President Cyril Ramaphosa says the National State of Disaster will be lifted only once regulatory measures for the prevention and spread of Covid-19 are in place or once there is no longer a need for the state of disaster.
He was responding to a question posed to him in the National Assembly by the leader of the official opposition in Parliament, John Steenhuisen, regarding which specific conditions need to be met in order for the National State of Disaster to be lifted.
Covid-19 response in SA
As of Thursday, the country has been in lockdown for at least 539 days following the declaration of the National State of Disaster by the President in March 2020.
The country is currently on adjusted Alert Level 2 of the lockdown which has eased the restrictions on movements of people and gatherings.
In his written reply, President Ramaphosa said the current regulations in the National State of Disaster are necessary for the fight against Covid-19.
Risk adjusted strategy
Ramaphosa said the “current measures contained in the regulations for dealing with the disaster in the context of the risk adjusted strategy, remain necessary to limit the negative impact of the Covid-19 pandemic”.
“Once sustainable sectoral regulatory measures for Covid-19 response are in place or the need to invoke current extraordinary measures provided for under the state of disaster ceases, all the Regulations and Directions issued under the national state of disaster will cease to exist”.
“Accordingly, ongoing assessments by the National Coronavirus Command Council and Cabinet will determine the satisfaction of conditions for terminating or allowing the state of disaster to lapse,” the President said.
Preventative Covid-19 measures
President Ramaphosa highlighted that government must also work on how some regulations can be weaved into government policy in order to make preventative measures against Covid-19 the norm.
“All organs of state must develop sustainable regulatory measures for the control of Covid-19 beyond the state of disaster. Measures must be infused into policies and regulations to normalise Covid-19 preventative measures in the society,” the president said.