President Cyril Ramaphosa moved quickly to allay any fears relating to the spread of the coronavirus, saying the ANC and the government have “everything under control”.
He was addressing the public on Monday.
“We think we acted at the right time as government. Obviously, as this virus continues to spread, we will be upping our game. I want to reiterate that our colleagues in the health sector and government are doing a fantastic job in raising awareness, and also [making] sure that we are better prepared,” Ramaphosa said.
He said government’s main area of concern was the transport system, specifically taxi ranks, as well as informal settlements. The president said the national command centre – which he chairs – would make this its main focus in curbing the spread of Covid-19.
Ramaphosa said the ANC has also postponed all its conferences, including its much-anticipated national general council, which was scheduled for June. All branch, regional and provincial conferences had been postponed.
Ramaphosa said the ANC would embark on its reliable door-to-door method to bring about awareness of the virus.
The mandate of provincial and regional party task teams, in charge of ensuring the party went to conference, would be extended for three months.
“If there ever was a time for the ANC to start working, this is the time. We are now called upon to lead society, particularly in mobilising the public to understand the impact of the coronavirus, and to change the behaviour of people to be more resolute about hygiene,” Ramaphosa said.
“The concern about an outbreak, where our people live in informal settlements, is one of our greatest concerns. But we will be discussing it because we want to ensure that prevention takes place at maximum level in those areas.”
Earlier on Monday, Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula announced there would be random screening at all taxi ranks and numerous train stations.
Mbalula also said that government would be engaging with the taxi industry as well as rail agency Prasa.
The Department of Health officially confirmed 62 cases of the coronavirus. Health Minister Zweli Mkhize also told journalists that four more people have been tested. They were still awaiting the results.