SA’s Covid-19 leaders and losers
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CAPE TOWN - The coronavirus pandemic has brought suffering, fear and death to thousands of South Africans. But in the midst of all this there were those who stepped up in the fight against the pandemic and made a positive difference by bringing hope and help to those in need.
Gift of the Givers
Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, humanitarian and disaster relief organisation Gift of the Givers (GOTG) has provided a robust and proactive response covering medical needs and support, food relief and water provision, among many things.
At the height of the pandemic, the organisation refurbished a wing at the Mitchells Plain Hospital at a cost of R10 million in just a month, a two-ward Covid-19 facility at Settlers Hospital in Makhanda in five days at a cost of R750 000, and added doctors’ quarters at Bisho Hospital at R3m in a month.
“We set up 37 tents at a cost of R3m a month and we ran that from March until the end of October last year. We delivered PPE to 210 hospitals nationwide. In Graaf Reinet, we restructured a borehole at Lingcom Primary School that will provide water for families and livestock in the community,” said GOTG founder, Dr Imtiaz Sooliman.
DJ Black Coffee
Through his virtual concerts and crowdfunding, DJ Black Coffee raised more than R500 000 in donations towards the Covid-19 relief fund. Charities he supported include #FeedingSATogether, KFC's Add Hope, Corona Cares SA and Gift of the Givers.
Black Coffee's efforts were applauded by the UN Foundation, which reached out to the DJ last month to thank him for his efforts.
“We are grateful to have you support the World Health Organization in the fight against Covid-19. We are all in this together,” the foundation said.
Professor Salim Abdool Karim
As a trusted source of scientific information on the Covid-19 pandemic in the midst of uncertainty and anxiety, Karim went beyond the line of duty as government adviser on health and made science accessible to the public, which helped in how they have conducted their lives.
Karim’s ability to communicate the complex and changing science of Covid-19 made South Africans feel reassured about the country’s Covid-19 response strategy.
Siya and Rachel Kolisi
Government highlighted food security as one of the pillars crucial in the fight against Covid-19, and through their Kolisi Foundation, the couple donated food parcels to 500 families in need throughout the Eastern Cape as well as communities in Cape Town, Bloemfontein and Limpopo for several months during the lockdown.
The couple also donated respiratory masks and hygiene products including hand-sanitisers to front-line workers during the lockdown.
As most South Africans played their part in the fight against the pandemic, there were some who found themselves on the wrong side of the law.
The Minister of Communications and Digital Technologies, Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams, found herself in hot water, when she had lunch at former Deputy Minister of Higher Education Mduduzi Manana’s house during the initial hard lockdown, contrary to the regulations which required citizens to stay at home and only leave to obtain essential services.
Ndabeni-Abrahams later pleaded guilty and paid a R1 000 fine for contravening lockdown regulations.
The Mpumalanga premier received a backlash after she was seen without a mask at the funeral of Minister in Presidency Jackson Mthembu, contravening the level 3 lockdown rules; it is mandatory to wear a mask.
The premier later apologised and paid an admission of guilt fine. She also bought 1 000 masks that were distributed in Emalahleni as part of a public education and awareness campaign to demonstrate the serious nature of Covid-19.
The Minister of Social Development was another high-ranking government official who "undermined" lockdown regulations. Zulu posted a video on Instagram where she said: “Stay at home if you can, I find it hard to stay at home. Virus just leave us alone…”
She also apologised through a media statement issued by the department.
Ballito Rage festival organisers
Organisers came under scrutiny after a Hillcrest-based doctor took to Facebook and said his team had seen an influx in requests for Covid-19 tests allegedly stemming from the Rage festival.
The festival was classified as a super-spreader event following the infection of 1 000 teenagers in Ballito in KwaZulu-Natal. It is estimated that 300 families were affected by the event.
* Read more in the special Insider supplement, which can be found in the Sunday Independent, Sunday Tribune and Weekend Argus newspapers today.