Editorial note

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Dear subscribers,

an article was published by the German newspaper Die ZEIT (No. 15/2020, 1st April)  featuring the headline “Corona Fund: Europe can only live on if Europeans stand up for each other now – intellectuals, artists, politicians and economists call for a Corona fund”, which starts as follows: “In the last few days, thousands have died from the coronavirus in Italy and Spain alone, 1000 in 24 hours in Italy, 800 in Spain. These reports are not coming from another planet or from a distant continent. They are coming from our neighbouring countries to which we feel connected to.”  Full article

“Neither water nor emergency aid”

An ongoing Whatsapp-exchange with Thapelo Lekgowa, a Rustenburg-based author and freelance journalist about the impact of the Corona-Lockdown on mining communities at the Platinum Belt

6 April 2020
Plough Back The Fruits:
What happened in Marikana after president Ramaphosa announced the nation-wide lockdown on 23 March 2020?

Thapelo Lekgowa: 90% of mine workers left their respective work residence areas and travelled to various homelands across South Africa and in some neighboring countries.

Most mines including Sibanye Platinum which now employs many of Marikana Widows had just started Covid19 Awareness through video material which was played at waiting stations and in some other parts of the mine. Full article

Bench Marks Foundation slams partial reopening of mines

by John Capel, executive director of Bench Marks Foundation

Bench Marks Foundation is increasingly worried that Mineral Resources and Energy Minister along with the mining industry, have entered into some kind of agreement whereby mines will become 50 percent operational. What implications does this have around the novel coronavirus Covid-19 disease and its spread?

President Cyril Ramaphosa’s call for a lockdown is to prevent further infections, especially on those that are poor and vulnerable. Mine workers must be one of the most vulnerable groups in the country.

Vulnerable because of their poor over crowded working and living conditions.  Mine workers recently won compensation for silicosis, a lung infection leading to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Full article

A Programme of Action in the time of COVID-19

A call for social solidarity in South Africa

We, as civic organisations, trade unions, organisations of informal workers, faith-based organisations and community structures in South Africa, call on all people, every stakeholder and sector, to contain infection, reduce transmission and mitigate the social and political impacts of the COVID-19 virus.

Government retains a critical role in coordinating actions and distributing resources, yet its efforts will not be enough if we do not hold it to account and commit to a broad, bottom-up, public effort at this time. In a society as unequal as ours, we must work together to ensure that all safety measures are shared equitably. Full article

Postscriptum

by Boniface Mabanza

Even before the first corona cases on the African continent were confirmed, the Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) and former Ethiopian Health Minister Tedros Adhanom didn´t get tired of stressing that African countries should prepare for the worst. Meanwhile Corona has arrived in Africa. The countries are affected to different degrees and their respective governments have outdone each other in taking measures to combat the epidemic. In many countries on the continent, however, these measures are more dangerous for the people than the disease itself. This newsletter has provided some insights into facets of the Corona-related health, social and economic crisis in Southern Africa and especially in South Africa. Full article

Recommended articles

22.4.2020: TB, HIV and Covid-19: Three epidemics collide
https://www.newframe.com/tb-hiv-and-covid-19-three-epidemics-collide/

20.4.2020: COVID-19: Security forces in Africa brutalizing civilians under lockdown
“In South Africa, videos of police brutality against violators of the lockdown that was imposed on March 26 went viral on social media platforms. Several reports of torture and murder of citizens accused of breaching the lockdown regulations are now under investigation. Some of the videos show soldiers kicking people and forcing them to roll on the ground. Others were forced to frog-march until they reach their homes.”
https://www.dw.com/en/covid-19-security-forces-in-africa-brutalizing-civilians-under-lockdown/a-53192163

14.4.2020: SA mining company set to restart some operations amid lockdown
https://www.southernafricanherald.com/business/sa-mining-company-set-to-restart-some-operations-amid-lockdown

11.4.2020: Full article