Johannesburg – The ANC has urged South Africans not to support the DA’s “suicidal move” calling on President Cyril Ramaphosa to end the lockdown and to open all workplaces in the country to operate normally under stringent regulations.
ANC chief whip Pemmy Majodina made this appeal after DA interim leader John Steenhuisen denounced the continued lockdown as a bigger threat to the country than Covid-19.
Steenhuisen said Ramaphosa should instead of persisting with the lockdown increase testing and isolate the elderly and others with health conditions, which would put them in more danger from the virus.
Steenhuisen called on Ramaphosa to allow the rest of the country to go back to work amid stringent safety measures.
“The real tragedy playing out here is no longer the coronavirus, but the lockdown itself. Because this lockdown is going to cost many more lives than it can possibly save,” he said.
He cited projections from the National Treasury that the lockdown in the best-case scenario would cost the country three million jobs, with the SA Revenue Service now facing a revenue shortfall of R285 billion.
But Majodina and the ANC are having none of this, accusing Steenhuisen of allegedly inciting civil disobedience, saying “politicising Covid-19 interventions smacks of high levels of political immaturity and should be dismissed with the contempt it deserved”.
“The ANC is of the firm view that the right to life and dignity are the most important of all human rights and the source of all other personal rights. These lockdown measures have been taken in the paramount interest of ensuring the preservation of life, an issue that does not seem to matter to the DA.
“As the ANC caucus in Parliament we strongly believe that over the past five weeks, most South Africans have adhered to the lockdown regulations and as a result, we have managed to slow the spread of the virus,” Majodina added.
She said Steenhuisen’s “below-average proposal” came at a time when Ramaphosa and the government required the support of all citizens, saying the DA was bent on undermining the nation’s efforts “through this filibustering posture”.
“As the ANC caucus, we cannot afford to lower our guard. We thus call for sanity to prevail within the ranks of the DA and for its leader to desist from making calls that are short-sighted when the moment requires calm heads and decisive leadership.
“We must continue to stick to the World Health Organization preventative measures and refuse to be side-tracked by reckless politicking that does not value lives.
“Thus far; across the world, more than 3.4 million people are known to be infected and more than 240 000 have died.
“Here in South Africa, we have just more than 180 casualties, yet to the DA this is an opportunity to end the lockdown despite current scientific modelling (which) shows that the infection rate will continue to rise at a much faster rate in coming months,” Majodina said.
“The ANC caucus believes it would be suicidal to end the lockdown now. As the ANC caucus, we trust in the abilities of South Africans to stay on course and not be sidetracked.
“The challenges imposed by Covid-19 globally are far-reaching. Narrow sectoral interests led by the DA’s unfortunate and misleading statements will undo the good efforts and take our country to the brink,” Majodina said.
She urged Steenhuisen to focus on what was happening in the Western Cape in an apparent reference to the increasing number of infections there – more than 50% of the country’s total cases so far recorded.
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