Western Cape helps diabetics, Limpopo tobacco farmers face uncertain future and Level 2 comes into effect

On Tuesday, lockdown Level 2 came into effect – but what the next phase of the pandemic will look like remains unknown. In the Western Cape, Covid-19 has threatened the lives of those living with diabetes, but the government’s action plan seems to be helping. In Limpopo, emerging tobacco farmers face the lifting of the ban on tobacco products with more uncertainty than ever before. 





Scroll through the gallery below to view the latest Covid-19 numbers available on 18 August at the district level. All maps are sourced from provincial health departments. Eastern Cape and Mpumalanga did not provide an update by the time of publishing:












On Tuesday, lockdown Level 2 came into effect – but not without stern warnings that if cases jump up dramatically restrictions may come down on the country again. Greg Nicolson reports on the latest changes to restrictions. 

President Cyril Ramaphosa has promised to use this moment to “transform our country to a more equal, more just and more dynamic economy”. How will this happen? As Mark Heywood writes in a Maverick Citizen editorial, there can be no recovery without redistribution and the meaningful inclusion of civil society.

A repeated refrain since the start of the lockdown has been that saving lives from Covid-19 is the main aim. But, it needs to be asked: how well has South Africa done in reducing Covid-19 deaths? Not too badly, write Nathan Geffen and Alex Welte.

In the Western Cape, about 42% of people with diabetes who were hospitalised with Covid-19 had died as of 16 July. People with diabetes are not at a higher risk of contracting Covid-19, but are at higher risk of serious illness or death once they have it.

This is not dissimilar to data from other countries hard-hit by the pandemic, but the province’s health department has stepped in. It involves phoning people living with diabetes to check in on them – that way, they can ask if they have Covid-19 symptoms, help them with blood sugar level control and get them to hospital before they get very ill if necessary.

Out of 152 patients contacted in two weeks, 63 were admitted to hospital. Of that, 40 were discharged and three died. As Elri Voigt writes, doctors recommend that those living with diabetes should monitor their blood sugar levels and get regular exercise.

Despite the lift on the ban of tobacco products, some emerging tobacco farmers still face a gruelling task to get back on track. They have to pick up production with no certainty ahead for their harvest or guarantees from buyers. Lucas Ledwaba spoke to Limpopo farmer Senne Erasmus Sefoloshe, who has been farming since 1998, about the road ahead.

Like other civil society organisations around the country, the Tafelsig Mitchells Plain Community Action Network has been struggling for the long five months of lockdown to provide food to their neighbours in need. Joanie Fredericks’ house has become known “as the place where there is food”.

Her Facebook video Dear Mr President reached many, including comedian Marc Lottering. He was so moved by her video and her work that he wrote the song What About the People, which is sung by The Voice winner Craig Lucas, to bring attention to her rallying cry and that over people across the country.


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Fredericks’ video also got the attention of the United Nations, but not Ramaphosa himself. As Daniel Steyn writes, Fredericks is preparing to launch a constitutional case to challenge the treatment of people during lockdown. This comes after she gave the Presidency until 14 August to settle on a meeting date with her. She is adamant: “We will not die of hunger.” DM/MC



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