Response to coronavirus outbreak
- Lee-Anne Bruce
We are taking measures to protect our clients and staff, and find ways to continue to advance social justice at a time of social distancing
In the face of the current outbreak of coronavirus in our country and the measures announced to combat it, we know that the next few months will be far from business as usual. We have already seen some courts issue directives to limit the numbers of people who can attend hearings and noted the many events rightly cancelled or postponed in recent days.
At this time, we do not yet know exactly how the virus will affect the people in our country or their struggle for human rights. We are acutely aware, however, that many of the communities we serve will be highly at risk. Without adequate housing or proper access to water, many will have little choice around avoiding large crowds or frequent hand washing. This time of crisis will throw into sharp relief the need to keep pushing for the realisation of these basic rights and the dismantling of spatial inequality.
Our main concern at present is for the health and wellbeing of our staff, clients and community partners. We support the measures that government has begun to put in place and we are committed to contributing in any way we can to limiting the spread of the virus and “flattening the curve” so that our healthcare system is not overwhelmed.
Our office is thus closed until further notice and we will not be conducting face-to-face consultations at this time. In line with Monday’s directive from the Wits University Senior Executive Team, only essential staff will report to campus for at least the next two weeks. Our staff members have been provided with the resources they need to work remotely and remain in constant communication with our existing clients.
During this difficult time, we would like to emphasise the importance of solidarity and connection in the face of isolation and anxiety. We believe it is our duty to stand together to advance social justice – even while doing our best to stand apart to promote social distancing.
For urgent inquiries during this time, please contact Matimba Hlungwani on 073 325 5311 or Matimba.Hlungwani@wits.ac.za so that he can direct your query.