South Africans urged to ‘endure a little longer’ as lockdown extended

Ramaphosa said a premature lift of the lockdown would reverse gains and sacrifices made in fighting Covid-19.
Additional economic support measures to be announced soon. Image: GCIS

President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced a two-week extension to the country’s nationwide lockdown which started on March 26. 

The country has just concluded its second week in lockdown that saw most industries close their businesses – barring essential service workers in the medical, food and communication and security sectors. This lockdown would have ended on April 16 at the end of a three-week period, but South Africans will now have to stay in their homes until April 30, as the state works to flatten the curve of Covid-19 cases. 

“If we end the lockdown too soon or too abruptly we risk a massive and uncontrollable resurgence of the disease; we risk reversing the gains that we have made over the last few weeks and rendering meaningless the sacrifices that we have all made,” said Ramaphosa as he appealed to South Africans to endure a little longer. 

Read: Ramaphosa’s speech: Lockdown extended, more aid on its way

The increase in confirmed Covid-19 cases has been rather slow since the country’s nationwide lockdown started: moving from 1 170 cases on day one to 1 934 cases on Friday. This represents an increase of 764 cases in two weeks. 

This compares with global figures, which went from 340 000 cases to over 1.5 million in the same period, with over 90 000 people dead. 

Ramaphosa said the global trend indicated that South Africa’s decision to “announce a lockdown was correct and timely.”

He added that while it is too soon to give a definitive analysis of the progression of the virus in the country, there is sufficient evidence to show that the lockdown is suppressing the speed at which the number of new infections are increasing. 

In the two weeks before the lockdown, the average daily increase in new cases was around 42% and since the start of the lockdown the average daily increase has been around 4%,” said Ramaphosa.

Regulations remain in place

Ramaphosa stated that the current regulations will also remain in place until the end of April and, without giving specific deadlines, he said the government would over the “coming days” assess what risk-adjusted measures can be implemented to ensure a phased recovery of operations in certain sectors “under strictly-controlled conditions.”

“I am keenly aware of the impact this will have on our economy,” said the president.

“But I know, as you do, that unless we take these difficult measures now, unless we hold to this course for a little longer, the coronavirus pandemic will engulf, and ultimately consume, our country”.

Government’s strategy is to save lives and protect livelihoods Ramaphosa said. This will be done in three parts. It involves an intensified public health response to slow down the spread of the virus; a comprehensive economic support package to limit the devastation to businesses and workers; and increased social support to protect poor and vulnerable households.

Economic measures

There are currently several government and private sector initiatives meant to soften the blow of the lockdown on firms in distress and individuals who are facing a loss of income.“Cabinet will be developing a comprehensive package of urgent economic measures to respond both to the immediate crisis and to the severe economic challenges that we must confront in the months ahead.

“Further announcements on the next phase of our economic and social support strategy will be made in due course,” he said.

From Ramaphosa’s speech, it would appear that the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) has increased the funding available to assist distressed businesses who will not be able to pay their employees from R30 billion R40 billion.

The UIF fund, called the Temporary Employee/Employer Relief Scheme (TERS), has made payments of R356 million. 

Read: The lockdown: Impact on tax and unemployment related matters

Ramaphosa also called on businesses to continue to pay their suppliers as far as they can so that their businesses are not disrupted. 

“In this respect, I would like to appeal to all large businesses not to resort to force majeure and stop paying their suppliers and rental commitments, as such practice has a domino effect on all other businesses dependent on that chain,” he said.

Listen: The effect of force majeure on contracts amid Covid-19

“We must do all we can to ensure that the underlying economy continues to function and to focus support on those small businesses that really need them”.

Salary cuts in cabinet

Following in the footsteps of executives in the private sector, Ramaphosa announced that he, together with the deputy president, ministers and deputy ministers will each take a 33% cut in their salaries for the next three months, which will be donated to the Solidarity Fund.

“We are calling on other public office bearers and executives of large companies to make a similar gesture and to further increase the reach of this national effort”.

The Solidarity Fund which pools in resources and donations from companies, organisations and individuals to combat the coronavirus pandemic, has raised around R2.2 billion.

Ramaphosa said the fund has allocated some R1 billion to buy medical supplies such as sterile gloves, face shields, surgical masks, test kits and ventilators. It would also be allocating funds to support vulnerable households in addition to the R400 million set aside by the government for Social Relief of Distress grants.

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Similary, can we also ask SARS to “endure a drop in tax collections a little longer”. Need to refer the SARS auditor to the President’s Office.

Massive amounts of household & corporate debt in going to go into default….banks are going to take strain (maybe call a “force majeure” on depositors’ credit interest?)

…and no worry to expect the Clerk of the Court to your door anytime soon….the legal process queue may take years…

How nicely we cause this for ourselves! The C19-virus is like a robber demanding “Your money OR your life!”

I have a question and perhaps someone shares my views?

Why are we faced with a blanket lockdown when there are parts of our country that can be relaxed?

For example: Only 8 cases are prevalent in the N Cape, purportedly Kimberley.

My suggestion would be to allow all the rural towns in the N Cape ie: Upington, Kuruman etc to continue with business..
If needs be, lock the town down, apply social distancing and only allow necessities into these towns
( The authorities who normally sit around doing nothing will at least now justify their jobs by checking nobody exits the town and all entrants are tested) How difficult can that be?

The spread of the disease is confined to the bigger cities. Similarly, identify the “hot spots” and lock them down (Townships included)

This principle can be applied Nationally, particularly to rural towns ie: E Cape, Karoo etc

Just a thought

You have a valid point. Instead of ANC govt dealing with C19 in a hamfisted way, it could’ve been more intelligently handled. (We can take cues from South Korea for example, with track & tracing.)

The Northern Cape. Exactly right.
But think Long Game here.

In January 2020 SA industry train was entering the “economy is a horrible mess” tunnel without requiring any COVID shunting. The electoral fallout would not have been pretty and the economic decline would have led to the irreversible beginning of the end of liberation movement political hegemony – albeit in the medium term.

The COVID business shutdown is a get-out-of-jail free card for the ANC. 15+ years of policy and leadership failure plus endemic corruption will now be masked by the consequences of the noble involuntary sacrificial lockdown of the nation.

It’s going to give the ANC another 10 years in government.

Ministries now have Corona Card to play in addition to the WMC/Race marker.

CR made billions in BEE deals and donated NOTHING. He is now using 1/3 of his salary (paid by tax payers ) to add to the solidarity fund for 3 months. Essentially donating 1 months salary or R214 666.

This is sick!!! From the man who made billions from BEE. I guess everything belongs to the big man here!

15-day countdown to the UIF needing to pay out billions to support employees that won’t be paid on the 25th of April.

We’re heading straight towards an economic and social disaster!

The UIF may have the funds available but it has no administrative ability or capacity to deal with this crisis.

An IMF bailout is all that’s going to put this country back on it’s feet unless Mr Head Looter himself Ys Magashule gets his way

He has the audacity to reprimand Tito Mboweni when he mentioned this

Of course there’s an element within the ANC against this

It’s the same element that now wants to use the last of whats left and that is Pension Funds to “bail us out” and to fast track land reform when this country and its citizens , yes all races are faced with a depression looming and this guy politicizes the crisis..Look North Comrade and take note of what happened in Zim

Can someone please explain to the SG that there WILL be nothing left to reform post Lockdown

When Ys was Premier he left the Free State reeling from destruction to the point that the Capital City has been downgraded to junk, his stronghold is still apparent yet mum is the word on his behavior

He’s dead-set against the IMF as that will bring about stringent austerity measures, otherwise explained—the end of looting for him and his fellow Comrades

Agree. It may just afford CR the space to make the changes we urgently need to make

CR is becoming the man and president so many South Africans has hoped and prayed for. Cometh the moment, cometh the man.
But, that said, and I know it sounds harsh and insensible, this extension of lockdown will ultimately claim as many if not more lives than a rampant Covid-19 could do.
An economy brought to a halt for such extended period do not get restarted and gaining traction easily at all. The effects of which will be financial ruin, massive additional forced unemployment for much, much too many South Africans, as well as financial means of South Africa as a whole already mostly depleted. And that will lead to more desolated and starving citizens, more desperation, protests, anger and violence than we can possibly now imagine or be able to handle at the time, the results of which will ultimately be much more suicides, violent deaths and natural deaths than Covid-19 could possibly produce.
And that, dear co-citizens, is a well-anticipated concrete cold fact.

7 bottlestores(that i know off) have allready been looted in the WC, i Knew this was going to happen!
This extension is a disaster.

Western Cape is the dronkie province.

What’s going to be different after another 2 weeks? The virus will still be there with all of its potential to run amok, and townships and taxis will never be capable of social distancing. Nor will miners and workers in multiple industries.

So, do we get yet another 2 weeks of shutdown? And then why not 2 more?

But the economy, already on its knees is just moments away from its death throes.

If we don’t start to target these shutdowns more sensibly and selectively, we will kill the economy – so far, for just 18 deaths from the virus.

Preserving human life is what we are all aiming for, but we are now about to have our aha moment. The economy is what sustains human life.

You have nailed it. What are acceptable figures to end the lockdown as initially planned be? What will the numbers need to be for lockdown to end on 30th April? I’ve heard crickets wherever I ask those questions. However, the same people now fawning over Cyril’s statesmanship were questioning his sagacity regarding NHI, EWC the lack of prosecution of all the known crooks in his government and SOE’s and rightly so! What has happened, where did he suddenly gain this wisdom? His advisers perhaps? Well then, who is advising him to make the decisions on how to prosecute the anti virus campaign because it seems to me they are no better than any other advisers he has had this far. There is a deliberate and concerted effort in my opinion to bring the country to it’s knees.
There are many learned voices of sanity that the media refuse to publish, and so the the populace is only hearing one narrative. Let me share a few nuggets;
Given that 99% of Italian deaths had at least one serious co-morbidity (and that 80% of them had two such diseases) this raised serious questions as to the reliability of Italy’s reported statistics.

Prof Walter Ricciardi, advisor to Italy’s health minister, explained this was caused by the “generous” way the Italian government handles death certificates:

The way in which we code deaths in our country is very generous in the sense that all the people who die in hospitals with the coronavirus are deemed to be dying of the coronavirus.

In the United States, a briefing note from the CDC’s National Vital Statistics Service read as follows:
It is important to emphasise that Coronavirus Disease 19, or Covid-19, should be reported for all decedents where the disease caused or is presumed to have caused or contributed to death.In cases where a definite diagnosis of COVID–19 cannot be made, but it is suspected or likely (e.g., the circumstances are compelling within a reasonable degree of certainty), it is acceptable to report COVID–19 on a death certificate as “probable” or “presumed.” In these instances, certifiers should use their best clinical judgement in determining if a COVID–19 infection was likely.
Northern Ireland’s HSC Public Health Agency is releasing weekly surveillance bulletins on the pandemic, in those reports they define a “Covid19 death” as:
individuals who have died within 28 days of first positive result, whether or not COVID-19 was the cause of death.
The United Kingdom’s ONS system is predicated on the registration of deaths. Meaning they count, not the number of people who die every week, but the number of deaths registered per week. This, naturally, leads to slight delays in the recording of numbers as the registration process can take a few days.

However, with coronavirus deaths, since its a “national emergency”, they are now including “provisional figures” which will be “included in the dataset in subsequent weeks”. This leaves them wide open to – either accidentally or deliberately – reporting the same deaths twice. Once “provisionally”, and then once “officially” a week later.

That’s just one peculiar policy decision. There are many others.

Up until now, the ONS reported those Covid19 numbers collated by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC). The DHSC records only those who died in hospital and have tested positive for the coronavirus as Covid19 deaths.

BUT, from now on, the ONS will also include Covid19 deaths “in the community” in their statistics. That “includes those not tested for Covid19” and where “suspected Covid19″ [our emphasis] is presumed to be a “contributory factor”.

Here are some screencaps of the relevant sections:

The official NHS guidance for doctors filling out death certificates is just as vague [our emphasis]:

if before death the patient had symptoms typical of COVID19 infection, but the test result has not been received, it would be satisfactory to give ‘COVID-19’ as the cause of death, and then share the test result when it becomes available. In the circumstances of there being no swab, it is satisfactory to apply clinical judgement.

The government is telling doctors it is OK to list “Covid-19” as a cause of death when there is literally no evidence the deceased was infected. That means there are potentially huge numbers of “Covid19 deaths” that were never even tested for the disease.

Further, any possible mistakes will never be noticed or rectified, thanks to recent changes to the law.

Usually, any death attributed to a “notifiable disease” had to be referred to a coroner for a jury hearing.

Under UK law Covid19 is a “notifiable disease”, but the new Coronavirus Bill alters the Coroners and Justice Act 2009, to specifically exempt alleged Covid19 deaths from jury inquests.

Further, according to the office of the Chief Coroner, the Coronavirus Bill means that these deaths don’t have to be referred to a coroner at all, and that medical practitioners can sign off a cause of death for a body they have never even seen:

Any registered medical practitioner can sign an MCCD [Medical Certificate for Cause of Death], even if the deceased was not attended during their last illness and not seen after death, provided that they are able to state the cause of death to the best of their knowledge and belief.
This is, at best, totally irresponsible and at worst incredibly sinister.

Get a double thick tinfoil hat

Agreed. But this lockdown may be extended further. Bill Gates says we need atleast 10 more weeks of lockdowns
Perhaps Cyril is going to implement them in batches of two weeks at a time

Bill Gates. That well known medical professional. We cheer our own demise on and will stare wide-eyed when we see it happening. History is the only subject that should be compulsory and taught by independent thinkers.

“Government’s strategy is to save lives and protect livelihoods Ramaphosa said.” Really?

Whether lives are being saved is something nobody will ever be able to quantify. That livelihoods are being destroyed, is a fact, though. History will judge and it will not be kind.

This virus affects our lives in a completely exaggerated way. This bears no relation to the danger posed by the virus. And the astronomical economic damage now arising is not commensurate with the danger posed by the virus. I am convinced that corona mortality will not even make itself felt as a peak in annual mortality … ”
This quote comes from none other than the head of Hamburg forensic medicine, Professor Klaus Püschel (67). And they are amazing words. Because he talks about exactly the virus that is currently turning the world upside down: Corona.
Püschel and his team are currently investigating the corona dead from Hamburg. The goal: “We want to learn from the dead for the living. We try to understand what the so-called corona dead actually died from, in order to draw conclusions for the clinical treatment of the people suffering from it. We take a closer look: How did the virus affect the heart, lungs and other internal organs? ”
And Püschel has already gained initial insights: So far, not a single person with no previous illness has died of the virus in Hamburg. “All of those we have examined so far had cancer, a chronic lung disease, were heavy smokers or heavily obese, suffered from diabetes or had cardiovascular disease.” The virus was the last drop, so to speak, that was the barrel Overflow brought. “We had – no one knows yet – the first 100-year-old who died of Covid-19.” Was it the last drop? “The very last one,” said Püschel.
Püschel wants to calm the population down. “By focusing strongly on the rather few negative processes, fears are created that are very burdensome,” says the legal doctor. There is no reason for fear of death in connection with the spread of the disease here in the Hamburg region, he says. “Covid-19 is a deadly disease only in exceptional cases, but in most cases it is a mostly harmless virus infection.

If SA really wanted to panic, the right time would have been 2005. 285,000 people died of a virus called AIDS, which was spread by vectors like truckers visiting ladies of the night. Since then, 60,000 people per year die from TB, and 300,000 are infected, which is a scary 20% death rate. I am not for one minute buying any story that this about saving lives. 20 people dead do NOT justify destroying the entire economy.

So what is the real motive here? An instant National Democratic Revolution, with the middle class destroyed in 5 short weeks, leaving only Party insiders standing? Once again, it most certainly is NOT about saving lives, else we’d be on permanent lock-down due to TB.

57 murders per day in 2919. Totally ignored. Hundreds die because of cra__py hospital or clinic care. Thousands because of miserable social circumstances mostly as a result of disastrous policies of our rulers.
This is not a problem for the ruling class. But corona is.
What’s the real agenda?

Why do you block every post I make? Only 3 in 3 years have never made it onto your website.

Have to agree with comments from Griet / Oubok / JannieS / Incitatus / Boomgloom….as I previously said: as the year 2020 draws to a close, the world will likely have more suicide deaths (a result of econ destitute) than directly caused by the C19 virus itself.

Some mentioned CR/ANC could use (the econ damage caused by Covid-19) as a hidden or sinister agenda….as an excuse to revive “prescribed assets” on all ret funds 🙁
This will allow the (artificial, economic) “cost” of AA/BEE/corruption/patronage to be carried further, until SA has depleted ALL it’s sources of funding. The same way ZANU-PF survives in Zim.

The blame of economic ruin in SA thus will be 100% blamed on Covid-19 (and nothing to do with ANC incompetance, corruption, etc. …I mean, in what other way would the cadres still be fed at the corruption trough?)

On the global arena, wait until the US (and some western nations) attempt to use the vast numbers of Covid-19 deaths to stoke war against China…as surely “China must pay” as the narrative grows..

No tin hats needed! Watch this space!

Say they in our crime-infested country with little or no safety and security.

Can they also please give 33% of what the steal back.

Ok so 18 dead in little more than one month im DA. This is serious enough to shut down the country !!

Meanwhile at a hospital in the Eastern Cape where my daughter is a doctor they have had 27 TB deaths in the past month alone.

On average 175 people die per day in SA (2018 figures) but no government action. It is more infectious than Covid 19 –Go figure out the logic of their decisions !!!!!!!!!!

I hope your daughter comes out of the epidemic untainted by the disease. I wish I was a doctor, helping out in some capacity under these situations. Not nice being locked down

Good point @casper1! The big question now is what is the connection, if any, between TB and the fight against Covid-19. The results of those international BCG trials are crucial. Is it possible that our extremely low death count from Covid-19 is somehow linked to our decades old mandatory TB vaccination at birth? Or is there another link? It is estimated that upwards of 60% of South Africans carry latent TB. Does ongoing suppression of the disease somehow play a role?

Fifty persons per day are MURDERED in South Africa, yet that doesn’t seem to worry anyone in the ANC overmuch.

Nor the 25 per day slaughtered by the taxi industry.

8000 farmers murdered.

You are on the money Casper. The ANC government is murdering a frail economy. I’ve had time to tidy up my house, its now time for Mr Ramaphosa to tidy up his. Get rid of the rubbish he inherited from Zuma, starting with Ace !! I can’t believe that these thugs are still pulling the strings and our President just dances. Or have they got him by the shorts???

Higher inflation, more government spending, more taxes, more laws. Less people will have access to goods and services after this and we know what that leads to.

Prices for everything will skyrocket

It is now time that people should be allowed to access their private pension funds without any tax implications, 30% lump sum

That aint gonna happen Boogie, as then there would be less for the ACE to loot !

For a politically astute guy, hard to believe CR did not do the classic good news bad news trick. Bad news another two weeks. Good news the list of essential businesses and goods will be relaxed even while enforcement is stepped up.

Only the cynical rich bought enough alcohol and cigars for the extended lockdown. The poor could not stock up, and the ones that could afford but believed CR first time, have now run out.

Right now Castle Light quarts are selling for R40 in the blackmarket. Stockpiled or illicit cigarettes are selling for double normal price. Besides SARS, also the legit businesses that usually sell alcohol and tobacco to normal consumers. I do agree keep bars, shebeens, restaurants closed.

Besides the alcohol and tobacco side, let retailers sell what they usually sell and open the categories of retailers that can open.

a carton of smokes in PTA North selling at 3x the normal price at the moment. But u can buy if u want.

LOL – During the “apartheid” years when American cigarettes were banned in terms of the sanctions I smoked my 3 cartons of Marlboro filter every month.
These were illegal imports via Mozambique but cost the same as Chesterfield.

Banning things rarely really work – It just makes it more difficult for honest citizens to stay honest !!

Can we similarly urge the ruling party to partake less in corruption as it decimates an economy more than Covid-19.

We are killing a struggling economy being paralyzed by fear. It was one thing dealing with 12 business days. Adding two weeks is exponential impact in terms of businesses that cannot handle an interruption.

Testing is obviously necessary to inform policy and for treatment. We have no data. But there is a massive shortage of capacity to test and labs to do the tests.

In countries that have tested very extensively (Iceland for example has done about one in ten of population) the infection rate is about 2 to 4 per 1000 persons. we are shutting down 10,000,000 people’s livelihoods for what is realistically 30,000 infected if I take the high rate of infected in countries that have tested extensively. Some Countries with good testing are 3 per 10,000

Could a more efficient and ongoing screening process not help? There are relatively cheap ($200) mobile infrared scanners of the type that technicians use to spot hot spots in machines and circuit boards and that are 0.1 degree celsius accurate and simple to operate. You can scan probably 10 person a minute with each. For example at taxi ranks, malls and employers that are still open or simply at a place where masses can pass safely and assure themselves and us. Anybody that records a worrying temp (1 in 100 for example), please step to the side for more detailed scanning and questionnaire and of those perhaps again 1 in 100 then get the proper test.

You cannot manage what you don’t measure!

Many have endured the pathetic ANC for decades so a couple of extra weeks of lockdown should be a breeze by comparison.

Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.

What CR has done is the equivalent to shutting down the whole of Giloolys interchange at rush hour, for a Toyota Yaris driver changing a flat tyre.

This is the proportionate response equivalent – relevant to the science and facts in front of him and what he has done with regards the economy and for that matter the rest of the world is included – it is just far more Bizarre in RSA because the response is so extreme, relevant to the data.

Endure a little longer and please do not invoke Force Majeur?

Really – how else do we protect ourselves. I know you are only a face and a mouth piece, but you could at least put up a fight before listening to your advisors. You say please pay your workers their salaries – why? You inexplicably shut down the economy – as such change the laws and print the money to fill the gap – you will one day anyway.

Would you rather an employer bankrupted themselves keeping 1000 workers paid in this time, or stopped pay and shuttered the business. Then just maybe he can re-open in 3 months and there are still 200 jobs left at a far greater reduced economic level – or go in now and keep paying and guarantee all 1000jobs are gone – change the numbers and industries all you like it is the same everywhere.

Someone made a good point about TB. There are 5 poster children in the Globe making all the noise – USA/ UK/ SPAIN/ ITALY and FRANCE. French scientists are working on many things to disrupt covid 19 – one is TB derived inhibitor. Strangely they have pointed out that the countries around the world with well entrenched TB vaccination policies that have been in place for decades are only getting 10% of the infections and even less deaths.

Well – USA and ITALY have never had TB programmes and neither has SPAIN. The UK and FRANCE have had intermittent drives but nothing sustained. Now these countries are leagues ahead in infection rates and deaths – this is not a coincidence. Just look at their neighbours with until now inexplicably lower infection rates and death rates – Portugal as an example. Germany has twice as many cases as UK but 25% the deaths.

How many people have actually died from COVID-19 is anyone’s guess… but based on how death certificates are being filled out, you can be certain the number is substantially lower than what we are being told. Based on inaccurate, incomplete data people are being terrorized by fear-mongers into relinquishing cherished freedoms.

The first lockdown was premature and over the top. The 2 week extension is more of the same. Bad decisions from a bad government.

End of comments.

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