Political parties react to COVID-19 festive season regulations

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While Political parties have welcomed the further restrictions announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa on COVID-19 regulations, they also raised concerns about enforcing them.

Ramaphosa addressed the nation on Monday about developments in relation to the country’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. The address follows meetings of the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC), the President’s Coordinating Council (PCC), and a special sitting of Cabinet on Sunday.

Last week, Health Minister Dr. Zweli Mkhize confirmed that South Africa was experiencing a second wave of coronavirus infections.

President Cyril Ramaphosa addresses the nation on developments in SA’s Coronavirus COVID-19 response

Democratic Alliance (DA) leader John Steenhuisen says while they welcome the further restrictions announced by the President they are concerned about how the government will enforce them.

Steenhuisen says, “Some of the restrictions are going to be necessary, particularly on the side of the gatherings and the like, we’ve seen that there are a number of events that have been super spreaders and it is welcomed to restrict that number again…”

“Some of the ones that did not make very little sense from the enforcement perspective, for instance, the closure of beaches, it’s going to be incredibly difficult to enforce that over the festive season particularly in KZN with the very strong tradition of going to the beach on holidays and we question where the police resources will come from to stop hundreds and thousands of people from getting down to the beach,” added Steenhuisen.

Reaction to new restrictions

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) spokesperson Vuyani Pambo says the party views the address as an admission of ill-preparedness by the government in dealing with the pandemic.

Pambo says the government also failed to use the hard lockdown period to adequately capacitate the country’s health system.

“When we went into lockdown earlier on this year, we should by now have beds, we should have used that time to make sure that we put all the resources into building proper infrastructure, we should by now have enough hospitals and clinics that can take our people in such a time. So we have a situation where we are reactionary instead of being proactive, by now we should be able to take care of those who are sick but still our people die at the parking lots because hospitals are full,” says Pambo.

Pambo also raised concerns about the selective restrictions on the sale of alcohol during weekends.

“We must also acknowledge this speech as an admission of the government that it is interested in the interests of whites. Why is Stellenbosch allowed to be able to sell alcohol on the weekends when everywhere else in the country people can’t sell alcohol. We know who is doing wine tastings, it’s not our brothers and sisters in Soweto, it’s not our brothers and sisters in Seshego, it’s not our brothers and sisters in Gugulethu, but the people of Stellenbosch. So these regulations are regulating black people,” added Pambo.

Analysis of President Ramaphosa’s address

Inkatha Freedom Party’s (IFP) Naren Singh says the measures are necessary and urged South Africans to behave responsibly.

Singh says, “Desperate times call for desperate measures, but to use the word of the President ‘extraordinary measures’ they are necessary measures. We welcome these additional measures that have been put in place, but we want to emphasise the fact of South Africans acting responsibly, you know in a time of all for one and one for all, and if we don’t act responsibly then this will exacerbate to such an extent that it’s going to be like what is happening in other parts of the world,” says Singh.

President’s full address: