24 Hour Trend Report | 16 May 2020

This is a summary of the trending, highest impact, and most active themes and their narratives related to social cohesion and division in South African public-domain social media conversations. A 24-hour trend report can be downloaded for media.

Business

President Ramaphosa’s consultations with Nedlac to move to level 3 trended 5th by reach yesterday. An article about the Black Business Council’s plan to back government trended 8th by impact.

At 12:56 @JacksonMthembu tweeted that the President had asked Nedlac to advise on the intention to move from level 4 to level 3. The post was retweeted close to 100 times.

Level 3 was the 6th highest trending topic by volume in the coronavirus conversation. An eyewitness news story “Black Business Council backs Govt’s plans to move lockdown to level 3” was a significant driver. The Council hopes the economy will be re-opened soon.

In his address earlier in the week, the President explained that parts of the country with high Covid-19 infection rates would remain on level 4, but new regulations would be introduced to relax some level 4 restrictions for business, exercise and e-commerce.

Speaking to 702, Kingston explained that Ramaphosa’s speech was expected: the surge in cases was expected to continue until August or September. Business South Africa has called on government to re-open the economy as quickly as possible, but on a very responsible basis.

Closures

With more workers and civil servants testing positive after serving the public, a supermarket and police station has had to close temporarily. The topic “tested positive” trended 9th by volume for the day.

The Shoprite Group confirmed that Checkers Rylands Village has closed until further notice for another decontamination and further screening of employees. This follows a staff protest outside the store demanding that the store be closed.

The story was reported by @ewnreporter “#CheckersProtest #COVID19inSA Rylands Checkers employees are protesting after the store allegedly refused to close after 8 workers tested positive”.

Workers in Durbanville also fear that working conditions are not safe.

Police stations and police officers are increasingly being affected by Covid-19 with closures as a result of staff testing positive.

@SABCNews ICYMI tweeted: “The Witbank Police Station at Emalahleni in Mpumalanga has been closed. This comes after a national public order police officer from the station tested positive for COVID-19”.

Police stations at Emalahleni in Mpumalanga and Inanda in Durban have also closed, raising questions about support for workers on the front line of the pandemic, and their capacity to safeguard the public.

Personal responsibility

President Ramaphosa urged citizens to take personal responsibility for their own health and the health of others to prevent the spread of Covid-19: "As restrictions are eased, we will need to observe social distancing even more carefully, wear face masks whenever we leave home, wash hands regularly with soap and water”. Social media users are starting to go public with personal accounts of testing positive and being infected with the coronavirus. @sibamazwai’s tweet: “My whole family tested positive from COVID-19 including me” was retweeted widely, with over 3 000 people offering solace and advice on how to beat the condition.

End

Issued by the Centre for Analytics and Behavioural Change.

See Cabc.org.za for daily reports

A deep analysis on any of these issues is available on request.

About CABC

The Centre for Analytics and Behavioural Change (CABC) is a non-profit organisation based at UCTs Graduate School of Business and incubated by the Allan Gray Centre for Values-Based Leadership. It was established to track and counter mis- and disinformation, fake news and divisive and polarising rhetoric that is promulgated online to undermine social cohesion, democratic integrity, and the stability of nation states.

For media enquiries, please contact Praveen Naidoo

praveen.n@cabc.org.za

Mobile 082 2991368

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