EFF leader Julius Malema says he is not convinced that President Cyril Ramaphosa used scientific evidence to ease the lockdown regulations. Malema was speaking during the President’s virtual oral reply session with the National Assembly on Thursday.
Ramaphosa said on Wednesday evening that strict measures will have to be in place to ensure physical distancing and personal hygiene.
“The cabinet has decided to ease restrictions on certain other economic activities and these activities include restaurants for sit-down meals, cinemas, and theatre’s casino, hairdressers and beauty services non-contact sports such as tennis contact sports will be allowed only for training and modified activities,” the President said.
Malema says the President’s decision to ease the lockdown regulations were meant to put profit of big business above the lives of people.
“We are more than convinced that you are actually not following any scientific advice. If anything, we are being bullied by big capital which maximises profit at all costs. Because what type of scientific advice will advise that the president of a country should address or answer questions in Parliament sitting in his home next to a fireplace and allow children to go to schools? You are sitting comfortably in your own home as a leader who follows science and your science says take children to schools to go and fight this pandemic while all of us are in the comfort of own homes.”
In response to Malema, Ramaphosa says a gradual lockdown was going to be implemented because an indefinite lockdown was not going to be sustainable.
“Many parts of the world did not do what we did; our lockdown was hard. We will concede that we went on to restrict things that other countries did not restrict like alcohol and cigarettes, like the buying and selling of a number of items. But we knew that with time we were not going to be able to keep with the lockdown forever because it is impossible to lock any country down forever and then we say many other countries around the world have to deal with the challenges we are having to deal with.”
The President also said on Wednesday that, had the country not moved swiftly to deal with the COVID-19 outbreak, more lives could have been lost.
“We took a decision early in the development of the disease in South Africa to restrict international travel and gatherings with the declaration of a National State of Disaster and subsequently imposed a nationwide lockdown to slow the transmission of the virus. In doing so, we aimed to ‘flatten the curve’ of infection so that our health system would be better able to care for the large number of people who would be needing care. As a result of the decisive action, we took then – and particularly through your cooperation, determination and sacrifice as a nation – we succeeded in delaying the spread of the virus.”
Ramaphosa advised South Africans to continue taking precautionary measures.
“Through our behavior as individuals, we can reduce the likelihood that we will get infected or infect others. And it is through our personal and collective actions that we can continue to delay the rate of infection across society.”