The South African Government has explained that as much as 40% of SA workers could be allowed to get back to work under restrictions to the lockdown next month, though everything depends on keeping virus transmission as low as possible.
The lockdown in its current form will end from 1 May, with the country heading to level 4.
Dlamini-Zuma, who spoke first, said that if the virus started speeding up too much, then the country would be heading back to the current level, level 5, very quickly.
“If the numbers go up, we go back to level 5. If they go down, we may go to level 3.”
Dlamini-Zuma said that the lockdown in its current form would remain largely unchanged, with just a few more businesses allowed to operate.
Patel, who took to the podium after her, said she had set out the overall framework of how people would be returning to work (which you can read more about below).
He said the new alert system would be used along with an industrial classification system and new public health measures.
“The purpose of the new approach is to calibrate the level of risk with levels of economic activities. We want to open as much as possible depending on risk.”
He said four factors were relevant to opening a sector, the first being the risk of spread.
The second would be the expected impact of continued lockdown on the sector.
Third was each sector’s GDP contribution and the economic linkage of each sector to the broader economy.
The promotion of community wellbeing was the fourth factor.
“It’s not everybody back to work on the same day. It will be phased in.”
He called on all people to do their part to bring the risk levels down.
“We can all play a role in doing so.”
Larger companies would help to test workers for Covid-19 infection, which would feed into national data to hopefully lower the overall estimation of risk nationally.
“We want to enable workplaces themselves to get ready for Covid. We need to brace ourselves that the virus is still going to be active for the next six to eight months. The workplaces themselves need to be changed.”
On May 1, international Labour Day, more retail would be opened.
“The virus doesn’t move. People move.
“In moving from level 5 to level 4, if we move too fast we risk more people getting infected. If we move too slow, we risk parts of the economy being damaged too much.”
He said the proposal to sectors had followed discussions with business and labour, as well as more general comments.
Patel said there were already many sectors currently being allowed under level 5, and they would continue.
“We will be adding to that list.”
He estimated that about 1.5 million more South Africans would be allowed to leave their homes to go back to work from May 1.
“More than four out of 10 workers will be back at work in phased ways,” he said, adding that education was also being included.
Patel said the focus would be on primary sectors initially.
“We can stress test the system, see what works and doesn’t, and pilot the new system.”
Agriculture, forestry and fishing would reopen as entirely as a sector, with the required social distancing and sanitation measures.
Manufacturing would be reopened, but not to 100% at first. It would be progressively reopened. He said only 20% of all manufacturing workers would resume work, but some sections of the sector would start with more than 20%, including children’s clothing, winter clothing and bedding; computers and mobile phones; cars and car components; construction and the raw materials involved; “and of course stationery requirements”.
There would be some additional reopening of retail.
“We recognise that shops are a great vector of transmission. We want to appeal that visits to shops be kept short and as infrequent as possible.”
The categories to be expanded included children’s clothing, tobacco products, heaters and ICT equipment (computers, mobile phones, home office equipment).
However, alcohol sales would still be disallowed under level 4.
For mining, a new addition would be for those working in open-cast mining to be returned to 50% and then to 100%.
Professional services would be resumed in certain key areas, including in recycling and call centres.
Construction would have several expanded activities.
Restaurants and takeaways would be opened for delivery only, subject to curfew times.
“The food goes to the customer. No one will go to the restaurant to sit down or to fetch the food.”
Patel said this would be an opportunity to create a food takeaway network in the townships too.
The minister called on South Africans to support local industries and locally made products.
Detailed documents would be disseminated to the public through the media over the weekend so that people could be more informed, and for people to give their feedback and helpful suggestions.
Over the course of the week, once feedback had been considered, the regulations for level 4 would then be gazetted.
What NDZ explained
Dlamini-Zuma had called on South Africans to continue to observe the precautions to avoid overwhelming the health service with people needing treatment for Covid-19.
“It’s all in our hands. We can only ease the lockdown if we all play our part.”
The minister recognised that the virus had exposed the country’s inequalities and vulnerability, which she said was also a legacy of apartheid spatial planning.
She explained that interprovincial would still not be allowed except for special circumstances, such as returning to a job or educational institution, or going to a funeral.
In a slide, she showed that most of South Africa was still not showing high numbers, which was why interprovincial travel would be limited.
“We don’t want the whole country to turn red.”
She said the orange parts were second worst, followed by yellow and then blue. If the country could be turned blue in its entirety, then life could be allowed to largely go back to normal, at level 1.
The challenge was that the places where the map was red was where most people lived and where most economic activity occurred.
Visiting friends, neighbours and relatives at their homes would still not be allowed.
“Exercise will be allowed under very strict conditions. Organised sport, gyms, walking or jogging are not allowed.”
Any organised exercise activity would still be excluded, however, and recreational facilities would still be closed.
Dlamini-Zuma said that in future certain parts of the country would be on one level, with others on different levels, but for now everyone was going to level 4.
She said that there would be a curfew for people who would now be allowed to work. “When you go to work, the sanitisers must be there. At home, wash with soap. When you enter transport, you must sanitise.”
The minister said it would be mandatory for people to wear a cloth mask if they set foot outside their homes. A scarf or other item would also be acceptable.
“You have to have your nose and mask covered in public.”
She explained that she had taken off her mask while delivering her message because the SABC had not been able to hear her.
“Social distancing will remain critical. If a business cannot observe all the health protocols, it should not open.”
All gatherings, including religious ones, would still not be allowed, except for funerals.
The minister of transport would announce changes to transport allowances in each of the levels. E-hailing would be allowed at the same level as level 5, along with the limits to private transport.
“Three in a car, not more. A taxi not more than 70%.”
With the reopening of the economy, industries were evaluated according to the risk of transmission in each sector, as well as the risk to each sector of staying closed. “We also looked at each sector according to the value they bring to the economy. We also looked at the promotion of community wellbeing and the lives of the vulnerable.”
People would have to be allowed to buy things like clothing and blankets for winter, as well as blankets.
“If you get flu and coronavirus, it’s not good news.”
She then presented a brief summary of how the alert levels could be understood.
“If we keep to all the things we are meant to do, we might stay on level 4 and could even go to level 3. We want to get to level 1, where there’s low spread and high readiness”.
“We need to increase our testing. It’s better that the proportion of those who are tested don’t test positive too much.”
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) and South Africa’s own experts, people should work from home if they could.
Those aged 60 or above would need to work from home as much as possible, and not go out, though she said they were only “suggesting” this.
She said younger people were more likely not to be badly affected by the virus, or even to show symptoms at all. People with comorbidities (other health conditions) would also need to take extra care as they are at a higher risk of dying.
The use of biometric scanners would have to be discontinued if the scanners were not carefully disinfected before each use.
Dlamini-Zuma spoke about ongoing concerns about behaviour at funerals that were heightening the risk of viral spread. People were using the same shovels, spoons and engaging in other practices that would need to be changed.
“If we wash hands in one basin, we may be putting coronavirus in the basin, and other people may get it.”
As for the conditions for businesses to get back to work, she presented a slide that said: “In addition to generally applicable health and safety protocols, each sector must agree upon a Covid-19 prevention and mitigation plan, approved by the minister of health and any other minister relevant to the sector.”
She said touching was now a thing of the past.
“Individual businesses or workplaces must have Covid-19 risk assessments and plans in place, and must conduct worker education on Covid-19 and protection measures:
- Identification and protection of vulnerable employees
- Safe transport of employees
- Screening of employees on entering the workplace
- Prevention of viral spread in the workplace
- Hand sanitisers and face masks
- Cleaning of surfaces and shared equipment
- Good ventilation
- Shift arrangements and canteen controls
- Managing sick employees
“Monitoring systems must be in place to (1) ensure compliance with safety protocols and (2) identify infections among employees.”
She said mass testing should be carried out for workplaces of more than 500 workers.
“We will be putting out regulations,” she said, adding that sectors would be allowed to give their input.
Watch: South Africans give notice to foreigners to leave SA before June 16
With no sign of economic hardships disappearing in Zimbabwe, those who have escaped to South Africa are living in fear as locals have threatened to chase them if they don’t leave on their own accord.
Warnings of an operation to get South Africa rid of foreign nationals on the 16th of June continue to circulate.
Recently, a video surfaced on social media showing the ogarnisers of the operation dubbed, OPERATION DUDULA serving seven day notices to some foreign nationals to vacate the country.
WE WILL BE REMOVING ALL ILLEGAL FOREIGNERS BY FORCE!!!
SIDUDULA INSIDE SHOPS AND HAWKERS
IF YOU ARE OPERATING ILLEGALLY YOU BETTER PACK AND GO BEFORE 16 JUNE 2021!!!
– reads the notice.
While the poster specifies that illegal foreigners will be targeted it however does not state that documented ones will be spared.
Such attacks, as occurred before, ended up targeting all immigrants regardless of their status.
Dudula which means “push” brings horrific and sad memories of xenophobic attacks that happened in the country in 2015. Many people were killed, some burnt alive, while some were left homeless as their homes were destroyed.
Just like it happened before, the South African Police Services (SAPS) ignored warnings of imminent attacks on immigrants which then led to the bloodshed.
Similarly, at this point, the SAPS or any government have not said anything about the threats on foreign citizens in their country.
In one of the videos circulating online, the pro Dudula Operation people can be heard blaming the loadshedding on illegal connections supposedly done by foreign nationals.
— izim (@izim_og) June 13, 2021
Local truck drivers have been at loggerheads with their foreign counterparts accusing them of stealing their jobs and accepting low wages and inhuman working conditions.
The situation has left the Zimbabwean and other foreign drivers prone to abuse even when they are legally in the country.
Members of a local drivers organisation, well known for violent attacks on drivers and trucks, have been targeting foreign drivers sjamboking them while recording videos which are then spread online.
They do this to humiliate their victims and instill fear on their colleagues.
It's now a game, playing with a man's feelings. So humiliating you may never know how the next victim will respond. This was at Majuba powerstation over the weekend. @SAPoliceService @Dotransport @dewamavhinga @hrw pic.twitter.com/nxKlMfShGT
— SA Trucker (@rsa_trucker) June 7, 2021
No reports of arrest of the perpetrators have been made yet.
For the Zimbabweans and other foreigners in the country, it remains to be seen if they will still call South Africa home after the June 16 2021.
The date concides with South Africa’s youth day when they commemorate the heroics of the youths of 1976 who were massacred by the army after revolting against apartheid.
Fraudster arrested after swipping for $390 000 groceries
A fraudster has been arrested after he swiped for groceries worth more than $398 000 at OK Supermarket in Hwange using a bank card that had been tampered with.
The man, Brian Pedzisa of Chitungwiza, was arrested on Thursday and is suspected to be among a gang of people who have been using cloned cards and other bank card related tactics to con various retail shops across the country.
Detectives on Thursday pounced on Pedzisa at the supermarket, moments after he was about to get out after swiping for groceries worth $396 384.
Matabeleland North provincial police spokesperson Inspector Glory Banda confirmed the incident and said police were now looking for two other people linked to the sca
“On 10 June 2021 a gang of three fraudsters tried to defraud OK Hwange Supermarket of groceries worth $396 384.
One of the fraudsters successfully used an electronic Visa card to make purchases but before he could make off he was arrested by a team of watchful detectives who were working on a tip-off. Upon being interviewed the suspect revealed that he was working with two other accomplices who are still at large,” said Insp Banda.
He said the gang had used the same strategy to defraud OK Mart Victoria Falls of an undisclosed amount in groceries. He appealed to members of the public to assist with information leading to their arrest.
“The two accomplices are on the run anyone with information that could lead to the arrest of these two criminals can report at the nearest police station,” said Insp Banda.
He called on shop owners to enhance security to avoid such incidents which were on the rise in the country.
“As police we would like to implore shop owners to enhance security at their premises through use of alarm systems and Closed Circuit Television. Retailers should examine electronic cards and do necessary verifications before processing of electronic transactions. For the record some fraudsters misrepresent themselves as humanitarian workers.”
According to sources privy to the incident, the gang would approach the supermarkets seeking a quotation for groceries pretending that the transaction wanted would be effected from a nostro account. Later one of the gang members would return to make purchases using a Visa card whose microchip would have been tampered with. Sunday News
Gutu Inter-Africa bus and Honda Fit accident victims all from same family
GUTU- Police has announced names of the Gutu accident victims who were involved in a Honda Fit – Bus collision along the Gutu- Chivhu Highway yesterday.
The five were killed when their vehicle collided head-on with an Inter-Africa Bus near Matizha Business Centre in Gutu.
National Police Spokesperson Insp Paul Nyathi announced the names of the deceased family members who were travelling from Harare as Francis Chagweda (33)the driver, Mavis Chagweda (61), Lloyd Chagweda (31), Viola Chagweda (35) and Keresensia Mapaaona (28).
According to a family member, Oscar Chagweda the now deceased were travelling to Chiwara in Gutu for a family function when the tragedy happened.
An eyewitness told I ZIM that the accident occured after the Inter-Africa bus tried to overtake another bus. “It then encroached onto the lane of the oncoming Honda fit which swerved to avoid collision,” said the witness.
The Honda fit reportedly swerved off the road but the bus did the same resulting in the head on collision.
Only one person from the car survived the horific accident and was taken to Matizha clinic before she was transferred to Gutu Rural Hospital for treatment.
During the covid-19 induced Lockdown, government banned private kombis allowing only those registered under ZUPCO to operate resulting in little non-commercial vehicles overloading passengers.
Yesterday, Vice President Constantino Chiwenga who doubles as the Health and Child Care Minister announced another Covid -19 regulations which gave a waiver to public transport operators.
However, the transport sector is also now dominated by “mushikashika” vehicles some of which include Toyota Wish and Honda fit vehicles who have the capacity to carry 4 or 5 passengers , however some of these vehicles end up carrying as many as nine passengers.