[WSMDiscuss] (Fwd) South Africa's recent Coronavirus deprivations and depravities: food rebellions and growing hunger; incidents of police brutality; gender-based violence spike; unemployment relief missing; price-gouging; water vandalism-for-profit; xenophobia; ghetto 'decanting' = evictions; CT shack demolitions (and reversal); healthworker protective gear shortage; rural transport shortage; alcoholism & booze syndicates; 400 schools vandalised; communication breakdowns; physical-distancing difficulties, etc etc

Patrick Bond pbond at mail.ngo.za
Sat Apr 18 09:58:01 CEST 2020

(As of now 
<https://twitter.com/DrZweliMkhize/status/1251220904752930818>, in a 
country of nearly 60 million, fewer than 3000 have officially tested 
Covid-19 positive these past five weeks. Nearly 1000 have recovered. At 
least 50 are dead.

     Reports of social degradation and state stinginess over the last 
few days, below, are sobering. Thank goodness the SA infection rate is 
surprisingly low, by all accounts, notwithstanding initial testing 
fiascos. The public health interventions appear to be effective in 
"flattening the curve" 
This is absolutely vital given SA's healthcare apartheid, hospital and 
clinic crises, and systemic unpreparedness.

     But if this is indeed the case, in turn the flattened infection 
curve also extends the hunger - indeed starvation - now rapidly 
worsening due to persistent state neoliberalism and distributional 
political biases. And apparently, an atomised, leaderless social 
rebellion is brewing against police and army brutality in some of the 
hotspots. One aspect is what's termed school 'vandalism' - but 
tellingly, /“The most common target areas in the schools are the 
administration blocks for Information Communication Technology equipment 
and the nutrition centres for the food items,” said Basic Education 
Minister Angie Motshekga. /

     The well-regarded health scientist leading the battle is Slim 
Abdool Karim. According to Ferial Haffajee 

    /Abdool Karim is a straight-shooter who does not play politics. He
    wasn’t in favour under the Mbeki administration and on Monday (13
    April) he didn’t beat around the bush. He said it was unlikely that
    South Africa can avoid the exponential curve of Covid-19, but what
    South African can do is plan for it... He said the country has some
    things going for it, like an army of 28,000 community health
    workers, a new and faster diagnostic testing regime and new
    treatments. The country also needed time to prep hospitals and buy
    Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) gear like masks and gowns
    essential to keep healthworkers safe. South Africa’s infection rate
    is now growing at 67 per week, said Abdool Karim, and if it slows,
    the lockdown can be eased. But if infections climb to 90 or more a
    day, as mass testing gains ground, then the tight restrictions will
    remain. The two doctors told South Africans to plan for stages 5 to
    9 of the fight against Covid-19, which could last from this week to
    September. It includes finding the infection hotspots, planning for
    the peak, thinking through and planning for bereavement and mass
    deaths and then planning vigilance strategies to last until a
    vaccine may be found. Most clinicians agree this could take between
    18 months and two years. Steps might include introducing an
    age-related lockdown for the most vulnerable people. None of these
    stages are without problems: community health workers feel underpaid
    and often unprotected in the face of a terrifying virus and test
    results are still taking too long to process./

Next email: encouraging signs of coherent resistance politics - tackling 
Covid-19 with mutual aid, state malevolence with watchdogging, and 
neoliberalism with rising demands, and more. After that, once I gather 
enough solid information, we will see the SA capitalist class's 
schizophrenic responses to Covid-19, mixing unprecedented charity and 
foresight, with classical exploitation: in the most degenerate sectors, 
such as mining, a cowboy-style hankering to get production prematurely 
underway again.)

/Daily Maverick/


  The biggest lockdown threat: Hunger, hunger, everywhere

          By Rebecca Davis• 17 April 2020

Residents in Mitchells Plain clash with police over food parcels. 
Residents are furious with the government for not fulfilling its promise 
of delivering food parcels. (Photo: Gallo Images / Die Burger / Jaco 

    Protests and looting have broken out all over South Africa in recent
    days in response to one issue: hunger. It is now clear that hunger
    will pose the greatest threat to South African well-being and
    security during the lockdown – and the difficulties involved with
    getting food to millions of South Africans in need are tremendous.

The hunger of South Africans during the extended lockdown period is 
spilling over on to the streets. This week alone, grocery stores have 
been looted and protests have broken out on the Cape Flats, Khayelitsha, 
Alexandra and Chatsworth – to name just a few areas.

Cape Flats ward councillor Bongani Ngcani wasquoted by /News24/ 
as saying: “A man told me: ‘I would rather die of Covid-19 than of 
hunger’ ”.

It is clear that all three tiers of government are well aware of the 
threat posed by hunger. But the logistical challenges of providing food 
to potentially millions of South Africans under lockdown are monumental, 
and may not be able to be resolved through existing systems.

*Problem #1: A lack of existing capacity for distributing food*

When it comes to social support for the poor in South Africa, the 
responsibility technically falls to the South African Social Security 
Agency (Sassa) under the department of social development.

But Sassa’s offices have been closed since the beginning of the national 
lockdown, and the department of social development does not seem to have 
the capacity to deal with current food security needs.

The department did not respond to /Daily Maverick/’s request for comment.

“The department of social development has an existing provincially based 
food distribution programme, but their capacity is [feeding] under 
300,000 nationally,” Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS) 
researcher Marius Oosthuizen told /Daily Maverick/.

Oosthuizen is one of a number of local academics who have been working 
on the problem of food security and distribution during the lockdown.

“Just in Gauteng, by the department of social development’s admission, 
the need in April will go up to 300,000 needing support,” says Oosthuizen.

By May, that number may rise to 3.2 million.

“It’s a question of scale: how do you get to that quantum of support?” 
asks Oosthuizen.

The Gauteng department of social development told /Daily Maverick/ that 
80,000 families in the province have received food parcels so far. These 
include sugar, mielie meal, tinned goods, fish oil, salt, rice, samp and 
some toiletry items.

*Problem #2: A lack of data on who needs support*

There is no up-to-date national database pointing authorities to who is 
most in need of support at this time.

Sassa has a list of existing social grant beneficiaries and the 
Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) now has records of who has applied for 
unemployment support at this time, but it is recognised that those most 
in need are people who do /not/ currently qualify for either a Sassa 
grant or UIF support.

Asks Oosthuizen: “Who are those X million people and how do we reach them?”

*Problem #3: The bureaucracy involved in verifying food claims*

As things stand, the bureaucratic process involved in verifying the 
claims of those who need food is cumbersome, time-consuming and varies 
from province to province. It is not as simple as people in need turning 
up at a food bank to claim parcels.

Gauteng department of social development spokesperson Thabiso Hlongwane 
explained the process in Gauteng to /Daily Maverick/ as follows:

“An individual qualifies [for food support] if you are unemployed and 
you have a combined family income below R3,600 per month.”

Those falling into these categories can call a dedicated toll-free 
number (0800 428 8364) or email a claim (support at gauteng.gov.za). The 
details of these contacts have been advertised in Gauteng on flyers and 
via WhatsApp.

“When you submit your name and ID, we screen you,” Hlongwane says.

“We work with banks and Home Affairs to verify [you are in need]. Then 
we send social workers to come and assess you. Households with children 
and elderly people get priority.”

The Western Cape department of social development, meanwhile, is 
offering food support to people who meet the following criteria:

  * A household containing member/s of the family who tested positive
    for the virus and are in quarantine in their homes.
  * A household where a member of the family who tested positive for the
    virus and who have insufficient means to sustain themselves during
    the lockdown period.
  * People on medication or who suffer from a chronic illness and have
    insufficient means to sustain themselves and were assessed and
    referred by a local clinic or registered health practitioner.
  * A person and their household who have insufficient means to sustain
    themselves during the lockdown period who was referred by a
    registered humanitarian relief agency, registered NPO or a municipal
    manager, and assessed by DSD [Department of Social Development].

Claims for food have to be routed through the provincial government call 
centre, a municipal manager or a registered NPO. They are then subjected 
to a telephonic assessment by a social worker, and screening of the 
person’s ID against the Sassa database to check whether they are already 
a grant recipient.

The provincial government states: “Once a prospective beneficiary is 
confirmed as meeting the criteria, they are then contacted by the 
department and given details of when delivery will take place.”

*Problem #4: The politicisation of food distribution and related corruption*

Claims have already emerged of the process of food distribution being 

The DA’s Gauteng social development spokesperson Refiloe Nt’sekhe 
released a statement on Wednesday alleging that “five DA wards in the 
Emfuleni local municipality have been excluded from the distribution of 
food parcels while all the ANC wards in this municipality are benefiting”.

Gauteng DSD spokesperson Hlongwane denied this claim to /Daily 
Maverick/, saying:

“The DSD serves all the vulnerable of our province. It does not 
choose…We have called for all political parties not to politicise 
poverty. The DA must not use this platform to gain popularity”.

The EFFhas made a similar claim 
alleging that EFF members are being denied food parcels in both Tshwane 
and the Eastern Cape.

In the Western Cape, GOOD MPL Brett Herron also stated on Tuesday:

“South Africa has an unfortunate history of politicising the giving of 
food parcels. From Gauteng, over the Easter Weekend, and from the 
Western Cape today, the GOOD Party has received multiple reports that 
food aid is not being distributed in a fair and equitable way.”

In addition, the South African National Civic Organisation (Sanco) 
Tshwane branch has laid a corruption charge with police over claims that 
Gauteng department officials have stolen food parcels for their own 

Hlongwane told /Daily Maverick/:

“We have never got any complaint from any whistleblower. As a department 
we are still waiting for names to be forwarded. A case has been opened; 
we have been asking for information to do our own investigation.”

Hlongwane said that there were strict protocols in place controlling the 
removal of food parcels from the central Gauteng depot.

“You sign a register to say how many parcels you take, and there is 
monitoring and evaluation,” he said.

In a different context,/Daily Maverick/ also reported this week 
that although gangs on the Cape Flats are said to be distributing food 
parcels, it is alleged that only households which agree to hide drugs 
for the gangs are receiving relief.

*Problem #5: Concerns around health and safety when people collect food*

There has been some conflict over the safest way for people to collect 
food under lockdown. In Gauteng, NGOs wrote to Basic Education Minister 
Angie Motshekga asking for schools to be opened to serve as collection 
points for food for households which ordinarily benefit from the school 
feeding scheme.

In response,Gauteng premier David Makhura said that 
to open schools in this way would endanger children and break the rules 
of social distancing.

In the Western Cape, however, school feeding schemes have continued 
under lockdown – targeting around 483,000 learners who normally receive 
meals at schools. Over the past fortnight, R18-million has been 
allocated from the provincial treasury for schools to distribute food 
over four days, with individual schools permitted to offer daily meals.

This move has prompted criticism from Cosatu, the chair of Parliament’s 
committee on education and the South African Democratic Teachers Union 
(Sadtu) due to the health issues raised by Makhura.

The Western Cape education department denied that its actions were 
endangering the public and said that sufficient measures were being 
taken to ensure health and safety, including strictly enforced queuing 
protocols and requiring learners to bring their own food containers from 
home which are not touched by staff.

But the issue of large groups forming in order to claim food is a real 
concern, with police already having to break up groups of this kind in 

Oosthuizen says that any food distribution solutions are going to have 
to ensure that South Africa does not see “high levels of conglomeration 
of citizens in queues”.

Desperation and hunger also give rise to situations where food 
distribution can erupt into violence – as/Daily Maverick/ reported was 
the case 
in a Nelson Mandela Bay township recently when a church’s attempt to 
hand out food parcels descended into a fistfight.

*Problem #6: Lack of co-ordination and communication around food 

Many South Africans have indicated their willingness to donate food to 
those in need – but a broad-based response may be both a blessing and a 

“This is being handled well in the Western Cape, where there is a 
society-wide approach. Provincial government has aligned itself with 
churches, NGOs etc and sees itself more as the co-ordinating agent,” 
says Oosthuizen.

Elsewhere, the lack of co-ordination between individual relief efforts 
and the national government is causing problems.

Oosthuizen cites the case of a Johannesburg pastor who was reportedly 
arrested while trying to deliver food to the township of Zandspruit, and 
was told he would have to wait for the relevant permission from Cogta 
(the department of co-operative governance and traditional affairs). 
There have been similar reports elsewhere in the country of attempted 
food distribution efforts by individuals or NGOs being blocked by 

“The actions of NGOs and churches on the ground are becoming 
criminalised due to a lack of broad co-ordination with the DSD,” 
Oosthuizen says.

In some places, social unrest has been fomented through mixed messages 
about the delivery of food parcels. Protests which broke out in 
Alexandra this week appeared to be stoked by a misunderstanding over 
food promised by well-intentioned donors which did not arrive.

Johannesburg mayor Geoff Makhubosubsequently appealed to the public 
<https://www.enca.com/news/chaos-alexandra-over-food-parcels> to contact 
the City of Johannesburg before distributing food so that the process 
could be co-ordinated centrally.

*So what are the solutions?*

Oosthuizen and fellow GIBS researchers have written up a number of 
proposals. One is to replace the current system of distributing physical 
food parcels with some form of voucher system which could be scaled up 
quickly with greater ease.

Another option: a basic income grant, which had been mooted by 
economists for some time even before the pandemic.

Both would require the rapid accumulation of data in order to create a 
database to ensure the support reaches the desired recipients.

Oosthuizen also proposes an approach which integrates the collection of 
food support with health and testing services: in other words, the 
establishment of designated spaces to which people can go to collect 
food support /and/ potentially be screened for Covid-19 in one place.

“Broadly, we are going to need a more collaborative approach,” he says.

“The only way this is going to work is if there is a very high level of 

Much-needed support is also about to be rolled out by the Solidarity 
Fund, which will be releasing further details about its feeding plans on 
Friday 17 April.

Spokesperson Itumeleng Mahabane told /Daily Maverick/ that R120-million 
has been earmarked from the fund to feed 200,000 families across all 
provinces, including in rural areas.

The Solidarity Fund’s plans sound promising. Although it is partnering 
with the department of social development, it will make use of 
additional partners to ensure that food is distributed more widely than 
would be possible working through government alone.

Mahabane said that the fund is working with four NGOs with a national 
footprint – whose names are being kept under wraps for now – and an 
additional private-sector distribution partner.

“The idea is to augment the department’s own distribution networks with 
the distribution networks of the four NGOs,” Mahabane said.

He said the fund would also engage with further community and 
faith-based organisations on the ground to help identify those most in 
need. *DM*



*Law and order*

Food riots and other forms of social unrest are certainly on the cards, 
unless the government intervenes.

Dr Johan Burger, a senior research consultant for the Institute for 
Security Studies’ Justice and Violence Prevention Programme, said there 
was "real need and desperation", which did not leave the security 
services with much room. They are expected to enforce the law and will 
now have to deal with outbreaks of violence and confrontations over food.

"My next worry is they will be forced into a situation where the 
violence becomes so big, so threatening, that they will use more force 
than is necessary and people will be seriously injured or maybe even 
killed because of a need for food," Burger said.

He suggested that the government needed to immediately, on a large 
scale, provide food to communities in need on a regular basis.

"You cannot leave this problem to the security services, this is not 
going to solve the problem. It is a recipe for disaster," Burger said.




  Cele has lost the plot, says top cop, warning social unrest looms over
  food supplies

2020-04-17 06:03

Kyle Cowan

Concerns are rising that South Africa will experience a sharp increase 
in crime and social unrest as desperation over food supplies spills into 
streets and shops around the country.

According to a senior police official, who briefed News24 over concerns 
raised during high-level government meetings this week, it was only a 
matter of time before protests and looting erupted on an unmanageable scale.

The official, who cannot be named as they are not authorised to speak 
with the media, said a warning over possible increases in social unrest 
as witnessed in Cape Town this week was given to police management and 
Police Minister Bheki Cele.Thursday marked three weeks since the 
commencement of a nationwide lockdown which effectively confined 
millions to their homes.

The lockdown resulted in thousands of small and medium businesses and 
their staff as well as informal traders and workers being cut off from 
their income streams overnight.

On Thursday evening, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said 48 people have 
now died after contracting the coronavirus, with the majority being in 
KwaZulu-Natal (20), adding the number of confirmed cases now stood at 2 
605 of which 903 people have recovered.

The official raised concern over Cele's consideration of the possible 
protests and looting, saying the minister "had lost the plot".

"He [Cele] is not ignoring it,” the official said. “But if we don't put 
out these fires quickly, it will get too big to control."

    Lockdown: 'We want food', kids chant, as Mitchells Plain residents
    protest | @itchybyte
    <https://twitter.com/itchybyte?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw> #Dy19ofLockdown
    pic.twitter.com/71s7NwFMJZ <https://t.co/71s7NwFMJZ>

    — News24 (@News24) April 14, 2020

The official said it appeared Cele was more concerned with alcohol and 
cigarette bans, and policing petty violations than tackling the real 

"We are policing petty crimes while people are getting beaten up and 
murdered for going to the shops. People are broke, people are hungry. 
Crime is going to go through the roof. We are worried that more people 
will die of starvation than will die of the coronavirus."

The official added they were already hearing of problems with the 
distribution of food parcels, and disparity over who was given parcels 
and who were not.

Phone calls to known Cele numbers, as well as an emailed request for 
comment went unanswered.

On Thursday, Gauteng Premier David Makhura said more than 10 100 people 
have been arrested in the province for lockdown violations.



  Lockdown unraveling? Government dithers on economy as regulations
  threaten to squeeze fiscus further

2020-04-18 07:01

Sarah Evans and Kyle Cowan

As South Africa enters its fourth week of lockdown, the government’s 
perceived dithering on the economy and "harmful" new regulations pose a 
threat to the economy as well as safety and security, experts have warned.

This week:

  * The government's phone lines are overwhelmed with all the requests
    for food parcels
  * New regulations published this week by Cabinet appear to further
    stifle sectors of the economy
  * A Cabinet meeting on socio-economic plans for after the lockdown
    produced no results
  * A senior police official said fears of social unrest are increasing,
    News24 reported.

On Thursday, the government issued new regulations as part of its plans 
to gradually ease the lockdown. But several contentious regulations are 
in place:

  * The ban on cigarettes and alcohol sales remains
  * Wine farms are no longer allowed to transport their stock to ports
  * The sale of hot foods by retailers is still prohibited



/New Frame/

  State brutality sows fear in housebound citizens

Brutal beatings at the hands of the police and military – and arrests 
for documenting these assaults – have left some residents living in fear 
of the state during the Covid-19 lockdown.


    By: Ihsaan Haffejee <https://www.newframe.com/writer/ihsaan-haffejee/>
    @ihsaan_haffo <http://twitter.com/ihsaan_haffo>

15 Apr 2020

  * Features <https://www.newframe.com/category/feature/>

A loaf of bread and a bottle of Coke. Those were the items Tumelo* set 
out to get from a spaza shop near his home in Sebokeng in southern 
Gauteng. Instead, what he got was a violent beating from members of the 
South African Corps of Military Police, who have been accompanying the 
police and army on their patrols during the Covid-19 lockdown.

The brutalising encounter has left him physically injured and mentally 
traumatised. And the unchecked violence of the authorities has instilled 
fear and distrust of the police and army in those living in the area.

Inside the small shack he shares with his mother, 23-year-old Tumelo is 
seated next to family members and community leaders as he shares his 
story. The hood of his top is drawn over his head, blocking out the 
world. When he speaks, his words are barely audible. His usual 
fast-talking and jovial nature have left him. He winces in pain as he 
shifts his position on the couch. Little white plastic packets filled 
with pain medication are scattered over the kitchen table.

It was late morning on 7 April when Tumelo’s mother sent him to the 
spaza shop. Tumelo was walking back home through the dusty streets of 
Sebokeng when he saw the snaking convoy of police and military vehicles 
approaching. “There was a police car right in front and the policeman 
inside told us we better run,” says Tumelo. And so he ran, but he didn’t 
get far and was soon set upon by members of the military police, who 
wrestled him to the ground and beat him viciously.

A young woman filmed Tumelo running down the street, trying to evade the 
authorities, on her cellphone from her yard. In the video, Tumelo is 
seen desperately trying to get away from the officers. He has some space 
to run into but is blocked by a military ambulance, which veers into his 
path. A female officer jumps out and Tumelo runs around the ambulance. 
He zigs and zags but is eventually surrounded by at least three members 
of the military police. Tumelo is flung to the ground where military 
police officers can be seen kicking him violently as he lies on his back 
and tries to protect his head.

One officer takes a final swipe, aiming a kick at the back of Tumelo’s 
head. In an act that can only be described as cowardly, his heavy boot 
smashes into the back of Tumelo’s head with such ferocity that his 
entire body jerks forward. “What the fuck?” the woman in the video can 
be heard saying as the encounter comes to an end and Tumelo is left 
lying dazed and confused in the street.

    On the other news the boy from Sebokeng was sent to the shop to
    purchase some essentials for his family where he was brutally
    assaulted by SANDF

    The case has been opened at Sebokeng police station.
    Bheki Cele please try giving you instructions in venec next time
    pic.twitter.com/bOhqzJnnef <https://t.co/bOhqzJnnef>

    — Donsi (@JSmad920710) April 9, 2020

The video was shared among residents and quickly made it on to the 
larger social media networks, where it went viral. It wasn’t long before 
the police and army became aware of the video and the convoy of vehicles 
returned to the street, this time in search of the resident who had 
filmed the incident. They arrested the two women, the home owner and her 
friend. The owner’s three-year-old toddler had to be left in the care of 
a neighbour as his mother was bundled into a police car and taken away.

Residents descended on the Sebokeng police station to demand the release 
of the two women. But the police stonewalled them, refusing to let the 
women go. Community leader Nicholas Tshabalala* says the police 
indicated that they were charging the women for contravening the 
Disaster Management Act. They were kept in the police station cells 
overnight and only released in the early hours of the next morning. They 
are now both in hiding, fearing for their safety.

    *Broken trust*

The police initially refused to open a case for the abuse Tumelo 
suffered at the hands of the military police. He was given the runaround 
and it was only when Tshabalala phoned a higher-ranking colonel the next 
day that a case was reluctantly opened. “The relationship and the trust 
between the community and the police at this moment is irretrievably 
broken. Like a bad marriage,” says Tshabalala.

The Sebokeng police station said the only person authorised to comment 
on the arrest of the two women and their reluctance to open a case 
against the military police for the assault on Tumelo was the national 
police spokesperson. But Brigadier Vishnu Naidoo said management at the 
South African Police Service had taken a decision to stop commenting on 
individual incidents.

“I am aware of the incident in Sebokeng. But we have taken a decision 
not to comment on blow-by-blow police action because this thing is 
becoming more about police and policing, rather than the bigger evil, 
which is the virus,” said Naidoo.

He said he was receiving hundreds of calls a day with regards to 
incidents involving the police. When pressed about why the two women who 
filmed the incident from inside their homes were arrested, Naidoo said 
there is a regulation in the Disaster Management Act that prohibits such 
actions. “The regulations are clear with regards to filming videos and 
posting on social media,” said Naidoo.

However, the act only contains regulations that are there to protect the 
public against the spread of fake news with regards to Covid-19. They 
make no mention of any offence for filming and posting police or army 

The regulations state: “Any person who publishes any statement, through 
any medium, including social media, with the intention to deceive any 
other person about (a) Covid-19; (b) Covid-19 infection status of any 
person; or (c) any measure taken by the government to address Covid-19, 
commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine or imprisonment 
for a period not exceeding six months, or both such fine and imprisonment.”

    *Killed over a beer*

Three days after the incident in Sebokeng, late in the afternoon on 
Friday 10 April, two military personnel entered the Alexandra home of 
Collins Khoza under the premise of searching for alcohol. According to 
Khoza’s wife, Nomsa Montsha, members of the South African National 
Defence Force (SANDF) dragged him outside after finding a beer in the 

Khoza remonstrated with the soldiers, telling them that he was inside 
his home and not drinking in public. Montsha says the soldiers then 
emptied the beer over Khoza in a humiliating fashion, which resulted in 
an argument. The two SANDF soldiers then called for backup, which 
arrived in the form of a minibus packed with soldiers. They immediately 
started beating Khoza, according to Montsha.

When Montsha appealed to the soldiers to stop, she received a blow to 
the head. Witnesses say soldiers forced anyone trying to video the 
incident to delete their footage. The soldiers left and Khoza retreated 
to his bed, where he started vomiting and later passed out. Three hours 
later, Khoza was dead. “He held my hand tight and looked at me, and then 
I felt his pulse and couldn’t find it,” said Montsha.

Provincial police spokesperson Brigadier Mathapelo Peters confirmed that 
the police in Alexandra have opened a case of murder. SANDF spokesperson 
Colonel Louis Kirstein said the military will cooperate with the police 
investigation and restated that SANDF members are expected to act within 
the confines of the law. “Any action outside the law will not be 
condoned,” said Kirstein.

Back on the streets of Sebokeng, close to where Tumelo was beaten, 
22-year-old Sibusiso Radebe* sits in his yard with his gate firmly shut. 
Radebe also witnessed Tumelo’s beating at the hands of the military 
police and the incident has left him petrified. “What they did to that 
guy was really bad. Now, when the police and army drive past my house, 
my heart just starts beating very fast,” says Radebe. “We are afraid 
because we are not sure what will kill us first, the coronavirus or the 



  Concern over spike in GBV during lockdown

  * The Mercury
  * 17 Apr 2020
  * SAKHISENI NXUMALO sakhiseni.nxumalo at inl.co.za

THE Foundation for Human Rights is concerned about the rising incidents 
of gender-based violence against women and children during the Covid-19 

According to the foundation, the SAPS received more than 2 333 
complaints of gender-based violence (GBV) in just seven days of the 

Condemning gender-based violence, the foundation said that as the 
country battled with the pandemic, gender-based violence incidents were 
continuing unabated. The foundation said the cases reported were 
predominantly committed against women and children.

The foundation’s co-ordinator, Rumbidzai Chidoori, said gender-based 
violence undermined the health, safety, security and dignity of 
thousands of women and girls.

“The foundation condemns gender-based violence in all its forms. It is a 
grave violation of fundamental human rights contained in our 
constitutional Bill of Rights,” said Chidoori.

Chidoori said the first week’s figures were 37% higher than the weekly 
average of domestic violence cases reported to the police in 2019 alone.

She said a lot of the structural issues and drivers of GBV were 
heightened during the lockdown as women and girls were in isolation with 
perpetrators of violence.

“We urge the government to prioritise the prevention and redress of 
violence against women. We urge the government to allocate more 
resources and work collaboratively with civil society and 
community-based organisations to provide front-line services to women 
and children during this time.

“Women’s rights are key to building stronger and more resilient 
communities. Let us act now in saving the lives of women and children,” 
she added.

The Gender-Based Violence command centre had received nearly 12 000 
calls since the lockdown. From March 1 to 26, they received a total of 4 
983 complaints, of which about 133 were GBV-related.

After the announcement of the lockdown, statistics showed that from 
March 27 to April 11, the command centre received 8 764 complaints, with 
333 related to GBV.

Social Development Department spokesperson Abram Phahlamohlaka said the 
command centre received calls in a variety of cases, including domestic 
violence, rape, physical abuse and indecent assault.



*The government introduced a temporary employee/employer relief scheme 
(Ters) under the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) to provide relief to 
workers and employers affected by Covid-19.*

But there have already been complaints that the process is cumbersome 
and ineffective. Academics estimate 
that 45% of workers are not eligible for relief from the UIF.

In an interview with Business Maverick 
UIF commissioner Teboho Maruping said it would appear as though 
businesses are already dismissing workers. He reportedly said that the 
UIF normally pays benefits of about R14 million a day, but, in the past 
11 days, it has paid R39 million a day – R430 million in total.


Finance Minister Tito Mboweni was due to table suggestions for some kind 
of poverty relief fund or social grant at the Cabinet meeting on Wednesday.

But the Cabinet merely deferred the issue to a meeting next week, saying 
more work needed to be done. A statement issued after the meeting made 
no mention of the grant.


  Action to be taken against inflated pricing

    Companies face Competition Commission

  * The Mercury
  * 17 Apr 2020

THE Competition Commission says it is taking swift action against 
companies accused of inflating prices of essential goods amid the 
Covid-19 national disaster.

In a statement this week, the commission said it had referred its first 
case to the Competition Tribunal for prosecution. This case was filed by 
complainants with the commission on March 24, referred to the tribunal 
on April 9 and is expected to be heard on April 24.

The commission said it had been inundated with hundreds of complaints 
from consumers about prices of certain essential goods and other basic 
food items that had suddenly sky-rocketed.

The first case before the tribunal is a company which allegedly hiked 
the prices of its facial masks. It said it found that between January 31 
to March 5, the company had increased its prices of facial masks from 
R41 per box up to the highest price of R500 per box, earning during this 
period mark-ups in excess of 500%.

The commission further found that the company’s prices for facial masks 
increased by at least 888% when comparing the prices charged on December 
9, 2019, to the prices charged on March 5, 2020. Mark-ups (and not 
prices) significantly dropped after March 18, 2020, allegedly after the 
supplier increased input prices. The supplier is now also under 
investigation for excessive pricing.

Facial masks fall under the category of “medical and hygiene supplies” 
and have been identified as essential goods for the prevention and 
escalation of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The commission said other matters that had been concluded, but had yet 
to be referred to the tribunal, included the following:

An investigation of a store that allegedly increased the price of 
surgical gloves over a period of a week from R99.99 to R170, with no 
cost increase justifications. A pharmacy that earned a more than 300% 
mark-up on face masks and hand sanitiser.

A wholesaler of chicken that increased mark-ups for chicken pieces by up 
to 50%, with no cost increase justifications.

A supplier of face masks that earned more than 665% in mark-ups. 
Tembinkosi Bonakele, the commissioner of the Competition Commission, 
said: “The law must take its course – we will see a wave of prosecutions 
of firms in the coming days.”


  Minister warns of water tanker crime

  * The Mercury
  * 17 Apr 2020
  * | African News

HUMAN Settlements, Water and Sanitation Minister Lindiwe Sisulu said 
yesterday that some business people who previously had contracts to 
supply water to impoverished communities were now targeting government’s 
infrastructure in a bid to get the supply business back.

The department said it had received information that in Bodibe, 
Lichtenburg, in the North West, some of the business people had emptied 
new water tankers that were supplied by the government to ensure that 
the lucrative business was given to them.

“Vandalism is an act of sabotage. I am happy that in the North West this 
matter has been reported to the police,” Sisulu warned.


  Police close immigrant-owned spaza shops “for their own safety”

17 April 2020 By Mkhuseli Sizani <https://www.groundup.org.za/author/465/>

    “Police are only concentrating on road blocks” complains shop owner

Immigrant spaza shop owners say police in Nelson Mandela Bay have forced 
them to close, saying it is for their own safety and citing incidents of 

This week 89 shops were forced to shut down. About 25 shops were looted 
in the northern areas of Port Elizabeth by people saying they needed 
food, according to Said Mohamud, provincial chairperson of the Somali 
Community Association.

“Police are only concentrating on road blocks,” he said. “In northerns 
areas like Timothy Valley, KwaNoxolo, Booysen Park and Chatty that is 
where the problem is. Armed gangs who ride motorbikes come and rob us. 
Then the communities also come in and loot our shops.”

“In Soweto-on-Sea township I had to stop the police after they ordered 
three shop owners to remove all their stock and leave the area. This was 
after one of the shops was looted. But in the other three shops the 
community was there protecting our shops,” he said.

But the community could not protect them against the gangs, he said.

Luyanda Cwele, a resident of Chatty in Greenfield, was one of those 
trying to protect the shops. But he said police chased them away.

“We were sleeping inside as a group of residents to protect the Top 10 
spaza shop … Instead of working with us, they [police from Mount Road 
station] just assaulted us. We tried to explain to them that we were 
fighting against the looting of our shops. But they told us to go back 
to our homes.”

As a knock on effect, those that rent out the shops have lost that 
income. Vuyo Matyobeni, a landlord, said, “My shop, which I am renting 
out to immigrants, could have been damaged. But the presence of this 
brave community prevented that. There is no police presence here hence 
the thugs are looting the shops”.

Sizeka Nyodi, 65, said she was frustrated when she saw the Lucky 7 Spaza 
shop owners leave Greenfield on Wednesday morning. “We spent the whole 
night wearing our gowns and pyjamas protecting this shop from the gangs. 
Now, we see police escorting the shop owners with their goods.”

Provincial police spokesperson Colonel Sibongile Soci said, “The recent 
lootings and break-ins at the spaza shops in Port Elizabeth this week 
were volatile and shop owners were requested to close their shops for 
their own safety.

“They were also advised to remove their stock should there be break-ins 
during the night … And they were advised that once the situation quelled 
down, they could return to their shops. They were never instructed to 
close permanently but rather advised of the volatility at that moment.”

She said it was alleged that lootings took place at some shops because 
of price hikes.

“Many shops that were looted during the week, have opened and are 
operating … SAPS encourages the community to support the spaza shops as 
this will minimise the movement of people in their respective areas,” 
she said.


/Daily Maverick/

  De-densification is just a fancy word for eviction

By Michael Clark• 17 April 2020

    Are our state authorities using the Covid-19 outbreak as an excuse
    to justify the forcible eviction of informal settlement residents?

During a press briefing on 24 March 2020, Human Settlements, Water and 
Sanitation Minister Lindiwe Sisulu announced that the government planned 
to “de-densify” 29 heavily populated informal settlements in an effort 
to stop the spread of Covid-19. Since then, five specific settlements 
were identified as priority areas. According to Sisulu, de-densification 
is necessary to ensure that families living in densely inhabited 
informal settlements are able to effectively practice physical distancing.

But what does de-densification actually mean? The Social Justice 
Coalition (SJC)’s Axolile Notywala explained 
best when he said that de-densification “is a fancier word for forced 

De-densification, as conceived of by the state, means relocating people 
away from their existing homes to a different location – usually 
somewhere less well-located with fewer resources.

As Sisulu said: “We will need to urgently move some of our people for 
the de-densification to be realised. Land parcels to relocate and 
decantdense communities have been secured”. She added that these 
relocations were necessary to relocate communities to “healthier and 
safer homes”.

There is no doubt that communities living in informal settlements are 
particularly vulnerable to the spread of Covid-19 as many informal 
settlements have limited (if any) access to basic services, including 
water, electricity and sanitation – a direct consequence of the failures 
of the post-apartheid government to improve people’s standard of living.

However, Sisulu’s announcement was met with concern by civil society, 
housing activists and informal settlement residents. They are afraid 
that the type of accommodation that will be offered to informal 
settlement residents – rather than “healthier, safer homes” – would more 
likely be underserviced, government-sanctioned shacks, located in 
far-flung areas and without adequate access to basic services.

These concerns are not unfounded. This is exactly the kind of 
accommodation that the government has offered people being evicted or 
relocated for decades in Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban.

The government calls these settlements Temporary Relocation Areas (TRAs) 
or transit camps, but residents refer to them as what they are – 
“/amathini”/, “/blikkies/” or “government shacks”. Kerry Ryan Chance, an 
anthropology lecturer at Harvard University, has likened them to “human 
dumping grounds”.

TRAs are “temporary” camps made of tents or corrugated iron dwellings 
erected by the government to house families who have been displaced as a 
result of an emergency or eviction. The dwellings are often poorly 
constructed and fragile. In many respects, these camps are 
indistinguishable from the corrugated iron shacks that people have been 
removed from, except for one crucial difference: their location.

TRAs are often located at the margins of urban areas – even further away 
from economic opportunities, transport routes and social amenities like 
schools, hospitals, police stations and clinics than the informal 
settlements from which people have been removed.

As a result of their peripheral location, these camps often have limited 
or no access to basic services, forcing hundreds of families to collect 
water from a few communal standpipes and share a small number of outdoor 
toilets (that are often blocked or broken). In some instances, poor 
planning has meant that people are relocated to TRAs /before /the 
requisite infrastructure for the most basic services is in place.

Many informal settlement residents have resisted evictions and 
relocations to these areas for decades. However, in the face of a 
national disaster as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak and with the full 
institutional force of the state supporting their removal, many will be 
unable to fight their relocation.

This is not the first time that health concerns have been used to 
justify removing people from their homes. During the colonial and 
apartheid eras, the state often violently uprooted whole neighbourhoods 
of black and coloured households on the basis that their very presence 
in well-located urban areas threatened the health of the public as a whole.

Laws like the Health Act of 1817, the Slums Act of 1934 and the Health 
Act of 1977 gave the police far-reaching powers to forcibly relocate 
black and coloured people. The apparently race-neutral language of these 
laws masked their insidious impact and the ease with which the colonial 
and apartheid states could employ them to do the dirty work of racial 

These historical removals raise some deeply concerning questions. Could 
our state authorities be using the Covid-19 outbreak as an excuse to 
justify the forcible eviction of informal settlement residents?

In Cape Town, these concerns may be justified. Within a week of Sisulu’s 
announcement, Western Cape MEC for Human Settlements Tertius Simmers 
announced that two densely populated informal settlements had been 
identified for “thinning”, namely Greater Kosovo and DeNoon. Both of 
these areas had historically been earmarked for relocations by the City 
– leading some to question whether the City is using the national 
disaster to more easily push through evictions that it was already planning.

And this isn’t solely an issue in Cape Town. Of the five informal 
settlements identified by the government for de-densification, three 
have seen attempted evictions either at the hands of the state or 
private landowners – DeNoon in the Western Cape, Kennedy Road in 
KwaZulu-Natal and Mooiplaas in Tshwane. Local politicians have long 
considered Kennedy Road and DeNoon “problem areas” – probably due to 
regular community protests and active community resistance. In most of 
these settlements, attempts at eviction or relocation have been resisted 
and even challenged in court. Now, however, the already limited ability 
of informal settlement residents to resist their relocation has been 
significantly diminished.

Relocating informal settlement residents to accommodation modelled on 
existing TRAs or transitional housing could have devastating 
consequences. Research on the impact of TRAs 
by Ndifuna Ukwazi in 2017 shows that relocations have an incredibly 
disruptive impact on the fragile social support networks of informal 
settlement residents – support that is essential during an international 
health crisis. But more worrying is the dire economic implications that 
even relatively minor relocations could have as people are cut off from 
their sources of livelihood or income-generating opportunities and 
forced to spend more of their earnings travelling to and from work. In 
the face of the looming international economic fallout in the wake of 
Covid-19, should we not do everything in our power to protect people’s 
existing livelihood strategies at all costs? And given that the basic 
services in TRAs are frequently worse than in existing informal 
settlements, are these homes really going to be “healthier and safer”?

Perhaps most worrying is that these relocations will not be temporary. 
Many of the TRAs set up by the government have ended up becoming 
permanent as residents wait years or even decades to be moved to 
permanent housing. KwaZulu-Natal Human Settlements MEC Peggy Nkonyeni 
recently admitted 
“many people have been staying [in transit camps] for more than 10 years 
and if you ask me how their living conditions are… they are very very bad.”

Some TRAs, like the infamous settlements in Blikkiesdorp or Wolwerivier, 
have become synonymous with government neglect. Mark Hunter, an 
associate professor at the University of Toronto, has said that 
residents are “often left in these areas indefinitely without any 
timeline on when they will be provided permanent accommodation”. At the 
periphery of the City, they fall off the housing radar and become 
invisible to those in power.

But Cyril Ramaphosa’s government doesn’t have to repeat the mistakes 
made by previous governments. It has the opportunity to adopt a more 
humane, sustainable response to the housing needs of informal 
settlements while also doing everything in its power to slow the spread 
of Covid-19. One option, suggested by the Cape Town Community Action 
Network (CAN), is to utilise existing public facilities to house 
informal settlement residents temporarily during the crisis.

If certain informal settlements need to be “de-densified” to help with 
social distancing, then why not move those residents into hotels like 
the UK government plans on doing 
Or move residents to sports stadiums and schools with boarding 
facilities? Using these kinds of existing, well-located facilities that 
are already equipped with running water and adequate sanitation would 
ensure the temporary housing is both healthier and safer, and that it is 
in fact temporary. After the crisis, residents would be allowed to 
return to their homes because they cannot just be left in public 
facilities the way they could be dumped on the outskirts of the city. 
Another option would be to offer residents tenure security on 
well-located public land rather than peripheral areas.

In the 1870s Friedrich Engels, Karl Marx’s collaborator on the /Analysis 
of Capitalism/, documented the horrific housing conditions of the 
working classes in industrial cities in England. Engels wrote that the 
bourgeoisie has no method for settling the housing question other than 
moving it around. In a poignant passage, he wrote:

“[S]candalous alleys and lanes disappear to the accompaniment of lavish 
self-praise from the bourgeoisie on account of this tremendous success, 
but they appear again immediately somewhere else…”

More than 150 years later, our governments and elites have still found 
no better way of dealing with the housing needs of the poor and 
working-class other than to move them to a place where they are 
invisibilised – at least until the next crisis comes along.

“For billions across the world, and for us here in South Africa,” 
Ramaphosa said in his national address on 9 April 2020, “the coronavirus 
pandemic has changed everything. We can no longer work in the way we 
have before”.

Our government recognises that we need to adapt to a new reality. And 
this demands that we protect and house the vulnerable in a dignified 
way. *DM*


  Shack dwellers win court victory against City of Cape Town

17 April 2020 By James Stent <https://www.groundup.org.za/author/464/>

    Empolweni residents whose shacks were demolished during the lockdown
    can return to the land and rebuild

Residents of Empolweni informal settlement whosehomes were demolished 
by the City of Cape Town have won a victory in the Western Cape High 
Court against the City on Friday. The matter was heard on the urgent 
roll and was twice delayed by the City.

Judge Bryan Hack ruled that the City must allow 130 people to return to 
Empolweni and must give back the residents their building materials. 
Where material has been damaged, the City is to ensure that there is 
sufficient material for all 49 homes to be rebuilt.

The relief relates only to the urgent matters of restoration of 
materials and permission to return to the land. The matter will be heard 
in full after the Covid-19 lockdown has ended.

The order is contingent on no more people moving to the site. The 
Empolweni community has agreed to prevent further erection of structures 
on the site. If they are unable to prevent further building, they are to 
report this to the City through their attorneys at the Legal Resources 

Civil society organisations – the Social Justice Coalition and Ndifuna 
Ukwazi – have agreed to assist the residents with the implementation of 
the order.

Outside court, Buhle Neo, speaking for the Khayelitsha Community Action 
Network (CAN) which has been supporting the residents of Empolweni, said 
that he accepted the ruling, and that his primary concern, that people 
are housed, has been met.

The residents of Empolweni were represented by Advocates Ismail Jamie 
and Michael Bishop, and their attorneys were Khensani Motileni and 
Anneline Turpin of the Legal Resources Centre.

A statement by the City said that it was entitled to protect its land. 
“[The judge] has made an interim ruling on humanitarian grounds and 
without considering the merits of the application,” said the City. “The 
City is allowed to remove any new illegally erected structures with 
immediate effect. Land invasions are illegal. The Judge acknowledged 
this aspect and emphatically denounced land grabs.”

The City also published photographic evidence showing that the land 
occupations took place after the lockdown began, although this was 
acknowledged by the land occupiers 
to GroundUp from the onset.


  Hospital staff demand protective gear and danger pay

17 April 2020 By Thamsanqa Mbovane 

    NEHAWU meets with Dora Nginza hospital management to resolve complaints

Over 100 clerks, nurses, porters and general staff at Dora Nginza 
Hospital in Zwide township, Port Elizabeth, downed tools briefly on 
Friday, demanding they be given personal protective equipment (PPE) and 
danger allowance among other things.

Workers were singing Zeningoyiki (Don’t be afraid) and Sawabeth’ 
amagwala (We will beat the cowards) and banging on doors as they made 
their way from one office to another, encouraging their colleagues to join.

In the background, dozens of patients sat unattended on waiting room 
benches. The protest was led by the National Education, Health and 
Allied Workers’ Union (NEHAWU).

A man who only identified himself as a NEHAWU shop steward said: “You 
work as if nothing is happening. This Covid-19 is affecting all of us, 
whether you’re managers or whatsoever … We are demanding danger 
allowance, and we are saying that Covid-19 should have been budgeted 
for. We are working with sick people and we stand a chance of getting 
sick too.”

NEHAWU regional secretary Busiswa Stokwe said workers were angry that 
the hospital would host Covid-19 patients as an isolation facility. 
“Workers argue that they were not consulted about this. Their 
understanding is that the only process they will get involved in is 
Covid-19 screening. Thereafter patients will be referred to Livingston 
Hospital for testing,” she said.

Stokwe said: “There is also a stigma of public transport. Any taxi that 
finds out that you work at Dora Nginza won’t transport you, saying there 
is Covid-19 in that hospital. Workers say taxis [have refused to 
transport them]. A nurse and a doctor at this institution have also 
tested positive for Covid-19.”

Eastern Cape health spokesman Siyanda Manana confirmed that workers had 
returned to work by Friday afternoon. “Their leadership met the CEO and 
their complaints were attended to. No service delivery was compromised. 
We’re monitoring the situation,” he said.


  Covid-19: Lockdown life in crowded Lusikisiki

18 April 2020 By Sibahle Siqathule 

    Villagers who come to town to shop have to wait hours for taxis to
    take them home

 From as early as 5am, people from surrounding villages commute to 
Lusikisiki in taxis and in the back of canopied bakkies to buy their 
groceries. Lockdown has made their day much harder.

Shoppers crowd around the stores, with social distancing observed only 
if there are security officers or spacing mechanisms.

Shops, ATM queues and taxi ranks are the most crowded places in the town 

Those who finish their shopping early are stuck in town without 
transport. They are forced to find shelter under trees or the verandas 
of closed shops until 4pm, when taxis are once again allowed to operate.

View Larger Map <https://www.openstreetmap.org/#map=10/-31.3220/29.4846>

Lusikisiki is a small town in the middle of a large rural part of the 
Eastern Cape, not far from the Wild Coast.

There are police roadblocks at all four entry points into Lusikisiki.

Commuter Sithembile Sukude from Flagstaff said she understands the need 
for the lockdown but it is difficult for users of public transport.

“I left home before sunrise and I’ll arrive home after the sun has set, 
because of the restrictions on taxis. I think it is very risky having to 
hang around town the whole day. They should let taxis take us home,” 
said Sukude.

Lusikisiki resident Benathi Xolo applauded the police’s efforts during 
the lockdown.

“Police officers are everywhere, in town and surrounding villages. They 
are working hard to keep us safe. They even remind people to maintain a 
distance through a loudhailer as they pass by.” Xolo said.

Many supermarkets have sanitisers at the entrances for their customers. 
But there are none at taxi ranks.

Hawkers are also feeling the effect of the lockdown. Hawker Thembeka 
Mdingwa said she is finding it hard to survive. “I have ten children 
that I have to provide for. Things were already difficult before the 
lockdown, now it is a daily struggle to live.”

The regular washing of hands is difficult for the villages surrounding 
Lusikisiki and Flagstaff as residents still struggle to access clean 
water. Many depend on rivers for the precious liquid.


Why the alcohol ban is hard to swallow

    Either state earns sin tax revenues or criminals make a great deal
    of money out of inflated prices

  * The Mercury
  * 17 Apr 2020
  * MARY DE HAAS | African News Agency (ANA) Archives De Haas is KZN
    violence monitor.
  * //*Banning the sale of alcohol promotes organised crime, argues the

REGARDLESS of personal feelings about the evils or otherwise of liquor 
and cigarettes, the case for lifting the current ban on legal access is 
very simple: either the financially hard-pressed state earns the sin tax 
revenues or the criminals, including organised crime networks, make a 
great deal of money out of inflated prices.

Temperance societies in early 20th century America were instrumental in 
persuading the government to ban alcohol sales. The results are well 
known. As in the Cape Flats today, where drugs are the commodity of 
choice, organised crime networks, backed up by bloody violence, ensured 
black market supplies kept flowing.

In South Africa, successive colonial and apartheid governments tried to 
stop black people from accessing “white” liquor and all other alcohol 
except government manufactured sorghum beer and that brewed at home for 
ritual family consumption.

As in America, this prohibition didn’t work: black people continued to 
brew their own beer and concoctions for commercial purposes, and to 
access “white” liquor – despite heavy punishment, including 
imprisonment, for transgressions (which, like pass law infringements, 
criminalised countless thousands of black South Africans).

One of the arguments used by those supporting the continued ban is that 
the sale of liquor will promote behaviour which ignores social 
distancing. Crucial as social distancing is, for many hundreds of 
thousands of South Africans living in crowded shacks and hostels, or 
even visiting busy public hospitals and clinics – let alone using taxis 
– it is already virtually impossible to observe.

Wearing masks is no solution unless there is water and soap to wash them 
with after using them (let alone washing hands). Hunger is becoming an 
even more serious problem for poor people, so whatever food they can 
afford will take priority over soap.

Even in the UK, where lockdown remains in force, wine and beer are still 
available in supermarkets.

Legalising the sale of liquor (even if only of, for example, different 
types of beer and wine) will not necessarily impact on social distancing 
if bars and taverns remain closed, or their operations are restricted 
(but that is another issue altogether for the government to decide on).

Why should beer or wine not be drunk in the privacy of one’s home?

Another argument relates to the link between alcohol consumption and the 
strain placed on medical services rendering casualty/emergency care. 
While alcohol may play a part in violence (and levels of domestic 
violence remain high despite the ban) the main causal factor in casualty 
admittance is probably road accidents.

Our road accident rate is abnormally high, not only because the general 
standard of driving is atrocious, but because far too many people get 
away with drinking and driving, causing accidents and deaths while under 
the influence.

That this driving persists reflects the abysmal failure of road traffic 
authorities to penalise people severely (as, for example, in the UK or 
Australia). Now is a good time to start clamping down on drunk driving, 
given the reduction of traffic on the road, and prevalence of road 
blocks, and continue checks when bans on liquor and travel are lifted. 
Zero tolerance should start with the regular testing of all taxi and bus 
drivers (and their licences and vehicles’ roadworthiness). A failure to 
ensure such regular checks is tantamount to criminal negligence given 
how many people rely on public transport.

High rates of alcoholism is a serious problem in South Africa, but it is 
one of long standing, exacerbated by years of lifestyle-linked advertising.

Like other forms of addiction (including gambling), alcoholism needs 
addressing, but through appropriate means, including by supporting 
organisations such as Alcoholics Anonymous.

The ban on cigarettes is incomprehensible since – apart of the loss of 
tax revenue – nicotine-withdrawal symptoms can be severe. It is well 
known that smoking damages health, but authoritarian measures banning 
cigarettes have no place when people are already stressed through, for 
example, physical confinement and lack of outdoor exercise.

There is an element of hypocrisy in the banning of liquor since many in 
a position to do so would have stocked up before the ban (like those 
wheeling trollies loaded with liquor out of stores, who may be among 
those selling it).

Are all politicians now on the water wagon, or are their extravagant 
drinking tastes still being catered for?

It is yet another form of discrimination by elites against poor when 
they are penalised for brewing nutritious beer at home.

There is no good reason not to lift the ban on these tax-earning goods, 
especially lower alcohol-content drinks such as beers and wine.

However, any lifting of the ban will need to be carefully thought out, 
and accompanied by restrictions on sales which will minimise the risk of 
stocks being depleted by those determined to stockpile, possibly for 
their own commercial purposes.

Organised crime networks are already the main cause of violent crime in 
South Africa, and a continued blanket ban on alcohol and cigarettes can 
only strengthen their hand – and deprive the looted state coffers of 
desperately needed revenue.


  Nearly 400 schools vandalised and torched in three weeks

    Learning and teaching equipment and other expensive items have been
    stolen from schools across the country during the lockdown period.

by Andrea Chothia <https://www.thesouthafrican.com/author/andrea-chothia/>
2020-04-17 16:31 
in News <https://www.thesouthafrican.com/news/>

The Department of Basic Education (DBE) is extremely concerned that 397 
schools have been vandalised across the country since the lockdown 
started a mere three weeks ago.

The damage caused due to torching and theft in schools will have a 
negative impact on the implementation of the recovery plan once the 
lockdown is lifted.

    *Provincial departments report alarming rates of school break-ins *

Provincial Education Departments have reported an alarming number of 
schools that have been vandalised. According to a DBE statement, 
released on Friday 17 April, learning and teaching equipment was stolen 
together with other expensive items.

    “The most common target areas in the schools are the administration
    blocks for Information Communication Technology equipment and the
    nutrition centres for the food items,” said Basic Education Minister
    Angie Motshekga.

These are the number of schools that were vandalised in each province 
during the lockdown:

  * Mpumalanga – 73;
  * Gauteng – 67;
  * Western Cape – 57;
  * North West – 55;
  * Northern Cape – 39 schools;
  * KwaZulu-Natal – 34;
  * Limpopo – 30;
  * Eastern Cape – 26; and
  * Free State – 16.

This brings the total number of vandalised schools to 397.

    *Arrests for vandalism *

Motshekga has condemned the incidents of vandalism, burglary and 
destruction of schools across the country. The minister has welcomed the 
arrests of 44 suspects thus far in Gauteng, including those found in 
possession of stolen property linked to school break-ins in the 
province. Two arrests were made in the last 24 hours in KZN.

    “It is really unfortunate that criminals in our communities could
    destroy the infrastructure of their own children. We applaud the
    work done by the police and we hope that more arrests will be made.
    We want to see the arrest and prosecution of every single criminal
    responsible for this kind of behaviour,” she said.

Motshekga said communities were supposed to be caretakers of the 
infrastructure put in place by the government for the education of 

    “These criminals must be reported to the police immediately. Let us
    work together to safeguard the future of our children by exposing
    these criminal elements,” she added.

Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi also mentioned that the total 
number of schools vandalised and burnt during lockdown had increased to 
a whopping 67 

    “It is unfortunate to confirm that criminals continued to break
    -into our schools and as such a total number of school break-ins are
    67,” said Lesufi.

    This has become a state of emergency now: pic.twitter.com/264XRHvNfF

    — Elijah Mhlanga (@ElijahMhlanga) April 17, 2020


  Relief in sight as government eases lockdown rules, but regulations
  remain, warns minister

  * The Mercury
  * 17 Apr 2020

SOUTH Africa would ease its extended lockdown – imposed to curb the 
spread of the novel coronavirus – in an incremental manner, Minister of 
Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma 
said yesterday.

“Industries will have to slowly come on stream. Do not think we are 
changing the regulations, it is an orderly way of easing the lockdown. 
We cannot just say the lockdown has ended on this specific day and we 
open the floodgates. Expect that every week, new things will be coming 
on stream,” Dlamini Zuma said, addressing reporters in Pretoria.

“Some (restrictions) will remain in place for a very long time.”

South Africa remains the most affected country in Africa by the 
pandemic, with at least 2605 confirmed cases of Covid-19. The fatalities 
in the country have also risen to 48, according to statistics released 
by the national Department of Health.

Dlamini Zuma said that South Africa had now started to clear imported 
goods that were at the various ports, to clear the backlog.

“We have been learning about this disease. We have now learnt that if 
the goods have been at sea for many days, the virus will not survive. So 
there is no need for the goods that have been at sea for a long time to 
be sanitised at the ports because the virus would have died,” said 
Dlamini Zuma.

Relief is in sight for mineworkers after Dlamini Zuma announced that at 
least 50% of mineworkers at different mines in the country would be 
allowed to return to work. Initially, the regulations allowed coal mines 
to operate, but Dlamini Zuma said this permission had now been extended 
to other mines.

She said the decision had been prompted by a report that the government 
had received that stipulated that some mines were in danger of rockfalls 
if they were not operational.

“We agreed that these mines must start to operate at a level of 50% of 
their workforces, under strict conditions. The mine owners must conduct 
screening and testing for their employees. They must also have 
quarantine facilities for all those workers who test positive for the virus.

“The companies must arrange transport for their employees,” Dlamini Zuma 

Indicating that the government was working towards an orderly phasing 
out of the lockdown, Dlamini Zuma said petrol and diesel retailers were 
allowed to go back to work to ramp up the availability of the products 
before the end of the lockdown. Hardware, vehicle repairs retailers, 
call centres and ICT services had also been allowed to return to work.

Regulations related to funerals remained the same.

The government said plumbers and electricians would be allowed to visit 
homes to fix broken utilities, and hardware stores and vehicle 
components – especially those used to fix essential services vehicles – 
were also allowed to reopen.

Meanwhile, as a major showdown is looming between President Cyril 
Ramaphosa and tavern and shebeen owners, the government has announced a 
new regulation banning the transportation of alcoholic beverages during 
the lockdown.

The Gauteng Liquor Forum was waiting for Ramaphosa’s response to their 
letter of demand to relax restrictions on the sale and distribution of 

The forum, through its legal representative Eric Mabuza, had initially 
given Ramaphosa until Wednesday to respond to their demands, but 
Ramaphosa requested a delay until today.

The Liquor Forum threatened to approach the high court to force the 
government to relax the restrictions.

While Ramaphosa is expected to pen his response – Dlamini Zuma was 
adamant that “there will be no transportation of alcohol until the end 
of the lockdown”.

The added restriction came after the police last week arrested six SAB 
employees for allegedly transporting alcohol worth R13 million near 
Chamdor, in Kagiso, outside Krugersdorp.

Detailing the new regulations, Dlamini Zuma said: “The only alcohol that 
may be legally transported is for commercial purposes, such as hand 

“The transportation of essential goods is permitted from warehousing 
sites to essential service providers, with the exception of the 
transportation of liquor.”



    Tiger Brands says food safety was not compromised at Albany Bakery
    Fry Group Foods and Coca-Cola also shut down operations

  * The Mercury
  * 17 Apr 2020

/| NQOBILE MBONAMBI African News Agency (ANA)/*THE company said it had 
put measures in place to support all staff and that alternate 
arrangements would be made to supply its Durban customer base from its 
other facilities.*

TIGER Brands was forced to shut down one of its operations – Albany 
Bakery – after a Covid-19 outbreak at its South Coast Road, Durban, 
plant, yesterday.

The Fry Group Foods, in Westmead, Pinetown, and Gauteng-based beverage 
giant Coca-Cola have also ceased operations after reporting infections.

Twelve employees from the administrative division of Albany Bakery 
tested positive for the virus.

In a statement, Tiger Brands said that none of the infected employees 
worked on the production line or was involved in the delivery of the 
product to customers.

Tiger Brands said an employee who reported for duty was advised to seek 
medical attention after reporting feeling ill with flu-like symptoms. 
The employee was confirmed positive on April 9.

“All employees who had come into close contact with the individual were 
identified, and sent for precautionary testing and self-isolation, as 
they were asymptomatic. The testing was subsequently extended to all 
staff in the administration building, where the first patient worked.

“The results were received on Wednesday and 12 employees tested positive 
and are in self isolation,” the statement read.

“Naturally, we appreciate that this may cause concerns around food 
safety regarding bread. According to the WHO (World Health 
Organization), NICD (National Institute for Communicable Diseases) and 
the European Food Safety Authority (Efsa), there is currently no 
evidence that food is a likely source or route of transmission of the 

Tiger Brands said its bread- manufacturing process was highly automated 
– from mixing, to baking, to slicing, to sealing in tamper-proof bags 
and crating.

“In the event of a positive Covid-19 case, we have developed specific 
protocols to mitigate the risk of any environmental or surface 
contamination. This includes isolation and sanitising of the packaged 
product, all surfaces in the factory and all delivery trucks. As a 
result of the bakery’s closure, the bread produced in this facility on 
Wednesday has not been dispatched to the market.”

It said it anticipated reopening the bakery by early next week.

Managing director for Fry Group Foods, Caroline Garnett, said they had 
quarantined all employees for 14 days while the factory was sanitised. 
She said it was suspected that a managerial employee contracted the 
virus from a supplier who visited the premises recently. “The Durban 
facility has been closed, and all employees were screened and tested for 
Covid-19 by the Department of Health.

“It is unclear when the factory will reopen,” Garnett said.

According to an internal memo sent to employees at Coca-Cola’s Devland 
manufacturing plant, a worker with the respiratory disease was on-site 
on Sunday.

“We have already initiated a tracing process to identify all employees 
who may have been in contact with the positive colleague, and these 
employees will undergo testing,” said managing director Velaphi Ratshefola.

Economist Mike Schussler said factories which produced critical food 
supplies needed to adopt a “clean up quickly and move on” attitude.

He said closing such major factories for a day or two was understandable.

“South Africa cannot afford to have food producers closed for a long 
time. The country does have relatively good food security, as we produce 
a lot of our own food. But people need to eat to survive. Bread is a 
staple and we don’t have diverse enough suppliers to allow for even one 
bakery to close for a long period,” Schussler said.

National Consumer Union vicechairperson Clif Johnston said it did not 
foresee food shortages during the lockdown. “We have a very diverse set 
of suppliers in this country, so it is quite possible one or two may 
well close but there are always alternatives.

“The WHO has said food itself is not considered a primary vector of 
infection, so if someone bought bread from Albany they don’t need to 
rush off and test themselves,” Johnston said.

The Consumer Goods Council of South Africa’s chief executive, Gwarega 
Mangozhe, said the retail and food manufacturing sector continued to 
operate and there were no current concerns about food shortages.

“The consumer goods manufacturing and food supply chain is robust and 
continues to operate even under the current lockdown conditions.

“From a manufacturing, food production and retail perspective, the 
lockdown has obviously affected some of our retail members who are 
unable to sell all their product lines as they are limited to essential 
products only,” Mangozhe said.

“The government ensured that food production is not affected by the 
national lockdown by designating it as an essential service.

“We have also asked for clarity on the sale of prepared hot food meals 
in supermarkets, and we await the government’s response.”

She said retailers had not experienced any disruption or delays in the 
distribution of fresh produce and other foods to supermarkets

According to Infection Prevention and Control protocols, as laid out by 
the NICD and WHO, there is no specific time in which a facility needed 
to be closed when an outbreak occurred. Each case would be assessed on 
its own merits, it said.


  A view from the townships

16 April 2020 By GroundUp Staff <https://www.groundup.org.za/author/3/>

    GroundUp’s reporters describe what they see

Some townships and informal settlements are quiet, the streets empty as 
people observe the rules of the lockdown. In others, life goes on just 
as it always did. GroundUp’s reporters describe the areas they know.

    Hanover Park, Cape Town

In areas like Hanover Park, where people live in cramped spaces and 
there is nothing but concrete, social distancing and staying indoors is 
possible, but would affect one’s mental health. Families have very 
little to entertain their children indoors, so the only relief can be 
found outside, where there is space. And even then, that space is 
threatened with gang violence.

In poorer areas, children are not streaming hours of content or turning 
to online learning sources as it is just not financially possible. Some 
families can barely afford electricity and food.//- Ashraf Hendricks

    Tafelsig, Cape Town

No masks or social distancing. It seems that getting food trumps 
everything else. On the Cape Flats people don’t trust the police so, I’m 
not sure how helpful their patrols are. The lack of parties and events 
are helpful for keeping people apart though. My friend bought cigarettes 
at a small shop for R40. So the price has gone up if you can find it. I 
imagine it’s the same for alcohol if you know where to look. - Ashraf 

    Vrygrond, Cape Town

Not much social distancing or masks. A friend of mine bought a pack of 
cigarettes for R120, and had to search hard to find it.- Lucas Nowicki

    Khayelitsha, Cape Town

People don’t social distance - not at informal traders’ stands and not 
at big food retailers. I saw shoppers lining up to buy essentials at a 
jam-packed Shoprite in Site C, Khayelitsha last week. - Vincent Lali

    Delft, Cape Town

Usually, Hindel Road in Delft is crowded with taxis and private cars and 
dozens of shoppers battle to cross to and from Delft Mall. Now the road 
was deserted. From the mall, the road leads to Mfuleni, Silver Sands, 
Blikkiesdorp and other areas. Delft Main Road is also strangely quiet, 
with very few motorists and pedestrians. Delft residents seem to be 
obeying lockdown regulations. - Vincent Lali

    Gugulethu, Cape Town

In Gugulethu Section 3, as in nearby Kanana and New Rest informal 
settlements, it’s business as usual. No social distancing. People are 
going about their day, going to Shoprite. A well known shebeen in Kanana 
is closed but residents who usually visit the spot still gather outside 
and just sit there on crates chatting to each other. In terms of 
alcohol, there are a lot of people still selling in Gugs, but at 
exorbitant prices. To find it you need to know who to talk to, but you 
also get those who advertise on their Whatsapp statuses. No masks or 
gloves are worn. - Mary-Anne Gontsana

    Malmesbury, Western Cape

At the Malmesbury taxi rank, taxi drivers have parked their taxis in 
line and it is deserted. Taxi driver Ayanda Mpikashe says life is tough 
for taxi drivers as they are only allowed to transport essential workers 
who work in shifts. When these workers are at work, the taxis are idle. 
Mpikashe said he is struggling to make enough to support his family.

Sixty-two-year-old William Bala, who lives alone in a one-room shack in 
Lingelethu, had not heard of the coronavirus. He doesn’t have a radio or 
television and doesn’t know what the lockdown is.

He says he is shocked when he goes to buy essential groceries after 
receiving his pension, and staff at the retail shops spray his hand 
without explaining to him why.

He is living normally as if nothing is happening around him. - Peter Luhanga

    KwaNobuhle, Uitenhage

There was a soccer match at the end of my street involving over 50 
people which ended at about 7pm. They were using broken school desks as 
soccer poles and I think the noisy match will start again today. - 
Thamsanqa Mbovane

    Govan Mbeki, Nelson Mandela Bay

It’s business as usual in Nelson Mandela Bay townships. Streets are full 
of people and children playing ball on the road. People have a negative 
attitude towards someone wearing a mask. Yesterday, a group of women 
said “surely there is Covid-19 in our area? Look at this journalist 
wearing a mask.”

Kids and the elderly are walking up and down with dogs. Some of the kids 
swim in salt pans on hot days.

Other people are busy drinking alcohol and making braais like on a 
holiday. Police are only visible on roadblocks or at a crime scene. 
Social distance does not exist at clinics and at crime scenes. Masks, 
gloves and sanitisers are not used at spaza shops. At clinics nurses 
battle to keep patients at a distance from each other. - Mkhuseli Sizani

    *Motherwell, Nelson Mandela Bay*

Most people in Motherwell, Ikamvelihle and Wells Estate are not 
practising safe social distancing. People say it is very difficult to 
adhere to the conditions given that they always stand in queues to buy 

“We queue at clinics, at SASSA offices and we queue at communal water 
taps,” says Anelisa Msuthu who lives in Shukushukuma with her boyfriend. 
“It is a common feature of township life to stand in long and winding 
queues to get services. The conditions demanded by the government are 
foreign. They belong to the developed world.”

At the NU10, Motherwell clinic on 15 April, 300 people were crammed 
together outside the gate.

Police officers manning roadblocks are not telling people why they are 
turning them back. They don’t explain or give informal traders time to 
pack their stock. The police kick the stalls and destroy everything.

Jikelezas (small township taxis ) are also being turned back. Police do 
not give reasons. - Joseph Chirume

    KwaMashu, eThekwini

People are complying. Since the lockdown started, the streets have been 
quiet. Law enforcers come for patrols daily. Apparently, a few residents 
were given hot klaps on the first weekend of the lockdown. The news 
might have spread throughout the township that soldiers mean business 
and people are fearful of stepping out of their houses. - Zimbili Vilakazi

    Ntuzuma, eThekwini

It’s business as usual, no masks, children playing in the streets, no 
lines at tuck shops. It’s the same in informal settlements as well. No 
social distancing. - Nokulunga Majola

    *Tsakane, Brakpan*

It’s business as usual. People are in the street moving around. 
Takeaways are having a field day selling chips and quotas. No masks, no 
social distancing, children playing.

Police and soldiers came only once and scared people away but as soon as 
they disappeared people were back on the streets.- Kimberley Mutandiro

    *Tshikota, Louis Trichardt*

In Tshikota township residents adhere to lockdown regulations only when 
police patrol the area. Once police leave, life goes back to normal.

In town (Louis Trichardt) few people are seen in streets and most of 
them are carrying Shoprite shopping bags indicating that they have come 
to shop. Police patrol the streets and at times question people or order 
them to go home. They visit shops encouraging shoppers to observe social 
distance, but once police leave, people ignore the distancing. - Bernard 

    Imbali, Msunduzi

It’s business as usual. People have discovered where they can get 
liquor, though at a very high price. The information is shared via 
WhatsApp. Smirnoff vodka, usually R120, is R300. Jameson whiskey costs 
R550. A pack of cigarettes is R70 or R80 and single cigarettes cost R5 
to R8.

Children are playing in the streets. They still walk in groups to the 
soccer fields.

IMbalenhle Clinic has a long queue. Patients try some social distancing.

In Pelham people are really complying. There are notices up reminding us 
to keep safe and avoid going out. - Nompendulo Ngubane

    *Kwaggafontein, Mpumalanga*

Before the lockdown was extended, only a few people were complying. 
Children were still playing in the streets, people were still gathering 
at their usual street corners, taverns were closed but some owners were 
still secretly selling alcohol in their houses. But there have been some 
changes since the lockdown was extended. The only children in the street 
are those going to the shops. There are very few adults in the streets 

Many shops were closed, but opened when they got permits.

At the mall, only a certain number of people are allowed in. As people 
queue to get into the shops, there is social distancing. There are lines 
pasted on the ground one metre apart to show people where to stand in 
the queue. People’s hands are sanitised as they get into the mall and 
into the shops. Only food shops, pharmacies and banks are open.

But outside the gates of the mall there’s no social distancing. A few 
people wear gloves and masks. - Nompumelelo Mahlangu

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