Fri, Jun 5, 2020

Lockdown, not just a health issue but a livelihood concern

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by Tshepo Mmusi…Lock down in Klerksdorp areas is taken seriously as we see the streets of the township not flooded by people doing rounds. The streets are clear of people and one can only notice police vehicles monitoring the situation but at certain times children gather in small numbers to play in street corners and as police and military vehicles approache they rush to their homes. Churches were closed during the Easter weekend and usual festivities were not conducted as everyone is indoors.


The lock down has its negative impacts though, because many people’s livelihoods have been interrupted. Workers in the Klerksdorp industrial site have not been working since the commissioning of the lock down and it’s extension has made their situation even worse as many fear that they will not receive their wages. I spoke to one of the factory workers by the name of Matlhomola Manoto who indicated that at their company a “No work no pay” principle will apply if they are not working as their company depends on production. As it is, he has not received any payment since the commencement of the lock down. Street vendors, people depending on recycling materials are not spurred either because they are not allowed to sell their products as recycling companies are closed so there is no market for them.

In the ward where I live, Ward 11, there is a list that has been developed identifying people or households which should benefit from the food parcels, now it is said that it has a bias towards unemployed people and impoverished households. The question is what about the people who are like Matlhomola Manoto, who are employed and not getting paid due to lockdown? The Minister of Employment and Labour advised companies to apply for UIF funds on behalf of their employees so that they can benefit during this period, the question again is where is this holding up? People’s lives are at stake, they are not allowed to go out and fend for themselves as they are used to and government interventions are moving at a snail pace.

Coronavirus infect all and sundry- That it only affects rich people is a myth

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By Buti Botopela…in Ikemeleng community. As at 15 March 2020,the South African President Cyril Ramaphosa declared a state of disaster, responding to COVID-19 cases which had been reported. The message shared is loud and clear that we must slow down the spread of this virus in order for us to be able to respond to all the health needs in our communities. I personally felt that my life is at risk . Ikemeleng community is made up of multi African nationals and many don’t even know, what COVID – 19 is. What does it mean when people say it’s lock down? In Ikemeleng community, move around freely and they only disappear when they see the police and soldiers moving around the community streets making sure that people are safe and indoors.
I interviewed 3 of the community members whose names can’t be revealed.

I asked them about what coronavirus and lockdown means to them. Their response was that coronavirus only infect the rich people and not poor people.COVID – 19 is increasing poverty within the community. They even told me that they are not going to sleep with empty stomachs as they depend on piece jobs to feed their families. The situation is getting worst daily. What trajectory or what path this pandemic will take is uncertain.

We all need to help the government slowdown the spread of this virus by complying with the rules set out through avoiding visiting others and playing together especially the kids should stay home and indoors.

Heartbreaking-Poor people bear the brunt of lockdown

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by Tintswalo Mnisi, from eMalahleni Empumelelwe Mpumalanga… When I heard that our South African extended the lockdown by two weeks, I was so devastated and I wished I could sleep and never wake up again. The first thing that came to my mind was about my neighbor who is staying next to the dumping site and making a living by begging around Empumelelwe eMalahleni and he cannot afford to buy food during the lockdown. The issue that is so touching to me is the fact that he is old enough to get a grant but his not even getting it. I called one of my leaders asking about the food parcel but she just said I have to wait until next week, which means the old man has to wait for next week to get something to eat and to me it is heart breaking knowing exactly that I can’t even spend a day without eating. However, I still have hope that the situation is temporary and the situation will eventually improve. I will continue asking for help and feed him with the little that I get. It hurts me because we have people making offerings to pastors instead of feeding the poor and I still thank God for giving us a leader who is choosing people’s lives over people’s personal interests because the economy can recover but lost lives can never be replaced.

Army using force to enforce lockdown in Lesotho

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Lesotho Flag Animation (Close-up)

by Rapule Moiloa…A friend of mine from Lesotho said that she witnessed how the lock down is affecting people in Lesotho in terms of how the army uses force with the police is hiding behind the army and allows the army to beat people and use force. The queues at groceries shops are long and she said that Shoprite closes around 11am and the people with small businesses are affected since they sell fast food etc. She also said that at least the government has announced price reduction in fuel prices.

Coronavirus- Conspiracy theories rock Maputo

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By: Francisco Manhique…It is still possible to move around the city of Maputo in a state of emergency and find a cluster of people without masks. Among the arguments are: We are Africans, this disease kills white people; With African medicine we can cure Covid-19; Our temperatures are not favourable for the survival of Covid-19.

However, on April 10, by the way, Good Friday, it was announced that there were 20 positive cases of corona virus in Mozambique. Not ignoring the question of ignorance, there is also the question of survival, among the people, there are those who work for daily bread, so, among the concerns, there is a possible axiom, “If I stay at home, I will starve and if I go out to work I will be infected with COVID-19”.

This report does not provide answers, but on the other hand, it brings the reality of a people who struggle every day to find what to eat, in this regard, what do we do and what is the government’s role in times of crisis like this?

“A disciplina Salvou a China, A Indisciplina Afogou a Europa e a Ignorância vai Matar a Africa”.

Discipline Saved China, Indiscipline Drowned Europe and Ignorance Will Kill Africa”.

Por: Francisco Manhique

Ainda é possível circular arredores da cidade de Maputo em pleno estado de emergência e encontrar um aglomerado de pessoas e sem mascaras. Entre os argumentos destacam-se:

  • Somos Africanos, essa doença é dos brancos;
  • Com a medicina Africa podemos curar a Covid-19;
  • Nossas temperaturas são imunes a Covid-19.

Entretanto, no dia 10 de Abril, por sinal sexta-feira santa, contabilizavam 20 casos positivos por corona Vírus em Moçambique. Não deixando de lado a questão da ignorância, existe também a questão da sobrevivência, entre as pessoas na imagem, há os que trabalham pelo pão de cada dia, desta forma, entre as preocupações, há um possível axioma, “se fico em casa, passo fome, se saio para trabalhar fico contaminado pelo covid-19”.

Esta reportagem não traz respostas, mas traz por outro lado, a realidade de um povo que luta todos os dias para ter oque comer, quanto a isso, oque fazer? Ou talvez dizer, qual deve ser o papel dp governo em tempos de crise tal como é em tempos do Covid-19. 

Infringement of human rights under pretext of enforcing lockdown- as livelihoods are threatened

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Anonymous…On the 8th of April one guy was beaten so badly by police here near my flat in Durban, Russell Street. We are really suffering because this has been happening since the lockdown started, sometimes they don’t even ask where you are going they just start beating you. Some of our papers have expired we can’t go for renewal because we even scared to go to home Affairs. We have a fear that we will be arrested after lockdown because we are now illegal citizens because we have no papers.

by Michael…It’s day 12 of the lock down as I am getting ready to go out, buy grocery for PACSA garden assistant. My what’s app is full of messages, other forwarded from PACSA Process Facilitators. As per government directive, for me to leave my house I need permit, classifying my work as essential service! I wonder if fighting for social justice is classified as one, human rights watch is one them, buying groceries for the garden assistant is one of those. First two  kilometers from my house road block. Here is my conversation with the police officers;

Police: Where are you going,

Me: Going to buy grocery

Police: Didn’t you buy before the lock down.

Me : I did, but this time is not mine, its for a colleague who is being paid on a daily basis depending on the work he does and as we are in a lockdown he is in a danger of hunger and starvation.

SA citizens pour out their feelings on lockdown

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by Nompilo…The conditions of conducting burial processes during lockdown are very frustrating and hard more especially in rural areas where the people strongly believe in their cultural practices and beliefs and where information about coronavirus has not been sufficiently spread. We had a very bad experience with my family at Maphumulo in Mambedwini, KZN having to bury our father under such restrictive circumstances. Having to adhere with the rules of lockdown robbed us opportunity and opportunity to mourn and bury our father in honour according to the dictates of our culture.  

by Njabulo Togane, PACSA, Pietermaritzburg, KZN…My name is Njabulo Togane and I reside in Cinderella Park which is a diverse community in terms of race. The community has different setups such as informal settlement, RDP houses and self-built houses. As we mark day 13 of the South Africa lockdown as a person who works with the marginalized constituencies who don’t have any means of communication but only meeting at PACSA office has been very much difficult to engage and communicate with them and I feel helpless because the regulations that were enforced upon us as the public of South Africa limited my movements.

by RapuleLucky not his real name is my friend from Soweto and he is one of the people who has a small business next to Bara Hospital. He sells sweets, snacks, cold drinks and he said to me last night that he is worried about paying his son’s fees, pay rent as he is renting for now the rent is 1000 rands because his business has been affected. He is contemplating to look for work after the lockdown.  

AnonymousIn my community(Eshowe) the problem now is alcohol it’s really scary the way people are in need of alcohol than to protect themselves from corona ,they are people who are selling it even police know them but they are keeping quiet about it, people are wasting money on alcohol than food, it’s really confusing what people are doing.

Lockdown stripping women’s financial independence as GBV increases

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Most of the women in the group and community in Pietermaritzburg Central, KZN, are surviving on hand to mouth basis where, in a normal situation, spend the day doing different activities. depending on day today activity.  The lockdown is stopping the women has stopped the women from being   financially independent. Apart from that, the means of survival is becoming extremely undermined. At the end of the day their families are starving and their major worry is they will die of hunger and not coronavirus. Apart from being stripped of their financial independence, women are also now exposed to gender-based violence since they are forced to spent more time with their male counterparts which they are not used to. 

Starvation worry citizens more than coronavirus

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On the 8th of March 2020, in Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu Natal, different communities’ leaders were distributing food parcels to citizens and these included 10kg of maize, 3 kgs rice and 4 toilet papers. The food was not enough for people and those who didn’t get the food were very frustrated, it was a painful experience. During the food distribution process, no one cared about social distance as everyone jostled to get a portion. To make matters worse, community leaders themselves did not have personal protective clothing and some did not even have hand sanitisers. People are frustrated more by hunger than issues to do with protecting oneself from the deadly virus.  

COVID-19 Lockdown – Local shops too small to cater for the big Sefikile Village

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By Amo Tshabalala

COVID 19 has affected us negatively and I personally feel and think that everything has happened so fast that most of the people didn’t get a chance to understand what this is all about. By the time they try to figure out, a lockdown has already been institutedLocal shops are open but we can’t find everything that we want because the shops are too small to cater for a big village like ours, Sefikile Village under Moses Kotane Local Municipality in North West Province. Despite us failing to get most of the stuff that we want from the shops, we don’t have many problems, we have access to water and we are following updates from TV and radio on the status quo of the crisis.

Some of the people were beaten for not cooperating but that didn’t happen because of lack of knowledge it was because of them being rude and not following the instructions. The police found them in the street boozing and the police tried to talk to them nicely but they refused to disperse. Everyone in the village is now abiding by the instructions on the lockdown. However, the rising cases of the virus in North West Province is worrying us. I would like to urge everyone to abide by what the authorities say to protect ourselves and our loved ones. Let’s stay home and be free from COVID-19. #stayhomeandfightcovid19togetherasone.