The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) called on President Cyril Ramaphosa and government to move South Africa back to lockdown Level 5 for a period of three months amid the rapid increase of Covid-19 cases in the past month.
In a statement on Tuesday, the EFF argued that people staying at home would help in defeating the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Over the past seven days alone, the country has reported over 40,000 cases, with a daily average of 6,000. No amount of social distancing, wearing masks, sanitisation will help reduce the rise in infections and death. The only strategy that will help us is staying at home,” the red berets said.
The party said it was worrying that private and public healthcare systems would not be able to cater to the rising numbers of positive Covid-19 cases in the near future.
“This will result in thousands of people will die simply because they cannot get access to healthcare. In the next few weeks majority of companies, schools and other public spaces will be unable to operate as workers and customers will be infected,” EFF said.
The red berets further provided suggestions which South Africa needed to follow in order to sustain Level 5 lockdown for three months:
- The country must unite in a planned supply of food, electricity, water and sanitation for all
- Food prices must be controlled through regulations
- All financial institutions must be forced through regulations to give interest-free payment holidays for three months for all non-essential workers and businesses
- All basic and higher education learning and teaching must be conducted online and through the public broadcaster.
- Internet and broadcasting service prices must be regulated and reduced
- There must be immediate infrastructural renovation and expansion of all provincial hospitals like Baragwanath
- There must be satellite quarantine centres in all informal settlements
- Finally, all essential workers in water, sanitation, security, energy, transport, food and agriculture must be given free medical healthcare coverage for Covid-19.
“If we do not lock down now, there will be hundreds of thousands of fives lost, the majority of which will be poor black people. Worse, there will be no experienced workforce to speak of when the scourge of Covid-19 passes. The refusal to lockdown the country under Level 5 regulations must, therefore, be read as complicity with the mass murder of our people.
“No one should die of Covid-19 because they wanted to go to school. No one should die of Covid-19 because they wanted to go to work and put food on the table. No one should die of Covid-19 because they were forced by bank loan obligation to save their homes, cars, or businesses,” the party added.
“It is time to employ the stay at home strategy to fight Covid-19. The refusal to tighten regulations and ban alcohol squarely places liability of all deaths on Ramaphosa. It is evident now that in the protection of the white capitalist establishment, Ramaphosa has no regard for the lives of our people.
“All of society must be mobilised to guarantee livelihoods without compromising lives of our people, and it is evident now that the premature and reckless reopening of the economy and many sectors of society will end in many avoidable deaths,” the red berets said.
South Africa currently has 151,209 total cumulative cases as of 30 June, with 6,945 new cases reported in the last 24 hours.
1,630,008 tests have been completed in total of which 33,013 new tests are reported.
Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said in a statement: “Regrettably, we report a further 128 Covid-19 related deaths – four from Mpumalanga, 25 from Eastern Cape, 36 from Gauteng, 11 from KwaZulu Natal and 52 from Western Cape.
“This brings the total deaths to 2657. We wish to express our condolences to the loved ones of the departed and thank the health care workers who treated the deceased.
“The mortality rate is 1.8% while the number of recoveries is 73,543, which translates to a recovery rate of 48,6%.”