COOPERATIVE Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has extended the national state of disaster until November 15.
The state of disaster was declared on March 15 to enable the government to implement measures such as the national lockdown to curb the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic in South Africa.
The government’s announcement on Wednesday comes a day after Health Minister Zweli Mkhize warned of a second wave of Covid-19 if South Africans don’t change their behaviour.
Mkhize said the number of infections has been around 10,000 per week for about five weeks and there has been an increase in cases in the past two weeks.
In a directive published on Wednesday, Dlamini-Zuma said that the extension takes into account the need to continue augmenting the existing legislation and contingency arrangements undertaken by organs of state to address the impact of the Covid-19 disaster.
The state of disaster is now set to lapse on 15 November.
The extended national state of disaster has faced increased scrutiny from business groups and political parties who want the prolonged coronavirus lockdown to end.
Earlier this week, the Democratic Alliance (DA) said that the state of disaster undermines democracy, oversight, and policy certainty, and entrenches what it called “bad science”, promoting a climate of fear in the country.
“Extending (the state of disaster) will be no more than a continuation of the government’s attempt to use bad science to promote a climate of fear that gives false legitimacy to the ANC’s growing authoritarianism,” it said.
The DA said that under South Africa’s level 1 lockdown rules, harm and damage is still being done to certain sectors of the economy – particularly tourism and the alcohol industry.
Lockdown also continues to interrupt education, with no benefits to society, it said.
(COMPILED BY INSIDE POLITICS STAFF)