Public finances are under extreme strain and the second wave of the novel Coronavirus may be followed by further waves, President Cyril Ramaphosa has warned.
The President penned his first letter to the public for 2021, entitled From the Desk of the President, on Monday.
As the pandemic continues to ravage economies across the globe, he noted that South Africa hasn’t been spared the rod.
“Public finances are under extreme strain, now even more so because of the cost of our health response to COVID-19 and the social and economic relief measures we put in place to assist businesses and poor households,” wrote Ramaphosa.
“The first two weeks of the year have been difficult for all South Africans. The coronavirus pandemic has gotten worse, with new infections increasing far faster and far higher than before. Hospitals have been under great strain as more people have needed medical attention.”
“The year 2021 will be “extremely challenging,” and that the second wave of the Covid-19 may be followed by further waves which will threaten both lives and the economy.”
Difficult as this year will be, Ramaphosa gave the assurance that the government will also be rolling out a mass vaccination campaign.
“As more and more people are vaccinated, we will both save lives and progressively reduce the risk of infection across the population.”
He said getting enough vaccines and ensuring that people receive them will not be a walk in the park.
“This will be particularly challenging as every country in the world is clamouring to secure a limited supply of vaccines. But we are hard at work with partners in business, labour, and civil society to make this happen. We are working on several fronts to get vaccines, including through the global COVAX facility, the African Union initiative, and through our own engagements with vaccine manufacturers.”
From The Desk Of The President – Monday, 18 January 2021 – https://t.co/Rk39OiI5d6 The first two weeks of the year have been difficult for all South Africans. The coronavirus pandemic has gotten worse, with new infections increasing far faster and far higher than before. pic.twitter.com/D3nDZYg7L3
— Presidency | South Africa ???????? (@PresidencyZA) January 18, 2021