The President of the Republic of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa, has hinted that a tightening of the lockdown regulations, particularly in Gauteng, may be in the offing.
Ramaphosa was speaking from Cape Town port, where he was responding to questions fielded to him. He said that he was deeply worried by the unprecedented rate of transmission of the Covid 19 virus in what has become the fastest growing rates of transmission compared to the other two waves. In this light, he said, it may be time to move the country to another more stringent level of lockdown. The National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC) would be meeting to make this decision, he added. “We are in the third wave and the issue of moving down to another level will be discussed by the NCCC and they will make recommendations, and there seem to be indications that we have to increase the measures – particularly in Gauteng – that we put in place,” said the president.
Ramaphosa also delved into the debate that has been raging about lives and livelihoods and he said that while his government attached a lot of importance to people’s livelihoods, this would not be done at the expense of people’s lives. “The lives of people are extremely important as are their livelihoods,” he said.
While admitting that the Covid infections in Gauteng had spiralled out of control, he also paid tribute to both the Gauteng Premier, David Makhura as well as acting Health Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane, saying they were both dealing with the pandemic in the best possible way. Ramaphosa also conceded that the acquisition of ventilators was a huge challenge, adding that he was also grateful for the deployment of troops of the South African National Defence Forces to help in tackling the runaway infection rate.