Nelson Mandela’s Youngest Daughter Dies At 59

Zenani Mandela-Dlamini (R) and Zindzi Mandela (L), daughters of the late anti-apartheid icon Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, react as they give their speech during her funeral at the Orlando Stadium in the township of Soweto, concluding 10 days of national mourning on April 14, 2018, in Johannesburg. Wikus DE WET / AFP
Zenani Mandela-Dlamini (R) and Zindzi Mandela (L), daughters of the late anti-apartheid icon Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, react as they give their speech during her funeral at the Orlando Stadium in the township of Soweto, concluding 10 days of national mourning on April 14, 2018, in Johannesburg. Wikus DE WET / AFP

 

Zindzi Mandela, the youngest daughter of South Africa’s first black president and anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela has died aged 59, her family and President Cyril Ramaphosa announced Monday.

Daughter to Mandela and Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, she was South Africa’s ambassador to Denmark at the time of her death.

“Ambassador Mandela passed away in the early hours of today, 13 July 2020, in a Johannesburg hospital,” Ramaphosa said in a statement.

The cause of her death was not immediately revealed.

She had been designated to become South Africa’s envoy to Liberia after her stint in Copenhagen, which started in 2015.

The Mandela family released a brief statement announcing her death, which said she was survived by her children and grandchildren.

Zindzi was born and raised in Soweto and was educated both at home and in neighbouring Swaziland.

She grew up while her father was incarcerated by the apartheid regime for 27 years.

Like her parents, she was involved in the liberation struggle and was an active member of the African National Congress (ANC) youth movement.

One of her most prominent moments was in 1985 when she read out — in front of a huge crowd of ANC supporters at a Soweto stadium — a letter in which her father rejected an offer of release from the then apartheid president, P.W. Botha.

At the time Botha had offered to free Mandela from prison on condition he renounced the anti-apartheid violence and protests.

That letter, which she read dressed in yellow and black — the trademark colours her father had adopted as a statesman — “reinvigorated the values and principles of the struggle”, according to another anti-apartheid icon, retired archbishop Desmond Tutu.

“For the 27 years that Nelson Mandela was imprisoned, his family –- wife… and daughters Zindzi and Zenani –- played a critical role symbolising the humanity and steadfastness of the anti-apartheid struggle,” said the Tutu Foundation in a statement.

Paying tribute to Zindzi’s “unshakeable resolve of our fight for freedom”, Ramaphosa offered his condolences on the loss of “a fearless political activist who was a leader in her own right”.

“Our sadness is compounded by this loss being visited upon us just days before the world marks the birthday of the great Nelson Mandela,” said Ramaphosa.

Mandela died in December 2013 at the age of 95. The anniversary of his birth is on July 18.

Only two of Mandela’s five children survive. Zenani, 61, is South Africa’s ambassador to Argentina while Makaziwe, 66, is a businesswoman in South Africa.

His eldest child Thembekile was killed in a car crash on this day July 13 in 1969.

His other son, Makgatho Mandela died of an AIDS-related illness in 2005.

Mandela spoke openly about the cause of his son’s death, becoming one of the first public figures to break the taboo around the AIDS epidemic that had engulfed South Africa.

 

AFP

COVID-19: South Africa Re-Imposes Curfew As Infections Spike

File photo: A man sprays commuters with hand sanitiser as a preventive measures at Wanderers taxi rank in Johannesburg CBD, on March 18, 2020. Michele Spatari / AFP.

 

 

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on Sunday re-imposed a night curfew and suspended alcohol sales as coronavirus infections spiked and the health system risked being overwhelmed.

Coronavirus infection numbers had in recent days skyrocketed with at least 12,000 infections recorded daily, translating to around 500 infections every hour, severely straining health care resources.

South Africa is the worst-affected country on the continent with 276,242 registered cases including 4,079 deaths as of Sunday.

“As we head towards the peak of infections, it is vital that we do not burden our clinics and hospitals with alcohol-related injuries that could have been avoided,” Ramaphosa said in a televised address to the nation.

“We have therefore decided that in order to conserve hospital capacity, the sale, dispensing and distribution of alcohol will be suspended with immediate effect,” Ramaphosa said.

South Africa’s first booze ban, implemented in March was lifted on June 1.

But on Sunday Ramaphosa rescinded the move, saying “there is now clear evidence that the resumption of alcohol sales has resulted in substantial pressure being put on hospitals, including trauma and ICU units, due to motor vehicle accidents, violence as well as trauma that is alcohol-induced.”

He also ordered a curfew from 9pm (1900GMT) until 4am (0200GMT) starting Monday.

Ramaphosa also outlawed family and social visits which have been blamed for helping the virus spread.

AFP

S. African Pupils Miss Meals As Virus Limits School Return

File: A pupil at the Winnie Mandela Secondary School raises her hand during roll call as classes resume in the Tembisa township, Ekurhuleni, on June 8, 2020. – Grade 7 and grade 12 pupils in South Africa began returning to classrooms on June 8, 2020 after two and a half months of home-schooling to limit the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus. (Photo by Michele Spatari / AFP)

 

 

A steaming dish of milk and maize porridge interrupts an early-morning mathematics class in Sitoromo Junior Secondary School in South Africa’s Eastern Cape province.

A dozen hungry pupils dig their spoons into the brimming bowls as the sun slowly thaws the frosty meadows surrounding their town, Sterkspruit, tucked in the Maluti mountains across the border from Lesotho.

“There are children who are schooling here who rely mostly on the meals they get from school,” said their principal, Thabang Letsoso.

Before the pandemic, around nine million children in South Africa’s state-run schools received a meal per day as part of a government-led nutrition programme.

In impoverished rural communities, that meal often provides the bulk of a child’s nutritional intake.

Schools that shut at the start of South Africa’s coronavirus outbreak in March started gradually welcoming pupils back to class last month, with three more year groups allowed back from Monday.

But over the weekend, provincial authorities postponed the return date due to an “increase in the number of infections” across the Eastern Cape — the country’s third-worst-affected province.

The long disruption has not just affected the children’s education in a poor rural area. It has also stoked concern about youngsters missing out on a crucial daily plate of hot food.

“Since March they have been staying at home, (where) nothing has been happening,” Letsoso worried.

“Sometimes I think some of them (now) sleep without anything in their stomachs.”

– Worried parents –

At least one fifth of about 12 million learners have now been allowed to return to school across South Africa.

In the Eastern Cape this only applies to grade seven — children aged around 13 — and grade 12 students, aged around 17 or 18, who are working for their high-school diploma.

The next batch of grades are expected to resume class only later this month.

For Sitoromo that means 368 children will have been out of school for at least four months by the time they return to class.

Clad in a dark green uniform and face mask, grade seven student Yongama Rhini said she was relieved to be back.

“When I am at home I’m cleaning, after cleaning I’m cooking (and) after cooking we go to play and there is no social distancing there,” the 13-year old told AFP during her lunch break.

Concerns about safety have grown, however, as over 150 Eastern Cape schools have reported coronavirus cases over the past month.

At least 270 learners and 271 staff have tested positive across the coastal province — the highest in the country — according to government figures.

Fifteen staffers and three pupils were reported dead over the weekend.

Sitoromo itself had just reopened from a two-week closure after a teacher caught coronavirus, stoking further distress among alarmed parents.

– ‘She can have breakfast’ –

“How must my child go back?” asked Lidya Radigeje, whose son was meant to resume class this week.

“What we have heard about this disease is that it is here and it kills.”

Nondabezitha Sikunya admitted she was still looking forward to her 12-year-old grand-daughter’s return to school.

“She is not hungry when she comes home from school,” said Sikunya, 55, who makes a meagre living as a communal farm labourer.

“That money is too small to support her,” she added. “At least she can have breakfast here.”

Rights groups have criticised the government for failing to continue distributing food to learners outside class.

In a recent survey of its 400 members, South African youth group Equal Education found that 37 percent had not been able to get enough food since schools closed — prompting the organisation to take legal action.

Education Minister Angie Motshekga has since announced plans to feed “learners not yet in school” through staggered meal times and food parcel collections.

– Schools not ‘ready’ –

Several doctors in South Africa believe the detrimental effects of keeping children away from school could outweigh the risk of catching coronavirus.

“School is a better environment for poorer parents who have to go back to work and are not sure what is happening to their kids,” South African Paediatric Association President Mignon McCulloch told AFP, noting that children were unlikely to develop COVID-19.

“If you have got an orderly school where kids are wearing masks in class and keeping their hands clean… and the desks are put slightly apart… the kids are at least getting some education and nutrition.”

Easier said than done in this largely rural and poor province, where 60 percent of schools told local officials they were not “ready” to received more pupils this week.

Sitoromo was particularly ill-equiped.

A building was destroyed in a suspected arson attack last year, leaving just seven classrooms for 400 pupils.

“COVID-19 has added to that tragedy,” said economics teacher Letlotlo Motsoeneng, pointing to chronic water shortages and lack of space.

“We don’t know where we will put them,” he sighed. “We are really stressed about our health.”

 

S.Africa Reports 10,000 New Infections In Record 24-Hour Jump

File:  Customers stand in a queue outside Makro in Pretoria East on March 24, 2020. – South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on March 23, 2020 announced a 21-day national lockdown to start later this week to contain the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus which has affected more than 400 people and ordered the military to enforce the ban. Phill Magakoe / AFP.

 

 

South Africa on Saturday reported more than 10,000 new coronavirus infections, the highest daily jump on record for the country as it hurtles towards an anticipated spike.

Daily tallies released by the health ministry showed 10,853 new confirmed COVID-19 cases, taking the cumulative tally since March when the virus first arrived in the country to 187,977.

The death toll stands at 3,026 after 74 new fatalities were recorded.

Health authorities have been expecting a surge in cases after the gradual loosening of a strict lockdown that was imposed on March 27.

With the nation’s economy projected to shrink more than seven percent in 2020 as a result of the coronavirus pandemic — the worst slump in 90 years — the government is battling to strike a balance between saving lives and the economy.

“What we have been seeking to do is to balance… saving lives of our people and also preserving liveloods, and it’s a delicate balance,” President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Friday.

Africa’s most economically developed country now has the highest number of coronavirus cases on the continent.

South Africa Economy Contracts Two Percent In First Quarter

A queue of cars are seen at the Maseru Bridge border post between Lesotho and South Africa on March 24, 2020. Molise Molise / AFP.

 

The economy of South Africa, the continent’s most advanced, shrunk by two percent in the first quarter of this year, its third consecutive quarterly decline, official statistics showed Tuesday.

StatsSA said mining and manufacturing were the biggest drags on overall economic activity — with the mining and quarrying sectors shrinking by 21.5 percent.

The manufacturing industry contracted by 8.5 percent.

Overall, the economy is projected to shrink by 7.2 percent in 2020 as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, the deepest slump in 90 years, Finance Minister Tito Mboweni said last week.

The latest figures do not reflect the impact of the coronavirus which only started in March, leading to the shutdown of the country from March 27.

South Africa which has the highest recorded number of coronavirus infections in sub-Saharan Africa, with 144, 264 cases, including 2,529 fatalities.

The government has been gradually easing the lockdown in phases, but the numbers of infections are climbing fast with the Health Minister Zweli Mkhize warning that the country is yet to reach its peak.

AFP

South Africa’s Frittelli Tests Positive For Coronavirus

CROMWELL, CONNECTICUT – JUNE 25: Dylan Frittelli of South Africa walks off the ninth green during the first round of the Travelers Championship at TPC River Highlands on June 25, 2020 in Cromwell, Connecticut. Elsa/Getty Images/AFP

 

South Africa’s Dylan Frittelli will miss next week’s Rocket Mortgage Classic in Detroit after testing positive for COVID-19, the PGA Tour said Sunday.

Frittelli, who missed the cut at this weekend’s Travelers Championship in Connecticut, has been withdrawn from the field as a precaution.

“I am experiencing no issues and feel great physically and was surprised and disappointed to learn of the positive test today,” said Frittelli, who will now go into self-isolation.

The PGA Tour said it had traced anyone who may have been in contact with Frittelli but was “not recommending additional testing at this time.”

“I’m most thankful for the Tour’s assistance, procedures and protocols, which I will continue to follow during my self-isolation, so as to keep everyone safe,” the 30-year-old Frittelli said.

READ ALSO: EU Trade Chief Hogan Drops Out Of WTO Race

“I look forward to getting back on TOUR once it’s safe to do so.”

Frittelli, the world number 105, is the fourth PGA Tour player to test positive for the coronavirus since the circuit returned from its shutdown on June 11.

AFP

Without Freedom To Touch, Blind Migrants Disoriented In Virus-Hit South Africa

Jetro Gonese and his braille typewriter. South Africa's anti-coronavirus lockdown has had a devastating impact on the visually impaired Luca Sola AFP
Jetro Gonese and his braille typewriter. South Africa’s anti-coronavirus lockdown has had a devastating impact on the visually impaired. (Luca Sola /AFP)

 

 

Sheets of braille were scattered around Jetro Gonese as he sat hunched over his mattress in a dilapidated building in downtown Johannesburg, punching away at the keys of his special typewriter.

Sightless since childhood, 60-year-old Gonese, a Zimbabwean immigrant in South Africa, has been confined to the tiny room he shares with another visually-impaired man since the start of an anti-coronavirus lockdown in March.

In a new world where people must keep their distance and avoid contact with surfaces, the blind have found themselves deprived of their compass.

“Touch is what we call the queen sense,” Gonese explained.

“It enables us to recognise and identify most things… the texture of surfaces, your skin, or your hand. It is very central in our lives.”

None of the building’s 200-odd residents can afford sanitiser or face masks. Most are the families of disabled immigrants like Gonese, who scrape a living by begging on the streets.

Strict confinement measures and vulnerability to the virus have forced these sightless breadwinners to remain indoors.

“It is dangerous for us to shake hands or touch any surfaces because you might contract the disease,” Gonese said, adding that police enforcing lockdown rules had chased him home the few times he ventured outdoors.

“So communication has been very difficult for us… because we are afraid to touch things.”

– No ‘voice tune’ –
Further along the dark graffiti-filled corridor, Enok Mukanhairi occupies a cramped two-bedroom flat with his wife Angeline Tazira, 50, and four grown children.

The couple met at a school for the visually impaired in the southeastern Zimbabwean city of Masvingo and migrated to South Africa in 2007 — driven away from their home country by economic collapse blamed on ex-president Robert Mugabe.

Mukanhairi, 57, went back to his usual begging spot last week, encouraged by a gradual easing of lockdown restrictions since the start of May.

He struggled to find his bearings around people who spoke through face masks and kept a distance.

“If you are putting a mask at times we cannot hear your voice properly,” Mukanhairi said.

“Some of them cannot even release the voice tune which we are used to,” he added. “So it affects how quickly I can identify (a person).”

Mukanhairi said fewer drivers rolled down their car windows as he stood by the traffic light.

Those that extended a coin did so hastily, without exchanging a word.

“I am very worried about catching coronavirus, but not as much as getting food.”

Tazira nodded as she stared up at the ceiling, knitting a white scarf without missing a single stitch.

She has not yet dared to resume her own begging.

“Before it was easier,” Tazira said in Zimbabwe’s Shona language.

– ‘Not like anyone’ –
Another Zimbabwean immigrant, Siwachi Mavhaire, who is a volunteer for the African Diaspora Forum — a local charity, has grown close to the blind community.

“They are not like anyone,” Mavhaire noted. “Myself, even if they lock me down, I can go out and run away and come back.”

“They are the ones who observe it (lockdown) more than anybody,” he added. “They are scared.”

Gonese has used the long days indoors to type out memories from the past on his Braille writer.

Despite losing his sight to measles at the age of two, he completed his education and trained as a teacher for visually-impaired children.

None of those qualifications were recognised in South Africa, forcing him into 12 long years of street begging.

“I thought I would come up with a short story of my life,” he told AFP, as a slight breeze drifted into the stuffy room and rustled the papers on his mattress.

 

 

-AFP

Zuma Returns To Court For Pre-Trial Hearing In Corruption Case

Former South African President Jacob Zuma appears at the Pietermaritzburg High Court in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, on June 23, 2020. - Former President Zuma stands accused of taking kickbacks before he became president from a 51 billion rand (3.4 billion US dollar) purchase of fighter jets, patrol boats and military equipment manufactured by five European firms, including French defence company Thales. (Photo by KIM LUDBROOK / POOL / AFP) / “The erroneous mention[s] appearing in the metadata of this photo by KIM LUDBROOK has been modified in AFP systems in the following manner: [on June 23, 2020] instead of [on June 22, 2020].
Former South African President Jacob Zuma appears at the Pietermaritzburg High Court in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, on June 23, 2020. – Former President Zuma stands accused of taking kickbacks before he became president from a 51 billion rand (3.4 billion US dollar) purchase of fighter jets, patrol boats and military equipment manufactured by five European firms, including French defence company Thales. (Photo by KIM LUDBROOK / POOL / AFP) /

 

South Africa’s embattled ex-president Jacob Zuma returned to court on Tuesday for the latest round in a corruption case that saw lawyers clash angrily over the much-delayed proceedings.

Zuma, in power from 2009 to 2018, faces 16 charges of fraud, graft and racketeering relating to the purchase of fighter jets, patrol boats and military equipment.

He allegedly took bribes of four million rand ($220,000 / 200,000 euros) over a $3.4-billion arms deal with French aerospace and defence giant Thales in 1999, when he was deputy president.

After heated exchanges between prosecution and defence attorneys in the latest pre-trial hearing in the 15-year-old case, Judge Kate Pillay adjourned until September 8 when, she hoped, a date would be set for the trial’s start.

“Hopefully the application will be launched and perhaps even heard, if an urgent date would be secured,” Pillay said.

Pillay also cancelled the arrest warrant the ex-president was slapped with in February after he failed to appear for a pre-trial hearing while undergoing medical treatment in Cuba.

Outside the High Court in Pietermaritzburg, Zuma’s son Edward Zuma told local television station eNCA, “I doubt that he will get a fair trial.”

“Clearly this conspiracy against former President Zuma is not something that is new, and it’s not something that will end now, it is something will forever be there until they achieve what they want to achieve,” he said.

Zuma was forced to step down in 2018 by the ruling African National Congress (ANC) after a nine-year reign marked by corruption allegations and dwindling popularity.

He recently abandoned several attempts to halt the trial, claiming his “innocence (would be) demonstrated for all to see”.

 

-AFP

South Africa To Start Africa’s First COVID-19 Vaccine Pilot

vaccines

 

South Africa rolls out the continent’s first coronavirus vaccine trial this week, the university leading the pilot said Tuesday, as the country grapples with the highest number of cases in Africa.

The vaccine, developed by the Oxford Jenner Institute, is already being evaluated in the United Kingdom, where 4,000 participants have signed up for the trial.

South Africa has set out to vaccinate 2,000 people with the vaccine known as ChAdOx1 nCoV-19. Fifty of the candidates have HIV.

“We began screening participants for the South African Oxford 1 Covid-19 vaccine trial last week, and the first participants will be vaccinated this week,” said University of Witwatersrand (Wits) vaccinology professor Shabir Madhi at a virtual press conference.

Brazil is planning its own pilot, while the United States is preparing to test another vaccine in a mass trial of up to 30,000 participants.

Wits is collaborating with the University of Oxford and the Oxford Jenner Institute on the South African trial.

South Africa’s coronavirus cases jumped to over 100,000 on Monday, while the number of deaths inched towards 2,000.

READ ALSO: EU Leaders Summit July 17-18 On Virus Recovery Package

Officials implemented a strict nationwide lockdown on March 27, just weeks after the virus first hit South Africa.

But confinement measures are being gradually phased out to allow business to pick up and limit damage to an already ailing economy.

“As we enter winter in South Africa and pressure increases on public hospitals, now more than ever we need a vaccine to prevent infection by COVID-19,” Madhi said, describing the vaccine trial as a “landmark moment”.

South African health officials have also placed high hopes on dexamethasone, a generic anti-inflammatory drug found to reduce mortality among ventilated patients.

“This is one of those medicines where we do have excellent local capacity,” said Health Minister Zweli Mkhize in a statement last week.

South African pharmaceutical giant Aspen Pharmacare has said it was ready to scale up production of the steroid.

AFP

South Africa’s Unemployment Rate Tops 30%

Commuters wearing masks as a preventive measure against the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus queue at the Bara taxi rank in Soweto, Johannesburg, on June 1, 2020. South Africa moved into level three of a five-tier lockdown on June 1, 2020, to continue efforts to curb the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus. Under level three, all but high-risk sectors of the economy will be allowed to reopen. Michele Spatari / AFP.

 

South Africa’s unemployment rate jumped rose one percentage point to 30.1 percent in the first quarter of this year compared to the final three months of 2019, official data showed Tuesday.

The new data is a far cry from what analysts expect to be the ultimate fallout from the coronavirus which has infected more than 100,000 people in Africa’s most developed economy.

The number of unemployed came to 7.1 million, with the formal sector shedding the most jobs, StatsSA said.

“Most industries experienced job losses in the first quarter of 2020, compared to the fourth quarter of 2019,” the statistics agency said, adding the finance sector lost 50,000 jobs.

President Cyril Ramaphosa on Monday warned of mass job losses and “tough times” ahead as the continent’s most industrialised country braces for the economic fallout from its strict anti-coronavirus measures.

Ramaphosa imposed a strict lockdown on March 27 to try to limit the spread of COVID-19 and prepare hospitals for an expected surge in cases.

READ ALSO: Global Trade Set To Shrink 18.5% In Q2, Defying Worst Fears – WTO

But the move has cost the economy dearly. South Africa was already in recession when the virus arrived.

The central bank now forecasts the economy will shrink seven percent in 2020 as the economy buckles under the coronavirus pandemic.

Since last month the government has started loosening the lockdown to enable business activity to resume gradually.

“For a country such as ours, which was already facing an unemployment crisis and weak economic growth, difficult decisions and difficult days lie ahead,” Ramaphosa said in his weekly newsletter.

Companies, including the public broadcaster SABC, last week announced plans to lay off staff.

The South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry has warned that the unemployment rate could rise as high as 50 percent due to the pandemic.

AFY

COVID-19: South Africa’s Cases Push Past 100,000

Doctors Without Borders (MSF) nurse Bhelekazi Mdlalose (L), 51, performs a swab test for COVID-19 coronavirus on a health worker at the Vlakfontein Clinic in Lenasia, Johannesburg, on May 13, 2020. Michele Spatari / AFP
File: Doctors Without Borders (MSF) nurse Bhelekazi Mdlalose (L), 51, performs a swab test for COVID-19 coronavirus on a health worker at the Vlakfontein Clinic in Lenasia, Johannesburg, on May 13, 2020. Michele Spatari / AFP

 

South Africa on Monday said it had over 100,000 coronavirus cases, the highest in the continent, while the number of deaths inched towards 2,000.

“As of today, the cumulative number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in South Africa has breached the 100, 000 mark at 101,590,” the health ministry said.

Sixty-one deaths were recorded in the past 24 hours, bringing the total number of COVID-19 deaths to 1,991.

Despite the grim death toll, data shows that the mortality rate in South Africa is at two percent, while 52.6 percent of virus patients have recovered.

The worst-hit area is the coastal province of the Western Cape, accounting for 1,458 of the country’s deaths and more than half of its infections.

According to the World Health Organization, South Africa accounts for more than half of Africa’s coronavirus infections.

Nigeria and Ghana are next on the list, having recorded over 20,000 and 14,000 cases respectively.

 

Ramaphosa Warns Of ‘Tough Times Ahead’

Cyril Ramaphosa delivers a speech during his inauguration as South African President, at Loftus Versfeld stadium in Pretoria, on May 25, 2019.
Cyril Ramaphosa delivers a speech during his inauguration as South African President, at Loftus Versfeld stadium in Pretoria, on May 25, 2019.

 

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on Monday warned “tough times” lie ahead as the continent’s most industrialised country braces for the economic fallout from Its anti-coronavirus measures.

Ramaphosa imposed a strict lockdown on March 27 to try to limit the spread of COVID-19 and prepare hospitals for an expected surge in cases.

But the move has cost the economy dearly. South Africa was already in recession and the unemployment rate heading towards 30 percent when the virus arrived.

Since last month the government has started loosening the lockdown to enable business activity to gradually resume.

“For a country such as ours, which was already facing an unemployment crisis and weak economic growth, difficult decisions and difficult days lie ahead,” Ramaphosa said in his weekly newsletter.

“There are tough times ahead. There are no quick-fixes and we have to be realistic about our prospects,” he said.

“We would urge that the difficult decisions to be taken are taken with care and with due regard to balancing the sustainability of companies and the livelihoods of workers,” he urged as companies have in recent days started announcing layoff plans.

The national statistics agency releases the first-quarter unemployment figures on Tuesday.

Finance Minister Tito Mboweni on Wednesday is due to present a revised budget after government announced an unscheduled 500-billion-rand ($29.7-billion, 26-billion-euro) economic stimulus and social relief package, including 100 billion rand for job protection.

AFP