The Democratic Alliance (DA) says the nationwide lockdown is doing more harm than the coronavirus itself in South Africa.
DA Interim Leader John Steenhuisen has called called on President Cyril Ramaphosa to rein in his ministers and says government’s ban on the sale of cigarettes doesn’t make sense.
“The real tragedy playing out here is no longer the coronavirus, but the lockdown itself because this lockdown is going to cost many more lives than it can possibly save. This is a hard truth to speak and an even harder truth to hear but the truth that must be spoken.”
There is no bravery or compassion to be found in this lockdown.
True bravery and compassion is in the mothers and fathers, the grandmothers and grandfathers, who risk arrest or death to break this lockdown, so that they can feed their families. ??https://t.co/vuh3T7RCtx
— John Steenhuisen MP (@jsteenhuisen) May 8, 2020
The DA says it is speaking on behalf of South Africans when it says there’s growing impatience. Steenhuisen says that’s why citizens are no longer obeying the laws of extended Level 4 lockdown.
“We also know that our country’s economy would only withstand a very limited freeze. That is why originally the lockdown had an end date. Three weeks was that it was going to take to source equipment, get hospitals ready and to train nurses and doctors. Level 4 lockdown is the same as level 5, even more restrictive. We now have a military curfew enforced by more than 75 000 officers, which we didn’t have under level 5 and this time with deadline in sight.”
The official opposition believes there’s abuse of citizens by the state and power is now centralised around a few. The party says the sad reality is that South Africans will lose their jobs during the extended lockdown.
While government has not yet issued a formal response, the Finance Minister had some advice for the DA leader.
The Leader of the DA, Hon Steenhuisen, must stay in his lane. You have no right to instruct our President to open the economy. That is disrespectful and unwarranted. Please delete your tweet!! Hayibo! Thixo!
— Tito Mboweni (@tito_mboweni) May 8, 2020
Gradual easing of restrictions
President Cyril Ramaphosa last month announced five levels that the country plans to follow to gradually relax lockdown conditions that government has set in place as part of efforts to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.
The country begun the easing of its COVID-19 lockdown restrictions on 1 May 2020, from Level 5 to Level 4.
Level 5 has been described as “high virus spread, and/or low health system readiness”, where only essential services allowed to operate.
According to SA’s risk-adjustment strategy for economic activity, Level 4 is expected to be “moderate to high virus spread, with moderate readiness”.
The infographic below depicts life under Level 4:
Various economic activities such as mining and transportation are slowly being phased in as Trade and Industry Minister explains in the video below:
Coronavirus cases in South Africa
South Africa has confirmed 8 232 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 161 deaths.