President Cyril Ramaphosa reiterated that the progression to Level 3 of the national lockdown must be accompanied by the crucial, non-negotiable and practical interventions in the country’s coronavirus prevention toolbox.

He co-chaired a virtual meeting of  National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac) constituencies on Friday to assess preparations for the step-down from Level 4 to Level 3.

This was the first in a series of consultations between government and social partners as well as specific sectors of civil society.

Government, labour, business and the community sector are undertaking detailed work to ensure that lives will be saved and livelihoods will be protected as the economy is progressively unlocked amid COVID-19 as an ever-present danger.

The President says he is optimistic that the co-operation of various sectors could deliver an advance to Level 3 even before the end of May 2020.


Nation address on prospect of moving to Level 3

In his address to the nation on Wednesday, the President indicated that the country could implement Level 3 before the end of the month.

However, he said some badly affected areas may still require stricter levels of lockdown.

Ramaphosa also acknowledged the heavy toll that the coronavirus lockdown is having on the lives of ordinary South Africans, emphasising that the lockdown was necessary to prevent an even larger number of infections and deaths


Reopening the economy

Economist Dawie Roodt says the government should rapidly reprioritise the reopening of the economy as unemployment and poverty could cause more damage to the country than the coronavirus pandemic.

He says the National Coronavirus Command Council, which is the government’s main decision-making body regarding COVID-19, is not acting in the best interest of the people.

Roodt says, “We are totally mismanaging the economy at the moment. I’ve done some calculations and I’m pretty sure that more people will die because of poverty than people that will die because of this virus. What we are currently doing we are putting the economy into lockdown, it will increase poverty, it will increase unemployment and the sooner we open up this economy the better. We have certain ministers that all of a sudden have got a lot of power and they simply do not want to let go.”

Business Unity South Africa responds to the President’s speech:

Infographic: Level 3 lockdown