Tomorrow, the results of the National Income Dynamics Survey: Coronavirus Rapid Mobile Survey (NIDS-CRAM) study will be released. They will show that the social harm caused by the lockdown and the Covid-19 health emergency is far deeper and more damaging than previous estimates. But, paradoxically, Covid-19 presents us with an opportunity to make reparations for South Africa’s racially divided past, to rebuild trust, and to create safe neighbourhoods that erect an invisible barrier of community and solidarity against Covid-19 and the poverty it is unleashing.
If we lived in the type of society envisaged by our Constitution – one where there is equality and social justice – Johanna ‘Jojo’ Monama would probably be employed in the public or private sector. But our society is neither fair nor equal, and that’s how Jojo found herself among many other talented people who can’t find jobs. But help came from an unlikely source. Covid-19 gave her a mission.
Across the world, capitalist economics is in tatters. As always happens in a mega-crisis on a scale of that brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic, governments and central banks are breaking ‘rules’ that in stable times they insist are immutable.
Today Gauteng has over 100 community action networks, all of them made up of organisations and individuals who are trying to provide relief in the face of the humanitarian crisis unravelling in their communities.
Equal Education accuses Department of Basic Education of ‘administrative chaos’ over schoolchildren feeding programme
Another day in the court of the “new normal”. Except it was far from normal. Instead of squaring off in a court chamber, lawyers were squaring off over Zoom. As usual, the lawyers were robed and respectful. But the matter they were arguing was far from digital. In the words of Geoff Budlender SC, this was a matter about the hunger of “between three and four million schoolchildren” who that very same day were being denied their constitutional right to a school meal.
Throughout much of 2017, South Africa was gripped by a health disaster of another type – the Life Esidimeni tragedy. It seems that its lessons are being forgotten already.
I am a runner. I am a mountain bike rider. I share my blood with other runners and riders who find joy, meaning, clarity of thought, peace of mind in physical movement. Sometimes we even find our purpose in the meshing of body, mind and nature that comes whilst pushing pedals or the endless tramp, tramp, tramp as the runner finds her rhythm.
June 16, 2020, is the 44th anniversary of the start of the Soweto Uprising on 16 June 1976. Because of Covid-19, it will probably be the most difficult year young people in South Africa have faced since those brutal and murderous days. Millions are hungry. Millions have had their dreams of schooling interrupted. Young people will be bearing the brunt of job losses, that is if they had a job in the first place. Sadly, today should be considered a day of shame rather than celebration; a day for an urgent and tangible recommitment to equality for young people.
The social contract we entered into to defeat Covid-19 is not over. It came in several parts. Inasmuch as we accepted that the lockdown would destroy jobs and livelihoods, this contract contained an implicit promissory note that in return, and after the lockdown is lifted, those jobs would be recreated. Resetting and restructuring our economy is integral to the next stage of Covid-19 prevention.
This morning, Sandile Buthelezi, will complete a 26-year journey through offices and corridors of hospitals and health facilities, scattered across South Africa and the region, when he takes up his new position as the Director-General (DG) of the National Department of Health.