The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) has bemoaned the lack of Covid-19 rule enforcement.
This comes in the wake of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s announcement that the country is to move back to an adjusted level 3 lockdown.
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In a statement, Cosatu’s national spokesperson, Sizwe Pamla says the federation is “deeply alarmed” by the rapid rise in Covid-19 cases.
He says: “The Federation understands and empathises with government at this difficult time, but we are disappointed by the poor enforcement of Covid-19 regulations that have been in place since the beginning of December 2020.”
According to Pamla, “the health system is collapsing under the weight of rising infections and health workers are being let down by the lacklustre and an incoherent approach from government to stop the rise of infections.”
Cosatu maintains that government has not done enough to ensure a harder lockdown level is avoided.
“If we are to make a dent in the rate of infections, enforcement of regulations is necessary because extreme lockdowns are not sustainable. These measures will only bear fruit if the government at all levels enforce the various health and safety measures with the seriousness they require.”
Pamla added that South Africans need to act responsibly.
“We agree that those who put the lives of others at risk must be arrested and put in jail.”
Under the amended level 3 regulations, citizens face fines and potential jail time for not wearing masks in public.
Pamla says the economic impact of the lockdown is unsustainable and is calling on government to extend TERS payments for the unemployed as well as the special R350 unemployment grant.
Cosatu also wants debt relief to be provided to sectors of the economy and tax relief for workers.
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The federation is also concerned with the timeline for the provision of a vaccine in South Africa.
“The government’s vaccine roll-out program that project distribution to up to 10% of the population by June 2020 does not inspire confidence,” said Pamla.
“We cannot afford to allow South Africans to die because of state lethargy. Government and the private sector need to produce a plan to ensure that all South Africans will be vaccinated during 2020, starting with health and other essential workers, the elderly, and those with co-morbidities. ”