Lockdown: Pressure from parties forced govt to yield – Pieter Groenewald

FF Plus leader says he believes that easing of some of the regulations makes no sense

Numerous lawsuits, including FF Plus court case, probably forced government to yield and cease Covid-19 restrictions

18 June 2020

It is clear that because of all the lawsuits that have been brought against the government, including the FF Plus's court application, it had no choice but to make certain concessions with regard to the Covid-19 lockdown regulations, unfortunately, many of these are just as irrational as the lockdown regulations themselves.

It, for instance, does not make any sense to suddenly allow beauty salons and the hotel and restaurant industry to start operating two weeks after Level Three was implemented. One cannot help but wonder what has changed with regard to the Covid-19 infection rate in these industries over the last two weeks.

The spread of the virus is still not under control in certain areas, on the contrary, there has been a rise in infections. The only logical conclusion is that the government has had to yield to the increasing pressure of the many lawsuits filed against it for its irrational lockdown regulations.

Meanwhile, the country still has to wait and see what exactly the protocols will entail and when the relevant sectors will be allowed to re-open.

Events in the recent past serve as proof that President Cyril Ramaphosa's announcements are not necessarily final. We will only get clarity and certainty about the final decision when the regulations are published in the Government Gazette.

The FF Plus has been advocating for the re-opening of the said industries for a long time by saying that they should be allowed to operate as long as they have the necessary health and safety measures in place.

The government has made a fatal decision to postpone their re-opening for such a long time. The longer the delay, the more difficult it becomes for these industries to start operating again and to implement all the necessary protocols after not having generated an income for months – every single day equals a loss of income.

In light of the aforementioned proposed concessions, it makes no sense to keep the ban on the sale of cigarettes. It is irrational and the FF Plus's suspicion that there is another agenda, which has nothing to do with Covid-19, is growing stronger by the day.

When it comes to the President's discussion of the issue of gender-based violence, which has gained more prominence during the period of lockdown, the FF Plus’s view has always been that the root of the problem lies in the failing criminal justice system.

Year after year, the government promises to combat gender-based violence, but it will not be effective as long as the criminal justice system fails to deter prospective offenders.

It is interesting to note that the President failed to make any mention of the increase in farm attacks in which many women were also brutally attacked when he addressed the issue of gender-based violence.

The FF Plus finds it unacceptable that the President highlights other violent crimes against women, but denies the violent acts committed against women in farm attacks by making no mention of it.

It is just as unacceptable as the irrational lockdown regulations that have forced the country's economy to its knees.

Issued by Pieter Groenewald, FF Plus leader, 18 June 2020