CORONAVIRUS DAILY DIGEST #60
Big tobacco heads to court over sale ban, Denel sags under pandemic pressure and Level 3 conundrum for childcare
On Friday, two major tobacco manufacturers announced they would be heading to court to challenge the ban on the sale of tobacco products. Denel has blamed the pandemic for its failure to pay employees, while national sports federations scratch their heads as to who will be allowed to play from 1 June. Meanwhile, there is angst about who will look after small children when parents return to work and childcare centres remain shuttered.
The biggest manufacturers in South Africa’s tobacco industry have launched legal action against the ongoing tobacco sales ban. Japan Tobacco International and British American Tobacco South Africa have argued that their submissions on how to sell and distribute tobacco products safely have been sidelined by government. As Ed Stoddard reports, they are turning to the courts to try to end a ban they see continuing “for the foreseeable future”.
State-owned defence and technology company Denel has not paid its employees for May and might not for June and July. Only 30% of its workforce has been brought back to work since the start of the lockdown. Denel says the “global economic downturn” caused by the coronavirus pandemic has hit its finances and liquidity. As Sumeya Gasa reports, a trade union has set up a fund to help its members who have not received payment and is considering taking the matter to court.
While professional non-contact sports matches can go ahead under Level 3, that is not enough, according to national sports federations. What the regulation means in practice will be explained on Saturday by Sports Minister Nathi Mthethwa. Craig Ray reports that the professional portion of sports which can be played from 1 June, such as golf and tennis, represent a small portion of the industries.
From 1 June, most of the economy is expected to reopen, but not the childcare sector. Karen Schimke writes that results of the sector being sidelined are “terrifying” for those employed in the industry and the young children who rely on it for safety and food. DM
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