As millions of South Africans chafe under the coronavirus lockdown, DA’s interim leader John Steenhuisen has urged President Cyril Ramaphosa to lift the lockdown, which is aimed at limiting the spread of the coronavirus.
In a fiery address to the nation on Friday, Steenhuisen said his party has also filed for a PAIA application to obtain the minutes of the National Coronavirus Command Council and how it arrived at certain decisions and how it amended some regulations, including the ban of the sale of tobacco and cigarettes.
“It is crucial that we all know exactly why, according to government, we’re still in this destructive lockdown,” said Steenhuisen.
“What we do know is that government’s very own epidemic expert, Professor Salim Abdool Karim, thinks this lockdown has already run its course and is of little more use. In fact, this was his view already two weeks ago. Yet here we still are.”
Steenhuisen said the lockdown has negatively impacted on local businesses and caused a major structural damage to the economy, with a significant impact on growth.
“Thousands of businesses have either already closed down, or are about to. Each of these businesses was a precious lifeline for the employees and their families,” he said.
“National Treasury says, best-case scenario, we stand to lose 3 million jobs. That’s if we do everything right and end the lockdown now. Worst-case scenario it’s 7 million jobs. That’s on top of the 10 million who were already unemployed before Covid hit.”
“SARS says we will miss our revenue target by a massive R285 billion. That’s a fifth of our income gone. This is money meant for social grants, it’s meant to pay teachers, nurses, police officers. It’s meant to deliver water and housing.”
“We are not the USA. We are not the UK, or Germany or Japan. We simply don’t have the means to navigate around this kind of loss. The effect on poor South Africans will be devastating.”
On Friday, Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize announced that there are now 8,895 positive COVID-19 cases in South Africa.
This is up by 663 cases from the 8,232 COVID-19 cases announced.
Mkhize said in a statement that the total number of deaths have increased by 17, to 178. A total of 307,752 tests have been conducted, up from 292,153 conducted before.
(Compiled by Inside Politics staff)