The Democratic Alliance (DA) has called on President Cyril Ramaphosa to come out of hiding and address the nation on the “escalating lockdown crisis”.
The last time Ramaphosa’s address was televised was on Thursday, 24 April – 19 days ago when he announced the country’s lockdown transition to level 4 starting on 1 May.
However, the DA believes it is crucial for the president to constantly address the country.
“We call on the president to address the nation regularly – at least once a week – and that these briefings should include the opportunity to answer questions from the media. We also call on him to make public all Covid-19 data, along with the NICD modelling he is using to justify the continued lockdown.
“This data should include Covid-19 death statistics by age, HIV status and co-morbidity. It should include the exact state of healthcare and hospital readiness in each district and city. It should include full transparency on what triggers a move to a different level of lockdown. And, importantly, it should include a clearly defined reason – and therefore goal – of the lockdown,” said the DA in a statement.
The DA said Ramaphosa’s public silence has been filled by “petty authoritarianism” of the “worst of his ministers”, who apparently have little understanding of what keeps a country afloat.
“South Africans deserve to be treated like adults, and to be told the truth. They certainly do not deserve to be told that crucial information on the virus and the country’s state of preparation is being deliberately withheld from them ‘for their own good’. They deserve to be shown the same trust and respect that has been asked of them by the president. When he speaks of a social compact, surely he must know this cuts both ways.
“If the president doesn’t immediately take South Africans into his confidence and play open cards with them, he will very quickly lose all remaining public support and compliance.”
This comes after Police Minister Bheki Cele said that the committee overseeing the regulations of the nationwide lockdown was discussing the possibility of moving the country from lockdown level 4 to level 3.
The minister, however, said he could not give an answer as to when level 3 would be implemented “but the time will come”.
Cele said the committee was still getting advice from experts on moving the country from level 4 to level 3 of the lockdown.
Under level 3 of the lockdown, the sale of liquor, which is banned under levels 5 and 4, would be permitted within restricted hours, among other sectors allowed to operate.
South Africans have taken to social media to voice their frustrations, calling for Ramaphosa to address them.
I have a feeling that President Ramaphosa is saving his next national address to announce downgrade to Level 3.
— Simon Grindrod (@SimonPGrindrod) May 12, 2020
Ramaphosa not addressing the nation tonight? When will he address the nation again? IT'S CLASSIFIED!????????????
— judge and jury (@JUDGEJUSTIN777) May 7, 2020
President Cyril Ramaphosa must please do another television address because there is now too much uncertainty and tension. There are also people who don't care about the lockdown or the levels.
We need to know the plan please ????????
— Sharné Zoë (@Zoe_SZi) May 11, 2020
Ramaphosa, ADDRESS us! I beg! pic.twitter.com/0OHXrmPLBi
— Caleb Mohammed (@Capes_Meister) May 12, 2020
President Ramaphosa should address the nation weekly…
— Cobus van Niekerk (@cobus_vn) May 7, 2020
stop blaming Ramaphosa he is trying.
your Dad can’t even address a community meeting.????
— Sonia love ❁ (@Poojatop) May 10, 2020
(Compiled by Vhahangwele Nemakonde. Additional reporting, Makhosandile Zulu)