President Cyril Ramaphosa has conceded that some action government has taken in its effort to curb the spread of the coronavirus has been unclear, contradictory and poorly explained.
In an address to the nation on Wednesday evening, Ramaphosa committed to make amends and correct mistakes made by government during the seven-week lockdown.
“And that is why we must acknowledge that as we have confronted this unprecedented challenge, there may have been times when we have fallen short of your expectations.
“Some of the actions we have taken have been unclear, some have been contradictory and some have been poorly explained and some have evoked a lot of anger and opposition in many of you.”
He said government implementation had sometimes been slow and enforcement had sometimes been inconsistent and too harsh.
While acknowledging government’s shortcomings in its response to the novel coronavirus pandemic, Ramaphosa also committed to, among other things, ensure that “all government decisions are taken in good faith, that they are reasonable and rational and based on empirical evidence, and that they do not cause much harm than good”.
“Where we have disappointed, we will continue to make amends. Where we make mistakes… as I said we are traversing uncharted territory. None of us have ever been through what we are going through now in the history of this country. We will make mistakes but I can assure you we will always seek to correct those mistakes,” he said.
Lack of transparency
The president announced that government was likely to ease the lockdown restrictions to Level 3 at the end of May – bar some areas with high infection rates.
He further said that 219 people had succumbed to this disease, with 12 074 confirmed cases of Covid-19.
“Since the imposing of the lockdown 48 days ago, government has been criticised for its decisions, lack of transparency in how decisions have been taken,” he said.
Ramaphosa expressed his commitments to change this, saying he will take the nation into confidence and be forthright on the state of the pandemic.
Ramaphosa further committed to continuing engaging and consulting the public as decisions are made.
One of the promises the president made to the public, was a commitment to ensure that the funds dedicated to South Africa’s coronavirus response were not wasted or stolen.