Saturday 13 April


23 – 27 March 2020
“This crisis will not debilitate our nation. In how we have responded, we have affirmed the true character of our nationhood. It is strong, it is resilient and, above all, it is rooted in solidarity.”

President Cyril Ramaphosa, 23 March 2020, ‘From the Desk of the President


Please note: in light of the announcement by President Ramaphosa on Sunday 15 March 2020 that South Africa is in a state of a national disaster in response to increasing numbers of people with Covid-19, we have decided to take the following measures to protect our staff and limit the spread of the CoVid-19 virus. Our offices will be closed and our staff will work remotely until 31 March 2020. Meetings will be conducted via electronic means. Our advice desk will only conduct telephonic consultations. The number to call or Whatsapp is 060 754 0751.

The week that was:

Drastic measures in our universities need not silence students’ concerns

An article by SECTION27 education researcher Motheo Brodie and education intern Mila Harding: South African universities are home to thousands of students who come from across the length and breadth of the country, even the continent. If South Africa is going to effectively curb the spread of the coronavirus, which the World Health Organisation has declared as a ‘global pandemic’, specific measures and interventions need to be put in place at our universities as part of the national response. However, these measures ought to be practical and awake to the fact that many students at universities come from poor and working-class households.

IN DEPTH: What does a COVID-19 National State of Disaster mean for rights?

SECTION27 attorney Ektaa Deochand and researcher Mbali Baduza unpack what the Disaster Management Act and new regulations gazetted on Wednesday mean for us during the #COVID_19 pandemic. Learn more about your rights during a state of Disaster by reading the informative article below:

On 21 March, South Africa celebrated Human Rights Day and the 60th anniversary of the Sharpeville Massacre. Faced with the threat of COVID-19, celebrations took place on digital platforms. Human rights movements and organisations observed the day with calls upon government to prioritise the rights of marginalised and vulnerable groups during this time of crisis.

SECTION27 commemorated Human Rights Day with a video linking the current crisis to human rights. During this time in which we faced with #COVID19, our response must uphold the human rights of all who live in South Africa, more especially those who are vulnerable in our society.

Watch it here:


SECTION27 also supports the following calls:



Special investigation: Claims of 90-90-90 success in KZN districts were premature

Last year KwaZulu-Natal celebrated three districts’ achievement of the UNAIDS 90-90-90 targets. But celebrations may have been premature, as new data shows that no district in KZN in fact met the targets. Spotlight visited one of the districts to investigate.


Mamelodi Hospital: A promising new start after last year’s handcuffing scandal

Mamelodi Hospital in Pretoria made headlines in May last year when 76-year-old Martha Marais was found tied to a bench in the facility’s Accident and Emergency section. Spotlight visited the hospital to see what has changed.


COVID-19: Is South Africa prepared for medicine shortages?

How might COVID-19 exacerbate medicines shortages in South Africa and what measures are in place to mitigate the impact of shortages. Catherine Tomlinson investigates for Spotlight.

Children and COVID-19: What we know

All schools in South Africa will close from Wednesday as part of South Africa’s efforts to reduce transmission of the COVID-19 virus. Kathryn Cleary rounds up what we do and do not know about the virus in children.

Innovative local App to help in COVID-19 response

Vula Mobile, an innovative local mobile phone App developed to help with medical referrals, will now help to make sure medical supplies and equipment donated by Gift of the Givers goes where it is needed most.

Ramaphosa’s COVID-19 battleplan widely welcomed

On Sunday evening President Cyril Ramaphosa revealed South Africa’s battle plan against COVID-19. We asked public health experts, political parties, health workers and civil society organisations what they thought of it.

COVID-19: The urgent, but long race for a vaccine

The COVID-19 virus is spreading rapidly globally and the race is on for a vaccine to curb the respiratory infection. Adele Baleta unpacks the research and development initiatives underway.


Why the new WHO COVID-19 therapeutic trial is a step in the right direction

South Africa will participate in a large new trial of four potential treatments for COVID-19. Marcus Low argues that the trial takes the right approach in establishing whether any of the potential treatments work.


COVID-19: We need both physical distancing and social solidarity

Our aim in the next couple of weeks should be to make sure that we all, together, reduce the amount of physical contact between groups of people while, at the same time, building social solidarity, writes a coalition of civil society organisations.

OPINION: Covid-19 and the need for economic reform

Finance Minister Tito Mboweni this week announced an economic stimulus package to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Responding to the pandemic should come with wider economic reforms, argues Dominic Brown.


COVID-19: Social distancing includes reducing contact with health facilities for those with chronic conditions

People living with HIV and other chronic conditions should be urgently supported to reduce contact with health facilities both for “social distancing” purposes as well as saving healthcare worker capacity for those with the greatest immediate need, argues Lynne Wilkinson and Anna Grimsrud.


COVID-19: Not just another number – Ubuntu in a time of war

We are a world and a nation at war and if we don’t respond accordingly, we will suffer serious casualties – infrastructure, jobs, economic growth, food security, social cohesion and life itself, writes a team of public health doctors as they call on all South Africans to join them as they pledge to put the ‘(YO)U back into UBUNTU’.

Categories: Week Ahead


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