NEWS & ANALYSIS

Lockdown no longer needed – Pieter Groenewald

FF Plus leader says there are once again numerous uncertainties regarding what President’s announcement really means

Covid-19: Lockdown no longer needed

11 November 2020

President Cyril Ramaphosa should have totally lifted the Covid-19 lockdown in light of the country's struggling economy, which simply cannot afford to be hampered by restrictions any longer.

The President himself acknowledged that certain segments of the business sector are not yet functioning at full capacity under the current restrictions and the situation must not be drawn out any longer.

One again, there are numerous uncertainties regarding what the President's announcement really means and the people will have to wait for the relevant regulations to be published to get clarity.

One such an example is the curfew. It is not clear whether that is still in place. The President did say that business hours for the sale of alcohol are back to normal, but there are still uncertainties concerning other industries.

Concerning the tourism industry, he announced that international flights will be allowed again, but he did not specify whether any restrictions will apply, like allowing people from countries with a high incidence of Covid-19 into South Africa.

The Unemployment Insurance Fund's (UIF) Temporary Employer/Employee Relief Scheme (TERS) was extended and people can now submit claims for the period ending 15 October whereas before it was only valid for the period ending 15 September.

This is particularly helpful for the hospitality industry, which can still not function at full capacity, as the Scheme helps to prevent employees being laid off in large numbers.

President Ramaphosa was very vague regarding the structural development plan to help the economy grow. It seems that the government is still relying on the private sector to get involved to bring about growth, with the government itself as project manager.

It is difficult to see how the private sector will buy into this. If the government really is serious about implementing plans that will facilitate economic growth, then it must allow the private sector to take the lead in managing the programme.

Issued by Pieter Groenewald, FF Plus leader, 12 November 2020