The African National Congress (ANC) says President Cyril Ramaphosa has made some critical and important announcements in his speech on Sunday night when he addressed the nation on the country’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ramaphosa says businesses that suffered a loss due to unrest that took place in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal will be financially supported by government.

The president has also reinstated the R350 Social Relief of Distress Grant for poor South Africans. The relief grant will run until the end of March next year.

ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe says on taking the country to Alert Level 3 of the lockdown doesn’t mean the virus is over.

“The number of relief measures including a cash relief for those that are in the alcohol industry over the next three months is quite encouraging. The economic reconstruction and recovery plan that has been laid out by our government is an important instrument to be able to return the economy to normality.”

Political parties react to President Ramaphosa’s address:

DA expected announcement on Health Minister

The Democratic Alliance (DA) says they were expecting Ramaphosa to announce the new Minster of Health in his address to the nation last night. The party says the country is facing a health crisis and a permanent minister is urgently needed.

DA leader John Steenhuisen says Ramaphosa is not taking accountability and did not touch on the violence which took place in Phoenix north of Durban, KwaZulu-Natal.

“Are we still sitting with the security cluster sitting and laying at the same table making the same bad decisions? I think what South Africans were looking for was some form of accountability. The country is in a deep crisis and I also think it is outrageous that parliament is not sitting when the country is burning actually in crisis.”

Reactions to President Ramaphosa’s address

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) says President Cyril Ramaphosa’s speech does not inspire confidence as to how to take the country out of the crisis it faces.

It says the COVID-19 pandemic, unemployment and the recent violent unrest that took place in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal are a big challenge to Ramaphosa’s administration.

EFF chairperson Veronica Mente says on the coronavirus efforts, the president announced that more vaccination sites will be added but enough vaccines are not being procured.

“The number of nurses that are in the country or the government should have employed currently in order to make sure that they administer these vaccines to the people is quite a wary some factor again because there is not human resource to provide vaccines especially to the far flung areas like your rural Limpopo, KZN, Eastern Cape even though there are sites but there are no human resource to do the job.”

President Cyril Ramaphosa’s address to the nation on South Africa’s COVID-19 response