The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) has strongly criticised President Cyril Ramaphosa’s announcement of adjusted lockdown restrictions for the Easter weekend, saying it will encourage reckless behaviour and increase the spread of the coronavirus.

Ramaphosa announced on Tuesday night that the country will remain on lockdown Level 1 with the only changes being the prohibition of alcohol sales for offsite consumption from Easter Friday to Monday.

Onsight consumption at restaurants and taverns will still be allowed.

Two hundred and fifty people will be allowed to attend indoor and 500 outdoor religious gatherings.

EFF head of presidency Sinawo Tambo has also questioned government’s approach to the coronavirus vaccination programme.

“We are completely disgusted. [President] Ramaphosa has basically encouraged people to go out, gather, drink and infect each other during the holiday period. That is no different to the December festive season. This government has increased the number of people who can gather in religious gatherings at a time of an Easter period, essentially a mini festive season.”

Tambo adds: “They told us they going to meet a target of vaccinating our people by the end of 2021. Where is May coming from? Since when is J&J going to be able to deliver 40 million vaccines by May? Why must we continue to believe lies, it’s a lie.”

Political party reaction to the restrictions:

Govt doing its best: ANC

The African National Congress (ANC) says government is doing its best to speed up the coronavirus vaccination rollout.

ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe says, “The ANC has met over this past weekend, received a report from its own deployees in government and was satisfied that all of the bottlenecks [challenges] that they have encountered in the earlier days they are being able to deal with those.”

“The visit made by the President in his capacity as the President of the republic together with the cabinet shows that this government places the interest of the people of South Africa first. They’ve gone to see site [Aspen factory] in the Eastern Cape where they were quite convinced and had come out to pronounce that there is sufficient capacity to be able to deal with all the bottle necks that were experienced in the past,” adds Mabe.

Govt launched vaccine roll-out programme late: FF+

The Freedom Front Plus (FF+) has criticised government’s coronavirus vaccine roll-out programme, saying it was launched too late.

Party leader Pieter Groenewald says while government has given a rational approach to lockdown restrictions for the Easter holidays, South Africa is way behind other countries when it comes to its vaccination programme.

“He is on record how many times that he said by the end of the year we would have reached 40 million people vaccinated in SA. They didn’t start the process early enough and they had numerous excuses for that.”

“If they allowed the private sector to get involved we wouldn’t have this global situation. Other countries, were wide awake and started the process early enough. Let there be no doubt South African government was asleep,” says Groenewald.

IFP urges govt to double its COVID-19 roll-out efforts

The Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) has called on government to redouble its efforts in rolling out the coronavirus vaccine as South Africans prepare for the Easter weekend.

IFP national spokesperson Mkhuleko Hlengwa has commended government for what he says is a measured and balanced approach to slowing the spread of the virus over the Easter weekend.

Hlengwa says government’s vaccination target remains an aspiration.

“The responsibility falls on the shoulders of South Africans yet again to continue exercising maximum discipline. We remain concerned at the slow pace of roll-out of the vaccine and the issues that the President has spoken to remain aspirations. We are calling on the government to redouble its efforts,” adds Hlengwa.

In the video below, the President addresses the nation: