The Restaurant Association of South Africa (Rasa) says it is concerned that despite the changes that President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced in his address to the nation, the sector will continue to lose jobs.

Non-essential establishments like restaurants, bars and fitness centres will need to close by 10pm.

The sale of alcohol from retail outlets for off-site consumption will be permitted between 10am and 6pm from Monday to Friday.

Alcohol sales for on-site consumption will be permitted as per licence conditions up to 10pm but alcohol consumption remains prohibited in public spaces.

The association’s CEO Wendy Alberts has bemoaned government’s lack of consultation when making changes.

President Ramaphosa addresses the nation on SA’s COVID-19 response:

The President further announced that all gatherings will be limited to a maximum of 250 people indoors and 500 people outdoors.

Political party reaction to easing of restrictions

The African National Congress (ANC)  has welcomed the announcement by President Cyril Ramaphosa, that the country has now moved to alert level two of the nationwide lockdown from  Sunday.

The president says the continued decrease in a number of infections in recent weeks is one of the reasons why the restrictions on movement are being eased. With a few weeks ahead of the local government elections, the ANC says this announcement comes at the right time, to allow political parties to conduct election campaigns, but under strict COVID-19 regulations.

ANC national spokesperson Pule Mabe says, “In places where they gather, they should make sure that there is ventilation – especially now that we a few weeks away from the elections. We have to make sure that will be participating in these elections that will be going out there to present their different manifestos do so under conditions where they are able to observe covid-19 protocols.”

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) has vowed not to adhere to the newly introduced lockdown regulations.  EFF spokesperson on elections, Leigh Mathys says in the EFF gatherings comprise of more than 500 people. Therefore she doesn’t see the party adhering to what the President said.

“When we have EFF gathering, it’s never limited to 500 people. But we are also not going to a hearing to Ramaphosa regulations, we know that this is no longer about COVID-19  regulations but it is about the ANC trying to stifle from doing campaigns during elections,” says Mathys.

Inkatha Freedom Party IFP) spokesperson, Mkhuleko Hlengwa says Ramaphosa’s address to the nation on the fight against the spread of COVID-19 in the country is welcomed. This is because it will open the gates for the IFP to intensify its campaign for the local government elections, set to take place in November. He says, however, the different political parties will have to keep the eye on the ball and not let their guard down.

COVID-19 regulations still need to be observed. Hlengwa says, the IFP is looking forward to participating in these municipal elections

“This essentially enables us now to have a clear direction on how campaigning should take place. However, we do want to as the IFP reiterate that we do need to continue on the safety trajectory that we all have embarked upon as a country, to ensure that we adhere to the regulations to curb the spread of this virus,” says Hlengwa.

The Freedom Front Plus (FF Plus) says,  Ramaphosa’s address is not going to do any good for the country, because already, Police are failing to implement the curfew.

Wouter Wessels, FF Plus spokesperson, says the level two nationwide lockdown will allow the party to go all out and campaign for the coming local government elections. He says South Africans are hungry for change at the municipal level, change that will see service delivery taking place. Wessels says, “we don’t understand the curfew because currently, the police are failing to implement this curfew as is now. We welcome the fact that political gatherings will be allowed. But we do that, the fact the vaccination programme is going well, it must be acknowledged that government initially failed and that there was a slow response.”

United Democratic Movement (UDM) leader General Bantu Holomisa says, although the adjusted level two of the nationwide lockdown is welcome – it would have made more sense if  Ramaphosa had put the country to level one.

He says the economy is not in favour of those who are in business anymore – therefore something drastic needs to happen to revive the ailing economy.

The UDM’s Holomisa says, “Can’t we make use of our military, at least between now and December, to assist the Department of Health, by dispatching those who are tasked to do vaccination to all corners of our South Africa, especially in rural areas. If for instance, you drive from Mthatha to Coffee Bay, it is embarrassing you would think you are somewhere in Afghanistan, there is no road there.”

Congress of the People  (COPE) has called on President Cyril Ramaphosa to intensify his awareness campaign on the importance of vaccinating all sectors of society during this time of Covid-19. Party spokesperson, Dennis Bloem says, as much they welcome last night announcement on the easing of lockdown restrictions, more people are still reluctant to take the vaccine due to lack of knowledge and that something must done.

Bloem says there is a need for vaccine education in South Africa.

He spoke to the SABC News following the president’s address to the nation.

“We are specifically happy that we can now go to church now freely. But Francis we must say that government must put more effort in the covid-19 vaccine education – we know that there is still a section of a society that is very reluctant to take the vaccine says.”