COVID-19 WRAP | No to cigarettes or alcohol, but yes to exercise - as SA cases climb in biggest single-day jump

29 April 2020 - 09:30 By TimesLIVE
Cogta minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma addresses a briefing on the level 4 restrictions on Wednesday night.
Cogta minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma addresses a briefing on the level 4 restrictions on Wednesday night.
Image: GCIS

April 29 2020 - 22:46

Decision to ban cigarette sales 'not draconian': Dlamini-Zuma

Co-operative governance and traditional affairs (Cogta) minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has defended the government's apparent U-turn on the ban on cigarette sales, saying the decision was a collective one that came after public comments.

She insisted that the strict measures in place to combat Covid-19 were not “draconian” — and that the decision to extend the ban on tobacco was guided by science.

April 29 2020 - 22:15

Domestic workers and gardeners not allowed back at work

Trade and industry minister Ebrahim Patel said on Wednesday night that the country's 1-million domestic employees would not all be returning to work at the same time.

Asked whether domestic workers would be allowed to work when the country moved into level 4 restrictions from Friday, Patel said: "There about 1 million people in the category of services rendered at home, from domestic workers, gardeners, and other services in the home. The intention is not for all of the million people to return."

He said that those who catered for child care, care for the aged, and live-in workers would be allowed under level 4.

"In level 3 there would be additional numbers of people returning to work," Patel said.

April 29 2020 - 22:01

Tourism activities likely to be grounded until December: minister

Tourism minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane says all activities in the sector are likely to be grounded until the first week of December.

She also said finance minister Tito Mboweni has apologised for a comment he made in a press briefing where he said that “tourism is dead” — and clarified what he meant.

April 29 2020 - 21:24

10 new Covid-19 deaths, biggest jump in cases recorded in last 24 hours

South Africa on Wednesday recorded its single biggest 24-hour jump in Covid-19 cases, as the tally surged to 5,350.

This was an increase of 354 cases from Tuesday.

April 29 2020 - 21:05

Lawsuit looms over cigarette sales ban

The Fair-Trade Independent Tobacco Association (Fita) has said it was consulting lawyers over a decision on Wednesday that cigarettes would not be sold under level 4 lockdown restrictions.

Cogta minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said on Wednesday that due to "health-related" concerns, the sales of cigarettes, tobacco and related products - including vaping - would not be allowed. But it seems a fight is already looming.

Fita said that it was "consulting" with lawyers on an urgent court application "first thing in the morning".

"Let a court of law adjudicate on this issue once and for all," Fita tweeted.

April 29 2020 - 21:00

Buses and trains back 'under strict hygiene conditions'

Expect to see buses and trains back in operation when SA goes into level 4 of the lockdown, Cogta minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said on Wednesday. This was to accommodate the increased number of people returning to work.

"In terms of public transport, there will be taxis, as there are now, private cars, as there are now, e-hailing, as there is now - but because more people will be going to work then other forms of transport like buses and rail would be open," said Dlamini-Zuma.

These would be under “strict hygiene conditions”.

Transport minister Fikile Mbalula was tasked with outlining the specifics.

“He will issue directions of how this will happen,” said Dlamini-Zuma.

April 29 2020 - 20:50

Stay away from theatres, swimming pools and beaches under level 4

Cogta minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said that "places where people gather" would remain closed despite some easing of the nationwide lockdown. This included beaches, swimming pools and parks.

"And we are saying that places where people normally gather, there is a whole list… places like public parks, sports grounds, swimming pools, beaches, flea markets, many other things like nightclubs, casinos theatres, you name it… it’s still not allowed.

“So people are not allowed to go to those places," she said.

April 29 2020 - 20:15

No salons or beauty parlours can operate: Dlamini-Zuma

It was "not possible" for beauty salons, hairdressers and nail care stores to open, Cogta minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said on Wednesday.

She said there were a lot of people who wrote it requesting these services, but she said it wasn't possible to allow it.

"There is no social distancing. People are touching, and so on. We heard you, but we can't allow it at this point because it's too risky for the spread of the virus," she said.

April 29 2020 - 20:05

Alcohol still banned under level 4

Alcohol and cigarettes would not be allowed under level 4 restrictions, government said on Wednesday night.

"Alcohol is not allowed yet on level 4," Cogta minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said.

On top of this, for "health reasons", cigarettes, tobacco and related products - including vaping - would also not be allowed.

However, the restaurants and fast food industries were thrown a short lifeline on Wendesday, with Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma saying that they would be allowed to operate. However, they would not be allowed to have sit-ins, with deliveries to home the only permitted operation.

All agricultural products - including wine and wool - would be allowed for export, she added.

April 29 2020 - 19:55

'Once-off movement' for people who need to travel between provinces

Cogta minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said on Wednesday night that people who left cities or provinces to go home ahead of the announcement of the national lockdown would be allowed to travel back for work, if their companies were opening under level 4 restrictions.

However, she said, this was a "once-off movement".

"Once they've arrived, they cannot go home for weekend days. There is no commuting, going up and down," she said.

Dlamini-Zuma stressed that the countries borders remained closed, except for exceptional services, including repatriation and movement of goods.

She added that "recreational visits" were not allowed. 

April 29 2020 - 19:45

Go to work and then go home, Dlamini-Zuma says

South Africans made more than 70,000 submissions to government over the proposed regulations under level 4 of the nationwide lockdown, Cogta minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma. Over 22,000 of these people "wanted exercise".

"We still expect everyone to be at home, and we will then mention the exceptions and that you may only leave home if you are doing to work or perform any function allowed under level 4," she said.

"Under these regulations, you can cycle, you can run, you can walk - but it will have to be within your neighbourhood, within 5km of your home. And it will not be under organised groups. You can't run as a club or a group. You can also do it between 6am and 9am," she said.

After work, said Dlamini-Zuma, people were not allowed to visit relatives or any other social gatherings.

"It's not a licence for now coming back from work that you're allowed to visit your friends. No. You have to come back and go back home," she said.

April 29 2020 - 19:20

WATCH LIVE | Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma explains SA's level 4 restrictions

South Africans should get a better understanding of what level 4 restrictions mean from 7.30pm on Wednesday.

Co-operative governance and traditional affairs minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma is scheduled to address a briefing on the new level of lockdown restrictions, which kick in from Friday May 1.

April 29 2020 - 18:57

IN PICS | Durban cops use sjamboks and plastic pipes to enforce lockdown

People flouting Covid-19 regulations in Durban's central business district on Wednesday felt the full wrath of police, who attempted to keep them off the streets by beating them with sjamboks and plastic pipes.

Those found loitering scattered as a handful of police officers chased them through the streets of the CBD.

April 29 2020 - 18:51

Cabinet to meet on Thursday to decide when kids go back to school

When South African kids will return to school will only be determined after a cabinet meeting on Thursday morning — and the safety of children is the priority.

This is according to the basic education department, which has on Wednesday evening that the briefing to parliament earlier in the day — during which confusion was created over when children would return to school — was the “last leg” in the consultation process over the return date.

April 29 2020 - 18:43

Company to pay R10.9m for inflating mask prices during Covid-19 disaster

A distributor of face masks and other personal protective equipment (PPE) has agreed to pay R10.9m for inflating its gross profit margins on essential hygiene products during the Covid-19 disaster period, the Competition Commission said on Wednesday.

The commission said it has referred to the Competition Tribunal, for confirmation as an order, a consent agreement it reached with Matus, which admitted to inflating the prices of dust masks during this period.

April 29 2020 - 18:01

Tanzania opposition slams 'state of denial' over coronavirus

Tanzania's main opposition leader on Wednesday accused the government of hiding information on the coronavirus and failing to take the pandemic seriously.

Tanzania is one of few countries in Africa that has not taken extensive measures against the virus, and President John Magufuli is among a handful of world leaders still playing down the seriousness of the disease.

"Our cases are shooting up at an alarming rate while many countries are now flattening the curve," said Freeman Mbowe, of the opposition Chadema party, in a speech broadcast online.

Tanzania recorded its first case of coronavirus on March 16 - and in a little over two weeks cases have leapt from 32 to 480 with 16 deaths. While relatively small on a global scale, the growth is among the highest in East Africa, where most countries have implemented lockdowns, curfews, and strict social distanncing measures.

In Tanzania, schools and universities have been shut but markets, bus stops and shops bustle as usual.

Opposition members have also criticised the government for waiting a week to announce new cases, after Magufuli on April 22 said the ministry of health was "causing panic".


April 29 2020 - 17:53

It's still too early to open schools, says ANC's Jessie Duarte

The ANC is opposed to a rushed reopening of schools, which have been closed since the start of the lockdown.

This is according to the party's deputy secretary-general, Jessie Duarte, who was responding to a question during her online political lecture on “people's power” on Wednesday, held at the invitation of the ANC Youth League (ANCYL).

This follows an announcement by the department of basic education that grade 7 and 12  pupils may be going back to school as early as May 6.

April 29 2020 - 17:32

Nearly 60% of Gauteng's Covid-19 cases are in Joburg

The number of people who have been infected with Covid-19 in Gauteng is now 1,377, with 89 recoveries and eight deaths.

Johannesburg still has the most recorded cases with 811, followed by Ekurhuleni with 310 and Tshwane with 144 cases. Johannesburg cases make up about 59% of the total.

In Johannesburg's, Region E, compromising Alexandra, Wynberg, Sandton, Orange Grove and Houghton has the most cases (254), while Region D, which compromises Soweto, Doornkop, Dobsonville and Protea Glen, has 51 cases.

April 29 2020 - 17:04

Three more Covid-19 patients die as Western Cape numbers rise 8.8%

Three more elderly people have died from Covid-19 in the Western Cape, bringing the provincial total to 38, premier Alan Winde said on Wednesday.

They were men aged 78 and 67 and a woman of 79, all of whom had underlying illnesses.

At 5pm on Tuesday, the province had 1,935 confirmed Covid-19 cases, up 8.8% on the previous day. Almost 1,300 cases were still active, and 84 people were in hospital.

April 29 2020 - 16:56

Sadtu gives resounding 'no' to schools reopening next week

The South African Democratic Teachers’ Union (Sadtu) said on Wednesday it stood firm that no school should open until its concerns were met.

Sadtu was reacting to the presentation by the director-general of basic education Mathanzima Mweli to the parliamentary education portfolio committee on Wednesday regarding the reopening of schools.

April 29 2020 - 16:50

Rare pink dolphins come out to play as Covid-19 hits Thailand's tourism

Fishermen in the Gulf of Thailand filmed a rare encounter with pink dolphins, which scientists say are becoming bolder in the absence of tourists during the coronavirus pandemic.

The footage shows three pink dolphins swimming close to a fishing boat in calm waters off Koh Pha Ngan, an island in southeastern Thailand.

"I was so impressed, because I never imagined I would get to see pink dolphins," said Chaiyot Saedan, the fisherman who provided the video to Reuters.

April 29 2020 - 16:41

Amcu has no proof that employers are not protecting miners: government

The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) has not tendered any evidence to prove that employers are not protecting miners from Covid-19, the government told the labour court.

Amcu has approached the labour court to force the department of mineral resources & energy to set minimum standards for health and safety during the Covid-19 pandemic.

April 29 2020 - 16:25

April 29 2020 - 16:15

Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma to brief SA on level 4 restrictions

The National Coronavirus Command Council, led by minister of co-operative governance and traditional affairs, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, will at 7.30pm on Wednesday give a detailed briefing on the regulations relating to the Covid-19 level 4 restrictions.

TimesLIVE will show a live feed from Dlamini-Zuma's briefing. Live updates will also continue to be published in this article.

April 29 2020 - 16:04

Western Cape says its schools not ready to open next week

The Western Cape education department has said that its schools would not be ready to open next week.

This comes after confusion in parliament on Wednesday over whether or not schools would open on May 6 for grades 7 and 12 pupils - a date which was disputed.

Western Cape education minister Debbie Schafer said in a statement that the province "will not be in a position to receive learners next week".

She said she would only comment further following a press briefing with basic education minister Angie Motshekga, scheduled for 10am on Thursday.

April 29 2020 - 16:01

Coronavirus toll tops 130,000 dead in Europe: AFP

More than 130,000 people have died in Europe from the coronavirus, three quarters of them in Italy, Spain, France and Britain, according to an AFP tally from official sources at 1pm GMT on Wednesday.

With a total of 130,002 people dead for 1,433,753 infected, Europe is the continent hardest hit by the pandemic which has killed 217,727 people in the world. Italy has lost 27,359 lives, Spain 24,275, France 23,660 and Britain 21,678.


April 29 2020 - 15:57

SA is craving a fast-food fix, according to Google recipe searches

If SA's googling habits are anything to go by, it seems foodies can't wait until Friday when the country eases into level 4 of lockdown and can order takeaways for delivery again.

According to Google search trends data, South Africans have spent the past 10 days scouring the internet for ways to recreate the lip-smacking fried chicken from popular fast food chains at home. 

April 29 2020 - 15:52

US department shares details of controversial 'sunlight destroys coronavirus' study

America's department of homeland security revealed new technical details regarding its study into how ultraviolet radiation destroys the coronavirus, saying that its experiment had accurately mimicked natural sunlight.

A summary of the research was presented last week at the White House, with some scientists calling for caution until a more comprehensive report was made public.

US President Donald Trump raised eyebrows last week when he used his daily live national press briefing to ask whether light could become a medical treatment.

Trump went on to suggest that people inject disinfectants into themselves to cure the virus, an idea that health experts quickly shot down.

April 29 2020 - 15:46

AfriForum slams 'unprofessional' announcement on opening schools

AfriForum has cautiously welcomed an announcement that schools could start opening as soon as next week.

However, while it welcomed the planned return to classes, AfriForum said the fact that 3,500 schools in the country still had no access to running water and were therefore unable to maintain hygiene as required was a major concern.

It also expressed concern about the “unprofessional presentation” of the announcement and said it created little confidence among the thousands of teachers, parents and pupils who were watching.

April 29 2020 - 15:31

We're clueless, say residents of town at centre of Cape's rural Covid-19 outbreak

In Mooiblom informal settlement there is no semblance of preventive measures. Young men — seasonal workers from the surrounding farms now out of jobs — stood next to each other, chatting in the midday sun.

Though they were scared of the virus, they said they had no way of protecting themselves.

“The government didn't come to test here. They didn't give us masks. The farmers told us to stand down because there is no work. There's no work, no food, nothing,” said one of the men, Tello Olifant.

Other men washed their cars at the side of the road. Though they also said they were afraid of contracting the virus, a mixture of apathy and confusion about how to protect themselves meant they were taking no protective measures.

April 29 2020 - 15:06

Emirates Airline promises to pay all refunds - in full - by August

Good news for those who booked and paid for Emirates flights, only to have Covid-19 destroy all their travel plans — Emirates Airline has beefed up its promise to issue full refunds by the end of August.

While many airlines which have been crippled by the pandemic have limited their recourse to ticket holders to a postponement of their flights or a credit voucher, two weeks ago Emirates announced that it would issue full refunds on request.

April 29 2020 - 15:01

Sisulu warns water tanker thieves and land invaders

Water and sanitation minister Lindiwe Sisulu issued stern warnings to people who stole water tankers or did illegal land invasions - doing so will get you a jail term.

Speaking on Wednesday, Sisulu said that stealing water tankers was akin to taking lives, and that she would push for a "maximum" sentence from the courts. Also, she said, invading land was "completely illegal", and that people would be jailed for doing so.

On top of this, Sisulu added that any evictions were also illegal.

April 29 2020 - 14:52

Zulu also provided details of the R350 "special Covid-19 social relief of distress grant", to be paid from May to October 2020.

"The implementation of existing grants (top-ups) is straightforward, as these beneficiaries are already in the Sassa database.

"The new special Covid-19 SRD grant requires a rather more complex approach, as the beneficiaries are not on the Sassa database or other government grant support programmes. It was therefore necessary to introduce new systems and new qualification criteria, and amend some regulations," said Zulu.

The qualifying criteria for the special grant:

The grant will be available to South African citizens, permanent residents or refugees registered on the home affairs system; who are residents within the borders of SA;

Applicants must be:

  • Above the age of 18;
  • Unemployed;
  • Not receiving any income;
  • Not receiving any social grant;
  • Not receiving any unemployment insurance benefit and does not qualify to receive unemployment insurance benefits;
  • Not receiving a stipend from the National Student Financial Aid Scheme; and
  • Not resident in a government funded or subsidised institution.

Prospective applicants will need to provide:

  • Identity number/department of home affairs permit;
  • Name and surname as captured in the ID (and initials);
  • Gender and disability;
  • Banking details - bank name and account number;
  • Contact details - cell phone number;
  • Proof of residential address.

April 29 2020 - 14:50

Zulu said that R20bn would be paid during the May payment cycle to 11.3-million recipients, which benefitted 18.6-million people, including children.

This includes the increased social grants announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa.

These included an increase of R300 per child for the child support grant to be paid only in May 2020. From June to October 2020, a R500 grant will be paid to caregivers of the children on the child support grant. The amount per child will revert to R440 per month from June.

All existing caregivers will automatically qualify and receive this benefit, along with the existing child support grant monthly benefit.

"All other existing social grants are increased by R250 per month from May to October 2020.

"In many poor households, social grants are the only source of income and these increases will go a long way to ensure that these families do meet their basic livelihood needs," said Zulu.

April 29 2020 - 14:47

Zulu said that there were 163 shelters for the homeless, accommodating 14,000 homeless people countrywide.

"This number fluctuates as some are running away, with some coming back and some not. Within these shelters, we are providing personal protective equipment, dignity packs, food, sanitisers, sleeping mattresses and blankets. In addition to these, we are providing substance abuse and psycho-social support services," said Zulu.

But she said that there had been "a rise" in a number of gender-based violence (GBV) incidents, without providing statistics. "We have strengthened the capacity of our GBV command centre by adding additional qualified social workers to attend to gender-based and family violence cases that are happening during this period.

"Working with civil society we have developed referral pathways during the lockdown, to faster assist victims of GBV to link up with relevant authorities at this time … We continue to condemn gender-based violence in all its forms and we will continue to strengthen partnerships with civil society and other key stakeholders in the fight against gender-based violence," said Zulu.

April 29 2020 - 14:45

Lindiwe Zulu says more than 58,000 households have received food parcels

Social development minister Lindiwe Zulu said on Wednesday that "over 58,000 households and close to 250,000 people" had started benefitting from food parcels through community nutrition development centres.

She said that R20m had come from "national departments" and R23m from the Solidarity Fund. The food parcels were valued at R700 per household.

"Our provinces are coordinating these and we are looking at scaling up this programme," she said.

April 29 2020 - 14:07

Confusion over back to school dates 

The department of basic education appeared to backtrack on Wednesday from the announcement that schools would partially reopen for certain pupils next week.

“We can't say we are presenting a cast-in-stone plan. Yesterday, after presenting to the social cluster, they indicated that the date of May 6 is not realistic and we need to change it.

“In the presentation that I have now, that date is changed,” said basic education deputy minister Reginah Mhaule on Wednesday.

April 29 2020 - 14:07

Six people arrested for playing golf during lockdown in Newcastle

Six people were arrested for playing golf in Newcastle, in northern KwaZulu-Natal, on Saturday during the national lockdown.

Umesh Karsan, Ronnell Singh, Pradeep Singh, Vinod Karsan, Sanjay Singh and Shaun Pillay appeared in the Newcastle magistrate's court on Tuesday.

National police spokesperson Brig Vishnu Naidoo said they were charged under the Disaster Management Act.

April 29 2020 - 13:52

300 Clover workers await results after colleague contracts Covid-19

More than 300 Clover employees in Bloemfontein are awaiting their test results after a worker tested positive for Covid-19, the Free State department of health said on Wednesday.

Health spokesperson Mondli Mvambi said the employee went to Botshabelo Hospital on April 22 after he showed symptoms of Covid-19. He was tested and his results came back positive.  

April 29 2020 - 13:51

Cape Town convention centre to be 800-bed Covid-19 hospital

Cape Town International Convention Centre is being converted into a temporary hospital with room for 800 patients.

Western Cape Premier Alan Winde said on Wednesday the hospital would make up most of the province's predicted 1,000-bed shortfall at the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The rest of the shortfall would be made up with temporary beds in other facilities, "in appropriate geographic locations", said Winde.

April 29 2020 - 13:48

Pupils only expected to return to school on May 18

After the presentation by the director general, the deputy minister of basic education, Reginah Mhaule, said grade 12 and grade 7 pupils were in fact only expected to return to school on May 18 - and not May 6 as the report presented to the parliamentary committee suggests.

She said that principals and members of the school's senior management teams will report on May 4 to receive sanitisation packages and make schools ready for pupils.

Teachers will report on May 11 "to restructure the timetable and look at other things".

"Those teachers, who will not be teaching at the time, will be trained [to screen pupils]."

She said the plan was being presented today to the command council.

April 29 2020 - 13:27

Government to brief SA on lockdown level 4 restrictions

Minister of cooperative governnance and traditional affairs Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma together with other ministers in the national coronavirus command council is expected to brief media on Thursday.

Government said Dlamini-Zuma would give a detailed briefing on the regulations relating to stage four of the national lockdown.

South Africa will move from stage five lockdown to stage four on May 1 2020.

April 29 2020 - 13:29

Gauteng health workers go unpaid: MEC disappointed, DA not surprised

Gauteng health MEC Dr Bandile Masuku says he is disappointed at reports that some health-care workers in the province have not been paid their salaries.  

This was after an internal memo from the Tshwane district services was leaked on social media on Tuesday.

The memo said the department had experienced some delays in the processing of some allowances, including basic salaries, commuted overtime and sessional claims. It instructed that “creditors” should be alerted about the “potential delay” in April and May.

April 29 2020 - 13:27

Zimbabwe reopens tobacco auctions after coronavirus delay

Zimbabwe farmers started selling their tobacco crop on Wednesday after the coronavirus outbreak delayed the opening of auctions, which provide vital foreign currency inflows, by more than a month.

Tobacco is the second biggest earner of foreign exchange after gold, and last year generated $747 million in exports mainly to China and Europe, according to central bank data.

Industry regulator Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB) said production was expected around 230 million kilogrammes after rain cut the area planted by 12% and fewer growers planted the crop compared to last year.


April 29 2020 - 13:06

Parents concerned about safety at schools after return dates set

Parents and guardians are worried their own shortcomings in home schooling will be shown up when schools reopen partially from next week.

Some are also concerned about whether adequate hygiene and safety measures will be in place to ensure their children are protected from Covid-19.

Madeline September has two children, one in grade 7 — classes of which are scheduled to resume on May 6 — and the other in grade 9 who is scheduled for a June 17 return to class, according to the Covid-19 basic education sector plan.

April 29 2020 - 12:16

Amcu wants 'detailed, binding' standards to ensure safety of miners

Lawyers representing the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) have argued that if miners return to work, there should be “binding” national standards under which they operate, set by government.

Amcu has approached the labour court to force the department of mineral resources & energy to set minimum standards for health and safety during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The application follows a decision by government to allow mines to operate at 50% capacity during the lockdown.

April 29 2020 - 12:09

Here's what you need to know about Covid-19 outbreak right now

Here's what you need to know about the coronavirus right now:

Beijing inches back to normal

In one of the clearest signs yet of Beijing returning to a normal of sorts after months of near-standstill, China announced on Wednesday new dates for its annual parliament meeting, known as the National People's Congress.

Delegations from far-flung regions attend the meeting, now scheduled to start on May 22 after being postponed from March 5.

Beijing also plans to lift the two-week quarantine required for domestic travellers, unless they come from high-risk areas, two sources familiar with the situation said.

April 29 2020 - 11:15

Back to school dates set with matrics and grade 7s first to return after Covid-19 lockdown

Grade 12 and grade 7 pupils will return to school from May 6, government announced on Wednesday.

The announcement came as basic education deputy minister Reginah Mhaule was leading a team from the department in a briefing to MPs.

Other grades will return to class on a staggered basis between May and July, as the Covid-19 restrictions are gradually eased.

April 29 2020 - 10:17

'I profusely apologise': Eastern Cape health MEC on 'andidikwe' blunder

Health MEC in the Eastern Cape Sindiswa Gomba has apologised for her utterances during an online briefing on the coronavirus in which she used the term 'andidikwe' — which, loosely translated, means 'I am fed up' or 'irritated' — saying it had created a wrong impression.

Gomba who made the remark at the end of her address in the presence of other MECs and health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize said she had been “moving away from her laptop and taking off her doek”.

April 29 2020 - 10:09

eThekwini will move to stage 4 on Friday with the rest of the country, says KZN premier

KwaZulu-Natal premier Sihle Zikalala says the eThekwini municipality will move to level 4 of lockdown on Friday but under strict regulations.

“eThekwini is going to be part of those that are opening up some sectors and therefore it means we will be part of level four but that means that all regulations that are still attached will be implemented strictly,” said Zikalala.

April 29 2020 - 09:32

R4bn paid out in UIF Covid-19 claims

The Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) has paid 1,035,303 workers Covid-19 Temporary Employer/Employee Relief Scheme (Ters) benefits totalling R4,109,434 596.70.

For normal benefits, the UIF has paid nearly R1bn (R970,915,807.31), the department of employment and labour said in a statement, bringing the combined total to R5bn since April 16 when the UIF ramped up its systems.

The figures paid to date represent successful claims submitted by 72,221 employers.

April 29 2020 - 09:28

Covid-19: More than 300 positive health workers in SA

More than 300 health workers have tested positive for Covid-19 in South Africa, the department of health revealed.

The department said 195 of these cases were in the private sector.

April 29 2020 - 08:57

Can I move home yet? Covid-19 lockdown regulations require clarity

Does the move from level 5 lockdown to level 4 on Friday mean that people will be permitted to move home?

It’s a question which tenants, new homeowners, landlords and removals companies desperately want answered.

“I’m all packed, ready to move into my new home on the 1st, but there seems to be no certainty as to whether I can or not,” said Mouna Cox. “Nowhere does it say we are not allowed to move, but nowhere does it state that we can!”

April 29 2020 - 08:11

Discovery staffer tests positive, more cases at Woolworths

With Woolworths Access Park in Port Elizabeth now hit by a devastating 10 Covid-19 positive cases, Discovery Health — also based in the city — reported its first case of the coronavirus.

Staff from Woolworths Food Access Park said on Tuesday they had started a support group to help each other deal with the fear as the number of positive cases rises.

Another five Access Park staff members tested positive for the virus, as well as a contractor who came into contact with employees.

April 29 2020 - 08:00

'I would never change it for anything': Inside the life of a Covid-19 tester

For Bhelekazi Mdlalose, nursing is more than just a job - it's a passion.

Mdlalose is a registered nurse and Covid-19 tester working for Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders) in partnership with the department of health.

TimesLIVE followed her for a day life to see what it's like being on the frontline of the pandemic.

April 29 2020 - 07:57

Covid-19: Cuban doctors to cost SA taxpayers millions of rand

The arrival of over 200 Cuban medical doctors in SA is set to cost the country hundreds of millions of rand.

In documents seen by Business Day, projected costs for a medical brigade of 187 Cuban personnel was R440m. An even bigger contingent arrived in SA on Sunday, consisting of 217 personnel, the publication reported.

The documents showed that the average cost of the Cuban medical brigade was projected at R2.35m a person.

April 29 2020 - 07:43

Family self-isolates after four test positive for Covid-19

I miss being able to share a meal with my family where we’d make jokes and enjoy each other’s company  — now we have to talk behind a glass window.

That was the sentiment of Sifiso Matanga, 29, who lives in Kwazakhele, Port Elizabeth, with 11 family members at his aunt’s house, reports HeraldLIVE.

The split in the family came when they discovered four members of the family had tested positive for Covid-19.

April 29 2020 - 07:30

Farmers and community in Overberg open their kitchens to the poor

In the Overberg district of the Western Cape, farmers and townspeople are bartering agricultural produce to keep soup kitchens full and nutritious and the hunger at bay as the national lockdown forces thousands out of work.

By the end of last week food relief promised by government in the form of food parcels had not yet filtered down to rural farming towns in the Overberg.

April 29 2020 - 07:00

Cyber crimes 'on the rise' during Covid-19 lockdown, warn experts

The global Covid-19 pandemic is not only a health issue: cyber attacks are also on the rise as more and more people work from home during the lockdown.

Vodacom says it has seen a 40% jump in data usage during the lockdown as many people spend far more time online than usual, including performing day-to-day tasks such as shopping, banking, watching content and socialising.

Cyber criminals have quickly seized the opportunities to exploit the crisis by adapting their modes of operation and developing new cyber-related attacks and online criminal activities, it warned.

April 29 2020 - 06:56

'Prima donna ministers messing up the country': Holomisa on Ramaphosa's Covid-19 leadership

United Democratic Movement (UDM) leader Bantu Holomisa said President Cyril Ramaphosa's appointed ministers lack strong leadership, and this could be his weakness during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Holomisa said Ramaphosa's ministers are "all talk" and contradict each other.

Speaking on 702, Holomisa commended Ramaphosa for how he was dealing with the pandemic. However, he lamented the behaviour of ministers.

April 29 2020 - 06:45

'Recipe for disaster': Parents and teachers ask Motshekga not to reopen schools

An invitation by the basic education department to the public to send through the most important questions they would like to ask minister Angie Motshekga when she addresses the nation has opened a can of worms.

The department was inundated with tweets from parents and teachers who overwhelmingly called for schools to remain closed because of serious concerns over the spread of the coronavirus.

Some described the reopening of schools as “suicidal” and “a recipe for disaster”.

April 29 2020 - 06:40

Amcu in court to force minister to publish safety regulations in mines

An application by the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) to force the department of mineral resources and energy to set minimum standards for health and safety during the Covid-19 pandemic is set to be heard in the labour court on Wednesday morning.

The union said it brought the application after mining companies were given the green light to ramp up to 50% of production during phase five of the national lockdown, with production set to increase even more after May 1, when phase four 4 of the lockdown commences.