Maverick Citizen

CORONAVIRUS DAILY DIGEST #71

Witnesses tell of assault on Collins Khosa, arrested waste pickers held without trial, and more South Africans repatriated

Witnesses tell of assault on Collins Khosa, arrested waste pickers held without trial, and more South Africans repatriated
For most people this plastic is rubbish, but for the waste picker it’s a source of income. In Tshwane, two waste pickers who were arrested for breaking lockdown regulations by collecting plastic are still behind bars. (Photo: EPA-EFE / Kim Ludbrook)

On Wednesday, IPID provided more details on the statements of eight witnesses who saw soldiers assault Collins Khosa and police officers standing by. Two waste pickers have been held without trial for two months after being arrested for searching for plastic to sell for food. The Pretoria High Court has reserved judgment in the matter over the ban on the sale of tobacco products under lockdown.

 

Swipe through the gallery below to view the latest Covid-19 numbers available on 10 June at the district level. All maps are sourced from provincial health departments; however, KwaZulu-Natal and Eastern Cape did not provide an update by the time of publishing:

A series of parliamentary questions have been put to President Cyril Ramaphosa about the legality of the National Coronavirus Command Council. As Marianne Merten writes, his replies are telling of a parallel system of governance. The parliamentary replies paint a picture of an institution meant to advise Cabinet, while public messaging indicates a National Coronavirus Command Council seemingly taking decisions in the country’s Covid-19 response.

The Pretoria High Court has reserved judgment after hearing arguments from the Fair Trade Independent Tobacco Association and Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma. The association has approached the court in an effort to get the ban on the sale of tobacco products under lockdown declared invalid. 

Eight witnesses have told the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) that they saw soldiers assault Collins Khosa and that Johannesburg Metro Police Department officers stood by. Hours later, Khosa died. Khosa’s neighbours told how they were assaulted for trying to record the assault. IPID has recommended that disciplinary action be taken against them for failing to intervene. Greg Nicolson writes that this raises questions about the SANDF’s report on the assault which exonerated its members.

In Tshwane, two waste pickers who were arrested for breaking lockdown regulations by collecting plastic are still behind bars. They have been in prison since 14 April – in that time their legal representatives have been denied access to them to discuss the details of the charges and why they have been detained. As Chanel Retief reports, it is believed the two men went out to find recyclables to make money to buy food.

The City of Cape Town has abandoned its application to challenge the South African Human Rights Commission’s appointment of monitors to observe the City’s Covid-19 plans and actions to assist the homeless and vulnerable groups. The City had argued the commission could not make the appointments under the lockdown regulations and that its monitors distorted information about the Strandfontein temporary shelter.

Advocate Norman Arendse, for the SAHRC, has questioned why the City went to great lengths to make a court challenge and then withdrew it when evidence was required. Judge Siraj Desai asked the City whether the litigation was a strategic lawsuit against public participation with the aim to silence the SAHRC, a Chapter 9 institution. As Vincent Cruywagen reports, the City said there was no longer a need for court action because the temporary shelter had closed in May.

Meanwhile, the first patient has been discharged from the Covid-19 field hospital in the Cape Town International Convention Centre. There are currently 16 patients at the Hospital of Hope and plans are being made to increase the number of beds from 862 to 2,000.

Hunger has increased by nearly 3% in South Africa since the beginning of the lockdown, according to Stats SA. As Shani Reddy reports, food prices have continued to increase despite guidelines by the National Consumer Commission.

Exclusive Books (EB) saw a 30% drop in sales in May compared to the previous year. Most of its stores have reopened, but with restricted hours. Nonetheless, online sales have tripled under lockdown. EB has noted that local or regional malls are faring better than its big centre counterparts. As Ed Stoddard writes, the company says this is because people are shopping closer to home.

More than 250 South Africans have been stranded on cruise ships since March. They have been battling to access repatriation flights since then but now they are due to fly home this week. As Peter Fabricius reports, it has been a global journey to get to this point. DM

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