Minister in the Presidency Jackson Mthembu announced on Sunday that due to the magnitude and complexity of the issues President Cyril Ramaphosa was dealing with, he would only communicate the outcomes and decisions of government on further measures being taken to combat the spread of Covid-19 on Monday.
Many have expected an escalation of limits on movement, with the army also being deployed.
Mthembu said “better late than to cut corners”.
Presidency spokesperson Khusela Diko said people should not fall for any fake news overnight. “There will be no statements tonight. Do not believe fake statements.” She said an alleged government department memo doing the rounds about education was indeed fake.
Ramaphosa dedicated his Sunday to key engagements around the national state of disaster occasioned by the outbreak of the coronavirus, beginning with a consultation with business and political leaders at the Union Buildings.
Speaking at the Union Buildings at noon on Sunday, Ramaphosa thanked political parties and business for their collective involvement in giving their input on the national response against the virus.
“We are fortunate as a nation that we have a lot of people who mean well for our people and support government … in making sure we safeguard the lives of our people,” said Ramaphosa.
Trade and Industry Minister Ebrahim Patel said all the important feedback from government would inform the president’s message to the nation.
Mthembu said the president went into a National Command Council meeting to deliberate on what his next decisions would be, which would be conveyed in a speech to the nation later.
He said the president now needed to “cover all the bases” and had not had enough time.
“If his meeting concluded at midnight, I don’t think it would be fair to let the president address the nation when people are sleeping.”
On the outlook for the period ahead, the council would consider whether the measures currently in place to contain the spread of the virus were sufficient and what further measures might be required.