President Cyril Ramaphosa says while COVID-19 poses a great threat to South Africa and the world, South Africans are not helpless and can do much to slow down the spread of coronavirus.
He says an exceptional response is needed to combat this pandemic and he expressed his humility at the support he has received, from leaders of opposition parties.
Ramaphosa met with opposition parties earlier on Wednesday. All 14 political parties in South Africa represented in Parliament have put their political and ideological aside.
Political parties call on social partners to unite in the fight against COVID-19
They’ve taken a decision to unite and share a common desire to keep the people of the country safe from the virus and to safeguard the economy.
President Cyril Ramaphosa says: “The impact on the economy is going to be quite devastating. So as government, we have said we are open to suggestions, and I was rather pleased that our leaders collectively have shown a very positive disposition towards coming up with really useful proposals which we would want to take forward.”
Opposition parties, while presenting their own supplementary measures to flatten the curve – also praised the government for what it’s already done.
DA John Steenhuisen says: “Thanks also for the opportunity to put on the table some really good solutions which we think can help you and the cabinet get through the economic impact of this in South Africa. I am very comfortable; the health aspect has been very well handled, by Dr Zweli Mkhize. We do share with you the concern around the ingrained effect it’s going to have on the economy.”
EFF president Julius Malema says: “We really want to thank the Minister of Health, and the medical team, including you the President for having responded effectively and positively with regard to this crisis. As the EFF we fully support the initiative of government, and we call on all South Africans to listen to the leadership of our government, and follow exactly as we are told.”
FF Plus leader Pieter Groenewald says: “I think the most important matter for the future, is how we can co-operate to prevent that, we move from a state of disaster to a national state of emergency because that is a really drastic measure.”
ACDP leader Kenneth Meshoe says: “We are grateful for all the facts that Dr Mkhize has given us, and when we have all the facts, then people are able to know what the truth is, and not be influenced by fake news. Truth always undermines fake news, and we are grateful for that. And I must make an appeal to churches that we, need to cooperate with government.”
All recommendations put on the table will be considered.
But President Ramaphosa said an announcement will be made shortly, about taverns and nightclubs, saying excessive alcohol intake, increases the chance of infection.
The number of COVID-19 cases in South Africa has risen to 116, with no deaths reported.