Parties react to Ramaphosa’s lockdown address

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Political parties have mixed reactions to President Cyril Ramaphosa’s announcement on the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Opposition parties have raised concerns about a lack of details on the distribution process but the African National Congress (ANC) says it has been clearly explained.

Addressing the nation on Monday night on developments in relation to the country’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, President Ramaphosa announced the easing of the updated alert level 3 lockdown regulations.

The announcement came just hours after the country received the first batch of one-million doses of the coronavirus vaccine from the Serum Institute of India.

President Ramaphosa receives COVID-19 vaccines from India:

Ramaphosa said 500 000 more doses, also from India, would arrive later in February.

ANC spokesperson, Pule Mabe, says they welcome the announcement and warns against the false information about the vaccine that has been circulating.

“There has been a lot of things that are being said on social media … the fact that they are now beginning to ease some of those restriction in lieu of the decline that we have seen in the COVID-19 cases…”

EFF’s unhappy with lifting of alcohol ban

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) has lashed out at President Ramaphosa for partially lifting the ban on the sale and distribution of alcohol.

Ramaphosa cited a decline in daily coronavirus infections as the motivation for the decision.

He announced that the country would remain on alert level three lockdown, but that curfew hours would be shortened and public places such as parks and beaches would be reopened.

EFF national spokesperson, Vuyani Pambo, says the President’s decision to ease restrictions on activities that are likely to increase the risk of the spread of the coronavirus is disappointing.

DA forges ahead with court challenge

The Democratic Alliance (DA) leader, John Steenhuisen, says they will proceed with the court challenge to force the government to communicate and commit to a detailed distribution plan for the COVID-19 vaccine.

“I think tonight [Monday night] underscores even more why that court case is essential because we still don’t have definite timeline. It is important that we as the opposition, you as the media and also the citizens of the country are able to hold the government accountable,” adds Steenhuisen.

Political parties react to President’s address:

IFP disappointed 

The Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) has expressed its disappointment in Ramaphosa’s announcement that South Africa will nominate the Cuban Doctors who have been assisting in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic – for the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize.

Party spokesperson, Mkhuleko Hlengwa, says, “There are serious questions in so far as the expenditure that the country incurred about those Cuban doctors where they were placed. What it is that they achieved for the country,” asks Hlengwa.

Freedom Front Plus doubtful 

Freedom Front Plus (FF+) leader, Pieter Groenewald, says they are doubtful that the country will achieve its target to vaccinate 67% of the population by end of the year.

“So we don’t know what the detail is of this plan which is a big problem. I think it is a bit optimistic of the President to think that by the end of the year, we would have reached the 67% of the population vaccinated. Because that’s what they said, we still have to see what will happen, so we are not satisfied with that,” adds Groenewald.

‘I will not take the vaccine’ 

The African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) leader, Reverend Kenneth Meshoe, says he will not take the vaccine.

He has welcomed the President’s announcement that no one will be forced to take the vaccine.

“Even though we know that there will be an indirect pressure for people to take the vaccine, I will definitely not be taking it. Because I’ve never taken even the flu vaccine for all the years that it was available.”

“I don’t see the need for that because there is sufficient medication around that one can continue using in order not to be infected by COVID-19,” explains Meshoe.

President Ramaphosa made the announcement during his address to the nation: