FRIDAY BRIEFING | Covid-19: A year on, and more cracks revealed in society

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Friday Briefing

Covid-19: A year on and we remain uncertain about where the world is headed

Today, exactly a year ago, the first confirmed case of Covid-19, or the novel coronavirus as we reported it at the time, was confirmed by South African health authorities. A 38-year-old male, who returned from a skiing holiday in Italy, became the first local carrier of the virus. Since then South Africa, and the world, have seen the fundamental reorganisation of society. And we've all come to know death and sickness.

We all want to see life return to normal, to return to a time when we are unafraid to shake hands with a stranger, hug friends and acquaintances and enjoy the intimacy and closeness of social gatherings.

But it's going to take long - a year, two years? - before we return to anything resembling life before the pandemic. South Africa is battling to roll out vaccine to health workers, while there is no indication when mass inoculation will start. We don't even have enough vaccine on our shores yet.

In this week's Friday Briefing author and journalist Mark Gevisser (Thabo Mbeki: The dream deferred, The Pink Line) reflects on what the pandemic revealed about our society - and while it isn't what we'd want, there are some reasons for hope.

News24 investigative journalist Azarrah Karrim looks at the Global South's struggle to get equitable access to vaccine, while News24's specialist legal writer Karyn Maughan profiles controversial Western Cape Judge President John Hlophe - just why is he untouchable?


Pieter du Toit

Assistant Editor.

Covid-19: One year on, and a deepening inequality

If there is one thing to be learnt from the Covid-19 pandemic a year on, it is that our inequality has deepened even further, writes Mark Gevisser.

The big picture | ‘The loss of humanity’: South Africa and the Global South’s battle for Covid-19 vaccine justice

South Africa, just like many other middle to low-income countries in the Global South, have had to contend with global forces, besides our own, in order to acquire Covid-19 vaccines. The playing field isn't fair and to cement your place at the negotiating table with multi-national corporations and global superpowers, you need to talk money. While the pandemic has seen devastating loss across the globe, the most concerning is, possibly, the "loss of humanity", according to experts. Azarrah Karrim reports.

How the Western Cape Judge President has faced 10 major scandals in his term, without any sanction

Karyn Maughan analyses 10 controversies involving John Hlophe, and asks the question: is Western Cape Judge President untouchable?

EXTRACT | Dikgang Moseneke's 'All rise': The Hlophe matter

In his second book, "All Rise", former deputy chief justice Dikgang Moseneke lays out details after he and 10 other judges laid a complaint at the Judicial Service Commission against Western Cape Judge John Hlophe. Here is an extract from his book.

'It's hard not being able to comfort patients when they need a hug' - how life changed for nurses

The Covid-19 pandemic has changed the nurse-patient dynamic, writes Nelisiwe Msomi. And not for the better.

Grief in the time of a pandemic: Where to go when there's nowhere to go?

There are many examples in history, where the loss of a human life or lives was followed by an outpouring of grief and public mourning. But what do we do if we are prevented from doing so? asks Alet Law. 

Counting the losses of Covid-19: Business closures, retrenchments, suicides

The impact of Covid-19 has extended beyond the loss of lives; the lockdown has resulted in retrenchments and permanent business closures, and those remaining are holding on by a thread, writes Lameez Omarjee.

Covid-19: How the pandemic has changed the face of education

Farieda Salie says the saddest aspect of teaching during a pandemic is not seeing the children's smiles when they are happy or giving their shoulders a squeeze for good work, writes Tammy Petersen.

Covid-19: A look back at how SA's law enforcement handled themselves during the pandemic

Following the first confirmed case of SARS-Cov2, South Africa was soon put into what has been one of the strictest and longest lockdowns in the world and it was law enforcement that was given the task to enforce the regulations. Alex Mitchley examines how they fared.

The worst is surely over as SA sport looks to recover from Covid-19 devastation

Sport, like every sector, has not escaped the devastating impact of Covid-19 and the industry, top to bottom, has been crippled over the past 12 months, writes Lloyd Burnard.

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