News | Opinion
President Cyril Ramaphosa on Wednesday announced a number of watered-down regulations for Level 1 lockdown. With the threat of a second wave of Covid-19 looming ahead of the holiday season, many feared he would clamp down hard.
Instead, while extending the state of national disaster to 15 December, he opened our borders to international travellers, restored liquor trading hours to include weekends and extended the Ters benefit claims to 15 October. In short, while acknowledging that Covid-19 was far from over, Ramaphosa resisted the urge to put stricter regulations in place.
With this in mind, the attack DA leader John Steenhuisen led after the announcement was astonishing. The DA has always made it clear they are no fans of the lockdown and state of national disaster regulations, pushing government to open all industries to revive the economy. We have no qualms with that, but other than the curfew and a few other restrictions, there’s not too many regulations under Level 1 holding us back.
Steenhuisen said: “Government cannot keep managing South Africa around a single risk when our nation is so imperilled by far greater risks, such as poverty, hunger and unemployment. We reject with contempt the veiled threat of a return to higher levels of lockdown.”
He added: “This country is in serious trouble. What people need most right now is maximum freedom and confidence to rebuild the economy and their lives. They need stability and certainty that there will be no return to lockdown, ever. The only way to grow jobs and taxes is through investment in productive enterprises.
“Government needs to understand that investors like certainty and there’ll be no recovery while the state of disaster remains in place.”
We’ve seen how governments worldwide have been wedged between a rock and hard place. We are no different. We are all for the opposition keeping government on their toes, but you also need to be realistic.
Other than sanitising, wearing face masks and maintaining social distancing, Ramaphosa and his advisors believe keeping the state of national disaster is their best way of fighting Covid-19. Steenhuisen and the DA should offer support, rather than blow hot air.
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