Ramaphosa to address the nation at 20h00

President Cyril Ramphosa’s address will be broadcast and streamed on a range of platforms that are accessible to South Africans and international audiences. 

President Cyril Ramaphosa will address the nation at 20h00 tonight on South Africa’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. That is  according to a statement released by the The Presidency on Thursday afternoon.

The address follows a special sitting of Cabinet that considered recommendations of the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC) meeting.    

 “The President’s address will be broadcast and streamed on a range of platforms that are accessible to South Africans and international audiences,” reads the statement in part.

South Africa’s COVID-19 infections have increased to 796 472 with 4 173 new cases identified in the last 24 hours

65 more COVID-19 related deaths have also been reported, taking the country’s death toll to 21 709.

With COVID-19 infections on the increase in some regions of the Western Cape, the provincial government authorities have taken the decision to close public facilities and venues. 

George, on the Garden Route and the Kannaland Municipality in the Little Karoo, are among those affected. 

The Western Cape government is getting tough on the Garden Route.  George is the commercial hub of the region, the second-largest city in the province, and a popular holiday and tourist destination. 

It currently has the highest number of active infections in the province. 

Public gatherings 

With the holiday season approaching, Georgians will not be allowed to hold large public gatherings without prior approval.  

“People who want to host large public events with a large number of people need to apply to municipalities for permission and also need stamps of approval from the disaster management entities. At the moment it is the Garden Route primarily where we’ve seen large spikes of COVID-19 infections in recent weeks and we are doing what we can to prevent this, to bring this down,” says Western Cape Local Government spokesperson, James Brent-Styan. 

Events postponed 

Once again, the tourism industry may suffer.  Events like The Wine and Whatever Experience at Fancourt, which was set to take place later this month, had to be postponed. 

“The main reason for this is that we cannot risk people getting infected and as you all know whenever there’s wine drinking or wine tasting, one has to take your mask off and that will just increase the risk of people being infected. We are very sad to cancel the event and we have realised that over the year COVID and the implications behind it are killing our industry. So, we are really concerned about the industry and what will happen to it,” says organiser Alewijn Dippenaar. 

Some out of the province visitors, such as Suraj Narrandes from Nigel in Gauteng, says they have cancelled their festive season plans. 

“This December we made reservations for the holiday and we were very disappointed. We had to cancel because of the COVID stress that’s going on in George. It has really been a tough year for all of us and we thought it would be a nice getaway for me and the family. So, we will have to wait for next year to see if we can visit the Garden Route again.” 

Provincial health authorities have asked visitors to be extra cautious if they plan on visiting the area.