The group is aiming to get about 100 000 emails from people who support the end of the lockdown.
Johannesburg – A group calling itself End Lockdown SA is demanding the government ends what it has termed the “draconian and ridiculous” shutdown measures.
The movement was started on Saturday by children’s event company owner Clinton Barratt under the slogan, “Save South Africa by stopping the Lockdown”.
The group is aiming to get about 100000 emails from people who support the end of the lockdown, by Friday, which will be handed to the government as proof that the “general population” of South Africa wants the economy to be reopened.
Barratt said on Tuesday that the group felt that the lockdown measures were too stringent.
“When I talk about draconian measures, I’m talking about the cigarette ban, for example. People have always been smoking, why must they stop now? And people are still smoking anyway so what’s the point?”
Barratt added that there were a number of regulations that were not being adhered to, including the curfews as well as restrictions on what people can buy.
He added that he started the movement in frustration at sitting at home idly without certainty of when South Africa would reach lockdown level 2 or 1.
“I sent the Constitution to the government and I said, ‘You are restricting my trade so how must I get an income, how must I feed my family and how must I pay rent?’” he asked.
On Friday the group will send
the government the emails it has received with a May 22 deadline to respond to its demands. If the
government does not respond positively in time, the group will march to the Union Buildings in Pretoria on May 31.
“The government needs to see the people getting upset because I can email them until I’m blue in the face,” Barratt said.
He said the movement had received about 1400 emails by yesterday afternoon. The movement’s details and the email address of End Lockdown SA have been posted on social media platforms like Facebook.
Barratt said the group believed the lockdown must end but the government should keep certain measures in place such as social distancing and the requirement to wear a mask.
“I’m not saying people should die but I do believe that we have to open the economy because many people, especially in the locations, said that the virus won’t kill them but hunger will,” he said.
Barratt added that people who don’t have income during the lockdown were those who suffered the most and not government officials.
“President Ramaphosa and the ministers must go to the ground level where the people are that don’t have an income and if they were in their shoes they would feel that we can’t go on like this but they have an income, money and a car. They are not feeling the lockdown as hard as the normal man on the street,” he said.