CORONAVIRUS DAILY DIGEST #31
Billions more to boost the economy while Day Zero haunts Port Elizabeth
Things changed overnight in South Africa on 15 March, and it won’t be the last time it does. Daily Maverick’s Daily Digest will provide the essential bits of information about Covid-19 in South Africa each day. Please do read on to understand these issues more deeply.
Finance Minister Tito Mboweni took to the podium on Friday to expand on President Cyril Ramaphosa’s Tuesday announcement on the economic interventions during and after the lockdown.
He revealed that in total, the government’s combined fiscal and monetary response will be over R800-billion and will be put “right into the heart of the economy”.
He added that the budget would have to be revised to “throw out” items which can be postponed. As Ed Stoddard writes, he said that new institutions could arise from this crisis, such as a National Agriculture Board.
However, much remains unclear after President Cyril Ramaphosa’s Thursday evening address. Greg Nicolson recaps what we do and don’t know as of Friday and Craig Ray analyses what might lie in store for South Africa’s football and rugby.
Eight civil society organisations which advocate for the rights of autistic people in South Africa have written to several ministers to plead for urgent lockdown concessions to be made. They ask that autistic people be allowed to go for daily walks, enable carers to provide home support, receive social relief and food parcels and the re-opening of care centres. This comes after the organisations received a flood of request from families for help in dire situations. Tania Broughton spoke to some families about their life under lockdown.
Lottery operator Ithuba held its biggest PowerBall and PowerBall Plus jackpot draw since 2015 on Friday, possibly drawing large crowds of people out of their homes at a time when the government is forcing them inside. Lottery tickets have been classed as an essential item, but hot food is not. Raymond Joseph investigates why this is so.
In the Western Cape, food parcel discrimination is under the microscope. Members of GOOD, the African Democratic Party and the ANC have claimed that they have received calls from residents complaining that they have been denied food parcels because of their political affiliation. As Suné Payne reports, the issue was discussed on Friday at a meeting of the Covid-19 oversight committee.
In addition, the City of Cape Town’s law enforcement has been shutting down outlets illegally selling alcohol and cigarettes while trying to prevent food trucks from being looted. In the last week, 60% of lockdown arrests in the city were shopkeepers selling alcohol and cigarettes. Karabo Mafolo reports on the latest facts and figures.
In the Eastern Cape, the prospect of Day Zero is very real and very near. It is projected that the metro will run out of water in the middle of the coronavirus outbreak if urgent interventions are not made. Estelle Ellis reports on what is, and isn’t, being done about it.
Traditional initiations have never been suspended in all of South Africa – until now. The Congress of Traditional Leaders of South Africa has suspended the current initiation season in solidarity with the government in the response against Covid-19 and to protect initiates from exposure to the virus. Bheki. C. Simelane spoke to the leadership about how they came to this unprecedented decision.
After the lockdown, South Africa’s most impoverished workers are more likely to lose jobs than those who work from home or are considered essential workers, says a new research report. Karabo Mafolo spoke to the researchers about why this is predicted to be the case. DM.
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