The EFF has welcomed the government’s decision to lock down all non-essential movements in South Africa to contain the rapid spread of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19).
President Cyril Ramaphosa announced the three-week national shutdown as part of wide-ranging interventions to combat the spread of the virus.
The most notable measure was the prohibition of South Africans from leaving their homes, unless for essential purposes.
Ramaphosa addressed the nation from the Union Buildings in Pretoria on Monday after marathon meetings with the National Command Council, which started on Sunday. The lockdown will be effective from midnight on Thursday.
In a statement issued late on Monday night, EFF spokesperson Vuyani Pambo said: “In the face of increasing infections, the only logical, and now proven, mechanism to contain the continued spread of the virus was a total lockdown.
“What the lockdown means is that all forms of avoidable human contact should be avoided, and this should apply to meetings of [fewer] than 100 people. We are aware that in the immediate, the lockdown will cause devastating economic consequences, but it is the only measure our country can contain the spread of a deadly virus, which cannot be addressed by South Africa’s healthcare system in its current state.”
The EFF reiterated that, once the financial services sector, particularly all banks, have dealt with Competition Act and other regulatory compliance issues, it should allow payment holidays and implement other measures that will lessen the burden on ordinary people.
“The EFF calls on the South African government to pay particular attention to poor communities and people with the purpose of making sure that they don’t run out of basic services such as food and healthcare essentials. The support of small businesses should be expedited because many South Africans, particularly street traders and businesses that survive from the tourism industry, will be devastatingly affected.”
Pambo said the government, at all spheres and in all departments, including state-owned companies, should expedite the payment of all service providers to allow them to take care of their essential needs during the lockdown period.
“As part of establishment of alternate self-isolation spaces, government should immediately isolate those infected so that the infection curve is flattened and the disease flattened. Hotel owners should be willing to avail their hotels as isolation spaces and, where needed, should allow for the conversion of their hotels into emergency healthcare spaces.
“The South African National Defence Force (SANDF) should strictly enforce the restrictions and must not allow unapproved and unnecessary movement. The people of South Africa should cooperate with the SANDF and must not engage in activities that will necessitate forceful enforcement of the restrictions.
“As the EFF, we hereby forbid all meetings of the organisation at all levels and should instead, communicate via electronic platforms and this should apply to all organisations without failure. All offices of the EFF are hereby closed until further notice.
“We all carry the obligation to defeat the rapid spread of the virus and should, at this critical moment, work towards total elimination of the virus. Let us all work in unison to defeat the virus which has the potential to kill a lot of our people,” added Pambo.