Cyril Ramaphosa put a few minds at ease on Monday evening, after he confirmed that the national lockdown is not planned to go beyond the current three-week period. The president thanked the nation for playing their part in the first four days under difficult circumstances.
“We all know this lockdown is necessary to save the lives of thousands. The disease is spreading rapidly worldwide, with 35 000 deaths. South Africans have responded positively to this decision. I would like to thank you all for acting in a disciplined manner in this dramatic measure.”
Cyril Ramaphosa thanks the nation
Lockdown latest – how long will it last?
According to the president, we are only being asked to follow strict instructions to remain at home “for the next 17 days”. Well aware of the economic turmoil up ahead – and the Moody’s downgrade to junk status – Ramaphosa stated he was confident that South Africa would win this particular battle, trumping up last week’s emergency financial measures and the billion-rand donations made to the government’s coronavirus battle plan:
“But we’ve been saddened to hear three South Africans have been killed by this disease. I’m now asking you to stay at home for the next 17 days. Only leave to get food, collect a social grant, or seek medication. The only people who can go to work, are essential employees, like health workers and food suppliers.
“The next 17 days will be difficult. Traders are losing money, and workers are worried about their income. The elderly and frail need care. We all experience anxiety at this time. We are doing everything we can to support businesses, jobs and service delivery.”
Cyril Ramaphosa on lockdown measures
Nothing changes…not yet
Earlier in the day, Ramaphosa hinted that there could be an extension to the current lockdown length. It never came to fruition – or at least, it didn’t on Monday – but this is what the president had to say:
“It is now abundantly clear that the most effective way for a society to contain the spread of the disease is for the population to remain at home and physically isolated from each other for at least several weeks.
Cyril Ramaphosa in his weekly ‘From the Desk of the President’ letter