Lockdown Extension Regrettable but Necessary

Hon. Velenkosini Hlabisa, MPL
President of the IFP

The Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) has taken note of yet another lockdown extension as government continues to struggle to get a grip on its Covid-19 response.

We understand the rationale to remain at adjusted Lockdown Alert Level 4 for a further two weeks – based on the current rate of new Covid-19 infections across South Africa, and the impact of the Delta variant.

However, we are extremely concerned about the negative ripple effects this will have on lives and livelihoods.

It is unfortunate that current measures over the past two weeks were not enough to slow down infections and that some sectors of the economy will continue to suffer tremendously, while job losses will continue to increase.

We further note the decisions by government to allow restaurants to re-open, as well as the extension of the Temporary Employment Relief Scheme (TERS), to sectors affected by the Level 4 Lockdown Regulations.

We welcome these and hope that these measures will provide some relief to these sectors.

With a myriad of failures slowing down the vaccine rollout programme thus far, and the limited supply of vaccines, we welcome the announcement of an AU deal with Aspen, to manufacture and supply 17 million doses of the one-dose Johnson and Johnson vaccine to South Africa from July.

We are further pleased that more vaccination sites are being capacitated, and the cohort for vaccinations will soon be extended to include all those 35 years and over.

In addition to pronouncements about the pandemic, President Ramaphosa took the opportunity to address the current spate of violence and vandalism that has been running rampant over the past few days throughout our country.

While South Africa burns, we believe the President’s intervention on this issue was late. However, it was necessary for President Ramaphosa to make it clear that anyone found guilty of these acts will be arrested and prosecuted, without fear or favour.

He further echoed the call of IFP President Emeritus, Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi, that the rule of law – as a cornerstone of our constitutional democracy – must be upheld and protected at all costs.

However, we do not think his pronouncements in this regard went far enough. We appeal to government once more to deploy the army to stabilise KwaZulu-Natal, and to protect lives and the economy from treasonous sabotage.

As the IFP, we agree that the focus now needs to be on building up, and not destroying.

It is therefore our hope that we can now start to move away from perpetual lockdowns as our only intervention to deal with this pandemic, in order to rebuild our economy and create jobs so that all South Africans can put food on the table and live their lives with dignity.

We once again appeal to all South Africans to respect all Covid-19 regulations and for all those who are eligible to register and to get vaccinated.

Together, we can win the battle against ravages of Covid-19, and the senseless violence that threatens our beautiful country. Let us remain united in our diversity.

For media enquiries please WhatsApp Ms Megan Dick on 082 432 1335.