CORONAVIRUS DAILY DIGEST #70
Unions flag school safety, SA Rugby to remodel, sangoma vows to be Covid-19 ambassador post recovery
On Tuesday, the Basic Education Department clarified that children will not be deregistered from a school if they are home-schooled. Meanwhile, trade unions are concerned that health and safety measures at schools won’t be sustained. IPID has recommended that disciplinary action be taken against the metro police officers who stood by as Collins Khosa was assaulted by soldiers. In Cape Town, a sangoma has vowed to become an ambassador for Covid-19 after recovering from the virus in hospital. SA Rugby is looking at remodelling, and Operation Smile turns its attention to masks for healthcare workers.
Swipe through the gallery below to view the latest Covid-19 numbers available on 9 June at the district level. All maps are sourced from provincial health departments; however, KwaZulu-Natal, the Free State and the Eastern Cape did not provide an update by the time of publishing:
Children who are kept out of school and taught at home will not be deregistered, clarified Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga. The law states that children under 15 years old who have not attended school for 10 days must be deregistered, but the department has decided to give parents leeway. Motshekga did urge parents to inform the school if their children will not be returning to class for now.
Most schools have reopened and trade unions are concerned that some of the health and safety measures are unsustainable. They are concerned that supplies will not be replenished and that the introduction of other grades will put too much pressure on schools. As Ayanda Mthethwa reports, unions are satisfied with efforts to make sure schools are safe to reopen but feel the department has done little to explain the sustainability of their efforts.
Meanwhile, Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation Blade Nzimande provided an update on the readiness of tertiary education institutions to reopen. He said that laptops are being procured for NSFAS students who need them and that claims by the DA that NSFAS would write off debt was reckless and untrue.
He reiterated that only 33% of the student body can return to campus as well as residences. Students and staff will have to use the daily screening and monitoring HealthCheck app every day before going to campus.
The Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) has recommended that disciplinary action be taken against the Johannesburg Metro Police Department officers and SAPS officers who were involved in Collins Khosa’s death. According to News24, IPID’s report on the incident said the officers failed to intervene when soldiers assaulted Khosa. The report has been sent to the Johannesburg Metro Police Department and the SAPS.
The taxi industry is due to meet Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula on Thursday to discuss a proposed relief fund. However, taxi fare increases of up to 172% are due to take effect on 15 June in Johannesburg. Up until now, taxi associations have provided financial help to their members while they wait for the apparently imminent launch of a taxi relief fund that was announced a month ago. As Greg Nicolson writes, 16 million people rely on taxis every day.
Meanwhile, the Eastern Cape Covid-19 Command Council has formally put in a request that the ban on the sale of alcohol be reimposed in the province. It argues that the return of alcohol sales has increased rates of violent crime related to alcohol and placed a burden on the healthcare system.
SA Rugby has made provision for a R1.2-billion loss for 2020 but has already made progress in remodelling itself to survive past it. Although the plans are not yet public, there are three options on the table, according to SA Rugby chief executive Jurie Roux. Craig Ray writes that the issue of private equity also hovers in the background.
In Cape Town, sangoma Gcinani Bango has vowed to be a Covid-19 ambassador after recovering from the virus in hospital. He says he hopes to spread his new knowledge about how the virus can be avoided and that anyone can get it.
He is also adamant that government and traditional healers can work together to spread awareness. As Siyabonga Kamnqa reports, the Traditional Healers Association has also made a call for traditional healers to be integrated into the government’s response.
You can now run, cycle or walk to rack up face mask stocks for healthcare workers in Africa thanks to a new initiative from a group of non-governmental organisations. The Miles for Smiles fundraiser has pivoted to the new Miles for Masks initiative. The fundraiser is a 5km virtual race that can be run, walked or cycled.
From 16 June, entrants can pay R50 per person to partake. The entrance fees will be used to buy the masks and will be distributed. Through the Operation Smile network. Shani Reddy reports that entrants from Dubai, Hong Kong and the United Kingdom have already signed up. DM
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