News in brief: 16 September – 30 September 2021

James Sleight

From Stats SA: Consumer inflation edges up in August

The consumer price inflation (CPI) in August was 4,9%, up slightly from July. Transport, food and fuel are the main drivers of this inflation.

  • Petrol prices recorded all-time highs in August, up 4,9% between July and August and 19,6% over the year
  • Food and non alcoholic beverages rose at an annual rate of 6,9% in August, its highest in four years
  • Oils & fats increased at an annual rate at 21,3% in August, down slightly from July
  • Meat prices continue rise. The August rate was 10,7% in, the highest since February 2018

However, there are signs that food inflation rates may be beginning to slow. The monthly inflation rates for June, July and August remained steady at 0,2%. Prices for bread and cereal products actually declined by 0,5% from July 2021, while maize meal prices decreased by 1,2% and white bread by 1,1%.

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Komape family wins court battle seven years after their son drowned in a pit toilet

In 2014 five-year-old Michael Komape drowned in a pit toilet at his school outside Polokwane. The incident drew international attention. in 2017 the Komape family lost its claim for damages in the Limpopo court, but this was overturned in the Supreme Court of Appeal in 2019 and the family was awarded R1.4 million. In addition the Limpopo education department was ordered to eradicate pit toilets at schools. However, the department claimed that it would take over a decade to implement a plan. Section27 sought relief on behalf of the family, saying that the state’s 10-year plan was not constitutionally compliant.

 The Limpopo High Court agreed. Their judgment compelled the state to provide a list of all schools with pit toilets within 90 days, formulate plans to eradicate them, provide progress reports every six months, and give detailed budgets of said plans.

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Covid-19 exposes South Africa’s broken food system

Food security is a well know issue in South Africa. Recent studies however, have exposed added layers of complexity to the issue. Poor people tend  towards diets dependent upon processed foods, refined starch, sugar and fat. Ironically, these people face a double threat of both malnutrition and obesity, or what has been termed, “hidden hunger”.

The economic collapse surrounding Covid-19 has, researchers warn, ushered in a “new and higher equilibrium level of hunger and food insecurity”. Many of South Africa’s civil society groups argue that hunger, malnutrition and diet-related illnesses are systemic issues in need of drastic and immediate state intervention. These solutions, they say, involve urgent strategies, such as increasing the Child Support Grant to the level of the food poverty line, and ensuring that eligible learners receive daily nutritious lunches regardless of Covid-19 related school closures. Poverty-alleviation strategies, such as implementing a basic income grant, are also key. But in the long term, the state must implement better regulation of food systems to ensure a more equitable distribution of food resources.

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Teen pregnancies spike during pandemic

In Gauteng the number of babies born to teen mothers has increased 60% since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Nationally, babies born to girls aged between 10 to 14 have increased by around 67%. Shocking as these numbers are, it is even more tragic that most of these pregnancies are the result of forced or coerced sexual acts.

As schools closed during lockdowns, vulnerable girls faced more exposure to  male relatives living in the same house, or to their neighbours. Matshepo Dibetso, of the Agape Youth Movement, points out that: “School does act as a protector of sorts. If you come from an abusive home, which is unfortunately the story of many of these pregnant children, school does offer that buffer where you get a reprieve from the abuse or very toxic environment,”

 While teen pregnancy is by no means unique to South Africa, a lack of access to school is a known factor. A recent UNICEF report linked the COVID-19 pandemic to the spike in teenage pregnancies, particularly among vulnerable migrant and displaced children. These girls, “are now at heightened risk of dropping out of school, and many girls on the move will never return to the classroom”.

 

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News in brief: 1 - 15 November

James Sleight
15 November 2021

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19 June 2019

[Media Release] African Child Policy Forum (ACPF)

African Child Policy Forum (ACPF)
23 July 2021

News in brief: 15 – 31 July 2021

James Sleight
30 July 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?


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