COVID-19 WRAP | Ramaphosa: Yes to alcohol, no to ciggies under level 3
24 May 2020 - 20:49
'You can drink, but you can't smoke,' Cyril Ramaphosa tells South Africans as lockdown is relaxed
It's official, South Africans will be allowed to buy and sell alcoholic beverages on June 1 after a ban on liquor that lasted more than 60 days.
This was announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa on Sunday night as the country moves into alert level 3 of government's strategy of controlling the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.
But smokers will have to wait a little longer as tobacco products remain banned.
24 May 2020 - 20:31
Business travel to be phased in under level 3
Government is working on plans to phase in domestic air travel for people travelling on business as SA Inc opens for business under level 3 of the lockdown.
President Cyril Ramaphosa announced on Sunday night that although accommodation and air travel for leisure will remain prohibited under level 3, business travel would be allowed on dates to be announced.
Cabinet ministers are expected to give details on the relaxation of regulations this week.
24 May 2020 - 20:22
Booze, cigarettes and 'fellow South Africans' dominate Twitter trends after Ramaphosa's address
President Cyril Ramaphosa addressed South Africans on some regulations regarding the countries move to lockdown level 3 from June 1.
The details of the regulations still need to be provided, but thousands took to Twitter to express their views. And, of course, Ramaphosa's “fellow South Africans” made the top trends list.
24 May 2020 - 20:15
Ban on cigarette sales is 'irrational' and 'unworkable' - Tax Justice SA
The government wrote a blank cheque for criminals when it decided to keep the ban on cigarette sales, Tax Justice South Africa said on Sunday.
Its founder Yusuf Abramjee described the move as “irrational'' and “unworkable”.
“All the evidence shows that the vast majority of smokers are not stopping smoking during the lockdown and are simply buying on the black market, so the ban is failing in its sole stated purpose.
“If smokers’ health was the ministers’ concern, they would not be trying to force them to go ‘cold turkey’ without any support or rational explanation.”
24 May 2020 - 20:09
IN FULL | President Cyril Ramaphosa on shift to level 3 of lockdown
President Cyril Ramaphosa on Sunday said SA would be placed on level 3 of the lockdown regulations on June 1. Read his full unedited speech below:
24 May 2020 - 19:23
Cyril Ramaphosa says SA will move to level 3 on June 1
President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Sunday evening that there were 22,583 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the country and 429 deaths.
Ramaphosa was giving an update on the government's risk-adjusted strategy to manage the spread of Covid-19 in the country.
He said the country would be placed on level 3 of the national lockdown regulations on June 1.
24 May 2020 - 19:04
President Cyril Ramaphosa on Sunday evening apologised for the "great hardship" caused by the lockdown.
He said South Africa had managed to slow the rate of infection.
Ramaphosa said there were 22 583 confirmed corona cases and 429 people have lost their lives. A total of 842 patients are currently in hospital.
But until a vaccine was developed the virus remained a threat, he said, adding that it would get much worse in South Africa before getting better.
Ramaphosa said once developed, a vaccine should be made available equitably across the world.
Since his last address to the nation, several consultations have been held to determine South Africa's next step.
He said he appreciated the "diverse, sometimes challenging" views from scientists on the lockdown.
Ramaphosa said the central goal was to "save lives" and "protect livelihoods".
The nationwide lockdown cannot be sustained indefinitely, he said.
He said the cabinet had determined that the alert level for the whole country should be lifted from level four to level three from June 1.
People will be allowed to leave their homes and exercise at any time during the day, the curfew will be lifted and alcohol will be sold for strict consumption.
Hearty congratulations to South Africa's cigarette-smuggling gangs. Wonderful news, guys. Don't spend it all in one place.— Tom Eaton (@TomEatonSA) May 24, 2020
The sale of tobacco products will remain prohibited.
South Africans were encouraged to work from home if possible while people aged over 60 or who suffer from comorbities should not be going to the office.
Regarding schools, the school calendar will be revised and the academic year must be recovered, said Ramaphosa.
He understood concerns about the reopening of schools, saying no parent would be forced to send their child to school.
"If we follow all protocols, we will be able to keep our schools safe."
From June 1, all public universities will implement remote teaching strategies.
All of South Africa going to alert level 3.— Karyn Maughan (@karynmaughan) May 24, 2020
But certain areas - including Joburg, Cape Town, Tshwane, Nelson Mandela Bay - defined as “hot spots”.
Hot spots will be subject to higher levels of surveillance, testing, quarantine, contact tracing
Areas can be returned to level 4,5
24 May 2020 - 17:49
Khayelitsha township this week emerged as the area with the most confirmed cases of Covid-19 (1,600 by Friday at noon) within the City of Cape Town metro municipality.
24 May 2020 - 17:35
Political foes put differences aside to help Khayelitsha tackle Covid-19
Two political foes, whose parties are engaged in a war of words over the government's lockdown regulations, turned into colleagues as they co-chaired a KDF Covid-19 steering committee virtual meeting to discuss steps to tackle the pandemic ravaging their neighbourhood.
Other current and former MPs and councillors from different parties also sit on the steering committee.
24 May 2020 - 16:16
Fifty-three Anglo Gold Ashanti Mponeng mineworkers test positive for Covid-19
Fifty-three employees at Anglo Gold Ashanti's Mponeng mine in Carletonville on the West Rand have tested positive for Covid-19, the Gauteng department of health confirmed on Sunday.
“All employees have been admitted at [an] isolation facility. [An] outbreak response team was dispatched to trace all known contacts and the process is ongoing,” said provincial health spokesperson Kwara Kekana.
24 May 2020 - 15:51
Lockdown accelerates Bar Council of the Pretoria Society of Advocates' demise
“The financial position of the society has been steadily deteriorating over a number of years mainly as a result of economic realities and some members being unable to pay their bar fees,” said a statement issued by Janett Gildenhuys, chairperson of the Bar Council on Sunday.
“Since the declaration of the national state of disaster, the deterioration has been rapid and severe and it has caused a large number of resignations and defaults.”
24 May 2020 - 15:02
Five cruise liners to dock in Durban
Five cruise ships will call at the Port of Durban over the next few days to refuel and restock under strict Covid-19 safety protocols.
Transnet said on Sunday that SA ports had been considering, on a case-by-case basis, requests from passenger liners urgently seeking permission to dock in order to refuel, restock provisions or to repatriate SA crew.
24 May 2020 - 14:44
'We're not ready': Back to school plan under fire
24 May 2020 - 14:44
Prof Glenda Gray's 'voice should not be silenced': Wits perinatal HIV research unit
24 May 2020 - 12:11
SAB backs regulated sale of alcohol under level 3 of the lockdown
SA Breweries (SAB) said on Sunday it had put forward several proposals to government on the regulated sale of alcohol under level 3 lockdown to avoid scenes witnessed in India where consumers clamoured to buy alcohol when the booze ban was lifted.
The sale of alcohol during the lockdown has been a highly contentious issue with many arguing that the ban, coupled with travel restrictions, has seen a marked decline in admissions to emergency rooms, freeing up critical hospital infrastructure. Proponents have also stressed the ban has helped maintain social distancing.
24 May 2020 - 11:10
Two dead and others hospitalised after drinking home brew concoction
Two people died and more than 10 are in hospital after drinking a home-brewed concoction in a village near Stutterheim in the Eastern Cape.
A health department employee said on Saturday: “Some are now vomiting while some are dizzy and many are weak. This happened after a home-brewed beer was prepared and these people drank it.”
24 May 2020 - 10:59
Correctional services department records 709 Covid-19 cases
There are 236 officials working for the department of correctional services and 473 inmates who have contracted Covid-19.
This brings the total number of cases to 709, the department said in an update on the impact of the coronavirus.
24 May 2020 - 9:08
Eastern Cape mayor's wife loses battle against Covid-19
Matilda Maneli, wife of Amathole district municipality mayor and ANC regional chairperson Khanyile 'KC' Maneli has died of Covid-19 complications.
The ANC in the Amathole region sent their condolences to the mayor.
24 May 2020 - 8:40
PICS | Families share fond memories of Covid-19 victims
Five families spoke to the Sunday Times about the loved ones they’ve lost in the pandemic, and the holes in the lives they have left behind
24 May 2020 - 8:20
600,000 tourism jobs could be on the line if industry doesn't reopen soon
The tourism sector has pleaded with President Cyril Ramaphosa to allow hotels and restaurants to operate under level 3 as it looks to avert job losses of up to 600,000 by September.
As part of meetings this week in the run-up to the proposed move to level 3 on June 1, Ramaphosa on Friday met representatives of the tourism industry. They outlined the sector's readiness should it be given the green light to open next month.
24 May 2020 - 8:15
WHO sees 23,600 Covid-19 deaths for South Africa
SA will experience the third highest toll in Africa from the coronavirus pandemic, the World Health Organisation (WHO) predicts.
A report by the WHO regional office for Africa, which models the potential effects of widespread community transmission of Covid-19 on the continent, predicts that as many as 24-million South Africans could be infected with the virus. About 20-million of these cases could be non-symptomatic.
24 May 2020 - 8:00
Khayelitsha has SA’s most intense outbreak of Covid-19
For two days Phumla Saule could barely sleep. A colleague at the Khayelitsha supermarket where she works had tested positive for Covid-19.
Saule, 32, went for a test at the Town Two Clinic this week, and found the queue full of colleagues and other retail workers. "Our jobs have become a source of the dreaded Covid-19," she said.
24 May 2020 - 6:49
Covid-19 lockdown: calls for staggered working hours to get economy going
Labour unions, taxi associations and organised business have called on the government to consider staggering working hours during level 3 of the lockdown to prevent congestion - and increased risk - at public transport depots.
This is in the wake of the government's decision to relax restrictions, allowing hundreds of thousands to return to work as sectors of the economy resume operations. Most South African workers rely on trains, taxis and buses to get to work.
24 May 2020 - 6:48
Solidarity Fund changes tack on food aid
It is becoming clear the Solidarity Fund's food parcel distribution programme is no longer sustainable, with a feeding strategy rethink needed as growing queues of hungry people become increasingly at risk to Covid-19 exposure.
Instead, the fund's interim CEO, Nomkhita Nqweni, said it will now focus on sustainable food security models.
24 May 2020 - 6:45
Eastern Cape battles bed shortage as Covid-19 infections surge
Inadequate rural testing and a total disregard for Covid-19 regulations by communities have created a perfect storm for the surge in infections in the Eastern Cape, experts say.
Coronavirus cases in the province reached 2,459 this week, with 53 reported deaths.
24 May 2020 - 6:40
Parents 'anxious' about sending kids back to school inquire about home-schooling
About 600 parents who are afraid to send their children back to school this week bombarded a Facebook group with home-schooling inquiries.
This was a day after basic education minister Angie Motshekga said parents were free to home school their children if they “still feel anxious and doubtful” about sending them back to class.
24 May 2020 - 6:30
Draft level 3 regulations allow alcohol sales, but renew tobacco ban
Co-operative governance minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has tabled draft level 3 regulations that propose lifting the ban on alcohol sales, but extending the prohibition on cigarette sales. The regulations also propose opening up all sectors of the economy from June 1 except hotels, restaurants, bars, gyms and other recreational facilities.
The issue of tobacco and alcohol sales split President Cyril Ramaphosa's National Command Council (NCC) down the middle, igniting so much debate that a meeting to discuss the regulations lasted five hours, with no final decision taken on tobacco sales, insiders told the Sunday Times.
24 May 2020 - 6:15
Slow start to national ventilator project as infection surge looms
SA is in a race against time to build more than 15,000 ventilators in a matter of weeks to meet a predicted surge in Covid-19 cases.
Yet the national ventilator project, launched amid fanfare by the department of trade & industry (DTI) almost two months ago, has yet to kick into top gear.
The government acknowledged this week it was still deciding which of the six shortlisted companies it would give contracts to.
24 May 2020 - 6:00
Job losses in Gauteng 'will have a ripple effect across entire economy' - experts
The shockwaves from the possible loss of nearly 1-million formal jobs in Gauteng because of the lockdown will hit the country's economic growth and be felt by households in other provinces too, experts predict.
In scenario planning around the effects of the lockdown on Gauteng, premier David Makhura this week warned that in the worst case, 2-million formal sector jobs could be lost.