“With our economy on its knees, more than 40% of South Africans unemployed and poverty and hunger at levels never seen before in our country, we simply cannot afford the blunt tool of nation-wide lockdown.”
DA LEADER John Steenhuisen has asked President Cyril Ramaphosa not to impose a hard lockdown and a ban on the sale of alcohol ahead of the Easter weekend.
Steenhuisen said the restaurant industry was among the hardest hit when Ramaphosa announced the imposition of a Level 5 lockdown in March last year.
“With our economy on its knees, more than 40% of South Africans unemployed and poverty and hunger at levels never seen before in our country, we simply cannot afford the blunt tool of nation-wide lockdown. We should not be considering blanket bans on the sale of alcohol or curfew extensions that achieve nothing other than the decimation of the restaurant industry,” Steenhuisen said.
“The devastation wrought by the past year of lockdown – particularly in the hospitality and tourism sectors – will take years to overcome. With many more businesses still on the verge of collapse, we should be doing all we can to save every single job in these sectors.”
He said that in the absence of a mass vaccination programme the best tool in the fight against a possible third wave of Covid-19 transmission is personal responsibility when it comes to mask wearing, hygiene, social distancing and the protection of those who are most vulnerable to the virus.
“Programmes aimed at effecting behaviour change are effective in slowing transmission without adversely affecting the economy and destroying livelihoods.
“In addition to this it is prudent, as we head into the Easter weekend, to also limit the size of gatherings, and particularly indoor gatherings, as these have the biggest impact on the spread of the virus,” he said.
He maintained the government should consider using its own localised lockdown plan, such as the one implemented at Nelson Mandela Bay and parts of the Garden Route were kept under higher lockdown levels due to surges in transmissions there.