President Cyril Ramaphosa says that South Africa will be moving to Level 2 of the lockdown from midnight on Monday. The President says tobacco as well as alcohol sales will be allowed; subject to certain restrictions.

He was speaking to the nation in a televised address.

South Africa has been under lockdown for five months in an attempt to curb the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). The National State of Disaster has been extended further by a month to 15 September.

Ramaphosa says nearly all restrictions on economic activity will be lifted under Level 2.

Researcher at the Institute for Economic Justice Busi Sibeko talks about economic recovery post the COVID-19 lockdown: 

The President says the country appears to have reached the peak in the pandemic.

He paid tribute to South Africans for adapting to the fight against COVID-19.

“We also pay tribute to our medical experts in various health institutions, such as the National Health Laboratory Service, National Institute for Communicable Diseases, Medical Research Council and the Ministerial Advisory Committee who continue to play an invaluable role in our management of COVID-19.”

Opening economic activity

President Ramaphosa has made the following changes as the country moves to Level 2, which allows for more economic activities.

  • Inter-provincial travel will be permitted. However, restrictions on international travel remain in place.
  • Accommodation, hospitality venues and tours will be permitted in approved protocols to ensure social distancing.
  • Restaurants, bars and taverns will be permitted to operate under approved protocols.
  • Restrictions on the sale of tobacco will be lifted.
  • Ban on sale of alcohol lifted.
  • Alcohol will be permitted for on-site consumption in licensed establishments only up until 10pm.
  • Restrictions on family and social visits will also be lifted.

South Africans urged to continue exercising caution.

However the President has warned that the fight is not over yet and people should not become complacent and the country could face a resurgence. He says the number of cases has risen to 583 653 and the death toll has risen to 11 667 people. But the President says the recovery rate has risen from 48% when he last addressed the country to 80%.

The President has urged South Africans to continue to observe social distancing, wear masks and special care should be taken to protect the elderly and people with underlying conditions.

“No gatherings of more than 50 people will be permitted. Among others, this includes funerals and religious events. Spectators will not be permitted at sporting events.

Ramaphosa thanked traditional leaders for their contribution to the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I must also make mention, in particular, of the contribution of traditional leaders and religious leaders of all faiths who have provided guidance on how religious and cultural observances can be adjusted during the time of coronavirus.”

The curfew will remain in place between the hours of 10pm and 4am.

Digital contact tracing platforms

President Ramaphosa says government will announce new tool to support our digital contact tracing efforts in the coming days.

“In addition to manual contact tracing and the national WhatsApp channel, a mobile application will be used to notify contacts more quickly while preserving their privacy and anonymity.”

He says Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize, acting on behalf of the government, requested the Director-General of the World Health Organisation, Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus, to send experts to South Africa to bolster our efforts against virus.

“They are already providing help with regard to epidemiological analysis, infection control, incident management and community engagement. We must continue to minimise the risk of outbreaks in high-vulnerability settings, particularly in homes for older people, mental health facilities and other institutions.”

He has cautioned those trying to profit from the pandemic through corrupt activities.

President Cyril Ramaphosa addresses the nation on Lockdown Level 2: