President Cyril Ramaphosa says members of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) need not instil a sense of fear in people, but should provide confidence and hope.
This comes as the country enters day-one of a 21-day lockdown to help stem the spread of the coronavirus.
The country has 927 confirmed COVID-19 cases , with Gauteng recording over 400.
Ramaphosa, dressed in full SANDF gear, addressed hundreds of soldiers in Soweto on Thursday.
He said, “As it is now, when we start these 21 days, many of our people are fearful, they are doubtful, they are concerned about the virus, their livelihoods, the loneliness that this is going to impose on them as we confine them to their homes. They will be looking up to you to give them confidence that everything will be alright.”
Ramaphosa told members of the SANDF that this was a life-saving and life restoration mission.
“This is not a moment for skop and donner, this is not a moment for skiet and donner. This is a moment to be supportive to our people. I therefore order you to go out and execute this mission with great success. Thank you very much.”
In the video below, President Ramaphosa addresses SANDF ahead of 21-day lockdown:
Political Analyst from the University of Johannesburg Professor Mcedisi Ndletyana has applauded the decisive steps by the President.
“I would have hoped the President would have led like this for the past two years and not wait for a catastrophe of this kind to provide the stern and decisive leadership. Hopefully this is something he will continue into the future because as soon as this thing passes the problems are going to be even more. The economy, who knows in a month who two unemployment is going to be at 30%, the growth rate might be revised even further down, so I hope this boldness and decisiveness will stay with us and if it stays this President could do very well.”
In the video below, Professor Ndletyana praises the President’s leadership and negotiation style:
Lockdown will yield positive results
Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula says she believes that the 21-day national lockdown will yield positive results in slowing the spread of the virus.
She was speaking to the media after President Cyril Ramaphosa’s address to members of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) at the Doornkop military base in Soweto, Johannesburg on Thursday night.
Mapisa-Nqakula says there are currently no plans to extend the lockdown.
“We haven’t had that kind of discussion, in fact whatever decision will be taken at whatever point if there’s a change it would have to be informed by an assessment of health workers and the Minister of Health. We believe for now the three weeks, which the President has asked us to lockdown that it will yield necessary positive results. If it doesn’t then that’s another matter. At that point the National Command Council will discuss and then take a decision,” she explains.
In the video below, Mapisa-Nqakula urges citizens to comply with lockdown rules:
Below is the timeline of South Africa’s COVID-19 cases: