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Mixed reaction to easing lockdown restrictions

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While some have welcomed it, others are saying it is a little too late.

With the move lockdown Level 2, taverns will be able to operate under strict conditions. File image. Photo: Ross Jansen

Johannesburg – The easing of restrictions on the lockdown has been welcomed by some of the parties, but others said it was late as the economy was already struggling.

On Saturday evening, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that South Africa will move to coronavirus (Covid-19) level 2 alert and that the economy would open even more.

Tobacco and alcohol sales will resume this week and restaurants, bars and taverns will be permitted to operate under strict conditions, Ramaphosa said.

There will also be an easing of inter-provincial travel restrictions.

But DA interim leader John Steenhuisen said the announcement came too late as many jobs have already been lost.

“The only thing the lockdown achieved was the devastation of our economy and the loss of millions of jobs. And that is what President Ramaphosa and his government must take responsibility for. The President admitted this evening that the models used to justify shutting down the economy were wrong. This is not something he can casually mention and walk away from. If they paralysed our economy for five months based on wrong information, heads must roll right at the top,” said Steenhuisen.

The Economic Freedom Fighters also rejected the news by the president. The party in a statement said that the relaxation of regulations was on the basis of manipulated data and mass under-testing to rationalize the reopening of the economy at the expense of lives.

“The blunder made by the president will be followed by a loss of life, and the lie of a decrease in infections will be exposed and by that time measures to impose stronger regulations will be too late.

“There is no legitimate positive signs of a decrease in infections in South Africa and Cyril Ramaphosa in collaboration with the Department of Health have conspired to manipulate data and lie about progress in the fight against Covid-19.”

IFP national spokesperson Mkhuleko Hlengwa said they welcome the easing of the lockdown restrictions.

“The lockdown was not a permanent arrangement and was for the purposes of readying our health services. We therefore want to ensure that the easing of the lockdown is met with the best preparatory requirements by the health system and that we will be ready for a second wave – as with the cases we have observed internationally,” said Hlngewa.

“We are supportive of the phased approach that government is taking, coupled with the strictest health precautionary measures for industries to save lives while balancing the risk mitigation factors,” he said.

Political Bureau