President Cyril Ramaphosa addressing South Africans on developments in our country’s risk-adjusted strategy to manage the spread of COVID-19, said the further easing of restrictions presents the country with the greatest opportunity since the start of the pandemic to breathe life into our struggling economy.
Today, Ramaphosa announced that the country will be moved to level 2 lockdown.
A hard lockdown was imposed at the end of March to curb the spread of COVID-19 while giving the government time to prepare the healthcare system for the expected spike in virus infections.
Today marks 142 days since the lockdown began.
The coronavirus pandemic has caused misery in thousands of businesses in South Africa. Already, many have had to close their doors amid the turmoil. Others have filed for bankruptcy protection, and may yet recover.
However, Ramaphosa is opening up the economy by easing certain lockdown regulations but still keeping the night curfew between 10pm and 4am.
“Even as we open up economic activity, it will take a long time for industries and businesses to recover, and there is much work still to be done,” he said.
On Thursday, Ramaphosa said he convened all social partners in NEDLAC, namely government, labour, business and community.
“We are now working together on an urgent economic recovery programme that places the protection and creation of employment at its centre,” he says.
“We will be making announcements on the outcome of this work in the next few weeks.”
He added: “Difficult days indeed lie ahead. However, we have proven our resilience as a nation over the past five months. The task before us now is to apply the same energies with which we have battled this pandemic to the economic recovery effort.
“We will use this moment not only to return South Africa to where it was before, but to transform our country to a more equal, more just and more dynamic economy.
Ramaphosa added that the country has weathered a long and difficult storm.
“We have endured great hardship and suffered unbearable losses. But we have stood firm against this onslaught.”