CORONAVIRUS DAILY DIGEST #108
Business insurance companies agree to payouts, Gauteng Health MEC denies corruption, and residents challenge Joburg eviction
On Monday, Gauteng Health MEC Dr Bandile Masuku denied allegations that he is linked to Covid-19 corruption within the department. Meanwhile, residents evicted from an informal settlement in Johannesburg have launched a court challenge against the City. Some of South Africa’s largest insurers have agreed to provide interim relief to clients who have business interruption insurance which includes cover for contagious diseases.
Scroll through the gallery below to view the latest Covid-19 numbers available on 27 July at the district level. All maps are sourced from provincial health departments; however, Mpumalanga did not provide an update by the time of publishing:
South Africa’s biggest insurance companies, including Santam and Hollard, have agreed to provide interim relief to clients who have business interruption insurance which includes cover for contagious diseases. There will be a once-off interim relief payment to policyholders which will not have to be repaid, regardless of the outcome of legal processes still under way. Sasha Planting unpacks what this means for businesses in the doldrums because of lockdown.
Gauteng Health MEC Dr Bandile Masuku has rejected allegations that he is involved in corruption related to Covid-19 relief funds. The Sunday Independent alleged that Masuku influenced the awarding of a multimillion-rand contract for personal protective equipment. Masuku called the allegations “false and without foundation”, saying he had requested a “forensic audit” into Covid-19 procurement within the department months ago and supports the Special Investigations Unit probes. Gauteng ANC secretary Jacob Khawe apparently met with Premier David Makhura and Masuku to discuss corruption within the health department.
Meanwhile, residents in an informal settlement in the south of Johannesburg have gone to the South Gauteng High Court to challenge their recent eviction and the demolition of their shacks. They argue the City of Johannesburg did not have a court order when it evicted about 300 families and demolished their shacks at Nana’s Farm informal settlement on 18 and 19 July. This left all of them homeless in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic. The residents want compensation from the City and an interdict to stop it from carrying out more evictions. They want the evictions declared unlawful and a violation of their constitutional right to dignity and security. Greg Nicolson reports.
The South African Human Rights Commission and the City of Cape Town are still embroiled in a court case over the demolition of shacks or any informal dwelling during the State of Disaster. The commission approached the Western Cape High Court to interdict and restrain the City. The matter has been postponed. This has triggered a slew of accusations against the commission by City Mayor Dan Plato, including that the Legal Resources Centre has encouraged unlawful conduct in its campaign against the demolitions and that the commission is now dragging its feet in the legal challenge. The Legal Resources Centre has said this accusation is “malicious and downright contemptuous”. Vincent Cruywagen reports.
Near Lenasia, a resident of the Waterworks informal settlement died after going without food for days, according to community leaders. He was from Lesotho and was struggling to get food relief without an ID. He relied on friends a far walk away for food. Now, residents are struggling to find the R7,000 to bury him in South Africa. Community leaders say the residents are shocked by the death and many living in the 3,600 informal dwellings are struggling to make ends meet.
The Independent Schools Association of Southern Africa has said threats by the Congress of South African Students (Cosas) to shut down private schools are “regrettable”. It said the schools had worked online before they could physically open their doors and will likely continue to use a hybrid system now. The association argued that Cosas should instead call for public schools to be assisted with the provision of online learning tools.
Last week, the North Gauteng High Court ruled that Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga and MECs have a constitutional and statutory duty to make sure the National School Nutrition Programme is up and running again to provide all learners with basic nutrition. However, the schools in Limpopo which brought the case against Motshekga and the MECs still await the delivery of supplies. Lucas Ledwaba spoke to the heads of the schools’ governing bodies about the case and its aftermath.
New research into the impact of Covid-19 and the lockdown on employees’ mental health has revealed that there are “extremely high levels of stress”. About 98% of respondents reported feeling concerned about the future — particularly about the economy, childcare, schooling concerns and concern about the health of their families. However, 96% said they were hopeful about the future. Amy Green outlines the key findings of the report.
South Africa’s first football match since the start of lockdown is scheduled for 8 August 2020 when Mamelodi Sundowns and Bidvest Wits play the Nedbank Cup semi-finals. It will officially restart the 2019/2020 season, according to the Premier Soccer League. DM/MC
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