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By News24 Wire

Wire Service

Cabinet to meet on Tuesday over NCCC terms of reference

The meeting comes as there are growing calls for Ramaphosa to address the public 47 days after the lockdown was imposed.

President Cyril Ramaphosa is expected to convene a special Cabinet meeting at 2pm on Tuesday which is expected to relook the terms of reference of the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC) and consider the legal action it is facing.

The meeting of Cabinet comes after the NCCC held a marathon six-hour meeting on Sunday on government’s response to the Covid-19 outbreak.

News24 was reliably told that Ramaphosa directed that decisions related to alerts and the easing of the lockdown should be rubber-stamped by Cabinet after it is deliberated at the NCCC.

The constitutionality of the NCCC has been questioned by lawyers and opposition parties alike, with demands for access to minutes of how decisions are taken by the NCCC.

The presidency has previously defended the NCCC as a structure of Cabinet but questions have been raised about the authority it has to take decisions.

Tuesday’s Cabinet meeting will now rubber-stamp decisions taken on Sunday.

Cabinet spokesperson Phumla Williams said: “We’re having a scheduled Cabinet meeting today and we will advise on communication thereafter.”

Insiders with knowledge of the NCCC meeting said the meeting on Sunday deliberated that there should not be a “one size fits all” approach to easing the lockdown, that is currently on Level 4.

Ramaphosa directed that data from each of the 44 districts in the country be analysed so that decisions be taken per district.

Two people with knowledge of the meeting described how the NCCC grappled with the challenge that the country’s worsening coronavirus infection rates were having in its economic hubs.

This meant that efforts to reignite the economy would be hampered by the rampant spread of Covid-19 in the country’s metros.

Other districts, the meeting was told, could jump straight to Level 2 of the lockdown because screening and testing showed zero cases in some districts for a number of days.

The Cabinet meeting comes as there are growing calls for Ramaphosa to address the public 47 days after the lockdown was imposed.

Level 4 of the lockdown, that has allowed some economic activity with strict restrictions, has been in place for 12 days.

Trade union Cosatu has also called for Ramaphosa to address the public on the work the government is doing in its efforts to curb the spread of Covid-19.

Cosatu general secretary Bheki Ntshalintshali said Ramaphosa should digest all the public calls and update the nation accordingly.

“The president must balance all those issues of what people are saying that the lockdown is destroying the economy. It must not be a long story. Even if he makes a plea that people must still stay home,” he said.

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