‘Patriotic’ Reserve Bank should impose guidelines to give people payment holidays – EFF

‘Patriotic’ Reserve Bank should impose guidelines to give people payment holidays – EFF

Members of the EFF (Economic Freedom Fighters) party join a party protest against the national power utility Eskom, in Johannesburg, South Africa, 28 February 2020. Picture: EPA-EFE/KIM LUDBROOK

The party says without payment holidays, people may face repossessions, evictions, and terminations of insurance and medical aid contracts.

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) slammed South Africa’s financial sector for “refusing to adapt to the danger facing society” due to the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

“It is a fact that for the national lockdown to succeed, all people must be given payment holidays that include, among other things, bonds, insurance, medical aid, instalments and loans,” the party said in a statement on Thursday.

The party said without payment holidays, people may face repossessions, evictions and terminations of insurance and medical aid contracts.

“As a result, they will be forced to undermine the lockdown by going out to make ends meet or die of hunger.

“This means, the refusal or reluctance by the financial sector to give payment holidays to everyone will result in the collapse of the lockdown and uncontrollable spread of the deadly coronavirus,” the party.

The EFF said the “patriotic” South African Reserve Bank should have imposed upon the financial sector guidelines to give payment holidays to South Africans from the beginning of the lockdown.

“This should have not depended on any consultation or autonomous decisions of institutions, but should be motivated solely by the urgent, crucial and definitive fact of the deadly coronavirus pandemic facing us.

“Yet, to this day this has not happened because the government of the day is paralyzed by cowardice. No institution should on its own be more powerful than the state.”

The party said it was not possible that the government feared certain sectors of the economy and society because others had threatened potential violent responses should state regulations not be in line with their demands.

“It cannot be that government bows to the pressure of anyone, merely because such people are demanding that the state relax regulations so they can continue to make profit during a dangerous health disaster.”

The consequences that will follow from all these concessions and compromises will result in the alcohol industry demanding exceptions from the regulations.

“The entire lockdown will not make sense and collapse on its own. The state must be uncompromising particularly when it comes to any non-essential sector of the economy for relaxation of lockdown regulations.

“Failure by the state to be firm and uncompromising in its approach – this lockdown will disintegrate, anarchists will triumph and we will all die!”

The party commended the soldiers and police that had been deployed to enforce the lockdown regulations and also thanked the health industry for helping to fight the pandemic.

“They are putting their lives at risk by confronting non-compliant people who at times insult and provoke them. In our view, the SANDF and SAPS must never compromise in imposing the regulations of the lockdown because these have everything to do with avoiding millions in loss of life.

“We thank the medical staff and all those who are in the front line fighting to save the lives of the people of South Africa, we salute you.”

The EFF said it would never support any individual who broke the regulations of the lockdown because the first duty of a revolutionary party was to defend the right to life.

“This right to life is what is under threat from the spread of the deadly coronavirus.

“Most importantly, there is actually no right above the right to life because without living people, there are no other rights to speak about. To have rights, one must first be alive. We encourage all people to comply with the lockdown and stay at home.”

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