First Thing, Daily Maverick's flagship newsletter

Join the 230 000 South Africans who read First Thing newsletter.

We write for you

It’s a public service and we refuse to erect a paywall and force you to pay for truth. Instead, we ask (nicely and often) that those of you who can afford to, become a Maverick Insider and help with whatever you can. In order for truth not to become a thing of the past, we need to keep going.

Currently, 18,000 (or less than 0.3%) of our brave and generous readers are members; which says a lot about their characters and commitment to our country. These people are paying for a free service in order to keep it free for everyone.

They are the true South AfriCANs.(Sorry, we couldn’t help ourselves.)

Support Daily Maverick→
Payment options

SA enters two more global vaccine trials, final matric...

Maverick Citizen

CORONAVIRUS DAILY DIGEST #121

SA enters two more global vaccine trials, final matric exam timetable is released, and Eastern Cape vows to sift out corruption

Compilation image by Sahra Heuwel.

On Wednesday, it was confirmed that South Africa will take part in another two international Covid-19 vaccine trials. The final timetable for matric exams has been released. Meanwhile, the Eastern Cape has vowed to sift out corruption related to Covid-19.

Scroll through the gallery below to view the latest Covid-19 numbers available on 12 August at the district level. All maps are sourced from provincial health departments. Limpopo and Eastern Cape did not provide an update by the time of publishing:

Starting next month, South Africa will participate in two more international Covid-19 vaccine trials. The vaccines – Ad26.COV2-S made by Johnson & Johnson and NVX-CoV2373 made by Novavax – are both on the World Health Organisation’s list of the 26 most promising vaccine candidates currently in human clinical trials.

It is important for South Africa to participate in these trials for a number of reasons, according to Glenda Gray, the president and CEO of the South African Medical Research Council. She said it is a “national imperative” to be part of the global effort to find a vaccine. In addition, participation could make it easier to access a successful vaccine for South Africa and it is important to see how South Africans respond to the vaccine.

Adele Baleta unpacks what is known about these two vaccines so far.

South Africa to take part in two more Covid-19 vaccine trials, with up to 12,000 volunteers

The final matric exams will run from 5 November to 15 December, according to the timetable released by the Department of Basic Education on Wednesday. The learners will write combined June and November exams. The department said the delay will give schools enough time to cover the curriculum and revise it before exams begin. Results will be released on 23 February 2021 and will apparently not jeopardise pupils’ admission to tertiary education institutions. The department expects 1.1 million pupils to write the final papers.

The Department of Basic Education released this timetable for the matric exams on 12 August 2020. It said the exams will not jeopardise learners’ admission to tertiary education institutions. (Table: Department of Basic Education.)

Eastern Cape Premier Oscar Mabuyane said that a list of companies which benefited from Covid-19-related procurement has been made public. It can be found on the provincial treasury’s website under announcements. He urged people to study the list and to contact law enforcement agencies with any information they have on corruption in the deals. He said that all senior members of the provincial government will undergo a lifestyle audit by the State Security Agency. Estelle Ellis reports.

Eastern Cape premier publishes list of companies that won Covid-19 contracts

Mabuyane also announced that Professor Lungile Pepeta would be given a special Category 2 Provincial Burial in his home-town, Bizana, on Wednesday 12 August. Pepeta, a paediatric cardiologist, was the executive dean of Nelson Mandela University’s Faculty of Health Sciences and was in the process of setting up the university’s new medical school. He had also been on the provincial panel of experts advising the government through the pandemic. He died of Covid-19 related complications in Port Elizabeth on Friday.

A giant tree has fallen: Prof Lungile Pepeta (1974 – 2020)

Last week, there was a flood of allegations that the relatives of government officials had clinched Covid-19 contracts. In the midst of it, ANC Secretary-General Ace Magashule said there is no law stopping the relatives of government officials from doing business with the state. Marianne Merten explains why he is wrong.

Ace Magashule claims nothing in law stops politicians’ families from doing business with government: Not so fast, SG

In the second part of the Covid-19 150-day report, Ferial Haffajee unpacks how each member of Cabinet has fared and what is still on their to-do list. Read the analysis here. Did you miss the first part? Fear not.

In Cape Town, DA ward councillor Angus McKenzie has responded to the Bonteheuwel-Joint Peace Forum Community Action Network, which argues McKenzie incorrectly stated on social media that their use of a community centre is illegal and that it is “an ANC project”. He maintains their repurposing of the centre into a community care centre is illegal, not approved by the owners and robs other community organisations of the chance to use the space. Read the Collective Action Network’s statement here and McKenzie’s statement here.

Before the Covid-19 pandemic, paramedics were faced with an outbreak of assault, robbery and mistrust. Now, they also face the added threat of contracting Covid-19 themselves. Melissa Javan spent the day with an ambulance crew to hear and see their daily challenges. DM/MC

Gallery

"Information pertaining to Covid-19, vaccines, how to control the spread of the virus and potential treatments is ever-changing. Under the South African Disaster Management Act Regulation 11(5)(c) it is prohibited to publish information through any medium with the intention to deceive people on government measures to address COVID-19. We are therefore disabling the comment section on this article in order to protect both the commenting member and ourselves from potential liability. Should you have additional information that you think we should know, please email [email protected]"

Please peer review 3 community comments before your comment can be posted