A major testing backlog countrywide continues to hamper efforts to have an updated picture of what the real situation may be countrywide.
DA Western Cape leader Bongikosi Madikizela said they “wholeheartedly support DA leader John Steenhuisen’s, and many other patriotic South Africans’, call for our government to end the hard lockdown”.
He said the country’s current “house arrest” was not only causing a major economic crisis but put “the lives of the very same people the ANC pretends to care about at risk”.
He said it was ironic for the ANC and the so-called “organs of revolutionary alliance” to expect the country to put its faith in their hands during the pandemic when all they had done so far “was to undermine the goodwill South Africans have demonstrated since the announcement of the lockdown more than 50 days ago”.
“Our experience during this time has reminded us once again why the ANC and its alliance partners can’t be trusted to run this country and this province.”
He said fear was being used to control people and the “ANC has found a new way to fulfil its long-time wish to control the people of this country”.
“They have become power-drunk and do not want to let go of that power. The prolonging of the lockdown is about having control and power over people, and not about our interests. Dr Glenda Gray, who is on the ministerial advisory committee (MAC), summed it up very well when she called it ‘unscientific and nonsensical’.
“The only reason we supported this lockdown more than seven weeks ago was to give our health system enough time to prepare for the spike in transmissions, which is inevitable. According to epidemiologists and scientists, we will see this spike between July and September, and the only difference between the Western Cape and other provinces is that it will spike sooner here because of massive testing of cluster outbreaks in essential service areas.
“Remaining at any level of lockdown will not stop the spread. The number of infections in the Western Cape occurred under level 5 and level 4 of the lockdown. Therefore, what difference will it make to remain under level 4? The Western Cape has a targeted approach in terms of testing. We know where the majority of cases are, we have enough capacity on case management, and we have put enough infrastructure in place for quarantine and isolation.”
The provincial leader said the basis to determine whether one could end a lockdown was not one’s readiness to respond, nor the number of infections.
“What we need to determine is whether our health system can cope with the spike. Just yesterday the premier of Gauteng announced that there are emerging hotspot areas in his province. What we are seeing in the Western Cape will soon be happening in other provinces like Gauteng as well. It’s not a reflection of incompetence as the ANC suggests, it is an inevitable upsurge of the virus.
“We need to stop creating a false dichotomy between health and economy – the two are not mutually exclusive. We need to start preparing workplaces for people to go back to work. We need to ensure occupational health and safety measures are in place and that they are in line with the department of health’s guidelines. We can’t be locked in our houses forever and endure ridiculous and draconian regulations that are meant to control us and not to save us.”
Madikizela said the level of poverty in the country was escalating and the rate of companies shutting down was alarming.
“The money we are using to fund this pandemic will soon run out, and we can’t keep on borrowing money if we can’t demonstrate the ability to pay it back. Without economic activities, we will not only lose lives because of hunger and poverty, but we will also lose our sovereignty as a country if we can’t pay our debt.
“The ANC is using the propaganda of fear-mongering by claiming people will die if they go back to work, yet they are working and earning a salary while people are under house arrest and barely making ends meet.”
He said that death was something that would visit all people at some stage, “and we can’t stop living our lives because we are scared of it”.
“Just like we as politicians take precautionary measures to protect ourselves against this virus when we go out and do our work, other people must also be given the right and the opportunity to choose for themselves.
“The ANC wants to create a nanny state under the false pretence that they care about the people of South Africa. All they care about is their newfound unfettered power to dictate to us.”
He repeated that people needed to understand that the number of infections would increase regardless.
“We must only make sure that our health infrastructure is not overwhelmed. The seven weeks under the hard lockdown has given us enough time to build additional capacities and we, in the Western Cape, are doing exactly that.
“It is time to lift the lockdown.”
(Edited by Charles Cilliers)