COVID-19 WRAP | Death toll reaches 90 while number of infections creep closer to 5000

27 April 2020 - 09:34 By TimesLIVE
President Cyril Ramaphosa during his visual Freedom Day speech on April 27 2020.
President Cyril Ramaphosa during his visual Freedom Day speech on April 27 2020.
Image: GCIS

The live updates for Monday, April 27 are now closed. Below is a summary of the main events of the day.


April 27 2020 - 21:00

SA's Covid-19 death toll reaches 90 

Health Minister Zweli Mkhize on Monday evening said the total number of Covid-19 infections in South Africa stood at 4793 while a total of 90 people had died, with the Western Cape and Gauteng provinces having the most confirmed cases.

April 27 2020 - 17:10

WATCH | Chatsworth father and son serenade neighbours and frontline workers with Freedom Day concert

The Sound of Silence echoed through Road 734 in Unit 7, Chatsworth on Monday as a Durban father and son held a Freedom Day street concert from their balcony to honour thousands of frontline workers battling the Covid-19 pandemic.

Bala, 63, and Patrick Moodley, 32, serenaded their neighbours in Chatsworth, south of Durban, with a number of songs including the classic Simon and Garkfunkel hit to keep their spirits up during the Covid-19 crisis. 

April 27 2020 - 16:38

We can’t be saying ‘happy freedom day’ while many are starving, says Nelson Mandela Foundation

The Nelson Mandela Foundation on Monday highlighted that SA was not a free nation if the basic needs of all people were not taken care, especially during the coronavirus epidemic.

“On this day of Freedom Day, we can never say to people ‘happy Freedom Day when we know that [the less fortunate] are starving,” said Sello Hatang, CEO of the Nelson Mandela Foundation.

 “We must go back to the words of Madiba in 1993. On the eve of our democracy being achieved he said that voting alone is not enough. All of us must strive to ensure that people have water, that people have bread and that they have shelter,” Hatang said.

April 27 2020 - 16:21

ANC Youth want ciggies banned again to help curb the spread of Covid-19

The ANC youth task team has criticised as ill-advised the decision to unban the sale of cigarettes under Level 4 of the Covid-19 lockdown scheduled to come into effect on Monday.

In a statement issued on Monday, the ANC’s national youth task team (NYTT) which has been running the affairs of the ANCYL since the disbandment of that structure last year, said it was concerned about the decision taken by the National Command Team which allows the sale, manufacturing and distribution of tobacco products under Level 4 regulations. 

The ANC NYTT described the decision as ill-advised, adding it could undo the work achieved in trying to flatten the curve. 

April 27 2020 - 15:50

'Let us emerge from Covid-19 a more equal society': Ramaphosa

President Cyril Ramaphosa has called for SA to rise above the current difficulties and come out of the coronavirus pandemic with a 'new consciousness'.

In his virtual Freedom Day address Ramaphosa said it is important for the country to forge a new society that has its people at the centre. 

April 27 2020 - 15:42

President Ramaphosa calls for a new post Covid-19 society

President Cyril Ramaphosa envisioned a new society in his Freedom Day address on Monday where no person goes to bed hungry, saying the novel coronavirus pandemic has forced SA to confront its high poverty and inequality levels.

In his online Freedom Day address, Ramaphosa said now was the time to build a fair and just country.

“In the SA that we all want, no man, no woman or child will go hungry because they will have the means to earn an income and our social assistance programmes will be matched by efforts to enable communities to grow their own food.

“In this new society, the provision of services to our people is the foremost priority of the government. The public servant understands that they are just that, a servant of their people,” said Ramaphosa. 

April 27 2020 - 15:29 

Western Cape has highest number of Covid-19 patients in ICU

The Western Cape has the highest number of Covid-19 patients in ICU, the national health department said on Monday.

Nineteen people were in ICU, while seven were in high care in the province.

President Cyril Ramaphosa during his visual Freedom Day speech on April 27 2020.
President Cyril Ramaphosa during his visual Freedom Day speech on April 27 2020.
Image: GCIS

April 27 2020 - 15:28

Alleged school thieves caught in Limpopo

Seven people believed to have been involved in break-ins at residences and school properties in the Mankweng area have been arrested, Limpopo police said on Monday.

The arrests were carried out on Sunday, shortly after two of them were found in possession of goods alleged to have been stolen at one of the schools in the area.

“The team gathered more information on the other possible suspects involved in these burglaries. Five more were then arrested at different locations and were allegedly found in possession of other suspected stolen properties,” said Brigadier Motlafela Mojapelo.

April 27 2020 - 14:57

Jackson Mthembu's #vibrators slip-up has social media in stitches

April 27 2020 - 14:55

'Don't be scared SA, we will beat this': KZN doctor on Covid-19

A KwaZulu-Natal doctor has offered a message of hope to all South Africans and health care workers who find themselves staring down the barrel of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Doctor Buyisiwe Mabaso, medical manager of Clairwood Hospital south of Durban, said the initial fear and anxiety that Covid-19 brought with it had somewhat run its course and was now being replaced by motivation. 

Mabaso spoke to TimesLIVE after a Freedom Day address by provincial premier Sihle Zikalala at the hospital on Monday. 

April 27 2020 14:54

More than 1.2m screened for virus in Gauteng

More than 1.2 million people have been screened for the coronavirus in Gauteng, the provincial health department said on Monday.

“Since embarking on the large scale community screening and testing campaign at the beginning of April, 1,298,266 have been screened, which is approximated at 8% of the population of Gauteng,” health MEC Bandile Masuku said in a statement.

“Of the people screened, 13,558 were tested. The province is sitting at 1,331 positive cases, eight deaths and 868 recoveries.” 

The department of health rolled out Covid-19 screening and testing stations across Alexandra township, Johannesburg on April 27 2020.
The department of health rolled out Covid-19 screening and testing stations across Alexandra township, Johannesburg on April 27 2020.

April 27 2020 - 13:56

Malema wants Covid-19 grants made permanent 'if you want peace in SA'

EFF leader Julius Malema has called on the SA government to not do away with the unemployment income grant introduced to mitigate the impact of Covid-19 but rather increase it to R1,000 “if you want peace in this country”.

Malema was speaking during a Freedom Day online address on Monday.

He further called for the increases, introduced for the next six months in the old age grant and child-support grant, to be permanent and raised further.

Malema said the unemployment income grant, meant only for the next six months and set at R350, must be upped to R1,000 and continue beyond the Covid-19 crisis.

April 27 2020 - 13:55

Expect more cluster outbreaks under Level 4 - Zweli Mkhize

The Western Cape's Covid-19 cluster outbreaks indicate what may happen when more sectors open up for business under level 4 lockdown regulations, starting next month.

“I think the example of the Western Cape is what's going to happen. We must expect that there would be areas where we will say we can proceed with bringing up normal economic activities and open up various industries and transport routes and so on, but there will be areas where we might have to stop that and say we thought this was safe, it's no longer safe, let's go back,” health minister Zweli Mkhize told a meeting of parliament's oversight committees.

“It's not going to ever be a straightforward issue. If in one instance we would have understood that the rate of transmission is still very high, we would actually reduce the numbers of industries that must be started and be put in operation immediately,” he said on Monday.

April 27 2020 - 13:40

'Dreadlock man' in uniform bust for impersonating soldier in Gauteng

Five people have been arrested in separate incidents for impersonating a police officer, a soldier and member of the emergency services - complete with flashing lights - Gauteng police said on Monday.

Capt Mavela Masondo said a 25-year-old man was arrested in Heidelberg on Sunday after he was walking about, dressed in a full military uniform.

Community members alerted police about the “dreadlock man” in uniform and he was  arrested shortly afterwards.

April 27 2020 - 13:36

FREEDOM DAY | 'We have no food parcels, no tractors - and our councillor is nowhere to be seen'

For residents of Tildin, 20km outside King William’s Town, their local clinic may be in a poor state of repair, but they are happy with the service it provides.

Ahead of Freedom Day, villagers told TimesLIVE that while for them it’s just another day, they are grateful for the Punzana clinic, which serves them and eight surrounding villages.

But the village folk don’t visit much these days because they’re afraid of the coronavirus.

Punzana clinic was built in 1965 by missionaries and the original structure hasn’t changed. And with the coronavirus and lockdown, nurses say they have seen few people visiting.

April 27 2020 - 13:35

WATCH | 'Happy' tears as postponed wedding couple get surprise 'visit' from guests

Tears of joy and hope to get through the nationwide lockdown - much needed therapy for everyone.

These are the emotions a couple from Johannesburg experienced when family and friends made a surprise celebration video to “lift their mood”.

Their wedding, which was due to take place on Sunday, had to be postponed because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

April 27 2020 - 13:06

'Cyril will have blood on his hands if people die from Covid-19 for rushing to reopen economy': Malema

If any employee contracts Covid-19 and dies during the partial reopening of the SA economy that kicks in on Friday, the government and employers must be held accountable says EFF leader Julius Malema.

He was delivering his party's Freedom Day message on Monday.

Malema said the decision by government to ease the lockdown by lowering it from level 5  to level 4, enabling 1.5m workers to gradually resume their duties, with a number of companies reopening for business, was reckless.

April 27 2020 - 10:36

Woolworths in Ballito Junction closes after staff member tests positive for Covid-19

The Woolworths store in Ballito Junction on the KwaZulu-Natal north coast has closed after a staff member tested positive for Covid-19.

"On Friday, 24th April, we were advised that a team member from our Ballito Junction store had tested positive for the Covid-19 virus and is now recovering at home in isolation."

April 27 2020 - 09:50

Covid-19: Parents must wait as government briefing on schooling postponed

Parents, pupils, teachers and education stakeholders will have to wait a little longer to hear when schooling will resume.

Monday's much-anticipated address by basic education minister Angie Motshekga has been postponed to later this week.

Basic education department spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga said the postponement “was necessitated by the need to align with other interventions that are to be taken by the National Command Council later this week”.

April 27 2020 - 09:45

Durban likely to remain at level 5 come May 1, says KZN premier

While many other cities across SA will downgrade to level four on Friday, there is a good chance that eThekwini will not.

KwaZulu-Natal's economic hub has been deemed the epicentre of the Covid-19 pandemic in the province with 579 positive cases.

KZN premier Sihle Zikalala gave a provincial breakdown of the cases on Sunday during a media briefing.

At least 217 Cuban health specialists arrive in South Africa to support efforts to curb the spread of Covid-19 on April 26 2020.
At least 217 Cuban health specialists arrive in South Africa to support efforts to curb the spread of Covid-19 on April 26 2020.
Image: GCIS

April 27 2020 - 09:20

WATCH | Cuban medical team arrives in SA to bolster fight against virus

More than 200 medical health specialists from Cuba have arrived in SA to bolster efforts to curb the spread of Covid-19.

The group consists of experts in epidemiology, biostatistics, and public health, family physicians, health care technology engineers and experts to provide technical assistance.

“Cuba is known for its disaster preparedness and its consistent deployment of medical brigades for disaster relief wherever required,” health minister Zweli Mkhize said in a statement on Sunday.

April 27 2020 - 09:19

WATCH | Smugglers, patrols & desperation — shambles at SA’s R37m Covid border fence


April 27 2020 - 09:18

Taxi driver with 'no passengers' at roadblock is bust for illegal gun instead

A taxi driver who told police at a roadblock that fearful passengers had abandoned the vehicle, leaving behind their luggage, was arrested when police found an illegal firearm in one of the bags.  

Police minister Bheki Cele, accompanied by Gauteng community safety MEC Faith Mazibuko, provincial police commissioner Lt-Gen Elias Mawela, Tshwane metro police chief Johanna Nkomo, and other law enforcement agencies carried out several roadblocks on Saturday evening in Gauteng.

A total of 97 suspects were arrested for various contraventions of the Covid-19 lockdown regulations.