July 04, 2020

Dr Bandile Masuku, Gauteng MEC for health, together with other members of his team, was spotted wearing a mask that expressed solidarity with Palestine. His team were on an official visit to address the Covid-19 infections in the province.

Dear President Ramaphosa,

I hope this letter finds you well, as you help SA navigate COVID-19 and the unintended social impact of the policies you and your colleagues designed to contain the virus. We appreciate your efforts and the goodwill underpinning them.

In May 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic passed its first peak in Europe, over 5,000 researchers at more than 700 universities worldwide put their name to the opinion-piece printed below. It was written by three scholars: Isabelle Ferreras, Dominique Méda, and Julie Battilana and published on 16 May in 41 newspapers in 36 countries, translated into 27 languages. The focus is on “what we are learning from this pandemic around the specific issue of work”.

Long-term public health expert LESLIE LONDON replies to an open letter to the President (published in Notes from the House, April) challenging the ban on tobacco and alcohol sales. He says this step is very much needed to lessen the burden of staff, and patients, arriving in droves at the doors of hospitals full of Covid-19 patients.

Mary de Haas, violence monitor and an analyst from KZN, has written a letter to Cyril Ramaphosa about the lessons to be learned from lockdown. In so many ways it echoes the thinking of many South Africans.

Dear President Ramaphosa,

Housing policy has tended to stand apart from economic objectives and disciplines, sometimes by design and sometimes by default. As a result, it has often hindered rather than helped to improve the prosperity of people and places. In this article by IVAN TUROK looks to backyard dwelling as a more vibrant and viable option in the housing sector than the reactive, staid and formulaic current national housing programme.

CARILEE OSBORNE, the Senior Researcher at the Institute for African Alternatives (IFFA) and Assistant Editor of its flagship journal, New Agenda, warns that austerity measures cannot deliver a country from an economic slump, especially in South Africa where there is severe unemployment, that results in poverty and inequality. The only way to effectively address inequality is through large-scale government interventions, preferably those that generate jobs.

The medium-term budget statement by Minister Tito Mboweni seems to have brought little clarity on what government is going to do to fix our economy. True, he rang the alarm bells about the national debt but his solutions in terms of spending cuts does not convince. Especially as he does so in the name of austerity; an approach that has been severely criticised internationally even by members of the IMF.

The long-overdue vote on the outcome of the protracted disciplinary hearing of suspended Secretary to Parliament, Gengezi Mgidlana, was in the end uneventful. However, what was unusual about this plenary session was the unanimous cross-party agreement in both Houses. All parties voted in favour of the motion that Mgidlana be summarily dismissed on the grounds of serious misconduct.

Mmusi Maimane's resignation highlights one of the core problems of democratic South Africa ‑ the assumption that the only way to do anything is the way white men did it in the past. STEVEN FRIEDMAN, from the University of Johannesburg, explains the “Imposter Syndrome”.

The politicians who run South Africa’s official opposition, the Democratic Alliance (DA), have probably never heard of “imposter syndrome”. If they had, they might have a better grasp of the problems which confront their party – and its first black leader might not have been forced to resign.

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About Us

Notes from the House is an independent online publication that tracks and monitors Parliament’s role in fulfilling its constitutional responsibilities to improve the lives of South African citizens. Published by Moira Levy with the support of the Claude Leon Foundation.

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