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Ministers Brief SA on Level 4 Alert – Ebrahim Patel/Nkosazana Zuma

Article by: Natalie Müller

Minister of Corporative Governance & Traditional Affairs Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma alongside Minister of Department of Trade & Industry Ebrahim Patel, have today addressed the public in a press briefing on the level 4 alert and how this level will be conducted, in the partial lifting of the national lockdown.

Minister Patel started by stating that the lockdown period will be phased out in levels and industries will gradually reopen as mentioned by the president in his speech to the country on Thursday evening, he went on to breakdown the important elements of the levels, importantly focusing on what level 4 of the lockdown would entail. he mentions the following:

  1. The New alert system tis put into place in order to measure the degree of risk 
  1. They will focus on an Industrial classification system 
  1. They have put into place, new comprehensive social distancing measures 

He assured that the Purpose of this new approach is to calibrate the level of openness with the level of risk. He states that the lower the risk, the more the economy is able to expand and see people have freedom of movement and this can only be achieved if we work together and adhere to the . 

Industries would need to reopen and be afforded the time to prepare for a large number of employees returning to work by preparing adequate sanitary measures and products and also safe social distancing measures within the workplace. These measures need to be put into place to avoid the following:

  1. Risk of transmission of the virus posed by the work place and the number of people that have to travel and from work
  2. Expected impact of the lockdown 
  3. The contribution of the industry/sector to the GDP, supply chain linkages, industrial policy goals 
  4. Livelihood of the most vulnerable people in the society 
  5. Other Qualitative factors that were taken into account 

Nkosazana-Zuma & Patel both mentioned that they all want to see South Africans working together but we need to strike a balance between getting the economy running and losing lives at the hands of this deadly pandemic. 

Patel says we will see a phased in return to work of employees and that it will not all be all at the same time, stating that they were warned by experts, that we need to brace ourselves for an active virus within the next 6 to 8 months. Focus principally will commence on the 1st of May . Reopening of industries, The virus doesn’t move, people move! 

Major economic hubs are the epicenter for the disease, which will lead to those who frequent these epicentres spread the virus to areas that are not considered epicentres and therefore creating the chaos that we are trying to avoid as a country.  

Dlamini-Zuma stress that If we move too fast, we risk a rapid rise in infections, which will see us return again to level 5 which is detrimental to the economy.

“We must move forward but we must do so with  an element of precaution – Ebrahim Patel

All of energy water and sanitation, infrastructure are already operating during level 5 including media, banking, mining and parts of the public sector. Therefore when moving to level 4 we will see a number of additional sectors added to this list. This means we will see around 1.5million South Africans who will leave their homes and return to work.

New activities proposed:

Minister Patel confirmed that restaurants will be open but only for delivery only. Food will need tp go to the customers but you will not be able to visit a restaurant for a sit down and neither will you be able to collect your food! All restaurants will need to deliver to you. 

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