Today the Democratic Alliance (DA) in Limpopo will write to Premier Chupu Mathanatha to request him to fight for the reduction of lockdown restrictions in the province to that of Level 2, which will enable all economic activity to resume.
The DA in Limpopo is concerned that the province’s unemployment rate will skyrocket to beyond repair should the current severe lockdown regulations which hampers economic activity continue for even one more week.
STATS SA’s Quarterly Labour Force Survey for the Fourth Quarter 2019, which was released in February 2020, indicated that Limpopo not only recorded the highest year-on-year job losses of 112 000, but also had the highest expanded unemployment rate of 44%.
On 11 February 2020, 6 weeks before the ANC government enforced the lockdown regulations 922 000 in Limpopo were unable to find a job or have given up looking of a job.
The hardships that these citizens must have endured during the last 7 weeks is incomprehensible and heartbreaking.
The ANC government has always maintained that the reason for the hard lockdown was not to stop the Coronavirus from spreading, but to enable government to adequately prepare for it.
If the statistics of the Provincial Command Council are believed to be accurate, then it appears that the curve in Limpopo is stable.
As on 17 May 2020, Limpopo has recorded 77 positive cases. This is 0.5% of the national percentage total. We have had 3 unfortunate deaths and 37 recoveries. These statistics confirms that Limpopo currently has 37 active infections.
Continued monitoring, screening and testing, adequate provision of PPE to front line workers, the prevention of inter-provincial travel without permits as well as personal hygiene and the wearing of masks by all citizens outside their homes can assist to allow all economic activity to return.
In light of this we request Premier Matahabatha to follow the necessary procedures to have the province downscaled to level 2 so that optimum economic activity can resume to prevent the loss of any further livelihoods.
Despite the possible relaxation to level 2 restrictions, social distancing, basic safety and hygiene and no public gatherings must still be observed to prevent the Coronavirus from spreading.
The disastrous consequences of further increased unemployment rates in Limpopo will long outlive the legacy of the Coronavirus and we urge the Premier to act in the interest of his province without avail.