COVID-19 LIVE UPDATES | Thieves wipe out a field of spinach used to feed vulnerable people during lockdown

Locals, some wearing protective masks, are seen returning from work, as South Africa starts to relax some aspects of a stringent nationwide coronavirus disease (COVID-19) lockdown, in Soweto, South Africa, May 11, 2020.Locals, some wearing protective masks, are seen returning from work, as South Africa starts to relax some aspects of a stringent nationwide coronavirus disease (COVID-19) lockdown, in Soweto, South Africa, May 11, 2020.
Image: REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko
May 13 2020 – 06:00
Mess-up in safety gear orders a blow to school reopening plan
Teachers in almost all nine provinces may not return to school on Monday because provincial education departments are still awaiting personal protective equipment.

Thanks to the “non-performance” of one firm, five departments have to restart the procurement process.May 13 2020 – 06:00
Thieves wipe out spinach patch that feeds poor Capetonians
Callous thieves have wiped out a field of spinach used to feed vulnerable people during the lockdown in Cape Town’s southern peninsula.

Generous farmers from across the province provided “Money for Jam – Shelter from the Storm” with the various products they need for the meals – but the theft had dampened the spirits said founder of the self-help community project. May 13 2020 – 05:57
South Africans call for President Ramaphosa to officially move the country into level 3 of the lockdown
Although no official statement has been made yet, President Cyril Ramaphosa and his ministers have hinted that level 3 may soon be on the cards.

Man bust transporting stolen diesel worth over R400,000 in truck

The man is expected to appear in the Harrismith magistrate's court on Wednesday.The man is expected to appear in the Harrismith magistrate’s court on Wednesday.
Image: 123RF/ scanrail
A 40-year-old man was arrested after he was found in possession of a suspected stolen truck carrying diesel worth R480,000, the Free State Hawks said.

Hawks spokesperson Warrant Officer Lynda Steyn said a task team acted on information and intercepted the truck travelling from Verkykerskop to Harrismith.

Steyn said the truck was found at Harrismith Truck Stop after it had been towed by a breakdown truck on the way.

“The driver of the truck could not provide valid proof where he obtained the fuel and where he was going.

He was arrested and charged with being in possession of suspected stolen diesel.

The truck, tanker and the trailer containing fuel worth R480,000 were seized.

The man is expected to appear in the Harrismith magistrate’s court on Wednesday.

Limpopo businesses win court order over municipal lockdown permits

Polokwane business owners have been awarded a court order instructing the police to stop harassing them. File photo.Polokwane business owners have been awarded a court order instructing the police to stop harassing them. File photo.
Image: Esa Alexander
Business owners in Polokwane, who were being arrested in their droves for opening without a municipal-issued temporary operating permit, have secured a high court order declaring the permit unlawful and instructing the police to stop the harassment.

The urgent high court application, which came before judge George Phatudi, was brought by businessman Imraan Ally on behalf of his fabric business, which provides material for masks, a bottled water supplier and a “non-cooked” food distribution company.

Ally said all were deemed “essential services” under the level 4 lockdown regulations and had opened for business on April 30 with valid lockdown regulation permits. But later that morning, he and about 20 other owners were rounded up by police, crammed into the back of a police van and then into a room at the local police station while much “toing and froing” went on.When I was arrested, they never asked what kind of business I was operating. They just accused me of opening without the municipal permit. I presented my lockdown permit but they said it was not recognised,” he said.

Ally said at the police station, a municipal official said they would not be released ‘by him’ until they paid admission of guilt fines, failing which they would have to appear in court on Monday to seek bail.

After the official left, the police released them all without charge.

Ally said he and the other businesses did not require a municipal permit, which was only applicable to certain activities such as informal trade and the supply of prepared meals.

But they were still being constantly harassed by the police, and he’d had to close his shop because of it, costing him money.

“They are trying to enforce regulations which do not exist and are violating our constitutional rights. We cannot open, even though we are entitled to,” he said.

In terms of the order granted, all businesses within the municipality may operate without the municipal permit, if they are entitled to under the lockdown regulations.

Ally’s attorney Arshad Chayya told TimesLIVE that the municipality and police were served with the papers but had not come to court to oppose the application.

You can now buy underwear, bedding and shoes under lockdown level 4

The sale of warm clothing and other winter essentials is now allowed under level 4 regulations.The sale of warm clothing and other winter essentials is now allowed under level 4 regulations.
Image: 123RF/Peter Bernik
If you’re in desperate need of new underwear or want to buy a pair of shoes for your kid, you are now allowed to under level 4 of the national lockdown.

You can also buy an electric blanket, duvets, beanies and scarves.

A government gazette dated Tuesday May 12 dictates the items that can be sold with immediate effect.

These were listed as:

all baby and toddler clothing and footwear;
all children’s wear – including outerwear, underwear, sleepwear, school wear and school shoes, footwear, socks, and related accessories;
all maternity wear;
all adult sleepwear and gowns;
all adult underwear;
adult footwear – including boots, slippers, closed-toe heels, closed-toe flat shoes, sneakers and trainers, smart or casual closed-toe shoes; and
adult outerwear – including active wear (including gym, running and other exercise apparel), knitwear, jackets and coats, dresses, long-sleeved tops, long-sleeved T-shirts, denim jeans and denim jackets, pants, skirts, short-sleeved knit tops, short-sleeved T-shirts, leggings, crop bottoms worn with boots and leggings, short-sleeved or long-sleeved shirts, golf shirts, and one-pieces such as bodysuits.Adult accessories including shawls and scarves, beanies, gloves, socks, belts, headwear, gym and exercise apparel, and hair accessories are also available for sale.

In terms of bedding, you can also buy:

baby bedding and blankets;
duvets;
duvet inners;
blankets;
comforters;
quilts;
mattress protectors;
pillows;
throws;
sheets and pillow cases; and
electric blankets.

Motshekga ‘misleading public’ about reopening schools: teachers’ unions

Motshekga is set to provide final dates, as well as detailed plans for the phased approach “to the possible reopening of schools” at Thursday's briefing, which would come after discussions with the national coronavirus command council and the cabinet.​Motshekga is set to provide final dates, as well as detailed plans for the phased approach “to the possible reopening of schools” at Thursday’s briefing, which would come after discussions with the national coronavirus command council and the cabinet.​
Image: Cebisile Mbonani
SA’s five teachers’ unions have expressed reservations over basic education minister Angie Motshekga’s decision to address the nation on Thursday, when she is expected to outline her department’s preparations for the reopening of schools.

”We wish to state that for the minister to address the nation before addressing all the areas that are still not compliant will further erode the confidence in the public education system,” the unions said in a joint statement issued on Tuesday night.

They were reporting back to members on a meeting with Motshekga on Monday over the state of readiness to reopen schools.

Motshekga is set to provide final dates, as well as detailed plans for the phased approach “to the possible reopening of schools” at Thursday’s briefing, which would come after discussions with the national coronavirus command council and the cabinet.​”The unions emphatically told the minister that even the two provinces claiming to be ready were not ready if they were going to use the school management teams (SMTs) as screeners,” they said.

The unions said the meeting agreed to use the whole of this week to allow the provinces to comply with the non-negotiables.

“We agreed that schools must be having the essentials, such as PPE [personal protective equipment], sanitisers and education support personnel to help the SMTs to prepare to receive the teachers,” they said.

It was agreed that the teams would report for duty on Monday, provided that all safety precautions had been met.

The unions said the provision of emergency water and ablution facilities was way behind schedule and therefore not in compliance with Covid-19 regulations.

“The reason advanced was that it was one week’s work,” they said.

The statement added that during the phasing in of grade 12 and 7 pupils, there will be enough classrooms to observe and comply with social distancing.

“The critical matter was that there will be no sharing of desks by learners