The IFP notes this evening’s address by President Cyril Ramaphosa, announcing that our country will remain within the adjusted Level 3 of lockdown, as this is a sensible and pragmatic step, which will keep the economy open.
We note the current restrictions, as our country could ill-afford a Level 4 or 5 lockdown. Furthermore, the tightening and closing of land ports, border posts and all other points of entry until 15 February 2021 is a welcome move in containing the spread of the coronavirus.
However, we are displeased with the non-announcement of critical events that we are nearing, such as the reopening of schools. The President should have been clear, bold and concise on the reopening of schools. This kind of planning does not inspire confidence in the Department of Basic Education, which seems to continually fall behind.
The President missed an opportunity this evening to clarify exact dates, deadlines and a plan as to how our country will roll out the vaccine, and inoculate South Africans.
We urge the President – in conjunction with the Minister of Health, Dr Zweli Mkhize – to urgently table a credible plan, and to keep South Africans abreast with weekly briefings to quell concerns.
The IFP further believes that teachers should be moved to phase one of the proposed roll-out of the vaccine.
We believe all schools should remain closed until sufficient scientific evidence shows that we are flattening the curve post-second wave peak.
We await an urgent announcement by the Basic Education Minister, Angie Motshekga.
It is worrying that this critical sector, and that of Higher Education, has been left out of the President’s address.
The dire effects that the lockdown regulations have had on many sectors within the economy must be mitigated through further economic relief for small, micro and medium enterprises.
The fact that no mention was made of the impact that the regulations have on businesses to keep afloat and to balance their books during this time was yet again another missed opportunity by the President.
Let us all be mindful and responsible so as to protect our lives, those of our loved ones, and of our fellow South Africans, by ensuring that we refrain from any and all activity that is related to closed spaces, crowded places and very close contact with others.
We urge all South Africans to remain home, to practice social distancing, to wear masks and to fully adhere to all the lockdown regulations to curb the transmission of Covid-19.
Mkhuleko Hlengwa, MP
IFP National Spokesperson
071 111 0539