Opposition parties have had mixed reactions to President Cyril Ramaphosa’s decision to put in place a Level 3 Covid-19 lockdown as the country deals with a sharp increase in cases.
Slamming the decision, DA leader John Steenhuisen said it was only necessary to impose stricter regulations because Ramaphosa’s administration failed to acquire and secure an adequate supply of vaccines.
“Had they acquired and administered vaccines timeously, lives and livelihoods would have been protected during the third wave. Resorting to alcohol bans, curfews and restrictions on restaurant capacity is a tacit admission that government has failed to do its actual job.”
On Tuesday, the DA announced that it wanted a comprehensive parliamentary inquiry into the government’s handling of the vaccination programme.
Good Party general secretary Brett Herron said the country’s vaccine programme faced several setbacks, putting the spotlight very firmly on global vaccine supply constraints and global health service inequality.
“Access to basic healthcare that includes a vaccine against a rampant [virus] affecting the entire world, is a human right that cannot be denied because of vaccine supply and demand.
“The South African situation is not unique as many countries have faced third waves and continue to live and work under similar restrictions. Still, the haphazard rollout of our vaccine makes the prospects of containment and stability much more difficult to achieve.”
The EFF said it refused to be held ransom and would continue to engage in political activity.
This after President Cyril Ramaphosa announced on Tuesday evening that all gatherings would be limited to a maximum of 50 people indoors and 100 people outdoors.
“We have long reiterated that the protection of human life is dependent on a large-scale vaccination programme and science. This government has proven that it is reactionary, lacks foresight and is content with subjecting this country to a back and forth [situation] that only benefits them and their corrupt aspirations,” it said in a statement.
Ramaphosa announced the Level 3 lockdown on Tuesday night and it includes an earlier curfew of 22:00, and additional restrictions on gatherings and the sale of alcohol.
Ramaphosa also said two million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, mixed and finished at the Gqeberha plant of Aspen Pharmacare, would have to be destroyed after the American Food and Drug Administration (FDA) found issues at the Baltimore factory that supplied the ingredients.
He said Johnson & Johnson indicated that it expected to deliver around two million vaccines to South Africa by the end of the month. These will be used for teachers and security personnel on the front line.