases” test will be allowed to consult with prisoners.

Furthermore, national commissioner of prisons Arthur Fraser has banned payment of bail or fines at the country's correctional service facilities.

April 20 2020 - 16:44

April 20 2020 - 16:36

More than 100 arrested in Durban for flouting lockdown regulations

More than 100 people were arrested in greater Durban on Monday as part of a clampdown on residents flouting lockdown regulations.

The arrests follow KwaZulu-Natal premier Sihle Zikalala's announcement on Sunday that authorities would be tightening the leash in the eThekwini district — the epicentre of the Covid-19 pandemic in the province.

April 20 2020 - 16:28

Absurd or cautious? The ban on the sale of cooked hot food debate

The sale of cooked hot food by supermarkets has officially been prohibited.

On Monday, co-operative governance and traditional affairs minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma published a government gazette stating that food products and non-alcoholic beverage sales were allowed, excluding cooked hot food.

The government gazette comes after much-heated debates on the matter.

April 20 2020 - 16:25

Driver's plan to haul avocado load in security firm bakkie goes pear-shaped

Gauteng community safety MEC Faith Mazibuko took to social media to get the attention of a security company after one of its vehicles was caught hauling a load of avocados without a permit during the lockdown.

She tweeted about the driver of the bakkie attempting to travel from Mpumalanga to Gauteng with the unusual cargo.

April 20 2020 - 16:10

Things to do during lockdown to make yourself more employable

With the lockdown causing countless uncertainties for job-seekers, there are still a few things that can help you stay productive during this time.

Jake Willis, CEO of youth employment hub Lulaway, says the best thing that job seekers can do amid the pandemic is to equip themselves with knowledge and skills. This will give them a better chance of breaking into specific industries after the lockdown.

April 20 2020 - 16:04

Government still looking for passengers from cruise ship where people tested positive for Covid-19

The transport and health departments have, for weeks now, struggled to find people who were on board the MSC Orchestra cruise liner where two people tested positive for Covid-19.

This came to light on Monday when the transport department announced that it was “currently” working with the department of health to trace the individuals.

April 20 2020 - 15:58

Many parents fear sending their kids back to school after lockdown

Many parents may not be sending their children back to school once schooling resumes for fear they may contract the coronavirus in the classroom.

Reacting to the department of basic education's proposed scenarios on pupils' seating arrangements in the classroom, which were published in the Sunday Times this week, parents took to Facebook to voice their concerns over social distancing.

April 20 2020 - 15:40

A barber, wearing a face mask to curb the spread of Covid-19, cuts the hair of a policeman near the old bridge in the old city of Mosul, Iraq, on April 18 2020.
A barber, wearing a face mask to curb the spread of Covid-19, cuts the hair of a policeman near the old bridge in the old city of Mosul, Iraq, on April 18 2020.
Image: REUTERS/Abdullah Rashid

April 20 2020 - 15:24

Hunger crisis in SA getting worse due to Covid-19

SA is facing a “food crisis”, and the SA Food Sovereignty Campaign (SASFC) has called on government to ensure that food parcels are distributed to all communities to feed the poor.

“While we commend the government’s efforts to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic, the lockdown has not been accompanied with adequate socio-economic mitigation measures,” the SASFC said in a statement.

The organisation said the government's response to food needs had been inadequate and the Solidarity Fund has not been able to effectively ensure food supply, through food parcels.

April 20 2020 - 15:18

'It's still irrational': government's outright ban on sale of cooked food

The prohibition on the sale of “cooked hot food”, even when spelt out explicitly in the lockdown regulations, is still most likely irrational and open to legal challenge.

That was the word from the legal head at Sakeliga, a not-for-profit organisation representing businesses, in reaction to the minister of co-operative governance and traditional affairs (Cogta) publishing an update to the lockdown rules prohibiting the sale of cooked food.

April 20 2020 - 15:06

WATCH | Kenyan governor under fire for including Hennessy in Covid-19 care packages

April 20 2020 - 15:03

'No student will be left behind' by e-learning: Universities SA

Several universities on Monday instituted online remote learning, while others await a directive from the department of higher education, science and technology.

Though academic assessments are only due to start on May 4, orientation about the use of these online platforms has begun.

Head of Universities SA Prof Ahmed Bawa told TimesLIVE that the underlying principle is that not a single student in the system should be left behind.

April 20 2020 - 14:46

Inmates who can't pay bail for 'petty crimes' could be released on warning

The department of justice and correctional services said inmates detained for minor offences with an option of bail they cannot afford are being considered for release on warning by the courts.

This as overcrowding in the country's prisons continues to pose a challenge to practising physical distancing to limit the impact of the coronavirus.

Correctional services spokesperson Singabakho Nxumalo told TimesLIVE that releasing detainees who could not afford bail after being arrested for petty crimes was “an ongoing process”.

April 20 2020 - 14:25

QUOTES | Sihle Zikalala on intensified eThekwini lockdown: changing behaviours and 'disaster mode'

KwaZulu-Natal premier Sihle Zikalala on Sunday announced that eThekwini residents would be under intensified lockdown restrictions to curb the spread of Covid-19.

Protective measures such as regular screening and testing will be rolled out in areas of major movement, including shopping malls and taxi ranks.

Currently, 77% of new registered Covid-19 cases are in the eThekwini district. The city has also registered the highest death rate and number of contact cases since the start of the pandemic.

April 20 2020 - 14:23

South Africans still stranded in Egypt despite promise of repatriation flight

Forty-three South Africans stranded in Egypt since the lockdown started on March 27 are growing increasingly anxious about their return to SA.

Last week, plans for their repatriation hit a snag when their flight planned for April 14 was cancelled because SA Airways (SAA) didn't have landing rights.

Another plan hatched last week was for the South Africans in Egypt to charter a flight to Morocco to join fellow South Africans in that country for a flight back to SA. That plan did not materialise because they could not afford the R800,000 needed for the charter flight.

April 20 2020 - 14:17

Johannesburg pub turns to crowdfunding to keep staff afloat

The Jolly Roger, a pub in Parkhurst, northern Johanesburg, had raised R109,000 by Monday in a crowdfunding drive to help pay staff during the lockdown.

In its plea on on April 8, titled Help Save the Jolly Roger, owner LeBrun Rossouw said during times when physical distancing was mandatory, this was a death sentence for businesses like the pub.

“The reality is that this leaves us closed for an unforeseen period, and if we do reopen it’ll take time to get back to 'business as usual'. As a result, our staff will be hit the hardest,” Rossouw said.

SANDF member walks past the taxi rank vegetable vendors.
SANDF member walks past the taxi rank vegetable vendors.
Image: Alon Skuy

April 20 2020 - 14:11

WATCH | 'Happy feet' take over Simon’s Town streets during lockdown

A Cape colony has ignored the lockdown regulations and taken over the streets of the Mother City.

While the country is under lockdown to halt the spread of the deadly Covid-19 virus, penguins took advantage of the peace and quiet and gallivanted about the concrete surroundings in Simon's Town.

#Lockdown has its perks for #Africanpenguins in Simon’s Town. This is one of the reasons why our Penguin Rangers have...

Posted by SANCCOB saves seabirds on Friday, 17 April 2020

WATCH | Addicts forced into sobriety during Covid-19 lockdown

When SA's lockdown took effect, homeless people around the country were rounded up and placed in shelters. Many of these people are drug addicts who were forced into sobriety.

The Solid Ground Church in Middleburg, Mpumalanga, is home to about 100 homeless people, and around half are addicts. 

Dr Mohammed Siddique Tayob started assisting the makeshift shelter's feeding programme. 

April 20 2020 13:11

POLL | Should the lockdown ciggie ban be lifted?

While the lockdown continues to curb the spread of coronavirus, government maintains that, like alcohol, the sale of cigarettes will remain a non-essential item.

Health minister Zweli Mkhize said at the weekend that cigarettes had a negative effect on health and placed smokers at a higher risk of contracting the coronavirus.

April 20 2020 - 13:09

Bored South Africans increasingly falling prey to 'sextortion' during lockdown

Extortion over sexually explicit content is becoming an “extremely profitable” cyber crime during SA's lockdown.

This is according to security specialists and law experts who have seen an increase in this type of online criminal activity during the mandatory confinement.

Cyber criminals, particularly “sextortionists”, are capitalising on the fact that many South Africans are online while staying at home. These criminals are duping people into sharing explicit material of themselves, and then threatening to expose them if money or sexual favours are not given.

April 20 2020 - 13:04

Clock is ticking for Patel to make decision on cooked-food ban

Trade and industry minister Ebrahim Patel wants more time to respond to Sakeliga after the organisation threatened with legal action over the ban and sale of cooked food.

The non-profit organisation gave the minister until 9am on Monday to explain the ban or they would head to court. Legal analyst at Sakeliga Daniel du Plessis told TimesLIVE that Patel asked to be given until Wednesday to get legal advice on the matter.

But in a published government gazette on Monday, by the minister of cooperative governance and traditional affairs (Cogta), the words “excluding cooked hot food” were added to the lockdown regulations, prohibiting its sale. The department’s Mlungisi Mtshali said the gazette had been updated and it was now “in writing” that cooked food was banned from being sold.

April 20 2020 - 12:42

Harsh consequences for 'disgusting' food parcel thieves: Cyril Ramaphosa

Disturbing and disgusting.

These were the words used by President Cyril Ramaphosa to describe allegations about officials stealing and selling food parcels meant to alleviate hunger among poor South Africans during the lockdown.

The president said the individuals concerned would be dealt with harshly should the allegations be found to be true.

April 20 2020 - 12:27

Trade minister Ebrahim Patel under fire for cooked-food ban during lockdown

The DA has given minister of trade and industry Ebrahim Patel until 2pm on Monday to explain which lockdown regulation he relied upon to declare the sale of cooked food as prohibited during the lockdown.

The official opposition's shadow minister of trade and industry, Dean Macpherson, has threatened legal action should Patel fail to explain his pronouncements, which the party said were “absurd, invalid, illogical and ill-considered”. 

Patel pronounced the ban on the sale of cooked food last week after the announcement of the amended regulations.

April 20 2020 - 12:23

Man breaks into locked-down restaurant, knocks back 70 bottles of booze

A man has been arrested in Connecticut in the US after apparently breaking into a closed restaurant,  where he ate and drank supplies for four days.

On facebook New Haven police said Louis Angel Ortiz was found after a manager for the Soul de Cuba Cafe found him asleep in the restaurant.

Apparently he left, and police officers found him nearby with a bottle of the restaurant's rum.

New Haven Burglar Serves Himself in Restaurant for Four Days Tuesday, April 14, 2020, around 11:30 a.m., officers...

Posted by New Haven Police Department on Wednesday, 15 April 2020

April 20 2020 - 12:14

KZN department of health gives beleaguered Durban hospital a week to move dialysis patients

The KwaZulu-Natal health department has given St Augustine's hospital a week to move dialysis patients out of its centre after several patients there tested positive for Covid-19.

The centre, which is housed in a building separate from the main hospital, was allowed to continue operating because of a shortage of dialysis centres. This came amid a directive from the provincial department to shut down St Augustine's after 66 people there tested positive for the coronavirus.

“As of Wednesday, we were informed that about seven patients in that facility had been found to be positive. We are now faced with a situation where we have to instruct, and have indicated to St Augustine's, that they must find alternative centres for these patients to receive dialysis,” said KwaZulu-Natal health MEC Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu.

April 20 2020 - 11:55

Taxis with 100 passengers turned back as cops spot 'fake funeral permits'

A 44-year-old taxi owner allegedly behind arranging fake permits to allow a number of  taxis to travel from the Western Cape to the Eastern Cape has been arrested.

This is according to a statement released by Eastern Cape transport MEC Weziwe Tikana-Gxothiwe.

The 11 taxis carrying more than 100 passengers travelled during the national lockdown but were denied entry into the province and sent back to the Western Cape on April 17, reports HeraldLIVE.

April 20 2020 - 11:54

2,771 people traced after contact with Gauteng Covid-19 cases are cleared

The Gauteng province has to date recorded 1,148 Covid-19 cases and 551 recoveries.

“A total of 2,771 people have been discharged, these are individuals who were confirmed contacts and have since been cleared,” the provincial health department said in a statement.

Six Covid-19 deaths have been recorded in the province, the department said.

April 20 2020 - 11:52

Staff at food retail stores in Alexandra and Port Elizabeth contract Covid-19

Two Pick n Pay staff members at Alex Mall in Alexandra, north of Johannesburg, have tested positive for Covid-19 along with more staff at Woolworths and Shoprite in Port Elizabeth.

The head of communications at the mall in Alex, Gayle Crow, said the store was being “thoroughly sanitised” and all the necessary protocols and procedures were being followed.

"We have been in contact with the relevant senior management at Pick n Pay and would like to commend them for the swift, decisive action they have taken concerning the wellbeing of their staff and of the community that may have been affected."

April 20 2020 - 11:11

Sars to jump in should UIF systems crash - minister Thulas Nxesi on Covid-19 claims

The SA Revenue Service (Sars) will help with the payments of Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) claims should the labour department’s systems crash because of the high volumes of claims received, labour and employment minister Thulas Nxesi said on Monday.

“We realised from the beginning when we started with the Covid-19 benefits that the systems we had were not designed for these high volumes. Sars is waiting on the sidelines in case our systems crashes,” Nxesi said during an interview on the breakfast show on 702 radio with host Bongani Bingwa.

Despite this, Nxesi said, the department had processed almost R1bn in the UIF's Temporary Employee/Employer Relief Scheme (Ters).

April 20 2020 - 10:50

'Lockdown shows how poverty, inequality, unemployment are tearing SA apart': Ramaphosa

President Cyril Ramaphosa says the Covid-19 lockdown has brought into sharp focus how poverty, inequality and unemployment continue to tear various communities in SA apart.

In his weekly newsletter, Ramaphosa said although it was necessary in order to contain the spread of the pandemic, the lockdown has highlighted the mammoth task government has in address these socio-economic discrepancies in  South Africa's poorest communities.

"Our lockdown has revealed a very sad fault line in our society that reveals how grinding poverty, inequality and unemployment is tearing the fabric of our communities apart."

April 20 2020 - 09:19

WATCH | Message to the coronavirus inspired by Cyril Ramaphosa and SA citizens

April 20 2020 - 09:02

Zwelinzima Vavi says he hasn't recovered from Covid-19

April 20 2020 - 08:13

Communities wash away lockdown blues with ‘barter’ deals

Nomusa Nkosi, 63, is too scared to go out to buy essentials during lockdown, so she had to make a plan.

And where did she find her win-win solution? In her neighbour’s laundry.

April 20 2020 - 08:06

Will wearing gloves protect you from Covid-19?

April 20 2020 - 07:52

St Mary's Cathedral Parish in Cape Town plundered and vandalised

Cape Town's St Mary's Cathedral Parish was broken into and vandalised over the weekend.

The crime occurred while churches are closed to the public, hosting remote services under regulations in line with the national Covid-19 lockdown.

Bishop Sylvester David said the church was broken into in the early hours of Saturday morning.

April 20 2020 - 07:50

Cops arrested for drinking alcohol at tavern, others arrested for corruption

Five Free State police officers, including a reservist, were arrested after they were allegedly part of a group drinking at a local tavern over the weekend.

National police spokesperson Brig Vish Naidoo said the five members from the Namahadi police station in Phuthaditjhaba were allegedly drinking at the tavern on Saturday.

They initially escaped as members were about to pounce on them, but were arrested on Sunday when they reported for duty, Naidoo said.

April 20 2020 - 07:45

Lindiwe Sisulu warns against land grabs under lockdown

Minister of human settlements, water and sanitation Lindiwe Sisulu has warned against land invasions under the Covid-19 lockdown.

"As we put measures in place to contain the spread of the virus, let us be mindful of individuals who might seize this opportunity for their selfish interests. People should not embark on land invasions."

April 2020 2020 - 07:20


April 20 2020 - 07:15

Cry fowl: Cyril ‘courts disaster’ over booze, smokes, cooked chicken

Cooked chicken could soon give the state an unexpected headache – possibly a lawsuit.It's the latest instalment of a fight over the ban on alcohol, cigarette and precooked-food sales.

April 20 2020 - 07:10

How clinic queues are shaping up as virus breeding grounds

Physical distancing is being enforced inside clinics and hospitals, but outside people are gathering in tight-knit crowds, creating a perfect opportunity for the coronavirus to spread.

Tessa Born, 49, who lives opposite Hanover Park clinic in Cape Town, has tried to take matters into her own hands.

“We made strips on the floor to show where people must stand,” she said, explaining that every morning she goes out and “tries to control it” herself.

April 20 2020 - 07:00

Man arrested for trying to ‘smuggle’ girlfriend out of Gauteng in car boot

A man was arrested at a roadblock in Gauteng when he attempted to “smuggle” his girlfriend out of Gauteng, MEC for safety and community Faith Mazibuko said.

Mazibuko said the car was stopped and searched at a roadblock on the N12 on Friday.

When officers asked the man to open his boot, they found the woman inside, she said.

He was travelling without a permit.  

Mazibuko said the woman was also arrested because “she consented to be smuggled”.