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Ace Magashule’s sons clinch Covid-19 contracts, Jobur...



Ace Magashule’s sons clinch Covid-19 contracts, Joburg inmates protest unsafe conditions and EC activists demand prompt action from government

The Free State provincial Treasury has awarded contracts to two companies owned by sons of former Free State Premier and current ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule. Meanwhile, inmates at the Johannesburg Correctional Centre have gone on a hunger strike to protest about unsafe conditions in the prison and fear that the Covid-19 death toll might be higher than official numbers suggest. In Nelson Mandela Bay, a coalition of civil society organisations has demanded action from the provincial Department of Health.

Scroll through the gallery below to view the latest Covid-19 numbers available on 31 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:

The Free State provincial Treasury has awarded contracts to two companies owned by the sons of former Free State Premier and current ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule. The contracts’ have a combined worth of R2.7 million. Their companies’ names are included on a tender bulletin listing 70 companies that have received contracts for Covid-19 related goods and services. As Pieter-Louis Myburgh writes, this comes after the provincial Treasury centralised its procurement for these goods and services. The Treasury’s MEC is alleged to be close to Magashule.

Inmates at the Johannesburg Correctional Centre, also known as “Sun City”, have been on a hunger strike and protesting since last week over a lack of changes to make the prison safer in the face of Covid-19. Inmates have complained of a lack of personal protective equipment, the impossibility of physical distancing and cold showers, among other things. They say Covid-19-related deaths are higher in the prison than official statistics show. amaBhungane spoke to some of the prisoners and asked the Department of Correctional Services what they plan to do about the situation.

On Tuesday, activists from the Eastern Cape Health Crisis Action Coalition handed a memorandum to the provincial health department to demand that clinics be fixed. Nelson Mandela Bay’s clinics in particular have buckled under the pressure of Covid-19, with fear, infections, neglect and crumbling ambulance services hampering their functioning. The activists have highlighted how people living with HIV and TB are forced to share or default on medicine. They demand the department makes its Covid-19 response plan public, revise its staffing plan and fix mismanagement, corruption and wasteful expenditure. As Estelle Ellis reports, they have given the department seven days to respond to them and fix the problems.

On Thursday, Western Cape’s legislature passed both the health and education departments’ Special Adjustment Budgets after much debate. The DA accused the national government of not delivering on its promises to support the province’s Covid-19 response and it promised residents their money would not be looted. Suné Payne unpacks the numbers. DM/MC


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