COVID-19 deaths: all three were SASSA grant recipients

Ministers representing the COVID -19 National Command Council gave an update on the status of the COVID 19 lockdown in South Africa.

The media briefing follows on from President Cyril Ramaphosa’s nationwide address last night, in which he announced three new measure to combat the spread of the Coronavirus in South Africa.

Social development minister Lindiwe Zulu confirmed that the three deaths South Africa has recorded, were all South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) recipients.

“In the Western Cape we have one person, that person collapsed and died on his way home. In KwaZulu Natal, the person who passed on there collapsed at the Post Office. When the ambulance came, the services confirmed that she had passed on. The other person who passed on in Gauteng, got off the taxi, collapsed and died before she could get to the Post Office itself,” she said.

Zulu inferred that grant recipients are more willing to stand in line to get their grant than adhere to social distancing or staying at home.

“Some of our people are going out to get their money even if they are not in a very good state or have any other means. These are people who depend entirely on SASSA grants and something they won’t even stay at home when they are not feeling well because they know that getting the money is putting bread on the table for their children that they live with,” she said.

During his address, Ramaphosa also announced the following measure:

  • Screening, testing, tracing and medical management programme on a huge scale which will include major informal settlements
  • People who have severe to mild symptoms will get medical treatment, and as many as 10 000 medical staff will go to people for COVID-19 screening. If people test positive, they will be placed in isolation.
  • In the next coming days mobile phones will assist the government in geographical monitoring in real time, where positive people will be able to be tracked to see who they came in contact with.

“I am convinced that we will succeed because we will take this coronavirus threat seriously… we will all act responsibly. If we act together… we will beat this disease. I have no doubt whatsoever that we will overcome,” Ramaphosa said during his address.