COVID-19 WRAP | 'What if NDZ says we're allowed to hug & kiss': Malema jokes and SA's virus cases up by more than 700

13 May 2020 - 06:50 By TimesLIVE
President Cyril Ramaphosa addresses SA on Wednesday night.
President Cyril Ramaphosa addresses SA on Wednesday night.
Image: GCIS

May 13 2020 - 22:55

SA's big cities and coronavirus 'hotspots' could remain under level 4

As the country prepares to move into level 3 of the Covid-19 lockdown, residents in some metros may remain under level 4.

This is after President Cyril Ramaphosa announced on Wednesday evening that some hotspots may remain unchanged while the rest of the country sees some easing of the lockdown levels.

May 13 2020 - 22:49

'At least 80,000 could have been infected by now': Ramaphosa

More than 1,700 people would be dead and 80,000 South Africans could have been infected by the deadly Covid-19 virus had the government not imposed a strict lockdown nearly seven weeks ago.

“I would like to say, as I have said before, that despite its duration and its severity, the lockdown was absolutely necessary,” said President Cyril Ramaphosa in an address to the nation on Wednesday night.

“Without the lockdown the number of coronavirus infections would have soared uncontrollably, our health facilities would have been overwhelmed and many thousands more South Africans would have died.”

May 13 2020 - 22:46

Ramaphosa: We're sorry - and we'll do better

President Cyril Ramaphosa has conceded that the government's handling of some lockdown regulations has been shoddy, reassuring South Africans that he'll make amends.

Over the past 48 days of lockdown, the government has often had to haphazardly pen regulations, which have at times been poorly communicated and implemented by government and security forces.

"Some of the actions we have taken have been unclear, some have been contradictory and some have been poorly explained. Implementation has sometimes been slow and enforcement has sometimes been inconsistent and too harsh," the president said on Wednesday in his first address to the nation since April 23.

May 13 2020 - 22:45

Unemployment could reach 36.5% by end of the year: IDC

The Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) on Wednesday revealed that it anticipates a jobs bloodbath that will result in an unemployment rate of 36.5% by the end of the year.

CEO Tshokolo Nchocho was briefing parliament's portfolio committee on trade industry and competition this afternoon on measures taken by the corporation in the wake of the Covid-19 crisis.

May 13 2020 - 22:44

Ramaphosa and that level 3/level 4 speech: Ja, Mzansi got touched


May 13 2020 - 22:41

IN FULL | Ramaphosa's address to SA: We're ready for lockdown easing

President Cyril Ramaphosa addressed SA on Wednesday night announcing, among other things, that most of the country would be on level 3 of the lockdown by the end of May and that easing of parts of the economy under the current level four restrictions would be announced in the coming days.

May 13 2020 - 22:02

'What if NDZ says we're allowed to hug and kiss tomorrow': Julius Malema

May 13 2020 - 21:35

EFF's Mbuyiseni Ndlozi left confused after the president's address

May 13 2020 - 21:28

Mzansi on level 3 at the end of May: 'We'll wait to hear from the family head NDZ tomorrow'

SA to Ramaphosa: "This was not the family meeting we were expecting"

May 13 2020 - 21:10

Everything must change, says Ramaphosa

President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Wednesday that South Africans had to fundamentally change behaviour to help prevent the spread of Covid-19.

"This new phase will require each of us to change our own behaviour in profound ways. There needs to be a fundamental shift in our thinking and our way of life. We need to take personal responsibility for our own health and the health of others.

"Let us remember that although the lockdown has slowed the rate of infection, the virus is still very much present and will continue to be present among us for a long time to come," he said.

If South Africans could do this, he said, it would "minimise the opportunities for the virus to spread".

"It is our actions now, individually and together, that will determine whether the great sacrifices that people have made over the last two months will ultimately save the lives of thousands, and spare the country from the huge devastation that this pandemic can cause," he said.

May 13 2020 - 21:00

We're ready for easing of lockdown: Ramaphosa

President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Wednesday that government was "preparing for a further easing of the lockdown".

Speaking during a national address, Ramaphosa said this would also allow a "gradual easing" of the economy.

This means that, come the end of May, the country would be on level 3 of the nationwide lockdown. However, he warned that some parts of the country with high infections would remain on level 4.

"We will make further announcements in this regard. After the completion of the consultations we will have in the coming days, we will also be announcing certain changes to level 4 regulations to expand current business activities," he said.

Ramaphosa added that there would also be easing of exercise restrictions under the amended level 4 restrictions.

May 13 2020 - 20:50

219 Covid-19 deaths in SA: Ramaphosa

President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Wednesday that there were 219 people in SA who had died from Covid-19. There were also 12,074 cases of the virus.

This was an increase of 724 cases and 13 deaths.

May 13 2020 - 20:40

Ramaphosa: 'We are dealing with human lives'

President Cyril Ramaphosa on Wednesday night thanked South Africans for the "sacrifices" during the nearly seven weeks of lockdown.

He said that the lockdown was necessary, and that we are "dealing with human lives".

"This cornavirus is taking a heavy toll not only on the health of our people, but also our people's abilities to earn a living, feed themselves and their families, to learn and to develop - but also to enjoy many of the basic freedoms that we take for granted," he said.

May 13 2020 - 20:35

'My fellow South Africans': SA waits for Ramaphosa

At 8.35pm on Wednesday, South Africans were waiting eagerly for President Cyril Ramaphosa to begin his address on the the status of the country's fight against the coronavirus and the nationwide lockdown.

May 13 2020 - 19:45

Ramaphosa's trip to Western Cape off after premier goes into quarantine

President Cyril Ramaphosa has cancelled his visit to the Western Cape on Friday after premier Alan Winde was forced to place himself in Covid-19 quarantine.

Winde said he had a one-on-one interview last Thursday with eNCA cameraman Lungile Tom, whose death from Covid-19 was announced on Wednesday.

"Because [I was] in close range for some time, I am deemed a close contact and will now self-quarantine," said Winde.

May 13 2020 - 19:13

Government to spend R600m to get water tanks to over 3,000 schools

The department of basic education will spend R600m to install water tanks at more than 3,000 schools across the country.

This was revealed by the department of water and sanitation during a media briefing at the Rand Water head office in Johannesburg on Wednesday.

The installation of tanks and filling them up will be carried out by water and sanitation, said minister Lindiwe Sisulu - but education will foot the bill.

May 13 2020 19:11

Do not drink home-brewed ‘Smirnoff Vodka’, police warn after KZN raid

Police on Wednesday warned people who bought alcohol brewed at a home in Dududu, KwaZulu-Natal, to not drink the booze, saying it could have deadly consequences.

“We are appealing to anyone who may have purchased this concoction to refrain from drinking it as it may be toxic or fatal,” said police spokesperson Brig Vish Naidoo.

The “fake alcohol” was found when police from Pietermaritzburg reacted to reported suspicious activity at a homestead in the area.

May 13 2020 - 19:10

Lift the ban on those helping to feed the needy and desperate, urges NGO

A ban on the operation of soup kitchens during lockdown should be lifted and the onerous requirements that donors need to satisfy before distributing food to the needy should be done away with.

Also, subsistence fishermen should also be allowed to fish in order to provide for their families during this period.

These were some of the suggestions made during a during a webinar hosted by the South African Food Sovereignty Campaign on the worsening food crisis caused by Covid-19 and what can be done to address it.

May 13 2020 - 18:33

Ramaphosa to visit Covid-19 facilities in the Eastern Cape on Thursday

President Cyril Ramaphosa is expected to conduct site visits to Covid-19 facilities in the Eastern Cape on Thursday.

The Eastern Cape visit follows oversight visits by the president to Gauteng and Kwa-Zulu Natal to evaluate the fight against the virus.

The Eastern Cape currently accounts for 13,3% of infections nationally. Ramaphosa will be accompanied by premier Oscar Mabuyane.

May 13 2020 - 17:56

WATCH | Zulu kingdom's inspirational 'we will see you soon' ad

The Zulu kingdom beckons post-Covid-19.

That's the message from KwaZulu-Natal’s provincial tourism agency, Tourism KZN, which has unveiled a visual message of hope on social media.

According to a survey by the Tourism Business Council of SA (TCBSA), about 98% of tourism companies have been hurt by the pandemic. It found that the tourism industry, which employs more than 700,000 people, has seen 43% of businesses sacking half their staff.

May 13 2020 - 17:41

More than 160,000 coronavirus deaths recorded in Europe

The coronavirus pandemic has now killed more than 160,000 people in Europe, according to an AFP tally at 1300 GMT Wednesday.

Nearly three quarters of the 160,455 victims died in the four worst-hit European countries: Britain, Italy, Spain and France. So far, 1,798,209 cases have been recorded across Europe.

The tallies, using data collected by AFP from national authorities and information from the World Health Organisation (WHO), probably reflect only a fraction of the actual number of infections.

May 13 2020 - 17:36

Cops will face 'pressure' when 19,000 prisoners are granted parole: union

The Public Servants Association (PSA) said on Wednesday it was worried about a shortage of police officers, saying officers may face immense pressure with the upcoming release of up to 19,000 prisoners.

The inmates could be released to ease congestion behind bars as the department of correctional services tries to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

“The availability of sufficient manpower is not negotiable, and this need is set to increase with the recent announcement made by President Cyril Ramaphosa that almost 19,000 inmates who committed ‘petty' crimes would be released on parole,” said the union for public sector workers.

May 13 2020 - 17:23

War of words over Cape Town homeless camp headed for court

Social justice groups claiming to represent street people at Cape Town’s controversial Strandfontein homeless facility cancelled a press briefing on Wednesday after threats from city council lawyers.

The briefing, entitled "The City of Cape Town’s Strandfontein Camp: Lack of Disclosure, Levels of Failure", was to be chaired by Community Chest CEO Lorenzo Davids.

But council lawyers said it was a way for Davids and other organisations advocating for the rights of homeless people to pre-empt a court hearing on Thursday in which the city is seeking relief from “misinformation” it claims individuals in these organisations are spreading about conditions at the camp.

The invitation to the briefing said the groups had been called to respond to council claims that “all is well at the Strandfontein camp, where street-based people have been held since the beginning of the lockdown”.

May 13 2020 - 17:12

US appear likely to extend travel restrictions until June 21

Canada and the United States appear likely to extend a ban on non-essential travel until June 21 amid the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic, two Canadian government sources said on Wednesday.

Canada and the United States had agreed on April 18 to extend border restrictions until May 21 as cases of the disease continue to rise in both nations. Canada is now pressing for the measures to stay in place for another month.

"It's too early to lift the restrictions, so we're working toward an extension," said one Canadian source, describing the talks with Washington as positive.

May 13 2020 - 17:03

EU pushes for European borders to reopen to save tourist season

The EU pushed on Wednesday for a gradual reopening of borders within the bloc shut by the coronavirus, saying it was not too late to salvage some of the summer tourist season while keeping people safe.

The EU's executive commission urged a return to “unrestricted free movement” within Europe, with plans that include requiring face masks on aeroplanes and social distancing on trains.

May 13 2020 - 17:01

Mboweni to table special budget to cover Covid-19 spending and 'significant revenue losses'

Finance minister Tito Mboweni will table a special budget on June 24, taking into account the country's spending on the Covid-19 disaster - and also “significant economic losses”.

In directions published on Wednesday, the Treasury sates that the “Special Adjustments Budget” will modify the country's 2020/21 budget “to provide for the rapidly changing economic conditions and enable spending on the Covid-19 response”.

“A revised fiscal framework will also be presented, to account for substantial revenue losses emanating from the economic shock of the pandemic and subsequent lockdown,” the 2020 Special Adjustment Guidelines document states.

May 13 2020 - 16:28

WHO stresses need to find source of coronavirus

Pinning down the source of the coronavirus pandemic should help in working out how Covid-19 has "invaded the human species" so quickly, a senior WHO official told AFP.

The outbreak has triggered a fierce diplomatic spat between China and the US - with the World Health Organisation at the centre of the row.

In late March, US President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping struck an informal truce in the war of words over the origin of the deadly disease. But it quickly broke down. Trump has been accusing Beijing of being slow to alert the world to the initial outbreak in Wuhan, and openly suspects China of covering up an accident at the eastern city's virology lab.

Far from the cross-Pacific spat, Sylvie Briand, the WHO's director of infectious hazard management, said it was crucial to know the origin of the virus "to understand how it has evolved".

"It is a virus of animal origin transmitted to humans. And so we have to try to understand how the adaptation of this virus allowed it to invade the human species," she told AFP outside the WHO's headquarters in Geneva.


May 13 2020 - 16:23

Six Eastern Cape hospitals to receive R50m for upgrades

The Eastern Cape government has announced it will be facilitating more than R50m for the infrastructure upgrade of six major hospitals across the province.

A statement from the office of premier Oscar Mabuyane said the funds would be used to ready the hospitals to admit people infected with Covid-19.

May 13 2020 - 15:34

'Think of the long term,' experts say as Covid-19 exposes water inequality

Collect rainwater, maintain water infrastructure and provide long-term solutions, experts said as they reflected on water scarcity problems during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Xhanti Payi, economist and director of Nascence Advisory and Research, together with Simon Gear​​​​​​​, a broadcaster and environmental scientist, discussed the right to water and what it meant in the time of the coronavirus.

May 13 2020 - 15:15

May 13 2020 - 14:54

Eastern Cape police commissioner tests positive for Covid-19

Eastern Cape police commissioner Lt-Gen Liziwe Ntshinga has tested positive for Covid-19.

“The provincial commissioner received her diagnosis this past weekend after voluntarily undergoing a test despite being asymptomatic,” said police spokesperson Brig Vish Naidoo on Wednesday.

May 13 2020 - 14:43

Ramaphosa to address SA at 8.30pm

President Cyril Rampahosa will speak to South Africans at 8.30pm, the presidency has confirmed.

The address was on the country's “ongoing measures to manage the spread of the coronavirus through the implementation of a risk adjusted strategy”.

The address comes after Ramaphosa met with cabinet and the National Coronavirus Command Council.

May 13 2020 - 14:15

Western Cape outpaces Morocco as Covid-19 cases climb another 9%

The Western Cape has more coronavirus cases than Morocco, according to updated statistics on Wednesday.

Provincial cases increased in the day by 573 (9.25%) to 6,767, according to the Western Cape government Covid-19 dashboard, and deaths increased by seven to 117.

More than 93% of the new cases were in Cape Town, where Khayelitsha (927 cases, up 11.1%) has the highest per capita infection rate of 231 per 100,000 people.

May 13 2020 - 13:57

KZN premier slams document to 'guide reopening' of churches

KwaZulu-Natal premier Sihle Zikalala has had to remind churches that the country is still on level 4 of lockdown and gatherings are still prohibited, including religious gatherings.

This follows the circulation on social media of a document titled “Return to church guidelines from May 21”, purported to be a guideline for the reopening of churches during level 4 of the lockdown.

The document is not attributed to any church or religious organisation.

May 13 2020 - 13:43

Cosatu backs Ebrahim Patel over 'Alice in Wonderland' Covid-19 clothing sales regulations

Trade union federation Cosatu has come out in support of trade and industry minister Ebrahim Patel amid criticism over a list of clothing items allowed for sale under lockdown level 4.

This comes after the opposition DA slammed Patel and called for his sacking following the gazetting of regulations determining which clothing items can be sold.

In a statement on Wednesday morning DA trade and industry spokesperson Dean Macpherson labelled the regulations bizarre and extraordinary, and seemingly “plucked from Alice in Wonderland”.

May 13 2020 - 13:42

Lesotho records first case of COVID-19

Lesotho recorded its first case of COVID-19 on Thursday, the health ministry said.

In a statement, the ministry said it had conducted 81 tests for COVID-19 from travellers from South Africa and Saudi Arabia, of which one was positive.

The kingdom, nestled in a South African mountain range, had so far been spared the coronavirus that has affected other countries in southern Africa.


May 13 2020 - 13:39

'Relax the regulations': small businesses in fight for survival

The Legal Resources Centre (LRC) is challenging a decision by Cape Town to prohibit informal traders operating during the lockdown, as small businesses lobby the government to be allowed to reopen.

The centre said it received a request from the South African Informal Trader Alliance (Saita) to intervene and offer legal assistance regarding the issuing of permits by the city to traders operating on the Grand Parade. 

May 13 2020 - 13:34

Early childhood development 'is critical during the lockdown'

“Early childhood development (ECD) education should always be prioritised. I don’t think the government realises the impact and importance of this phase of education and the cost-to-benefit ratio in early interventions,” says Anna Talbot, volunteer programme designer and co-ordinator at the Rhodes University community engagement division.

Talbot believes that ECD education should be a priority alongside other academic plans for this year which have been interrupted by the coronavirus pandemic.

May 13 2020 - 13:21

eNCA cameraman Lungile Tom dies of Covid-19

Lungile Tom, who worked for eNCA at the company’s Cape Town office as one of its camera operators, died of Covid-19 on Wednesday morning.

eMedia Investments said Tom was admitted to hospital on Sunday night, with Covid-19 symptoms.

May 13 2020 - 13:02

Cyril Ramaphosa chairs command council meeting to discuss relaxing lockdown regulations

The national command council on Covid-19 was meeting on Wednesday, where it could make the anticipated announcement on relaxing the country's national lockdown regulations to level 3.

The meeting, which is being chaired by President Cyril Ramaphosa, was expected to grapple with making the move to level 3, two weeks after moving to level 4.

May 13 2020 - 12:52

More children abandoned during lockdown, says Joburg baby shelter

Door of Hope Children's Mission has welcomed a new baby to its shelter — the seventh since the start of lockdown.

The baby shelter in Johannesburg announced on Tuesday that the baby - just a few months old - was found abandoned on the side of the road.

May 13 2020 - 12:37

Western Cape cops seize black market cigarettes worth R322,000

Police in the Western Cape say they have stopped two consignments of illegal cigarettes worth R322,000 reaching the black market.

One consignment was being smuggled from the Eastern Cape and the other from Polokwane.

May 13 2020 - 12:22

Top designer JJ Schoeman makes face masks to survive Covid-19 crunch

Famed SA designer JJ Schoeman is making cloth face masks to keep his business alive during the Covid-19 crisis.

Schoeman, who counts among his famous clients Bonang Matheba, Abigail Kubeka, Khanyi Mbau, Jackson Mthembu and former Miss World Rolene Strauss, decided to go the mask route after the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown impacted on his Johannesburg-based business.

May 13 2020 - 12:16

Informal restaurants, shisanyamas can sell hot food for home delivery

Informal restaurants and shisanyamas have been given permission to operate under level 4 of the lockdown - but can sell cooked food for home deliveries ordered telephonically or online only.

Small business development minister Khumbudzo Ntshavheni has amended regulations on what small and microbusinesses can sell. The changes were published in the Government Gazette dated May 12.

May 13 2020 - 11:53

'Longest eight weeks of my life': green light to repatriate South Africans stuck in African states

A South African man stranded in Morocco for eight weeks cannot believe that he and other South Africans stuck in three other African countries will finally be repatriated on Thursday evening.

“We just want to celebrate the fact that we are eventually going home. I cannot believe as I sit here ... I can say that tomorrow I am going home. It has been the longest eight weeks of my life,” James de Wet said from Casablanca in Morocco on Wednesday morning.

May 13 2020 - 11:07

'What are crop bottoms?': Mzansi outraged by winter clothing regulations

Crop bottoms worn with boots and leggings. Shirts displayed and promoted to be worn under jackets, coats or knitwear. Short-sleeved knit tops promoted and displayed as worn under cardigans and knitwear.

These are some of the regulations that retail stores should abide by when selling winter clothes under level 4 lockdown.

The list of winter clothing was gazetted on Tuesday by the trade and industry department after consultations with stakeholders in the textile industry.

May 13 2020 - 10:56

‘A dedicated man who lived for his family’: wife of policeman taken by Covid-19

Capt Andrew Leslie could still walk when his wife persuaded him to go to hospital.

He had been struggling with a fever, cough and a sore throat. Just hours after being admitted to Wilhelm Stahl Hospital, a doctor told his wife, Colette: “Sorry, he didn’t make it.”

The acting commander of Middelburg police station in the Eastern Cape had not succumbed to a bullet fired by a criminal. He was felled by Covid-19 on Monday evening.

May 13 2020 - 10:37

National coronavirus command council meets as calls mount for Ramaphosa to address the nation

The national coronavirus command council chaired by president Cyril Ramaphosa met on held a meeting on Wednesday morning.

This comes as calls mount for Ramaphosa to address the nation. His last address was 20 days ago.

May 13 2020 - 10:32

MP flags court backlogs compounded by 'trivial' cases under Covid-19 rules

Deputy minister of justice John Jeffery has told parliament that backlogs in district and regional courts have increased by 6% and 11% respectively over the past year.

Members of parliament’s portfolio committee on justice received a presentation from the office of the chief justice – which has jurisdiction over high courts - where they expressed great concern with the backlog in courts being exacerbated by the limited operations bought about by the lockdown.

May 13 2020 - 10:10

'Mr President, we need to know the plan please': Mzansi calls on Ramaphosa to address the nation

Calls are mounting for Ramaphosa to address the nation after almost three weeks of silence.

The country is on day 48 of the nationwide lockdown and it's been 20 days since President Cyril Ramaphosa addressed the nation.

Calls are mounting for Ramaphosa to address the nation after almost three weeks of silence. His last address was to announce the move from lockdown level 5 to level 4.

May 13 2020 - 09:23

This could be the reason Covid-19 is particularly dangerous for the elderly

Experts in human ageing believe they have found a reason Covid-19 is particularly damaging and virulent among older people.

A group of tiny ribonucleic acid (RNA) molecules that should attack the virus when it tries to infect the body are diminished with age and chronic health problems, say two doctors at the Centre for Healthy Aging at Augusta University in the US.

They think this decrease helps to explain why older people and those with pre-existing medical conditions are vulnerable populations.

May 13 2020 - 09:10

Breaking restrictions to cover costs: This business owner says he has no choice

He was doing things by the book, but as the bills pile up and his competitors break lockdown regulations, this fast-food owner has had to contemplate not just his own livelihood, but that of his two staff members.

This is his story of breaking the law to put food on the table.

May 13 2020 - 09:03

Patel under fire from DA for 'Alice in Wonderland' clothing gazette

New regulations on what clothing can be purchased during the national lockdown, signed by trade, industry and competition minister Ebrahim Patel, have been likened by the DA to a list from “Alice in Wonderland”.

A government gazette dated Tuesday May 12 listed items that can be sold, with immediate effect, under level 4 of the national regulations.

“These new clothing regulations are frankly mad and seem more at place during the 1980s under the Soviet Union than they do in a democracy like SA,” DA MP Dean Macpherson charged in a statement.

May 13 2020 - 07:51

Men say food parcels have not reached them

“If we were allowed to return to our piece jobs, we would be able to provide for our families. I used to earn R100 some days and would be able to buy food,” he said.

The men said they had not benefited from food parcels and vouchers in their wards and had to return to the spot to make money.

“I decided to return back to the robots because of hunger. I couldn’t continue to stay at home with an empty stomach. Even though I stand here looking for a job, I take anything. Even if people throw 50c, I take it.”

May 13 2020 - 06:00

Mess-up in safety gear orders a blow to school reopening plan

Teachers in almost all nine provinces may not return to school on Monday because provincial education departments are still awaiting personal protective equipment.

Thanks to the "non-performance" of one firm, five departments have to restart the procurement process.

May 13 2020 - 06:00

Thieves wipe out spinach patch that feeds poor Capetonians

Callous thieves have wiped out a field of spinach used to feed vulnerable people during the lockdown in Cape Town’s southern peninsula.

Generous farmers from across the province provided "Money for Jam - Shelter from the Storm" with the various products they need for the meals - but the theft had dampened the spirits said founder of the self-help community project

May 13 2020 - 05:57

South Africans call for President Ramaphosa to officially move the country into level 3 of the lockdown

Although no official statement has been made yet, President Cyril Ramaphosa and his ministers have hinted that level 3 may soon be on the cards.

In his newsletter to the nation this week, Ramaphosa said the goal was to ease the lockdown to level 3.

May 13 2020 - 05:54

Teen boys delivering food to residents’ doorsteps for only R9

People can see we are a legit business ... The community has received us very well.

“We also want to collect medicine for people who are sick from the clinic,”