Political analysts believe Sunday night’s address by President Cyril Ramaphosa will focus on convincing South Africans to take the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic more seriously.

President Ramaphosa will address the nation at 20:00 this evening on developments in South Africa’s risk-adjusted strategy to manage the spread of the pandemic.

SABC’s Political Editor, Mzwandile Mbeje weighs in:  

It comes as the number of COVID-19 cases in the country soars to 264 184 with almost 4 000 deaths.

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Stricter restrictions

Speculation is rife that Ramaphosa may announce stricter restrictions in areas with the highest infection rates including Gauteng, the Western Cape, Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal.

However, political analyst Ralph Mategka says Ramaphosa will probably put emphasis on rallying citizens to behave more responsibly.

“People have been talking about returning to some of the stricter lockdowns. I don’t think that is the conversation. I think the issue is about how South Africans ought to behave because this is amongst us, this is, I mean, we can defeat this. If we don’t behave well as a nation, there is just so much government can do and if one begins to imagine that government needs to balance the economy and the need to protect people from the infection, it’s quite unfortunate that as a nation we are not pulling our weight. Going to harder lockdown is not going to work. It’s just going to make things worse.”

South Africans are anxiously awaiting the President’s address.

Some want him to announce the closure of schools because they fear that many learners will die due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Others want the sale of alcohol to be banned again as many crimes are attributed to the lifting of the ban.

“What I would like the President to address tonight is how long will we remain on Level 3? Does the government plan to take us back to hard lockdown and if so, do they have sustainable budget to sustain Level 5 or hard lockdown? The President must stipulate very clearly contradictions of Minister of Education sending our children to school in institutions that are still dilapidated. What is the intention of the President in terms of addressing that? I’m even expecting schools to be closed. I’m hoping he will be saying schools are closed,” one South African says.

President Ramaphosa addresses the Nation on Sunday evening:

Additional reporting by Ditaba Tsotetsi