South Africans have been ordered by the President Cyril Ramaphosa to stay behind closed doors for 21 days as of Thursday Midnight.
President Ramaphosa, last week, met political parties to take them into his confidence in the direction the government is taking in dealing with the coronavirus.
Ramaphosa made the announcement in an address to the nation on Monday evening.
A show of unity as all political formations in the National Assembly back the national lockdown.
The Democratic Alliance (DA) has welcomed the national lockdown. DA leader, John Steenhuisen, says South Africa is facing a wartime situation against the coronavirus pandemic and has also welcomed the deployment of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) for the lockdown.
DA leader reacts to the national lockdown:
“We’re very pleased that the President has picked up some of the suggestions we have made around the economic intervention. This is really now going to be up to ordinary South Africans. We’re only going to be as strong as the weakest link in our chain,” says Steenhuisen.
Steenhuisen says all South African must now be serious about abiding by the regulations.
‘Very drastic steps’
Meanwhile, Freedom Front Plus leader, Pieter Groenewald says the party supports the steps taken by the government. He says the steps are very drastic but “we must accept that South Africa is in a vulnerable position”.
“We support these steps and call on all South Africans that we have to work together,” says Groenewald.
He says South Africans must see the positive side if they want to limit the effects of the coronavirus.
‘Best mechanism to flatten COVID-19’
The African National Congress’ (ANC) Deputy Secretary General, Jessie Duarte, says the national lockdown is the best mechanism to flatten the curve of the outbreak.
“We are particularly concerned about the most vulnerable people in our society, people who travel on trains and taxis. Of course, we are very concerned about the welfare of workers and what will happen to them in the next couple of months,” says Duarte.
Duarte says the party is also happy about measures that address the informal business sector and hopes the National Command Council will give more specific details.
UDM leader Bantu Holomisa says “UDM supports the government’s lockdown announcement. It’s a proactive step intended in saving the lives of many in South Africa and to further contain the spread of this deadly virus. Yes, it’s inconveniencing but we can’t afford to be reckless.”
Cope spokesperson, Dennis Bloem, says “The Congres of the People is fully behind President Cyril Ramaphosa. We support the measures that he has announced by trying to address the problem of COVID-19 and we want to urge all South Africans to support and abide by the measures .”
AL Jama-Ah has endorsed the financial stimulus package for Small Businesses. AL Jama-Ah leader Ganief Hendricks says “I would like to send my gratitude to the Oppenheimer and the Ruppert’s for the billion rands to assist small businesses and the funding that has been made available by the department to assist small businesses.”
‘Obey President’s instructions’
The IFP has welcomed the moves taken by President Cyril Ramaphosa and has called on South Africans to obey the President’s instructions.
IFP Spokesperson Mkhuleko Hlengwa, “As far as the IFP is concerned this national shutdown is in the national interest and we are giving the government the fullest support and the IFP mayors will make sure that there is adherence from the IFP. We are saying hashtag stay at home.”
Movement of citizens
For 21 days until midnight on the 16th of April, a raft of new regulations that limit the movement of citizens will be in place. President Ramaphosa says the lockdown is necessary to stop the spread of the deadly Covid-19 virus. The number of cases in the country has jumped to over 400.
INFOGRAPHIC: 21-day lockdown measures
Although this will have a huge impact on the livelihoods of South Africans and the economy,
it’s a decision that’s deemed necessary.
The Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) gives short-term relief to workers when they become unemployed or are unable to work because of various circumstances including illness.
President Ramaphosa announced that the UIF will be used to pay workers of small and medium businesses that are going to be unable to pay them salaries during the national lockdown over the next three weeks. Both employers and workers make contributions to the Fund.
INFOGRAPHIC: Economic measures during lockdown
The UIF currently has over 1 billion rand in reserves.