News in brief: 1 – 15 July 2021

James Sleight

Shocking lockdown numbers for schools in South Africa

750,000 children have dropped out of school in SA since the pandemic began in March last year, marking the lowest school attendance in 20 years. Researchers estimate that almost a full year of learning has also been lost since the pandemic started.

These findings are from the NIDS-CRAM report (National Income Dynamics Study — Coronavirus Rapid Mobile Survey). These same researches could find no correlation between teacher deaths and the opening and closing of schools. Another report, released by the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD), concluded that opening and closing schools had no impact on how the waves of the pandemic rose and fell.


Read more

Civil society warns warns against flouting ConCourt order to jail Zuma.

Seeing the successful execution of Jacob Zuma’s 15 month jail sentence for contempt as a test for the rule of law, civil society warned Police Minister Bheki Cele and Police Commissioner General Khehla Sitole against subverting the Constitutional Court order jailing former president Jacob Zuma.


Read more:

Violence and Poverty: The deeper roots of the South African looting crisis

A growing chorus of journalist, analysts, and civil society organisations are pointing out that the recent looting spree sparked by the pro-Zuma protests are more about hunger and desperation less to do with agitators and political opportunists.

Youth unemployment stands at nearly 75 percent, and more than 40 percent of the entire workforce is jobless. Such circumstances are worse than unsustainable; they are insurrection and anarchy waiting for a spark. The worsening economic conditions brought about by the pandemic and subsequent lockdowns have resulted in a growing need for more government assistance to the poor. 


Read more 

Clarion call for Social Relief of Distress grant and unconditional Basic Income Grant

As rioters target supermarkets, activists are calling on the government to help those who cannot survive amidst rising prices and mass unemployment. Beyond merely reinstating the demanded Social Relief of Distress (SRD) grant, many are calling for government to increase it from R350 to R585 per person per month to meet the established food poverty line set by Stats SA in 2020. Several civil society groups see the increased poverty and increasing unrest as further proof of a need for a Basic Income Grant.


Read more:

From Stats SA: A breakdown of national government spending in 2019/20

It is important to note that this is before the COVID-19 pandemic had any real impact on the economy.

  • The R1,73 trillion budget was a 12% increase over the R1,54 trillion recorded in 2018/19.
  • Financial grants, funds allocated to other spheres of government, account for 56%. Provincial governments received almost two-thirds of this sum. 
  • Interest paid on public debt amounted to 12% of total expenses.
  • Social benefits accounted for 11% of national government expenses, a 17% increase compared with 2018/19 associated mainly with a rise in payments of social grants.
  • Departments involved in safety and security dominated spending on employee costs, with SAPS accounted for 43% of the national government wages. 

Read more: 

  • A breakdown of national government spending in 2019/20 . Stats SA. http://www.statssa.gov.za/?p=14484
  • The latest Financial statistics of national government release can be found here.

News in brief: 15 – 31 July 2021

James Sleight
30 July 2021

News in brief: 1 – 15 July 2021

James Sleight
15 July 2021

News in brief: 1 - 15 November

James Sleight
15 November 2021

News in brief: 16 September – 30 September 2021

James Sleight
30 September 2021

News in brief: 1 - 15 November

Finance Minister Godongwana gives # MTBPS2021; Dismal voter turnout at South Africa’s municipal elections; Petrol prices approach R20 per litre; Will load shedding impact matric exams?

News in brief: 16 – 31 October 2021

Annual consumer price inflation up slightly in September; Massive database of killings by police made public; UN climate change study paints grim picture; Constitutional court confirms warrantless searches in cordoned off areas unconstitutional; Civil society underwhelmed by Government proposal to replace the Covid-19 SRD grant

News in brief: 01 October – 15 October 2021

Stats SA on South Africa’s protected areas; Medical Research Council estimates Covid-19 has claimed nearly a quarter million South African lives; Report Studies pilot Global Basic Income Grant (BIG) projects since 2000; Gender-Based Violence Council Bill to Be Introduced to Parliament

News in brief: 16 September – 30 September 2021

Consumer inflation edges up in August; Komape family wins court battle seven years after their son drowned in a pit toilet; Covid-19 exposes South Africa’s broken food system; Teen pregnancies spike during pandemic

News in brief: 01 September – 15 September 2021

Gauteng Quality of Life survey shows heavy impact of Covid-19 on economy; 12.9 million apply for Covid19 SRD Grant; Bad news for S.A education as we emerge from Lockdown; Stats SA: Economy records fourth consecutive quarter of growth; Masks work and vaccine saves lives, but disinformation stands in the way.

News in brief: 16 – 31 August 2021

Can the government force us to be vaccinated?; Former Minister of Social Development Bathabile Dlamini to be prosecuted for perjury; South African’s unemployment rate now the highest in the world; SA labour market is more favourable to men than women

News in brief: 1 – 15 August 2021

Concern over fate of SA’s children amidst the govt Covid19 response, Coal dependence of SA power industry, SASSA SRD grant application process under strain, Debate over Copyright Amendment Bill

News in brief: 15 – 31 July 2021

Re-instatement of SRD grant; Making 'Ecocide' an international crime; Police raids unfairly targeting poor.

News in brief: 1 – 15 July 2021

Lockdown impact on school dropout rates; Calls for basic income support; Govt spending breakdown

News in brief: 15 – 30 June 2021

Arts sector in crisis; ECD excluded from vaccinations; Shocking youth unemployment statistics; What is Juneteenth?


© All rights reserved. 

Back to Top