Article by: Natalie Müller
President Cyril Ramaphosa has today addressed the South African public in response to the coronavirus pandemic and attempts to curb the spread of the virus in the country.
Ramphosa has urged South Africans to bare in mind, that we need to be sensitive when dealing with such a pandemic, baring in mind that we should not too easily loose sight that we are dealing with human lives.
He reminded us of the hardships brought on by the virus, as the Coronavirus outbreak is taking a toll on all our daily lives and puts strain on people’s ability to earn a living and enjoy the basic freedom that we daily take for granted.
President Cyril Ramaphosa referred to the fact that, It is nearly 7 weeks since the implementation of the nationwide lockdown and appreciated how South Africans have demonstrated great resilience, responsibility and endurance in adhering to the lockdown regulations and the wearing of safety gear.
The best current estimate based on expert advice is that should the lockdown not been implemented at the time that is was, the country could have seen around 80 thousand South Africans infected by now and a larger number of deaths.
He reported that as it stands there are 219 people in the country who have succumbed to this disease, with over 350 thousand tests conducted and some 11350 confirmed cases.
South Africa currently sits at over 4000 confirmed recoveries
The President shared some international statistics with the public by mentioning that the USA has recorded around 22000 deaths and the United Kingdom sitting at around 19 000 deaths.
Ramaphosa said so far we have been successful in the manner in which we as South Africans have dealt with this virus and that refers to all of us.
By delaying the spread of the disease we have been able to strengthen our healthcare facilities we now have 25000 available beds ready for quarantine and large quantities of safety gear for essential workers but more is required – said Ramaphosa.
Her sent on to say that they have managed to significantly improve and strengthen the screening process as well.
Ramsphosa touched on the excellent and efficient work done by the unemployment insurance fund, who since the establishment of the lockdown, has disbursed over R11.6 billion to over 2.4 million employees and has assisted around 160 thousand companies.
As of today R200 billion Covid19 guarantee scheme has began to process applications from small businesses for relief funding.
Ramaphosa said by the close of business today, the country recorded that over 3 million South Africans, have applied for this assistance via the Unemployment Grant through the Department of Social Development, which is a grant that will be awarded for a period of 6 months.
The President also sent a special thanks for the 1000 ventilators donated by the American government.
Ramaphosa addressed the painstaking issue of gender based violence by announcing that, to no surprise, there has been disturbing increase in reports of gender based violence since the beginning of the lockdown.
South Africans were enlightened with the news of a relaxation of the lockdown, by moving to level 3 of the regulations by end of May. Ramaphosa said; we are now preparing for a further easing of the lockdown towards the end of May.
Ramaphosa said some have questioned whether the governments approach in dealing with the coronavirus has been at the expense of the livelihoods of the South African people, but went on to assure that, the Government’s strategic approach has been based on saving lives and preserving livelihoods.
Some of the actions we have taken have been unclear, contradictory or ill explained and Implementing has sometimes been slow and law enforcement may have been too harsh said Ramaphosa.
Ramaphosa said: As your President, as this government, we are firmly committed to meeting the expectations you rightly have of us. Where we have disappointed, we will continue to make amends. Where we make mistakes, we will continue to correct them.
Our key objective has always been to slow down the infection rate through a number of interventions in our coronavirus prevention toolbox.
This evening, I want to reaffirm my commitment and the commitment of the government I lead to take whatever action is necessary to safeguard the life, the dignity and the interests of the South African people.
As I end, let me offer the words of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, delivered at a difficult time in the life of his own country:
“The state of this nation is good
The heart of this nation is sound
The spirit of this nation is strong
The faith of this nation is eternal.”
This is a developing story… more information will be shared on the easing of the lockdown restrictions as soon as the public is addressed by all the relevant ministers.
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