DA calls for premier to move Limpopo to Level 2 ‘to save economy’

Stan Mathabatha

The party says even under Level 2 lockdown, social distancing, basic safety and hygiene and no public gatherings must still be observed.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Limpopo has called for Premier Stan Mathabatha to move the province to Level 2 of the lockdown “to save the economy” of the province.

The party’s leader in the province, Jacques Smalle, said the DA would on Monday write to Mathabatha “to request him to fight for the reduction of lockdown restrictions” in Limpopo to Level 2, “which will enable all economic activity to resume”.

“The DA in Limpopo is concerned that the province’s unemployment rate will skyrocket to beyond repair should the current severe lockdown regulations, which hampers economic activity, continue for even one more week,” said Smalle.

He added that Statistics South Africa’s quarterly labour force survey for the fourth quarter in 2019 released in February showed that Limpopo not only recorded the highest year-on-year job losses of 112,000, but also had the highest expanded unemployment rate of 44%.

“On 11 February 2020, six weeks before the ANC government enforced the lockdown regulations, 922,000 in Limpopo were unable to find a job or have given up looking of a job.

“The hardships that these citizens must have endured during the last seven weeks is incomprehensible and heartbreaking.

“The ANC government has always maintained that the reason for the hard lockdown was not to stop the coronavirus from spreading, but to enable government to adequately prepare for it,” said Smalle.

He said if the statistics released by the Covid-19 provincial command council were accurate, “then it appears that the curve in Limpopo is stable”.

As on 17 May 2020, Limpopo has recorded 77 positive cases.

“This is 0.5% of the national percentage total. We have had three unfortunate deaths and 37 recoveries. These statistics confirm that Limpopo currently has 37 active infections,” said Smalle.

He said continued monitoring, screening and testing for Covid-19 as well as the adequate provision of personal protective equipment (PPE) to front line workers; the prevention of inter-provincial travel without permits and personal hygiene and the wearing of masks by all citizens outside their homes “can assist to allow all economic activity to return”.

“In light of this, we request premier Matahabatha to follow the necessary procedures to have the province downscaled to Level 2 so that optimum economic activity can resume to prevent the loss of any further livelihoods.

“Despite the possible relaxation to level 2 restrictions, social distancing, basic safety and hygiene and no public gatherings must still be observed to prevent the coronavirus from spreading.”

(Compiled by Makhosandile Zulu)

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