President Cyril Ramaphosa answers some pressing questions in a media briefing in Johannesburg

Photo credit: Government Facebook Page

President Cyril Ramaphosa visited the Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation Covid-19 Command Centre at Rand Water in Johannesburg, where he was briefed on the operations of the centre in response to the outbreak. He then engaged in a quick media briefing to answer some pressing questions.

In a briefing earlier today, President Cyril Ramaphosa was asked some pressing questions.

The first question was whether the president would be extending the national lockdown. The president answered that they were still running an assessment on the effectiveness of the lockdown. In terms of compliance, they found that many citizens of this country had been abiding by the lockdown and its regulations.

“There are some people here and there who are going about their lives as if there is no coronavirus. This is a serious sickness that affects people throughout the world. So everyone must abide by the regulations that have been published by the government.”

He said they would make a proper scientific assessment in the days to come to see how well the lockdown have served the people of South Africa.

The president said he can say without a shadow of a doubt that if we had not locked down South Africa, the infection rate would have been much higher than it currently is.

“The lockdown by all intents and purposes have been one of those important measures that we have used to save lives, to contain the spread of the pandemic. Many other countries are following suit, now they are seeing the effectiveness of locking down. Of course it has a negative effect on the economy, but it is important to save lives. Lives are important and the lives of our people matter” the president said.

The second question was what the president would say to members of his own cabinet who are not practicing what he is preaching, in the sense of not visiting friends and family. Recently a picture came to light of Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams visiting a friend. He was also asked if action would be taken against the minister.

The president admitted that he had seen the picture of the minister. He has asked her to come and see him, and said he was going to have a discussion with her on the impact of visuals like these, and on what they are trying to do to make it clear to all their people that social distancing is important.

The next question was what the government’s greatest challenge at the moment was, other than the fact some people were not following regulations.

The president answered that although his biggest challenge was for South Africans to abide by the regulations, part of that was to stop the spread of the virus, by levelling and flattening it. He mentioned they aimed to stop the deaths of those who contract it. He said he was also challenged by making sure that the economy of this country is in a position that it can sustain the lives of its people beyond the virus.

He finished the briefing by encouraging all South Africans to stay safe.