COVID-19 WRAP: Booze queues | 1,674 new covid-19 cases in SA | Blanket opening of schools 'would have been risky'

01 June 2020 - 08:21 By TimesLIVE
Cape Town International open its doors as the the country ease its restrictions during level 3 of lockdown on Monday.
Cape Town International open its doors as the the country ease its restrictions during level 3 of lockdown on Monday.
Image: ESA ALEXANDER/SUNDAY TIMES

June 1 2020 - 9:29pm

Isolate the sick and elderly to avoid deaths: Zweli Mkhize

With one in every nine people in the Western Cape testing positive for Covid-19, the province could soon quarantine those who live in high-risk areas and are at risk of complications.

This includes the elderly and those with underlying conditions, health minister Zweli Mkhize has hinted.

Mkhize, who is currently in the Western Cape to check preparedness as South Africa’s Covid-19 epicentre, said the province - which has over 65% of the country's cases - will determine whether the country will defeat Covid-19 or not.

June 1 2020 - 6:11pm

It's official: hunting, fishing and game drives are allowed under level 3

Hunting and recreational fishing are among the activities the department of environment, forestry and fisheries has allowed under level 3 of the lockdown.

Self-drive visits to private or public game reserves and national parks will also be allowed during level 3.

“All fishing, including recreational fishing, is permitted with the exception of charter fishing,” said minister Barbara Creecy.

June 1 2020 - 6:07pm

Children 'suffered' under Covid-19 lockdown: Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu

South Africa’s children have been forced to “look after themselves” under lockdown. They have been victims of and witnesses to gender-based violence, watched as their parents were forced into a “unsupervised detoxification” and exposed to cyberbullying as they've spent more time online.

This was the frank admission from deputy social development minister Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu. She and minister Lindiwe Zulu spoke during the launch of Child Protection Week on Monday.

Covid-19 and the lockdown “brought a number of challenges for children”, she said, adding that with the ban on alcohol under lockdown, many parents were forced into “unsupervised detoxification”.

June 1 2020 - 5:33pm

Marriages, late birth registrations allowed under lockdown level 3

The home affairs department says it will now provide marriage services and receive requests for late registration of births as the country moves to level 3 of the lockdown.

These two new services, by appointment, are in addition to services that the department offered when the country moved to level 4 at the beginning of May.

These are the issuing of uncollected identity documents, issuance of temporary identity certificates, registration of births and deaths, reissue of birth and death certificates and issuance of passports to those in export and cargo transport.

June 1 2020 - 5:11pm

DA wants parliament to probe NDZ over cigarette ban backtrack

DA chief whip Natasha Mazzone wants parliament's joint committee on ethics and members' interests to investigate whether co-operative governance and traditional affairs minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma misled the public in justifying the ban on tobacco products during certain levels of the Covid-19 lockdown.

In a statement on Monday, Mazzone said it came to light last week that Dlamini-Zuma “misled” South Africans about the amount of public participation her department received supporting the ban on the sale of cigarettes during the lockdown.

June 1 2020 - 5:06pm

WATCH | 'I'm going to sleep like a baby' - SA queues to quench alcohol thirst as bottle stores reopen

It's been 65 days since South Africans were legally allowed to buy alcohol, and they didn't waste any time when sales reopened on Monday.

Scenes of stockpiling contrasted with happy shoppers who bought their drink of choice at bottle stores and liquor outlets.

The Gauteng Liquor Forum, which represents taverns across the province, called for drinkers to adopt a “sober” approach.

“We call on all our customers to consume their alcohol responsibly and to report all alcohol-related lawlessness to the appropriate authorities,” said Fanny Mokoena, its president.

June 1 2020 - 4:09pm

'Consume alcohol responsibly': Gauteng Liquor Forum

The Gauteng Liquor Forum (GLF) has appealed to people to consume alcohol responsibly as the eased lockdown regulations kicked in on Monday.

All over the country, South Africans queued up to buy alcohol at liquor outlets which opened their doors at 9am.

The forum, which represents taverns in Gauteng, welcomed the government’s decision to allow the sale of alcohol.

June 1 2020 - 3:38pm

Covid-19: SA death toll passes 700, cases increase to more than 34,000

An additional 1,674 cases of Covid-19 have been recorded in SA in the last 24 hours.

In a statement on Monday afternoon, the health ministry said that there were now 34,357 cases of the respiratory illness.

There were also an additional 22 deaths recorded in the last 24-hour cycle - all of them in the Western Cape.

June 1 2020 - 3:15pm

Neighbourhood Watches get green light to operate under level 3

Western Cape community safety minister Albert Fritz on Monday welcomed feedback from the national secretary of police confirming that Neighbourhood Watches (NHW) would be able to operate under level 3 of the lockdown.

He said it had been confirmed during a meeting on Monday between officials of the department of community safety (DoCS) and the national secretary of police, that the restrictions placed on NHWs had been lifted under alert level 3.

He said that within the targeted Covid-19 hotspot areas, NHWs would be deployed to assist in:

  • Promoting adherence to regulations in terms of social distancing at places of gathering and queueing
  • Sharing communications as prescribed by DoCS, acting as a nodal point of information for DoCS; and
  • Patrol in their community.

“The presence of NHWs will serve to prevent crime. During the lockdown, we have seen an increase in vandalism of schools and shop robberies, in rural and urban communities alike.

"I have heard the call of the many NHWs and Community Police Forums (CPFs) who have raised their hands and offered their support during this difficult period and am pleased to announce that NHW may now operate,” said Fritz.

June 1 2020 - 2:49pm

Company fined R76,000 for excessive pricing on face masks

The Competition Tribunal on Monday found a Pretoria-based company guilty of hiking up the prices of face masks between January 31 and March 5.

Babelegi Workwear and Industrial Supplies CC was fined R76,000.

This is the country's first contested excessive pricing case in the context of Covid-19, as other companies reached consent agreements with the commission after admitting guilt for excessive pricing. – Ernest Mabuza

More to follow on TimesLIVE.

Customers arrived before dawn at some liquor stores to ensure they got what they came for.
Customers arrived before dawn at some liquor stores to ensure they got what they came for.
Image: Sunday Times/Esa Alexander

June 1 2020 - 2:30pm

'I would rather die from corona than die from thirst'

Shopping queues for alcohol continued to stretch for miles during the lunch hour on Monday, the first day of that liquor could be legally purchased since the start of lockdown.

Scenes of stockpiling contrasted with happy shoppers who bought their drink of choice in various centres.

Durban's thirsty residents came out in full force when liquor outlets threw open their doors for business on Monday, with some splurging up to R3,000 in savings for the occasion.

The Gauteng Liquor Forum, which represents taverns across the province, called for drinkers to adopt a sober approach.

"We call on all our customers to consume their alcohol responsibly and to report all alcohol-related lawlessness to the appropriate authorities,” said Fanny Mokoena, its president.

A large portion of its members will not be able to trade immediately, due to a lack of funds needed to prepare their trading places adequately and to stock up sufficiently, said Mokoena.

As a consequence, the forum remained concerned about illicit traders.

“We are still very concerned about the existence of the illicit alcohol trade, which boomed while our members were complying with the lockdown regulations. We urge the Minister of Police to crack down on these operators, as they continue to threaten our livelihoods.”  

There was near pandemonium at the Paradise Liquor store in Nyanga, Cape Town, where customers had gathered before dawn.

Siya Mcuthwana, one of the store employees, said scores of people had arrived long before opening time at 9am. “I went out to feed my dog and found a snaking queue outside,” said Mcuthwana.

“They pestered me to open for them. They complained that they were very thirsty. Some said their throats were as dry as the desert and they are tired of drinking coffee which they are not used to. They complained that unscrupulous people charged them R500 for a bottle of brandy at the height of the lockdown.

“Some people left bricks here to indicate their position in the queue while they did their household chores. The lockdown has been very tough. We lost our girlfriends because we couldn’t provide for them.”

Some customers shoved each other as they scrambled to get into the narrow entrance. Social distancing was kicked to the curb. Many customers did not wear masks, there was no sanitizer at the entrance and temperatures were not taken. All age groups were represented.

One of the customers, who declined to be named, shouted: “I would rather die from corona than die from thirst. We have been deprived of our right to drink for far too long. We just want to buy alcohol and leave.”

Siphokazi Mnyama, an elderly customer, negotiated to be spared a long wait in the queue. She wore her mask inside out. “I had sent my child to come and queue for me but she is not here now. I don’t know where  she is,” said Siganga.

“I woke up at 8am because they said they will open at 9am. I was surprised to see such a long queue. You would swear they are queuing for an old age grant – but we are all here for booze.”

Mandisa Siganga bought six crates of beer. She was running a shebeen on her property. “We are happy that liquor is being sold again,” she said.

“We are going to have an income now. We did not receive the groceries that the government doled out for poor people, only a few got them. We are going back to business now. - TimesLIVE and Philani Nombembe

June 1 2020 - 2pm

'Not sending my child to his grave'

Parents and community members in Bishop Lavis on the Cape Flats picketed outside Bergville Primary School on Monday.

They expressed concern that the reopening of schools will put their children in danger, as well as the health of teachers.

Remote prayer has been evident across denomintions during lockdown. File image
Remote prayer has been evident across denomintions during lockdown. File image
Image: Pope's Worldwide Prayer Network

June 1 2020 - 1.45pm

Sundays are meant for prayer, government told

Agricultural group TLU SA on Monday admonished government for its Sunday pronouncements.

"We are very disappointed in the government’s insistence to host media conferences and meetings around Covid-19 on Sundays,” said Louis Meintjes, the president of TLU SA. “President [Cyril] Ramaphosa goes to the trouble of announcing a day of prayer, but then the government breaks the Sabbath on that very same day.

“The power of prayer is probably more important at the moment than some of the ridiculous and senseless regulations. The government must stop standing in the way of the faithful who want to praise God Almighty – on Sundays – and want to treat the day as holy.”

Teaching got underway for Grade 7s and 12's at some Western Cape schools on Monday.
Teaching got underway for Grade 7s and 12's at some Western Cape schools on Monday.
Image: Esa Alexander

June 1 2020 - 1.38pm

Children to share their views with minister Lindiwe Zulu

Social Development minister Lindiwe Zulu is hosting a virtual meeting with children from all nine provinces on Monday afternoon to hear their thoughts on the Covid-19 pandemic.

"As the coronavirus pandemic continues to spread across South Africa causing major disruptions in family life, concerns about the safety and wellbeing of children has significantly increased, with many of them currently out of school for an extended period of time and unable to play with their friends in their neighborhoods," her office said.

"To give children a voice in this unprecedented time," Zulu would ask them to share their lived experience on issues affecting their lives such as home/online schooling, living under lockdown and measures that government and civil society organisations can put in place to ensure their protection."

The virtual meeting between the minister and selected child ambassadors is held in celebration of the International Children’s Day, held on 1 June every year to draw attention to children’s rights as enshrined in the Convention on the Rights of the Child

The meeting will be held between 3pm-4pm.

Out of 134 grade 7 pupils, only 16 came to school on the first day of level 3 of lockdown at Hlengisa Primary school in Nyanga, Cape Town.
Out of 134 grade 7 pupils, only 16 came to school on the first day of level 3 of lockdown at Hlengisa Primary school in Nyanga, Cape Town.
Image: Esa Alexander

June 1 2020 - 1.30pm

Conflicting messages of readiness at Nyanga school

Only 16 grade 7 pupils arrived for school at Hlengisa Primary School in Nyanga, Cape Town, on Monday.

Sandile Martin, the school governing body member responsible for safety and security, said 118 other pupils had stayed away.

Martin said basic education minister Angie Motshekga’s announcement that schools would not open on Monday and Western Cape education MEC Debbie Schäfer’s confirmation that schools in the province “will be open to receive learners” had caused confusion in the community.

“This school is not ready start teaching,” said Martin. “The school was not fumigated to prepare for the reopening. We are waiting on the provincial department to send the necessary equipment. Overall, we are not satisfied with the way the provincial department has handled the reopening. We expected that masks for kids, teachers and non-teaching staff would have been delivered by today. We are yet to receive them. If nothing is delivered by 12pm, we will take action as parents.”

School principal Mzimkhulu Qwaka, said only three teachers were absent out of a staff complement of 37. He said the school had prepared seven classrooms for pupils to ensure social distancing.

“Only a few kids came in today,” said Qwaka. “Some of them arrived very early, others were brought by their parents. I was here yesterday to ensure that the classrooms are clean and ready to receive the learners.”

Schäfer conceded on Sunday that some schools in the province may not be ready on Monday but added that the province had “pulled out all the stops” to ensure most schools were ready. - Philani Nombembe

A Life Esidimeni facility, file image.
A Life Esidimeni facility, file image.
Image: Google Photo

June 1 2020 - 1.16pm

Call for Life Esidimeni facility to shut after 7 deaths

South African National Civic Organisation Sundays River subregion chairperson Mxolisi April wants the Life Esidimeni Care Centre in Kirkwood to be closed.

This follows seven deaths recorded among the 29 patients and six employees infected at the psychiatric facility.

“This is a small town and the staff members use public transport to move back and forth between work and the communities where they live.

“The hospital is the epicentre of the virus in this town and it should be closed.”

The facility has 600 patients.

“We assure you that we are following the department of health and National Institute for Communicable Diseases protocols and guidelines to prevent the spread of the virus within our facility,” a spokesperson said.

Some Western Cape schools opened with Covid-19 safety protocols in force.
Some Western Cape schools opened with Covid-19 safety protocols in force.
Image: Esa Alexander

June 1 2020 - 1.05pm

1,600 schools in KZN not ready to open

If a school is not ready on June 8, it will not be opened, says KwaZulu-Natal education MEC Kwazi Mshengu.

Efforts will be made this week to ensure supplies are delivered. In some cases where schools are not ready, pupils may be moved to other schools, he said.

As of Friday last week, 4,400 of 6,000 schools were ready in the province.

Minister of basic education Angie Motshekga addressing the media on the readiness of schools.
Minister of basic education Angie Motshekga addressing the media on the readiness of schools.
Image: Thapelo Morebudi/Sunday Times.

June 1 2020 - 12:36

Any delay past June 8 poses a serious threat to schooling: Minister

Basic education minister Angie Motshekga has stressed the importance of schooling resuming on Monday June 8, while acknowledging the furore the postponement of Sunday's briefing had caused on the eve of the expected reopening this week.

"I am hopeful that all outstanding challenges they unearthed, will be addressed; and we can be able to have effective learning and teaching from 08 June 2020. Any further delays, pose a serious threat to the system and the future our learners are yearning for," the minister said.

"Provinces are now putting the shoulder to wheel to ensure that all prerequisites not yet fulfilled, will be delivered within [this] week." Progress will be reviewed on Thursday.

There were long queues at the Makro in Centurion in Tshwane on Monday morning.
There were long queues at the Makro in Centurion in Tshwane on Monday morning.
Image: Supplied

June 1 2020 - 12:18

This woman brought her laptop to the liquor queue

Customers at a Liquor City shop in Johannesburg waited patiently in a long queue on Monday morning to buy their booze. Meanwhile, in Centurion in Tshwane, one woman was spotted with a laptop propped up in her shopping trolley, assumingly working while waiting. 

Captain, my captain!
Captain, my captain!
Image: Alon Skuy
Johannesburg shoppers going all out on the first day of level 3 of the lockdown.
Johannesburg shoppers going all out on the first day of level 3 of the lockdown.
Image: Alon Skuy

June 1 2020 - 11:57

Taxi ranks overflowing Monday morning

Simon Mphahlele, manager of the Phomolong Taxi rank in Atteridgeville, said the strict level 3 regulations would make commuters late for work.

"We only carry 70% as stated in the regulations but passengers are complaining. They say they are getting late but there is nothing we can do, we can't break the law."

Mphahlele said there had been an increase in the number of passengers needing transport, making it very difficult for taxi operators.

Sarah Baloyi, who returned to work on Monday, said she had to wait more than an hour for a taxi.

"We are getting late on our first day, we don't have taxis and when they are carrying only 10 passengers, we are being more late. Then we have to wait for another taxi which must first drop passengers at Midrand and come back again," she said.

A taxi rank in Atteridgeville was overflowing on Monday morning.
A taxi rank in Atteridgeville was overflowing on Monday morning.
Image: Shonisani Tshikalange

Itumeleng Chauke agreed. "It's going to be difficult to explain at work why I am late," said the 38-year-old.

"Things have changed from last week, I see the same thing happening even tomorrow and it's worse because our bosses are even strict now."

Alexandra residents seen in queues at Pan African taxi rank as most of them go to work for the first time.
Alexandra residents seen in queues at Pan African taxi rank as most of them go to work for the first time.
Image: Thapelo Morebudi/The Sunday Times.

June 1 2020 - 11:54

'Did alcohol bring the virus? No!'

A Durban customer, who joined the queues from early morning, said he was extremely "thirsty".

"I'm here to buy gin and whisky.

"Alcohol didn't bring the virus, so why ban it? I can't wait to crack open my bottles tonight.

"The last time I drank was before lockdock. So it's going to be a celebration."

An early queue outside Liberty Liquors in Durban.
An early queue outside Liberty Liquors in Durban.
Image: Suthentira Govender

June 1 2020 - 11:48

'I was afraid people would think I'm crazy'

Hazel Sithole, 39, said she arrived at Atteridgville plaza at about 5am.

"I couldn't sleep. When I got here, there was no one, so I had to wait a little bit outside the mall but when I got in I realised that it was only mall staff and I was the only customer, so I had to go back home to wait a little bit because I was afraid that people would think that I was crazy for waking up early for alcohol," she said.

Sithole, who is a nurse working in a Covid-19 ward, was excited to be number one on the long queue.

"I am very very happy, my friends are even calling me and they can't believe that I am number one. I am even willing to spend R1000," she said.

Her job was very stressful, she added.

"I am going to release the stress of this virus. I am scared for my children but I try very hard to keep them safe. Now that I have found my fix I will be thinking straight," she said. 

Hazel Sithole is a nurse who says she needs alcohol to relieve the stress of her job.
Hazel Sithole is a nurse who says she needs alcohol to relieve the stress of her job.
Image: Shonisani Tshikalange

June 1 2020 - 11:46

'This has affected my entire life'

In a queue where social distancing was hardly observed, anxious shoppers waited their turn to get into the Beyers Naude Liquor City in Johannesburg.

A man who asked not to be named said he was planning to stock up for the entire month.

“I’m just here for the wine. This has affected my entire life. I work, so quarantine was not that bad for me. It’s more of an inconvenience than a bad thing.

“I’ve run out of alcohol since lockdown started, I just had to deal with it. I’m here early because I know it will be crazy during the day,” he said.

Over 100 people are gathered outside Supa store in Thokozoza Park, Soweto.
Over 100 people are gathered outside Supa store in Thokozoza Park, Soweto.
Image: Nonkululeko Njilo

June 1 2020 - 11:41

Joburg shoppers camped from 6am

John Jardine, owner of Liquor City on Beyers Naude Avenue in Johannesburg, said shoppers were on their best behaviour. 

“Only 40 people are allowed inside, it’s a small store. If anyone were to show a high temperature, we intend to turn them away kindly.

“So far its been good, people are used to the protocols. Our first campers came here around 6am,” Jardine said.

Shoppers queue at a Joburg liquor store.
Shoppers queue at a Joburg liquor store.
Image: Kgaugelo Masweneng

June 1 2020 - 11:27

'I can't wait to feel that wetness in my throat'

Prudence Kgathuke, 23, said she was disappointed with the regulations at the liquor shop at Atteridgeville plaza in Tshwane which only allows for the sale of two cases per customer.

"I am disappointed because they are saying two cases per customer, which is only 24. I thought that I was going to stock up a lot but it's the law, so there is nothing we can do."

She said during the lockdown, she was forced to buy from those who were selling at an expensive price.

Twenty-four drinks are not enough, said a Tshwane shopper, complaining about the limitations on how many liquor was allowed per customer.
Twenty-four drinks are not enough, said a Tshwane shopper, complaining about the limitations on how many liquor was allowed per customer.
Image: Shonisani Tshikalange

"I will gulp down the first one just like water, I can't wait to feel that wetness in my throat," she said.

She was excited before entering the store and had said that she was going to stock up on Savanna only to be disappointed by the shop's regulations. "I was happy when I got here and discovered that I was number three, it was like a happy new year," she said.

June 1 2020 - 11:27

Car guards hoping for an uptake in the economy

Besides the long winding shopping queues at liquor stores, west of Johannesburg, patrons also had to manoeuvre their way through the parking lot in search of parking.

Parking bays closest to the door were quickly occupied.

“Ey, it’s busy my suster,” replied a parking assistant walking back to the store, pushing a trolley.

He said the lockdown had led car guards to losing a large amount of income.

He hoped that with people being generous in their buying of booze, they would also be as generous in tipping them.

June 1 2020 - 11:19

'We learnt our lesson'

Patrons eager to quench their thirst after two months of the closure of liquor outlets on Monday said they had learnt their lesson and would be stockpiling on booze to ensure they never ran out again.

Patricia Oberholzer, who had joined the winding queue at the Makro in Strubens Valley, west of Johannesburg, said: “When the lockdown started, we didn’t know we would go this long without alcohol. Today, when I buy, I want to buy enough to last me for a while just in case the government puts us back on lockdown level five again."

Hundreds of people, clad in masks had joined the line ahead of Oberholzer, with some preparing to spend quite a while outside before being let in.

“I came with a van to stock. I want to buy ciders, beers, gin and vodka,” said Thato Mashego from Soweto.

He was making his purchases for himself and others who had been unable to come to the shops.

“I charged them just a small amount for the service,” Mashego said with a laugh.

June 1 2020 - 11:09

Motshekga spent most of weekend consulting

Basic education minister Angie Motshekga at a much awaited media briefing on Monday morning said she spent most of the weekend consulting with school stakeholders.

"I really wanted to apologise whole-heartedly," she said, referring to the postponement of the reopening of schools.

"We decided, let's use this week to mop up... and there were different views," she said.

Schools who were ready to start on Monday should use the week for induction and orientation, said Motshekga.

Azola Lukhozi,12, a grade 7 pupil at Clifton College in Durban is getting disinfected as he enters the schools premises.
Azola Lukhozi,12, a grade 7 pupil at Clifton College in Durban is getting disinfected as he enters the schools premises.
Image: Sandile Ndlovu

June 1 2020 - 11:04

Meanwhile, private school starts teaching

While South Africans queued outside liquor stores to celebrate level three of the national lockdown, a private school in Durban ignored an instruction from the government not to resume teaching.

Pupils queue outside Clifton College in Durban as they wait to be disinfected.
Pupils queue outside Clifton College in Durban as they wait to be disinfected.
Image: Sandile Ndlovu

It was all systems go at Clinton School, a private school in Durban, as matric students queued at the various gates to get disinfected and given masks.

The school's executive headmaster Dave Knowles said that they were expecting 80% of their learners to return while the rest had the option to continue with online classes.

People stock up on their favorite drinks at the Pick n Pay north of Johannesburg as the country enters alert Level 3 of the lockdown.
People stock up on their favorite drinks at the Pick n Pay north of Johannesburg as the country enters alert Level 3 of the lockdown.
Image: Sebabatso Mosamo/Sunday Times

June 1 2020 - 11:00

Students say they study hard and drink every now and then

Students Jeremy Ives and James Stachen went easy on the batch of beer they bought for the duration of the lockdown, but with the lockdown extentions they too ran out.

At Tops Spar in Vredehoek in Cape Town, a steady queue, with physical distancing measures in place, fed customers into the bottlestore.

Two bottles of red, two bottles of white, a few bottles of hard liquor, and a case of beer is the quota, and many people make sure to fill it, likely weary of government's recent tendency to renege on certain announcements such as the opening of schools and the unbanning of cigarettes.

Students Jeremy Ives and James Stachen say they went easy on their batch of beer they bought for the duration of the lockdown, but with the extentions of the lockdown they too ran out.
Students Jeremy Ives and James Stachen say they went easy on their batch of beer they bought for the duration of the lockdown, but with the extentions of the lockdown they too ran out.
Image: Aron Hyman

"We were using our stock sparingly. We're studying, so every now and again I'd treat myself," said Ives.

A doorman at the liquor store sprayed each customer's hands with disinfectant and made sure that not too many people were in the store at the same time.

He said one of the first customers to arrive was so thirsty he opened his first bottle as he got into the driver's seat to take his consignment home.

June 1 2020 - 10:46

Melville Liquor store starting to run dry

Shelves that were fully stocked this morning were close to empty at the Melville Liquor store in Johannesburg just before 11am on Monday. A shop assistant who did not want to be named, explained how he and his colleagues had to report to work earlier than usual to stock the shelves.

Shelves that were fully stocked this morning are close to empty at the Melville Liquor store in Johannesburg.
Shelves that were fully stocked this morning are close to empty at the Melville Liquor store in Johannesburg.
Image: Amina Asma

June 1 2020 - 10:46

'I will come back tomorrow for another bakkie load'

Customers at the Ferndale Liquor City in Randburg observed social distancing as they waited in a queue to get into the store. Each customer was sanitised and given a peg before being allowed into the shop. 

"I'm obviously happy because I can't link alcohol with the virus. I understand why the government did not allow tarvens to operate because people would chill there," said a customer who did not want to be named.

He said he survived the alcohol ban "through the black market" but did not want to divulge how much money he spent in total.

"We can't talk those figures. It's bad. For instance, a bottle you'd get here for R200, you spent between R600 and R800 in the black market."

A man who identified himself as "Mr Coetzee" says he got up early to make his way to the liquor store in Melville, Johannesburg. He was in time to get his favourite drink and did not waste time opening it.
A man who identified himself as "Mr Coetzee" says he got up early to make his way to the liquor store in Melville, Johannesburg. He was in time to get his favourite drink and did not waste time opening it.
Image: Amina Asma

Happiness Murudu said she was happy she could buy alcohol again.

She said she woke up early to go to the liquor store.

"I was working throughout the night, so I decided to just come here early in the morning.

"I'm happy that the shops are open. What I bought will last me a month," she said.

An elated Stoffel Buys, who filled his bakkie with beer and brandy, said he had bought enough alcohol to last him a day.

"I will come back tomorrow for another bakkie load," Buys chuckled.

He said he had also spent a "lot" of money on alcohol he bought through the black market.

People stock up on their favorite drinks at the Pick n Pay on Nicol bottle store in Johannesburg as the country enters alert Level 3 of the lockdown.
People stock up on their favorite drinks at the Pick n Pay on Nicol bottle store in Johannesburg as the country enters alert Level 3 of the lockdown.
Image: Sebabatso Mosamo/Sunday Times

June 1 2020 - 10:37

Pretoria resident took day off to buy alcohol

Trust Kobe took a day off to be able to buy alcohol on Monday morning. The 22-year-old first when to Nkomo village complex in Atteridgeville, Pretoria but turned back because the queues were too long. 

"I asked for leave on Thursday. I had to plan it properly last week, so I will go back to work with a doctor's note. I know that there is a special, I even did some research and tried to also check how many I can buy," he said.

He said although he preferred drinking at a club as it was more fun, he planned to adhere to the regulations of drinking at home.

"I will adapt to the changes of drinking at home, the problem is that when you get drunk at home you go to sleep but at the club you get drunk and dance," he said.

Queues of liquor shoppers outside Checkers Liquors in Cape Town CBD.
Queues of liquor shoppers outside Checkers Liquors in Cape Town CBD.
Image: Anthony Molyneaux

June 1 2020 - 10:32

'Nice happy vibe in the air' 

The queue into Tops at Melville moved steadily as shoppers were let in five people at a time. Car guards on the site - who did not want to be named - said that the queue had been this long since before 9am this morning. "People are so excited to be standing in the queue to buy alcohol, there is even a nice happy vibe in the air", said one car guard.

A queue to buy drinks in a Johannesburg street.
A queue to buy drinks in a Johannesburg street.
Image: Amina Asma

June 1 2020 - 10:27

Durban queues 'just crazy' 

Lwazi Ntuli, 36, let off a huge sigh after being told he had to join a queue of about a dozen people outside Tops at Spar in Umlazi's Mega City Mall, south of Durban.

"No man, you're joking," he tells a Spar employee taking customers' temperatures at the entrance. "I knew it was going to be a long wait, but this is just crazy."

Ntuli said he had taken some time off work to get a few "essentials" - what he referred to as booze for himself and his wife.

Sthembiso Cwele, 29, said he was preparing for a lockdown level 3 party.

A cheerful Cwele spent R1500 on liquor which he said would last him two days.

"We'll abide by the law and drink at home. That doesn't mean we can't have a good time."

He didn't agree with government's decision to ban alcohol.

"Whether we want to drink or not, that is our choice. Government cannot tell us we can't drink. When they want our votes they come running, so they must know who keeps them in power," he said.

Shoppers queue outside a liquor store in Durban.
Shoppers queue outside a liquor store in Durban.
Image: Orrin Singh

A woman, who did not want to be named, said she didn't mind the long wait while she joined the back of the queue.

"You see alcohol, I won't complain to stand in this line, but just ask me to go to home affairs, then you will hear me complain," she said.

Shoppers' temperatures are taken outside a liquor store in Sophiatown, Johannesburg.
Shoppers' temperatures are taken outside a liquor store in Sophiatown, Johannesburg.
Image: Amina Asma

June 1 2020 - 10:21

Capetonian opens beer outside liquor store

"I needed this, it's been a while, hey," says a man who did not want to be named. Standing outside the Checkers liquor store in Kloof street in Cape Town, he said he had bought two six-pack beers and gin. He reckons it would last him for the day. "I don't want to drink every day... I want to drink today, just a welcoming [drink]," he added.

June 1 2020 - 09:58

Eager South Africans buy alcohol as liquor ban is lifted

Customers at the Ferndale Liquor City in Randburg, Gauteng, observed social distancing  rules while they waited in a queue to enter the store.

Every customer is sanitised and given a peg before being allowed into the shop.

A customer who did not want to be named said he was relieved liquor stores were open.

"I'm obviously happy because I can't link alcohol with the virus. I understand why the government did not allow taverns to operate because people would chill there."

South Africans queue up to get into Tops liquor store on June 1 2020.
South Africans queue up to get into Tops liquor store on June 1 2020.
Image: SUPPLIED
A group of people are queuig outside the Beyers Naude liquor city ahead of its 9am opening on June 1 2020.
A group of people are queuig outside the Beyers Naude liquor city ahead of its 9am opening on June 1 2020.
Image: SUPPLIED

June 1 2020 - 9.40am

Booze flying off shelves in liquor stores

In a queue where social distancing was not widely observed, anxious shoppers waited their turn to enter the Beyers Naude Liqour City.

The man who asked not to be named said he was planning to stock up for the entire month.

“I’m just here for the wine. This has affected my entire life. I work so quarantine was not that bad for me. It’s more of an inconvenience than a bad thing.

“I’ve ran out of alcohol since lockdown started, I just had to deal with it. I’m here early because I know it will be crazy during the day.” he said.

Customers queueing up to buy alcohol as liquor ban in SA is lifted under lockdown level 3 on June 1 2020.
Customers queueing up to buy alcohol as liquor ban in SA is lifted under lockdown level 3 on June 1 2020.
Image: Andisiwe May

June 1 2020 - 09:47

Screening mandatory at liqour stores in SA as alcohol ban is lifted 

Both hand sanitation and temperature screening are mandatory at the entrance of liqour stores on June 1 2020.
Both hand sanitation and temperature screening are mandatory at the entrance of liqour stores on June 1 2020.
Image: Modiegi Mashamaite
Hazel Sithole, 39 said she arrived at Atteridgville plaza at about 5am as alcohol ban is lifted.
Hazel Sithole, 39  said she arrived at Atteridgville plaza at about 5am as alcohol ban is lifted.
Image: Suppplied

June 1 2020 - 09:33

'The department is not ready': Mzansi angered by Angie Motshekga postponing briefing on back to school

Basic education minister Angie Motshekga is at the receiving end of criticism after she postponed a briefing on the reopening of schools for pupils in grades 7 and 12.

The minister was set to address the nation at 4pm on Sunday, but this was postponed to 6pm. Parents and pupils were later informed the briefing had been postponed again, to 11am on Monday.

This as Motshekga was being engaged further regarding the readiness of schools to host pupils and teachers, TimesLIVE reported.

June 1 2020 - 09:24

BACK TO WORK | Courier company with 90 branches countrywide set to shut down

As the lockdown eases and more South Africans go back to work under level 3 on Monday, many jobs hang in the balance, including those in the construction and courier businesses.

For courier company Times Freight, which has about 90 branches and 1,400 employees, this might be the end of the road.

Group CEO Iain Johnson said regrettably, the board had decided that it had no choice but to commence a formal consultation process which could lead to the potential closure of Time Freight.

“Time Freight was in a fragile position prior to the advent of Covid-19 and the government decreed the lockdown. The market in which it operates had become increasingly difficult and competitive over the last few years and this, when set against an already challenging and weak economic environment in SA, meant that the business required radical change in order to survive,” said Johnson.

June 1 2020 - 09:23

Thousands of South Africans back to work as lockdown rules relaxed

Aisha Pandor’s cleaning company Sweep South, an app for domestic helpers, is finally open for business again on Monday after nearly 70 days of complete shutdown.

Staff at the company have been severely affected by the shutdown as some of the lowest earners in the country with no work meaning no way of earning income. The company was able, through millions of rand in donations, to give each of the workers a stipend but Pandor said 96% of the 5,000 active domestic workers were keen to get back to work.

Pandor, however, said they had to tick a few boxes before work could start on Monday.

“First, we had to ask if the ladies were comfortable to resume work and 96% of them said they were.”

June 1 2020 - 09:21

Saffers get a taste for online booze browsing​

Many citizens aren't in the mood for social distancing, masks and gloves outside bottle stores, it seems.

Drive-throughs, virtual tastings and online liquor shopping are set to be the “new normal”. 

Queues stagger up across SA's liquor stores as alcohol ban lifted

June 1 2020 - 09:19

More and more people are lining up outside liquor stores, across the country to purchase their choice of poison following government's decision to lift the sale of alcohol under level 3.

Some are wearing masks and clear social distancing measures in sight.

May 1 2020 - 07:47

More than 1,700 new coronavirus cases recorded between Saturday & Sunday

More than 1,700 new coronavirus cases were recorded by the health ministry between Saturday and Sunday evening.

The health ministry on Sunday said it had recorded 1,716 new cases, bringing the total infection toll to 32,683 cases.

“Regrettably, we report 40 more Covid-19-related deaths,” read a statement from the office of health minister Zweli Mkhize.

May 1 2020 

Turn for the better: corona tummy tactic may be big life saver

As SA prepares for a Covid-19 surge, a simple medical technique may save lives.

It's called proning, and it's been around for decades.

Residents at Son Heuwel Karavaan Park in Onderstepoort, Pretoria recieved food parcels during a food distribution drop off, organised by Meal SA, the Tshwane Muslim Council and various other charities on May 31 2020.
Residents at Son Heuwel Karavaan Park in Onderstepoort, Pretoria recieved food parcels during a food distribution drop off, organised by Meal SA, the Tshwane Muslim Council and various other charities on May 31 2020.
Image: ALON SKUY​
A group of people are queuig outside the Beyers Naude liquor city ahead of its 9am opening on June 1 2020.
A group of people are queuig outside the Beyers Naude liquor city ahead of its 9am opening on June 1 2020.
Image: SUPPLIED
South Africans queue up to get into Tops liquor store on June 1 2020.
South Africans queue up to get into Tops liquor store on June 1 2020.
Image: SUPPLIED
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