Job losses, family visits and closing schools – political parties react to Ramaphosa’s speech
There have been mixed reactions following President Cyril Ramaphosa’s address to the nation on Sunday evening.
Ramaphosa announced that the sale of alcohol would be banned “with immediate effect”, a curfew would be implemented again and harsher lockdown law enforcement would take place
Ramaphosa said the ban on the sale alcohol was to ensure hospital beds were not taken up “by those who come in resulting from alcohol-induced trauma or injuries”.
DA leader John Steenhuisen said government had failed to build Covid-19 treatment and testing capacity.
“He called on the nation to make huge sacrifices – their livelihoods, their freedoms and sometimes their lives – to buy time for government to build treatment and testing capacity. The nation answered that call, yet government has nothing to show for it.
“Instead of effective testing regimes, quarantine facilities, hospital beds, oxygen and caregivers as infections spike, there is the usual corruption and scapegoating,” Steenhuisen said.
He said the party rejected the ban on family visits, saying it undermined the right to dignity and goes to the heart of what “makes us human”.
“How can it be legal to visit a casino or a church service with 49 other people, but illegal to see one’s own family?”
Steenhuisen said the country needed a Marshall Plan to build treatment and prevention capacity.
He called on government to scrap plans for funding SA Airways, digging graves, scooters and e-tolls and immediately divert the funds to building field hospitals and testing capacity.
Steenhuisen said government should partner with the private sector to ramp up testing, tracking and tracing, and drive a national and coordinated testing strategy to gain control of the virus.
He said there should be an increase in oxygen suppliers and manufacturers, ban on large indoor gatherings and the provision of three free cloth masks to all those who cannot afford them.
The Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) called on Ramaphosa and the national command council to move the country back to level 4, saying that updating alert level regulations was not enough.
IFP national spokesperson Mkhuleko Hlengwa said Ramaphosa’s “stern, honest and sobering update” was a failed attempt to “knuckle down and decisively deal with the rapid spread of the coronavirus”.
“The largely cosmetic changes announced by the president are insufficient in mitigating the risk of transmissions.
“We believe the resident, together with the national coronavirus command council and cabinet, should reconsider the country’s lockdown alert level from level 3 to 4,” Hlengwa said.
He said no announcement was made about suspending the return to schools, saying schools should remain closed until after the country has reached the peak of infections.
Hlengwa warned that the 100% loading capacity in taxis goes against social and physical distancing regulations.
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