We welcome move towards further easing of lockdown – ANC

Party says we must be guided by the need to save lives and to preserve livelihoods

ANC statement on the decision by the president to move the country to level two – let’s all press forward together

15 August 2020

The African National Congress (ANC) throws its weight behind the decision of the President Cyril Ramaphosa and Cabinet to move the country to Lockdown Alert Level Two.

We commend the tireless efforts of President Cyril Ramaphosa and his collective, for their effective leadership in the war against the COVID-19 pandemic. Government’s decisive interventions over the last seven weeks of a nation-wide lockdown have saved many lives and have delayed the spread of COVID-19 pandemic. This period in our country's history calls for bold and visionary leadership that unites the nation to help us traverse this uncharted territory together.

The drastic measures introduced by government since the declaration of the National State of Disaster have assisted in reducing the spread of COVID 19, protect the people of our country and reduce the impact of the virus on our communities. Unfortunately in an effort to save lives, some of these measures included limiting of people rights and freedoms, closing down some sectors of the economy and a ban of social gatherings, sale of alcohol and tobacco related products.

Today, we can state without any fear of contradiction that these measures have succeeded in flattening the curve. We welcome the move towards further easing of the lockdown and opening of the economy as part of the risk adjusted strategy. The risk- adjusted strategy is the most effective approach as we continue our fight against Covid-19.

We have consistently said that the objective of the lockdown was to delay the spread of the virus and to prevent a huge surge of infections. A permanent lockdown is neither desirable nor sustainable. As we move forward, we must be guided by the need to save lives and to preserve livelihoods. As we fight this invisible enemy, government continues to have a responsibility to ensure that people have sustainable livelihoods beyond coronavirus.

We urge all stakeholders to ensure that as more sectors our economy open, we do so mindful of the danger that continue to lurk in our midst. At all material times, we must ensure that as we open up economic activity, we do so informed by the imperative to curb the spread of the virus and to save lives. We must continue to observe and implement risk-mitigating measures against the virus. We must guard against any action or approach that may have the effect of reversing the gains we have made since the national lockdown was declared.

As we acknowledge the progress we have made as a country in flattening the curve, we must commend South Africans for their understanding and for accepting to endure the many restrictions on their lives. They understood that this was for the bigger good.

We also pay tribute to the frontline workers — all health workers and security personnel who placed their own health and lives at risk in order to save South Africans. There is no better example of patriotism than this!

We urge all South Africans to play their part. Let us wear masks, practice good hygiene, observe social distancing and stay safe.

We have a responsibility as individuals to help curb the current surge in infections.

The message of President Ramaphosa is clear - let's all press forward together.

Issued by Pule Mabe, National Spokesperson, ANC, 15 August 2020