President Cyril Ramaphosa’s decision to only ease the lockdown regulations by the end of this month (May) by allowing the greater part of the country to move to Level Three, while still keeping some districts at Level Four, is irrational and things are moving much too slow to prevent long-term damage to the economy.
We should not lose sight of the fact that Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma must still provide her input and the details of Level Three regulations are yet to be published.
This is a case of too little too late and it all seems incomprehensible because right at the beginning of his speech, the President himself admitted that the lockdown has been successful and that it has served its purpose of flattening the curve of the infection rate so as to afford the country’s health care system the opportunity to prepare for the expected outbreak and the treatment that will be required.
The FF Plus is of the opinion that the economy can now be unlocked rapidly while business enterprises must comply with stringent health and safety measures. If businesses are indeed able to comply, they should be allowed to become operational.
Sole proprietorships, like hair and nail salons and those in the tourism industry, are most severely affected. These smaller businesses cannot survive until the end of May.
According to President Ramaphosa, the risk-adjusted approach that has been followed until now has achieved the desired outcome and the public generally cooperated to limit the spread of the virus.
Thus, the FF Plus is of the opinion that the time is here to speed up the process of unlocking the economy since the lockdown with its stringent regulations has already served its purpose.
It has always been of the utmost importance to strike a balance between limiting the spread of the virus and unlocking the country’s economy. Waiting another two weeks before moving to Level Three will seriously disturb that delicate balance.
Many of the current regulations, and possibly those that will apply during Level Three as well, are not in line with the objective of curbing the spread of the virus, instead, they are irrational.
The chances that continued restrictions will do a lot more damage to the economy and ordinary citizens’ livelihood are much greater than the chances of it limiting the rate of infection any further.
The FF Plus will do everything in its power to put an end to these restrictions and the infringement on people’s rights by the government. The party is considering its options to take appropriate steps.