Maverick Citizen

CORONAVIRUS DAILY DIGEST #39

South Africans still stranded abroad, tobacco giant opts for talks instead of courts, and SANDF on the stand

Two men wear their masks as soldiers from the SANDF patrol a food handout area during the national lockdown in Johannesburg. (Photo: EPA-EFE / Kim Ludbrook)

Things changed overnight in South Africa on 15 March when the national state of disaster was declared – and it won’t be the last time it does. Daily Maverick’s Daily Digest will provide the essential snippets of information about Covid-19 in South Africa each day. Read on to get the full picture.

British American Tobacco South Africa has ditched its plans to pursue legal action over the ban on the sale of tobacco products, and will instead “… pursue further discussions with the government on the formulation and application of the regulations under the Covid-19 lockdown”. It says it is “convinced” that a better solution can be found this way that works for South Africa’s tobacco consumers. Ed Stoddard writes that this might signal that a compromise is coming.

Legal representation for the SANDF and the minister of defence appeared in the Gauteng High Court on Wednesday to respond to an urgent application by the family of Collins Khosa, the Alexandra resident allegedly beaten to death by soldiers last month. 

As Greg Nicolson writes, Khosa’s family argues that soldiers and police officers allegedly involved in Khosa’s death should be suspended and a new investigative body needs to be established to assist IPID and the military ombudsman with complaints of abuse. Daneel Knoetze writes that there have been allegations that accountability has deteriorated during the lockdown.

In the Eastern Cape, Premier Oscar Mabuyane has called on banks to sanitise ATMs. As Estelle Ellis reports, he said the situation would be “quite scary” if an infected person used the machine on busy days such as when grants are withdrawn.

Meanwhile, South Africans are still stranded abroad in places such as Cambodia, Laos, Israel and the United States. Peter Fabricius spoke to some of those stuck and how they are, and aren’t, being helped to return home. DM

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