President Cyril Ramaphosa says it is still early to decide if the nationwide lockdown should be extended. He was speaking during his visit to Rand Water’s headquarters in Glenvista, South of Johannesburg, on Tuesday.

This is the Water and Sanitation National Command Centre which ensures the distribution of water across the country during the country’s battle with the coronavirus. The President was accompanied by Water and Sanitation Minister Lindiwe Sisulu.

With South Africa having passed the half-way mark of the 21-day nationwide lockdown, already questions are being asked if this had achieved the intended results.

President Cyril Ramaphosa says so far he is impressed except for the few that still think it is business as usual. He, however, said they are still assessing whether there is a need to extend the lockdown.

”We are still doing an assessment on the effectiveness of the lockdown. In terms of compliance, we are finding that many of our people throughout the country are abiding the lockdown and its regulations.

“There are pockets of people who are still getting on their lives as if there is no coronavirus and we want to say to those people that there is a serious disease,  we must abide by the regulations that have been published by government. We will be able to make a proper scientific assessment in the next few days on how well is this serving the people of our country.”

Lockdown violations 

As he drums up presidential advice to the nation for social distancing and staying at home, the embarrassment comes from within his ranks. Communications Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams recently took photographs with friends, violating the lockdown.

”I have seen the picture of  Minister Ndabeni-Abrahams sitting at a luncheon with a number of friends and other people. I have asked her to come and see me so she is going to come and see and I am going to have a discussion with her about the impact of visuals like those on what we are trying to do because we are trying to instil a clear message to all our people that social distance is important. Let us all stay at home, let us not be going around with visitations and if you have to it must be work-related.”

Last week, Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu apologised for appearing to disregard the measures. The president has since summoned Ndabeni-Abrahams to explain.

President Ramaphosa also said in as much as COVID-19 is a dreadful disease, it has taught government to work smarter and better.

“And I would say that COVID-19 much as it is a pandemic that we don’t need in our lives has given us an opportunity as a country to work in a different way, to reach out to our people and deliver the most important resource which everyone needs which is water and Rand Water, Minister and Deputy Ministers, as well as officials, have really lived up to the expectations that we had and I commend them because I saw that in operation myself. ”

While government insists on washing hands to keep the virus at bay, it has so far secured 40 000 tanks and 150 tankers that are being rolled out throughout the country in a bid to contain the deadly virus.

Another coronavirus death reported 

The number of coronavirus cases in South Africa continues to climb with the latest data showing a relatively modest four percent increase to  1 749 and another death has been reported. This brings the number of deaths from coronavirus to 13.

The KwaZulu-Natal man had an underlying health condition, suffering from stage four prostate cancer.

KwaZulu-Natal still accounts for the bulk of coronavirus fatalities, with eight deaths.

There are concerns that mass testing may lead to a sharp jump in the numbers.