“Safety and security don’t just happen; they are the result of collective consensus and public investment. We owe our children, the most vulnerable citizens in our society, a life free of violence and fear” Former President Nelson Mandela.

Many businesses will return to work from 1 June 2020, however, SECTION27 staff will continue to work remotely.

Our advice desk will only conduct telephonic consultations. The numbers to call or WhatsApp are 060 754 0751 or 067 419 6841.

The public interest organisations legal support hotline continues to be available to the public to contact regarding rights violations: 066 076 8845.

1 June 2020

Following the announcement from the Department of Basic Education that schools will now reopen on 8 June instead of today, 1 June 2020, SECTION27, Equal Education and the Equal Education Law Centre urge the DBE to move expeditiously to ensure that all deliveries occur at all schools. The Minister must ensure that uncertainty in the sector is resolved in the interest of the right to basic education for all learners in South Africa.
Read our full statement here: http://section27.org.za/2020/06/joint-statement-section27-equal-education-law-centre-and-equal-education-immensely-distressed-that-department-of-basic-education-has-failed-to-fulfil-its-promises-to-enable-schools-to-re-open-safely/

We have made the Department of Basic Education guidelines on the reopening of schools available here: http://section27.org.za/2020/05/safety-measures-for-schools-during-the-covid-19-pandemic/

UPDATED RESOURCE MAP

The DBE has created a guide for parents and caregivers, giving advice on how to support learners during the Covid-19 Lockdown. It contains useful information on how to structure learners’ routines at home, resources for mental health for caregivers and learners, a list of resources available to learners and caregivers during this time as well as tips for home-schooling learners of all ages. You can access this guide hereAdvice to Parents FINAL

http://section27.org.za/learning-during-the-covid-19-lockdown-online-broadcast-and-radio-educational-resource-map/

UPCOMING WEBINAR

SECTION27 will host a webinar titled: “The role of civil society in ensuring the right to basic education during the COVID-19 pandemic”.

Education activist, Mary Metcalfe will moderate a discussion with Faranaaz Veriava (SECTION27), Nurina Ally (Equal Education Law Centre), Tracey Malawana (Equal Education) and Yolanda Magugu (Learner at Charlotte Maxeke Secondary School)

Date: 15 June 2020

Time: 15:00

Connection details to follow.

THE WEEK THAT WAS

HEALTH

SECTION27 has written the Minister of Health on both 8 April 2020 and 12 May 2020 calling for more transparency about a coordinated approach to contracting with the private sector. Subsequent articles have drawn attention to this issue including our open letter published on 21 May 2020.

Civil society organisations call for principled contracting with private sector in the COVID-19 health response, as well as more coordination and transparency

This is an extraordinary health challenge, and we will need extraordinary levels of cooperation in order to meet the demands of the COVID-19 national disaster. Nonetheless, if such agreements are struck, and are constituted by prioritising the needs of the most vulnerable, the South African health system will be changed for the better in lasting ways. http://section27.org.za/2020/05/media-statement-civil-society-organisations-call-for-principled-contracting-with-private-sector-in-the-covid-19-health-response-as-well-as-more-coordination-and-transparency/

Urgent need for payment deal on non-medical aid Covid-19 patients in private health facilities

As the Covid-19 pandemic intensifies, the demands on the healthcare system will intensify and could result in critical shortages of resources in the public sector. Many non-medical aid scheme patients will need to be treated in private sector facilities. For them, it will be a medical emergency. https://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2020-05-18-urgent-need-for-payment-deal-on-non-medical-aid-covid-19-patients-in-private-health-facilities/

Private sector complains about frosty treatment over Covid-19

Tension between private-sector doctors and the government is coming to a head over a dispute about payment and legal immunity when it comes to treating Covid-19. The conflict could foreshadow the battles that lie ahead involving the implementation of the National Health Insurance. https://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2020-05-27-private-sector-complains-about-frosty-treatment-over-covid-19/

Minister Mkhize is responsible for coordinating with private sector

In respect of agreements and practices between private healthcare service providers, it is clear that the exemptions will apply only when the Department of Health has taken the first steps of requesting and co-ordinating the various agreements or practices contemplated in the Regulations. This requires that the Minister act decisively in co-ordinating the national health system, for which he is responsible.

https://www.spotlightnsp.co.za/2020/04/03/covid-19-minister-mkhize-is-responsible-for-coordinating-with-private-sector/

EDUCATION

“Limpopo schools face an impossible choice – sanitiser vs basic necessities” SECTION27 attorney, Sam Brener, speaks about the practical implications of education budget cuts. Sam argues that a lack of additional Covid-19 funding means that public school principals and governing bodies are being forced to perform a financial juggling act with potentially deadly consequences. Read More here: https://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2020-05-26-limpopo-schools-face-an-impossible-choice-sanitiser-vs-basic-necessities/

“The Department of Basic Education commits to ensuring the National School Nutrition Programme reaches all learner beneficiaries from 1 June”.

In a joint press statement, SECTION27, EE and the EELC welcomed the DBE’s commitment to reinstating the NSNP to all children who qualify for the scheme, which happened after we advocated for this – in order to ensure that 9 million children do continue to be at risk of hunger.  Read the full press statement here:

http://section27.org.za/2020/05/joint-media-statement-the-department-of-basic-education-commits-to-ensuring-the-national-school-nutrition-programme-reaches-all-learner-beneficiaries-from-1-june/

IN SPOTLIGHT

Op-ed: Why SECTION27 and TAC are involved in a court case about complementary medicines” by SECTION27’s Tendai Mafuma and Julia Chaskalson: https://www.spotlightnsp.co.za/2020/05/28/op-ed-why-section27-and-tac-are-involved-in-a-court-case-about-complementary-medicines/

“COVID-19 Report 5: Spike in Cape Town natural deaths” Spotlight and GroundUp point you to the latest quality science on the pandemic. Amongst other issues, this report looks at why there has also been a spike in natural deaths in Cape Town. More here: https://www.spotlightnsp.co.za/2020/05/27/covid-19-report-5-spike-in-cape-town-natural-deaths/

“HIV and TB are losing out in the drive to stop COVID-19”

Unfortunately, it seems HIV and TB are falling by the wayside in the drive to stop the spread of COVID-19, and new opportunities are being missed. The COVID-19 community screening programme has given healthcare workers unprecedented access to communities. But, we are not utilising these valuable opportunities to educate people on HIV and TB, provide family planning and deliver HIV and TB testing in a controlled environment while we have this access. https://www.spotlightnsp.co.za/2020/05/28/opinion-hiv-and-tb-are-losing-out-in-the-drive-to-stop-covid-19/

“Here’s what the models predict about COVID-19,” SECTION27 wrote a letter to the Department of Health requesting transparency regarding epidemiological modeling data and information, and that these be made publically available. The Department responded and made the information available. Spotlight Editor Marcus Low and Nathan Geffen provide information and compare different models in this article:  https://www.spotlightnsp.co.za/2020/05/22/heres-what-the-models-predict-about-covid-19/

“Op-ed: Health minister caught between politics and medicine” The breaking of rank last week by the much-respected medical scientist Prof Glenda Gray could, at face value, be viewed as rebellious act or outburst fueled by strong convictions. However, in the context of South Africa’s current waning and weakening response to the COVID-19 pandemic, it should rather be seen as a necessary diatribe by a desperate medical scientist frustrated by an imperious Department of Health. More here: https://www.spotlightnsp.co.za/2020/05/26/op-ed-health-minister-caught-between-politics-and-medicine/

“Op-ed: President Ramaphosa should support the COVID-19 IP pool” On 14 May, President Cyril Ramaphosa joined 139 other heads of state, former heads of state, and other prominent public figures in a letter announcing support for The People’s Vaccine. … This article reminds President Ramaphosa that there is work to be done at home amending South Africa’s Patents Act, and instituting emergency measures to temporarily suspend patenting of COVID-19 medical products and to provide for automatic or mandatory compulsory licenses on such products should voluntary measures prove unsuccessful. More here: https://www.spotlightnsp.co.za/2020/05/25/op-ed-president-ramaphosa-should-support-the-covid-19-ip-pool/