Do not extend lockdown, DA urges Ramaphosa

South Africa’s state of disaster, which has been in effect since March, is due to end on Thursday.

Stranded taxi commuters queue outside Rea Vaya bus terminal at Thokoza Park in Soweto in June. This after a taxi shutdown in protest over government’s R1.135 billion relief fund for taxi operators. Picture: Nigel Sibanda

The Democratic Alliance (DA) has called on President Cyril Ramaphosa “to resist the urge” to extend the impending deadline, The Citizen reports. 

“South Africa’s prolonged lockdown must end immediately and completely. Indeed, both [the state of emergency and lockdown] should have ended five months ago,” the party said. 

The party believes epidemiological models in South Africa “massively exaggerated the size of the Covid risk”, adding that their sentiments are in line with views from the World Health Organisation, that “lockdowns are harmful and unjustifiable”. 

They explained the economy was dealt “a deathblow” by the ruling party’s “irrational, unscientific, unethical lockdown with its senseless, arbitrary regulations ineffectively targeting a single risk, a risk which is nowhere near as dangerous to our country as many other risks”.

“Intending it will be no more than a continuation of the government’s attempt to use bad science to promote a climate of fear that gives false legitimacy to the ANC’s growing authoritarianism,” the party continued. 

This in addition to the “theft of state resources”, the party said, is why government has been “reluctant” to put an end to the state of disaster, and lockdown. 

“The state of disaster undermines democracy, oversight and policy uncertainty.” 

The real disaster, the DA said, was the state of the country’s economy, “which was already in an ANC-induced crisis before the pandemic hit”.

All that lockdown and the state of disaster achieved, according to the DA, is more poverty, unemployment and inequality. They said three million jobs have been lost, school children have lost about 40% of their school days this year, and hunger continues to spread. 

Even under Level 1 lockdown, where most economic activities have resumed to a semblance of normality, the DA said the ANC’s policies regarding Covid-19 have damaged parts of the economy such as tourism and the alcohol industry. 

“This charade must end now.”

Here are a list of the DA’s demands to the ANC ahead of Thursday’s decision: 

  • Lift all restrictions on alcohol trade; 
  • Lift the curfew, which only further restricts peoples’ freedom of movement, and
  • Allow schooling to return to normal.

The DA concluded by stating they believed the ANC’s response to the pandemic has “brought SA to the precipice of economic ruin, to avoid a single risk which is small relative to the myriad of other risks we as a nation faces”. 

“This government remains the biggest risk to the country’s wellbeing,” the party said. 

“Nothing which gives them more power should be supported.”

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